It is a good thing that mothers understand what no one else seems to when you are the youngest child in the family, and are finally four years old. Bonnie is more than ready to join her older sisters and brother in the many adventures she sees come their way, whether it be sliding along the ice, searching for arrowheads, or going on that journey of all journeys—across the swinging bridge to SCHOOL. Winter or summer, something is always happening in the Fairchild house, tucked amidst the pine trees of the Kentucky hills one hundred years ago or more. And, four years old or not, Bonnie usually manages to be in the middle of the action!
"May I go skating then, Mother? I'm big enough..."
Whenever her back was turned to the fire, Bonnie looked out the window. Beyond the road, along the edge of the mountains, wound the river. It was frozen solid, as it was always frozen in January, and people were sliding on the ice. Bonnie blinked as she watched them. She could have been sliding on the ice too, instead of warming herself by the fire if only Debby and Emmy, Chris and Althy hadn't given her grown-up advice as they buttoned their coats and pulled on their warm mittens.
"Oh, Bonnie, sugar, you can't go," said Debby who was six. "You were only four the day before yesterday." You'll freeze your toes right off, honey," Emmy, Bonnie's favorite sister, told her.
"Shucks, Bonnie, you've got no idea how cold it is out there!" warned Chris.
You'd just get in the way," said Althy. Althy was twelve.
Father, pulling on big brown mittens, smiled down at Bonnie and said nothing at all.
So Bonnie stayed home by the fire warming herself. As she turned herself for the tenth time, Mother came in from the kitchen.
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