Slow Down


“Try to hurry,” Mother told Andy, who was just leaving for school.

“I’ll try,” Andy promised, waving good-bye. It was only two blocks to school. Andy was never late, but he always arrived just as the tardy bell rang. If Andy hurried, he wouldn’t have any fun at all.

As soon as Andy started for school, he saw something high up in the maple tree on the corner. It looked like an orange parrot on a branch, hopping up and down whenever the wind blew.

“Wake up, slowpoke, or you’ll be late,” Karen called as she passed him. She was skipping and swinging her lunch pail with every step.

As Andy came closer to the maple tree he could see that the patch of orange was just a piece of torn kite caught in the branches.

When he started walking again, he looked up and noticed that one big cloud seemed to be racing another across the sky. They looked like two sailboats with their white sails puffed out in the wind.

“C’mon, turtle, or you’ll never make it on time,” Billy called, dashing by.

It bothered Andy that everyone was always trying to hurry him. If they would slow down a little I could show them some of the interesting things I see every day. My friends are missing a lot by rushing to school so fast, Andy thought.

It was getting late now and Andy started to walk faster. He tried not to look at anything but the sidewalk in front of him. But something bright glinted under a bush next to the sidewalk. It was shiny and yellow and he imagined that it was a beady eye of a snake watching him.

Andy bent down for a closer look and scooped something up and put it into his pocket.

When Andy slipped into his seat at school, the tardy bell was ringing. Mrs. Rogers was sitting at her desk and had her arm around Karen. Karen’s face was red, and her cheeks were wet with tears.

“What happened?” someone asked.

“Karen lost her birthday present on the way to school,” Mrs. Rogers explained.

“It was a gold bracelet,” Karen said. “My father gave it to me yesterday, and I brought it today to show everyone.”

Andy walked up to Mrs. Rogers’ desk. “Is this your bracelet, Karen?” he asked, pulling a sparkling chain with a tiny gold heart on it out of his pocket.

Karen reached for it and said, “Where did you find it?”

“I found it under a bush on my way to school,” Andy explained.

“I didn’t see it when I came by,” Billy said.

“That’s because you were in a hurry,” Andy told him.

“You’re always slow,” Karen told Andy, “but I guess you notice more things than the rest of us.”

“You can see a lot of things if you take the time to look,” Andy said, smiling.

After school Billy and Karen walked with Andy while he told them about some of the interesting things that can be found every day. And not once did they call him a slowpoke.

[illustration] Illustrated by Lynn Titleman