Hey Gramma!” Little Allison Jackson lay on her back on the floor, tangled locks framing her face and bright eyes beaming out from behind wisps of stray hair.
Her younger brother Andy lay next to her in a similar position, holding a stuffed tyrannosaurus in one hand and a toy John Deere tractor in the other.
“Yes Allison?” said Rose Jackson, who was seated on the couch across the room. “What is it?”
“Look at my little brother,” said Allison. “Isn’t he the cutest baby ever?”
“He is adorable,” said Rose. “Although he’s not exactly a baby anymore.”
“But he’s soooo cute,” said Allison. She sighed. “Look at him. This is what Mom and I have to put up with on a daily basis you know.”
Rose laughed. “Where do you come up with this stuff?” she said. Andy rolled over and sat up. He laid the stuffed toy down on the carpet and proceeded to drive over it several times with the toy tractor while making tractor noises with his tongue. “I guess that’s one way to take care of a T-Rex,” said Rose.
“T-Rex’s are very dangerous,” said Allison. “And they are bigger than a tractor so you have to be careful. Otherwise they will eat all the sheep.”
“Eat all the sheep?” said Rose. “But wouldn’t your guard donkeys chase away the T-Rex to protect the sheep?”
Allison pondered that for a moment. “They maybe would try,” she said, “But donkeys are smaller than a tractor so the T-Rex might not be afraid. Maybe it would just make the donkeys go in the barn and stay there till it was finished eating the sheep. That’s why Daddy has a big, big tractor. In case of T-Rex’s.”
“Has anyone ever told you,” said Rose, “that dinosaurs died out about two million years ago? There aren’t any left. So the T-Rex’s won’t be coming by to snack on your sheep any time ever. And the reason your daddy has a big, big tractor is so he can do the farm work faster when the weather is nice — which it almost never is.”
Allison looked doubtful. “Even still,” she said. “You never can tell with dinosaurs.”
“Funny,” said Rose, “that’s what Winnie-the-Pooh says about bees.”
“What?” said Allison.
“You never can tell with bees,” said Rose.
“You never can tell what with bees?” said Allison.
Rose had to think about that for a second. “I hardly remember,” she said. “I think Pooh meant you never can tell with bees whether they are the right kind or not.”
“The right kind for what?” Allison wanted to know.
“The right kind for taking honey away from,” said Rose.
Andy got up and threw the stuffed dinosaur in the general direction of the unlit fireplace.
“Careful there sonny,” said Rose. “We don’t throw things into the fireplace.” Andy toddled over to pick up the toy again, then toddled back, handed it to Rose and clambered up to sit next to her on the couch. “Thank you,” said Rose.
“I would never take honey away from bees,” said Allison. “I would get honey from the store so the bees could keep their honey in case they got hungry. Also, if I took the honey away from the bees they might sting me. I got a bee sting once. It hurt very, very, very, very much.”
“Do you remember what kind of a bee it was that stung you?” asked Rose.
“It was one of the ones with a stinger,” said Allison.
“That is definitely true,” said Rose.
“You know what I was thinking?” said Allison.
“No,” said Rose. “I do not know what you were thinking.”
“Do you want me to tell you?” asked Allison.
“If I said no, would you tell me anyway?” said Rose.
“Yes,” said Allison. “Because I was thinking I could really use a cookie just now.” At the word cookie Andy turned and slid off the couch and headed purposefully in the direction of the kitchen.
Rose looked at her watch. “Would you look at that,” she said. “It’s exactly cookie time. How did you know that Allison?”
“My tummy knows when it’s cookie time,” said Allison, “and then it reminds me.”
Rose stood up and took the little girl’s hand. “What kind of cookie are you hungry for?” she asked.
“What kind do you have?” asked Allison.
“Oatmeal chocolate chip,” said Rose.
“Oh goody,” said Allison. “Those are my favourite, favourite kind.”
“Well then it’s lucky we have them,” said Rose.
“You know what else is lucky?” said Allison.
“What?” said Rose.
“It’s lucky you’re not my mom,” said Allison. “Because my mom never says it’s cookie time before lunch.”
“That’s because at your house it never is,” said Rose.
“I’m glad I’m at your house,” said Allison.
“So am I dear,” said Rose, smiling. “So am I.”