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Authors: Marian Hailey-Moss

Tags: #dogs, #dogs pets, #dogs and children, #magic and animals, #teatime, #dogs loving humans, #dogs point of view

Mister Pepper's Secret

BOOK: Mister Pepper's Secret
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Copyright © 2014 Marian Hailey Moss

All rights reserved.


ISBN: 9781310588808

First Electronic Edition


ISBN: 1499690959

First Print Edition





Mister Pepper’s Secret








Illustrations by: MARC CHALVIN





Alanna O’Connor

Can you keep a secret? I believe magic is in
everything. People think that buildings, furniture, and statues
can’t communicate. Since these things don’t breathe or move, they
are often overlooked or taken for granted. But it is simply a
matter of looking more closely.

Take one of my bricks, for example. Before
the energy was molded into a brick, it may have been sand. Before
that, it may have been part of a dinosaur tooth, and before that,
it may have been… stardust. That’s only one brick, and I have
thousands of them. Think of where they might have been before they
finally became me. Can you imagine the wisdom I hold within these

They call me ASTOR COURT. I love what I do. I
give a home to folks. Most of them appreciate my efforts and a few
complain. Let’s just say, you can’t be all things to all

I’ve seen many changes and hold many secrets.
As the years go by, I have more and more aches and pains. Some of
my pipes have been replaced, and they even gave me a new water tank
the other day. My roof is leaking and parts of ledges are missing,
but my spirit is bright. I’m almost one hundred years old and I’m
determined to stand strong.

My courtyard garden is one of a kind with
lovely trees, flowering shrubs, and winding pathways. It’s a rare
and beautiful jewel in the city. I take up an entire block with my
U-shaped red brick structure. Ivy on my inner garden walls loves
me. She can’t stop clinging. What stamina! She’s a real New

There was one resident who really understood
me, a Mrs. Goldenrod. She had an apartment on the ninth floor. How
I miss her! Mrs. Goldenrod had the “gift.” Mia discovered Mrs.
Goldenrod’s “gift” and it changed her life. Let me tell you the
story and see what you think.




Mia lived only a block from her school. She
felt lucky for the short walk back and forth on cold New York
December days. Sometimes she would stop to wonder if snowflakes
were feathers from angel wings. She was in the fifth grade and was
considered by all who knew her to be very imaginative and grown-up
for her age.

One snowy day, Mia happened to meet Mrs.
Goldenrod right outside my building. Mrs. Goldenrod was on her way
home from the grocery store. She was a nice old woman who was
overweight and always wore a turban to hide her few wisps of hair.
The sidewalk was slippery, and she walked slowly, trying not to

Holding the two paper bags from the grocery
store was a struggle. One bag began to rip, and Mia asked if she
could help. “Oh, yes, would you Mia?” She gave the bag that was
torn to the girl.

Mia walked with her to the ninth floor
apartment door and was invited in for tea. She was excited to be
asked. Having tea seemed grown-up. She took off her boots and
followed the old woman inside.

Mrs. Goldenrod’s home smiled in sunny colors.
There was yellow wallpaper on the walls with little blue stripes,
blue flowers, and daisies. The windows had golden drapes with filmy
white curtains underneath. There were chests of drawers with shiny
gilded mirrors on top, side tables that held little vases and open
books, a desk with pink stationery, and fluffy, puffy yellow and
blue chairs.

Mrs. Goldenrod went to prepare the tea. She
didn’t need help so Mia waited in the living room. There was a
painting near the desk of a kindly–looking elderly man in a green
suit. Mia walked over to look at it more closely.

“Here we are,” said Mrs. Goldenrod. She was
carrying a silver tray with a teapot and two cups, two bowls of
strawberries, and a plate of butter cookies. She set the tray on a
small table and began to pour the steaming brew. She explained to
Mia that the painting was of her late husband. Mia wondered if
souls who were late in the heavenly spheres were sent to the
principal’s office.

