Pete Sees a Way
Peter’s mother stopped the car and got out. “Come on,” she said. “Grandma and Grandpa want to see you. We haven’t been here for weeks.”
But Peter hung back. His great-grandparents had so much trouble seeing and hearing and getting around that watching them always made him feel bad.
“Come on,” Mom repeated. “I want you to help cheer them up.” Peter sighed and got out of the car.
When Grandma opened the door, she yelped, “Peter!.” She grabbed him so hard he bumped his head on her glasses.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” said Grandma. “Did I hurt you?”
“No,” said Peter, pulling away. “I’m fine.”
Grandpa called, “Peter come and sit on my lap.”
“No, I’m too big for that,” said Peter as he took a nearby kitchen chair instead.
Mom said, “Peter, why don’t you and Grandpa read together. “Here’s a book about trucks.”
“Ducks?” said Grandpa. “What kind of ducks?”
“Trucks,” Peter said carefully. “The book is about trucks.” He took the book and pulled his chair closer to Grandpa’s. He opened the book and let Grandpa see the picture on the first page.
“That was a long drive,” said Mom. “I think I’ll take a nap.”
Peter read, “Once there was a man named Sam whose truck carried milk from the farms to the creamery.”
“A milk truck?” Grandpa said eagerly, and he yanked the book up to his nose. The silver corner of his glasses narrowly missed Peter’s sore forehead. Grandpa added, “That truck looks like the one that used to take milk from my farm.”
“Would you like to read this yourself?” Peter asked.
“Yes,” said Grandpa. He read: “Every afternoon Sam stopped at Farmer Brown’s dairy farm.” Grandpa put the book down and scowled. “This book is wrong,” he complained. “The milk truck comes in the morning, not the afternoon.”
“It doesn’t matter,” said Peter.
“It does matter,” Grandpa insisted. “I milked my cows before the sun came up. Our milk man came right after breakfast.”
Grandma came over with a plate of cookies. “Would you like one?” she asked.
“Yes, please,” said Peter.
But Grandpa pushed the plate away. “No cookies,” he growled. “I’m teaching the boy about farming.” Peter sighed.
“But Harold...” Grandma began.
“Oh, never mind,” Grandpa said crossly. He pushed the button on his chair to make it go up. “I’ve got to go to the bathroom.” He grabbed his cage-like walking frame and shuffled away. As he passed the kitchen counter, he grabbed a cookie and left his glasses.
Grandma dropped into her chair across the coffee table from Grandpa’s. She put the cookies on the table and leaned back. She and Peter each had a cookie. Taking off her glasses, she rubbed her eyes. Just then a buzzer went off, and Grandma struggled back to her feet.
“Oh my cookies,” she cried, rushing toward the kitchen.
Soon Grandpa came back and plopped heavily into his chair. He made the chair’s motor tip him back. “Okay,” he said, “let’s get back to farming.”
“All right,” Peter agreed, but he didn’t really want to.
Grandpa put on his glasses and opened the book. He squinted. “Darned eyes,” he said tugging at his glasses. “They get worse all the time.”
Peter helped Grandpa turn to the third page of the book. He read: “‘Sam,” said Farmer Brown, ‘ I have a problem.’“
“I have a problem, too,” said Grandpa. “These glasses are dirty. I can’t see a thing.”
“I can’t either,” said Grandma from the kitchen. “My glasses are all steamed up.”
Grandpa grumbled, “It’s rough to get old, Peter. Then you can’t hear or see.”
Peter nodded. He knew that getting old was hard, Grandpa had told him so often enough. He looked at Grandpa’s wrinkled face. Then he grinned.
“Grandpa,” he said. “Let me see those glasses.”
“Okay,” said Grandpa, handing them to Peter. “Can you clean them, please?”
“Sure,” said Peter. “But that won’t help you see any better.”
“Why not?” asked Grandpa.
“Because,” Peter said dramatically, “these are Grandma’s glasses.”
“Humph,” said Grandpa, frowning. “Who switched them?”
“You did,” Peter declared. “You and Grandma laid your glasses down in each other’s spots.” Peter and his great-grandmother started to laugh.
Grandpa kept frowning a moment longer and then he laughed, too. “Thank you, Peter,” he said. “I don’t know what we’d have done without you.”
“No problem,” said Peter.