Saturday, August 16, 2014

Madi P. and the Merry Monkeys

This is a story about a girl named Madilynn and her trusty pal, Granola. Madilynn was five years old and loved adventures; particularly those that involved nature. Granola had been with Madilynn as long as she could remember and made sure to stay close to her side on all of her great adventures. They were a team. Where ever Madilynn went, Granola went, too. If she couldn't, she sat in Madilynn's room, watching out her bedroom window and waiting, rather impatiently, until she returned.

The day had started just like any other Saturday. Granola woke up with the sun and jumped on Madilynn's bed, straddling her shoulders as she promptly made sure there were no cookie crumbs left from the night before. Granola took her morning face licking job very seriously and did not stop until Madilynn gave up with lots of giggles and snorts. “Oh Granola, you silly dog! You slobbered all over my face! Now what am I going to do with you?” She stood up and put one hand on her hip with a smile on her face. “Hmmm…” She tapped the side of her head, thinking very hard. Just then, she heard a noise outside her window. It sounded like a parade. “But who would be playing music at this time?” Madi asked herself. It was only six in the morning. She pulled the curtain from the window as she and Granola looked outside. They couldn't believe their eyes! Marching down the street was a band of monkeys. “MONKEYS!” Madilynn squealed as Granola yelped in excitement. “I can't believe it! Hurry, Granola! Let's see where they're going!”

Madilynn ran around the room, gathering her supplies and tossing them in her back pack as she shouted, “Magnifying glass, CHECK! Butterfly net, CHECK! Tweezers, CHECK! Compass, double CHECK!” Granola bounded around the room in a frenzy, looking in every nook and cranny. She grabbed her ball and dropped it into the backpack. “Oh Granola! You silly dog!” Madilynn giggled as she grabbed her umbrella, just in case. She looked at Granola and said, “You never know when you'll get caught in a rain storm! We want to be prepared for anything and everything.” She winked and nodded as she headed to the kitchen. She came back with a jar of peanut butter, a box of crackers and two bananas; one for her and one for Granola. In no time at all, they were out the door and down the street, following the sound of the music.

Madilynn and Granola quickly noticed that this was no ordinary parade where everyone marched in unison, and these most certainly were not ordinary monkeys. Actually, Madi had never even seen a real live monkey before and thought for a moment that it was a bit peculiar, but was happy that they had come to visit just the same.

There were ten monkeys in all. She counted them, just to be sure, which was quite difficult, because they were running and dancing around, like, well...wild monkeys! Her head bobbed around as she counted each one. “One, Two, Three... Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight... Nine, TEN! Ten monkeys!” she yelled. Madilynn and Granola looked around in amazement as they realized that they not only were singing and dancing, but each monkey played an instrument, too!

They laughed and clapped as one big, fuzzy one was banging on a drum. BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! The others tooted their horns, shook tambourines, and squeaked on kazoos. Then they all started to sing a song. It went a little bit like this...


Madilynn and Granola followed the band down the street and were surprised that hardly anybody in town seemed to notice them. Maybe they’re still sleeping, she thought. After all, it was just a little past six in the morning. Most people slept in on the weekend. “Not us!” Madilynn said as she winked at Granola and patted her head. They liked to get a jump on the day and start their adventures as early as possible.

Madilynn and Granola were curious to see where the monkeys were going, so they decided to march behind them down the street. Soon their little parade made its way to the outskirts of town.

Then something caught Madilynn's eye, off in the distance. It was unlike anything they had ever seen before. “Granola, LOOK!” Madilynn yelled as she pointed in the distance. “It's a ZEPPELIN!” As if seeing a band of monkeys marching through town was not enough, it seemed that the universe had provided another great phenomenon for them to behold. They stood there in the street, awestruck. It looked like a cross between a submarine and a hot air balloon. Madilynn had seen a picture of one once in a giant book at the library. Then, it had seemed like make-believe, but now she could see one for real, right in front of her and Granola's eyes! She could hardly contain her excitement. The size was as big as a circus tent, decorated in bright, happy colors of blue, red and yellow. “This must be a dream!” she said to Granola. Suddenly, Madilynn pinched herself and yanked on Granola's tail. Granola yelped. “Sorry, Granola. I was just checking to make sure we weren't dreaming. You know I love you.” Granola's tail wagged, as if to say that she forgave her.

