Beautiful Dreamer

by Allen Morgan


no illustrations

nine chapters - 107 pages

Chapter Eight (part 1)

Katie checked the mail on Tuesday morning. A letter for Ellie was right on top. It was from Calgary. "Doug's finally written to them," Katie thought. "I'll bet he's decided something. I sure hope it's good news. Maybe he's coming home." She really hoped he was. She knew how much Gale missed her father.

Katie went through the rest of the mail. On the very bottom of the pile was a letter from her brother. It was addressed to the whole family so Katie opened it as soon as she was back in the kitchen. The letter was full of good news. Jim's job at the hotel was working out fine. He'd made a couple of friends and said he was having fun, but he missed the family a lot. He even mentioned Katie. Katie smiled at that. At least someone in the family thought about her - sometimes. She folded the letter and tried to slip it back into the envelope but it wouldn't fit. Something else was still inside. She found a note.

"P.S. I was about to mail this letter when I got some great news. One of the guys working at the front desk got fired and they need somebody to take his place. This other guy who already works there, can get me the job. It's a great opportunity, much more money than working in the kitchen and a lot easier, too. Only trouble is I need to wear a jacket and tie. The one I have with me has stripes and looks kind of crazy and they won't let me wear it on the job. Can the cookie jar lend me some money so I can buy another one? I'll need $45.00 but I'll pay it back by the end of the summer from all the extra money I'm going to be making. Please send it as quickly as possible. The guy who got fired has one week's notice and I have to start soon. Don't let me down. I can really use the extra money for school. Love again, Jim."

Katie put down Jim's note and sighed. It was really too bad. The cookie jar was empty and there was no hope for Jim's money. Max had just paid over $400.00 for the transmission in his cab so there wasn't anything left in the bank, either.

"I guess Jim's out of luck," thought Katie. "It looks like he'll just have to keep his job in the kitchen and..."

All of sudden, Katie thought of something. She had the money her brother needed right in her pocket. She took out her fifty dollar bill and looked at it. A big smile crept onto her face.

"I'm the only one in the family who can help," she thought. "It's all up to me." She got the phone book and looked up the address of the telegraph office. "I'll wire him the money right away so he'll be sure to get it in plenty of time. And I'll tell dad all about it at dinner tonight. Won't he be surprised to hear how I handled the whole thing by myself."

Katie caught a bus to the telegraph office and when she wired the money she sent a message to go with it: "Here's money for your suit so you won't have to make soup." But she didn't put her name at the end. She wanted the money to come from the whole family so instead she signed it The Cookie Jar. The people in the telegraph office thought she was crazy but Katie didn't mind. She felt terrific about the whole thing.

"I'm really part of the family now," she told herself as she rode the bus home. "I'm helping to pay for things just like everyone else. I can't wait to hear what dad'Il say. This is ten times better than just putting the money in the cookie jar."

Katie put Jim's letter out on the kitchen table so the others could read it as soon as they got home from work. She didn't replace the note because she wanted to keep that part a surprise until she told them about sending the money.

As soon as Max came in, he picked up Jim's letter. He read it over three times. "Isn't that something," he said proudly. "He's really making a go of it on his own, and he doesn't need us to help out at all. I must say I'm pleasantly surprised by all this, I really am. I've been expecting to hear from Jim but I wasn't exactly expecting to hear just the good news."

Katie was puzzled. She couldn't quite understand what he meant. "What kind of news were you expecting?" she asked.

Max just laughed and shrugged his shoulders, so Susie explained. "He means that he was expecting Jim to write home for money," she said.

"All the guys down at the cab lot told me he would," said Max. "But I kept telling them that Jim would never do that. He's old enough to look after himself now, I told them. He won't come crying to me as soon as he hits a problem. They just laughed and told me I'd see. Well I'll be the one laughing at them tomorrow. They'll be the ones seeing who was right."

A sinking feeling crept into the pit of Katie's stomach. She wondered what her father would say when she showed him Jim's note. What would he say when she told him about the $45.00 she had just sent? What would he think of Jim then? She began to feel very uncomfortable. She closed her eyes and wished that her father would be quiet and start eating his dinner. But Max didn't; he just went right on talking.

"Oh I've got to give Jim credit. He's shown he can take care of himself just fine. And now that we're on the subject, so have you, Susie. You're doing a great job this summer. You've been earning your share and never once have you asked for a free handout. You're just like Jim. You're both independent."

"What's getting into you tonight, Max? You're positively mellow," Susie said with a laugh. She wanted to make a joke out of it but she was obviously pleased to hear Max tell her how he felt.

"They certainly are something, aren't they Katydid?" said Max. "I'll bet you feel the same way. Makes you proud to be part of a family that can take care of itself, doesn't it?"

Katie agreed with him, of course. Anyone would the way he put it. But it wasn't how she felt. She wanted Max to be proud of her too. The only trouble was, she couldn't tell him about wiring Jim the money now, not after everything he had just said. Max would be terribly disappointed if he found out about the $45.00. It would even make him look bad in front of all the other cab drivers down at the lot. So Katie decided to keep Jim's note in her pocket and not say anything to anybody. She bit her lip. Sending Jim the money was just about the best thing she had ever done and now she had to keep it a secret. It didn't seem fair.

Susie was going to a movie and rushed out as soon as dinner was over. Max got a phone call while Katie was doing the dishes. Someone wanted to see him right away but he didn't tell Katie who it was.

"I'm just going to meet an old friend who wants to talk about something," he said as he went out the door. "I'll be gone for a little while, but I'll be back in time to see you into bed."

continue on to part two of Chapter Eight

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