The truth was that they were all going on vacation in the country and staying at their grandparents’ farm for the whole summer!
Amidst all the excitement Caleb and Jonah forgot to water the now strong little pumpkin plants.
Father and the boys loaded up the truck with luggage then got in themselves and slammed the doors behind them.
Mother came out of the house carrying a few last minute things including a bag of Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookies, toothbrushes, and Father’s old straw hat.
The truck rattled down the driveway and drove out of sight.
Back at the yellow house a few things were happening.
#1 Calico was very interested in the plants since his masters were absent from the house; and #2, ten mysterious green sprouts had appeared in the back yard.
Calico sniffed one of the pumpkin plants that were on the windowsill. Very interested and yet a little cautious (for fear that someone was watching him), he put out his soft, white paw and batted at the base of the pot.
Then something dreadful happened. Calico accidentally knocked the pot onto the floor. Soil spilled out, being closely followed by the pumpkin plant!
Calico felt his ‘cat conscience’ (if there even is such a thing) telling him “no, no!”, but he did not obey it. He had decided that knocking pots down from windowsills is actually quite fun, and so the sport continued.
He played with the two other pots and succeeded in making an even bigger mess.
As soon as Calico had triumphed in victory by knocking down all three pots a sudden guilt swept over him, and he ran for the nearby bed.
Underneath beds are wonderful hiding spots, and there the cat remained for the rest of the day.
Back in the truck where Caleb and Jonah were sitting bored in the back seat, Caleb suddenly broke the silence with a groan. “Oh, dear,” he said, “We forgot to water the pumpkin plants.”
They were silent for a moment before Jonah said, “You know what? I've never thought of this before, but even if we had watered the pumpkin plants they would have needed to be watered again before we could come back from our vacation. So really it’s not that bad.”
“We could have asked Miss Hopkins, the neighbor, to water them when she came to feed Calico,” Caleb said with remorse.
“Oh well, we didn't,” Jonah tried to sound cheerful.
The truck lurched to a stop at a red light. “Do you guys want a cookie?” asked Mother passing back the bag.
“Sure!” was the glad reply.
Summer flew by, and all too soon Caleb, Jonah, and their parents were saying goodbye to the boys’ grandparents.
The green trees, the flowers, the rolling hills, green pastures filled with cows, and the sweet smell of the country vanished being replaced by a bustling city. Jonah declared (as he always did after coming home from a vacation), “I want to live in the country.”
“Me too,” Father said from the front of the truck, “That would be very fun. Maybe someday...”
They passed the store, passed the barber shop, went down Peterson Street and drove down to the end of Gilder Street.
“There’s our house!” Jonah shouted.
The truck stopped in front of the gate. Father got out, pulled the security rope, and got back in. The gate swung open, and they drove through.
Caleb scrambled out of the truck door followed by Jonah. Both of them had liked their vacation, but it was so nice to be home again.
Everybody unloaded the truck and took the stuff inside. Caleb and Jonah took a large suitcase that had their parents’ clothes in it and went up the front porch steps. “This is heavy!” Caleb said.
Both of them were relieved when they entered their parents’ room and were able to set down the suitcase.
When the truck was completely unloaded, the boys went up to the attic to unpack their luggage. They climbed up the ladder, and Jonah went to check just how bad of a state the plants were in. He looked at the spilled soil on the ground and the tipped over pots. “Calico,” he mumbled grumpily.
Caleb came over and just said that “the plants would have died anyway; but, yes, there is a mess of spilled soil to clean up”.
They both wished that Calico could use a broom so he could help set right what he had done wrong; but fortunately for him he was not able.
They finished sweeping the floor, brought the pots downstairs, dumped the remaining soil outside, and returned them to their mother.
She was sorry that their plan hadn't worked out and said that they could try again next year.
The next day after the boys had finished their schoolwork, Jonah went outside to mow the lawn, and Caleb also went out to rake the leaves that had just recently fallen.
Caleb went around to the backyard to get a rake out of the shed and was back sooner than usual with an astonished expression on his face. “Jonah, come see!” he shouted.
Jonah stopped the mower and ran after his brother, who had already disappeared around the corner of the house. As he finally got to the backyard, he was about to ask, “Come see what?” when he too saw the miracle.
Both boys’ breath was taken away at the sight. Caleb finally broke the silence and said, “I don’t know why we didn't think of this before – especially with the clue and everything.”
Jonah interrupted, “What clue?!”
“I was getting to that...Think about it. We found the seed packet down here but the seeds weren't in it, which means that they fell out on their wild ride. The pumpkin seeds grew - every one of them – and here they are. Beautiful! Do you see that big one? It looks just right for the fair!”
The special day finally came late in November.
Caleb and Jonah hurried to get ready and eat their breakfast.
“I’m done!” Jonah announced pushing aside his bowl.
Father grabbed his hat, and the boys put on jackets. “Go get the pumpkin now,” said Father.
Caleb and Jonah scrambled out the door and hastened to the backyard where the pumpkins had just turned bright orange. They walked around the pumpkins examining them and crunching leaves under their feet.
“That’s the one,” Caleb decided pointing at the largest pumpkin.
“Okay!” Jonah said.
Caleb snipped the stem off it, and together they both carried it (with some difficulty) to the truck. They set it down in the back and jumped in where Father was waiting.
The truck lurched to a stop. The boys and their Father got out and carried the pumpkin to a large building. Inside, there were rows and rows of tables with vegetables and flowers taking up almost every inch of space.
A man came up and told them, “The pumpkin table is right over there.”
The next day, the whole family loaded up in the truck and drove to the fair. They walked past the Ferris Wheel and all the other rides heading to the pumpkin table.
From far off, Caleb could see that there was no blue ribbon on their pumpkin--only a pale green one. His heart sank, but he told himself that there hadn't been much chance of the pumpkin winning anyway.
As they got nearer to the table Father said, “Hey boys, look! The pumpkin didn't win first prize but it still got a ribbon. Let me see what it says... Best and Biggest Pumpkin Prize: Congratulations on growing the biggest pumpkin ever entered in this fair! You didn't win a blue ribbon but something higher than first place! Good job, guys! And good job, Calico!"
They all laughed.
“Yippee!” Jonah jumped into the air and then slapped Caleb on the back, “We did it, Caleb! We did it!”