“Chili Day,” Friend, Feb. 2000, 40
Adam couldn’t wait for the school bus to come. His family was driving him crazy. His little brother, Aaron, constantly bugged him to play. Mom said, “You’re lucky to have a little brother who loves you, Adam. Some children don’t have anybody at all.”
His baby sister always wanted him to pick her up and hold her. Mom said he had the magic touch and that no one could make her smile like he could.
His Mom fussed over him as he left for school and even kissed him good-bye every morning on the front porch, where all the kids waiting for the school bus could see!
He couldn’t wait to get to school and have fun with his friends.
He climbed on the bus and looked for his best friend, Daryl. Daryl got on at the stop before and always saved him a seat. But today Daryl was sitting by Priscilla! Adam had to sit by a big kid he didn’t know.
When he was getting off the bus, he caught his new, red jacket on the door handle and tore the sleeve. “Oh, no!” he groaned—he’d had the jacket for only two days. Mom was going to be upset!
He’d brought two cookies for his teacher, Mrs. Magelby, but when he walked into the room, a substitute teacher was there. Discouraged, he shoved the cookies back into his backpack.
At lunchtime, he waved to his friend Carrie across the cafeteria. But she didn’t wave back. He hoped she just hadn’t seen him. Then he dropped his cake and stepped on it. Yuck!
Things continued to go badly. He was picked next to last for the soccer team during gym. Then his socks wouldn’t stay up.
On the way home it rained.
What an awful day! Adam thought to himself as he trudged up the walk to his house. Nothing has gone right. Nobody likes me. He wanted to cry.
He sighed a big sigh and opened the door.
It smelled steamy and delicious when he walked into the house. All right! he thought. It’s a chili day! Mom liked to make chili when it was rainy and cold outside.
“Hi, Adam!” Aaron came bounding down the hall and threw his arms around his brother. “Want to see the neat tent I made on the bunk beds?”
“Hi, honey, I’m glad you’re home,” Mom called. She kissed him and ruffled his hair as he walked into the kitchen. This time it felt nice, not embarrassing.
His baby sister smiled happily and wriggled with joy when he picked her up.
“Come play with me, Adam,” said Aaron, dancing circles around his brother.
Adam started to feel warm inside.
“All right, just for a little while. Hey, Aaron, I have something for you.” Adam pulled the cookies out of his backpack.
“Wow, are those for me? Thanks, Adam—you’re the greatest!”
“You’re lucky to have a big brother who loves you, Aaron,” Mom said. “Some children don’t have anybody at all.”
The two brothers looked at each other and tried not to laugh. Mom said that at least a hundred times a day. But suddenly Adam did feel lucky—blessed, really. All the things that had happened at school didn’t seem so awful anymore. It was good to be home.