Yuna At The Beach (Pages 21-23)

Page 21:
Mitch and Bill are their names. I know because their matching blue shirts say so. With matching mustaches, they take turns, talking to the women on the motorcycles. Yes ma’am. You can count on us. This is our station. We own this place. Yes ma’am. Best in the business. You can count on us. Yes ma’am. They are in good hands. I look at Mitch and Bill’s hands. YUCK.

Page 22:
Umma and Abba sit in the front of the truck with Mr. Mitch, who likes to talk, smile, blink, and move his hands like a magician. I sit in the back in the hole of our tire, patched up and as good as new. I am no caged chicken. I am Yuna. I ride on the back of a blackbird, swooping over the ocean.

Page 23:
Abba pays Mr. Mitch, shakes his hand and says, Thank you very much for fixing. No problem, Mr. Mitch says and pats my head. He pulls a stick of gum out of his shirt pocket and gives it to me. For good luck, he says. Thanks, I say and climb into the backseat of our car. It’s hot. The seats burn. My crayons are soft. Another minute, and they would’ve melted into goop.

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Published in: on May 15, 2012 at 11:58 am  Comments (4)  

Yuna At The Beach (Pages 18-20)

Page 18:
I wrap my arms around her waist. She smells like cigarettes and puppies and grass. The engine roars. I shake like a rattle. Where are you taking me? Where is Umma? Where is Abba? 3, 2, 1, blast off. I press my face into her back to keep my head from breaking off and bouncing away.

Page 19:
I take a deep breath and laugh. Whee! I’m flying! Just like when Pablo took us down a hill on his bike. Only if he could see me now.

Page 20:
What kind of angel do you want to be? Check one:

Published in: on May 10, 2012 at 12:02 pm  Comments (2)  

Yuna At The Beach (Pages 15-17)

Page 15:
Motorcycles come down the road, roaring like lions and smoking up the air. One, two, three, four of them. The leader holds up his arm. They all slow down.

Page 16:
They stop on our side of the road, turn off their engines, and get off their motorcycles. It’s quiet. The smoke fogs the air. When they take off their helmets, I see hair. Long, brown, blond, flowing down upon their shoulders. They are not men. They are women come to save our day.

Page 17:
Flowers grow and fancy birds perch up and down their tattooed arms. You got a flat? You speak English? Don’t have a spare? It’s not too bad. Just needs a patch. Hop on. We’ll get you to a station. I’ll take you. I’ll take you. You come with me. I got the tire. Hold tight.

Published in: on May 4, 2012 at 10:50 am  Leave a Comment  

In Your Face, Mommy.

After reading my 10-year-old daughter’s essay entry, I told her it was good, but it could be better, and don’t expect to win anything. Before you tsk tsk at my response, let me provide context. The previous year, she entered the same contest, poured her heart into writing an essay, and I told her it was amazing and was sure to win something. Well, she didn’t win and was very disappointed. I felt a little responsible. I shouldn’t have pumped her up. I should’ve known better; happiness hinges on expectations. With lesson learned, I kept it sober this year.

My daughter’s essay ended up winning first place in the school and second place in the region (within her age bracket). She was shocked. At pickup that afternoon, she gave me the news, her voice a medley of surprise, exhilaration, pride, happiness, and in-your-face-mommy. Being wrong can sometimes feel so right.

The Americanism Essay Contest was sponsored by the Southern Maryland District of the American Legion Auxiliary. The topic was “How I Can Show My Patriotism in My Community.” Here’s her essay:

Published in: on May 1, 2012 at 11:20 am  Comments (4)  
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