One morning very early, eight-year-old Susan and five-year-old Sherry slipped quietly into the kitchen in their pajamas while both their parents were still fast asleep. Amidst a flurry of whispers and giggles they began preparations for what was obviously a very important event. First Susan put two slices of bread into the toaster and got a TV tray out of the cabinet, while Sherry tried to pour cornflakes into a bowl. The box slipped out of her hands and landed on the floor, scattering a few flakes under the table.
"You clumsy idiot!" hissed Susan. "Now look what you did." Sherry's lower lip quivered and big tears formed in her soft brown eyes. Susan quickly put her arms around her sister and kissed her cheek. "I'm sorry, don't cry," she whispered, "I know you didn't mean to spill it." She wiped away her sister's tears and the girls proceeded with their mission.
Susan placed a napkin and a glass of orange juice on the tray, while Sherry contributed a knife and fork and a jar of jelly. The girl's two kittens, Baby and Buster, busied themselves cleaning up the cornflakes on the floor. They tasted pretty good for people food. Susan poured milk over the cornflakes in the bowl, the toast popped up all golden brown, and everything was ready.
Up the stairs they climbed in their slippered feet, being super-careful not to jiggle the tray. Baby and Buster followed close behind to see where that bowl of milk was going. They hadn't had their breakfast yet, and three cornflakes each didn't go very far even for a kitten. Sherry tapped on the door of her parents bedroom.
"Come in," came her mother's sleepy voice. Sherry opened the door and Susan proudly carried the tray into the room. Both parents were still in bed, but the curtains were drawn back and the early morning sun peeked in through the windows, making little puddles of light here and there on the blue-flowered comforter. Susan carried the tray around to her mother's side of the bed.
"Happy birthday!" she half-giggled.
"Happy birthday!" echoed Sherry, clapping her hands.
"How sweet! Thank you, both of you." Mrs. Hammond sat up in bed and adjusted the pillows behind her. Baby couldn't wait another minute. Scrambling onto the bed beside her, sheleaped up and grabbed the edge of the tray. She could smell that bowl of milk up there, and was determined to get a taste of it. She got a taste alright! Suddenly the whole world turned upside-down, or at least the tray did, and instantly she was covered from head to tail with milk, cornflakes, and orange juice! What a mess!
She bolted from the bedroom and raced down the stairs to the comparative safety of the laundry room. In the narrow space behind the washing machine she shook herself to unload most of the debris, and set about trying to make herself presentable again. It was quite a task.
Although she rather enjoyed the milk and cornflakes, she wasn't too crazy about the orange juice. The mother cat, Queenie, soon appeared at the corner and coaxed poor Baby to come out, and her comfort and assistance made the clean-up alot easier. Susan and Mrs. Hammond came in and checked to make sure she wasn't hurt. Then Susan disappeared into the kitchen to help Sherry fix another breakfast while Mrs. Hammond went back upstairs to the scene of the disaster. She returned presently with an armload of bedding.
"See what you did, you pint-sized ruffian," she scolded the unfortunate kitten, stuffing the bundle into the washing machine. She petted her to let her know she was forgiven, and retired to the kitchen to enjoy her slightly belated breakfast.
Copyright 1998 by Kathleen Mc Pugh, all rights reserved