Hello Melody, nice to meet you!
(Bonus material includes the first 500 words of OOPS-A-DAISY.)
Tell us a bit about yourself. Who is your favorite author, is there anyone out there that inspires you?
Louisa May Alcott and Lucy Maud Montgomery wrote funny stories that also had lots of heart.
What genre do you enjoy reading and what’s your favorite book and why?
I actually really enjoy reading humorous middle-grade, the genre I write in. With all the work to be done and all the serious things going on in the world, it’s nice to sit down with a book and have a laugh.
If you’ve published a series, what is the series about?
I am working on a series, The De La Cruz Diaries. OOPS-A-DAISY is the first book in the series. It is about a sixth-grade Jennifer Lopez wannabe who attends an arts magnet school in Miami. When her favorite teacher is replaced by a stuffy new music professor, Daisy tries to impress him. But she is hijacked by her goofy brainiac father, her maniac of a dog and her big-mouthed little sister. The story revolves around the zany situations Daisy and her family get into as she tries to seek fame and fortune.
Have you ever thought about writing in a different genre? If you could, what genre would you like to dabble in?
I released an inspirational historical romance last year also called ROYALLY ENTITLED. It is in the young adult genre. But I had to include some silly stuff.
What has been your most proud moment as an author?
Holding the print copy of OOPS-A-DAISY in my hands and getting emails from people who like my books and are eager for the next installment.
Was there ever a time you wanted to pick up your laptop, and then launch it out the window with frustration?
One? Ha! Try one dozen! Revising is hard work.
What three tips would you give any aspiring writer?
1 – Persevere. You will get better and you will finish your book if you keep at it.
2 – Be willing to listen to the advice of other writers. If two or more people point out a weakness in your writing, you may want to listen up.
3 – Make an outline, even if it’s rough. I used to be a pantser, but a wrote myself into a fog. Now I plot.
What are you working on now?
I am working on the follow-up to OOPS-A-DAISY, which is called NO WAY, JOSE.
What will you release next?
I am also finishing up the follow-up to ROYALLY ENTITLED, which is called, ROYALLY SCHEMING.
So… where can we get your books?
Amazon, Smashwords, B&N, etc.
What would you like readers to know?
I am also a reader, so I am trying to write for readers that want to take a break and enjoy a good story or have a good laugh at someone else’s foibles. I’m just trying to entertain, though a side benefit might be that you may also be encouraged or inspired by reading one of my stories.
Melody Delgado is the author of OOPS-A-DAISY, a humorous, inspirational novel for young readers. It is the first in the De La Cruz Diaries series released by Clean Reads. She lives in Florida with her husband and children and is represented by Cyle Young of the Hartline Literary Agency. She is currently working on book #2 in the series, NO WAY, JOSE.
(click to view trailer of the book)
Chapter One – Puercito the Pasta Lover
Okay, so I was standing in the middle of a television studio about to shoot my first commercial. Woohoo! I’d been dreaming of getting my big break for a super long time. Like three whole weeks to be exact. All right, so maybe I’d been waiting my whole life. Well, not exactly my whole life, but for at least two years I’d dreamed of nothing else but becoming the next Gloria Florez. And since G-Flo started out in commercials I figured I was on the right track.
“Places!” a stagehand hollered.
I bolted to the set, which was designed to look like an average kitchen.
“You Daisy De La Cruz?” the stagehand asked me.
“Oh…um…yeah…I mean yes!”
He pointed to a piece of masking tape stuck to the floor. “If you’ll come over here and stand on your marker, we’re just about ready to shoot.”
I trudged over to the spot as quickly as I could considering I was wearing a shaggy dog suit with about twenty tons of fake fur hanging from it, and slid a rubber doggy mask over my sweaty head. My shoulder length hair had been blown dry that morning, so it would be sleek and straight, but with all the heat and humidity it was starting to curl and frizz. But, hey, I finally had my first shot at show business, so I wasn’t about to complain.
Once I was in position a Miss America look-alike, wearing too much make-up, joined me on the set.
“Lights! Camera! Take one!” Snap.
Miss America gazed into the camera and sang to the tune of London Bridge.
Queeny once had stinky breath,
stinky breath, stinky breath.
Yuck! I almost choked to death.
Now she’s better.
I came in on cue, continuing the song.
Mom gave me some Stink-Away,
Now my breath is A-Okay,
I’m all better.
The announcer’s voice piped in. “Stink-Away is all natural and safe. Side effects may include loud barking, non-stop scratching and increased car chasing. Why not try Stink-Away…today?”
