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Grouchy was lost. He had been walking all morning and he was getting hungry. In fact, he was very hungry since he had eaten no breakfast. The warm sun was shining brightly but Grouchy had not noticed it. He had not even noticed the flowers nodding in the soft breeze near the many houses he had walked by. It had all started early this morning. Grouchy had decided he was going to sleep in. It was Saturday and he thought it should be his privilege of deciding what he would do.

Anyway, he thought this should be his time. There was no school today. He did know his Mom would want him to clean up his room as usual but this was the first day of summer vacation and he would have the whole summer to work in his room. So this should be his day to sleep in. Or so he thought until he began hearing the sizzling of bacon frying on the stove and smelling the frying pancakes coming from the kitchen. Grouchy thought sleepily to himself; “How could Mom do this to me on the morning I was going to sleep in? How could she go and cook my favorite breakfast. I won’t eat it.”

“Jeremy George,” called Mom. “Your favorite breakfast is ready. It’s time to get up. We have a big day today.”

“Mom“, called Jeremy George disgustedly from his bedroom. “Why did you have to fix my favorite breakfast this early? I was going to sleep in today. I don’t want to get up yet. I won’t get up,” whined Jeremy George grouchily.

“We have a big day today”, replied his Mother. “Grandmother is flying in today and if you are ready you can go with your dad to pick her up at the airport. I will stay home and get everything ready for her. She will be sleeping in your room so you will have to help me get it ready for her.”

“Boy, what a vacation this has turned out to be,” whined Jeremy George to himself. “Mom fixes my favorite breakfast on the day I was going to sleep in. Then she tells me l have to get up early so someone else can sleep in my bed tonight. I don’t think that is fair. In fact, I don’t think anything is fair. Everyone is against me. Why couldn’t I just sleep in like I wanted to?” Just then Jeremy George’s mom came into his bedroom and started pulling the covers from Jeremy George’s bed. ”Mom!” cried Jeremy George, “I’m still sleeping.”

Jeremy George grouchily slid out of bed as his mom muttered something again about it being a beautiful sun shinny day and she needed to get the bedding all washed so it would be clean for grandmother to sleep in tonight. Now, if Jeremy George had not been grouchy before, he was now. He had wanted to sleep in but no, his Mother had made his favorite breakfast. The smell of the bacon and pancakes had woke him up. His Mother had told him his grandmother was going to sleep in HIS bed tonight. And NOW his Mother had taken all the covers off his bed so she could wash them. How could he sleep now? The more Jeremy George thought about how he could not have his own way and sleep in today, the grouchier he became.

Jeremy George’s mother told Jeremy George to hurry and get dressed so he could eat. Then he would be ready to go with his father to the airport to pick up Grandmother.

Jeremy George sat on the edge of his bed that had no covers. He looked at his pants, shirt, shoes and socks. He didn’t want to dress. He wanted to be in bed sleeping. The more he thought about it the grumpier and grouchier he became. “I don’t want to get dressed”, he said to himself. ”I don’t want to eat. I don’t want to let someone else sleep in my bed.” Jeremy George was really grumpy now. “I am mad,” he said as he put on his shirt. “I’ll show them they can’t do this to me”, as his right leg went into his pants. Then as he put his left leg into his pants he jumped up and down to make a lot of noise to show everyone he was really mad. As he sat down on the floor to put on his shoes and sock he said, “I’ll show them they can`t make me get out of bed when I don’t want to. I’ll put my socks on upside down and I’ll put my shoes on the wrong feet. “There, that will show them that I am mad.”

So Jeremy George put his socks on with the heels on top and his left shoe on his right foot and his right shoe on his left foot.
“Hurry to the kitchen,” called Jeremy George’s mother from the laundry room. “Your breakfast is already for you. When you have finished it, go to the car. Your Father is working in the garage and he will be ready to go to the airport. Remember, you get to go get Grandmother from the airport.”

