I’m on my way to walk Pearl the dog. I really had an off day. I lost two rounds of tether ball and another girl, you don’t know, beat me in Jacks. I guess my head just wasn’t in the game. I had one of those days when I can’t concentrate. At least that’s what I’m going to tryout on Mom when she sees my science paper. She doesn’t think she expects too much from me, but she doesn’t account for off days at all. I heard that most of our Presidents were B students. Hardly any got straight A’s and they used words like, cipher. I’m not going to try that sensible approach. Mom will just say, “They didn’t have running water or electricity. They had to do their homework by lantern or candlelight. I’d like to know what taking a bath more than once a week has to do with my grades.
I’m not at Pearl and Grace’s yet, but I almost am. I wonder if Pearl is still at the library. She’s already been there a whole four days.
“Hi, Pearl…I’m here, are you?”
I didn’t get an answer and Pearl the dog didn’t come when I called, so I figured they must be over at Grace’s rooms.
I was right. When I walked in, Grace and Pearl the dog were right there waiting for me.
“Hi, Grace…Is Pearl still at the library?”
“Yes, I suppose she is. Although, just between you and me, I don’t think she’ll be there for long.”
I could tell that Grace wanted to take back what she said…but it was too late.
“Why do you think she won’t make it at the library, Grace?”
“Well, I went to my women’s circle meeting today, and some of the ladies took me aside and said Pearl was trying to take over the place.”
“Do you think it has anything to do with the fact that those ladies had no use for her when she was trying to join their circle?”
I could tell Grace was getting flustered because she won’t look at you when she’s nervous. Stuff gets written all over her face.
“Well,” Grace said. “I guess that could be part of it, but there’s another thing that people are bothered about.”
“Like what, Grace?” I knew Grace was ready to spill everything. It was eating her up.
“She threw all the rules out the window and folks think a library should have rules. She doesn’t keep it quiet at all, and people don’t have to bring their books back on time. According to the circle ladies, the thing that has the whole town up in arms is she lets everyone bring food and drink in. Why that’s worse than food and drink at the show. That’s what they said, not me.” Grace had more…
“She did start a book club which tickles me. I don’t think Pearl has ever read a whole book in her life.”
“Uh, Oh, here she comes. You better run Pearl the dog outside, Ellie. I’ll try to calm Pearl down before you get back, dear.”
Pearl and I took our time. We walked all the way to Super Value south of sixteen. I had enough change on me to get a Bing, so I waited for another kid to come along and hold Pearl for me or go inside and buy my candy bar. While I was sitting there, the lady who gets paid to work at the library stopped when she saw me and headed my way. This day was really stacking up against me.
“Hello Ellie,” she said. “Is this Pearl’s dog? My goodness she’s very well-mannered. What is her name?”
“Pearl,” I said.
“No, I mean what is the dog’s name?”
“It’s Pearl too. Pearl the human forgets names, so she figured if she named her dog the same as her name, she wouldn’t forget it, and if she did, people should find another home for Pearl the dog.”
“Oh, my goodness,” She said. “That sounds just like Pearl. I sure am enjoying her at the library. She has brought a new energy to the place.”
“Wait,” I said. “Do you mean you like Pearl?”
“Oh, my yes…We hardly have anybody come into that stuffy place. One or two a day, at most, wander in there. I know a lot of kids say they’re at the library, but believe me, they are elsewhere. Besides…we plan to get everybody used to using the library, and then gradually incorporate some of the rules.”
I just hoped I could get back to Grace’s house before she told Pearl what those circle women said about her. “Or should I let the chips fall where they may?”