“Cut!” the director hollered. “Let’s try it again. This time, Queeny, howl like you mean it.”
By the time we ran through 16 takes I was dripping so much sweat, my howl was full of meaning.
The director fingered his beard and exhaled loudly. “Why don’t we take a short break?”
As I wrenched off my mask and searched for a place to sit, I realized my dark hair was totally matted to my head. There was a bench outside so I headed toward the exit, but once I realized there’d be no chance for a breeze, I decided to stick it out inside. The only thing waiting for me out there was a giant dose of Miami summer steam.
After trudging down the hall a few more steps, some furniture came into view. I dropped onto a leather couch so hard and fast it groaned. I leaned back and pulled a piece of paper from a hollow ear inside the mask. It was a letter from my grandfather. In my eyes my grandfather was just about perfect. He was one of my favorite people ever because he always managed to see the good in things and had a way of making me laugh no matter what was going on.
And he didn’t think my dreams were stupid, or a waste of time, either. I’d caught some of my other relatives rolling their eyes whenever I talked about my plans, but not him. He’d never even think about embarrassing me like that.
We didn’t get to see each other often, though, since he didn’t exactly live close by. Since my abuelo lived in Puerto Rico, he spoke fluent Spanish, but he was still trying to learn English. I’d already scanned his note five or six times that day even though it was a little tricky to understand, but I unfolded it and read it again.
To a special grill,
I happy you making crummercial. Now you on your way to bee big starr. I know you will go farm and become a big celery. I wish I could have tocked longer on the fone the udder day but it was getting late and it was time to eat my zipper. I look forward to visit you soon.
P.S. Happy 12 birdday – Use the chick to bye what you want two.
Your favorit Grandfeather
“Let’s roll!” I heard the stagehand holler.
So much for rest and relaxation. When I’m heading up my own studio the actors won’t get a measly little five-minute break. No way! I’ll give them at least six.
I hurried back to the set and stood in position. We ran through the entire commercial again and did it exactly like every other take we’d done. I crossed my fingers and waited.
“Cut!” the director hollered. “That’s a wrap.”
Phew! I felt as wet as if I’d been surfing at Miami Beach, but that was a small sacrifice to make for my first paying gig. Woohoo! I couldn’t believe I was getting paid just for dressing up and singing.
Miss America hit me with a high-five before batting her probably false eyelashes at the director. “Ya’ll got any more shoots coming up? For something like jewelry or perfume?” She glanced over at me then whispered, “For humans?” What did she think? I was a real dog and I’d be insulted if I overheard? Either she was a nickel short of a dollar in the brains department, or my acting was incredibly convincing.
“Let’s see.” The director scanned a chart on the wall. “Warts, cold sores, athlete’s foot fungus…Any of those interest you?”
“Of course!” Miss America’s eyelashes fluttered again. “Give me a ring. Tootles.” She smiled, waved and strode out as if she had just won another pageant.
Maybe he’s got another commercial for me too. Something that’ll get me some attention. “You shooting anything that’ll air like…nationally?”
The director eyed my doggie getup and laughed. “Not at the moment, Queeny. But I’ll keep you in mind if I need a singing cat.”
“Great! I meow much better than I can howl.”
He laughed again and took off in a hurry.
My shoulders started to slouch, but I quickly straightened them. G-Flo’s first commercial was for kitty litter and now she’s topping the charts with her music and movies. When you start at the bottom the only place to go is up, right?
I rounded the corner casually, then ripped off my mask and trotted toward the water cooler. It wasn’t clear why, but I felt a sudden urge to lap up the water with my tongue. I guzzled what seemed like gallons of cool clear liquid before my mother found me, helped me change back into normal clothes and led me outside to her Toyota hybrid.
Once we got home I rushed upstairs to shower. As I dried myself off in my bedroom, I thought about calling Miss Rivera, my music teacher at the Rosenthal School of the Arts. Miss Rivera was the one who told me about the Stink-Away audition. I decided it might be better not to bug her over summer vacation. We could talk about the shoot when school started in a couple of weeks.
The phone rang as I pulled a T-shirt over my head. My best friend, Tamika, was on the line. I was hoping she was calling to invite me to Miami Beach. My Dad only took us in the evenings, so we wouldn’t get sunburns. Tamika’s family went to the beach whenever they felt like it, as in normal daytime hours.
“You won’t believe this,” she said in a rush.
