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Max and The Secret

posted 24 Jun 2017, 09:23 by Fran Brady   [ updated 24 Jun 2017, 09:51 ]

Where was Grandma Frances? She should have been here ages ago.


Max was fed up waiting. He had been stuck in a corner of the classroom all morning, being as good as gold, because that was what Aliida had told him to be. Though what was good about gold, he had no idea. From time to time, during the long, boring morning, Aliida had looked over at him and grinned or winked or smiled. 
These grins and winks and smiles had kept him going. Without them, he would probably have started to fidget or wriggle. Once, he almost fell asleep and would have dropped to the floor if he had not woken himself up with a snorty snore. All the boys and girls had stared at him and some had begun to snigger. Max was mortified. After that, he kept himself from fidgeting, wriggling or falling asleep by singing a song to himself inside his head.  It was ‘The Teddy Bears’ Picnic’. His favourite. Max wished Aliida would take him out of the stuffy, boring classroom and go ‘down in the woods’. Today!

At last, morning school was over and all the boys and girls got ready to leave. Lots of mummies and daddies were waiting to take them home. Soon, only Aliida and Max were left. ‘We’re waiting for GF,’ she told Max. ‘She is coming to take us out for the afternoon.’

 ‘Can we go on a picnic?’ asked Max. ‘Down in the woods with all the other teddy bears?’

 But Aliida did not know what GF was planning to do. They just had to wait for her to arrive.

Aliida passed the time drawing pictures of Archie, her daddy, and Tanya, her momma, who was no longer with them. 
Aliida missed Momma and it helped her to feel less sad when she drew pictures of her. 

Aliida hugged Max very hard and that helped too. 

Max understood that, even though he was practically suffocated! 

Then suddenly, GF was there! Rushing into the classroom, crying ‘sorry, sorry, sorry’ because she was so late. But they didn’t care about that now; they were just so pleased to see her. She gathered them both into a big hug. ‘Now, let’s go!’ she said. ‘It’s picnic time!’

They were going to the woods to have a teddy bear’s picnic. Hurrah! Max couldn’t get into GF’s little blue car fast enough. They drove through lots of busy streets. Max saw buses, cars, bicycles, traffic lights, shops, mummies pushing baby-buggies, old people walking with sticks, and dogs on leads. They drove on and on . . . but still no sign of the woods.  At last they stopped in a big car park. ‘Come on!’ cried GF. ‘Time for our secret picnic!’

Aliida got out of the car with Max in her arms. ‘I don’t see any picnic place,’ she said. ‘I don’t see . . .  Oh! Yes! Yes, yes, yes!’ 

She was squealing with excitement. 

‘Can we go there? Please, Grandma Frances? Please, please, please!’ 

She was pointing to two golden arches and hopping up and down.

 GF put a finger to her lips. ‘Yes,’ she said. ‘But it must be our secret.’

They found a picnic tae outside the shop with the golden arches. Max was given the very important job of guarding it while Aliida and GF went into the shop and bought the picnic. He tried to look as fierce and important as possible to scare off anyone who might think about coming over and taking their table. Soon, Aliida and GF appeared carrying a tray piled with little boxes and bags. There was a delicious smell coming from these and Max suddenly felt very hungry. Ravenous, in fact!

The three of them sat round the picnic table in the sun and shared out all the food. There were chicken nuggets, chips, tomato sauce and lovely fizzy juice drinks. They were all hungry so the food disappeared fast. 

Aliida ate the fastest because she wanted to go to play with some other children in the play hut nearby. ‘Shall we let her, Max?” asked GF. ‘Are you happy to stay here with me?’

The play hut was close by and they could see it while they finished their picnic. So, Max said that would be OK.

 ‘Do you like our picnic, Max?’ asked GF.

‘It’s lovely,’ said Max. ‘Very yummy. But . . .’ 


‘Where are all the other teddy bears? And why didn’t we go down in the woods?’

‘You’ve been singing the song.’ GF smiled and began: ’If you go down in the woods today, You’re sure of a big surprise.’ Max joined in. Aliida heard them and waved from the top of the play hut where she had climbed. It was all very jolly and Max decided he liked the golden arches picnic just as much as the one in the song.

Later, when they were back in the car, driving home, Max whispered to Aliida: ‘Why is the picnic at the golden arches a secret?”

‘Daddy says it isn’t healthy food,’ she replied. ‘He doesn’t take me there ever, even if I beg and beg.’

Healthy was good – very good. But Max thought that it was also good that they had GF to take them out for picnics sometimes. He is looking forward to the next one.