In the middle of her tenth summer, Cassie decided to have a Great Adventure.
“A Great Adventure? What’s that?” Morgan, her best friend, asked.
“It’s like when my big brother does things with the Boy Scouts,” Cassie said. “They work and save money and then do really fun things, like boating or camping or horseback riding.”
“Wow!” Morgan exclaimed. “What will you do?”
Cassie thought for a moment. “I think I’ll spend a whole day at the amusement park, ride on every ride, and have all the cotton candy I want.”
“Sounds great—can I come, too?”
“Sure. We can have a Great Adventure together. But you’ll have to help earn the money for it.”
“OK. What can we do to earn money?”
“Lots of things. Let’s make a list.” Cassie took out a piece of paper and a pencil. “Let’s see—we can mow lawns, baby-sit, and collect aluminum cans.”
“Walk dogs, sell lemonade, and weed gardens,” Morgan added.
“That’s probably enough ideas to get started,” Cassie said. “Let’s meet at my house every Saturday and see how much money we earned during the week.”
“Great!” Morgan’s eyes gleamed. “I can almost taste the cotton candy already.”
On Saturday Cassie brought out a big glass jar and set it on the kitchen table. “OK, Morgan, let’s see what you have.”
Morgan reached into her backpack and brought out a bag of homemade cookies.
Cassie looked puzzled. “What are those for?”
“That’s what I made this week,” Morgan said quietly.
“Mrs. Burke gave them to me for mowing her lawn. I couldn’t ask her for money. She can’t even afford to fix her old lawnmower.”
“All right,” Cassie said. “I understand. Here’s my haul.” She dropped a handful of coins into the jar. “I made it recycling pop cans. I did have fifty cents more, but the lady at the recycling center looked so hot that I bought her a cold drink.”
Morgan sighed. “That’s OK.”
Cassie smiled. “We’ll do better next week. You’ll see.”
The next week Morgan dropped a few dollars into the jar. “I opened my lemonade stand,” she said.
Cassie laid down some wilted flowers. “They weren’t wilted when Mr. Jeffries gave them to me,” she explained. “I got them for weeding his flower patch.”
“That’s nice,” Morgan said without enthusiasm.
The next week Morgan plopped a big zucchini onto the kitchen table. “Don’t tell me,” Cassie said. “You weeded someone’s garden.”
“Uh-huh. Mom’s going to make zucchini bread to sell at my lemonade stand. I’ll make tons of money. What do you have?”
Cassie slowly pulled from her pocket a ten-dollar bill.
Morgan’s eyes lit up. “That’s terrific! Where did it come from?”
Cassie frowned. “I walked Mrs. Peterson’s dog every day this week. But I hated to take her money. Her dog is sick, and she can’t even afford to buy its medicine.”
“Maybe it’ll get better with all the exercise you gave it,” Morgan suggested hopefully.
Cassie shrugged. “Maybe.”
The next week Morgan brought thirteen dollars from her lemonade stand, and Cassie made fifteen dollars baby-sitting.
Morgan grinned. “Now the money’s really rolling in!”
“But not fast enough,” Cassie pointed out. “It’s almost the last week of summer vacation, and we don’t have nearly enough money for our Great Adventure.”
“We could still buy all the cotton candy we could eat,” Morgan said.
“Or we could avoid a stomachache and do something better with our money.”
“Like pay for a sick dog’s medicine.”
“Do we have enough?” Morgan’s eyes got big.
“I think so. Let’s count it up.”
They were still several dollars short.
“We have to earn more,” Cassie said. “My brother is going to Scout camp this week and said he’d pay me to do his paper route.”
“I’ll ask my dad if I can wash the car and clean out the garage,” Morgan said.
“Great! See you next week.”
The next Saturday, when Cassie and Morgan counted up their money, they were excited to find out that they had more than enough for the medicine. They hurried right over to Mrs. Peterson’s house and gave her the money. Mrs. Peterson got tears in her eyes and hugged them again and again. Then she gave them some homemade cookies.
As they walked down the street, Cassie said, “Isn’t this where it all began?”
“Whu whub beguab?” Morgan asked, her mouth full of cookie.
“Our Great Adventure. It really started when someone gave us cookies instead of money.”
“Oh, yeah.” Morgan thought for a minute. “What should we do with the extra money? Still want to get cotton candy?”
“No.” Cassie bit into a cookie. “These are much better than cotton candy. I was thinking we should save our money.”
“For next summer’s Great Adventure.”
“Yeah. I thought maybe we could cross the ocean on a cruise ship.”
“Or maybe get Mrs. Burke’s lawnmower fixed?”
“That would also be a Great Adventure.” Cassie grinned. “Don’t you think so?”
Morgan nodded. “I can hardly wait.”