Joseph Anderson Donetti
More Adventures With Mac
Joseph Anderson Donetti -- More Adventures With Mac, Chapter 8
When You're Home Alone
Joseph Anderson Donetti pulled his sweatshirt over his head. "I'm going to Mac's house," he called to G.M. "She said her dad would help us with her school newspaper project."
"OK," G.M. answered from her studio. "But don't forget that you promised to fix supper for me tonight!"
Joseph grinned to himself. He wondered what it would be like to have a grandmother who liked to cook like the grandmothers always did in books. "I won't forget," he called back.
Joseph dashed across the yard. It was really cold! Maybe it would snow. G.M. said it sometimes snowed in Jacksonville. Not every winter, but sometimes.
Joseph hurried up Mac's steps. He knocked on the back door. Mrs. Evans opened it.
"Hi, there," she said. "Come on in. The school newspaper conference is just about to begin."
Mr. Evans was sitting at the kitchen table, his hands wrapped around a steaming cup of tea. Mac sat across from him. She was gnawing on the end of a stubby pencil. "Sit down," she said, taking the pencil out of her mouth. "We're just starting."
"Hi, Joseph," Mr. Evans said. "I hear you are helping Mac out on her latest project."
Joseph slid into the chair next to Mac. "I guess so," he said. He sniffed. "It smells really good in here!" he added.
Mrs. Evans laughed. She picked up a big spoon and began to stir something on the stove. "Thanks," she said. "It's just soup."
"Excuse me," Mr. Evans interrupted. "You never make 'just soup'." He looked at Joseph. "She makes the world's best soup."
Joseph took another deep breath. "I have to fix supper tonight at our house," he said. "I always thought grandmothers liked to cook," he added.
Everybody laughed. Everybody knew how G.M. felt about that subject.
"Let's get started," Mr. Evans said. He picked up the piece of paper with the question from the "Ask Mac" box that Mac had decided to answer first. " 'My parents both have jobs, and nobody is home when I come home from school. Sometimes I get scared. What should I do?' " he read. He looked at Mac and Joseph. "Do you two have any ideas already about this?" he asked.
"I do," Mac began. "If you are going to be home alone, you should know the number to call if you have an emergency. 9-1-1. Everybody should know that. And," she continued, "you should know the phone numbers where your mother and your father work. And you shouldn't answer the door for strangers. And you should keep the doors locked," she added.
"That's all good stuff, Mac," Mr. Evans said. "Do you have any other ideas?" he asked Joseph.
"G.M. wrote a list of phone numbers and taped it on the wall," Joseph answered. "It's numbers of people I could call if I were home alone and needed some help. Your number's on it," he continued. "And when we lived in the city, Mom said not to answer the telephone if I were home alone. She said to let the answering machine answer it, and then if it was her, I could pick up the phone when I heard her voice. Caller ID (identification) would be the same. I wouldn't answer the phone if I didn't recognize the name or number that shows on the Caller ID display on the phone."
"And," Mac said, "kids who don't have answering machines or Caller ID at their homes could have a signal arranged with their parents. Maybe they would call, let the phone ring twice, hang up, and then call again."
Mr. Evans leaned back in the chair and stretched out his legs. "You know, you guys have pretty much covered all the information a young person needs to know," he said, "but I think there is another part to the question that you are overlooking." He handed the paper to Mac. "Read it again," he suggested.
" 'My parents both have jobs,' " Mac read, " 'and nobody is home when I come home from school. Sometimes I get scared. What should I do?' " She looked up. "I don't get it. What are we overlooking?"
"I get it!" Joseph exclaimed. "The person who wrote the question gets scared sometimes. Maybe there isn't really anything to be scared about, but he just feels scared. Maybe he feels lonely too," he suggested.
"I think you've got the idea," Mr. Evans said. "People can know all the right information--they can know all the right things to do, but they can still feel scared sometimes anyway. Maybe they worry that something bad might happen. Do you think God would have anything to say about that?" he asked with a twinkle in his eye.
"Right!" Mac exclaimed. She jumped up and hurried out of the room. She came right back, carrying a fat Bible and a big, heavy blue book. She plunked the big book in front of Joseph. "Here's the concordance," she said. "You look up the word 'worry', and I will look up the texts you tell me to in the Bible."
Joseph carefully turned the pages. He frowned. "I can't find the word 'worry'," he said.
"Try the word 'fear'," Mr. Evans suggested.
Joseph turned more pages. "Wow!" he exclaimed. "There's about a thousand texts with the word 'fear' in them. Do we have to look up all of them?"
Mac leaned over and peered at the page. "This will take forever!"
Mr. Evans laughed. "Well, maybe it won't be as bad as all that," he said. "Remember that the concordance tells a little bit about all the texts it lists. You can get a good idea which verse to look up if you read the few words there about each text."
Joseph studied the page. "This is hard!" he muttered.
"Who said everything was always easy?" Mr. Evans asked softly.
"OK," Joseph said. "Try Psalm 91:5."
Mac opened the Bible to the middle. The book of Psalms was always easy to find. " 'You will not fear any danger by night or an arrow during the day.' " Mac grinned at her dad. "I really haven't been afraid of arrows during the day," she said.
"But what does that verse mean?" Mr. Evans asked.
"I guess if someone were shooting arrows at me, they would be trying to hurt me," Mac answered. "It must mean that we shouldn't be afraid of people trying to hurt us."
"Good thinking!" Mrs. Evans put in. "By the way, it's getting late fast. Joseph, shall I call G.M. and ask her if she would like to eat over here?"
"Yes, please!" Joseph exclaimed happily.