Slowly and carefully the two marched forward, as if in a daze. “Wow, Granola, I never thought I would see a real zeppelin before! Did you?” Madilynn liked to talk to Granola as if she would speak back to her. She knew that she couldn't talk, but somehow she always made her feel safe. Madilynn trusted her and knew she wouldn't steer her wrong. Granola roofed twice as if to say, “Let’s go!” and so they continued to march on.

As they got closer, she could see some colorful tents and a creek nearby. “What a neat little camping spot!” she told Granola. They loved to camp, but hadn't been since the summer before.

She was so busy looking at the scenery that she hadn't noticed that the monkeys had suddenly stopped playing. They were chattering amongst themselves and packing up their instruments. She and Granola looked around and saw that the monkeys came in all different colors, shapes, and sizes. There were fat ones and skinny ones, brown ones and white ones, and even a tiny one that seemed to her to be the most interesting one of all. He was looking at them and talking to the others, and then he started to walk toward them.

Hi! My name's Mango! What's yours?” asked the tiny monkey.

I'm Madilynn Paige, but you can call me Madi P. for short, and this is my pal, Granola! She's a little bit shy at first.” Madilynn patted Granola on the head. “She gets nervous when meeting strangers for the first time,” she explained. Just then, Mango did something that made Madilynn burst with laughter. He smiled and walked right up to Granola, putting her nose in his hands and giving her a great big kiss! It surprise Granola just a little bit, but she loved kisses so much that she promptly licked Mango's face in return. Soon her tail was wagging so hard, you would have thought that they had been friends for years. “Well, for cryin' out loud in the summer time!” Madilynn shouted. “I have never seen Granola act like that to a stranger! You must really be special!” Madilynn was glad that Granola liked Mango. She had good instincts about people; instincts you could trust. Madilynn supposed that her instincts about monkeys were just as good.

Before long, Mango was showing Madilynn and Granola around the camp site like he was their designated tour guide. He explained that they were just visiting the area and would be shoving off in a couple of days. This piqued their curiosity and Madilynn and Granola wondered where they were planning to go next.

The day flew by quickly, as they had fun flying kites, catching butterflies, and telling stories. Soon, they found themselves sitting around the camp fire roasting sausages on sticks.

Mango was a curious monkey and thought that Madilynn seemed very intelligent for a human of her size. “Madi P., I was wondering, just how old are you?” he asked. “You seem so wise, but look very young.” Madilynn laughed.

Today I'm five years old, but tomorrow is my birthday and then I will be six!” she said with excitement. Madilynn always thought that birthdays were so much fun.

Mango then shook both of her hands at once and said to her, “My dear child, tomorrow we must have a birthday party, but today you must first make a wish!” Madilynn smiled and closed her eyes for a moment to concentrate on what to wish for.

Mango broke her concentration by gently tapping her on her shoulder, “Oh Miss Madilynn, you must share your wish with all of us, or you will not receive it.” He motioned for her to stand up in front of the group, smiling to encourage her to share her birthday wish. Madilynn stood up and took a deep breath.

I wish I could have....a ….giant....blueberry as big as my head!” she blurted out. Quickly, she covered her mouth with both hands, her eyes open wide. She couldn't believe she had uttered the words. What an incredibly crazy wish, she thought. Madilynn had never shared her birthday wish before. It had always been a big, fat secret. But this time, Mango told her that she must share, and share she did. Slowly, she let her hands fall to her sides and a smile came to her face as all the monkeys clapped their hands.

