Hector lived three blocks from a playground with a ping pong table. Arthur J. was looking forward to beating Hector in a game or two.
Arthur J. was staying with Grandma Maureen and Grandpa John over the weekend. They only lived one block from Hector.
When Grandma Maureen agreed that he could walk to Hector’s alone, Arthur J had to promise to go directly to Hector’s and not stop anywhere else or talk to strangers along the way. When he got to Hector’s, he was to call Grandma Maureen from the cell phone she gave him to use.
Arthur J. got to Hector’s house and rang the bell. Hector’s mom answered the door, saying,” Hi Arthur J. How are you today?” Arthur smiled and answered, “I’m fine, thank you Miss Maria. I came to ask Hector to go to the playground with me.”
Miss Maria shook her head no and said, “Hector can’t go anywhere today. In fact, he won’t be going anywhere until he finishes the books on his summer reading list. Did you read all the books on the reading list”?
Arthur J shook his head yes and answered, “I finished reading all the books last week.”
“Good for you,” said Hector’s mom. “I am sorry you came over here only to find out Hector can’t play with you today.” Arthur J nodded. Hector’s mom closed the door. Arthur J stood there a minute wondering what to do next.
Arthur J really wanted to go to the playground. He knew there would be other kids there willing to play a game of ping pong with him. Besides, he thought to himself, the playground was only three blocks from where he was. He could walk that distance in no time. He would be careful crossing the streets.
Arthur J forgot about his promise to call his grandma when he got to Hector’s. He also forgot that grandma only gave him permission to walk by himself as far as Hector’s house.
He started walking in the direction he thought he would find the playground. After three blocks, he new he was going the wrong way. He came to a street with heavy traffic and wasn’t so sure he should cross the street. He turned around and started walking back, but the street didn’t look familiar to him. He thought he must have taken a wrong turn somehow.
Now Arthur J was scared. He thought he was lost. He was afraid to ask a stranger for help. There were no police around, or school crossing guards, or even a mailman that he could ask for help. Then he remembered the cell phone. He dialed grandma’s number. She answered right away. She sounded so worried. “Where are you? When you didn’t call, we called Hector’s mom. She said you had already left. Grandpa John is out looking for you right now.”
Grandma was talking so fast, Arthur couldn’t even say anything. When grandma stopped talking, Arthur J said,”I’m lost. I don’t know where I am.” Grandma said, “Arthur J, look at the street sign what does it say?” Arthur looked around and said the name of the street he was on. “Oak Street,” said Arthur J. “OK said grandma. “Follow the street to the next corner and read me the sign of the street that crosses Oak street.” Arthur hurried down the street, feeling safer with every step he took, knowing that his grandpa would be coming for him soon.
When he got to the next corner, he told grandma the name of the street, Elm Street. Grandma answered, “Stay there and grandpa will come and get you.” A few minutes went by and Grandpa John pulled up in the car. Arthur J got in the car. Grandpa didn’t say much on the way home.
When they got in the house, grandpa told Arthur J to go into the living room and wait for him and grandma there. That’s when Arthur J knew he was in trouble.
Grandma came in and hugged him and told him she was so glad he was okay. Grandpa cleared his throat and said, “Arthur J you gave us quite a scare. You didn’t keep your promise to call and you walked far more than one block on your own. You didn’t behave like a boy who should be allowed to go out on his own. It will be a long time before we let you go out alone again.”
Arthur J said, ” I’m sorry I broke my promise. I’m sorry I made you worry.”
Grandpa said, “I know you are. Then he looked at grandma and asked, “What should Arthur’s punishment be?” Grandma thought a minute and answered, “I think Arthur needs some quiet time to think about what he did. An afternoon in his room and no TV tonight will give him that time.”