A whirlwind blew through the City of Memphis at the beginning of summer. As quickly as it came, it quickly left leaving behind a trail of discovered dreams, hope for the future and answered prayers. Her name was Amber Jones. A ten-year-old girl filled with the wisdom of her grandmother, and possessed with an angelic spirit felt by everyone who crossed her path. Bringing with her a Dream Box that held the power to manifest any desire to whoever was brave enough to believe.
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The Dream Box
By Beverle Spruill
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2009 Beverle Spruill
All right reserved.
Chapter OneNew Kid On The Block
When the sun rose on the first day of summer, no one knew that Rayner Street would never be the same. The street is crowded with neighborhood children. The boys are shooting basketball while the girls are jumping rope and playing hopscotch. Amber, an outgoing ten-year old with plenty of personality, is struggling to dig a flowerbed in her grandmother's front yard with a shovel that is almost twice her size. She lives in Atlanta and is visiting her grandmother in Memphis for the summer.
Cinque, an eleven-year old boy in a wheelchair, comes from the side of his house and watches the neighborhood kids playfully enjoy the beginning of a new day. Cinque lives next door to Amber's grandmother with his mother and father. Two years earlier, Cinque and his father were driving to Cinque's basketball tournament, when a drunk driver suddenly struck them head on. Cinque's father recovered quickly with his broken arm, but unfortunately, Cinque was paralyzed from the waist down. Because of his condition his face is always saddened.
Amber, looking towards Cinque "Hi," she said, "isn't this a beautiful day?" Cinque shrugging his shoulders says, "What's so beautiful about it?" Amber stops digging and looks toward the sky. "See how bluethe sky is-and look at those fluffy white clouds, They make me want to bake a lemon meringue pie-and if you look at the clouds long enough, they will begin to take the shape of angels just looking down protecting and guiding us from the evil that roams." Cinque, looks toward the sky, "How do you see all of that up there?" "Because that's what I see," Amber replied. "Well where were those angels the day my daddy and I had a car accident? The drunken man that hit us was the evil that was roaming that day, why didn't the angels protect us then?" Amber puts her hand on her hip while holding the shovel with her other hand. "They did protect you. Your mama, your relatives and your friends didn't go to you and your daddy's funeral did they?" "Cinque drops his head, "I may as well have had a funeral, I'm dead anyway." Amber, shaking her head because she knew she had her work cut out for her with this new boy she just met, "How can you be dead when you're talking to me?" Cinque, snapping at Amber "you know what I mean, I'm stuck in this wheelchair for the rest of my life. I can't play basketball anymore, can't go swimming, can't do anything anymore." Amber, looking somewhat bewildered, "who told you that?" That's what the doctors told my mama and daddy. I'm paralyzed from the waist down-I have been in this wheelchair for two years. "Amber begins to shovel dirt again." Well the way I see it, you're in that wheelchair because you want to be in it. Besides my grandmamma always says. "It's not what happens it's what you do about it." Cinque becoming frustrated, "Well I can't do anything about this." Shaking her head in disgust, Amber says, "That's because you believe that you can't. Too bad you have already given up-you are stuck in that wheelchair for the rest of your life because you have no faith." Cinque becomes angry as he swirls around in his wheelchair and says. "Don't tell me what I don't have-I do have faith." Amber, putting her hands on her hips again says. "Well, since you have faith, get out of that wheelchair and come help me plant my flowers." Cinque is so angry now, He wishes he could get out of his wheelchair and throw the dirt she just dug up on her, but his legs won't budge. "You're talking crazy. I don't want to talk to you anymore, he said." Amber seems to not pay any more attention to Cinque as she kneels down and begins to plant her flower seeds into the freshly dug soil. "Just as I said," she replied. "You don't have any faith." Cinque turns his head in the opposite direction ignoring her. Amber, not wanting to cause Cinque any more pain that he seems to be already suffering, thought she better