Jenny’s Big Move

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‘Twas a beautiful spring day, air so fresh, sky so blue, sun so warm. Jenny Johnson felt excited and happy as she ran up two flights of stairs in the apartment building where she lived with her parents. She always had this great feeling whenever she stopped at the horse stable on her way home from school, which was usually two or three times a week.

Jenny felt so fortunate being a city girl and living in an apartment complex near a park where there was a riding stable. She had always loved horses—her mother was raised on a farm, had ridden as a girl, and whenever Jenny and her parents visited her grandparents’ house she squealed with delight when she sat astride the young horses.

Jenny felt very lucky when at the age of eleven she and her parents had moved into this high-rise apartment building where she could ride whenever she wanted. She had a favourite horse, a beautiful young colt with a star on his forehead. Mr Koons, the stable manager, knew Star was her favourite and always saddled him for whenever she came by to ride.

Still feeling the excitement of her ride, Jenny practically flew into the living room almost knocking her mother over.

“Whoa, there, Jenny,” her mother said holding out her arms. “Do you think you’re still riding, Star? Slow down, you’re all out of breath!”

Suddenly, Jen stopped. The smile left her face and she had this scared feeling in the pit of her stomach, for there on the couch sat her father with his head bent over, looking very serious.

“Dad,” she asked. “Why are you home in the middle of the afternoon? Are you ill? What’s wrong?”

Her dad looked up surprised. “Hi, honey, there’s nothing wrong. I’m fine.” He put his hands on his lap. “Your mother and I were just making some plans.” He then turned to his wife, “I guess it’s time we included Jen in our plans, eh, Helen?”

Jenny’s mother smiled, “Yes, I think it’s about time.”

“Plans, plans for what?” Jenny exclaimed.

“Well, sweetheart, it’s this way,” her father said. “We three are going to start a new life together in about three weeks. We’re leaving the big city in quest of a newer better way of living and we hope you’ll understand. You see, we are moving to a small town in Michigan where I’m going to have my own business.”

“Michigan, but that’s so far away from—”

“From your friends—true,” her father cut her off. “But we’ve tried to weigh all the advantages and disadvantages of our move and we figure country living is best for all of us. You can have all those dogs and cats you’ve always wanted and see all those cows and horses you love so much.”

“But, Dad . . . Star?”

“There will be other horses, Jen, don’t worry—we just know that after a few weeks, you’ll wonder why we didn’t make this move years ago, and being the great outgoing eleven-year-old that you are, why we just know you’ll make all kind of new friends in no time at all.”

Jen said no more—she had always trusted her parents’ judgement and since it was already decided, she knew it was useless to object. Who knows? It might turn out to be fun.

For a week after that conversation, she never went near the park and the riding stable for fear someone would see her crying when she saw Star. So, it was quite a shock—a big shock when she did arrive at the stable to find Star gone—what happened? The stable could only tell her that Star had been sold.

Jenny didn’t have much time to be sad, though, for the next few days were busy ones. Jen went to her grandmother’s home in Ohio to visit a few days, while her mother and father went to Michigan to look at the new house Dad had purchased a month ago when he had gone to look over his new business. Her parents promised Jenny they would take plenty of pictures of the house to show her.

When they did return and showed her the pictures of the new house on the three acres of land, Jenny couldn’t help letting that great feeling of anticipation take over. It was a big house—four bedrooms—the one overlooking the barn was to be hers.

“Oh, Star if only you could have joined us and shared in this new life,” she said to herself. “Then the move would be complete.” She sighed and stopped daydreaming, then smiled at her two anxious parents and said yes, she liked what she saw of their new home and thanked them again for being so considerate in sharing all their plans with her.

Then it was here—the big M: MOVING DAY! The movers walked in—the Johnson family moved out—and Jen never looked back, just ahead.

The trip to their new home took three days of driving, one night spent at Grandmother Johnson’s in Ohio, and another at a motel near the farm in order to give the movers time to unpack the furniture—then onto “Home Sweet Home.”

The next day Jenny could hardly believe her eyes. The house, the surrounding land, why it was even better than the pictures, and she hadn’t even seen the inside yet.

There was this long, long driveway leading up to this lovely white two-story house surrounded by many trees and—what was that running alongside the car? A puppy! But not just any puppy, a little collie, a sable and white-coloured collie! But how?

Her dad seemed to read her mind as he immediately replied, “he’s yours, honey. I told the boy from whose farm we bought him to be sure and be here when we drove up.” He paused, “That okay, Jen?”

“Okay,” Jenny said smiling as the family got out of the car, then grabbed her mother and father for a big, big hug.

They made walked up the front path to the inside of the house: a huge living room with a piano for her mother, as their apartment had been too small; a quick glance at the country kitchen, country-looking but still quite modern. Then upstairs and ‘her room’, so large with a super view of the ski hills of Michigan. There on her bed were her familiar stuffed animals with a couple of new ones added to make her feel even more welcomed. She turned to look out her window and what did she see in the backyard, but two little baby kittens! A calico-coloured and a tiger-striped—so many surprises! She passed her folks in the kitchen with a squeal of delight, she could hardly wait to hold those two tiny kittens and that little puppy.

After holding and loving these many furry little animals and getting smothered with many kisses in return she looked around at all the land. Oh, such spaces to explore, so many adventures awaited her. Then Jenny spotted the barn. Her dad did say it came with the house, might as well look in it, too. As she started towards the barn door, she stopped right in her tracks. It couldn’t be. But then she heard it again. That sound, that low whinnying sound. She ran into the barn, stopped, listened again, and then ran as fast as she could in the direction of that all too familiar sound.

Star!

She turned to see her folks standing right behind her. “Mom, Dad, you didn’t! But you did,” she squealed running over to him then back to her parents. “My Star, he’s here, he’s actually here! You’re the ones who bought him, aren’t you?”

“You guessed right, Jenny. We felt that with Star here with you, your new life would really be complete.”

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- Total nr. of readings: 582 Copyright © The author [2020] All Rights Reserved. This story may not be reproduced without the express written permission of the author except for personal use.

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