Sydney The Giraffe….
Sydney the giraffe was a quiet fellow. He loved to watch the other animals at the AnyTown zoo. The monkey twins climbed trees and acted silly. The elephants liked to take cooling baths. Sometimes, Joe the peacock showed off his fancy tail and other times he showed his crabby mood by dragging it along behind him. Charlie the rooster was always crowing about something. Whether it was early or late, you always knew where Charlie was. Penelope the pig was just the opposite. She stayed to herself and was usually found in her mud wallow. She loved her mud! If a pig could wear a smile, then she was the pig you wanted to get a picture of.
Though Sydney loved his friends at the zoo, he was beginning to want to stretch out his neck and see some new places. His favorite thing of all was roller skating . He owned the most beautiful skates with shiny wheels and long red laces. Lately, he’d heard rumors of another kind of skating. He needed to see what ice skates were like, and buy himself a pair. But where would he find them? Because giraffes couldn’t talk, Sydney couldn’t ask for help. The first thing he was going to do, though, was leave the zoo and begin his quest.
So Sydney packed up his skates, put on his tan hat and was on his way. After going a couple of blocks, he felt safe enough to put on his skates. He stopped in the park to remove his high top tennis shoes, then slipped his feet into his awesome wheels. With everything stored in his backpack, he skated on, a gentle breeze blowing across his brow. Now this was the way to travel!
As Sydney neared the nearby primary school, the kids started to notice him. He pushed himself close to the wall so the teachers wouldn’t see what the fuss was all about. After a moment, he breathed a sigh of relief and rolled on. THAT had been a close call. A few minutes later he faced a new problem. A very steep hill lay before him. Stopping suddenly, he tried to find a way down that would be safe. Finally, he decided to get down by using the grass to slow his speed. At the bottom, he turned to see how the hill looked from below. Whew! It looked a lot steeper from there.
Pushing his tan hat to an angle, he marched..or skated on. This freedom was great! There was so much to see beyond the walls of the zoo. Restaurants, gas stations, and houses were everywhere. He had no idea where all the people came from, but they were exciting to see. There were tall ones, short ones, round ones and skinny ones.He loved them all. Some had blonde hair or red hair or beautiful shades of brown and black. His favourite hair colour was red. The way the light played in the strands reminded him of the fall leaves. And the people came and went with such gorgeous tones of skin. It was as if an artist had painted each one with a special brush.
His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of a police car so he ducked under a tree. Were they looking for him? He wasn’t taking any chances. Finding himself to be thirsty, he skated over to the fountain near the center of the park. The people in the park paid no attention to him; they were too busy to worry about others. Sydney felt safe so he started off across town. The people here weren’t concerned about animals walking among them.
Three blocks over and four blocks down, he stopped to look into a pet store window. Hearing a small sound near his feet, he looked and found a small black kitten watching his every move. He hurried away in case someone would think the kitten was his. But to his surprise, the kitten was still at his heels. Going faster, Sydney reached the end of the street. Looking around he was dismayed to find the kitten still there. Sighing heavily, he reached for the cat only to find himself pounced on by the bundle of fur.
Well, this was new and wonderful. He loved hearing the soft mewling in his ear. Hmm. Maybe he would keep…..um..hmm….Winslow. That was it! Winslow the cat. It was a good solid name. But where did you carry a tiny pet while traveling on an adventure? The kitten figured out the answer for itself by trying to burrow into the back pack. Sydney moved his supplies around to make room for his new friend. The tiny kitten curled up right next to the sneakers. The quest continued.
Sydney’s next concern was food for the cat. Sydney could easily find leaves to eat, but the kitten needed real food. Getting an idea, he walked to a restaurant two doors away. Seeing him there with a perplexed look on his face, the hostess came out with a bag of fish scraps. ” Take these,’ she said with a smile.”We’ll have more later.”
Sydney returned her smile. Nodding to her, he headed away to find a place for them to eat. Little Winslow ate the food hungrily, then resettled in the pack for a bath and a nap. Sydney grinned broadly at the sight. People said AnyTown was a good place to fill your needs. It was true. At that moment he heard the bells of the church chiming the time. It was six o’clock in the evening already. He’d walked a long way so the day had gone by quickly. Sydney was as tired as his friend. Yawning widely at the thought of sleep, he made his way into another city park, found a comfortable place under the bushes and went to sleep.
