Saturday, December 1, 2012


“Minnie Grey Goes To Tea”

By Madeline Fiol

On the top of a hill was a house as large as the city chapel. In the time when houses had names, it was called Thorn Brook after the thorns on the rose bushes that surrounded it and the brook, which rippled around the hill. Everything about the house was big and boring except for Minnie Grey Binds. There was nothing dull about Minnie Grey. The brown haired, green eyed, short little girl was always braving problems and having adventures. Mr. and Mrs.Binds, who were the owners of “Thorn Brook” and parents of Minnie Grey, never knew what to expect from her. Minnie Grey’s nannie Sally Dedrin always expected the worst.
“Minniegretta,”Sally cried one morning calling Minnie Grey by her real name. “You always forget to curtsey when you see someone.”
“Isn’t waving just as polite?”Minnie Grey asked. “I would rather wave then curtsey. It is more fun.”
“If you did as you were told you would curtsey,”grumbled Sally glaring at the little girl. 
“I am sorry Sally. I try to remember to curtsey, but it is not the same!” Minnie Grey gave a wistful sigh. 
At that moment Mrs. Binds marched into Minnie Grey’s room. She towered over her daughter and wore a unsatisfied frown as a child wears a new outfit they are proud of.
“Minnniegretta, I have news!”declared Mrs.Binds grimly. “Mrs. Paris has invited you and I to tea.”
Minnie Grey gave a huge smile, “ Will she have sugar cookies and chocolate cake and raspberry scones and lemon curd?”
“Minniegretta, can you not think of anything else but sweats?”Sally shook her head. “Mark my words, it would be a mistake to bring that rascal to Mrs.Paris’s tea party.”
Mrs.Binds stared at Sally, “ I will not mark your words! After all, what could my innocent child do to cause trouble? What nonsense Sally Dedrin! I will decide if Minniegretta will go. I do not need your cruel warnings!”
“Mrs.Binds, make your own decision. I would not want to get in your way. I was only giving some of my advice, but I see it was not wanted,” said Sally feeling insulted.
“The tea is in an hour. I want Mrs.Paris to see what darling little girl I have. See that she is ready in half an hour,”after she said this Mrs.Binds wasted no time in sweeping away.
She left Sally looking down angrily at Minnie Grey and Minnie Grey staring back at her with wide eyes full of excitement. 
“Go fetch a dress to wear! Do not spill lemon curd on it whatever you do!”Sally told her.
Minnie skipped to her closet feeling very happy. She chose a dress the color of a sunny sky and said,
“You do not have to worry, Sally! I will be so good and make you and Mother so happy!”
“Now Minnie Grey, you cannot twirl or laugh or shout during the tea!”Sally reminded her a little more patiently. 
“Oh Sally!”sighed Minnie Grey in dismay. “Those are all the fun things that I like to do.”
“ Just the same, you must not do them,”snapped Sally sharply as she buttoned the back of Minnie Grey’s dress. “Please do not tell Mrs. Paris about your fort you made, the snake you saw, and the dress you ruined when you were visiting Kate and Charles last. I died of horror when you kept babbling off to the minister’s spouse last Sunday.”
Minnie Grey gasped and gave Sally a look of amazement, “ You died? You can die of horror? I cannot. I tried once and nothing happened! I think it is good you came back to life. What made you die, did you say?” 
“Minnie Grey, you cannot talk like that!” protested Sally.
“Like what? I am happy you came back to life. If you had died for good I do not know who would have buttoned my buttons. I can never reach them myself. How do you button your dress? I have tried so many times but I never can!”Minnie Grey complained. “I know what it is! You must have magic fingers!”
“Who taught you about that sort of nonsense? That is ridiculous!”Sally grumbled.
Minnie Grey stared at Sally with surprise, “You yourself taught me about magic. I like to pretend it is real. It is fun!”
“Minnie Grey, you have to remember your manners when you go to tea. You forgot to say thank you last time,”Sally reminded her.
