The Magic Sleigh Bell
"Not yet," their father replied.
"There are more leaves right to the corner."
The cold winds penetrated Jim Kirkland's
sweater and numbed his fingertips. He was at the top of the extension ladder,
necessary for reaching the eavestroughs which overflowed with fallen autumn
Still retaining some of the beautiful
colours they had turned to before falling off the towering maple trees, the
leaves achieved flight one final time as Jim scooped them out and onto the
"Look out, Nat, or you'll get clobbered!"
instructed Travis, brandishing the rake with the confidence of someone who had
finally conquered yard equipment still taller than he was.
"It's Natalie, N-A-T-A-L-I-E, not Nat. I
don't respond to nicknames!" an indignant Natalie countered. She was a bubbly,
optimistic 7-year-old, who had a growing confidence in herself and her place in
"Yeah, yeah, right... just bag the leaves
before it starts snowing." He liked to tease his sister, but it was in good
fun, as he really did like her.
She was admiring all the colours of the
leaves as she stuffed them into the plastic bag, when the momentary glint of
something shiny caught Travis' eye.
"Hey, hold on. What was that?" he asked, as
he came over and started searching through the leaves.