One summer morning, Emily Friendly’s mom finished washing the laundry. She stuck her head out the window of the laundry room and called to her daughter.
“Honey, will you grab the clothespins and hang the clothes outside?” Mrs. Friendly said to Emily.
Ten-year-old Emily loved to read, sitting outside all day in the sun devouring stories. Sometimes, she would find inspiration and write her own stories in her journal.
“Sure, Mom!” Emily called back to her mother, placing her bookmark at her stopping point. Emily pushed three pens behind her ears, climbed from her chair, and ran up the back steps. All she could think about is how the book she was reading was going to end. Possibly, the story should have a different ending than the author’s original idea.
Regardless of her racing mind, she piled her mom’s wet clothes in a plastic laundry basket. Then she kissed her mother on the cheek, as her mom finished cleaning up the laundry room. “Love you, Mom!” Emily said as she grabbed a cushion of sharp pins and put them in the basket.
Emily left the traditional wooden clips for securing clothes to a clothesline on the counter. Then she ran down the back steps and darted out into the warm mid-morning sun.
“What beautiful tall trees!” Emily said, walking right past the clothesline hung between two Elms. She pulled the pincushion from the basket and pinned the wet clothes to the trees.
One by one, she stuck pins through the shirts, pants, skirts, and even underwear into the tree bark. Then she stood back, standing in awe of her wonderful artistic accomplishment. It was almost as though she painted the trees with clothes, and they charmingly blew in the wind.
“What in the world did you do with my clothes?” Mrs. Friendly yelled from the window. “Why didn’t you hang the clothes on the clothesline like you’ve seen me do for years?”
“It seemed like a better ending to the story, Mom! You told me to grab the pins,” Emily said. “I only did what you said . . . can’t you see the beauty in my ending to the story!”
“Oh, please! You read too many books, and you have too many pens,” her mom cried. “You are grounded! Now do something practical and hang the clothes with the wooden pins!”
“I’m grounded now!” Emily yelled, as she plopped herself on the ground.
While sitting in the grass, she considered how she fulfilled her mother’s latest request. There was always a new story to read and write, and the ending could never be what you expected.
Copyright 2015 Jennifer Waters