For a while they went on like that while Sally brushed Minnie Grey’s hair and braided it like Minnie Grey always begged her to. Minnie Grey felt important. She had been invited to a real tea party. To her it seemed like a long time before Mrs.Binds came and they started walking to Mrs.Paris’s house. (When you live in a small town you can walk every where) As they traveled Mrs. Binds asked cooly,
“Will you be a good baby-girl for Mother?”
“Mother, you do not have to worry. Remember I am not a baby. I will act like an old lady,”declared Minnie Grey smoothly.
“Do you mean a young lady, my dear?”Mrs. Binds questioned her eyes faintly glimmering with amusement.
“No, I mean old lady. Old lady sounds more important. Old ladies are always so sweet and happy. At least the ones I have met,”returned Minnie Grey.
When they got to Mrs. Paris’s house they were led to the dining room. There they found a table set with a blue willow tea set. Already sitting in her chair, Mrs.Paris smiled at them with two twinkling blue eyes. She greeted them and watched as they sat down. She first said to Minnie Grey,
“What a charming necklace you are wearing!”
“Thank you! My father gave it to me. He did not say a word when he gave it to me, but he smiled really big. Usually I hate to wear jewelry, but I like to wear this!” Minnie Grey said proudly. 
“Let me help you put sugar in your tea!”Mrs.Paris offered and not waiting for an answer put a spoon full of sugar in to Minnie Grey’s cup.
Thinking a moment, Minnie Grey said suddenly, “Thank you, but I can do it. Why use a spoon when you might as well just...”she graved the sugar bowl and dumped all the sugar into her cup“...might as well just put it in like that. You were very kind, but I think my idea worked better! Is something wrong Mother?”
Mrs.Bin’s face had gone white, “That was to much sugar.”
“Oh! I thought it was all for me. Well, at least I figured out a faster way to put sugar in a cup,”murmured Minnie Grey optimistically. 
When Minnie Grey asked for something to eat, (she made sure to ask politely) Mrs.Paris gave her three cucumber sandwiches. They were green. For along time Minnie Grey could only stare at them in dismay. She mustered enough courage to eat one little bite. Whatever it was, Minnie Grey did not like it. 
“Eat quickly, my dear, I have cinnamon scones as well!”Mrs. Paris cried.
In a very low tone Minnie Grey said, “It tastes slimy.”
Mrs. Paris smiled uncomfortably, “I suppose it does.”
“Slimy is not what Minniegretta meant to say! I think she meant to say...splendid,”stated Mrs. Binds sharply. “Right, baby girl?”
“It tastes funny,” said Minnie Grey a little louder.  
“I think she said sunny,”Mrs.Bind declared quickly.
“Yes, of course!”agreed Mrs. Paris,“I hope sunny sandwiches are good.”
Minnie Grey looked from Mrs. Paris to Mrs. Binds puzzled. At last she retorted,
“I do not think sunny sandwiches are good. I do not like them.”
“If you do not like them you do not have to eat them,”Mrs.Paris said.
“Oh thanks!”Minnie Grey jumped up to hug Mrs.Paris. 
As she did so, she shook the table, and Mrs. Paris’s beautiful blue willow cup fell to the floor. It shattered. No one ever found out what Mrs. Paris would have done if Minnie Grey had not ran to her strangled her into one huge bear hug. 
“Oh Mrs. Paris! I did not mean to! I did not mean to! I am so sorry! Will you ever be able to forgive me? I will do anything!”No one said a word as Minnie Grey fumbled to unhook her necklace. “I will give you my necklace if it will make you happy! I will!”
“Of course you did not mean to! Keep your necklace, dear. I can buy another tea cup. I was very angry at you for a moment, but how could I be angry with you for long. Mrs. Bins you must never come again without bringing this sweet young lady,”Mrs.Paris smiled.
Minnie Grey slowly whispered, “Do you mind calling me old lady? It sounds nicer.”
Mrs. Paris raised an eyebrow, but from then on she called Minnie Grey the dearest little old lady she ever knew.
And as they were leaving Minnie Grey asked Mrs.Bins,
“Can’t you not wait to go back next time?”

The End
                          


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