apologize. "I didn't mean to get you upset. I apologize, it's not you fault that you don't know the same God that made these beautiful flowers is also the same God that gave us the power to heal ourselves". Amber's soothing voice has seemed to calm Cinque's temper. "Where did you get that from?" he asked. "The 11th chapter of Mark, verse 24" she said. "Therefore I say unto you all things whatsoever ye pray and ask for, believe that ye receive them and ye shall have them," she said, "that means that anything is possible to those who believe. So if you ever want to walk again, you have to believe it before it can happen," she said. "How can I believe that when I'm sitting in this wheelchair?" said Cinque. "See you can't judge by appearance," replied Amber. Cinque becomes curious to this little girls wisdom. "What does that mean," he asked? "Okay." Amber said, "I'll give you an example-pointing to the flower bed, all you see is dirt-but we both know that one day it will produce beautiful flowers because I have already planted the seeds-so everyday I'm going to come out here and tend to my flowerbed, because I will be expecting my flowers to start breaking through the soil any day. Cinque seems to be confused. "So what are you saying," he asked? Amber looks toward the sky-she seems to be searching for the right words to make Cinque understand. "I'm saying what if I judged my flowerbed by the way it looks now-and everyday I came out and dug them up to see if they were sprouted or threw them away to plant other seeds-nothing would ever grow here, that's how faith works-so if you ever want to walk again, you have to see yourself walking again and doing everything else you want to do-and you have to pray too. She throws her little finger up. But just one time, and then on just thank God for blessing you to walk again. Cinque seems to be more confused now than ever. "I'm suppose to thank God while I'm still paralyzed in this wheelchair?" Amber, looking confident, "Yes that's how you get out." "How do you know all of these things," asked Cinque? Amber wipes the sweat from her face. "My grandmamma stayed with us from the time I was born until I was nine -years old. She read and taught me about the bible until she moved here last year." "Well I use to pray," say Cinque, "but I stopped because I said what's the use." Amber lifts the water pail and begins to water her flowerbed. "Well, you can pray until you are a hundred years old, but if you don't believe that God will answer your prayer, then your praying will be in vain." "You will still go to heaven, you will just be going in a wheelchair." Cinque angrily turns his wheelchair and prepares to leave. "I don't want to talk to you anymore," he said. Amber, not wanting their conversation to end this way, quickly spoke out, "don't leave, I don't know your name; My name is Amber what's yours?" Amber has a sweet spirit about her that could turn a roaring lion into a baby bird. Cinque turned his wheelchair around and in peaceful voice, "My name is Cinque," "I like your name" replied Amber. Cinque sat up straight in his wheelchair as his chest went out a few inches. "My daddy named me" he was proud to say; "it's an African name. "Of course Amber already knew this. "I know it's an African name. Do you know who Cinque was? "She asked. "No" Cinque replied, "but I'm sure you're going to tell me. "Yes I know," she said. "He was brought to America against his will to become a slave. He was the first slave to ever go to court and win his freedom. Afterwards, he was returned to Africa. Cinque was amazed and excited at the same time to learn the story behind his name. "For real," he said. "Yes for real" replied Amber. He always believed that he would someday go home. He was brave, strong and determined." You have a lot to live up to Cinque if you are going to carry that name. Smiling, Cinque begins to roll away in his wheelchair. "Bye Amber I'm going inside." "Bye Cinque nice meeting you, see you later." Amber picks up her water pail and hums a tune as she continues to water her flowerbed.
Chapter TwoThe Dream Box
The smell of bacon frying made Amber sit straight up in bed. She loved being at her grandmother's house. The house always smelled of cakes and pies baking. The aroma from her grandmother's house would travel throughout the neighborhood which is why Amber later discovered why all the neighborhood kids chose to play in front of her grandmother's house. Amber's grandmother would bake teacakes and give them to the children in the neighborhood. She was generous in that way.
