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Written by Leigh Anne Florence and illustrated by Donnie Mathes
“Close your eyes,” I told Mom and Dad before pulling the sheet off of our purchase. “I want to surprise you.”
“I’m positive I’ll be surprised,” Dad smiled and said before he and Mom shut their peepers.
Once we were sure they weren’t peeking, Chloe and I pulled off the sheet. In a loud voice I said, “Tah-dah! It’s a complete drum set!”.
Knowing Mom and Dad didn’t know as much about music as I did, I took my time and explained each part of the drum kit, just as Mr. Martin had done for us.
“This is the bass drum,” I said as I pointed to the biggest drum sitting at the base of the drum set. “Here’s the snare drum,” I said as I showed them one of the most important drums in the set. “These are the hanging toms and floor toms, the high-hat and cymbal.” Chloe hit the cymbal so everyone could hear. After our ears stopped ringing, we unveiled the best part of all - the gong! Mom and Dad must have been excited because their eyes were as big as saucers! Chloe and I picked up the mallet and struck the large instrument as hard as we could. It was big and we were little, so we worked together. We struck the gong and were amazed at how loud - and long - it rang.
“Wow, Chloe!” I yelled, trying to talk over the ringing. “All the dogs in the neighborhood must love this music too. Listen to everyone howl!” We could hear Barney the basset hound, Scruffy the schnauzer, and Pugsy the pug. “It’s as if we have our own choir and orchestra!”
“And you know the best part?” I asked Dad. “Mr. Martin said the set was vintage! What are the chances of us finding vintage drums?”
“Son, do you even know what vintage means?” Not knowing, I looked to Chloe for help but she just stared at me with her beautiful brown eyes.
“I don’t, but it must be a good thing. When Mr. Martin said the word, everyone seemed impressed. In fact, Mr. Martin said the drums were from the Civil War!”
“No he didn’t, Woody,” Chloe corrected me. “Mr. Martin said the drums would cause a civil war.
“I don’t want to be rude, but you’re incorrect, Chloe. Mr. Martin said the drums were from the Civil War! That’s probably what vintage means - straight from the Civil War. Anyway, why would a drum set cause a civil war? Wasn’t the Civil War about two different countries fighting over land or something? I don’t see how our drum set could cause two countries to fight. I’m glad we were able to purchase the drum set before anyone else got their paws on it! Since I already know how to play the harmonica, and since you have the sweetest and most beautiful voice, the drum set will help jump-start our career in the music hendustry.”
“It’s music industry, son. And Mr. Martin was correct; a civil war could be in the future. Woody, I love that you enjoy music and I’m thrilled you want to learn to play the drums, but you should have given this purchase some thought. Our house is small. Where do you plan to keep the drums?”
“In the middle of the living room,” I answered. “You and Mom are always saying Chloe and I watch too much TV. Maybe we could get rid of the TV so we could put the gong there.” Though my parents didn’t say, I got the feeling they weren’t thrilled with that idea.
“Another thing, son,” Mom chimed in, “how will you pay for lessons? Are you willing to schedule more school visits to pay for drum lessons?”
“Absolutely,” I answered. “I’d do anything for my vintage drum set. Besides, I’m getting the hang of these drums so fast that I bet I’ll only need a few lessons. Listen!” I told my parents before picking up my sticks and playing a long drum roll just like I had seen the drummers do on TV. Once I finished hitting all the drums and the cymbal, I threw my sticks up in the air and was ready to catch them. Unfortunately, I must have thrown the sticks too hard. All of a sudden, I heard the loudest clanging, and it wasn’t my drum set. I wasn’t sure about a civil war being in my future, but I was sure the doghouse was!
Thanks to Kentucky Utilities/LG&E, Kentucky Press Association and the KY Secretary of State for helping to make this statewide literacy project possible. Go to www.kypress.com to hear each chapter and try the chapter activities.