Yay! Woohoo!” The monkeys hooped and hollered, as one shook a tambourine, and one banged a drum. Then all at once, they started to sing...


That night, before Madilynn and Granola headed for home, Mango presented her with a special gift. “Dear Miss Madilynn, today we have the pleasure to call you friend and tomorrow we will have a party in your honor! I offer to you a treasure, found on one of my many explorations!” She looked down and saw him holding a beautiful pink seashell. He gently placed it in her hands and said thoughtfully, “You must listen with your heart and you will always find the truth.” Madilynn promised to always treasure the beautiful pink seashell and keep it safe. She thanked Mango and all the monkeys for their hospitality before setting off for home.

Later that night while she lay in her comfy bed, Madilynn thought of all the days' events. It almost seemed like a dream, but she was certain that it was not. She giggled to herself as Granola started to snore at the foot of her bed. Madilynn could hardly wait for the next day to come. She knew that it was going to be the best birthday yet.

Madilynn was awakened by her trusty friend, Granola, washing her face the next morning. She loved that dog so much. Granola had been by her side since the day she was born and they were best friends; always had been and always will be.

Madilynn wiped the slobber from her cheeks and the sleep from her eyes as she yawned. “Boy, was I sleepy,” she said. She stretched and looked around the room. Her eyes rested on the pretty pink sea shell on her bedside table. Suddenly, she woke up from her dreamy fog and remembered the day before more clearly. “What was it the monkey told me yesterday?” she asked out loud, as if Granola would tell her the answer. She closed her eyes to think. “Oh Yeah! I know! He said you must listen with your heart and you will always find the truth. Hmmm....I wonder what that means?” she asked herself, as she tapped her mouth in concentration. She reached for the sea shell and brought it close to her ear, her eyes wide with curiosity. Her eyes got as big as silver dollars. “Oh Granola, you should hear this!” Granola's ears perked up in attention as her tail thumped on the bed in excitement. Madilynn heard the ocean waves whooshing alongside a beach coming from inside the seashell. Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh, ever so softly and gently to her ear. Then, she thought she heard a voice. She wasn't sure, thinking that maybe she had imagined it. She put the seashell up to her other ear, to see if she could hear any better out of that one. “Granola! You have GOT to hear this!” She put the sea shell up to Granola's ear for her to hear, and then quickly yanked it back to her own. “It's someone talking! I just know it is! He's asking for our help, Granola! Oh my!” she said worriedly. “He must be stuck in there!” she said. “Oh, Granola, we have to do something before it’s too late!” Granola yelped once, as if to say, “Yes!” and off they went.

With her back pack thrown over one shoulder, still wearing her nightgown and slippers, Madilynn was out the door and down the street as fast as her little feet would take her. Granola scampered by her side, tail wagging and tongue panting in anticipation. Granola wasn't so sure about this expedition, but she knew that she must go just in case Madilynn needed her, and so she followed.

Madilynn began to speak to Granola, as if to explain what all the fuss was about. “Now Granola, I know what you must be thinking, but we have to talk to Mango! We need to tell him that there is someone stuck in that sea shell! Maybe he will know what to do. If anybody knows, he will!” She nodded her head, trying to convince herself as well as Granola that she wasn't crazy. “I'm sure of it, Granola! Don't you worry! Every thing's going to be alright!”

So Madilynn and Granola followed their noses and tried to remember how they got to the monkey camp site the day before. It had all happened so fast and she wasn't really sure where to go. Just then, she saw a tiny, brightly colored flag flying in the distance, waving like a long lost friend. She hadn't noticed it the day before, but now she knew it must be the place. The flag was yellow and red and blue, just like the zeppelin! She patted Granola's head. “See, Granola? There it is! We're getting close! And you thought we were lost! Silly dog! You know I always bring my compass, just in case we need it!” she reassured Granola. Madilynn didn't mention the time when they went hunting for bullfrogs and completely got bamboozled. She was so excited; she could barely contain herself as she pointed to the little flag, “Granola, quick! Let's go!”

