Sadie and Carter: The Neighborhood Wars

© Grandpa Jim


Sadie sat straight up and stared at her brother. “I told you not to burp.”

“B u u u u ur r r r PPPP.”

“Stop that, you Inhuman-Rodent. It’s not natural.”

“Yes, it is, Ms. Sadie Know-It-All. Mom says it is quite natural, and Mom is a doctor.”

“Did she tell you to burp, Jell-O-For-Brains.”

“She did not, Snooty-Pants. She said when air gets caught in my tummy, it needs to get out. I’m just helping.”

“You need help. That’s for sure, Cannon-Mouth.”

“Mom says the sound is a very interesting nomanon. My esogeel fincter down at the top of my tummy wiggles when the air comes shootin’ up.”

“It’s ‘phenomenon,’ not nomanon, Mumble-Fumbler. And the sound is the vibration of the upper esophageal sphincter as your burp passes over it. I heard Mom talking.”

“That’s it, Dictionary-Brains. You always know how to say things best. I like arguing with you.”

“Thanks, Carter’s-Little-Liver-Pill, I will take that as a compliment.”

“You should, ‘cuz I like you even though you are my big sister and you treat me like the Trash Heap in those old Fraggle reruns Dad makes us watch.”

“They are funny — in a sort of pre-cell phone way. I like to see Dad laugh.”

“Me, too. . . . I have a question.”

“Shoot, Box-Ears.”

“Why do we have parents?”

“That’s easy. We have parents, because without them, Dancing-Monkey-Brother, I would have sold you to the general manager of a passing caravan of burping camels for Slurpee change long ago.”

“Come on, Sadie. I’m serious.”

“I can see you are, Worry-Wart. What brought this on?”

“I’ve been thinking.”

“A dangerous activity for someone of your age . . . and gender.”

“Why, Sadie? Why do we have parents?”

“Well. . . . Think back. Last year, you and the neighbor kids were fighting. You and your buddies would chase them, and they’d chase you guys back. Remember that day the enemy almost caught you alone on your bike?”

“Yep, that was a close one. I slid into the garage where Dad was working just as they were about to corner me. They were going to tie me down and jump over me with their bikes until I swore to be their slave forever. If I hadn’t reached the garage, I would have been dead meat.”

“Right, but don’t say ‘dead meat’ around our parents. They know you know those words, but they don’t want to hear that you know the words. Besides, they’ll blame me for teaching you.”

“You did.”

“Do you want me to answer your question?”

“Yes. I won’t say the words around Mom and Dad.”

“Good. Now, after you escaped, what did Mom do next?”

“Well, she called up all their parents.”

“Then what happened?”

“Joey and the other enemy kids came over and apologized.”


“Our parents made us play together.”


“Now Joey is my best friend.”

“Say it louder.”

“Joey and me are buds.”

“Joey and ‘I,’ not me, Slush-Tongue. You do need help. That’s what parents do, Carter. They help kids know the right way to behave. Sometimes, they have to do some nudging, and it doesn’t always work. But, it worked for you and Joey. Right?”

“I guess so. But, what’s the big deal?”

“The big deal, Carter, is that if you made your own choices, on your own, without any help from Mom and Dad, either you or Joey would be tied to a tree root and used as a jump on that bike track you and the guys built in the woods. Don’t give me that look. I know you have a secret track — don’t worry, I’m not telling. My point is that you would be jumping over your best friend and not even knowing he was your best friend.”

“That’s complicated, Sadie. But . . . I think what you’re saying is that parents show us the right way to act, because without some help, we wouldn’t act that way.”

“Wow, you surprise me little brother. That’s good. I couldn’t have said it better myself.”

“You did say it.”

“You are smarter than you look. . . . And, one more thing.”


“Parents love us no matter how we act.”

“Really. They’d still love me even if I ran over Joey?”

“They’re two separate things. Parents teach you to do right and they want you to do right, and parents love us for who we are and they never stop loving their children. I know it seems odd, my Unfailing-Burper-Of-A-Brother, but that is why we have parents.”

“To teach us and to love us. . . . And, they love me even when I run over Joey.”

“I can see we have to work on this some more, Bubble-Brains, but yes, they will love you even if you run over Joey, but please don’t do it, because they will blame me, and Joey is your best friend.”

“Yes, he is. Thanks, Sadie, this helps a lot. Hey, I gotta go. Joey and me are meeting the gang in the woods.”

“Joey and ‘I’, not Joey and me. Get it right, Thimble-Head. And, what are you two and your band of Robin Hoods up to this time?”

“Some new neighbor kids moved in down the street. It’s a war. We’re going to sneak up on them and take some prisoners.”

“Carter, have you been listening to me?”

“Yes, Sadie Brain-Jumper. You helped me figure it out. We’re going to capture those new kids and drag them back to our parents. Then, our parents and their parents will talk to us and make us play together and we’ll all be best friends forever and we’ll have more members for our club and we’ll build an even bigger track in the woods. I’ll just explain everything you told me to the guys. I’m sure they’ll go along with the plan. Great strategy, Big Sister.”

“Oh, Brother.”