The Words of the Weber Family
It wasn't until they had left the town far behind them that the children looked around to see where they were. They were now walking down a long sandy beach next to the ocean, and before them they could see dozens of beach houses lining the beach.
Dennis looked over at Quincy. "Say, where did you find the dog?"
"I guess he found me," said Quincy. "He rescued me from some stray dogs last night."
Wendy smiled. "Does he have a name?" she asked.
"I don't know," said Quincy.
"Well, have you thanked him for rescuing you last night?" asked Dennis.
"How?" laughed Quincy. "He can't talk!"
"There are many ways to thank him," said Dennis. "You could pet him...or give him something to eat...or even give him a name."
Quincy stopped walking and thought for a while. He had a little bit of salami in his hands. Slowly he knelt down and held out the piece of salami. "Here, boy," he said very softly. He thought for a while longer and said, "Here Nickey! Here Nickey!"
With his ears perked up and tail wagging, the dog walked over and took the food out of Quincy's hand. As the dog ate, Quincy cautiously petted him on the head, and the newly named Nickey kissed the boy on the hand.
Now the children and the dog began walking down the beach again. Dennis reached down and picked up a stick. "Here, take this," he said, giving it to Quincy. 'Throw it for Nickey to play with!" Taking the stick, Quincy threw it far down the beach.
Nickey bounded through the air and down the beach. With playful snarls and growls the dog picked up the stick in his teeth and threw it high into the air. Then, picking it up off the beach again, he bounded back toward the children and lay the stick down at Quincy's feet.
In this way, a wild and joyful game began. Each of the children took turns throwing the stick, and each time Nickey would toss the stick high into the air before returning it.
Now it was late enough in the morning for the other children to come out and play on the beach. One by one, they emerged from the beach houses, children of all races and nationalities-- black children, white children, Oriental children, Indian children! They came out onto the beach, and soon they spotted Dennis, Wendy, and Quincy playing with the dog.
"Hey, look at the dog!" shouted one of the younger boys. He grabbed the stick before Nickey had a chance to get it. Nickey looked up quizzically as another boy ran up and grabbed the stick out of the younger boy's hands.
"Give that back!" shouted the smaller boy.
"Aww! Your mother wears combat boots!" the bigger boy said, laughing and tossing the stick high into the air. The stick was caught by yet a third boy, who had it snatched out of his hands immediately by a fourth boy.
Now Dennis, Wendy, and Quincy found themselves completely surrounded by children, and Quincy was afraid.
But Dennis wasn't. With courage and determination, he leaped into the crowd. "I bet I can do something that none of you can do!" he shouted.
A boy four years older than Dennis looked down at him. "Bet you can't!"
"I've just invented a game," said Dennis. "I'll bet that I can give more to you than you can give to me!"
"I'll give you a knuckle sandwich!" said the boy, laughing, and with that all the other children broke into uproarious laughter.
But Dennis didn't give up. "I'll bet I can serve you more than you can serve me!" he shouted. Quickly he took off his wristwatch and gave it to the boy. "Here, take this!" Reluctantly, the older boy took the watch. "Ha!" said Dennis. "I'm ahead! If you don't give something to another boy or girl, I'll be the winner!"
With a look of surprise and confusion, the boy quickly gave the watch back to Dennis. But Dennis turned and gave his watch to a little girl next to him. She in turn gave it to another boy, and the boy gave it to someone else. Finally the watch came all the way back into Dennis' hands. Now a chain reaction started. The children began to take whatever they had brought with them and give the things to each other.
Quincy looked on in amazement. "I've never seen anything like this!" he said.
Wendy laughed and looked over at Quincy. "Love is a giving thing," she said. "It begins in a circular motion like electricity. If you try to give more than you receive, or serve more than you are served, you will find that it's impossible. Your rewards will always be greater than what you give out. It's only the people who take everything for themselves who lose everything."
As Quincy and Wendy watched, toys, baseball cards, rings, pens, bats, balls, and gloves flew through the air as they passed from hand to hand. Finally one little boy started finding out that he just couldn't give out fast enough. Laughing and shouting, he tried to pass the things on; but they were being given to him too quickly. Finally he found himself loaded down to the point where he couldn't hold anymore. "Gee! This is fun!" he laughed, falling down under the weight of everything in his arms.
Now Dennis spoke up again. "I know what we can do! Let's go to everyone's house and do something for each one of your parents. Follow me!"
Quickly each one of the children grabbed their things and followed Dennis up to the first house. "What can we do here?" asked Dennis.
"We could cut the grass," said the little boy who lived there. "My dad hurt his leg at work and can't get out to cut it himself."
Dennis and the little boy then ran to the garage and got out the lawn mower. A surprised father looked out of the window as the two children began cutting the grass. "Get the idea?" shouted Dennis.
With a loud cheer, the rest of the children began running to different beach houses. They rang doorbells and knocked on doors, and at each house they did something to serve the parents who lived there. They washed windows, shook rugs, and helped clean house. The entire neighborhood was filled with children of all races and nationalities serving each other's parents. Wendy's words about the "circular motion" of love came true. As the children helped their parents, their parents gave something back to them. At some houses the children received food, and at others they received small amounts of money in payment for their services. At the end of the day, when all of the children came together, they found they were loaded down with small fortunes of food and money. Quincy looked in amazement at each child's treasures.
Now Dennis looked around at the children again. "Who is the most disliked person that lives around here?" he asked.
All of the children thought for a while. Then one little boy shouted out, "Mrs. McCaw is! She lives in that big haunted-looking house down the beach!"
Dennis smiled again. "Why don't we take all of the food we have and make it into a nice attractive basket. Then let's take the money we've made and buy her a nice gift."
"Let's buy her some candy," said another boy. "Maybe it will sweeten up her sour personality!"
"No!" said a little girl. "Not candy!
Flowers! I think she would like flowers!"
Again all of the children were full of activity. As some of them gathered all of the food together and started decorating a basket for it, others gathered the money together and went to buy the most beautiful flower arrangement they could afford. After they had gotten both gifts together they marched down the beach to Mrs. McCaw's house.
The house was definitely haunted looking. It was much larger than any other house on the beach, and it towered high into the air. Nervously the children walked up to the front of the house, and again Dennis stood before them. Slowly Dennis took the gifts and gave them to Quincy. "Here Quincy," he said, "It's your turn to give."
Nervously Quincy walked forward with the gifts and rang the doorbell. At first nothing happened; so he rang the doorbell again.
Suddenly the door flew open and Mrs. McCaw stood towering over the children. Slowly her gaze passed from one child to another. "What do you want?!?" she shouted in a witch-like voice.
Quincy felt Dennis give him a push from behind, and nervously he held up the basket of food and flowers. "We wanted to give these to you," he whispered.
Mrs. McCaw looked down at Quincy and felt the trembling in his voice. "You want to give these to me?" she asked. "Yesss," trembled Quincy.
Mrs. McCaw was stunned. She stood in silence, looking from one child to the other. Then, slowly, tears came to Mrs. McCaw's eyes. "Oh, you dear children!" she cried. Tears streamed down her face, and she just stood there and wept. "I thought everyone hated me," she sobbed. "Well, why don't all of you children come inside! I have some ice cream and cake, and we can make some cookies. Please come in! I want to meet all of you!"
With deep sighs of relief and with shouts of joy, the children went into the house.
They had made a new friend.