For Little Friends

By Susan Gibson


Grandpa’s Mission Surprise

Peter really missed Grandpa. Mom and Dad had said that Grandpa wouldn’t be home until summer was over. Grandpa was in Kansas, helping people learn about the Church, and he was happy. Peter wanted Grandpa to be happy, but he also wanted to show Grandpa how much he’d grown and how he could ride his bike without the training wheels and how many new birds and little animals he’d found in the woods where he and Grandpa always walked together.

One afternoon a thick envelope addressed to Peter came in the mail. It was from Grandpa, and inside was a small packet and a short letter. Inside the packet were five large black-and-white striped seeds. Mom read the letter to Peter:

“Dear Peter,

Here is a mission surprise for you. Find a nice sunny place by the fence to plant the seeds. If you water them a little every day, you will grow something that we can share with our special friends.

Love, Grandpa”

Mom gave Peter a big, old spoon, and Peter dug five little holes in the soft, warm soil by the fence. He put one seed in each hole, then covered it with soil and patted it down with his hand.

Peter found a watering can in the shed and watered the ground every day, just as Grandpa had told him. But nothing happened. Peter told Mom, “I don’t think Grandpa’s seeds are going to grow.”

Mom smiled at him. “You have to be patient,” she said. “It will probably take at least another week before they push up out of the ground.”

“How many days are in a week?” Peter asked. “I want to see what the mission surprise is. Besides, the sooner the seeds grow, the sooner Grandpa will be home.”

“There are seven days in a week,” Mom told Peter. “Look. Every morning when you get up, cross off one day on this calendar. When you get to this one with the circle around it, you will know that a week has passed.”

So Peter watered the seeds and marked the calendar every day. And sure enough, on the day that was circled, five little green bumps were coming out of the ground!

Soon the bumps were little plants, and then they were big plants! Peter was astonished each time he watered them at how much they grew every day. Soon they were taller than he was, and he still didn’t know what they were or whom he and Grandpa were going to share them with.

One flower grew at the top of each tall plant. Peter had never seen such big flowers. They were even bigger than Mom’s dinner plates, and they followed the sun all day.

Before long summer was nearly over, and Peter was worried. The flowers had gotten so fat that they drooped over and no longer followed the sun. Would they die before Grandpa came home? How could he and Grandpa share dead flowers with their friends? And Peter still didn’t know who the special friends were.

Then one bright sunny afternoon, Grandpa came home. “I see you took good care of the sunflowers, Peter,” he said. “Let’s go cut them down and dry out the seeds. They’ll be a wonderful treat for our special friends this winter.”

Sunflower seeds! Now Peter understood—and he could guess who the special friends were too. All the little animals and the birds would be very happy to share Grandpa’s mission surprise.

[illustrations] Illustrated by Lynn Titleman

Farm Puzzles

Everywhere upon our farm
I find a mystery:
Potatoes have a lot of eyes;
Why is it they can’t see?
On every stalk of corn there grows
At least one great big ear.
So tell me, please, why I can’t find
A cornstalk that can hear!
When cabbages wilt in the sun,
I give each plant a drink.
They look so bright that I can’t guess
Why cabbage heads can’t think!
Our trees have limbs but cannot walk;
Pine needles cannot sew.
Can anyone explain to me
The funny ways things grow?

Missionary Treats

3/4 cup Grape Nuts cereal

3/4 cup fine graham cracker crumbs

3/4 cup finely diced dried apricots

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

1/2 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar

1/4 cup light corn syrup

1 tablespoon orange juice

extra confectioners’ sugar

  1. 1.

    Mix together first five ingredients.

  2. 2.

    Add syrup and juice and stir well.

  3. 3.

    Shape into walnut-size balls, then roll in extra confectioners’ sugar.

  4. 4.

    Give (or send) to your favorite missionaries.

Manila Farm

For a pasture full of farm animals, you will need: large manila envelope, ruler, scissors, carbon paper, pencil, crayons, and glue.

  1. 1.

    Glue envelope flap securely.

  2. 2.

    Carefully remove this page from magazine.

  3. 3.

    Mark edge of fence on envelope ends. Using ruler, draw fence.

  4. 4.

    Place carbon paper face down on envelope, place pattern on top, and trace animals along envelope edges.

  5. 5.

    Color animals and fence.

  6. 6.

    Being careful not to cut along envelope edges, cut out animals and fence.

  7. 7.

    Color other side of animals and fence.

  8. 8.

    Fold fence in half, then open to make enclosed pasture.

  9. 9.

    Put tiny dot of glue on inside edges of each animal’s nose (except cat’s) or beak, and hold edges together till glue dries.

  10. 10.

    Spread sides of each animal enough so that figure will stand; place inside fence.

[illustrations] Illustrated by Lynn Titleman