Sunny Boy in the Country

Ramy Allison White

Sunny Boy in the Country
by Ramy Allison White
New York: Barse & Hopkins, 1920

"RUB-A-DUB, dub! Bang! Rub-a- dub-dub-Bang! Bang!" Sunny Boy thumped his drum vigorously.
Usually when he made such a racket some one would come out and ask him what in the world was he making a noise like that for, but this morning every one seemed to be very busy. For several minutes now Sunny Boy had been trying to attract Harriet's attention. She was doing something to the front door.
"I spect she needs me," said Sunny Boy to himself.
There were any number of interesting things going on around the front door this morning, but he was chiefly interested in Harriet, because as a rule he had to help her Saturday mornings by going with her to the grocery store at the corner. He liked to stand in her clean, comfortable kitchen and drum for her until she was ready to start.
This particular morning Harriet's mind seemed to be far away from music. She was rubbing briskly as Sunny Boy watched her, polishing-that was it: she was shining the brass numbers on the door-266. Sunny Boy knew them, and how careful Harriet was to keep them always bright.
"Just think," she would say, as they might be coming up the steps; "suppose the post- man had a letter for 266 Glenn Avenue, and the numbers were so dull and streaked he couldn't read them! Think how we'd feel if that should happen to us "' Sunny Boy was sure such a thing could never happen, not with Harriet rubbing away at the numbers morning after morning.
From his post at the head of the stairs he could see a man on a step-ladder, working and whistling. He was hammering in nails over the door. Dimly Sunny Boy made out another pair of doors standing in the hall.
"Goodness, Sunny Boy, I nearly fell over you!" Aunt Bessie kissed him on the back of his neck before he could turn round. That was a trick Aunt Bessie had, and Sunny Boy was used to it. "Are you watching them put up the screens and awnings'?"
"Are they?" asked Sunny interestedly. "Could I hold the awning? Maybe the man would like my tool-chest--it's all there but the hammer. I lost that in the park. Can I help, Auntie?"
Aunt Bessie was going downtown, and she was in a hurry. "If you don't get in the way, I daresay they'll be glad to have you," she said kindly, and brushed by him, on down the stairs. She stopped to speak to some one in the parlor, and then Sunny Boy saw her go out and down the steps.
Sunny Boy sat down on the top stair and took his drum in his lap. Presently he would go down and help the awning man, but it was very pleasant where he was. The softest little May breeze came wandering through the open door up to him, and the canary in the dining room was ringing his cheerful loudest. Sunny Boy leaned his curly head against the bannister to listen.
His real name, of course, was not Sunny Boy-oh, no, he was named for his grandpa, and when the postman brought him an invitation to a birthday party you might see it written out-Arthur Bradford Horton.
But birthday parties happen only once in a while, and Daddy and Mother called him Sunny Boy because he was nearly always cheerful. As Mother explained, you can't depend on a party happening to cheer you up, so to know a little boy who is sure to smile every day-well, that is worth while. And often Sunny forgot that he had any other name.
Bump-bang-bumpty, bang! Down the stairs suddenly rolled the drum, making a fearful racket on the steps as it bounded from side to side. Down the stairs it rolled, across the narrow strip of hall, past Harriet, now on her knees scrubbing the green and white tiles, under the ladder of the awning man, down the steps, and right out into the street! After it scrambled Sunny Boy, as fast as his tan sandals would take him. He was just in time to see his drum roll to the middle of the street and stop in the center of the heavy traffic. A big furniture van, drawn by three horses, was headed right for it.
"It'll be smashed! Oh, oh!" Sunny Boy wailed, hopping up and down on the curb, but remembering even in his excitement that he had promised not to go off the pavement when alone. "They'll ride right over my drum!"
"I guess not "' cried a tall man, and darted out from behind Sunny. He rushed to where the drum lay and snatched it up, almost from under the horses' feet.
The colored man driving the furniture van grinned.
"Most busted dat
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