C 2004 By Gracie Prior
Summer was slipping away again. School started in a few weeks. Jimmy was to have his new operation at the end of August. Butch was expecting his aunt and cousin to leave for the school year. Terry’s dad was doing well and Bitty was growing so fast Mary could hardly keep up with her.
Butch saw in the paper that there was to be a meteor shower during the week. To see it required staying up till dawn or getting up at around two A.M. He would love to call up the Scribblers and see if they wanted to watch the stars together.
Mrs. McNeil said it was fine if they had a chaperon, but she was too old to stay out in the cool night air at her age. “I don’t expect any parent will agree to it.”
Butch called Terry first. He could come but he also needed a grown up to be with them and his parents weren’t in the running. Butch was getting nervous. He was nearly out of options. Mary sounded excited about seeing the stars and having a star party. To Butch’s surprise Mary’s mom said she would come and supervise if the kids kept quiet and didn’t wake up the neighborhood. He guessed she didn’t want ‘the neighborhood’ to know they were out there, but he kept that to himself. Butch called Jimmy to invite him, and Mrs. Falcon said she would like to join them.
The evening of the party the Scribblers quietly showed up with pillows, blankets, drinks and food. Butch brought an alarm clock in case everyone slept while the meteors were zooming across the sky. Jimmy and his mom, Terry, Mary and Mrs. Brewster all arrived and set up their places. The kids each had their blankets spread on the ground so they could look straight up at the stars. The moms sat in chairs, under the eaves of the roof of Havenward to keep bugs off and to give the kids some space.
The party started with food and giggles and all kinds of talk until about ten-thirty. Then the moms suggested some sleep while they kept watch. One small lantern was enough to read by. Mrs. Brewster was to guard her charges first and then at about twelve-thirty, Mrs. Falcon would take over. Butch heard whispers and rolled over. He saw the changing of the guard and heard Mrs. Brewster’s voice. “We don’t need to watch, because there is nothing to see, but I want to be able to say we kept good care over our precious charges.”
Butch’s alarm went off at two o’clock. All the Scribblers woke up and looked overhead. At first there was nothing to see but sky and stars. Clouds hid some of them. Butch fixed his gaze in one spot for a long time and then all of a sudden a white streak dashed across the sky. It went so fast that he wasn’t sure he saw it at all.
“Did you guys see that?” Butch asked. “It was awesome. Right across the sky.”
“I did, Butchie,” Mary said. “I saw it.”
They all lay still and looked straight up. Patience was the word for the hour. “There it is!” Jimmy shouted. “I saw one.”
“Where?” Terry asked. “Oh, I see one. It’s like an arc, like a swirling arc.”
It seemed that every five or ten minutes, one or the other of them would squeal and declare their latest find. They watched for about two hours. Butch wasn’t sleepy. He didn’t want to miss this unique experience.
They got very quiet and just stared as the expanse of heaven displayed her treasures. A huge light came at them from beyond the clubhouse and a dark shadow loomed over them.
“Ah ha!” the voice said. The Scribblers looked. It was Mrs. Frumpstead with a flashlight shining right on their blankets and into their faces.
“I knew I’d catch you sooner or later. Bet your folks don’t know about this little get together.” She stood with her hands on her hips and the flashlight pointed on the ground.
“As a matter of fact they do,” said a voice from under the roof and very near the intruder. “I am Mrs. Brewster, Mary’s mom and I am pleased she is so interested in science and the beauty of God’s creation. It is a sight, isn’t it Mrs. Frumpstead?”
The woman was so taken back that she took two steps away from the group. “Well, I never,” she said.
“You never, but you should,” Mrs. Falcon piped in. “Only once in awhile do we get to see something like this beautiful meteor shower and we don’t want to miss it. Won’t you join us?”
Mrs. Brewster got up and went to sit with Mary on her blanket. Mrs. Frumstead sat down heavily in the lawn chair and craned her neck upwards. At that moment a huge star shot clear across the sky as if to say, “I’ll make it worth your while.”
An hour later Butch watched as the other stargazers meandered home. He was sure he was the most amazed person in the world that night. His eyes fell on Mrs. Frumstead as she plodded to her door. She moved as one stunned, not by what she expected to see, Butch thought, but by something wholly supernatural.
(Next week, our story concludes. See you then.)