I sprawled out on my unmade bed. Tamika was a talker and something like getting a new toothbrush could excite her. “Let me guess? You went to the dentist and he gave you a sticker for being good?”
“Miss Rivera won’t be back next year.”
I shot into an upright position. “What?”
“I just heard. The PTA meeting is still going on in the living room. Everyone was talking about it when I went to the kitchen for a drink.”
“You must’ve heard wrong.” I stood up. “She would have told me!”
“She had to rush to out of here to help her sick mother in New York.”
I gripped the phone tighter. “That means she won’t be here on the first day of school. We won’t even get a chance to say goodbye.”
“Yeah, it totally stinks. But get this. They’ve already found someone to take her place.”
A Scottish professor is moving here from some conservatory in London. Wait till you hear his name. Professor Romeo Nigel Magoon. Does he sound like a total loser or what?” Tamika’s voice dropped to a whisper. “Gotta run. My dad’s headed this way and I’m not supposed to know anything.”
I felt like I’d fallen so hard the wind was knocked out of me. Miss Rivera had been my teacher since first grade. We’d gotten close after being together for five years. I trusted her so much she almost felt like an Aunt, or an older sister. It wasn’t like she was just teaching me and helping me. She believed in me and seemed to think I had a shot at fulfilling my dreams. I sat on my bed trying to let the news sink in.
After a few minutes I threw on some shorts and headed downstairs to look for my mother. She was in the kitchen stirring a huge pot of black beans. I sat on a stool and picked at the cotton stuffing erupting from a hole in the cushion. “Miss Rivera’s gone. She won’t be coming back next year.”
Mom pushed her short straight hair behind her ears and gave me a hug. “Oh no. I’m so sorry, mija. Miss Rivera believed in you. What happened?” I took a deep breath and filled her in on what Tamika told me. Mom measured rice into a pot that was so old and black it looked like a cauldron. “Miss Rivera was a real gem, but you might learn a lot from her replacement too. Who knows? He might have connections with other artist types and might even be able to help Rosa.”
Just then, my five-year-old sister popped out from hiding in the pantry. “I’m gonna sing like Daisy. I’m gonna sing like Daisy,” Rosa chanted. Her brown curls bounced as she daintily held the hem of her floral-print dress and skipped from the room.
I rested my chin in my hands while Mom finished cooking dinner and thought about the good times I’d had with Miss Rivera and all she’d taught me. It would be tough adjusting to a new teacher. But Mom was right. There were still a lot of things I wanted to do. I needed to give the new guy a chance and work hard to show him I was a serious student.
Dad wandered into the kitchen with sage green paint splattered all over his ripped jeans and sneakers. “One bathroom down, the entire house to go. So much for buying a big old fixer upper.” He wrenched off his baseball cap, wiped his balding head with a paper towel and scrubbed his dark hands under the sink. “Sorry it’s taken so long to get started.”
Long? Try two years, Papasito.
“I’ll get to your rooms next, girls, I promise,” Dad said.
I wondered if my grandfather’s upcoming visit had anything to do with Dad’s sudden urge to clean things up. As if a coat of paint was the only thing our ancient house needed.
Rosa scurried in from the living room shouting, “Pink, pink, pink! I want pink!”
“Hmmm,” I said. “I’m not so sure I want pink in my room.”
“Fine.” Dad grabbed a spoon and snatched a bite of rice. “I’ll paint Rosa’s room first. Rosa, why don’t you come with me when I pick out the color?”
“Okay.” She gazed up at him with her huge brown eyes. “After we pick out the dog you promised.”
I smirked. “You only get a dog if you quit complaining about starting school.”
“Ah, si.” Dad nodded. “I forgot about the dog.”
Rosa hopped up and down. “You can’t forget! I can’t wait to start kindergarten. It’s my most favoritist thing in the world. Kindergarten rocks!”
Dad dried his hands. “Something tells me I’ll have someone to remind me.”
After Dad brought Mom and I home after church, he took Rosa to the pound to pick out a dog as promised.
Rosa raced into the house an hour later. “See my new doggie!” She was carrying what looked like a filthy mop.
“What is that?” I asked, backing away from her. I didn’t see any eyes, a nose, or a mouth, just a mass of dirty gray hair. “It looks creepy.”
“I know,” Rosa said, hopping up and down. “That’s why I picked it!”
After Rosa and Dad gave it a bath it went from looking like a mop to resembling a swatch of white carpet. A neighbor told them it was a living, breathing life form known as a Maltese. And could that thing eat. It must have been half-starved. Only a high voltage vacuum cleaner could suck up food faster.
