My name is Pepper I am the most precious girl who ever lived, just ask my mother, she says so all the time. Stewart is stupendous, Ruby is remarkable, Enoch is enchanting, and Caroline is incredible ( I don’t think Mom could think of a c word). Mother always tells me we are like a sandwich, and I am the meat. I am smack dab in the middle, and I just love it.
I love Christmas time, I am always a big helper. Last year nothing I did seemed to turn out right though. It all started when my kindergarten teacher read a story in school about an elf who was so helpful that he became Santa’s best helper. When I got home I was ready to help with anything and everything. There was only a week before Christmas, and just knew I could be Santa’s best helper! If he saw everything then he would know for sure that I was being a great helper.
I saw the Christmas tree box in the corner, and decided that was a good place to start. I opened the flaps of the box, and tried to pull the stand out. It was really heavy though. I yanked and tugged, but realized it wasn’t going to work. Then I had an idea, If I tipped the box on it’s side then the tree would come out easier. I folded the flap down and put all my weight on the box, Cshshscshshs! Uh-oh. The whole front of the box tore at the seams, and the contents spilled onto the floor! Maybe if I hurried and put the tree up them mom wouldn’t notice that the box was broken. I pulled the base out and set is right side up. It was still really heavy. I found the “trunk” and put that into the base, that was really light compared to the base. “I must be getting stronger,” I thought. I grabbed the branch sitting on the top of the pile and shoved it in a groove on the tree trunk. I did this again, and again. Pretty soon, I had to grab a chair because the grooves were too high for me to reach. The last piece in the box was the top of the tree. I reached in and climbed on the chair to put it on the tree. I was almost tall enough. If only I could be just a few inches taller I could get it. I stretched, and stood on my tippy toes. Just a few more inches, and I would have it. CRASH! ! ! ! I fell on top of the tree, which promptly fell over. My mother came rushing in from the other room, and, upon finding me in one piece she started laughing, pulled me out gently, dusted me off, and kissed my forehead! I didn’t really think it was that funny.
I walked in the other room to have a snack, and saw my baby sister Caroline poking holes in the wrapping paper of present’s. I took them away from her and put them on the counter. I was just brushing my hands off from my good deed when I realized that Caroline had climbed on the counter to get the present’s. That wouldn’t do. I took her down and moved the chairs. She pushed them back, and climbed up again. “Stop it!” I yelled at her. “Topit!” she echoed back at me. Then I came up with an idea. If Caroline couldn’t find the present’s she couldn’t get into them. I grabbed a handful of the present’s, and ran down the hall past the bathroom. One of the presents went behind the towels in the hall closet, another two in Moms closet behind her shirts. One under the vanity in the bathroom, and another in the pantry behind the cereal boxes. I hid all of them in similarly. Let me tell you, there is no better “hider” in all the world. Mother didn’t have to worry about the presents anymore. I checked that off as another good deed done. I might not have to wait until Christmas to become best helper.
I was so bored from all of my good deeds, that I decided to have some fun. We had just learned in kindergarten that ice is made of frozen water. I thought it would be so fun if the whole family could go ice skating together. I went outside, and surveyed the front yard. I found the perfect spot. In our front yard the walkway to the sidewalk heads toward the house, then splits in two, and circles around the maple and then joins up again to meet with the porch. If I made a rink on the circle around the tree it would be just like the real ice skating rink. I turned on the hose, and filled the walkway with water. Then I turned the hose off and headed into the house.
I found mother in the kitchen with Ruby and Josiah. They mere making peanut butter fudge, divinity, and gingerbread. Mother was measuring the peanut butter into the pan for the fudge, Ruby was putting in some vanilla, and Josiah was licking the spoon. Caroline was carrying the box of powdered sugar into the living room. That looked like major trouble. I followed her and got there just in time to see her pull off the lid under the toppled Christmas tree. I ran to her and pulled it from her, but she held on too. We played tug of war for a moment before I had a thought, “What if I made another mess? I had better be the mature one.” I let go. Uh-oh! Not again. The powdered sugar went everywhere! It looked like a blizzard had hit in our living room. Soft, powdery flakes lingered in the air for at least ten minutes. When the air finally cleared, the room looked like an ancient ruin with snow all around, and trees growing from the walls. It was beautiful. Mother walked in the room and just stared. I smiled a crooked smile that said, “I love you mom and I’m sorry.” I don’t think she got the message though. Her eyes bounced around. They looked at the tree, and the floor. She looked at Caroline (who looked rather like the Ghost of Christmas past) and at me. Around the room, then at me again. Then, she just walked away. Whew, I thought, I got out of that one easy. I thought too soon, she came back in with a broom. Stewart was following her, he wore a smug smile on his superior face. I stuck my tongue out at him, and mother gave me that look again. It took almost a million years to clean up that mess, I’m pretty sure. By that time is was dark.
At dinner mother reminded me that we were going caroling that night. Everyone would meet at our house and we would walk around the neighborhood singing carols. I LOVE to sing, and I know all the words to every Christmas song ever written. I ran to my room to get ready. I put on my tights, long johns, and sweats. Then I put my snow suit over that. Then I put on my coat. As I was looking for my snow hat I heard a Vwoooop! THUD! ! ! Vwoooop! THUD! ! ! ! I looked out of my window into the front yard and saw Mrs. Marnell and Mr. Marnell on their bottoms in the center of my ice rink. They were doing it all wrong. I put on my boots and ran down to tell them. I pounded down the steps, straight into a soft brick wall. I looked up and noticed it wasn’t a wall after all, it was my Dad. I hugged him, I always love to see him. He held me by the shoulder and asked, “Pepper, why is the sidewalk covered in ice?” That’s when I thought that maybe it hadn’t been a very good idea after all. “I, um,. . . I wanted to have an ice rink in our yard Daddy.” I said cutely. He rolled his eyes. The door opened behind him, and in came Mr. Marnell, with Mrs. Marnell leaning on him. She was walking a bit like a duck with one foot. Dad helped the Marnell’s over to the table. He looked at Mrs. Marnell’s round ankle, he bent it this way and that, he rubbed it softly with his fingers. Daddy is the world’s best doctor, he fixes everyone in town. “It just looks sprained, Rhoda. Let me get you some ice. Sit on the couch, and put your leg up.” He glared at me for a moment. Then we heard it again Vwoooop! THUD! ! ! He rushed out the front door to see Aunt Josie and Uncle Chris on the ground. They were OK though, picking themselves up and laughing, and falling again. He ran back in, “Ruby, get the salt! Quick!” She ran to get it and was back in a flash, giving me a look that clearly said, “I am an angel, I am so perfect.” Even though I disagreed. Dad, skated down the walkway towards the sidewalk, sprinkling as he went. He looked much like a commercial I had seen for disco on ice.
It took a few minutes but we found a wheel chair for Mrs. Marnell, and then everyone went out to sing carols. The night was cold and dark. A light snow started falling on us as we walked singing. We sang, “It came upon a midnight clear.” That one was my favorite, I sang as loud as I could, ” . . . with anglers traveling from the north to catch their carps for gold!” Everyone laughed at that, but I didn’t really understand why. Stewart held my hand tight, and squeezed me close. I looked around me and realized that I didn’t need to be Santa’s best helper, I liked being the best helper in my family so much more. Besides, being that much help was a lot of work.
I ended up forgetting where I hid the presents. We found them all, eventually. I think Ruby found her last one in March. Mom said I was so clever to think of a way to make Christmas last all year long.