Our feet left prints on moss like tracks in snow
the morning that we walked into the woods.
We took the small tin pails of lunch and slipped
onto the path behind the one-room school.
We giggled when we thought of Mr. Rose–
how he would fume to find we’d skipped his class!
We sat along the bank of talking brook
and watched it slither down a curving line
though forest full of pine and sycamore.
We ate our lunch of biscuit, bacon, ham,
fresh deviled egg, blackberry jam, fried pies,
a rare delight and yummy chocolate treat.
When Jessie, oldest, wisest one of us
said we must catch the bus by three o’clock,
we watched the sun and knew that we should go.
Yvonne, who wondered what our mom might do
began to walk in slow, methodic steps,
regretting fun and pranks of April Fool.
“No need to worry now, Yvonne,” I said.
“We’ll catch the bus. Our mom will never know.”
As we came from the woods, lunch pails in hand,
classmates–all boys–ran fast to tell the Teach,
who sternly met us at the schoolhouse door.
The hickory stick in his right hand was huge.
We heard the snickers from accusing boys,
all set to watch the paddling we deserved.
But Mr. Rose put down Old Hickory Stick.
“Go to your desks,” he said, “and get your pens,
your tablets, too and take this test you missed
in class today.” We sighed with great relief!
© Freeda Baker Nichols