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“Grandma, grandma, Tyrone brought a chipmunk into the house.”

“Was it a dead or a live chipmunk, Lily?” “It was alive, and it ran upstairs.”

Grandma looked skeptically at her excited granddaughter, and then at the sleeping cat. “Lily, she said, “If there was a live chipmunk in the house the cat would be chasing it, or I would have seen it. I’ve been in the kitchen all afternoon preparing dinner. The screen door is still open. I bet the chipmunk ran out again.”

Lily pressed her lips together. She was angry that grandma didn’t believe her. She went over to the sofa, and pulled on her sister Bella’s arm.

“Bella, help me find the chipmunk,” Lily said.

Bella pulled her arm away from Lily, and said “Leave me alone. I’m watching television.”

Lily wouldn’t let her younger sister alone. She grabbed her again. “Come on Bella, we need to find that chipmunk,” Lily said.

Reluctantly Bella followed Lily up the stairs. They weren’t sure where to look first. They were on vacation in grandma and papa’s house, and weren’t familiar with all the rooms.

“Let’s start in our room,” Bella said. So they l walked around the bedroom in which they were staying, opening drawers, looking under beds, pulling away the covers on the bed, pulling things out of the closet. They found some wooden bats, an alarm clock that looked like a rooster, lots and lots of dental and bicycle things, but no chipmunk.

Next they started to open the bathroom door, when they heard something squeak. Lily and Bella jumped up and yelled in fear and delight, as they were sure they had found the chipmunk. Slowly they moved into the room, cautiously looking for the chipmunk. It was not there. The door had opened onto one of Tyrone’s toy mice. They sat down disappointed.

Bella asked, “Lily are you sure you saw a chipmunk in the house?”

Lily stood up, put both hands on her hips, and pressed her lips together. “Yes, I did. I know that chipmunk is in this house.”

“Okay, Lily, let’s look in grandma’s room.”

While searching grandma and papa’s room, they became distracted. In grandma’s closet they found four wrapped presents. They knew that one had to be for papa because this evening the family was coming over to celebrate his birthday. They wondered if the other presents might be for them and their sister Sage. After all, grandma always bought them gifts, and they had been visiting for two whole days without grandma giving them anything.

Forgetting the chipmunk, they went back downstairs and into the kitchen. “Grandma, we found some presents in your closet,” Lily said. “Are they all for papa’s birthday?”

Grandma’s face broke out in a smile. “One is for grandpa, and the other ones might be for my little girls.”

“May we open them now?” Bella asked.

“Not until dinner.” Grandma answered.

“When is dinner?” Lily asked.

“Everyone should be here soon. I need help setting the table, girls.”

Lily and Bella helped their grandmother set the table. Grandma used her best china, and her special crystal glasses. The girls were very careful handling everything. When they heard the buzzer on the stove they anxiously moved into the kitchen. Grandma had promised that both girls could be in charge of decorating the birthday cake.

Lily wanted chocolate frosting, and Bella vanilla, so they divided the cake, each decorating one half. Grandma put happy birthday letters on the cake, and Bella and Lily added pink and yellow flowers.

Soon the doorbell rang, and family and friends filled the room. The dinner went well. Grandma always had too much food, so everyone was leaning back in their chairs comfortably waiting for dessert.

After clearing the table, Lily and Bella went into the kitchen to help grandma bring the cake out to papa. Aunt Bobbi turned off the lights and grandma lit the candles on the cake. Everyone opened their mouths ready to sing happy birthday when a very frightened small brown saw-toothed chipmunk, followed by a very excited large black and white cat, jumped onto the dining room table, and ran across it from one end to the other.

Chairs dropped back, knocking occupants on the floor. The cracking sound of dishes and glasses flying everywhere was heard and seen, while the birthday cake landed on papa’s lap almost setting him on fire.

Everyone was in shock except for Lily. She turned to grandma who was trying to get up from the floor, and in a very loud voice Lily said, “I told you there was a live chipmunk in the house!”

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