You can read other favorites in Andi’s Attic >>
It’s December, I know, but our Thanksgiving Day explorations are not over. A month later I still have tales to tell. The day was not finished, not by a longshot. After the attic explorations, we retired to the parlor to relive other favorite memories. Kate abandoned Melinda and me. She went horseback riding with Hannah and Betsy, which was very sweet. I guess hearing about our memories made her want to start making her own memories with the two little girls, who aren’t very little any longer.
9. Favorite School Subjects
Anyway, that left Melinda and me to ourselves. We curled up on the settee and Melinda said, “So, what about school? Which was your favorite subject?”
School? Is she kidding? “There is no part of school that I can bring myself to remember.” I scowled.
“Oh, for goodness sake, Andi.” She scooped baby William into her lap before he started whimpering. “I’ll start.”
“Sure, you do that,” I said, suddenly wishing Jared needed to wake up from a nap or something. No, wait. Riley took him outside to see the horsies. Of course. I wracked my brain while Melinda prattled on. There was nothing about school that she did NOT like. Even Miss Whitaker’s Academy in San Francisco was a little piece of heaven for her.
Sure, if you say so. I sighed and tried to look interested. “Sorry, Melinda,” I finally broke in. “You have to stick to one favorite school subject, and dancing doesn’t count.”
She laughed. “All right, I suppose if I must, I’ll have to settle on Reading.” Then she made a face. “Except those lurid dime novels Mitch was always bringing home. They gave me the shivers–and still do!”
Reading being Melinda’s favorite school subject makes perfect sense. I remember Melinda reading aloud from the time I could walk. The memory is a little fuzzy now, but I remember sitting on Father’s or Mother’s lap in my nightgown, all cozy and warm, and Melinda reading some novel or another. Half the time I had no idea what was going on in those stories, but Melinda always read with such emotion that it made an impression on me. I like to read–well, only certain kinds of books, like Dime Novels–but Melinda loves reading anything–the Bible, magazine articles, Shakespeare’s plays, Dickens . . . anything having to do with the written word.
“Your turn,” she prompted.
By now, I’d had plenty of time to ponder on this business of school subjects. “It’s arithmetic,” I decided.
Melinda was nodding. “I could have told you that, little sister. I don’t know anyone in the family–not even Justin–who can cipher as fast and accurately as you.”
I suppose that’s true. I do like numbers. I remember counting eggs when I was little. Every day when I went outside (and had to dodge that mean ol’ rooster, Henry the Eighth) to collect the eggs, I’d linger in the henhouse. Brown eggs, green eggs, pale cream eggs, and sometimes bluish eggs all fascinated me. Sometimes I lined them up and put the eggs in colored groups. Then I’d count them all. Next, I’d figure out what part of the whole next of eggs was blue–like a half or a quarter. Numbers just tumbled inside my head. Sometimes Mother looked surprised and Justin raised his eyebrows when I said something like this: “I brought in 20 eggs today, Mother. If everybody in the family has 3 eggs, then after we eat there will be 2 left over.”
Melinda would scrunch up her forehead, close her eyes, and do the ciphering. Then she’d nod. “Andi’s right, Mother. How did she know that?”
“See, Mother?” I remember bouncing up and down in my chair at breakfast. “I don’t really need to go to school.”
That of course never worked. But arithmetic is my favorite school subject. It’s easy to cipher. Numbers stick to the inside of my head. I learned my Times Tables in a week. I listened to the older pupils chanting them, and in the first grade I chanted them too on the way home. When I got older, Justin let me help with the ranch accounts. Those were big numbers and spread all over the place but I helped him get everything in order (well, maybe I thought I was helping and he already knew. You just never know with big brothers.) And Chad started taking me to the cattle auctions when I turned eleven. I think he just wanted to test me out, but the last laugh was on him. When I helped save him over $500 one time, he conceded that I was better at ciphering then he was. And that made me feel very special, especially hearing it from Chad.
By the time Melinda and I were finished sharing our favorite school subjects (which didn’t take long for me), Riley was back inside with Jared and it was tea time. Yum. Leftover turkey from dinner, pie, and all the trimmings. Like two Thanksgiving meals in one day!