By Linda Porter Carlyle
Joseph Anderson Donetti wiped the sweat from his forehead. “It’s too hot to be outside!” he complained.
“Yes, it sort of is,” Mac agreed. “But I really want corn on the cob for supper, and Mom said she didn’t have time to go to the farm stand, but if I wanted to go, she’d fix it. And you’ll be glad you came with me and got some for your supper too!”
“I know,” Joseph said. “That’s why I’m coming even though it’s so hot. I love corn on the cob too. And I like buying it at the farm stand. It tastes better than the corn on the cob we used to get at the supermarket in my old neighborhood.” (Joseph lived in a big city with his mother before they moved to Jacksonville, Oregon, to live with his grandmother, G.M.)
Joseph and Mac trudged slowly along the side of the road. Their feet scuffed up little puffs of dust. The sun beat down on their heads. Not even one cloud floated in the hazy blue sky.
Soon they reached the farm stand. Wooden boxes filled with colorful vegetables sat in the shade of huge umbrellas. Boxes of yellow summer squash, curved like little moons. Boxes of fat, bright red tomatoes. Boxes of glistening black eggplant. “Look at these purple peppers!” Mac exclaimed. “They’re really pretty!” She looked at the farm stand owner. “Is that corn freshly picked?” she asked in her best grown-up voice.
The owner grinned down at her. “If it were any fresher, it would still be standing in the field,” he answered.
Mac and Joseph each carefully selected plump ears of corn and put them in paper bags. They each paid for their bag.
“See you tomorrow!” the owner said.
“Probably!” Mac answered. “We love corn on the cob! But tomorrow we’re going to come before it gets so hot!”
Joseph wiped his forehead again. “We should put the sprinkler on the lawn when we get back. That would be a really good way to cool off.”
“That’s a great idea!” Mac agreed. “I’m surprised I didn’t think of it first!”
Joseph resisted the temptation to argue about who had more good ideas before the other. It was just too hot.
They walked home slowly. Cars hurried by. Insects buzzed in the tall grasses at the roadside.
“I still wish I could learn to play the piano,” Joseph said. “G.M. (that is Joseph’s special name for Grandma Maddie) and my mother said they could probably afford piano lessons for me, but there is no way they can afford to get a piano.”
“That’s really too bad,” Mac said. She paused. “It will probably be the Great Disappointment of your life,” she went on dramatically, flinging out one arm. “You’ll probably be a very old man someday, sitting in your rocking chair, telling your grandchildren how you always wanted to learn to play the piano, but you never could. I can just see you—bald, and with a long gray beard. And a cane,” she added.
Joseph stared at her. He didn’t know which thought was worse—to be bald with a long gray beard or to never, ever get to learn to play the piano. “Well, I’m not giving up hope!” he declared. “G.M. said to pray about getting a piano, and I have been. Every night I pray that maybe we can get one. But we sure haven’t so far.”
They turned the corner toward home. “I’ll go put my corn in the kitchen and change into my swimming suit, and you change and get the sprinkler ready,” Mac said, heading for her own back door.
“OK,” Joseph agreed, jogging across the lawn.
G.M. opened the back door and came out onto the porch. “I have just had the most amazing phone conversation,” she began.
“What about?” Joseph asked, clumping up the steps.
“Mr. Eldridge called,” G.M. said. “You know he had to move his wife into a nursing home a few months ago. And now he has decided it would be better for him to live in a smaller house. A smaller house with a smaller yard to take care of. So he has things that he won’t have room for in a smaller place. And one of them is his wife’s piano.”
Joseph froze. His voice did not ask the question, but his eyes did.
“No,” G.M. answered. “He doesn’t want to sell it.” Her eyes twinkled. “But he is looking for a place to store it. Somewhere where it will be loved—and played.”
“We can store it!” Joseph exclaimed. “We have plenty of room! We can store it, and I can learn to play it! It’s perfect!”
G.M. laughed. “I already told him so,” she said.
“Yes!” Joseph shouted. He hugged G.M. and then jumped off the porch. He sprinted across the lawn in spite of the heat. He would not be an old, bald man who never learned to play the piano! He couldn’t wait to tell Mac.
Wow! Don’t you like how God answered Joseph’s prayer? I think God must have had fun doing more than Joseph had even asked or imagined, don’t you? Has God ever answered a prayer like that for you or someone you know? Tell someone the story about that answer or Joseph’s answer this week, OK?—Love, Mrs. Sox