"Okay, you guys," Ike said, smiling through his new braces. "Now Lisajo's big bash is over—what next?"
"It was all so romantic," sighed Izzy, looking quite dreamy.
Ruby Jane hurried in, carrying the calendar. "You sillys, don't you know it's Mother's Day in a week!" She dumped the calendar on the table and pointed to the date.
"Oh, no," moaned Ike. "I'd forgotten."
Izzy rushed to the desk for a pencil and notepad. "We've got tons to do. Let's surprise Mom with a wonderful dinner."
"Yah," Ike agreed as Ruby Jane dashed to the kitchen and came back holding a forlorn looking box of macaroni and cheese. She placed it on the dining room table, looking like she'd found a gold mine.
Ike and Izzy exchanged side-glances. "Uh," said Ike, "don't think so. Let's ask Dad to do flank steak on the grill and have that boxed stuff another day."
Ruby Jane looked annoyed as she stomped off to get Brownie. She was soon back with the little fellow, twitching his pink nose, planning on how he could get into trouble.
"I know," Izzy said, as she flipped her long hair over her shoulders. "We can make brownies for dessert."
"Yeah," Ike chimed in "and we can add the real Brownie to the mix." He jumped forward as if to grab Ruby Jane's pet.
"You're mean," Ruby Jane said with a pout. "Brownie wants to say Happy Mother's Day, too."
"I know," said Izzy. "After we eat, let's put on a little show for Mom. We can use the top of the hot tub for the stage."
Charlie, who had been lying nearby listening to all of the plans, stood up and started yapping his famous yap.
Ike bent down and gave him a behind the ear rub. "Okay, Charlie, you can be in the show, too."
Before long, they had fashioned a little pouch to put Brownie into, so he could be tied to Charlie and ride bareback, while Ike acted as the ringmaster—cracking a whip, which Izzy made by tying some ribbons onto a long stick.
They attached Brownie, in his pouch, to Charlie's back. Ruby Jane turned on circus-sounding music and the show began.
It only took one turn around the hot tub's lid before Brownie freed himself, scrambled off, and scurried under the neighbor's fence.
Just then, Milo, Aunt Cathy's dog, came to visit and Milo thought Brownie was his stuffed toy and began tossing Brownie into the air. Luckily, Izzy rescued Brownie, after a chase, and put him back into his cage.
"Guess Brownie didn't like riding bare back," Ike said, with a chuckle.
"No floor show, for sure," said Izzy, hugging Ruby Jane, who was trembling, after her pet had almost met with disaster. "Let's think about making the dining room table look lovely. Flowers would be extra pretty, but we don't have enough money to buy them, even if we pool our allowances."
Ruby Jane slipped out the door and ran to the front yard. She was soon back—her tiny hands exploding with fresh-picked dandelions.
"Yuck," exclaimed Ike.
"Hold on," said Izzy. "Might work."
Before long, Izzy had shaped the bright yellow blooms into mini-bouquets and tucked them into juice glasses—one for each guest.
"Wow," Ike shouted, "looks good. What about a table cloth."
"Let's walk up to Emigration Market. Mr. Cutler, the butcher, will let me have some paper. We can cover the table with it, set out our tub of crayons and have everyone draw a picture for Mom."
Ruby Jane still looked sad. She wanted Brownie to be part of the celebration.
Ike thought a minute, then retreated to the basement. He came up lugging an old glass aquarium. "Brownie can be the animated centerpiece. Just stick him in this."
Ruby Jane clapped her hands. "Cool," she said, smiling.
Before long, soap and water had trans-formed the dingy aquarium into a sparkling bowl. Wood chips, a couple of dandelions, and a few decorative rocks were stuck here and there before the aquarium was put in the center of the table.
Ruby Jane gently slipped Brownie into his temporary home and he darted around, his nose twitching, as he sniffed each corner of the giant bowl.
Ike and Charlie stood back, taking it all in.
"Bingo," Ike shouted. "This will be the best Mother's Day yet!" He smiled broadly, showing off his new braces.
"Yes, but what about a gift?" quizzed Izzy.
While they were busy trying to decide on that, their dad came in.
"How about making a DO NOT DISTURB sign for Mom? She can hang it on the bedroom door and take a long nap after dinner.
"Super cool," shouted Ruby Jane. "Guess we'll all need one after such a big day."
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