Jeremy George trudged to the kitchen rubbing his hands on the wall as he went. He knew his mom did not like it when he rubbed his hands along the wall. She would say it gets the walls dirty but Jeremy George was mad and he didn’t care. Jeremy George stood behind his chair at the kitchen table. There it was. His favorite breakfast – fixed just like he liked it. Two large golden brown steaming pancakes, topped with butter, with syrup running down from the top and flooding all around the pancakes. And there were his two strips of bacon on the top edge of the plate so they did not get any syrup on them. The bacon strips were what he always ate first so they would not get any syrup on them. Then he would take his fork and start to cut through both pancakes so he could get a big bite. He would put it in his mouth and start to chew. It would taste so-o-o-o good.

But today Jeremy George was not smiling as he looked at his favorite breakfast. He was pouting. He was mad. He had to get up when he wanted to sleep in. He remembered what he had said to himself earlier. “I will not eat any of it.” And so that is just what he did. He took his plate of golden brown pancakes swimming in syrup with the two crisp pieces of bacon and scrapped them into the garbage can under the sink. “There,” said Jeremy George in a grouchy tone of voice. “That will show them for getting me up when I wanted to sleep in.”

After he put his empty plate in the kitchen sink, he went out to the garage where his father was working.

“Good morning, Son,” said Jeremy George’s father cheerily.

“Yes, I guess so. Mom made me my favorite breakfast and made me get up. She had to wash the covers on my bed so Grandmother can sleep in it tonight. I had wanted to sleep in this morning but now l can’t even sleep in it tonight,” said Jeremy George with a scowl on his face and a grouchy tone in his voice.
Jeremy’s father didn’t catch the full tone of Jeremy George’s voice and had not seen the scowl on his face. He also did not know that Jeremy had not eaten his breakfast, not one single bite of it.

“Hop in the car and buckle up. We are off to the airport to pick up Grandmother. We don’t want to make her wait. She would be too worried and would not know what to do.”

Jeremy George did as he was told but before they had driven even out of the garage he started growling and complaining again about having to go to the airport to pick up Grandmother.

“Why do I have to go to the airport? Can’t you pick her up by yourself.” asked Jeremy sourly? “I would rather stay home and play. This is the first day of summer vacation and I wanted to play all day with my friends.”

Even though this is what he said, he knew he really just wanted to sleep in and not go out to play all day.

“You’ll have many days you can play with your friends, Jeremy, but this is a special day. You get to go for a drive on a beautiful day and pick up your Grandmother at the airport. Won’t that be fun?” asked Jeremy’s father and he drove down the street.

“No!” replied Jeremy George unsmilingly as his father drove farther away from home toward the airport. “It takes too long to go to the airport. It’ll be noon before we get back.” growled Jeremy George as he got grouchier and grouchier. Now .Jeremy’s father caught the tone of Jeremy’s voice and began to wonder what was wrong.

“Jeremy,” said his father lovingly, “you don’t have to go to the airport to pick up Grandmother. We just thought that you would want to go.”

“Well I don`t”, pouted Jeremy George.

“We knew it would take a long time to go to the airport and that is why your Mother fixed your favorite breakfast. By the way, how was it’?” asked his father curiously.

“I don’t know,” grumbled Jeremy grouchily.

“Why don’t you know?” asked his father as he got ready to turn towards the freeway.

“I didn’t eat any of it. I threw it in the garbage because I was mad at Mom for making me get up when I wanted to sleep in.”

And with that last grouchy reply Jeremy Georges’ father pulled the car over to the curb and stopped.

“Jeremy George, your name should be Grouchy because that is all you have been this morning. I don’t know why you have been acting so badly. I have to go on and pick up Grandmother. Your school is right around the corner and you know how to get home from here since you walk it every day. Because you are so grouchy and because you did not eat your breakfast, I am sending you home. You can eat some breakfast and then help your Mom get things cleaned up for Grandmother. I’ll call your mom on the cell phone to let her know what has happened. I’ll see you when we get back and I want you to get over that grouchy spell or your name will he GROUCHY.”

Slowly and without looking at his father Jeremy George opened the car door and slipped out. With his head down and his shoulders slouched he began walking towards his school. Before he had taken too many steps he could hear his father drive away towards the airport to pick up his Grandmother.