The next morning brought sunny skies and a warm wind. First on the list of things to do, was find the place with an ice rink. Just down the street, Sydney noticed two young girls carrying some unusual skates. Maybe following them would bring him closer to the end of his quest. Keeping pace with them, he was soon standing in front of a domed building with wide doors and spacious windows. Laughter reached his ears as he opened the door to follow the girls inside. There, right in front of him, was a magnificent expanse of ice. Now, if he could find those skates.
“Yoohoo,” a voice called to him from a desk located across the entry. The kindly lady was happy to fit Sydney with the skates he needed. Because a class for new skaters was just beginning, he was able to start skating immediately.The coach said he was a natural as he watched him glide across the ice. It was as if he’d been born with skates for feet. Winslow watched from a nearby bench, purring the entire time. He, too was impressed.
When Sydney’s time on the ice was over he found himself surrounded by excited people. Even the coaches congratulated him on his fine skating. In fact, it was agreed he should return the next day. As they left the rink, Winslow meowed his approval.
It was time for Winslow to eat again when the pair left the rink, so they searched out another food source and were rewarded with fine fish scraps for Winslow to eat. Eating contentedly, the cat didn’t notice Sydney taking careful bites from nearby trees. Sydney never ate many leaves from any one tree because it would look awful if he left bald spots. Sydney really love this town. he had made so many new friends, and he’d started to do so many new things. Not everyone here was helpful, but for the most part, he could find a hand when he needed one. Really, he should spread the word about this wonderful place.
His thoughts were interrupted by Father John from the local church. ‘Sydney, my friend.” The pastor stopped to shake his hand.” I was hoping to find you today. I need some help finishing the painting at the parsonage. You’re the perfect person for painting the ceilings.Could you help?”
Father John waited only a second before Sydney nodded in agreement.
“We’ll expect you when we see you.” With that, the good priest was on his way to find more volunteers.
When Sydney and Winslow got to the parsonage they were put right to work. The golden yellow color was a perfect match to the accessories already bought. The room would be breathtakingly beautiful when finished. A few hours later, the living room, kitchen and dining room were done. They would return the following morning to do the bathrooms and bedrooms.
Winslow and Sydney slept well after all their work. Getting up the next morning wasn’t easy, but the painting began again at eight. Winslow spent his time painting from atop Syd’s hat. Sydney worked carefully around his friend using broad strokes of paint.
By afternoon, the parsonage was done and the painting brigade had gone home.While leaving the church, Sydney and Winslow spotted their good friend, Edward, the bookworm, walking across the street. They hollered for him to wait. First they needed to say goodbye to Lenny, the carpenter who was working outside the church. He was a soft spoken man who worked hard and needed little thanks. He did jobs for parishioners, too, but he didn’t want a fuss made of his skills.He could tackle any problem, but preferred to help in his own quiet way.
“Hi, there, Edward, “greeted Winslow as they crossed the street.” How are you this fine day?”
At the sound of Winslow’s voice, Sydney stared at his friend in amazement. He didn’t know he could talk. Well, this would come in handy, he thought, with a gigantic grin on his face.
The dark haired man pushed his glasses up on his nose as he answered.” Well, I’m doing great. How are you two?”
Sydney smiled before Winslow answered.”Couldn’t be better. Just finished over at the church.”
“That was today? Well, I missed out on that one.Please let me know the next time there’s a project and I’ll help.” He dropped his head ,embarrassed to have forgotten. “I’ll see you later. I’ve got work to do. I’m finishing up a book on football players from the sixties and seventies. Later.” He turned and started a way, nearly slipping off the sidewalk. “Oops!, he yelled back toward them, with a laugh. “Gotta watch where I’m going.”
Sydney and Winslow laughed along with him.It was funny how people reacted when they goofed up.
The sky was turning to a dusky blue, when they reached the park. Winslow suggested they get some food at the Fire Fly Diner. Sydney agreed and they headed that way.Two streets over and one street down, they arrived at their destination. After placing their orders, they sat back contentedly. Winslow put an arm around his friend.
” You know, Syd.I am very glad we met. I couldn’t be more happy. How about you?”
Sydney looked at his friend for a second. He nodded and patted his friends head. Then he nodded again.
“Yep ,me too, Syd,” the cat agreed. “This is wonderful. AnyTown is the perfect place for us.”
With the sun sinking below the western hills, all the citizens seemed to sigh at one and the same time.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx VerLen P. Sheehan