Charlie the chipmunk lived in the woods behind a big old house. A very large family lived in the house. People were always coming to visit the family that lived there. Every once in awhile Charlie would sneak under an old shed behind the house. He would quietly watch the visitors come and go. A little boy would come outside to play near the shed. He would swing on an old tire hanging from a tree. Some days the boy would swing higher than the top of the shed. Charlie always liked to watch him. He thought he was very brave. Charlie would be very quiet so the boy wouldn’t find out about his secret hiding place.
Early this morning Charlie’s papa had left home to find food for supper. Charlie remembered what Papa had said just before he left. He told him to stay close to home. Papa had been using his stern voice. That usually meant that Charlie had better listen or there would be big trouble.
Charlie had his heart set on going up to the big house this morning. Papa was always warning Charlie and his brothers and sisters to stay clear of the house. Charlie really did try to listen but he had made plans and he didn’t want to change them. He figured he could deal with the consequences later.
Mama would be busy all day long caring for the babies. She wouldn’t even notice that he was gone. Charlie’s sister Sissy never liked going outside so she was no fun. His oldest sister Vivian was always fixing herself up for the boys in the neighborhood. Charlie thought that was the craziest thing ever. That would be the day that Charlie cared what some girl thought of him. He was going to be an adventurer. He would be known as Charlie the Adventurer. He would travel the world and see everything that he could see. Of course, he would write home to let everyone know he was okay. He wanted to see the Golden Gate bridge in California. He had seen a picture of it. His heart was set on traveling there one day. He also wanted to see the Grand Canyon! He had heard from a cousin that it was just beautiful! He could just picture himself riding down into the canyon on a mule. That would be the adventure of a lifetime.
Charlie took some milk and went out the back door. He was very careful not to slam the door so moma wouldn’t know that he left. He ran through the woods at a high rate of speed and made it to the big house in record time. He took a nose dive under the shed. It was dark and cool. The cool dirt felt good. He had worked up a real sweat running through the woods. Charlie loved the shed. It gave him a perfect view of the big house. He could watch the kids play. For a brief fleeting second he thought of Papa’s warning but it passed quickly. Charlie was a very inquisitive little chipmunk and he knew he had places to go and things to see.
Charlie noticed a lot of activity at the house. It looked like he had picked the perfect day to visit. He really wanted a closer look so he could see what was going on. Charlie moved very slowly and quietly through the high grass. As he got closer to all the activity one of the big dogs started barking. Thank goodness a big chain held the dog. Charlie was safe from the dog. He knew that nothing would stop him now.
He was almost to the house when he heard a strange noise. Charlie looked around and it sounded like the noise was coming from up in the tree. He slowly looked up and there was the biggest red headed woodpecker he’d ever seen. The woodpecker was busy pecking on the oak tree so he wouldn’t be bothering anyone. He sure was loud though.
Charlie had 5 yards to go and he’d be at the house. He inched slowly through the grass and made it to the house without drawing attention to himself. The cement block house felt cool to the touch. Charlie peeked around the corner to see what all the commotion was about. His eyes opened wide when he saw all the people on the side of the house. There was a lady cooking on a big stove. The food smelled so good. It smelled just like mama’s cooking. Charlie’s belly started to grumble. He was getting very hungry.
There was a young girl that looked just like the lady. She was putting big plates of food on the picnic table. As Charlie looked around he saw a man gathering vegetables in the garden. When he finished he brought a big basket filled with tomatoes and put them on the table. They looked like big red ones. Charlie loved tomatoes. He liked the big red juicy ones. If only he could have one tomato he’d be happy. Papa always brought him a tomato from the big garden. Charlie always enjoyed the tomatoes. The thought came to Charlie that he really should have eaten this morning before leaving home.
From where he was hiding he could see all the people having so much fun. There were a lot of people sitting around the table. Someone turned on some oldies which were Charlie’s personal favorite. He definitely knew that singer. If he were home he’d be dancing right now. The people were eating and talking at the same time. Charlie watched as one man took a big bite out of a hamburger. He could see part of a tomato on the sandwich. Charlie wanted a bite so bad. He was sure the people could hear his stomach grumbling.
Over in the big field there was a group of kids playing. They were throwing balls up in the air and catching them. It looked like so much fun. Charlie wished he could play. The more he thought about it though he didn’t think it was a good idea to go over to the big field. There was a great possibility that someone would get hurt. He was pretty sure it would be him. Then a moment of fear took over and he thought what if he really did get hurt. He’d never see his Mama and Papa again. He’d even miss his sister Sissy. He never even thought about the fact that he even liked her much less would miss her. That was a crazy thought.
Charlie was so busy watching the kids in the field that he didn’t notice the sky changing colors. It was starting to get very dark. By the time he did notice the sky started to rumble. Papa was probably home by now and Mama would be worried. Lightning was lighting up the sky. Charlie knew he was in trouble. He was far from home and a big storm was coming.
All the kids left the field and ran into the house. The lady and her daughter started putting things away. The man was carrying food into the big house. From where Charlie was hiding he could hear cars start up and leave. Tears started falling down his face. He was tired, hungry and scared. Charlie didn’t have a plan and wasn’t sure how he would get back home.
It was starting to rain and the thunder was loud. It felt like the earth was shaking. This was not good. Charlie needed a plan fast. There was no time to waste. He had to find the quickest path home. Since the kids were all in the big house Charlie knew he could cut through the field. It was a shortcut and a straight path home. Suddenly there was a big boom! Rain was beating down on his head. His heart was pounding and it felt like it was going to pound right out of his chest. As if things weren’t bad enough hail started to fall. They weren’t small pieces of hail either they were the size of snowballs. The only thing Charlie could ask himself was why did he stay at the big house for so long? His next thought was why didn’t he listen to Papa? What was the matter with him anyway! He should really start listening to his parents!
Charlie had always been afraid of storms. He never ever came out in a storm. He thought about his family being home warm and safe. If only he would have listened. This morning Charlie’s plan had seemed like a wonderful idea. He wasn’t feeling too good about his adventure right now. He was all wet and scared.
Lightning lit up the sky and scared Charlie so bad that he started to run. He ran past the garden. He ran through the field. He made it into the woods in record time. He made it around the big, old Oak tree. Just a little farther and he’d be home. His heart was beating so fast that he could hardly catch his breath.
Charlie reached his front door just before another big boom came. He opened the door and the first thing he saw was that Papa had a fire going in the fireplace. The heat from the fire felt so good. Mama had supper ready and it really smelled good! It was so nice to be home. Charlie was a mess! He had to go get cleaned up before he could eat.
While everyone ate supper Charlie told them about going to the big house. When he was finished telling his story he looked around the table. Papa was looking at him. He asked Charlie if he’d learned something from the events of the day. Charlie shook his head yes!
He told everybody that he would never disobey them again and would stay close to home. Mama and Papa smiled when they tucked their little adventurer in that night. He had learned a very important lesson today. Charlie was so happy to be home safe and sound. He was very sleepy and his eyes slowly closed.
Charlie dreamed of great adventures out in the world.