They found Mango down by the creek sitting on a stump, fishing for breakfast. “Hi guys!” he said, as he waved to them.

Oh Mango,” Madilynn started. “I'm so glad I found you! Something is wrong! Something is terribly wrong!”

Dear, dear,” he said. “Come sit down and tell me what is troubling you, child.” Mango had a way of making her feel better and she didn't know why. He just had that way about him, she guessed.

Madilynn sat on the ground in front of him and took a deep breath, trying to calm herself. “Mango, I know this might sound crazy, but…well, I heard someone in the seashell you gave me last night. At first I heard the ocean, because, you know that if you listen to a sea shell, you will hear the ocean, and I did.” She paused. “But then, I heard a voice. I heard someone calling for help! Oh, Mango, what can we do?” Madilynn pleaded with Mango to help.

There, there, child. Don't be distraught. This day is a day of celebration. Is it not?” Madilynn thought for a moment, and then remembered that it was her birthday. She had completely forgotten all about it! Then she looked down and realized that she was still wearing her pajamas and was a little bit embarrassed. “Oh my goodness! It is my birthday! I completely forgot,” she said. “I guess I forgot to get dressed, too,” she blushed.

Not a problem, my dear child!” he said, as he patted her hand. “We have a birthday tradition! We will give you a ceremonial birthday dress! Then we will sing and dance and make a big feast!” Mango stood up and quickly clapped his hands twice to summon two more monkeys. In no time at all, they were standing in front of him, bowing in servitude.

At your service, Sir,” they said in unison.

My dear friends, today is a joyful day! It is this dear child's birthday! Please see to it that she is dressed in the ceremonial birthday dress and given her some refreshment! Don't forget her trusty companion, Granola! She will require food and drink as well,” he said cheerfully.

Mango's friends gently took her by the hand and led her and Granola to one of the colorful tents. They gave her a dress to change into made of beautiful silk fabric in colors of red, blue and purple. Madilynn had never seen a dress so pretty and felt very special.

After she had changed, the monkeys gave her a silver goblet of fresh squeezed orange juice to quench her thirst and a bowl of water for Granola. One monkey combed and braided her hair, while the other played music on his ukulele.

Madilynn began to get sleepy and looked around the tent for a spot to rest. She noticed a cot, just her size with a little velvet pillow. It looked so inviting that she thought she might like to lay down for a nap. She realized that in all the excitement, she and Granola had missed their nap-time the day before, and suddenly she could barely keep her eyes open. She thanked the monkeys for being so nice to her and Granola and asked for a little quiet time to rest. Soon Madilynn was curled up on the cot like a sleepy cat. Granola quickly took her cue and crawled underneath the tiny bed and rolled herself up in a ball. In two shakes of a lamb’s ear, they both were snoring like a couple of polar bears.

Madilynn awoke to wet doggy kisses. Granola was licking her face, unmercifully, trying to wake her up. I must have slept a long time, she thought. “Ok, ok, Granola! I'm awake,” she said sleepily. Madilynn tried to remember where she was, when the smell of smoked turkey entered the tent. “Oh, Granola! I'm so hungry! Aren't you?” Granola nodded and wagged her tail in agreement. Granola definitely thought it was time to eat. They got up and shook the sleep from their eyes. “Man, was I tired. I wonder where Mango is?” she asked, looking toward Granola.

In an instant, as if he'd been summoned by a bell, Mango appeared at the entrance of the tent. “Good afternoon, my dears! Did you have a nice rest?”

Yes, thank you, Mango,” she said. “We had a lovely nap. Now could we please talk about the person in the sea shell?” she asked Mango, sweetly. “It sounds like he needs our help, don't you think?”

Oh yes, of course, my dear child,” he said politely. “You see, some riddles take time to be solved and time must pass before they can be answered. Please, let me take a listen to that sea shell and see if I can hear anything that can shed some light on the situation.”

