The Big House
Amanda was having the girls to spend the night with her and they began talking about scary things which she isnít supposed to do, but she was in her own house and Mom was downstairs so she thought it would be okay.  Cricket was there and so was Crissy.  Stephanie wasnít there yet but would be over later.  Amanda was curious, she had seen this old house for years on her block and it was scary looking. She wanted to see inside of it, she heard all the kids talking at school and they said it was hunted. Amanda said to Cricket, "what does hunted mean?"  Cricket said, "the floors make a noise and the doors open and shut all by themselves and I also heard that an old woman lives there that never comes outside."  Crissy said, "maybe if the light hits her sheíll turn to dust like they do on TV."  They all giggled, yet they were thinking about it and were a little afraid.
Amanda told Cricket and Crissy that she had seen the lights go off and on at night in the very top of the house.  Crissy said, "maybe one of the ghost lives in the very top and he sleeps all day and wakes up at night and he wears a sheet over his head."  Amandaís eyes got real big, she thought that was so scary. Well about that time the door opened and the girls all screamed.  Stephanie came in and looked at them.  "What was that all about", she asked? They smiled and told her about the big house and how they were talking about the stories they had heard.  Stephanie laughed, oh, "youíre talking about the old Miller house on the corner, itís not hunted, there is an older woman that lives there, but she isnít able to keep up the yard and take care of it like she use to.  I remember her when she used to come out and rake the leaves and mow and then she had a gardener that came, but when he passed away she didnít hire anyone else to do it."  All of a sudden, Crissy jumped up, "Iíve got an idea," she said.  "Oh and what is that," Amanda said?  "Since Stephanie knows the old woman, Iíll ask her and see what she thinks first.  Hereís the idea.  Stephanie what do you think about us going over there on Saturday and help her.  We can pick up the papers and pull up some weeds and maybe Amandaís dad will cut the grass.  We can sweep that big old porch for her, what do you think?"  Stephanie looked at the girls, "you know I think thatís a great idea, do you think your Momís will go for it? I know my Mom wonít care, she knows Mrs. Miller."  Stephanie was a little older than the girls and she was proud of them for thinking about that.  "Of course," Amanda said, "do you think sheíll let us see inside if we do that for her?"  "Iím sure she will," said Stephanie.
They settled down to watch a movie and eat some popcorn and it was hard to go to sleep for the excitement they were feeling about helping someone, but somehow they giggled and laughed and finally fell asleep.  Morning came and the smell of breakfast came up stairs.  They got dressed and ran downstairs to the table.  Amanda told Stephanie to ask her Mom about it. Amandaís Mom said, "ask me what?"  Then all the girls began to talk at once.  "Wait a minute," she said, "one at a time."  Amanda told her Mom about the idea they had.  Mom was so proud and of course she thought it was a great idea.  She said, "not only is it all right but Iíll help and so will Dad.  I know Mrs. Miller will appreciate it so much." After breakfast the girls all pitched in and washed up the dishes and then headed for the garage.  Mom had extra work gloves for them to wear and rakes and she told Crissy to get the leaf bags and put them in the van.  About that time Dad showed up with the mower, he said , "Hey if you girls can help, I can too."
Before they left the house, Amanda's Mom called Mrs. Miller and told her how excited the girls were to come over and clean her yard.  She could hear Mrs. Miller sniff on the other end.  She said that would be so nice.  She told her she didnít want her to be scared when she saw a bunch of girls attacking her yard and that her husband was going to cut her grass for her.  They arrived at the old Miller house and started to work.  The girls were having a wonderful time.  Amandaís Dad trimmed some of the bushes and dead tree branches, and cut the grass.  The girls did their job well.  They swept the porch and picked up all the stuff from the yard.  The old house was over 100 years old and three stories high.  The very top story had one big window.  The girls could see someone looking out of the big window downstairs and they wondered if Mrs. Miller would come out, especially Amanda, she wanted to see inside so bad.
Just as they finished, the huge front door opened and the smell of fresh baked cookies filled the air.  The girls went running to the door.  Stephanie looked at Mrs. Miller and said, we sure hope you didnít mind us cleaning your yard and we hope we didnít bother you.  Mrs. Miller had tears in her eyes.  She said "Itís beautiful girls and I appreciate it so much.  Would you all like to come in and have cookies and milk?"   They all looked at Amandaís Mom, she said,  "Iím sure they would. Weíre going along home but you send them home as soon as they are finished."  When they went inside, they all just stood and stared at the beautiful things that were in the house.  Mrs. Miller said, "after you have eaten, Iíll give you a tour of the house if you want."  Of course Amanda was the first to say, "Yes that would be nice."  Each of the girls listened as she told the story of the house and the contents.  As they left she gave them a hug and told them to come anytime they wanted.  The girls were very proud of themselves, they had done a good deed. From then on they took turns paying a visit to Mrs. Miller and cleaning on her yard.  Amandaís dad decided it was great to also do something, and every two weeks he went and mowed the yard and the girls made sure there were no leaves or papers ever again in the yard of The Old Miller House.
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