Summer of the Monkeys
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The last thing a fourteen-year-old boy expects to find along an old Ozark river bottom is a tree full of monkeys. Jay Berry Lee's grandpa had an explanation, of course--as he did for most things. The monkeys had escaped from a traveling circus, and there was a handsome reward in store for anyone who could catch them. Grandpa said there wasn't any animal that couldn't be caught somehow, and Jay Berry started out believing him . . .
But by the end of the "summer of the monkeys," Jay Berry Lee had learned a lot more than he ever bargained for--and not just about monkeys. He learned about faith, and wishes coming true, and knowing what it is you really want. He even learned a little about growing up . . .
This novel, set in rural Oklahoma around the turn of the century, is a heart-warming family story--full of rich detail and delightful characters--about a time and place when miracles were really the simplest of things...
Do. He just climbed back in the wagon, unwrapped the check lines from the brake, and said, “Get up!” to those old Missouri mules. It was in the twilight of evening when Mama and Papa reached the land of their dreams. They camped for the night in a grove of tall white sycamores, right on the bank of the Illinois River. Papa said that as long as he lived, he would never forget that night. It seemed to him that they were being welcomed by every living thing in those Cherokee bottoms. Whippoorwills.
What she had heard, she snapped, “Maybe we’d better just quit farming and start catching monkeys.” Papa laughed and said, “That may not be a bad idea. We could probably make more money catching monkeys than we can farming.” Daisy had overheard Mama and Papa. She poked her head around the corner of the barn and said, “Jay Berry, if you and Mama and Papa catch those monkeys, I’ll hold the sack for you.” This seemed to fix everything. Mama and Papa started laughing at Daisy. I was feeling so good.
Knew we had to cross it but I wasn’t prepared for what took place. Grandpa stopped the team. He looked at me and said, “You know, I saw a painting once that showed a little boy and his grandpa crossing a stream with a wagon and team. The little boy was driving. The name of the painting was ‘The Big Moment.’ How about you and I painting a picture of our own? You drive across the river.” I was so stunned and scared, I couldn’t say a word. I just sat there with my mouth open, staring at Grandpa.
Just like we did. That’s what he’s doing.” “Aw, Daisy,” I said, “what are you saying? Whoever heard of a dog making a wish? Dogs don’t do things like that.” Mama and Papa had turned around and were watching Rowdy. Both of them were smiling. “Jay Berry,” Mama said, “maybe Rowdy is making a wish. It sure looks like he is.” Papa chuckled. “That old hound is smart,” he said. “I’m not surprised at anything he does. I’ve seen him do things that I couldn’t believe.” “He’s smart all right,” I said.
Year, and it wasn’t anything to worry about. The way I was feeling I wasn’t worrying about our farm. Right then I didn’t care what happened to it. I was lonesome. I wanted Mama and Daisy to come home. Rowdy didn’t help at all. He had stopped following me around and didn’t have any more bounce to him than an Ozark flint rock. He couldn’t understand why I didn’t go prowling any more. As the days passed, Papa started moping around as if he didn’t have any life left in him. Some nights he would.