A walking piece of carpet with a vacuum for a mouth described him perfectly. And he looked just like the costume I wore in the Stink-Away commercial. I only had to look at him to be reminded of sweating like a pig. And his breath! He was the perfect candidate for a free Stink-Away sample. That was it, I decided. Puercito. Little pig would be his name. It suited him perfectly. I just had to convince Rosa.
“Here, Puercito,” I called.
“Oh! I like that name!” Rosa cried. “You’re my little pig, aren’t you?” She scooped him up and kissed him till he growled at her.
On the first day of school, Puercito acted just like his namesake. I poured Rosa a bowl of cereal and as soon as she wandered off to find a spoon, he hopped from a kitchen chair to the table and devoured her breakfast. I poured her a new bowl and he wolfed it down again. We couldn’t get rid of him until I wrenched open the door leading to the back yard. Talk about a little pig! Yes, Puercito is the perfect name for him, unless we go with Hairy-Alien-Trash-Eating-Stinky-Breath-Puff-Ball.
Dad drove us to school a few minutes later. It was only a short ride to my arts magnet school, which was just like a regular elementary school, but with a strong focus on the arts.
As we meandered down winding lanes and passed rows of older homes, I started squirming like a toddler. It was hard to know what to expect from Professor Magoon with all the rumors flying around. I decided the name Romeo had an elegant ring to it. Maybe he’ll end up being as handsome as his name. He could turn out to be a nice guy after all and he might be able to help me just as much as Miss Rivera did. I knew I had to meet him and make a good impression as soon as possible.
When I got to class, all Mrs. Sandberg had us do was set up our desks. Since we weren’t busy I thought about ways of sneaking out to meet Romeo. I can pretend to sprain my ankle. But that will only bring me as far as the nurse’s office – with someone helping.
I tried to concentrate when Mrs. Sandberg finally gave us a reading assignment, but my thoughts kept getting interrupted by visions of Romeo’s handsome face.
Finally, the lunch bell rang. I reached for my wallet. It was empty. Instead of sneaking off to the music room to catch a glimpse of my new teacher, I found myself in the school office calling home.
“Hello, Dad?” I spoke into the phone beside the secretary’s desk. “I forgot my lunch money. Can you bail me out?”
“Your timing is perfect,” said Dad, out of breath. “I’m about to take Puercito to the vet. I’ll be right there.”
“Oh, and one more thing.”
I shifted the phone to my other ear. “What?”
“I wanted to tell you to quit chewing the carpet you little non-stop-eating-machine! Get outside you creepy…shaggy…thingy!” There was loud barking and then a door slammed shut.
“Sorry,” he said. “I just wanted to tell you to stop that yapping I can’t even hear myself think!”
I tapped my fingers on the gleaming counter. “Dad my lunch break is only—”
“Sorry. I wanted to tell you I’ll be painting your room next, so think about what color you want.”
I trudged outdoors to wait on the concrete steps beside the carpool drop-off. As I watched for approaching cars, I imagined my first meeting with my new music teacher. I’ll be extra polite and use my best manners, so he’ll be able to recognize me as the star I’m destined to become. I’ll bring him his morning coffee, help him conduct the choir, work with him on important musical productions….
The sound of a blue heron rustling in a nearby palm tree awakened me from my dreams. As I breathed in, smelling a mixture of bug repellant and fertilizer, an ancient convertible with the top down, screeched to a halt in front of the curb.
“Sorry to keep you waiting,” Dad said breathlessly. “The people at the pound didn’t give me a leash when I picked him up yesterday. I had a hard time getting him in the car.” He tossed me the money. “Here’s your dinero. I’ve got to hurry to make my appointment.”
I leaned against the dusty car. “Whoa! Dad, wait a minute!”
I frowned. “Your clothes are covered in paint. Your hair and eyebrows are pink. I can’t believe you left the house looking like this.”
Dad sighed. “It was either get cleaned up or leave you to starve.”
“Okay, Papi. It’s just that—”
Puercito seized the opportunity to jump from the back seat of the motionless car and hit the pavement running.
I chased him, but all my short arms managed to grab was hot air, not Puercito. He blew past me, scurrying inside the brick building in between the black jazz shoes of some dance instructors who were leaving.
Dad hollered from the car. “I’ll park. Go in after him. Don’t lose him!”
Sprinting up the concrete steps, I spotted the fur ball bounding across the beige tiled floor and heading toward the cafeteria and the strong odor of burnt spaghetti sauce. I followed, rushed into the lunchroom and spotted the little pig causing a big commotion at the sixth-grade tables.
