Joseph Anderson Donetti
Comes to Oregon
Joseph Anderson Donetti -- Comes to Oregon, Chapter 7
G.M. the Artist
Joseph Anderson Donetti was impressed. "That's a really great picture!" he said to G.M.
G.M. looked up at him and smiled. She pushed her glasses up on her head. "Thank you," she said. She laid her paintbrush down on the table. "I've got a lot of work to do to get ready for the art festival."
"What are you going to do at the art festival?" Joseph asked.
"I'm going to sell my paintings," G.M. answered.
"Yup," Mac put in, "and I am her assistant. I help set up her table and her display. And I help sell too. Maybe you can help us this year. It's really a lot of fun talking to all the tourists who come to the festival. Last year I met some people who were visiting from Denmark! I loved their shoes! They're called clogs. And someday I want a pair of them."
Joseph looked at Mac. She just seemed to talk until she ran out of breath. He had never really spent much time talking to a girl before. Maybe they all talked like that.
"Go on now, you two." G.M. made shooing motions with her hands. "Go see Harvey the Third. Give him my regards. Don't forget supper." She picked up her paintbrush, adjusted the glasses on the bridge of her nose, and began to work.
"What she really means is don't forget to remind her to fix supper," Mac said as she and Joseph walked through the kitchen and out the back door. "She gets to painting and completely forgets what time it is. Lots of nights my mom puts some of our supper on a plate and brings it over. Do you know how to cook?"
"I can cook some stuff," Joseph answered. "I can heat things in the microwave. My mom is a waitress, and lots of times she brings home leftover lasagna. I can make salad."
"I'm thinking it might be a good thing to learn to cook," Mac said. "I want to learn to do as many things as I can. I want to be very self-sufficient. That means I won't have to wait for other people to do things for me. I hate waiting."
"There's a police car in front of your house!" Joseph exclaimed.
"Of course there is," Mac said. "My dad is the police chief. Come on, you can meet him. I didn't know he would be home this afternoon." Mac ran up the back steps of her house. "Hey, Dad!" she hollered.
"Hey, sweetie!" The big man sitting at the kitchen table opened his arms wide, and Mac jumped onto his lap. Joseph stood shyly in the doorway, watching.
"Why are you home now? Is it suppertime already?" Mac asked. "That's Joseph." She pointed to the doorway. "Joseph Anderson Donetti. Isn't that a mouthful of a name? He likes lizards too. I'm going to introduce him to Harvey the Third. I hope I can find a cricket for Harvey's supper."
Mac's dad smiled at Joseph. He scooted Mac off his lap and stood up. "Hello," he said, holding out his hand. "I'm Mr. Evans. I'm very glad to meet you. Your grandmother told us you were coming."
Joseph stepped forward and shook Mr. Evans' hand. He wasn't sure what to say, so he just smiled a friendly smile.
Mr. Evans turned back to Mac. "Since I have to work late tonight, I stopped by to have a cup of peppermint tea with your mother. And I will, if she ever gets off the phone," he grumped with a grin.
"Come on! Let's go see Harvey the Third," Mac said. She led the way through the hall and up a steep staircase that looked a lot like G.M.'s.
"Here he is. Isn't he beautiful!" Mac leaned over the old fish tank that was sitting on a table under a big window in the upstairs hallway. "Harvey the First and Harvey the Second were cute. But Harvey the Third is extremely handsome. Don't you think so?" She reached in and picked the lizard off the branch where he had been sunning himself.
Joseph Anderson Donetti was a bit jealous. He had always wanted a lizard for a pet. But Mom said she just wasn't ready for a pet that wasn't furry. Joseph reached out and gently touched Harvey the Third's head.
"You can hold him," Mac said. "Hold him snugly so he won't get away. He runs really fast. But don't squish him."
Joseph sank down on the floor and held Harvey the Third. At first Harvey's little toes scratched against Joseph's hands, but then he sat quietly and looked around.
Mac sat down beside Joseph. "Harvey the Third is a Blue-Bellied Lizard," she said. "Sometimes they are also called western fence lizards. Western fence lizards live in Oregon and California and Idaho and Nevada and Utah. They make good pets. But my dad and mom don't let me keep my lizards for too long. They say it's better to return them to the woods where they belong. Lizards help keep the insect population under control, you know. Maybe we could catch a lizard for you to have while you are visiting your grandmother."
Joseph's eyes shone. "That would be great!" he whispered.
"Did you know there are almost 3,000 different kinds of lizards?" Mac asked. "3,000! My mom says that's another example of how wildly creative God can be. I've never seen 3,000 of anything. Wouldn't you love to see every kind of lizard that there is in the world? Maybe when I grow up I'll start a lizard zoo. I'll have 3,000 different cages. People will come from all over and be astonished. It will take them days to see all my lizards!"
"Do you know about God?" Joseph looked up from stroking Harvey the Third's head.
"Of course, I do!" Mac answered. "Don't you?"
"Well, not really," Joseph said. "At least I didn't before I started on this trip. But God sent someone specially to tell me that He made everything and that He made me. She said He even picked out the color of my hair and my eyes and everything! She said God loves me."
"What do you mean, God sent someone to talk to you?" Mac asked.
So Joseph told Mac all about his plane flight and Mrs. Boyd and the lizard in his pocket and the snake in her purse.
"That is totally awesome!" Mac breathed.