Monday, October 22, 2018

Maddie and Ms. Thumblebuster

                                    Maddie and Ms. Thumblebuster
                                                                      By Valerie L. Egar

            Maddie talked to trees.  That wasn’t  unusual— more than a few people say a word or two to trees, usually under their breath.  “Pretty flowers,” or, “Wow. You’re beautiful.” But Maddie insisted that when she talked to trees, the trees talked back. They had long conversations.
Needless to say, most adults didn’t believe Maddie. A few thought perhaps she’d been dropped on her head when she was a baby.  Others called her “imaginative” and “fanciful” and agreed she’d soon outgrow it.   But her real problem arose when she became a member of Ms. Thumblebuster’s fourth grade class. 

Oh, Ms. Thumblebuster was tough! She ate uncooked oats for breakfast and texted in capital letters.  She loved numbers and measurements and facts, no matter how trivial. On the first day of school, she held a banana in one hand and a strawberry in the other. “Which one is a berry?” Everyone except her nephew Ralphie pointed to the strawberry.
“Ralphie gets an ‘A’!  Technically, a banana is a berry!” she shouted triumphantly. She loved the word ‘technically.’
When Ms. Thumblebuster overheard Maddie telling the other girls that she talked to the willow tree in her backyard and the tree yearned to be a ballet dancer, she put Maddie in the corner. “No lies in this classroom! Facts only!”
“But,” Maddie insisted, “that is exactly what the tree said.”
“Trees DO NOT talk!” Ms. Thumblebuster shouted. “You will stay after school today.”
When school was over, Ms. Thumblebuster  told Maddie to write, ‘Trees do not talk’ one hundred times. Maddie did as she was asked, but as she wrote ‘Trees do not talk,’ she whispered to herself, ‘to Ms. Thumblebuster.’ Maddie had a feeling Ms. Thumblebuster wouldn’t hear a tree talking even if it shouted as loud as she did.
As the school year progressed, Ralphie was not only his aunt’s pet, but also the class bully. Pushing, shoving, calling names, taking lunches, kicking backpacks, Ralphie was a

 problem. Maddie had enough! “See that oak tree,” she said, pointing to the tall tree in the middle of the school playground. “It told me it is going to pelt you with acorns if you keep it up.”
“You’re nuts,” he taunted. “Trees don’t talk.”
“Really? Then how do I know your middle name is Wattles?”
Ralphie blinked. “You saw it somewhere?”
“If that’s what you want to believe.”
That night, Ralphie, had a nightmare about the oak tree running after him, hard acorns hitting his head. Ms. Thumblebuster accused Maddie of bullying Ralphie. “You made him have terrible dreams!” While Ralphie went home to watch movies about zombies and ghouls after school, poor Maddie stayed to write a letter apologizing for frightening him.
“Dear Ralphie,” Maddie began. “I am sorry you had a bad dream about the oak tree on the playground. The tree is not happy with how you act, but it didn’t say it would throw acorns at you. I made that part up.  Trees hate bullies though, and you should stop being one. Sincerely, Maddie.”
“You call this an apology?” Ms. Thumblebuster  bellowed. “You are a very impertinent girl. I-M-P-E-R-T-I-N-E-N-T. Do you know what that means?”
“Yes,” Maddie said. “That you’re probably going to call my Mom.”
Maddie sighed walking home. It looked like it was going to be a very long, awful year.
Every tree along the way offered sympathy. “Don’t lose hope, Maddie.” “Maddie, hearing us is your super-power.”
“But I want you to DO something!” she shouted. “Ms. Thumblebuster is so unfair! Ralphie is awful!”

The trees fanned Maddie with their leaves and whispered tree songs. The willow in the back yard twirled its beautiful long branches in a lovely dance. But they all agreed they couldn’t fix what was wrong with Ms. Thumblebuster or Ralphie. All they could tell Maddie was that there were others like her and that over time, she would find them. Because she trusted the trees, she believed them, but on the days she knew Ralphie was aiming to steal her lunch, she filled her lunch bag with acorns.
Like the story? Share with your FACEBOOK friends, like and comment.
Copyright 2018 by Valerie L. Egar. May not be copied, reproduced or  distributed without permission from the author.
Published October 21, 2018 Biddeford Journal Tribune (Biddeford, ME).

Valerie L. Egar is an author from Maine, USA. She loves animals, long walks in the woods and her husky, Phoenix.  Follow her on FACEBOOK!

No comments:

Post a Comment