Authors: M. R. Everette
Copyright © 2012 by M.R. Everette
Mill City Press, Inc.
212 3rd Ave North, Suite 290
Minneapolis, MN 55401
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the written prior permission of the author.
Erlee the bird thought he was an early riser and couldn't wait to be the first one in line when the local WeHop eatery announced it was offering free Saturday morning breakfasts for all the young birds and owls.
Upon hearing the good news about free breakfasts, the youngsters started tweeting each other about how exciting it would be, seeing the pancakes flipping, hearing the toasters popping, and smelling the bacon sizzling in the air.
On the first Saturday morning, as Erlee the bird arrived for breakfast, he was shocked to see Wisee the wise owl standing first in line.
"I thought owls were late sleepers, because my friend Sleepee the owl says there's nothing like staying up all night, gaming and sleeping in late," Erlee said to Wisee.
"That's what everybody thinks of owls," replied Wisee.
"So how do you get up so early?" asked Erlee.
"That's a secret you'll have to figure out, because you'll have to get up early, Erlee, to beat me in line," Wisee chuckled.
"Next Saturday, I'm going to be the first one in line!" declared Erlee.
After eating breakfast, Erlee went back home and decided to work on a wake-up routine that he could practice during the week, to see how early he could get up before the next Saturday.
On the first try, Erlee thought it would be easy to have Roscoe the rooster wake him up early by cockling and doodling after the crack of dawn. However, Roscoe never used an alarm clock and kept winging the wake-up time, causing Erlee to get up late.
On the second try, Erlee thought it would be easier to wake up early by getting his own alarm clock and setting the wake-up time for the crack of dawn. However, Erlee kept hitting the snooze button after the alarm went off, causing him to over-sleep.
On the third try, Erlee thought the easiest way to wake up early was having his mom wake him up before the crack of dawn. However, Erlee kept rolling over and going back to sleep after telling his mom he was awake, and once again, he got up late.
Figuring out a wake-up routine was becoming harder than Erlee originally thought, because he kept tossing and turning all night, thinking about getting up early.
"I've got to come up with something new, because I'm getting bags under my eyes from not getting enough sleep!" said a tired Erlee.
Erlee thought the best thing to do was to get some advice. He decided to hop online between the power poles and chat with some friends about how they get to sleep early.
Dirtee the bird chatted that his favorite thing before bedtime was taking a hot birdbath and then hopping in his pajamas. Slider the eider chatted that his favorite thing during bedtime was sliding under a comforter and then winding down with a bedtime story. Starla the starling chatted that her favorite thing after bedtime was counting the stars in the night sky and then falling fast asleep.
After all the electrifying chatter, Erlee went back home to think about all the new things he had heard. He decided to work on a bedtime routine that he could practice the rest of the week to see how early he could get up before next Saturday.
The next Saturday morning at the WeHop, Wisee the wise owl arrived to take his place as the first one in line for breakfast but was shocked to see Erlee the bird standing first in line.
"I thought early birds never got up before roosters!" Wisee said to Erlee.
"That's what everybody thinks of early birds," replied Erlee.
"So how did you get up earlier than the rooster?" asked Wisee.
"That's a secret you'll have to figure out, because you'll have to get wise, Wisee, to beat me in line," Erlee chuckled.
Erlee was the first one hopping out of the WeHop after eating breakfast, all bright-eyed and feathery-tailed, when he saw his friend Sleepee the owl, who was hopping in line, late as usual.
"I can't believe you were the early riser today!" shouted Sleepee as he rubbed his eyes in disbelief.
"I finally beat Wisee the wise owl in line!" Erlee gleefully said, while hopping up and down.
"So was your secret a great wake-up routine?" asked Sleepee.
"Nope!" said Erlee.
"Was your secret a great bedtime routine?" asked Sleepee.
"Nope!" said Erlee again.
"Well, what was your secret?" demanded Sleepee.
"My secret was putting together a great bedtime routine with a great wake-up routine that I call the "Bed-a-Wake" routine. Like Wisee the wise owl knows, the first one up gets to eat breakfast first!" said Erlee the early riser.
Moonie the calf longed for a large bell to wear around his neck like the one Bella the bell cow wore as the leader of the herd, so he could ring everyone on the cattle range.
One day the large bell around Bella's neck began ringing for all the young calves to gather at Chuck's wagon, as the summer grazing season was coming to an end, and soon the herd of calves would be moving out for the drive back to school.
"Now that you all are old enough, the time has come for everyone to get a bell for school," said Bella the bell cow.
"Yee-hah!" cheered the group of calves.
