"Momma, can I go out to the barn and play? please momma, pretty please, oh I just love to play in the barn," The energy filled five year old plead? Because it was an overcast early March day, and Momma was scrubbing and waxing the kitchen floor.
"Yes, go ahead but don't climb up in the hay loft, for you remember what happened the last time you climbed up there and no one was with you?" The mother a tall athletic looking lady in her thirties, only had one child and this one ran her really ragged; so when she went to play in the barn, it was nice, for the little girl wasn't rambunctious.
"Yes maam, but I had to go up there and get Fred, for he just flew up there and sat on a rafter, I am sorry momma, really sorry that I fell and broken your garden cart and my arm," She felt that falling on momma's plastic gardening cart was worse than her arm, but momma's cart had really saved the day. "But momma I won't go up in the loft, I promise."
"Run along, and I will call you when I need you to help me with supper, OK? " The lady always had her daughter there helping her cook, and each time, whether it was three times a day or once a week, the lady always thought of the Shake and Bake Commercial where the little girl said, "and I helped" So the little girl and her cat Sheba, wandered out to the barn. Now she doesn't like just any place in the barn, but a small tack room, that hasn't been used for tack in years. It isn't very large and after they got rid of the work horses, they keep the riding horse's tack in the new building. Some clover hay, which is baled and stored is stacked in there, the clover hay is special.
When she gets to the tack room, she immediately sweeps up her little corner of the room and then looks for a table. As there is no furniture in there, she drags a bale of hay out from the wall and that becomes her table.
She goes outside and finds a little stool, which only has three legs, so she finds a rock, a brick and two pieces of wood, and makes Sheba a chair. Funny how close she came to guessing the amount of room she had to fill in for the missing leg, by just looking. So she sits the cat, Sheba on the stool, and she kneels on the floor and opens her little pink plastic suitcase, well not really a suitcase but a small pink plastic carrying case for her play dishes. She takes out the tea set and sets two places
"Sheba are you ready for tea, and oh I have the most delightful little heart shaped cookies?" Then she pours her imaginary tea and offers her friend an imaginary cookie.
She and Sheba talk as they sip their tea, and munch those adorable little heart shaped chocolate cookies. Of course Sheba insists on fresh milk for her tea.
This has been going on for about five or ten minutes when the little girl looks over and sees a small mouse standing on its rear legs looking at her. Now, a mouse in a barn is nothing new, or different but this one was.
This little mouse had a blue gingham bonnet and a blue gingham apron on.
Sheba looked over at the mouse and sort of shrugged her shoulders, cause Sheba was not a mouser, no siree jayne, Sheba was just a lazy house cat, and partner to our little girl
"Hi little mousy, hi pretty little mouse," the little girl said, as she looked at Sheba and said, "Oh please excuse me for a moment Sheba, for I want to introduce myself to miz mouse."
So she turned toward the mouse and said, "Hi want to have tea with Sheba and I." She immediately dropped to her knees so she would be closer to the mouse's level. "Oh Sheba won't hurt you, Sheba doesn't bother mouses."
" Why hi little girl, how are you, my name is Tina field mouse, but I am now Tina barn mouse, glad to meet you."
The little girl, was not taken aback, not even one little bit, "Glad to make your acquaintance Tina, my name is Becky, Becky Datcher." Then she extended her hand as if to shake hands with the tiny little mouse in the blue gingham bonnet and apron. " Oh do come and have tea with Sheba and I."
" Becky, I would be glad to but Mavis is expecting me," and she dropped down on all fours as if to go.
" Why Tina why don't you invite Mavis and the two of you come and have tea with Sheba and I?" The little girl's voice, like most small children had no air of pretension and it was her honesty that impressed Tina field mouse, er I mean Tina barn mouse.
"Well, if you don't think we would be imposing, but Mavis doesn't talk much, she just squeaks a lot." The mouse's face seemed to show a sense of congeniality.
"That is OK, while you go get Mavis I will get you and Mavis a chair, and Oh I have to run into the house, and , oooooooh I will be back , you go get Mavis." "Come on Sheba I need to go into the house." So the little girl grabs her cat and runs into the house.
Her mother looked up from using the Mop and Glow and commented as the little girl came running into the house with her cat in her arms, at full tilt. "My Becky, you have to go?"
"Momma, momma, Oh no I don't have to go. Sheba and I are going to have tea with Tina barn mouse and her friend Mavis." She was jumping up and down and did not notice that she had just walked through where her mother had just waxed.
"Oh really?" Her mother asked.
" Can I have a small glass of milk and a couple crackers, so we can have a real tea?" She was still jumping up and down with pangs of anxiety.
