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  • Writer's pictureAnita Tosh


As if it wasn't hard enough moving into a new neighborhood, she had to go and make a fool of herself. Her mother had said that folks were so much friendlier out in the country. She had even heard that in the olden days people would leave their doors unlocked while they were gone so that if travelers came by they could help themselves to some food before going on their way.

There she was, playing pioneer girl in the woods, when she came to that nice little house. There was no answer at the door, but as she knocked, the door swung open. There was a delicious aroma wafting out from the kitchen. Her stomach began to rumble. Being a pioneer girl gave you an appetite. This was so perfect. She made herself at home at the table, certain that these kind folks had left this food for hungry travelers such as her. Looking back at that day, she wondered how she could have been so silly.

She really felt bad about the chair. She wanted to apologize but wasn't sure how to do it.

Today she walked through the forest thinking about her problem. As she walked, she began to get an idea. Picking flowers along the way, she soon came to the home of the Bair family. She laid down the bunch of flowers on the mat by the front door. Looking at them she thought, 'It's not enough, but it's a start.' Then she continued on to town. Once there, she made her way straight to Aaron's Carpenter shop. Up and down the aisles of furniture she went until she found some chairs. Looking at the price tags, the color went from her face. "So much," she whispered to herself. She walked away wondering how she could ever have that much money. When she came to herself, she was at the door of the work area. Looking in, she could not believe the mess. There was nothing she liked more than to tidy things up. She boldly asked the man who was working there, "Can I help you clean up? My mother says I am very good at it."

"Well," Aaron answered slowly, thinking that the girl looked too small to do much good. Then he realized what a mess his work area was. "You can sweep that corner over there, if your careful not touch anything." Pointing he added, "The broom is right over there with the dust pan."

Soon Goldie had the area spick and span. Aaron could not believe his good fortune. His apprentice was out with the flu, and things were really piling up. He had her clean another corner, and another. As Goldie swept, an idea began to form in her mind. When she was finished, she asked, "What do you do with the sawdust?"

"Just put it out in the bin. Sometimes people ask for some, but no one has lately."

"May I keep a little if you don't mind," she ventured?

Wondering if that's why she wanted to sweep, he narrowed his eyes, but answered, "Sure, take all you like." She set aside a small bag and took the rest out to the bin. When she returned, she neatly put away the broom and dust pan. Aaron liked having the work area clean. "You can come back any time, Goldie," he said as she waved goodbye.

She enjoyed the work so much, she came back every day. When the apprentice returned, Aaron needed his help with other work to catch up and was pleased to have Goldie to continue helping. Each day she took one small bag of sawdust.

One day Aaron asked, "Say, what are you using the sawdust for?"

"My mom is helping me make something. I can show you when it's finished if you like."

"Yes, I'd like that."

So, a couple of weeks later, Goldie arrived at the workshop with a package. "Mom and I finished last night. You want to see?"

"Of course!"

Goldie pulled out a sawdust doll. It had curly yarn hair and colorful clothes. Two shiny button eyes smiled up at Aaron. "Wow, you made that?"

"Me and my mom," she answered proudly.

"What are you going to do with it?"

"I was hoping to make more and sell them. What do you think?"

"I think that's great! I'll buy the first one, how much?"

They settled on a price and Goldie happily went home and put the money into her piggy bank.

Aaron was admiring his clean workshop one afternoon and decided that the little bit of sawdust she was taking home was not enough for all the work she was doing. So, that day when she was finished, he gave her a small bit of money. "You must take something. Here," he handed her some money from his pocket. "Go on, take it. You've been a big help to me."

"Thank you Mr. Aaron," she said happily! Goldie saved the coins in her piggy bank for months as she continued to make more sawdust dolls. Every day after school she stopped by to sweep up the work area for the carpenter. "How is it going with the dolls, Goldie?"

"Almost done with the next one, you know anyone who would like to buy one?"

"No, I don't. But I'll tell you what. Why don't you bring it in here and I'll set it by the register so people can see it. I'm sure it will sell. It's my Amanda's favorite toy. She takes it everywhere."

"Wow! That would be great! Thanks!"

The dolls were a big success. Goldie even began getting special orders. She was selling her dolls before they were made. The piggy bank was getting full. The day finally came when Goldie asked Aaron about a special chair. She wanted it to be forest green, like the one she had broken, with a special design on the back. They talked it over and settled everything. She gave Aaron the coins from her piggy bank. Goldie continued sweeping and making dolls while Aaron worked on the chair. At last the chair was finished. Goldie wanted it to be a surprise, so she and Aaron and her mom went together to the Bair's home. They placed the beautiful new chair on the front doorstep. When the Bair family returned home, there was the green chair sitting at the front door. The back had a bear paw design on it like the rest of their chairs, and on the seat were three sawdust bears and a note. The note read, "I'm sorry I broke your chair. I hope you like this one." It was signed, "Goldie"


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