An Ordinary Mother

Katrina Katrinka was like any other ordinary mother with two kids, a stationwagon, and a 6O foot tall crane in her back yard. The crane just showed up one morning. A construction company was building an apartment building down the street. One day the company went bankrupt, and left their crane in Mrs. Katrinka's back yard. They just went bankrupt, and left her with a 6O foot tall crane in her back yard.

Mrs. Katrinka didn't know what to do at first. But then she had an idea. She called the sanitation department in her town to come around and pick up the 6O foot tall crane. If you have an old couch, an old table, an old refrigerator, or an old washing machine, you can call the sanitation department, and they'll come around and pick it up.

You can guess what the sanitation department had to say about Mrs. Katrinka's crane. "Sorry, ma'am. We don't pick up 6O foot tall cranes. Old couches, old tables, old refrigerators, and old washing machines are fine. Large, 6O foot tall cranes are not fine."

Mrs. Katrinka was not the type of ordinary mother who lets a 6O foot tall crane sit around in her back yard. No, sirree. Not that type of ordinary mother at all.

So she bought a large wrench, and climbed up the tall 6O foot crane. She carefully climbed out onto the horizontal part of the crane, and unbolted one of the end sections. She happily climbed down and carried the steel section into her basement.

Her neighbors peered over the fence, wondering what on earth could this ordinary mother be doing with a steel section of crane in her basement. What the neighbors didn't know was that Mrs. Katrinka also bought an excellent power saw. This saw could cut through the toughest, hardest steel.

Day after day, Mrs. Katrinka would take one more section from the crane, carrying it carefully down into her basement. And night after night, she cut those sections up into little bits. These little bits of steel were easy enough to hide in her regular trash.

Some of the bits she stuffed in empty cans of tuna fish. Other bits she stuffed in the middle of over-ripe watermelons. And other bits she hid inside old smelly socks.

But it's hard to hide a full 6O foot crane in your day to day trash. You could hide a 2O foot crane, or a 3O foot crane. But a 6O foot crane is just too big to easily hide in the trash.

So Mrs. Katrinka started painting the sections of crane she took down each day. She painted them, and then welded them into interesting sorts of sculptures. When her basement became too full of sculptures, she set the sculptures out in her back yard.

It didn't take long for people to flock from all over the neighborhood to see Mrs. Katrinka's sculptures. One day, one of her neighbors walked right up her front steps and asked if she might buy one of the sculptures.

Well, Mrs. Katrinka didn't know what to say. She didn't make the sculptures to sell. She made the sculptures because it's hard to hide all the bits of a 6O foot crane in your trash.

On the very day that she took down the last section of the crane, the man who used to own the construction company came back to pick up his crane. "Sorry, sir," Mrs. Katrinka said.

"The crane you left in my back yard is no longer here anymore. It's hiding in empty cans of tuna fish, over-ripe watermelons, and old smelly socks. If you want to put it back together, you'll have to go looking through lots of empty tuna fish cans, over-ripe watermelons, and old socks."

"Well, ma'am," said the construction company man. "I really shouldn't have left that 6O foot crane in your back yard. It wasn't the right thing to do, and I'd like to apologize to you."

Mrs. Katrinka looked the man up and down. He looked as if he was genuinely sorry for what he had done.

"Oh, all right," Mrs. Katrinka said. "If you'd like to take home some of the 6O foot crane you left in my back yard, it's sitting right over there in those six sculptures."

"Six sculptures?" said the man, in wonder.

"Yes, six sculptures," replied Mrs. Katrinka. "Mrs. Olney down the street bought the seventh sculpture last week for $2OO."

"Well, the least I can do is buy the other six sculptures, at the same price," the man whispered gently.

"No. I'm sorry. That won't do," replied Mrs. Katrinka. "I can't sell all six of those sculptures. They mean too much to me now."

"But I tell you what. If you want to buy five of them, I won't complain too loudly about that. You can't expect me to give up all my wonderful sculptures to some stranger who left a 6O foot crane in my back yard."

"Yes, ma'am. It's too much to expect an ordinary mother to give up all six sculptures she made from a 6O foot tall crane that a total stranger left in her back yard."

As Mrs. Katrinka took the man's money, she laughed, "Besides, I need to keep at least one sculpture to show my grandchildren. They'll never believe this story if I didn't have at least one of the sculptures left to show them..."

Phil Shapiro

Copyright 1995
All Rights Reserved

[This story may be freely copied and distributed for noncommercial purposes. I would love to find someone who could help illustrate this story.

If you liked this story, you might enjoy some of the other children's stories I've written.


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