All the kids in my class stared as Puercito landed on their table and plodded over plates of spaghetti. He snarfed bites of pasta as he worked his way down his own personal buffet. His creamy white fur was soon covered in red sauce.
Some of the kids cheered as they stood up and watched from behind their chairs.
“Do it again!”
After knocking over several cartons of open milk containers, Puercito eyed a huge juicy meatball a few plates down. He rushed over to it, sniffed it, licked it and swallowed it whole in one gulp. Then he started coughing and hacking. As he gave one mighty belch, the meatball hurtled out of his mouth and landed on the other end of the table. He ran back to it, sniffed it, licked it and swallowed it whole again.
Tamika yelled, “How disgusting!”
I witnessed it all from the next table, where I stood frozen. I have to be watching a video of someone else’s life. This embarrassing moment can’t possibly be a scene from mine.
A pudgy older man with hair sticking out in every direction bustled over from the other side of the large noise-filled cafeteria.
“What in the world is going on here?” he asked, glaring at Puercito.
At that moment, Dad rushed in. Surveying the damage, he quickly scooped up Puercito before he could attack another plate of spaghetti. “I can splain,” Dad said to the man. Dad’s accent always got stronger when he was nervous.
The midget of a man stared up at Dad through thick horn-rimmed glasses. “Who are you?”
Dad stared at the tomato splattered floor, mumbling, “Yo soy…I mean…I’m Dr. Juan Ramon De La Cruz. The, uh, father of one of the students here.”
I wandered over to my father and whispered, “Dad, don’t you think you and Puercito should be leaving now?”
“Ah, si. Jes. I mean yes. Again, I’m so sorry,” he said. “I’m buying him a leash today. This will never happen again.”
As Dad made to leave, Puercito shook himself off. Large drops of sauce landed all over my white blouse as well as the glasses of Mr. Stubby-Little-Elf.
He wiped the sauce off of his glasses with a scowl. “See that it doesn’t.” My father made his escape. The man took a deep breath, shook his head and glanced back toward my class. “I suggest those of you in need of a new lunch get back in line immediately.”
Cinnamon Cleaver threw her huge mass of rust-colored waves over her shoulder and stomped her foot. “We’ll be late for modern dance.” Her thin figure and stylish clothes gave her the look of a young supermodel, except for her nose, which was slightly too big for her face. She’d landed the lead in almost every school play until I managed to snatch the lead from her last spring. And she’d held a grudge against me ever since.
The man flapped his arms like a goose collecting its goslings. “Dance class can wait. Let’s keep things moving. At this rate we’ll have to ask for tomorrow’s breakfast menu.”
Cinnamon turned around in line, shooting me with invisible I-so-do-not-like-you x-ray beams. “What do you have to say for yourself now?”
“Oops-a-daisy?” said Tamika’s twin brother, Brad. His dreadlocks shook against his baggy T-shirt, so I could tell he was trying not to laugh at Cinnamon.
“Enough with the chatter, Mr. Robinson,” said the man.
Brad’s grin disappeared as he hung his head. “Sorry, Professor.”
The air slowly drained from my lungs. I gripped the back of a chair for support. “W-what did you call him?” Please, please, please. There’s no way he can possibly be—
“Young lady,” the man stood tall, raising his chin as if on stage, ready to burst into song. “My name is Professor Magoon. Professor Romeo Nigel Magoon.”
Chapter Two – Queen of the School
“May I p-please go to the girl’s room to clean up my b-blouse?”
Professor Magoon eyed me like I had a contagious disease. “Yes, please do.”
I did not just make my first impression on this guy in the cafeteria of all places. And that creepy little spaghetti monster of a dog did not introduce us. No way!
I entered the shiny tiled bathroom, bent over a sink and splashed my hot face with cool water.
The door opened behind me. “You okay?” It was Tamika. After I dried myself off I saw the look of concern on her face. It was nice of her to offer some comfort.
I took a deep breath. “Do you think what just happened was a total and complete disaster or a minor disaster? Because a total and complete disaster is not something I can handle right now.”
Tamika crossed her arms and made a face. “It was definitely a disaster. But…on a scale of one to ten I’d give it a three. That would make it a teeny-tiny disaster.”
I leaned against a white porcelain sink. “Good. I can live with that.”
Tamika pulled a pick from her jean purse and fluffed her inch-long Afro. “Puercito is one cute little puppy even if he is a total mess. But I hear you. I don’t want to get on Professor Magoon’s bad side, either.”
