. “You sure packed a great picnic lunch, Freddy!” said his friend. “Maybe I can find a candy apple after it gets dark.”
“Not for me!” said Freddy quickly. “I had enough candy apples to last a lifetime!” He leaned back against the tree and patted his full tummy. “I’m feeling just fine and not a bit wibboly!”
“Oh, wibboly is the way a mouse feels when he eats too much candy and his tummy shivers and his knees wobble.” He looked around for something else to talk about. “Where are all the lights and rides?”
“They’re only here for the fair,” said Randy, “but there’ll be something just as good. And it won’t be long now because it’s getting dark. Look over there.” Randy pointed with his wing to a group of men working on the far side of a big field. “Just wait until you see what they’re gonna do! Let’s clean up and get ready.”
They put the grape seeds and clover stem in the bandanna and Randy flew down to a trash barrel to shake it out. Then he brought the cloth back to Freddy so he could put it in the basket for next time. “Now, let’s sit back and wait for the fun to begin! Remember though, it’s gonna scare you!”
“Nah,” said Freddy, “I don’t get scared. I’m brave!” But he did edge a bit closer to a sturdy twig that was sticking up beside him. He figured he could grab it if anything really dangerous happened.
It kept getting darker and darker. Soon, the people began to gather at the edge of the big field. They had lawn chairs and blankets to sit on and the children ran between them with sparkling sticks. “It’s just about time,” said Randy. “Everyone is getting ready.”
Freddy reached back to check how sturdy that twig was, and wondered just what was going to happen. All of a sudden something went whoosh out of the field and he saw what looked like a shooting star rise higher and higher in the air.
When it was almost out of sight there was a horrendous KABOOM! Oh! Freddy had never heard anything so loud in his life! Stars and sparks shot out of the thing and scared poor Freddy half out of his skin! He grabbed that twig with every foot he had, wrapped his tail around it, too, and just hung there and shivered!
Randy laughed so hard he almost fell out of the tree. “I told you so! I told you you were gonna be scared! I said it would be loud! Oh, you look funny!”
“I,I,I,I don’t t t t think I w w want to s s see any more!” stuttered Freddy and he hid his eyes.
“Ah, don’t be a scaredy cat! Get them eyes open. You gotta see this. Look!” Another rocket went into the air and again, KABAM! All the pretty colors came out. this time Freddy hung on with two feet and a tail and kept his eyes open.
“Well,” he thought, “it IS pretty, but it’s still loud! Another went up. Whoooosh, BAM! And this time he held on with only one foot and was feeling very brave. They WERE beautiful. Gold and red and blue, white and yellow – all raining down like stars falling out of the sky.
“I know where it’s even prettier,” said Randy. “Jump on my back and we’ll fly up above where we can see better.”
“Up there?” whispered Freddy. “Fly THROUGH all that stuff? Are you sure it’s safe?”
“Sure, I do it every year!” bragged Randy, “Come on!”
Freddy trusted his friend, even if he had laughed when he got so scared. He climbed on and they flew higher than they had ever flown together. Suddenly, pop, pop, pop, pop! All underneath them exploded the fireworks. They looked like huge beautiful flowers opening up and falling away. “Oh, Randy, that IS beautiful!” said Freddy. “Can we go closer?”
“Now who’s getting brave?” laughed Randy, and he swooped down just in time for another pop, pop, pop of exploding rockets. They were VERY close. IN fact, they were all around them with blinding lights and the smell of gunpowder strong enough to make them sneeze.
“That’s close enough!” hollered Freddy. “Let’s get out of here!”
Randy flew up high again and then they went back to the tree for the rest of the show. When a big red, white and blue flag lit up over the crowd, Randy said, “Well, that’s it. time to go home.” Sleepily, Freddy climbed on his friend’s back and settled in. Randy grabbed the basket with his claws and flew off toward home.
“That was the prettiest thing I ever saw,” yawned Freddy. “I’m sure glad you invited me.” They flew through the dark night and, when they got to the barn, Freddy suggested Randy stay the night with him.
“Sounds good to me,” said Randy, so he did. And they talked and told stories and had the best time. When the sun peeked over the horizon there they were; Randy on a rafter with his head tucked under a wing, and Freddy curled up in a corner under the hay. They were both dreaming of fiery flowers and picnics.