Penny climbed onto the bus with the rest of her class and found a seat near the back. She
was a rather shy child and liked to be by herself, rather than sit up near the front of the
bus with all the chatter and noise. Soon everyone boarded and the bus driver started the
bus. They all were headed for a drive about an hour away to the pumpkin patch. Each child
was to choose a pumpkin and bring it back with them to the school for decorating. It was one
of the most popular field trips the class held every year. The bus bumped along and most of
the children and the teacher were engaged in cheerful conversation. But Penny sat quietly,
looking out the window at the scenery. She thought about her father leaving a month ago and
not coming home. Her parents were getting a divorce. She missed him.
When the bus drove into the driveway of the pumpkin patch and stopped, all the children
dashed for the door and hurried out. Penny went at a more leisurely pace. She watched as the
other children scurried among the pumpkins, picking up one and then another, trying to
decide on which one they would take home. The teacher looked at shy little Penny, took her
hand and led her among the pumpkins, encouraging her to try to find one for herself. Penny
let go of the teacher's hand and wandered about by herself. Then she stopped. She thought
she heard a pumpkin cry. It was a sad looking pumpkin, not round, not big, just sad looking.
Penny thought it had cried. She went closer and bent down to look at it. It cried again. She
couldn't resist. It was just like she felt most of the time, different from others and like
crying. So she decided this sad looking pumpkin who cried, would be the one she chose.
She started to pick it up, when she noticed eyes peeking out from behind it. The pumpkin
hadn't cried, it was a small kitten. She looked around to see if anyone had noticed. Nobody
did. They all were busy elsewhere. She picked up the kitten and tucked it inside her jacket.
Then she picked up the sad looking pumpkin and headed back to the bus. The teacher noticed
and asked her if she really wanted that distorted looking pumpkin or if she would like to
choose another. She said it was just what she wanted. So the teacher let her board the bus,
not suspecting that the little girl not only had a pumpkin, but also a kitten. Once Penny
was seated, the kitten fell asleep inside the warm jacket, next to the girls comforting
body. It didn't mew, it didn't move. It just slept all the way back to school.
When the bus arrived back at school, the children put their name on the back of the pumpkins
and set them along the window ledge. They would work on them the next week, after the
weekend. It was time for school to let out and the kitten still slept inside the jacket.
Penny's mother arrived in her car to take her home. When they got there, Penny went
straight to her room and lay the kitten in her bed. Then she went and asked her mother for
some milk. She took the glass of milk back to her room and poured some into a doll dish and
put it on the floor so that the kitten could have it when it woke up. She then drank the
rest and took the glass back to the kitchen.
Penny went out into the garage, found a box, snuck out into the yard and got some sand from
the sand box that her father had built for her. She fixed up a kitty litter box and
stealthily snuck back into the house and her room, finding a spot for the box. The kitten
had woke up, so Penny showed it where the milk and box were. Her mother called her to
dinner. They were having meat loaf for dinner. Penny saved a little piece in a napkin and
snuck that into her room later.
That night, after she had gone to sleep, her mother came into her room to make sure she was
covered properly. When she saw the kitten sleeping next to Penny on the pillow, she could
only smile. Another mother might have been upset. But Penny was so shy and so saddened by
her parents divorce, that this mother was happy a kitten could help her little girl get
through it all. The next morning, Penny and her mother went to the store and bought proper
supplies for the little kitten. Penny named it Patch. After all, she had found it in a
By Sharon (Sunyskys1943@aol.com)