I dabbed at my blouse with a wet paper towel. “Why? What else have you heard?”
The door barged open and in sauntered Cinnamon Cleaver with her jewelry jangling and her high heels click-click-clicking across the floor. Cinnamon let the door slam behind her and marched right up to me. “If you wanted Magoon to notice you, Miss Attention-Seeker, he did.”
I tried drying my blouse with another towel. “Hello! If I wanted him to notice me don’t you think I would’ve come up with a better way to get his attention?”
Cinnamon scowled and her face became almost as red as her frilly expensive blouse. “Whatever! Your disgusting mutt got sauce all over my white designer sandals. They’re Manolos, not that you’d know.”
“White is sooo not practical,” I mumbled, tossing my paper towel in the trash and ignoring the fact that I wore white myself.
“What was that?” Cinnamon snapped.
“I’m sorry about your sandals,” I said. “But he’s not my dog, he’s—”
“Adorable.” Tamika cut in.
“Whatever!” Cinnamon ripped her shoes off and rinsed them under the sink. “I should make you pay for these, but you probably can’t afford designer prices. I’ll be stuck dying them red.”
I blew on my blouse hoping it would dry faster. “How do you know what I can afford? I earned some money over the summer.”
Cinnamon put her sandals back on. “Like we need to be reminded that you landed your first commercial. Ooooh! Goodie goodie for you.”
“You can audition for stuff too, you know.”
“Believe me, now that my mom’s back in town, I’m going to,” Cinnamon said, storming off.
“That girl is one snootie-patootie!” Tamika said, shaking her head.
“I’ve heard that can happen when you always get what you want.”
“Not anymore.” Tamika smirked. “Not with you suddenly pulling up from behind.”
Yeah, I pull up from behind and look what happens. People hate me. I guess what I’ve heard about success is true. Someone might just be unhappy about it and end up feeling jealous. I was done wasting my energy thinking about someone as spoiled rotten as Cinnamon Cleaver. I headed for the door. “So much for trying to eat lunch.”
“I got a few bites down before your dog trashed my plate,” said Tamika. “Let’s go see if we’ve got time to make it through the line.”
Tiny green lizards scrambled in and out of palmetto bushes and onto the sidewalk as we rushed back to the cafeteria. I spotted a poster on the wall and stopped to read it.
The Rosenthal School of the Arts presents:
La Isla Del Encanto – A Musical Extravaganza
All students in kindergarten through sixth-grade
welcome to audition
“A musical about Puerto Rico? No way,” I said. “That’s where my parents are from.”
“It’s supposed to be a big deal,” Tamika said. “It might be a great chance to get discovered.”
“Discovered? By who?”
Tamika’s hands moved around wildly. They did that whenever she got excited. “That’s what I was trying to tell you a minute ago. Big Bad Romeo is asking all kinds of big wigs to come and see the show.”
“Where’d you hear that?” I asked her.
“My mom’s PTA President, remember?” Tamika was smiling so wide and showing so many teeth she reminded me of the cat from Alice in Wonderland. “She’s got a big mouth and I’ve got big ears.”
I wondered if what Tamika said was true. It was hard to know for sure because she exaggerated sometimes. She wouldn’t do it on purpose, or anything. But she just got excited about little things super easily and then made them out to be bigger than what they actually were.
Like last year during winter break. She called me up and said she had a paying gig. For both of us. And we’d be singing in front of lots of people. So I got all dressed up. She and her mother drove over to pick me up and we ended up pulling into the parking lot of some fancy-pants building that looked like an old time plantation.
“Where are we?” I asked.
“Macon Manor. It’s a nursing home,” Mrs. Robinson said. “My mother lives here. Our church choir comes over every Christmas Eve to sing for the residents.”
We wandered inside and Tamika sang her little heart out. She had two solos, but she let me sing a few lines of Jingle Bells. They passed around a basket afterwards and a bunch of old people tossed their spare change into it. The choir let Tamika and I split the loot. We each made a whopping $2.73. Woohoo!
Since Tamika hadn’t sung many solos in public before, it was a big deal for her. But I didn’t mind going along with Tamika when she made a big deal out of things because being easy to please made her fun to be around.
I turned away from the poster and started hustling toward the lunchroom again.
“I sure hope they have more meatballs,” Tamika said, following.
“Me too,” I said as my stomach let out a huge growl.
But as soon as we plowed through the cafeteria doors the bell rang, signaling the end of lunch.