This is a rewrite, added more descriptions and names. Please tell me if it flows.
| “Penny, want to play ball with me?”
Derek was bouncing the ball off the side of the house. He is a little shorter than me, has blue eyes like Mom, and light brown hair.
“Not right now. I’m making a clover necklace.”
“Why’re doing that? It’s just going to get tangled up in your long hair.”
I had long hair, I liked it, but it did get in the way sometimes. My hair was brown, and Mom liked to put perms in it. I wasn't too fond of it when she did. It made it all curly!
“Because it’s fun, look, there's a lot of clover. They’re pretty, don’t you think?”
He just ignored me.
“Mom is going to get mad if you don’t stop.”
He just looked at me, grinned, and kept right on bouncing the ball against the house.
We lived in the countryside, outside of a little town in Mississippi. The house was small. It wasn’t finished inside, no walls, just the frame (that’s what Dad called it) and the outside walls. We didn’t have a bathroom, so we used an outhouse. We didn’t have running water, so we had to go to the well. The water was so good, icy cold, coming up out of the ground.
Dad (his name was Thomas Pickle, but Mom called him Tom) is tall, his hair was black, but it had gray and silver streaks. His hands are rough and had hard spots on them. He called them calluses (not sure what that means). He worked so we can have the things we needed. His heart was soft, and I loved him.
Mom (her name is Lois Pickle. Dad called her ‘honey’) was short. She only came to Dad’s shoulder. She had brown hair with speckles of gray, blue eyes, and she wore pretty dresses. Her heart was soft too, but not as soft as Dad’s. I loved her.
There’re four of us kids. Brittney was the oldest, with dark brown hair and brown eyes. Then me, Penny (short for Penelope), Derek was next and the last, Donald, he was the baby of the family with light brown hair and brown eyes. We were known as The Pickle Kids because we sometimes got into a pickle (trouble) when we got bored.
“Who was hitting the house?”
Mom came outside, wiped her hands on a towel, and looked for the culprit.
Derek heard her coming, dropped the ball, and ran into the gardens where she couldn't see him.
“Penny, who was hitting the house?”
She saw me as I sat in the grass, making a neckless, but did not see anyone else.
“It was Derek, Mom.”
“Where is he now?”
“He ran off when he heard you coming.”
“Will you go find him for me and tell him to come to see me?”
I got up carefully so I would not mess up my flower necklace. I found him hidden in the garden. It was his favorite place to hide.
“Derek, Mom wants to talk to you.”
“Because you bounced the ball on the house. You better come with me like she said.”
“Okay, let’s go.”
He was not happy about it, but he came with me to talk to Mom.
“Derek, why were you hitting the wall?” Mom asked as she stirred the soup for dinner.
“I didn’t throw the ball.”
“Well, if you didn’t, then who did?”
“I don’t know, maybe, Penny did.”
I just looked at him. I couldn't believe what he had just said.
“Penny, were you throwing the ball?”
“No, Mom, I was making my neckless.”
“Well, it wasn’t me, so it must have been you,” Derek said, looking at me, “Mom, it had to have been Penny because I was in the garden, and Brittney was in the front yard playing with Donald.”
He sounded so sincere, and Mom believed him.
“Penny, I want you to come in the house now, you know I don’t like you hitting the house with a ball, and you have lied to me.”
“Mom, I didn't lie to you! I wasn't throwing the ball!” I cried.
I couldn't believe what he just said! I even held up my neckless so she could see it. But she believed Derek. I had to stay in the house for what he had done. Boy, was I mad at him!
Derek went back outside, and I went to my room. I had been in there for some time when Mom called me. I wondered what trouble I was in now.
“Penny, come here, please,” Mom called. “I need you and Derek to go to the well and get water. Take the number 3 washtub and fill it almost full. You will have to be careful bringing it home.”
“Why do I have to go with Derek? Why can’t Brittney help me?”
“Because she is taking care of Donald, and I told you and Derek to go.”
