When Jennifer woke up sunlight was pouring in through her window. It
was a wonderful day and the world outside seemed to glow. The whole ravine
was bright with morning, alive and inviting, patiently waiting for the rest
of the world to wake up and see it. Jennifer saw it. She lay in bed for
a while just looking out through the window with a smile on her face. Then
all at once she remembered the baby skunk. She sat up and tried to find
him. She looked under the covers and under the pillow, but he didn't seem
to be anywhere.
"He wasn't a dream, he couldn't have been," Jennifer told
herself and she hoped she was right.
Her mother came in carrying an armful of clothes."Good morning,"
she said. "Sleep well?"
"Yes I did," answered Jennifer. "Did you?"
"Well, you know it's the strangest thing," said her mother
as she put Jennifer's clothes away. "I could have sworn I heard someone
snoring last night. It seemed to be coming from under my bed! But I guess
I was dreaming."
Jennifer agreed but she knew it wasn't a dream at all. It was a groundhog,
the one she had seen the night before. She smiled and felt a bit better.
Now she was sure her skunk was real too and she knew he'd come back again.
"I'm glad we didn't stay at Uncle Walter's," she said.
"It hasn't been much fun for you has it?" said Mrs. Jones
and she put her arm around Jennifer. "You miss having a home, don't
"Yes, I guess so," said Jennifer and she put her head on her
mother's shoulder. "What about you?"
Her mother nodded and they both sat together in silence for a while.
It wasn't that they didn't have anything to say; it was more that they both
had too much.
"Is he going to let us stay," asked Jennifer finally.
"Your great-grandfather? Absolutely!" said her mother. "It's
going to work out Jenny, really, you'll see. I know you had to leave your
school and your friends back in B.C., but Toronto's the best place for me
to find work right now and I've got to make a new start. You'll make new
friends, there's a whole summer for that and by the time you begin school
in September, I'll have a job and everything will be just fine again."
Jennifer reached over and gave her a hug. Her mother looked so worried
she knew she had to do something.
"This place is a hundred times better than Uncle Walter's,"
she said. 'My great- grandfather's the greatest there is and his house is
"Well I wouldn't go that far!" her mother laughed.
"But it is," insisted Jennifer. "This house is special,
"Especially messy you mean," said her mother. "From what
I could see last night it could definitely use a good cleaning, possibly
two! But with your great-grandfather living alone and at his age I guess
that's to be expected. The problem is, Jenny, he's getting quite old and
he just can't look after a house this size anymore. Now I realize he doesn't
want us to make a big fuss, but I think the least we can do is to help keep
things tidy. I want to give the house a good cleaning today, from top to
bottom, so he'll know we mean to do our part."
"I'll help too if you want," volunteered Jennifer.
"Good! It's a very big job and I'm sure I could use all the help
I can get," said her mother. "I'm going to go out to the store
this morning and buy some cleaning supplies. But I'll make you some breakfast
first if you hurry, so you better get up and get dressed."
Jennifer got dressed in a flash and she dashed downstairs to the kitchen.
When she got there her mother was just putting a bowl of cereal on the table.
'Anything you want me to get at the store?" she asked.
"Bananas," said Jennifer. "I need them for my cereal."
"Bananas, that reminds me, your great-grandfather wanted some apples,"
said Mrs. Jones.
"Do you think he needs them for his cereal too?" asked Jennifer,
but her mother didn't seem to hear her too well.
"Yes dear," she agreed absentmindedly, then she left.
"He probably does," thought Jennifer as she ate her breakfast.
"If I really saw what I saw last night, anything's possible around