Ward's Farm and the Visit
(Written to be read to children)
by Linda Newton-Perry
Grandpa Bill watched as Willy, five, finished his bowl of homemade white-monkey ice cream. Much of the ice cream covered the front of his blue batman pajama top. He was now sucking noisily on a wet glob of it. He’d caught it just as it threatened to slide off onto Gramp’s bear rug. He sat with his legs straight out and under the glass coffee table. They were bare and he sure didn’t want the sticky ice cream on them. So with tongue dancing he slurped happily and loudly.
“Need some help there fella,” Grandpa Bill laughed. Willy knew his Gramps didn’t require an answer. He continued to suck on batman’s cape where most of the ice cream still was. “Will son, I can get you some more, if that’s what you want.”
He shook his head meaning “no.”
“Well, come on let’s get dressed. We’ve burned enough time for breakfast.”
Willy scrambled his naked legs to upright, overturning the coffee table, ice cream bowl, and big silver spoon. The spoon dangled on the nose of the bear head. Grandfather and grandson laughed until Grandma Bess yelled from the bedroom wanting to know if everything was all right. And why hadn’t they left to fish “already!”
They both hollered back that everything was good and for her to go back to sleep. Just as the coffee table was put back in its place, the big silver spoon put back in the red shiny bowl, a crash-bang came from the front porch. Willy flew to his grandfather and clasped tight with both arms the older man’s knobby kneed legs. They both watched with saucer eyes the porch window. Still more bangs and clatters. Sassy the cat howled, screeched and banged into the aluminum, glass-paneled front door. She wanted to be let in the house.
Willy started for the door. Gramps grabbed his shoulder. A finger must have dug into a nerve, because a sharp pain shot up the boy’s skinny neck and stood his hair straight up. “Stay here, son!”
“What is it? ... Gramps, what is it?” ...Willy whined from behind his grandfather’s legs.
Grandpa Bill’s hairy toed, boney foot took one step toward the door, when a huge hand flattened itself on the upper glass panel. He stepped back nearly trampling Willy. “What in Sam Hill ... Get behind the couch and keep down and be quiet. You hear me?”
Larry, the yard dog, yelped out piteously from behind the tractor. Bang, bang, the side of the house shuddered as the hand evidently hit the house when whatever it was lumbered off the porch. One of Grandma Bess’s decorative plates crashed to the floor.
The big yard light, high on a pole, popped on and illuminated the front yard and front of the big red barn. Grandpa Bill sucked in a deep breath of moist morning air as he stood but ten feet from a bigfoot. The animal did not see him; he looked to be concentrating on catching Larry, now cowering under the tractor.
“Hey, get on out of here!” Grandpa Bill yelled. And the animal did just that. But, not before kicking the side of the tractor, knocking loose a headlamp.
And how Grandma Bess slept through the whole spooky ordeal was a mystery to both grandfather and grandson. This story, bigfoot's visit, was kept private, between the two, to trot out at every visit they shared until Grandpa Bill died at the age of 99. And then Billy, William Ray Ward, at 33 told their story in a well-received book, entitled “Ward’s Farm: The Visit.”