“Good morning world!” Said Jacky-Jack.
He woke up feeling energetic, and ready for the day. It was a cold morning, but he could taste the sweet wind, and he knew fun things were in store for him today.
Jacky-Jack bounced over to the sliding glass door on the back of the gardener’s home and thumped it lightly with his little, orange head. That’s how he told the gardener that he wanted to come inside.
Pretty soon the gardener came to the door, and slid it open as she smiled and said, “Hello Jacky-Jack! How did you sleep?”
“Great!” Said Jacky-Jack. “And I’m ready for breakfast!”
“Well” said the gardener, “breakfast isn’t ready for you yet, can you help me get it ready?”
“Sure!” Said Jacky-Jack, “How can I help?”
“Can you grab one of your plastic bowls out of that bottom drawer by the dishwasher?” Asked the gardener, “and then set it over there by the table?”
“Sure thing chicken wing!” Said Jacky-Jack, he enjoyed making rhyming words, and he heard his friend (June) use the chicken wing one once, so he thought he’d try it out on the gardener. He was very proud of himself for placing his rhyme at an appropriate time.
The gardener smiled at Jacky-Jack’s rhyming skills, and then went outside to get a bit of dirt. She had to take a strainer with her to sift out the hard rocks, and a paper cup for the fine, sifted dirt to fall into, because Jacky-Jack could only eat clean, fine dirt (no rocks), that’s why he can’t just go outside and eat all the dirt he wants, because it has too many rocks in it. His favorite is when the gardener makes him a mud pie for dessert, but that’s only for special occasions like holidays and birthdays.
Pretty soon, the gardener came back in, and poured a delicious, fine mound of dirt into Jacky-Jack’s bowl.
“NOW breakfast is ready for you Jacky-Jack! Enjoy.”
Jacky-Jack dug right in (no pun intended), and loved every bit of his mound of delicious dirt.
“Can ahhh habb summ wadder pleeve?” asked Jacky-Jack.
“Did you mean to ask for some ‘water’ Jacky-Jack?” Asked the gardener, “Please don’t talk with your mouth full”.
Jacky-Jack swallowed his dirt, and then said, “Sorry if it was hard to understand me with my talking-full mouth. Um, yes please, may I have some water?”
But before the gardener could get Jacky-Jack his water, there was a light, little thump at the door.
“Well I wonder who that could be.” Said the gardener.
She went to the door, and at first thought it must have been a trick because nobody was there, but then she looked down at her feet, and saw little Gabriel. Gabriel was another little pumpkin, almost as small as Jacky-Jack, but also a lot younger – he would probably get bigger than Jacky-Jack over time, since Jacky-Jack just stays small.
“Jack! Jack! Pock! Pock! Pock!” Said Gabriel. Which is how he asked if ‘Jacky-Jack’ could go to the ‘park’. Gabriel had some trouble learning how to talk, but he was getting better at it every day. What he didn’t have trouble with was rolling and bouncing all over the park, and he was excited that there was finally someone else in the neighborhood that was about his size.
Meanwhile, Jacky-Jack was squinching his face, and making choking sounds because he still wanted his water.
“Oh goodness Jacky-Jack” said the gardener, “It won’t squash you to wait 5 seconds for your water” then she turned back to Gabriel, “Come on in Gabriel, Jacky-Jack is just finishing up his breakfast, and then we can all go to the park together”.
“Hi” said Gabriel.
“Jacky-Jack, this is Gabriel, our neighbor down the street. He loves the park, and he’s been asking his gardener if you and he can go play sometime, would you like to go?”
“Yeah!” Said Jacky-Jack excitedly, “I’ve never been to a park before, let’s go!”.
“Go! Go! Go!” Said Gabriel. He wanted to go, but it was too tricky to say “let’s go” so he just said “go” until everyone started going.
Pumpkins of course, don’t have legs, so they can either roll, or bounce to the park. Rolling was kind of silly because you get mud and dirt all over your face, and you really shouldn’t play with your food, so Jacky-Jack just bounced. Gabriel did a little of both, he didn’t care, he was just going to have as much fun as possible.