After eating bacon, eggs, grits, homemade biscuits with grandma's homemade peach preserves, Amber quickly got dressed. She couldn't wait to go tend to her flowerbed. To her surprise, Cinque had already beaten her outside. There were no other kids on the street except for ten-year old Tiffany. She was practicing on a cheer she had to perform for the upcoming cheerleader tryouts. She seems to be very frustrated as her two long pigtails bounced with every awkward move she made.
Amber, carrying her water pail cheerfully greeted Cinque. "Hi" Cinque you're up early this morning. Cinque, not feeling very friendly, replied, "I didn't have anything else to do". She ignored his comment because she didn't want to start their morning off with any negative conversations. She focused her attention toward Tiffany. "Who is that"? "That's Tiffany. She lives across the street". Amber said to Cinque curiously, "What is she doing"? The community center has a basketball team, and at the beginning of the summer, they have cheerleader tryouts". He begins to shake his head with sympathy. And every summer Tiffany tries out and every summer she never gets picked-Lord have mercy, it looks like she won't get picked this year either". Amber brushes a couple of leaves that had fallen during the night from her flowerbed and begins to water the soil. "I have just the thing she needs to win this time, call her over here," Cinque yells to Tiffany, "Tiffany, come here."
Tiffany slowly walks across the street and stares at Amber watering her flowerbed, "What are you doing?" "Watering my flowers," replied Amber. Tiffany, with a confused expression on her face, "I don't see any flowers." "They're there. You just can't see them." "Whatever you say," remarked Tiffany, as she set down on the steps. Amber, not wanting to make an enemy, decided to pay Tiffany a compliment. You have a pretty name Tiffany. Tiffany smiling "thanks, what's yours? My name is Amber. Cinque told me you want to be a cheerleader. That's been my dream for so long she said. "For the past two years I have tried to make the squad but I have never been picked. Tomorrow will be the last year that I can ever try out again." Amber stood up "It must be something that you're doing wrong, let me see the cheer that you're going to do tomorrow." Tiffany gets in position to perform her cheer. "This is the cheer that I have been doing every year. It's the best cheer the squad has." After Tiffany performed her cheer, she looked to Amber as if to say," Well what do you think? Amber stood in silence before speaking. "I think I see what the problem is-you have no enthusiasm-where is your confidence?" Tiffany shrugging her shoulders says, "I don't know." If you become a cheerleader said Amber what do you have to offer the squad?" They have been doing the same old cheers for as long as I can remember," she said. Suddenly Tiffany begins to speak with confidence "If I were a cheerleader, I would bring all new cheers to the squad. Amber looks as if she has suddenly discovered Tiffany's problem. That's why you have never made the squad you're doing a cheer that you don't like." Tiffany knew that Amber was right. "I sure don't like that cheer she blurted out-those cheers are old. When my sister was my age she was on the squad and the cheers haven't changed since then, and she is in college now." Amber always becomes excited when she believes she has discovered a solution to a problem. "Tiffany, this is what you should do make up your own cheer and I'll bet you'll make the squad tomorrow." "I have already made up ten new cheers," said Tiffany. "I have been saving them just in case I ever made the squad and besides, I can't do that-nobody tries out for the squad with new cheers." Amber hates the word "can't." "Who said you couldn't try out with your own cheer?" "Nobody ever said we couldn't," replied Tiffany-"it's just never been done. "Well, Amber said, my grandmamma always says-"don't keep doing the same old things and expect different results." A frown comes across Tiffany's face." What does that mean," she asked? Cinque, who has been quietly sitting by, now feels it's his time to speak out. "Don't pay her any attention-she talks crazy like that. "Amber putting her hands on her hip as if she's getting prepared to give Cinque a piece of her mind, "What I said is not crazy. It means that if you use the same cheer you just showed us, you probably won't make the squad tomorrow either. "You should be bold and step out on faith with your own cheer-now that's doing something different to get a different result." Tiffany shaking her head in disagreement, but at the same time thinking how wonderful it would be to perform her own cheer, I can't she said- I would be too afraid. Amber knew she had to do something to help with Tiffany's fear. She reached into her pocket and pulled out a small colorful box. "What if I gave you something to help with your fear," she said. "I carry this with me wherever I go-because I never know when someone is going to need it." A curious look comes across Cinque's face. "What is it," he asked? Tiffany, also inquisitive, reaches for the small colorful box let me hold it. "It's a Dream Box," said Amber, as she hands it to Tiffany.