I went to find Derek. I wasn't in a very good mood. I looked everywhere for him and finally found him in the very back of the garden.
“Mom says to help me get water from the well.”
“Because she said so, come and help me.”
He got up and came with me, but he wasn’t happy that it made two of us! We got the washtub from the back porch and headed up the hill to the well. It wasn't very far, and it wasn't a big hill, but it wasn’t going to be easy. We got to the well and sat the tub down beside the well opening.
“Okay, let’s put the tub here, so I can draw the water up.”
“You don’t have to be so bossy. I know where to put the tub!”
“Well, then do it!”
I pulled the rope that the long, skinny bucket was attached to and moved it over the top of the well. It was a small opening, just big enough for the bucket to fit. I pulled up the first bucket of water and poured it into the tub.
“Derek, why did you tell Mom that I bounced the ball on the house?”
“I don’t know. I didn’t want to get into trouble. I’ve been in a lot of trouble this week, and I didn’t want to get into anymore.”
“So, you lied and told her that I did it?”
I was so mad I almost spilled the water that I had just pulled up. I poured the water into the tub and went to get another. We only needed one more to fill the tub.
“This is the last one. Then we can go.”
I poured the last bucket into the tub and put the bucket back on the hook, where it stayed when not being used.
“Get ready to pick up the tub when I do.”
“I know what to do, Penny.”
“Then do it!”
I was still upset with him, but I didn’t want to fight anymore.
We picked up the tub together and started to walk down the hill. It was heavy. We both struggled to hold the tub and not spill the water. I held the tub and was not looking at my feet when I stumbled, tripped on a large rock, and lost my balance. I dropped the tub as I fell backward, landed on my bottom. I heard Derek cry out. I looked up and saw the tub had hit him in the leg between the knee and ankle.
“Ow, why did you drop the tub? My leg hurts. It’s probably broken!”
“Oh, Derek, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to drop it. I stumbled, fell, and didn’t see the tub hit you! Let me see your leg.”
I looked at his leg. It was red and swollen. I was worried that it might be broken. Mom and Dad were going to be even more upset with me.
“Let’s see if you can stand up. I'll help. Lean on me.”
“Penny, I’m sorry I lied. I’ll tell Mom the truth. I can walk with your help, but I don’t think I can carry the tub.”
“I know. Thanks for being honest. Let’s go home.”
We hobbled slowly back to the house. Derek’s leg was really hurt. I hoped it wasn't broken. He could put a little weight on it, but not much.
When we got to the house, Dad was home and saw us first, he called Mom, and they both ran to see what had happened.
I told them that I had stumbled on a big rock, fell, and when I did, the tub hit his leg.
“Let’s put some ice on it,” Mom said.
Derek sat down in the kitchen.
“Mom, I bounced the ball on the wall, not Penny.”
Derek was looking at his leg and almost crying.
“What? You told me Penny did.”
“I know, Mom, and I am sorry. I did not want to get into any more trouble.”
“I think you paid the price for lying, don’t you?”
While Mom and Derek were talking, Dad and I went to get the tub of water.
“Dad, I’m sorry, I did not mean for Derek to get hurt. It was an accident.”
“I think he will be okay, Penny. Let’s get this water back to the house.”
We took the tub of water back to the house, and Mom had us put it in the kitchen corner.
“Derek, how’s your leg?” I asked him.
“It’s better, but it still hurts.”
“Mom, I didn't mean to drop the tub on Derek’s leg.”
“I know you didn't hurt him on purpose, Penny. He told me he was the one bouncing the ball on the house and not you. I am sorry, I did not believe you.”
“I think we need to find another house, one that has the things we need,” Dad said.
“We’re okay for now, Dad,” we all said together.
Derek’s leg healed, although it was sore for some time. He learned a lesson, and I did too.
Dad did find another house closer to town, and we moved.
The Pickle Kid’s moved on to new adventures.