Madilynn took the sea shell out of her backpack and gently handed it to Mango. “Hmm, hmm, mmhmm, very interesting,” he said as he nodded and handed the sea shell back to Madilynn. “Did you hear him? The man? Did he say anything to you?” Madilynn implored. Mango gently put his hand up and waved it side to side.

Dear child, you must calm down. If you let your emotions take control of you, the truth will not be revealed to us so clearly.” He raised a finger, as if to hush her and said, “There is only one thing to do if you want to save the person you hear in the seashell. We must go where the seashell came from and there we will find the voice that beckons you.”

Madilynn looked at Granola and Granola looked back at Madilynn. “Does that mean you will take us?” she asked Mango.

He nodded his head and smiled as he said, “Of course I will! I would love nothing more than to return to that area of the world. The crystal blue waters, delicious fruits, and sandy beaches are like nothing you’ve ever seen before. This truly will be a trip to remember!” he said thoughtfully.

Ok, then! Let's go!” Madilynn shouted.

Yes, dear child. We will go. But not before we feast!” Mango said, laughing a big belly laugh.

Mango led them to the other monkeys, where they were cooking and playing joyful music. Madi had never smelled anything quite so amazing. She could see all of her favorite foods; smoked turkey legs, blueberries, mangoes, and even banana pie! “Banana pie!” She squealed in delight. “My favorite!” She and granola danced around in excitement and could hardly wait to eat. They had worked up quite an appetite. Madilynn was happy to see that Granola was enjoying herself, too. “Yes,” she told Granola, “we will go where the sea shell came from later… but not before we feast!” she giggled.

Before they ate, Mango took Madilynn and Granola around to introduce them to all of his friends and made them feel welcome. It was as if she had known them all for a very long time. She couldn't put her finger on it, but she was sure that Mango was a very special monkey. She was glad to be his friend.

Ding, Ding, Ding! Someone was clanging a spoon on the back of a metal plate to get their attention. She guessed it was something like a dinner bell. They all took a place around a long table. Madilynn had never eaten at a table of this size and thought for a moment that this must be how the nobles felt when they feasted in the grand castles. She imagined herself a princess, feasting with the monkeys and her best pal, Granola.

Mango had even given Granola a turkey leg of her own and let her sit at her feet, just like she did at home. Madilynn, Granola, and all the merry monkeys ate until their bellies were so full that they couldn't even think of taking another bite.

After the meal, Madilynn needed to get up and move around a little bit, or else she knew she would get sleepy. She and Granola danced around and played games with the monkeys until they could dance no more.

Madilynn sat down to rest when she saw the little flag flying on top of the zeppelin in the distance. “Let's take a walk and get a closer look at that zeppelin,” she whispered into Granola's floppy ear. Madilynn was an inquisitive child and this time was no different. She wanted to explore a bit.

While they were eating, Madilynn noticed two colorful birds perched outside the zeppelin. It was almost as if they were guarding it. She thought now was the perfect time to investigate, while everyone was busy singing and dancing. They walked toward the zeppelin and saw that it was tied down like a tent, with ropes. The two colorful birds were parrots, perched at the entrance. They were bobbing their heads up and down, squawking back and forth.

Squawk! Looks like a little girl and her dog,” squawked the one on the right.

Squawwk! Wonder what they want!” squawked the other.

Treasure! Diamonds and gold!” squawked the first again.

We don't have any stinking treasure!” squawked the bird on the left.

Who knows what little girls want?” squawked the right one.

Maybe she's nice, maybe she's not!” squawked the other.

We Shall see!” the birds squawked in unison.

Madilynn and Granola looked at each other in surprise. It sounded as if these birds didn't trust her very much. Who can blame them? she thought. They certainly didn't know her and Granola. “It's only natural to be wary of strangers,” she said out loud. Madilynn decided to try and get to know them and so they headed in that direction. The closer they got, the faster the parrots bobbed up and down.

