“The Monster,” Friend, May 1984, 16
Sue washed the last pan and handed it to her sister Betty. “I wish we lived in town and had a dishwasher,” Sue grumbled.
“If we lived in town, we couldn’t go down to the pond and sail the new boats Daddy helped us make. Mother said we could go as soon as we finished the dishes.” Betty paused and then asked, “What about the monster?”
“The monster” was the girls’ name for the big cast-iron kettle with a lid that their mother called a Dutch oven. It was heavy and hard to handle, and usually something had been burned in it.
“It doesn’t look dirty,” Sue declared.
“I don’t remember anything being cooked in it,” Betty added.
“But if it’s clean, why isn’t it put away?” Sue asked.
“Maybe Mother plans to use it tonight.”
“If we don’t have to wash the monster, we can go to the pond right away. If Mother asks us about it, we can always say we thought it was clean.”
So it was decided. Sue drained out the dishwater, and Betty went to get their toy boats and to put their cat, Ladybug, outside. When Betty came back, she was surprised to see Sue filling the sink with water again. ”What are you doing?” she asked.
“I just don’t feel right about leaving the monster. I’m going to wash it.”
“I’ll help you,” said Betty. “I don’t feel right about it either.” She took the cover off the Dutch oven.
Both girls gave a surprised “Oh!” Inside the monster were oranges, sandwiches, cookies, and a note that read: “For my two good helpers. This is for a picnic at the pond. Have fun. Mother.”