The grocery store was no bigger than a smallish house and I loved to go and look at the candy rack. When I was grown I would buy the whole candy rack and keep it in my house. Such are the dreams of six year-olds.
Mr. Habersang, who owned the store, was a very nice man. If a customer was short of money, he wrote down the amount in a notebook and you could pay him later. Don’t try that at Wal Mart.
One day I was gazing longingly at the candy rack and I took a piece of gum and put it in my pocket. Not being a very good thief, when I got in the car I openly put it in my mouth.
“What are you chewing?” my mom asked. “Gum.” I wasn’t a very good liar, either. “Did you take gum from Mr. Habersang?” she asked. I hadn’t thought of it like that; I thought I had taken gum from the candy rack. “You go right back in there and tell Mr. Habersang you’re sorry for stealing.” I sat still as a stone, gum juice collecting unswallowed in my mouth.
But mom wasn’t going anywhere until I did the right thing. We went back in the store. “She has something to tell you,” mom said. He was a tall man, I think, but probably not twenty feet tall as he looked to me now. “I stole gum,” I said.
“But you’ll never do that again, will you?” Mr. Habersang asked. “No,” I answered.
And I never did.
(This is a story from The Magic Barn, vol 2 (coming soon)