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Letters For Tyree

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Letters For Tyree
Seven-year-old Tyree Wilson had loved the letters of the alphabet, ever since his parents had bought him books and block letters when he was very young.
Tyree was an only child who spent most of his time writing and reciting, using his favorite letters as much as he could. T is for Tyree, he'd write. Or, D is for daddy. Or, C is for cherry, my favorite soda. All of the letters were his friends.
Each day when Mr. Post would come to deliver mail, Tyree would meet him and ask for a letter. It was a game they played.
"No letters for you today, Tyree," Mr. Post the mailman would say.
Tyree would stand there, jam his hands in his pocket, and try to look disappointed.
"No letters today? Then how about a P for Mr. Post," Tyree would say.
Mr. Post would say, "Very good, Tyree."

The very next day, Tyree would ask for another letter.

"Here's an M for you today," Mr. Post would say.
"Thank you." Tyree would take the imaginary letter. "M is for mama," he'd say.
Mr. Post loved the smiles the letters brought to Tyree. He knew how much Tyree loved them. One day Mr. Post came up with an idea for a new game.

The next day, as usual, Tyree was waiting on the porch for him.
"Good Morning, Mr. Post. Got any letters for me," he asked.
"Not today Tyree, but I'll bet you'll get a surprise tomorrow," Mr. Post said.
Now when he said that, Tyree wondered how Mr. Post would know about a surprise.
"A surprise?. What kind of surprise?" Tyree asked.

"I don't know. Only know what my bones say, and they say Tyree will get a surprise", answered Mr. Post.

"Wow!," Tyree shouted. He rushed inside to tell his mother about it.
"Mama, mama. I'm going to get a surprise," he yelled, bouncing excitedly into the kitchen.

His mother was stirring cinnamon into bubbling oatmeal. "Tyree, settle down", she said."What are you talking about?", she asked him.

"Mr. Post said I'm going to get a surprise tomorrow."
"Now how does that mailman know about a surprise for you?," she inquired.
Tyree stood proudly, as if he knew a secret and said, "His bones said so."
His mother laughed, and kissed his forehead. "Well, if his bones said so, then it must be true. Guess you'll have to wait and see, sweetie."
That night, Tyree went to bed but he could hardly sleep for thinking about the surprise. What could it be?, he wondered. His imagination began to soar, reaching for the moon. He saw all kinds of kids' magazines and books; even a mailbag like Mr. Post had. Then he could have all the letters he wanted and
make deliveries too. Just like Mr. Post. That would be neat, he thought.

Finally, the sleep fairy dusted him with magic powder and he drifted right to sleep.
Morning arrived, bringing plenty of sunshine with her. Tyree hurriedly ate breakfast, peeked through the front window, and finally saw Mr. Post coming up the walkway. He scooted out to meet him.

"Good morning, Mr. Post," he said.
"Morning to you too, Tyree" Mr. Post said.
Tyree stood silently for a moment, then blurted, "Where's my surprise?"
Mr. Post smiled and said, "Reach in the side pocket of my bag."
Tyree reached in and pulled out a real stamped letter. His eyes widened with surprise when he looked at it.

"My name is on it," he said.
"Open it, Tyree."
He carefully tore the letter open. "It's the letter S," he said.
"All right," Mr. Post said, "can you write ten things that begins with the letter S?."

"Ten things? That's easy," Tyree said. "I'm smart, you know."
"Yes I know. That's why you got this surprise. Every day, you'll pull a new letter. There are twenty five more in my bag. Beginning with the letter of the day, I'll give you a number. You write down that number of words," Mr. Post explained.

Tyree thought about it for a moment. "Is there a prize or something if I do it," he asked.

"Sure, only I don't know what it is yet. Got any ideas?"
"Hmmm. A mailman's bag, full of letters," Tyree said, laughing.
"I'll work on it," Mr. Post said, grinning. "In the meantime, start with your first letter." And with that, he went about his job delivering letters in the quiet neighborhood.
Tyree looked again at the curved letter S. Pretty easy, he thought. He went inside, got a pencil and paper, and set about his task. In the kitchen, he wrote; S =sugar, sink, syrup, salt, spinach, spoon, sponge. At school, after he'd eaten lunch, he wrote; S =sandwich, soup and soda. He seemed pleased
with his progress. Every day, he pulled a new letter from the mailbag, and wrote down Mr. Post's given number of words.

One day Tyree was walking home from school when he heard a low growl. He stopped, turned around and saw a black and brown spotted dog. A big one, with big feet, big mean looking eyes, and a short white tail. The spikes on its purple collar, glittering in the afternoon sun, looked like dancing spears.
It bared its big pointy teeth and began to bark.

Tyree backed away slowly, but the dog, now growling a little, took slow steps toward him. He remembered what his mother had said; "Never run from a dog, Tyree. Stand very still." So he didn't move and the dog didn't move. Tyree was afraid.
Then he heard someone say, "Lil'bit...come here, girl."

The big dog immediately looked to the side of the yard it stood in, and trotted to a little girl with thick black goddess braids.

"Bad dog. How did you get out," she asked, placing a leash on its purple spiked collar.

She looked at Tyree and smiled. "Hi. I'm Sondra. Sorry Lil'bit scared you. What's your name?"

"Tyree," he said, slowly relaxing.
He looked into the biggest brown eyes that seemed to sparkle with gold flecks. He thought she was the prettiest little girl he'd seen. Even the dog kept its eyes on her. Her name begins with one of my favorite letters; S = Sondra, he thought. And she looks about my age, seven. S =seven.

"Lil'bit never got out before. She's probably scared of you. I only put this collar on her to make her look tough. Works, huh? C'mon, pet her. She's OK," Sondra said.
"Nooo thanks," Tyree said.
"All right--if you're scared," she said.

"I'm not scared. I'll do it."

Tyree slowly walked to the dog and patted its head. The dog ignored him, much to his relief.
"L is for Lil'bit. Good girl, Lil'bit," he said.

"See, I told you. Want to walk with us," Sondra said, and smiled.

Tyree smiled too, and they walked down the street and talked and laughed and giggled.
Three days later, Tyree reached into Mr. Post's mailbag and pulled out the remaining letter.

"Since this is the last letter, you can give me one word right now," Mr. Post said.
Tyree took a look at the letter. He didn't even have to think about it. He was ready.
"F. . . F.. is for Friends," he said proudly.
"Wonderful," Mr. Post said, "and here's your prize."

Mr. Post handed him a smaller version of the sky blue letter carrier's cap, just like the one he wore.
Tyree beamed, placed it on his head, and began to walk towards Sondra's house.

Letters For Tyree
by Shirley J. Walker - Copyright 1998 - All Rights Reserved


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