LOOK, here they come! Look! Here they come!” they squawked together.

Hi, my name is Madilynn and this is my trusty pal, Granola! Don't worry, she likes birds,” Madilynn said sweetly to the parrots. She could tell they were a wee bit nervous about Granola and she understood, somehow. They were birds after all, and Granola was a dog, though a very well-behaved one.

So, why are you two way over here?” Madilynn asked. “Don't you want to sing and eat with the rest of them?”

One of the birds squawked, “Watchin' the ship! Watchin' the ship!”

Keepin' it safe! Keepin' it safe!” squawked the other. They bobbed up and down and said no more. Madilynn and Granola could see that the birds took their job rather seriously and decided to leave them be and head back to join the others.

When they got closer, Mango ran up to her. “Come, come dear! We are ready to sit around the bonfire now! Then I will share our idea.” He winked as he said this and motioned for her and Granola to follow him.

The other monkeys were talking merrily amongst themselves while one played the flute. Mango patted a stump for her to sit on and she sat and listened. The music was mesmerizing and seemed to take her to a faraway place.

From across the bonfire, she saw Mango stand on a stump and clap his hands. He raised his arms up in the air to gather everyone's attention as a quiet hush filled the air.
Mango began to speak.

My dear friends, I would like to share with you a story; A true story that I had almost forgotten, until Madilynn came to visit us today. Long ago there was an island that was said to be more beautiful than any man or beast had ever seen, but it was rumored to have a spell cast upon it. For this reason it remained virtually uninhabited. Well, I was young and very stubborn about some things. I didn't believe in magic and the like so I was unimpressed by these silly rumors. Then there came a time during my many explorations when I grew bored of ordinary places and decided to gather a few of my friends together for a voyage. We all threw caution to the wind and set sail for the lost Isle of Sinaugwa. We all were young and full of hope and promise. We didn’t have a worry in the world and weren’t going to let a few old wives’ tales deter us. We set off for a grand adventure.”

It took us sixteen days to reach her and what we found was a site for sore eyes. The island had the most fertile ground that we had ever seen. The fruits and vegetables grew wild and plentiful; sweeter and even tangier than any we had tasted. The trees were bigger and even the birds' songs were prettier than any we had ever heard.”

Now, my friends, before this particular voyage, I didn't believe in fairy tales and the like. But after seeing the size of the bees and the butterflies there, I knew I had witnessed something not of this world. The bumble bees were the size of your fist! The butterflies even larger! I began to think I was suffering from heat stroke and was beginning to see things. I chalked it up to being over tired and hungry, quickly retiring myself below deck to get some much needed shut eye.”

Sometime during the night, I was awoken by a commotion. The crew was having an argument above deck and had called a meeting. Then someone motioned for a vote. Evidently, someone got spooked and now they were all ready to go home. Long story short, I was out-voted. I never found out what they saw, but from the look of fright in their eyes, I imagined it was no small thing.”

I respected the crew's vote and agreed to set sail in the morning. And that was that. I honestly thought that the oddities about the island were just a geographical phenomenon, and of no danger to us. But, whatever caused everything to grow at a greater size and pace than what we were accustomed had spooked the crew and they had had enough of it. Like I said, I was out-voted, so we planned to set sail for home at first light.”

Now, mind you, it had been a tradition of mine to take something from each of my adventures to share with the family and friends back home and this time was no different. That night before I retired back to my bunk, I saw something glistening by the moonlight in the distance. I decided to take a quick stroll on the beach and find out what was attracting the moon's attention. What I found was a beautiful pink sea shell. It seemed to shine from the inside out. The reflection of the moon seemed magical against its pearly surface. I knew that this would be my treasure from the long lost Isle of Sinaugwa to share with the folks back home. I quickly tossed it in my satchel and headed back to the ship.”