"But here are the terms and conditions of our family bell plan that you'll need to heed before our bell man, Billy the goat, issues your first bell. First, there's no range roaming without permission. Secondly, stay within ringing range of my bell. Last but not least, if trouble should arise, start ringing your bell," instructed Bella.
All the calves nodded in "udder" agreement and then went off to play a game of cow hide-and-seek. The group of calves needed no prodding when they voted hooves down for Moonie the calf to be the seeker, because he was known for not being the brightest burner on the range, and he stood out from the herd with his tall cowlick.
The game began, and Moonie sought far and wide for the hiding calves, crossing the creek and roaming onto another range. Moonie had strayed so far into the new range that he had gone out of Bella's ringing range.
Suddenly, a strange creature Moonie had never seen before came running up to him and said, "Hello, I'm Buffy the buffalo!"
"I've never heard of a buffalo," said Moonie.
"That's because we don't have bells," replied Buffy.
"How come you don't have a bell?" asked Moonie.
"Our herd leader says bells are too expensive where the buffalo roam," stated Buffy. "So what kind of bell are you wearing?"
"It's just a plain bell with a standard ring tone, but I want a large bell with all the whistles," replied Moonie.
"How about I trade you my rare antique coin for your bell? That way you'll have enough money to upgrade to a large bell," offered Buffy.
Moonie chewed on his cud for a while, thinking how he could be the most talked-about calf among his peers in the herd by being the first calf with a large bell that had unlimited range-wide ringing.
"OK, you've got a deal!" declared Moonie.
As Moonie and Buffy were completing their trade, a huge, dark storm began brewing on the buffalo range. Moonie sensed he'd better get hoofing back to the herd as fast as he could before the storm arrived, knowing the herd would be moving out for school.
Meanwhile, back on the cattle range, the trail driver to school had noticed the same storm brewing and came driving up to Bella. "It's time to head'em up and move'em out!" he shouted.
Bella began ringing her large bell as hard as she could to gather the herd. All the calves that were in hiding heard her bell, and they all formed a large group around the herd leader. Bella had started doing a head count when she noticed what was not standing out from the herd, and that was Moonie's tall cowlick.
"Anyone heard from Moonie?" asked Bella.
Before anyone could answer, the winds started blowing, tumbleweeds were rolling, and the rain came pouring, as the storm arrived earlier than expected. The creek Moonie had crossed was filling up fast, and he had no bell to ring if trouble arose, so he had to use his young, springy legs to quickly jump from rock to rock to cross the creek before it turned into a raging river.
Moonie was out of breath from running across the two ranges and was soaked to the bone from the pouring rain when he finally lumbered up to Chuck's wagon to order his new large bell.
"Yee-hah!" I'll be the most talked-about calf in the herd," cheered Moonie. "I'll take that large bell you have on display," an excited Moonie said to the bell man, Billy.
"How are you going to pay for that large bell?" asked Billy.
"I have a rare antique coin that's worth a lot," beamed Moonie.
"Are you kidding me?" chided Billy.
"What do you mean?" asked Moonie.
"That's a wooden nickel with a picture of Buffy's grandfather on the back. It's not worth a penny, so there's no deal!" stated Billy.
Moonie's face became long, and his cowlick drooped as Bella approached him at Chuck's wagon.
"Where have you been, and where's your bell?" demanded Bella.
"I've been buffaloed!" said the fool Moonie the calf.
Potter the otter always had an excuse for not doing his homework. He would rather be playing and having fun at his play station in the glistening stream that ran through the backwoods, where he lived, outside of town.
One afternoon, Potter the otter took a break from streaming up and down the stream. He took off his swimming goggles to bask in the sun along the stream bank. Unbeknownst to Potter, a new service was coming to the backwoods that would change everything.
The trees and bushes started rustling near the stream bank where Potter was resting. As he was turning around to see what was happening, out popped a pair of muskrats wearing yellow hard hats.
"Who are you guys?" asked Potter.
"We're the installers for the new broad rubber band network that's going to stretch from the town to the backwoods," replied the muskrats in hard hats.
"What are you guys looking for?" inquired Potter.
"We're looking for a logwood tree to install a plug-in outlet. Do you know where we can find one?" asked the muskrats in hard hats.
"There's one next to Weaver the beaver's dam," Potter pointed out.
The muskrats in hard hats followed Potter down the stream bank to Weaver's dam, just in time to see Weaver the beaver getting ready to chop down the logwood tree with his large buckteeth.
"Don't chop down that logwood tree!" shouted the muskrats in hard hats.
"What's going on?" demanded Weaver. "I need the logwood tree to make a logjam in the dam because it's leaking!"
"We're sorry, but logwood trees are now part of the broad rubber band network. When you go to school tomorrow, your teacher will tell you everything you need to know," stated the muskrats in hard hats.