Me and Mr. Bell

Me and Mr. Bell by Philip Roy Read Free Book Online

Book: Me and Mr. Bell by Philip Roy Read Free Book Online
Authors: Philip Roy
special in all my life, just being here with these wonderful, friendly people.
    While I watched a bee buzz close to my lemonade, I thought of how bee rhymed with g . If I could find a word to rhyme with h, maybe I could make a rhyme. Well I tried, but I couldn’t find a single word to rhyme with h . But I did think that honey started with h , because that’s how it sounded. Helen Keller said that g always came before h , as it does in the alphabet. Well bees came before honey because they made honey, so … “as bees come before honey, g comes before h .” I knew it didn’t rhyme, but I thought it was pretty good anyway. Now I couldn’t wait to share it with Helen Keller.
    When she came out of the house, I stood up, put my glass on the railing and waited for her to come over. Watching her was really interesting. When she pushed open the screen door and stepped onto the porch, she did everything in the opposite order she had done it on the way in. But this time, when she reached down to touch the shoulder of Mr. Bell’s father, he was leaning to the other side, picking through some newspapers. Instead of squeezing his shoulder, her fingers squeezed at air, then touched the chair. She frowned for a second, then she smiled again. I looked to see if anyone noticed, but no one did. She crossed the porch to where I was, but when she reached for the railing, just as she had before, her hand bumped the glass I put down there and it fell into the grass without a sound. I wasn’t even sure she knew she had done it, and no one else saw it. In her other hand, she gripped a piece of paper. She seemed a little excited. “Eddie?” She reached out with her hand. I stepped closer. Her fingers touched my forehead, then quickly found my mouth. I answered. “Yes, Miss Keller?”
    â€œI wrote down some words with g and h so you can practise spelling them.”
    She passed me the sheet of paper. I took it and stared at it. The words were written with big letters that looked like they were made by someone learning to write letters for the first time. But they were neat and tidy and much better than I could make them.
    â€œThere is freight, weight, night, flight, plough, bough, right, fight, ought, fought, mighty, flighty, tight, sight. That’s fourteen. If you learn all of these, I am certain you will never forget the order of g and h .”
    I looked up at her. Did she really expect me to learn all of these? She was smiling and looking back at me, but not exactly at me. Her eyes were blue and looked perfect. I didn’t know then that they were made of glass. “Thank you,” I said. “I promise to learn them.”
    â€œWait! I wanted them to rhyme, so you can say them in rhythm, like you’re marching. But I need one more.” She reached out for the paper, and I passed it to her. She bent down, pressed the paper against her thigh, took the pencil and slowly wrote one more word. It was messier than the others. But … I couldn’t believe it … she wrote it with her left hand! Then she started swinging her arms and raising her knees as if she were marching. “Freight, weight, night, flight, plough, bough, right, fight, ought, fought, mighty, flighty, tight, sight and tough!”
    Everyone on the porch was clapping, but Helen Keller couldn’t see or hear it. “And do you have a rhyme for me yet, young man?”
    â€œI have one, but….” I stopped. Unless her hand was on my mouth, she wouldn’t even know I was speaking. Instantly, it appeared. “I made one, but it doesn’t rhyme.”
    â€œAnd?”
    â€œAs bees come before honey, g comes before h .”
    She burst into a smile. “It’s perfect! Alec! Alec! Come listen to Eddie’s rhyme.”
    Mr. and Mrs. Bell came over, stood beside Helen Keller and held her hands. “What is happening?” said Mrs. Bell.
    Mr. Bell opened Mrs. Bell’s hand and

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