Well, I decided I would try out Pearl’s gossip lesson and go back to Mrs. Stones’ house and get some dirt on her. I sure hoped Pearl was right because I sure did not want to pull more weeds.
There was one thing Pearl’s plan didn’t account for.
“Hi, Mrs. Stone…I came back to pull those weeds in your garden; the few little ones that I missed yesterday.
“Well just don’t stand there, Ellie, come in. I don’t have much time to direct you. My bridge club will be here in just a few minutes. Get one of those paper bags in the pantry and fill it with the weeds you pull. Now get to it Ellie. Why are you just standing there with that dumb look on your face?”
I told Harold the barber to cut my hair short, and he did.
That’s the mean thing, I thought. The bridge club coming over could be a hot potato, but I decided to move forward with Pearl’s plan.
“Are the bridge club ladies the ones that don’t like you very much?”
“What on earth are you talking about, “Ellie? Who told you that?”
“Um..I think we both know who spreads gossip around this town.”
My mom played bridge
Mrs. Stone had a horrified look on her face just like Pearl the human said she would, but she didn’t tell me I didn’t have to pull the weeds, and I really didn’t think she would offer to pull them herself with all those women here. I was going to have to wing it!
The ladies started arriving then so I waited. Mrs. Stone saw me standing there and told me to go do what I came to do.
“Okay,” I said. “I’ll go pull those weeds, so you won’t make poor Mr. Stone go out there and pull them. Do you have some cold lemonade so I can go out and sit on your bench and drink it? Those cookies sure look good, too.”
“You are one strange child, Ellie.”
Then Mrs. Martin spoke up. “Well, Helen Stone, did you get involved in the Methodist Church fundraiser? I heard most of the kids were on the lazy side. They had to be prodded to do anything. It was so good of you to give this girl a chance to do good. Young lady, you need a few lessons in etiquette. You do not ask for refreshments and you definitely do not take a refreshment break before you have even started your work.”
She’s mean too, I thought. Pearl didn’t account for two ladies being mean to me.
“Mrs. Martin,” I said. “I heard your husband is henpecked.”
It worked again! Mrs. Martin looked horrified; just like Pearl said. All of a sudden, Mrs. Stone took me by the ear and marched me to the door. “You may leave now,” she said. “I would rather pull the weeds myself than deal with the likes of you, young lady.”
I couldn’t wait to tell Pearl the human all about my experience with her gossip lesson. I decided to walk Pearl the dog a little later.
I like now, now is good!
“Hi Pearl, I came right over here to tell you what happened with Mrs. Stone. I said exactly what you told me to say and guess what? I didn’t have to pull one weed. Mrs. Stone said she would do it. There is one thing though…She didn’t offer me a cold glass of lemonade and a cookie.”
I like cookies
“I knew it,” Pearl said. (I’ve never seen Pearl so excited.)
“I’ll have to think up some more life lessons to teach you, Essie. Living in this world takes know how and if it’s one thing old Pearl has, it’s know how!”
“Do you know anything about etiquette Pearl? One of the bridge club ladies who was at Mrs. Stone’ house said I could use a few lessons on etiquette.”
“Boy, Pearl the dog, Pearl the human sure was puffing away on that air cigarette when we left. She just doesn’t seem herself. Where should we go on our walk? How about Mrs. Stones’ house to see if anybody pulled those weeds.’
Okay Ellie, but it’s getting pretty dark. Do you think she’ll give us a cookie?