An Excerpt from Jackson Jones and the Puddle of
Excerpted from Jackson Jones and the Puddle of Thorns by Mary Quattlebaum Copyright © 1995 by Mary Quattlebaum. Excerpted by permission of Yearling, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Jackson-Jones-Born-into-This-World Day. I was moving from nine to almost
grown. Double digits. The Big 1-0. The Man (that's me) is TEN.
My best friend, Reuben, was impressed. He's nine and counting. One hundred
and thirty-two days till he's ten.
"What ya going to get for your birthday?" he asked. He sketched the star
on Captain Nemo's helmet. I was sprawled on his bed.
I shrugged, acting cool. Like saying, "Oh, is it my birthday?"
Acting like I didn't know Mama was rattling my favorite Red Velvet cake
into the oven. HOPEFULLY wrapping a new basketball....
"There's one more," said Mama.
Mama held the envelope like a little white bird. Stuffed with money, I
couldn't help thinking.
"Ten years ago," said Mama, stroking the bird-money, "God gave me
a present: my son, Jackson. Each year I grow prouder of him."
I was cool, just taking it in. Thinking about slam-dunking my new b-ball.
"I always wanted Jackson to have the kind of childhood I had," Mama continued.
Wait a minute. Mama had no basketball in that country childhood. Her best
friend lived seven miles away.
Mama handed me the envelope. Her eyes were all misty-happy.
"Jackson, I hope you enjoy this gift as much as I enjoyed mine as a girl."
Forget slooowwly. I snatched the envelope. Clawed the flap.
I drew out the card. Opened it.
I couldn't believe what I saw.