When they got to the park, Gabriel sped toward the slide, bounced up the steps and rolled down, laughing all the way! Jacky-Jack tried the same thing, but about half-way up the steps he fell.
Jacky-jack’s head slammed against the loose wood chips behind the slide’s ladder. He tried not to cry, but pumpkin-juice tears started to come out of his eyes. He sniffled a little, took a breath and decided he would try again. Just before he headed back to the ladder, the gardener yelled out, “Jacky-Jack!” She was just catching up to the two pumpkins, “Are you okay?”.
“Yeah” said Jacky-Jack with a little bit of a shaky voice, “I just fell, that’s all. Everybody falls sometimes you know, I’m good”. Jacky-Jack was determined to have fun even though he got hurt, and he wanted to have a good attitude, even though he got hurt.
“Okay then, let me know if you need anything. I’ll be right here reading” said the gardener as she sat down on a bench began reading her book.
“Okay, thanks!” yelled back Jacky-Jack.
He was almost to the top of the slide now. As he looked down, he had to admit that it looked a little scary because he’d never been that high up before, but if Gabriel could do it, so could Jacky-Jack! He started down, and began rolling faster and faster until he reached the little dip at the end and did a kind of pumpkin jump into some more soft, loose bark.
“Yeah!!!!” Cheered Jacky-Jack, “That was great! Did you see me Gabriel?”
He looked to see if Gabriel had seen him, but Gabriel had already gone over to the swings. He loved the swings, and even though he couldn’t go very high, the motion was soothing, and fun at the same time for him.
Jacky-Jack thought he might give it a try so he went over to the swings. When he got there, he jumped up onto one, but he just sat there. Then he looked at Gabriel to see how he was doing it. Gabriel leaned forward with the swing, and then backward with the swing’s motion as it swung back again.
“Aha! It’s so easy!” thought Jacky-Jack. But as he tried to swing, he just rolled off and landed on his face. It wasn’t far, so it didn’t hurt. He tried again, but again he fell off.
“What is wrong with this ridiculous swing!?” complained Jacky-Jack. He was beginning to get mad.
He tried again and fell off again, and again, and again.
“What the heck in the world is wrong with me!” Jacky-Jack thought. He bounced up again, and yelled, “I’m never trying to swing again!”
Then he looked at Gabriel, and Gabriel was surprised. He stopped swinging his own swing and pointed at Jacky-Jack’s swing with his vine. “Shing!” said Gabriel. He did his best to encourage Jacky-Jack to give the swing another try.
Jacky-Jack wouldn’t even look at him. He wasn’t mad at Gabriel of course, but he was still mad about falling off the swing. The gardener overheard Jacky-Jack yelling and complaining, but she had already talked to him about being nice before, so she was going to watch and see how he did before she made another suggestion to him. She knew that you can’t make someone learn, they have to choose to learn for themselves.
As Jacky-Jack sat there looking up at his new friend, he saw that Gabriel was using his pumpkin vine to hang on to the swing’s chain. Gabriel was watching Jacky-Jack intently, hoping he would try again so that he could see how fun swinging can be.
Finally, Jacky-Jack bounced up onto the swing again, stretched out his vine toward the swing’s chain, grabbed on, and gave it another try. This time, he didn’t fall, for the first time in his life, Jacky-Jack started to swing.
“I’m doing it! I’m doing it!” Jacky-Jack had never experienced the thrill of the swing before. The Gardener smiled and went back to her reading, and Jacky-Jack and Gabriel laughed and continued stinging for an hour straight, until it was time for his nap.
“Jacky-Jack, it’s time to take Gabriel home, and go take your nap” said the gardener.
“Okay” said Jacky-Jack. He was starting to feel tired by then anyway.
That night, Jacky-Jack smiled as he went to sleep. All he could think about was their next trip to the park, and swinging on the swings with his new friend, Gabriel. It was a good day.
He also decided that he would not get mad about messing up anymore, instead he would just think about it, so he could find another way to do it. He remembered that when he just sat there thinking, he was able to see how Gabriel was able to get his swing to work, and that’s all Jacky-Jack needed to make his work too. No need to get mad, just try again.
Now Jacky-Jack had two favorite things: eating dirt, and swinging, and we went to sleep dreaming about both.
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