"It has the power to make any dream that you desire to come true." "It has been in my family for generations." "See, I told you she's always talking crazy." Said Cinque. Tiffany, not really listening to Cinque's comment, would try anything if it could help her become a cheerleader. "How does it work," she asked, as she continues to admire the pretty box. Amber takes the box from Tiffany hand and begins to demonstrate how the box works. "Well tonight before you go to bed, get on your knees and pray, ask God to replace your fear with confidence so you won't be afraid to use you own cheer for tomorrow's tryout's-then thank him for answering your prayer-after you do that-put the Dream Box underneath your pillow-and then, imagine yourself performing your own cheer tomorrow without fear-but with confidence-and before you drift off to sleep-imagine the coach congratulating you on becoming the new cheerleader for the basketball team. Tiffany, filled with excitement, begins to jump up and down as Amber hands her the Dream Box. "I'm going to do it -I can't wait to go to bed tonight -can I take it now? I want to show my mother." Tiffany turns to run away as Amber quickly grabs her by the arm. "No," said Amber, looking very serious-"it won't work if you tell anyone before your tryouts tomorrow-it must remain a secret with you-after the tryouts you can tell anyone you want." At this point, Tiffany didn't care. No one had to know, not even her mother who she tells everything to, and she wanted no one interfering with her dream coming true. "I won't tell anyone," she said, "I'm going home and practice my cheer in front of my mirror." As she runs toward her house, she turns and yells back to Amber, -"Thanks for loaning me your Dream Box, Amber. I'll take good care of it." Cinque sarcastically yells to Tiffany, "Yes be sure to take care of it since it's been in her family for generations. "Tiffany was running so fast, she didn't hear a word Cinque said. "It has real power Cinque," said Amber-"you just don't believe in anything." "Well, if your little Dream Box is so real, why couldn't she tell her mother," asked Cinque? "Because most grownups don't understand," replied Amber, "they talk a lot about faith-but they really don't have any."
Tiffany's mother was quite surprised when Tiffany washed the dinner dishes and was off to bed so soon. After taking her bathe, she quickly put on her nightgown and prepared to go to bed. Before saying her prayers, she retrieved the DreamBox from her dresser drawer-held it tightly in her hands-she walked to her bed-turned off her bedroom light, knelt down and began to pray. "Thank you God for my new friend I met today, her name is Amber-But I'm sure you already know that. Thank you for my mama, daddy, my family and friends, and help all the children that are suffering in the world. God tonight I have a special prayer. Tomorrow is the last time I have a chance to become a cheerleader for the community centers basketball team-I want to use my own cheer but I am afraid. Please remove this fear from me, and replace it with confidence. In your son Jesus name I pray and give thanks that it is already done, Amen." A wonderful feeling has come over Tiffany as she stands to her feet and places the Dream Box underneath her pillow-pulling back her comforter; she jumps into bed with a huge smile. Looking to the ceiling, she remembers that she now has to imagine herself being congratulated by Coach Williams. She visualized herself wearing her red and green cheerleader uniform, and teaching her cheers to the squad. The rain begins to beat fiercely upon her window as she drifts into a deep sleep.
Excerpted from The Dream Box by Beverle Spruill Copyright © 2009 by Beverle Spruill. Excerpted by permission.
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Table of Contents
ContentsI. New Kid On The Block....................1
II. The Dream Box....................5
III. Work Without Pay....................9
IV. Hard Work Pays Off....................13
V. Cinque's Prayer....................15