The Blog For Kids

This blog is for kids!
The posts you find here will be mostly for children ages 5 to 10, with some stuff for younger or older kids.
Happy reading!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Blue Shaker (fiction)

“Pass the corn, please.”
Kami passed the corn.
“How was school?” asked Dad.
“Fine,” said Kami.
“Boy, everyone is so talkative tonight!” laughed Mom.
“Just tired, Mom. Pass the salt, James,” said Kami.
“More like bored,” complained James as he grabbed the salt shaker and started to hand it to Kami. Instead of handing it to her he decided to slide it across the table, hard.
The lighthouse-shaped salt shaker slid, then tipped, then spun and flew off the table. It crashed to the floor, breaking and spilling salt in an arc across the tile.
No one moved. “James, just because family dinner isn’t exciting enough for you is no reason to break things,” said Dad.
“I didn’t mean to, Dad! Seriously, it’s just an old salt shaker! Of a lighthouse, for cryin’ out loud. We live a thousand miles from an ocean! ” He got up from the table to clean up the broken pieces.
“Stop,” said Mom, “Everyone just stop. James, I’ll get that in a minute. Sit down. I want to tell you something.”
“Great, a lecture,” said James.
Dad raised his hand and started to bring it down as a fist onto the table.
“No,” said Mom, “Not a lecture. A story.” Everyone waited.
“My grandmother gave me these shakers when I visited her in Maine when I was ten. She died the next year.” Tears welled up in her eyes.
“Sorry, Mom,” mumbled James.
“It’s okay, James. I’m not really sentimental about stuff. It’s just stuff. It’s just that you reminded me of a story.” She pushed her plate away and leaned forward against the table.
“Grandmother collected salt and pepper shakers. She had a tall glass cabinet full of them. I loved how different they all were. Some were identical pairs, like these lighthouses. Some were things that go together, like a horse and a cart.” She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “She never put salt and pepper in the collection shakers. Anyway, the shakers we always used at the table were very plain. The salt was in a blue bottle and the pepper was in a red bottle.” She twisted her napkin.
“Looks like no one’s hungry anymore,” said Mom.
“I’m going to collect salt and pepper shakers,” said Kami. Mom smiled.
“That’s a wonderful idea, Kami, but there’s more to the story. When your uncle and I were really little, about four years old, Grandmother babysat us while my mother was at work. We had this little game. Uncle Will liked pepper on everything. He’d sing 'I’m a red sh-shake-er!' Looking back, I think he put up with pepper on his food just so he could use the red shaker. He loved the color red.”
Mom took a sip of her water then continued. “So, I was the blue shaker. I couldn’t let him out-do me, so I’d dance around, shouting 'I’m a blue shaker, shaker, shaker!' We’d pretend the salt and pepper were talking to each other.”

“That is so lame, Mom,” said James.
“Is not!” answered Kami.
“Well, we were little,” said Mom, “One day the blue shaker fell and broke. I cried and cried. Grandmother tried to calm me down, but I was inconsolable. She said I could choose a set from her collection, but I wanted to be a blue shaker. It was like the blue shaker was me, broken on the floor, and my brother was still on the table, without me.”
Dad reached over and held Mom’s hand. She smiled.
“But it was just a salt shaker, right Mom, not you,” said Kami.
“Right, Kami. And we’re a family. James, you are more important to me than that lighthouse.”
Dad squeezed Mom’s hand and said, “But there’s a piece of you inside that will always be a blue shaker.”
James got up from the table and picked up the broken lighthouse. “I’ll glue it back together, Mom.”
“Yeah,” said Kami, “Or the pepper lighthouse will be lonely.”

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