"Yes Becky, but first put Sheba down and go to the bathroom and I will see what I can find."
"Yes maam," and she was off around the corner. The lady thought the story was a good one, for her daughter had a vivid imagination. So the mother made another dry mop pass over where her young daughter had just walked; and by the time she had started the little girl was back. " Becky, lets see what we can find for your tea," as the lady walked to the cupboard. "Oh do you think your friends will be big eaters or just a small tea time snack?"
"Oh momma, just a tea time snack."
" First, there are three leftover chocolate chip cookies, and oh here is a little nubbin of sharp cheese and oh yes some milk," so she filled a small bottle with milk and put a cap on it.
" Oh momma this will be the bestest tea party of all."
The mother, then put the milk, the cookies, the cheese, and a half an apple sliced up into a small shoebox, then she added four fancy paper napkins, which had been left over from the PTA mother's coffee.
The little girl was all smiles, "Oh thank you momma, you are such a sweet lady," she said, as she and the cat, the cat walking this time, ran back to the barn.
She immediately dragged another bale of that sweet smelling hay over next to the bale table. She sat the box down on the table and about then she heard this little squeaky voice.
"Hi Becky, we are here," as the little turned to see the little mouse, Tina in her blue gingham bonnet and apron, with another mouse, one much larger and looking oh so mousy. " Becky this is my friend Mavis, Mavis this is Becky."
As Becky did a little curtsey. and not missing a beat, said, "Hi Mavis, how are you doing, oh it is jut a gorgeous day we are having."
"Oh Tina, this is my friend Sheba, and Sheba this is Tina's friend Mavis,"
Sheba, just looked at the two mice and went, "mew" for Sheba knew there was milk and cookies in the box.
"Tina , Mavis sit over here on this chair, I hope you don't mind sitting on the south side of the table, because if you sat on the west side, the sun would be in your eyes." What a gracious and well-mannered hostess the little girl was.
Tina and Mavis scampered over to the bale, which was their chair, and sat down,
The little girl opened her pink dishes case and took out two more small cups and saucers, and she also took out four small salad plates to put the treats on. Then she folded the four napkins, just like mom, had shown her how to fold the linen napkins for Sunday dinner, when company came.
After the dishes and napkins had been placed, she took the bottle of milk and poured it into the little teapot from her set, and then looked at Tina and Mavis, and then to Sheba. "Is it ok if I pour," she asked the two.
Tina, with a big grin, replied, "Yes," and Mavis just squeaked, while Sheba, just went, "Meeoooooow".
Becky poured about a half cup of milk in each of the four little china cups, then she took out the two cookies and broke each cookie into four pieces. she put two pieces of cookie on each plate, then she took the little nub of cheese and when she tried to break it, it crumbled, so she put a few crumbles on each plate.
The two mice's noses were twitching for they could smell the cheese, good New York extra sharp cheddar
"Eat up girls," Becky said as the little girl took a bite of her cookie and then sipped her milk, er tea. The mice began to lap the milk and nibble on the cheese, while Sheba, lapped up her milk and started to eat the cookie. The two mice quickly ate their cheese, and the little girl looked at Sheba, "Sheba would you like to share your cheese with Tina and Mavis?"
"Mew, mew," was Sheba's reply. So the little girl took Sheba's crumbles of cheese and placed them on Tina and Mavis's plate.
"Oh thank your Sheba," Tina said, and then "Squeak, squeak," went Mavis. Tina looked at Sheba and said, "Oh Sheba would you care for our cookies, for we much prefer the cheese?" Then the little mouse looked at Becky, " And Becky did your mom bake these cookies, for they are delicious."
"Yes Tina , my momma baked them and she is one good cookie maker." The little girl took the two pieces of cookie and placed it on Sheba's plate.
Sheba looked at the cookies pieces and said, "Mew, mew, mew," and immediately began to eat the cookies. Becky and her two guests chatted about where Tina and Mavis lived, and their families. All at once Becky heard the old school bell outside the back door ring, which meant momma wanted her.
" Sorry Tina, sorry Mavis but my mother is calling, it is time to help fix supper, so I must go,"
"Oh delightful," Tina said, " May we do this again? Tina stood and nudged Mavis.
"Squeak ,squeak," Mavis said, and Sheba looked at the little girl and went burp.
The little girl carefully gathered all her china , wiped it off and carefully put it away, and then she and Sheba went back to the house,
Tina and Mavis, just smiled, and in mousses, Mavis said, "Oh Tina I just have to get me a bonnet and apron like yours if we are going to have High tea with Becky again."
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