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One day Momma said to Janetta, "It's time you knew your grandaddy."
Momma and Janetta went to the railroad station and got on a train. Janetta had never ridden on a train before. It was a long ride, but she liked it. She liked hearing about Momma's growing-up days as they rode along. She didn't even mind sitting up all night.
But when they got to Grandaddy's place, Janetta didn't like it at all.
The house was old and small. The yard was mostly bare red dirt. There was a broken-down shed and a broken-down fence.
"I don't want to stay here," said Janetta, Momma said, "This is where I grew up."
An old man came out onto the porch, "Say hello to your grandaddy," Momma said. Janetta was too shy to say hello. "You hear me, Janetta?" Momma asked.
"Let her be." said Grandaddy.
So Momma just said, "Stay out here and play while I visit with your grandaddy."
They left Janetta standing on the porch. She didn't know what to do. She had never been in the country before. She thought she might sit on the porch, but there was a mean-looking cat on the only chair. She thought she might sit on the steps, but there was a wasps' nest up under the roof. The wasps looked meaner than the cat. Some chickens were taking a dust-bath in the yard. When Janetta came near, they made mean sounds at her.
Janetta walked away. She watched the ground for bugs and snakes. All at once a giant animal came out of the broken-down shed. It came straight toward Janetta, and it was moving fast. Janetta turned and ran. She ran past the chickens and the wasps' nest and the mean-looking cat.
She ran into the house.
"There's agiant animal out there," she said.
Grandaddy looked surprised. "First I knew of it!" he said.
"It has long legs and long ears and a real long nose," said Janetta.
Momma laughed. "Sounds like the mule," she said.
"Could be," said Grandaddy. "That mule's a tall mule."
"It chased me," said Janetta.
"It won't hurt you," Momma said. "Go back outside and make friends."
But Janetta wouldn't go back outside."Nothing out there likes me," she said.Grandaddy and Janetta Together. Copyright � by Helen Griffith. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.