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Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun
Having the Courage to Be Who You Are
By Maria Dismondy, Kimberly Shaw-Peterson
Making Spirits BrightCopyright © 2008 Maria Cini Dismondy
All rights reserved.
The delicious smell of breakfast filled the air as Lucy's grandpa handed her a plate. Lucy smeared ketchup on her toast. She turned to her grandpa and said, "Papa Gino, Harriet said she's never heard of ketchup on toast. Her family uses butter and jelly."
"It's okay, not everyone likes the same thing, Lucy. It doesn't mean one person is right or wrong. We're all different. What a boring world it would be if we were all exactly alike! Do you remember what's really important?" Papa Gino asked.
"Yes, Papa. Even if we are different from others on the outside, we all have a heart with feelings on the inside."
"That's my girl! Remember, when you treat others with love and kindness, you are doing the right thing," Papa Gino replied.
On the school bus, Lucy and her friend Harriet pulled out some paper and crayons. Sitting across from them was Ralph. As usual, Ralph sat alone, staring out the window. He looked over at them and rolled his eyes.
In the classroom, Lucy sat down near the teacher. Miss Marcia waited to begin as the children settled into their seats. Ralph carelessly hurried over and tripped on Lucy's foot. Before long, he was glaring at her.
Ralph whispered, "Woof! I can't see the book with this poodle in front of me." Lucy could hear him giggling behind her. Oh no, why did it have to be me? she wondered.
During lunch, Harriet shouted one of her silly jokes over the other children's voices. As the girls ate, their bellies shook with laughter.
Across the table, Ralph hollered, "Yuck. That's the disgusting smell. Whoever heard of eating spaghetti in a hot dog bun? Don't you think that's gross, Tony?"
Tony and the other children at the table turned away from Ralph, shaking their heads. Ralph continued, "Poor little Lucy with her hair so poofy!" Tears filled Lucy's eyes, and she began to cry.
On the way home, Lucy thought about what had happened. Maybe Ralph is mean to me because he thinks being different is bad. I wish he would stop teasing me.
Slowly, Lucy stepped off the bus. "How was your day?" Papa Gino asked. "Fine," she mumbled. Papa reached over and pulled a crayon out of her hair. "How did this happen?" he asked. Lucy didn't say a word.
That night, as Papa Gino tucked Lucy into bed, he asked, "Is everything all right at school?" Lucy rolled over. He leaned down, kissed her on the cheek, and whispered, "Always remember, Papa is here for you. If something's not right, we can work on fixing it together."
It's not that easy, thought Lucy. How do I stop Ralph from teasing me? How can he have a heart and be so mean?
Lucy had a hard time falling asleep, worrying what would happen tomorrow.
The following day, Lucy was surprised to find Ralph leaving her alone, until ... "Lucy, I'm sorry about yesterday," Ralph snickered. Lucy took the bag Ralph handed her. Inside were dog bones and a picture with a note that read:
Lucy, Lucy, eats stinky food that puts us in a big, bad mood. Lucy, Lucy, hair shaped like a cone, here's a treat for you — a yummy dog bone!
The beating of Lucy's heart was so loud she knew everyone around her could hear it. Her body began to tremble as she tore the note into pieces. "Stop! It hurts my feelings when you do this, Ralph," Lucy said. "Please stop!" Ralph turned and walked away.
Excerpted from Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun by Maria Dismondy, Kimberly Shaw-Peterson. Copyright © 2008 Maria Cini Dismondy. Excerpted by permission of Making Spirits Bright.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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