I’m just not sure what I should do. Even though I’m only eleven, my shoulders are feeling the burden of too many responsibilities. I don’t have back-up either, and that is a very unsettling feeling. Pearl the dog depends on me. Pearl the human is getting too old to make sure Pearl the dog gets down all those stairs behind the store and outside when she needs to go. She can’t go out front because there’s no grass…it’s Main Street.
I worry that one or both of them will take a tumble, so I try to be there every four hours…five at the most, and they’re both always happy to see me.
Sometimes, I don’t get to go with the other kids Pink Sandy takes to the swimming dam. I fear I’m getting behind in my swimming know-how. I’m not even sure if I could save someone if I had to. People get tangled up in that moss, you know, and a kid can get real panicky and not have presence of mind.
I would sure hate to get too far behind. If I don’t keep up with the other kids, I won’t know as much as they do and I might be a big kid in a little kid’s pond.
Who should I consult about this? Pearl the human will feel useless. Pearl the dog will worry that someone, like me, won’t come along in time. Pink Sandy won’t say anything because he doesn’t talk much. He just teaches kids how to swim.
I am not going to involve Mom. She’ll just tell me she has her own cross to bear.
I guess I’ll try Miss Grace. She’s got a pretty good head on her shoulders.
“Come on, Pearl…let’s go for a walk first.”
When Pearl the dog and I got back from our walk, I knocked on Miss Grace’s door. She hollered at me to come in, so I did. She was running back to her little kitchen to take some cookies out of the oven. I took a moment to appreciate my good timing?
I don’t think I have ever seen Miss Grace walk. She always runs…not fast, just short, running steps. Pearl the human calls it bustling. She says Miss Grace always bustles around.
While eating my cookies, I told Miss Grace about my dilemma. She wiped her hands on her apron, and then sat down with me.
“Well, Ellie,” she said. “There is a solution to your problem.”
“I knew I could count on your quick thinking,” I said. “What is it?”
“What is what?
“What’s the solution to my dilemma?”
“Oh, I have no idea,” Grace said. “Every problem has a solution dear, or it wouldn’t be a problem. Now, would you like a cold glass of milk with your cookies?”
I could see I wasn’t getting anywhere with Miss Grace, so I said goodbye and went out the door to the hallway. Guess who I ran into…both Pearls. They were acting funny too…like they were hiding something.
I asked Pearl the human where they had been.
“Well,” Pearl said to Pearl the dog. “I guess she caught us, Pearl. I just let Pearl out.”
“You shouldn’t ever, ever walk down those treacherous back stairs, Pearl,” I said. “Your eyesight isn’t very good since you caught diabetes.”
“You don’t catch diabetes, Essie, you have it. There’s a difference. And I didn’t go down the treacherous stairs.”
“How could you let Pearl the dog out without going down the stairs, Pearl?”
“It wasn’t rocket science,” Pearl said. “I opened the door at the top of the stairs and told Pearl to go potty, and then come right back.”
Pearl the dog came over and licked my hand as if to say, “You poor dumb bunny.”
I cried all the way home. I felt useless.
Today’s Pearl of wisdom from Pearl the dog…