“Thank you, Mrs. Frame,” Elizabeth said as Mrs. Frame placed four shiny quarters in her hand.
“Thank you, Elizabeth,” Mrs. Frame said. “I don’t know what I would have done without your help watching Hannah these last five days.”
Elizabeth smiled and waved as she walked down the sidewalk toward town.
Four whole quarters! Elizabeth had never earned even one quarter before, and now she had four! She hugged the coins close to her, thinking of what she might buy. She loved to draw, so a new drawing pad and pencils would be nice. Or maybe she would buy the pretty blue hair ribbon she had seen in the store window.
Elizabeth came to the big wooden doors of the bank. She pulled on the large brass handle and slipped through the doors.
“May I help you, Miss?” a kindly-looking gentleman asked from behind the counter.
“Yes, please. I would like to make change for a quarter,” Elizabeth requested a bit timidly.
“Very well, Miss. I think we can do that.”
Elizabeth opened her hand and placed one quarter on the counter.
“It looks like you have a small fortune there, young lady,” the man said as he handed Elizabeth the change. “What are you going to do with all that money?”
Elizabeth tucked the dime she would need for tithing in one pocket of her apron and put the rest of the money in the other pocket. “I’m not sure yet,” Elizabeth said. “Thank you!” she called as she walked out into the sunshine and headed for the store.
Elizabeth stopped as she got to the store window and peered in. The pretty blue hair ribbon was still there. She also saw a drawing pad and colorful pencils. Elizabeth heard the tinkling of a bell as she pushed open the door.
She slowly walked down each aisle admiring the items for sale. Then a display of cake-making supplies caught her eye. Elizabeth loved to bake, but she had never made a cake. Papa’s birthday was tomorrow, and chocolate cake was his favorite! She used her money to buy the supplies to make Papa a chocolate cake.
The next morning Elizabeth awoke early. Papa had already left to do the morning chores, and she wanted to surprise him with the cake. She carefully sifted flour, sugar, and chocolate into a bowl. Next she whisked together eggs, butter, and buttermilk with a pinch of salt and poured them into the bowl. Elizabeth gently stirred the batter, poured it into a cake pan, and placed it in the oven.
It was hard for Elizabeth to concentrate on her chores, but soon she was finished, and the house was filled with a delicious smell. Placing thick cloths over her hands so she wouldn’t burn herself, Elizabeth carefully pulled the cake from the oven. While it cooled, she made frosting with the remaining sugar and chocolate and some fresh cream she had saved from milking the cows. The frosted cake looked perfect!
“Why, Elizabeth, what are you doing?” Papa asked as he came into the house.
“Happy birthday, Papa!” Elizabeth exclaimed as she held out the cake.
“It’s beautiful!” Papa said as he put his arm around her. “Thank you, Elizabeth.”
At supper that evening Elizabeth thought about the drawing pad, the pencils, and the pretty blue hair ribbon. Those things were nice, but as she watched her father enjoy his chocolate cake she knew she had never felt better!