How Pickles Came to Me
As told by Andi Carter to Audrey
My brother Mitch and I were sitting in front of the fireplace on a chilly November day awhile back. Pickles, my blue-belly lizard, was lying on my hand, sleeping soundly. Mitch eyed Pickles then he turned to me.
“I don’t believe I remember how Pickles came to be on the Carter ranch. I just remember you brought him home on the first day of school.”
I smiled mischievously. “Probably because I never told you. It’s kind of a wild story.” I sat back, got comfortable, and said, “As you can guess, I didn’t want to go to school.”
Mitch laughed. “That hasn’t changed.”
I laughed too. “Anyway,” I said. “After Justin found me hiding in Taffy’s stall, he had to carry me to the buggy. At school, all the new faces terrified me. I loosened up a little after Miss Hall’s friendly greeting, but I was still scared of the other kids. My friend, Cory, sensed my distress and being the good friend he is, he tried to cheer me up. Little did he know what chaos would ensue after he handed me a . . .”
“Look at this, Andi! Isn’t he a beauty?” Cory yelled and shoved something in my face.
I gasped in delight when I saw a little blue-bellied lizard looking at me. “Oh! He’s sooo cute!” I breathed.
Cory held the lizard out to me. “You can have him if you want. Mama threatened to tan my backside if I brought one more lizard in the house. I have a whole collection in my room.”
I gently took the little fellow out of Cory’s hand and popped him in my desk. “Oh thank you, Cory! You’re the best friend ever!” I closed the desk lid. My fears slowly were melting. I now had a new buddy to help me thought the first day of school.
Five minutes later, Miss Hall rang the bell; all the students tromped in noisily trying to find their seats.
There were only four beginners that year, so Miss Hall was able to give me some extra attention once she got the older children going on their assignments. She walked over to my desk and smiled.
“Let’s see what books you have, Andrea.” She lifted up the lid on my desk.
I remembered too late to stop her. Pickles was running around free in there.
Miss Hall screamed when she saw the lizard sitting on my books and promptly passed out right on the spot.
Pickles wasted no time escaping. He didn’t like being cooped up in my dark desk. He caught sight of the window and started towards it. All the younger children thought Miss Hall had died (me included), so sobs soon filled the room.
All fifteen boys went in pursuit of Pickles. In their haste, they knocked over every desk and chair in their path. The older girls tried to take control of the situation (no easy task). Samantha attempted to soothe the weeping beginners. Melinda took one look at the room and decided we needed adult help. She darted out the door and returned fifteen minutes later with Justin and Doctor Weaver.
Justin immediately set to work restoring order to the classroom. Cory had finally cornered Pickles. They both looked kind of ashamed for causing such mayhem. Cory quietly slipped Pickles into my hand.
Justin walked over and frowned; I guess he figured out that the little lizard I was holding was the cause of all the chaos. He did not look happy. “Andi, did you bring that lizard to school?”
Cory jumped to my defense. I guess he didn’t want me to get in trouble for something he had done. He quickly retold the story to Justin and apologized.
I broke in with a quiet, “Cory was just trying to make me feel better.”
Justin quickly forgave Cory with a strict warning, “No more critters!”
Cory tried to follow the rule, but it was kind of impossible for him. Critters seem to follow him around. He brought a pocketful of grasshoppers two weeks later (I’ll have to tell you that story another time).
Meanwhile, Doctor Weaver had revived Miss Hall. She rested for a couple minutes, and then continued on with class as though nothing had happened. I handed Pickles over to Justin; we didn’t want to re play the exact same scene AGAIN! Instead of releasing Pickles, Justin was nice enough to take him home with us . . .
Mitch laughed at my story. “Nope, you never told me. That’s a good story. I do remember that I made Pickle a box to live in.”
“Yep!” I said. “It’s lasted a long time. You’re the only other one in the family besides me who likes lizards.”
“By the way, Andi,” Mitch asked. “Why did you name him Pickles? You usually have a reason behind your names.”
I smiled mischievously. “ I named him Pickles because he sure got us into a ‘pickle’ on that first day of school.”
Mitch and I burst out laughing.