SUNNY BOY IN THE COUNTRY
by RAMY ALLISON WHITE [Stratemeyer Syndicate pseud.]
[ghostwritten by Josephine Lawrence from an outline by Edward Stratemeyer]
Illustrated by Charles L. Wrenn
New York: Barse & Hopkins, 1920
Scanned by Deidre Johnson for her
Josephine Lawrence website;
please do not use on other sites without permission
THE MENDED DRUM
"RUB-A-DUB, dub! Bang! Rub-a- dub-dub—Bang! Bang!" Sunny Boy thumped his drum vigorously.
Usually when he made such a racket some one would come out and ask him what in the world was he making a noise like that for, but this morning every one seemed to be very busy. For several minutes now Sunny Boy had been trying to attract Harriet's attention. She was doing something to the front door.
"I spect she needs me," said Sunny Boy to himself.
There were any number of interesting things going on around the front door this morning, but he was chiefly interested in Harriet, because as a rule he had to help her Saturday mornings by going with her to the grocery store at the corner. He liked to stand in her clean, comfortable kitchen and drum for her until she was ready to start.
This particular morning Harriet's mind seemed to be far away from music. She was rubbing briskly as Sunny Boy watched her, polishing—that was it: she was shining the brass numbers on the door—266. Sunny Boy knew them, and how careful Harriet was to keep them always bright.
"Just think," she would say, as they might be coming up the steps; "suppose the post- man had a letter for 266 Glenn Avenue, and the numbers were so dull and streaked he couldn't read them! Think how we'd feel if that should happen to us "' Sunny Boy was sure such a thing could
never happen, not with Harriet rubbing away at the numbers morning after morning.
From his post at the head of the stairs he could see a man on a step-ladder, working and whistling. He was hammering in nails over the door. Dimly Sunny Boy made out another pair of doors standing in the hall.
"Goodness, Sunny Boy, I nearly fell over you!" Aunt Bessie kissed him on the back of his neck before he could turn round. That was a trick Aunt Bessie had, and Sunny Boy was used to it. "Are you watching them put up the screens and awnings'?"
"Are they?" asked Sunny interestedly. "Could I hold the awning? Maybe the man would like my tool-chest—-it's all there but the hammer. I lost that in the park. Can I help, Auntie?"
Aunt Bessie was going downtown, and she was in a hurry. "If you don't get in the way, I daresay they'll be glad to have you," she said kindly, and brushed by him, on
down the stairs. She stopped to speak to some one in the parlor, and then Sunny Boy saw her go out and down the steps.
Sunny Boy sat down on the top stair and took his drum in his lap. Presently he would go down and help the awning man, but it was very pleasant where he was. The softest little May breeze came wandering through the open door up to him, and the canary in the dining room was ringing his cheerful loudest. Sunny Boy leaned his curly head against the bannister to listen.
His real name, of course, was not Sunny Boy—oh, no, he was named for his grandpa, and when the postman brought him an invitation to a birthday party you might see it written out—Arthur Bradford Horton.
But birthday parties happen only once in a while, and Daddy and Mother called him Sunny Boy because he was nearly always cheerful. As Mother explained, you can't depend on a party happening to cheer you
up, so to know a little boy who is sure to smile every day—well, that is worth while. And often Sunny forgot that he had any other name.
Bump—bang—bumpty, bang! Down the stairs suddenly rolled the drum, making a fearful racket on the steps as it bounded from side to side. Down the stairs it rolled, across the narrow strip of hall, past Harriet, now on her knees scrubbing the green and white tiles, under the ladder of the awning man, down the steps, and right out into the street! After it scrambled Sunny Boy, as fast as his tan sandals would take him. He was just in time to see his drum roll to the middle of the street and stop in the center of the heavy traffic. A big furniture van, drawn by three horses, was headed right for it.
"It'll be smashed! Oh, oh!" Sunny Boy wailed, hopping up and down on the curb, but remembering even in his excitement that
he had promised not to go off the pavement when alone. "They'll ride right over my drum!"
"I guess not "' cried a tall man, and darted out from behind Sunny. He rushed to where the drum lay and snatched it up, almost from under the horses' feet.
The colored man driving the furniture van grinned.
"Most busted dat drum for sure!" he shouted. "If this off horse, Billy, ever put his foot through it, good-by drum.'"
"And there you are!" The tall man gave Sunny Boy back his drum with a flourish. "Just as good as new, except for a little hole that I'm willing to bet a cookie your mother can mend for you. Isn't she waving for you to come in ? I thought so. You run along now, and see if she doesn't mend it."
Mother was on the front steps watching for him. Sunny thanked the tall man, who said that it was nothing, nothing at all: he'd
never rescued a drum before, but he was glad to have the experience, and that things always turned out well for small boys who stayed on the sidewalks and didn't dash out into the streets to get run over. Then Sunny climbed up the steps and held out his drum for Mother to see.
