Ray and the Best Family Reunion Ever

Ray and the Best Family Reunion Ever

by Mildred Pitts Walter


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780066236247
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 01/01/1902
Pages: 128
Product dimensions: 5.72(w) x 8.57(h) x 0.58(d)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

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Chapter One

A Strange Phone Call

Late in the evening, the telephone rang. Ray rushed to answer it, but his papa had already picked up. Ray heard his angry voice and stopped. "I've told you don't call here. So don't, ever again." He slammed down the receiver. He hit his fist in his hand, shook his head, and walked past Ray without seeing him.

Who could -that have been? Ray wondered, watching his father go down the hall, back to bed. Papa was not the kind to show that much anger. But recently he had been on edge because he was working overtime. Papa was a building contractor, and he wanted to finish his latest job before they left for the big family reunion. This year it was going to be in Natchitoches, Louisiana, the place where Ray's Creole family began. His sister, Marguerite, was excited. She said it was going to be the best family reunion ever.

By noon the next day, the pleasant coolness of the morning had gone. Now it was hot. Windows were open. The clatter of lunch dishes, sounds of piano lessons, and voices of neighbors spread through Ray's El Cerritos neighborhood in California.

Ray's friends were waiting for him to go back to the park. He was walking out the door when Marguerite reminded him, "Papa said for you to mow the lawn today."

"I know. I'll have time when I come back."

"It's already two o'clock. You've been gone all morning. Besides, I'm not cleaning up your mess in the kitchen."

"You're not my boss. You don't tell me what to do." But Ray knew he had better do what she said. He called to his friends, "Go ahead. I'll meet you there later."

When he had finished doing the dishes, hestarted mowing the lawn. Heat beat down. As he pushed the mower, sweat poured off his face. Knowing he had to get the lawn in perfect shape before his papa got home, he dared not take a break.

When he had finished, the grass was smooth, emerald. Green. He looked around. That looks good, he thought, pleased with himself. He hoped his papa would be pleased, too. He thought of his friends, but it was late and he was too tired to go to the park.

He went to his room and threw his cap on a chair. Hot and sweaty, he decided to watch a video his father had bought him about a boy who lived in Haiti long ago, during the revolution there. He liked it because the boy was a hero and because his own ancestors had come from Haiti to Louisiana long ago. He lay on the cool floor, relaxed.

just as he was settled, Marguerite disturbed the quiet. "Ray, come see."

"I cant. I'm busy."

She came to his room. "You've seen that a million times. Turn it off and come help me."

In her room he found her trying on clothes. "What're you doing, girl?" She had clothes all over the place.

"'I'm trying to decide what I'm gonna take to the reunion. Do you think I should wear this dress to the banquet? "'

"Now don't ask me. That's up to you."

Suddenly the back door slammed, and Papa's voice rang out, "'Ramon, Ramon! Come here, right now!" Ray had been named for his Great-gran-papa Ramon Baptiste Moret.

"When he calls you 'Ramon/ you are in trouble, mo frér. What've you done now?"

"'Don't call me mo frér."

"'You are my brother, are you not? And you had better learn how to say more than "good morning-' in our Creole language."

Ray didn't like her speaking Creole to him. He hurried to his papa.

"What did I ask you to have done when I got home from work?"'

"'To mow the lawn. And I mowed it."

""Come. Look at this yard! Grass clippings everywhere-on the walk, in the driveway. Get this cleaned up right now."

. Ray, surprised at his papa's tone, stood with his head down.

"Go on, get it up. When are you going to learn to do something right? You know, you just like your Gran-papa Philippe. Can't depend on you to do anything. You're just like him. Even look like him." With that he turned and walked away.

Ray's throat tightened and tears welled in his eyes as he swept the grass from the walk. Suddenly he was angry. Lately his papa seemed more disappointed than pleased with him. Can't do nothing right for him, he thought. He thrashed the grass, making it more difficult for himself.

His moman drove up from work. "What's wrong?"

Ray did not answer. He kept right on sweeping wildly.

"Whatever it is, you're doing a fine job on the lawn." She walked inside. Ray sighed deeply, glad she was leaving him alone.

Ray and the Best Family Reunion Ever. Copyright © by Mildred Walter. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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