“Would you like some sugar, cream or

“A little sugar and lemon, please,” said Mia.
She carefully took the cup and spoon from Mrs. Goldenrod, but
somehow the spoon clattered to the floor. Mrs. Goldenrod paid no
mind, and Mia quickly picked it up from the shiny hardwood floor.
She took a sip of the hot liquid. The tea tasted sweet and
strong—and in an instant, all seemed well in the world.

“Now, how about some strawberries?”

“Oh, yes, please.” She daintily took a bite.
“They’re yummy,” said Mia. “Thank you, Mrs. Goldenrod.”

“You have good manners, Mia,” said Mrs.
Goldenrod. “Your mother taught you well. Being polite is one of the
more important things in life. If people would be polite with their
friends and enemies alike, the world would be a happier place.”
Mrs. Goldenrod sighed and took a large sip of tea.

“How do you practice being polite, living by
yourself?” Mia asked.

Mrs. Goldenrod waved her hand around the
room. “These are my friends—the desk, the chest, and these tables.
All my pieces of furniture have stories to tell. I politely listen
to their tales and they listen to mine. Every day I dust and polish
their little faces, fronts, and sides. People think wood is only
wood and has no life once it is cut from the growing tree. But all
is energy and keeps on becoming. If you believe—they will respond.
Like most friends, they are willing to please.”

Mia had never heard of furniture being
friends for someone. She wondered what she would say to a chest of
drawers or a table. She gazed past the room to the doorway. There
sat a statue of a large black dog.

“If you don’t mind, why is that statue by the

“That’s my pet doggy, Mister Pepper.”

“But it’s a stone doggy.”

“Yes, so it is.” said Mrs. Goldenrod. “Would
you like some cream on your berries?” Mia kept staring at Mister
Pepper. Mrs. Goldenrod waited patiently for an answer. Mia assured
her hostess that the strawberries tasted quite delicious on their

“A butter cookie then?”

Mia answered, as politely as she could, that
she was on a different kind of diet. Mrs. Goldenrod was taken
aback. She thought Mia was much too slender to be worried about
weight. Mia explained it was a vegan diet.

“A what?” asked Mrs. Goldenrod.

“Vegan—I eat fruits, veggies, grains, and

“Why do you do that?”

“Well, isn’t it a bit rude to make hot dogs,
hamburgers and an ice cream smoothie, out of one’s friends?” Mia
paused and took a bite of another strawberry.

Mrs. Goldenrod pictured her friend Lenore as
a hot dog and gave a little shiver. Lenore had given Mrs. Goldenrod
the statue of Mister Pepper when she sold her country home. Try as
she might, Mrs. Goldenrod couldn’t see Lenore as a hamburger or an
ice cream smoothie either. Lenore was who she was—a pretty
middle-aged actress.

“What will the younger generation think of
next?” Mrs. Goldenrod exclaimed with a twinkle in her eye.

The girl and the old woman chatted some more.
Mrs. Goldenrod said that she was donating Mister Pepper to the
courtyard garden. She and Mister Pepper were excited at the
prospect, but they had to be patient. The garden committee wanted
to find the right spot. “After all, being out in nature is where a
dog feels at home,” she explained.

That reminded Mia that it was time to take
her dog Bubbles for a walk. As she got up to leave, Mia thanked
Mrs. Goldenrod for the tea and her spoon once again clattered to
the floor. Mrs. Goldenrod didn’t seem to notice the runaway spoon
and invited Mia to visit another time. She had so enjoyed her

On her way down the royal blue hallway and
stepping into the elevator, Mia’s thoughts were elsewhere. It was
unusual, to say the least, to meet someone who talks with furniture
and statues. Was it real or was it only Mrs. Goldenrod’s
imagination? Whichever it was, it made Mrs. Goldenrod happy. Mia
pressed the wrong button on the elevator and went to the lobby.

BOOK: Mister Pepper's Secret
13.84Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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