"The man said you could mend it," he said wistfully. "Can you, Mother? 'Cause when things break, I miss 'em."
Mrs. Horton managed to hug her son, drum and all, though there really wasn't much space where they stood. She was under the awning man's ladder, and he was shaking and moving the large awning about. Inside the door stood Harriet and her brush and bucket.
"So, 'twas the drum!" smiled Harriet. "I couldn't see what it was went rolling by me like lightning, and Sunny Boy tearing after it. All I heard was a noise like thunder."
"We'll go up to my room and mend the drum," declared Mrs. Horton. "Tell Mr. Bray I'll telephone him about the slip-covers, please, Harriet. I left him in the parlor when I ran out to see what was happening to Sunny Boy."
"What," demanded Sunny Boy, carrying his drum upstairs—and you may be sure that he gripped it tightly this time—"What are slip covers, Mother?"
Mrs. Horton laughed.
"Why, slip-covers are—" She thought a minute. "They are covers for the chairs and sofas to wear in summer," she explained. "Nice, cool, linen covers, you know, for the furniture, just as you have summer suits."
Sunny Boy understood. He usually did when Mother answered his questions. And he was very sure that she could mend his drum.
"Do you know," said Mrs. Horton, when
she had looked at the hole, "I think, Sunny Boy, we can mend this nicely with court-plaster?"
"Court-plaster?" echoed Sunny Boy. "I have some in the medicine closet in the bathroom," went on Mrs. Horton, drawing the edges of the hole together as she talked. "I'll get it, dear."
"It's like mending fingers, isn't it, Mother?" Sunny Boy was so anxious to watch how Mother mended the drum that he nearly put his own pink nose in the hole. "When Daddy cut his finger he put court- plaster on it. He said the skin would grow together, and it did—-when he took it off, there wasn't any cut there. Just nothing. Will my drum be like that?"
"No, precious," answered Mother, snip- ping around the edges of the court-plaster with the fascinating sharp shears Sunny Boy was forbidden to touch. "A drum, you know, isn't like a person's skin. It can't grow. But I think that if you remember to be careful the drum will last a long time. There you are. My goodness! it makes as much noise as ever, doesn't it?" and Mrs. Horton covered her ears and laughed as Sunny Boy beat merrily on his mended drum.
"Letters'" he cried a minute later as a shrill whistle sounded. "I'll get 'cm for you, Mother," and downstairs again he tumbled. Only he left the drum safely on Mother's bed.
"Two—three—ever so many," he announced proudly when he came back. "Are there any for me. Mother?"
Like some other little folk, Sunny Boy was always expecting letters, though he almost never wrote any. But he meant to write a great many as soon as he learned to write with ink, and he was even now learning to print nicely.
"None for you," answered Mrs. Horton,
glancing at the envelopes. "However, here is one with something in it for you, I suspect. Grandpa Horton has written to us."
As Mother opened this letter, a little note fell out. That was from Grandpa Horton to Sunny Boy. He liked to put a little letter inside his large one, just for his grandson. Sunny waited quietly while Mother read her letter. When she had read it through, she folded it and put it back in the envelope.
"Sunny Boy," she said, and her voice made him think of the "laughing piece" she sometimes played for him on the piano. He looked at her and her eyes were dancing. "Sunny Boy," she said again, "what do you think? We're going to visit Grandpa Horton on his farm—going to make him a nice long visit and see the real country."
"Oh, goody!" cried Sunny Boy. "Is Daddy going?"
"He'll come to see us," promised Mother. "Let me read you what Grandpa has written you, dear."
Grandpa Horton's note to Sunny told him he was depending on him to help him with the early haying.
"Wasn't it lucky Harriet rubbed the numbers on the front door this mornings" chuckled Sunny Boy. "S'posing we didn't get this letter? Where's Brookside, Mother?"
Brookside was the name of Grandpa's farm. Mrs. Horton explained that it was many miles away from the city, and that it would take them nearly a day on the train to get there.
"And if Daddy cannot go with us, you'll have to take care of me," she said seriously. "All right, I will," promised Sunny Boy. "I'll have to go and tell Harriet an' show her my letter. I'll tell the awning man, too. I was going to help him, but I don't feel helping, somehow. I feel wiggled up, you know, Mother."
"You're excited," said Mrs. Horton. "Well, we don't go for two weeks, dear, so you'll have plenty of time to talk about it. I must write to Grandpa as soon as Daddy comes home."
Dashing out of the room went Sunny Boy, crying the good news at the top of his lungs —"We're going to the country! We're going to my Grandpa's farm! Hurrah !"
On to chapter two
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