A boy tries to get an early start.
|“Michael.” His mother's voice tore through the air and stopped him in his tracks.|
He turned slowly, expecting an equally harsh follow-up. “Why are you spreading sand on the walk?”
“So we don't slip on the snow.”
“It's fifty degrees out there. And there's no snow in the forecast.”
Michael had his reasons for doing things. Reasons that didn't always make sense to his parents. “But when it does snow, it'll be really cold. And it might be too cold to go outside. So I wanted to get the sand on there now.”
His mother paused for a moment. In a somewhat convoluted way, her son made sense. But everyone in the family walked up and down that sidewalk every day, which meant that a fair amount of sand would get tracked into the house. “I'll tell you what,” she said. “I'll help you clean off the walk, and we'll keep an eye on the forecast. As soon as it calls for snow and we see the temperature drop below freezing, you can spread the sand back on.”
Michael thought for a moment. “And after I finish, can I have a big cup of cocoa?”
“Even better,” she said. “You can have two cups. One after you clean off the sand today, and one after you spread it back on.”
Michael pondered the proposal for no more than half a second before he grabbed the shovel and started scooping up sand and dumping it back into its bag.
“And Michael.” He stopped, but didn't turn around, fearing that his mother was about to dampen his enthusiasm. “Don't think,” she said, “that this means everything is fine around here. You still have to explain to your sister why you used her favorite sweater to clean up after the dog.”