Joseph Anderson Donetti
More Adventures With Mac
Joseph Anderson Donetti -- More Adventures With Mac, Chapter 4
Joseph Anderson Donetti heard her coming. He smiled to himself and looked up from the paper he was concentrating on. She sounded a lot like Danny, his old friend in his old neighborhood, hollering down the street.
G.M. stepped into the kitchen. "I believe Mac's home from school," she said, opening the back door.
Mac bounced up the steps. "Hi, Mrs. Anderson!" she gasped as she skidded to a stop. "I have the greatest news! You'll never guess what we decided to do in school today! I came right over to tell Joseph all about it. It's the greatest thing!"
"Breathe, Mac," G.M. suggested.
Mac grinned. She took three deep breaths in a row. "How's that?" she asked.
"Come on in," G.M. said with a smile.
Mac skipped into the kitchen. "Hey, Joseph!" she exclaimed, "You are looking at a writer! Well, I haven't written anything yet, but I'm going to." She twirled around. "Our class is starting a newspaper. We're going to report on stuff that is going on at school and at church and in town. Everybody in the class gets to write something for it, and I have the neatest part of all! Guess what I get to do? I get to be, 'Ask Mac'!"
"What," Joseph asked, "is that?"
G.M. leaned against the sink, listening too.
"Well," Mac explained, "if people have questions about something, they can write them down and put them in this special box, and I get them out and write the answers, and we put the question and the answer in the paper."
"What kind of questions?" Joseph asked.
"I don't know. Questions! Questions about whatever. I don't know," Mac said.
"How are you supposed to answer everybody's questions? You're just a kid. You don't know the answers to everything!" Joseph said.
"That's what my mom said too." Mac grinned. "But my teacher says that learning where to find answers is a very important thing. She says that nobody knows everything, but if a person knows where to look or whom to ask, she can usually find out whatever she needs to know."
"That's true," G.M. agreed.
"How did you get that answering-questions job?" Joseph asked.
Mac looked down at her shoes. Then she looked up at the ceiling. "Well, my teacher said I seem to have an opinion about everything, and it might be useful to learn to put my thoughts on paper."
G.M. tried to hide her smile.
"I wonder what kind of questions kids will put in the box," Joseph mused.
"I know. Me too. I can hardly wait to see!" Mac exclaimed. "Maybe they'll be really hard ones. Or maybe they'll be really easy, like where to get the best haircut." Mac patted her curls, and Joseph and G.M. both burst out laughing. Mac's red curls sort of had a life of their own. No one could possibly tell whether Mac had a good haircut or not.
"Could I offer the new columnist a drink of lemonade?" G.M. asked.
"Yes, thanks!" Mac said.
G.M. put three glasses on the table. She poured the lemonade and then sat down too. "You know," she said, "the idea of your question-and-answer column reminds me of what I was reading just this morning. The Bible is God's Word to us. And it says in Psalm 119 that His Word is a lamp for our feet. That means that God's Word is a light that shows us where we should walk. Which really means that the Bible has the answers we need for all of life's problems. It would be interesting to see if you could find a Bible answer for each of the questions you get," she said.
"That's a very good idea," Mac said thoughtfully. "My school is a Christian school, and we have Bible class every day. But some of the kids just think those are old stories that we have to learn."
"I know," G.M. said. "And that's really too bad. Maybe your column will help some kids realize that God still speaks to His children today."
She stood up. "The earth may not be quaking, and there might not be thunder and lightning and fire and smoke like when God spoke to the Children of Israel on Mt. Sinai. But if people--even kids--will look in His Word, He will still speak to them."
G.M. picked up her lemonade. "I've got painting to get back to," she said.
"There's green paint on your forehead," Mac volunteered.
"Green is a good color," G.M. said over her shoulder.
"I love your grandmother!" Mac exclaimed. She noticed Joseph's number-covered paper. "What are you doing?" she asked.
Joseph looked down at the paper in front of him on the kitchen table. "My mom decided I need to learn the multiplication tables better. She thinks I need to learn them so I know the answers instantly and don't even have to think about them. You know what she said?" he continued. "She said that if I touched a hot burner on the stove, I wouldn't even have to think about whether I should move my hand or not. I'd just jerk it away instantly. She said that's the way I should know the multiplication tables. So if someone asks me a problem like 6 x 6, I shouldn't even have to think about it. I should just instantly know the answer."
Joseph sighed. "I don't think I'll ever get that good at it."
"My dad says if the multiplication tables are a problem to you, math will always be hard. But if you master the multiplication tables, math could become a breeze. I'm pretty good at the multiplication tables," Mac continued. "Maybe I could help you. It might even be fun. Do you have flash cards?"
"I hate flash cards!" Joseph wailed.
"I don't know why," Mac protested. "That's how I learned the multiplication tables. It's a really great way to learn them. Do you know what 8 x 7 is?" she asked. "The absolutely hardest multiplication fact for me to learn was 8 x 7."