Now, what a fix Jeremy George was in. Silently Jeremy George said to himself, “I don’t want to go home. I don’t want to eat my favorite breakfast. I don’t want to help Mom. All I wanted to do was to sleep in. l am just going to walk”
“I am Grouchy”, Jeremy George said quietly and then repeating it over and over. And then he said it louder and louder. “I AM GROUCHY. I AM GROUCHY.” “I WON’T GO HOME. I WON’T GO HOME.” And with that Grouchy turned the corner at the school but did not go towards home. ”I will take the long way home,” Grouchy said to himself as he started on his way. “That will show Mom I am Grouchy” And Grouchy marched down the sidewalk stomping his feet as he went.

Grouchy did not notice the sun shining brightly as he walked down the sidewalks. He did not notice the summer breeze carrying the smell of the pretty flowers from the flower gardens. He was Grouchy. He just walked and walked for a longtime. Now other people were coming out to work in their yards. They were pulling the weeds in the gardens and smelling the pretty flowers.
“Good morning, Sonny,” said an elderly lady who was watering her flowers.

“My name’s not Sonny. It’s Grouchy.” said Jeremy George gruffly. And he walked on down the street.

A friendly dog came bouncing out to greet Jeremy George with a cherry “Arf, Arf” and his tail wagging.

“Don’t bother me, Dog”, growled Jeremy George. “I don’t want to play. I am Grouchy and l can bark louder than you “ARF, ARF”, barked Jeremy George, and away ran the friendly little dog.

Then Jeremy George heard his name being called “Jeremy, hey Jeremy George, school is out. Let’s play.” It was a friend from school.

“I’m not playing! I’m walking! I wanted to sleep in but couldn’t. I didn’t eat my favorite breakfast and I am GROUCHY.” And with that, the friend from school went back into his house.

With his face downcast Jeremy George continued to walk and walk. He kept STOMP, STOMP, STOMPING down the sidewalk. Jeremy George was Grouchy. Jeremy George was tired and Jeremy George was hungry. His feet also began to hurt. What could he do now? He couldn’t go home. What would his Mom say? He couldn’t keep walking. He was tired. He was hungry. And his feet hurt.

Looking around he had something else to think about. Where was he? Where had he been walking? He didn’t recognize any of the homes. He didn’t recognize the street. He didn’t know where his was. He didn’t know how to get back home. HE WAS LOST! What would he do now?

He didn’t stomp down the sidewalk any more. He didn’t walk with his face down either.

He was looking around to see if he could find a house or street he recognized. He was looking for a friendly face, someone he knew. Anybody.

Then he heard it. It was a cheerful whistle. It was coming from around the corner house. Who was it? Then he saw who it was. It was a mailman. When the mailman saw Jeremy George, he stopped and said to Jeremy, “Hi. Are you new in the neighborhood? I don’t remember seeing you in this area before.”

“No.” said Jeremy. “I’m lost. I wanted to sleep in but Mom fixed my favorite breakfast and she made me get up so she could get my bed ready for Grandmother. I was going to the airport with my dad to pick her up but when my dad found out I had not eaten any of my breakfast he stopped the car and told me to go back home so I could eat because I was grouchy.

“Well, are you Grouchy now?” asked the mailman.

“No”, he replied tearfully. ”I am Jeremy George Johnson and I live at 4532 Adams St. but now I am lost and hungry and my feet hurt.”
“Well, well, well.” said the mailman. “This must be a coincidence. I am delivering special delivery packages and I might have one that might be of interest to you. Take a look at this next package l was on my way to deliver. Can you read the address?”

Jeremy George looked at the package and wiped away his tears so he could read the address.

“It says, ‘Jeremy George Johnson 4532 Adams St.’. “That’s my street. And that’s my house and that’s me! But I am lost and don’t know where it is!”

“That’s OK.” said the mailman. “I know where it I can deliver the package but I think you had better come with me so you will be there to open it. But first you need to look at your shoes. I think I know why your feet hurt.”

And with that Jeremy George looked at his feet. He now remembered he had put his shoes on the wrong feet. He quickly sat down and took off his shoes and put them on the right feet.

Now as Jeremy George walked along with the mailman, he didn’t feel grouchy anymore but he was sad that he had behaved so badly. He wanted to get home and tell his Mom he was sorry for being grouchy. He wanted to tell her he was sorry he had tossed his breakfast in the garbage. He was especially sorry he had not come directly home when his dad had let him out at the school. If he had gone straight home, he would not have gotten lost.
By Larry E. Whittington Started 1/11/2004

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