Over the years, I had pretty much forgotten about the sea shell, but kept it around for old time's sake. Then, when I met Madilynn and she told me about her birthday, I searched in my things for a gift. I found it at the bottom of my chest and figured it might give the girl a bit of good luck, so I gave it to her as a birthday present. Well, today she came to me, not in joy, but in fear, telling me that she had heard a voice in it!” Hearing this, the monkeys gasped and grew restless and began murmuring back and forth.

Mango motioned for them to hush and continued. “My dear friends, I speak to you tonight, not only to tell you of this story about a long lost island and its treasures, but to implore you to embark on a very important expedition. Our young friend, Madilynn, has discovered that someone is in need of our help. I believe this someone is on the Isle of Sinaugwa. Now I am asking each and every one of you for your assistance and trust in me to take you to this island and bring you back again in once piece.”

Just then someone yelled from the back, “I motion for a vote! All in favor say Aye!”

In one loud yell the entire band of monkeys and Madilynn yelled, “Aye!” It was unanimous! They were heading for the Island of Sinaugwa and she and Granola were going to help that person, if it was the last thing they did!

The monkeys jumped up and down, singing as they hooped and hollered. Then, just like she and Granola did the day before, everyone began to run around in a fury. They banged pots and pans as they went around filling satchels and crates as fast as they could.

Madilynn could scarcely believe it. They were going on a voyage with a band of monkeys, and riding in a zeppelin, no less! She chuckled to herself. It was almost too much for her to take in. Then she looked down at her trusty companion, Granola, and knew everything was going to be alright. As long as they stuck together, nothing would go wrong. She believed that with all her might. She had to.

Mango found his way back to Madilynn's side and grabbed her hand, patting it. “Don't you worry, my dear! We will find your friend and have him safe and sound in no time, no time at all!” The buzz of the monkeys was so loud, Madilynn could barely hear Mango telling her all about the zeppelin as she boarded it. She heard the parrots squawk, though.

Girl and her dog! Girl and her dog!” they squawked together as the crew passed the threshold.

I can't wait to show you the cabins!” Mango said excitedly. “You and Granola will have one of your own, of course. The zeppelin is a thing of beauty,” he continued proudly, just like he was captain of a ship. “It's a bit like a submarine, except that it flies. You will love it, wait and see!”

Mango showed Madilynn and Granola to their cabin and asked one of the monkeys to give them both a snack and a drink to help them relax before bed. Madilynn looked around her and thought the cabin looked a bit like those in old passenger trains, so perfectly neat and compact. Granola stretched and slid down by her feet, yawning, as Madilynn she sat and patted her head. “Yes, Granola it’s time for bed. And yes, this has been the best birthday ever, hasn't it?” Madilynn felt like the luckiest girl in the world and knew that with Granola by her side, she could do anything she set her mind to.

And so they were off.

Saturday, August 2, 2014


Big sister memories from the little one's point of view....

Matching lavender Easter dresses and sneezy pictures taken by dad.

Cheesy Egg Bake concoction made lovingly by you every Christmas morning

Comedy routines for Gramma after Grampa Gregory died. We all laughed until we cried.

You saying to me, "say, split pea soup ten times fast", and I did.

Sleeping on army cots in red plaid sleeping bags in Idaho. Waking up to chilly mornings and the smell of coffee and bacon on the fire by dad. Us kids sporting black sticky marshmallow faces from the night before.

You hiding your face in a pillow while we bounced up the edge of the mountain in dad's 4-door pink International "pickem up" truck.

Sharing clothes, make-up and Seventeen magazines as we were teenagers.

Me feeling awfully special to be able to learn to play the tenor sax that you bought with your paper route money and you being so nice to let me use it.

Me wanting to grow up to be as funny, smart and talented as my big sister. You were forever fearless.

We were and always will be, best friends. We shared a bedroom for almost 10 years, we shared a home for 18, and we will always share a piece of each other's heart.

I hope this birthday made you feel as special as you are.

May you never forget to dream and always believe that they can come true!

I love you and the person you have grown up to be; strong, loving and kind <3