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Chapter 1: A wagon load of surprises

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By Sharon Warner

"Whew! I had no idea pulling the wagon home from the Martins' yard sale would be so exhausting!"

"Do you want me to help you, Woody?"

"No thanks, Chloe." I thought it was best if Chloe stayed in the wagon and made sure everything stayed in place. We would have been so upset if we had hit a bump and damaged our purchase. "Anyway, we're almost home. Pulling the wagon wouldn't have been so tough had the yard sale not been so far away."

"It was only three houses down, Silly, but I'm sure it's heavy. I'm glad Mrs. Martin put the sheet on top to help hold it all inside the wagon. Are you positive Mom and Dad aren't going to be mad we spent so much money without permission?"

"Don't worry, Chloe. We showed them the classified ad in the local newspaper. Since the yard sale was on our street and since they knew Mr. and Mrs. Martin, they gave us permission to attend and they just had to know we would surely buy something."

"Yes, Woody, but at the last yard sale we bought a pogo stick and a Hula-Hoop. This purchase is a far cry from a Hula-Hoop, don't you think?"

"Definitely! But remember, we were able to negotiate with Mr. Martin and get him to reduce the price by two whole dollars! That's pretty impressive if you ask me. Mr. Martin drives a hard bargain. Ya know, Chloe, we work hard for our money. There aren't too many other wiener dogs from Kentucky who set an alarm clock, carry a briefcase and go to work. We have the greatest job ever – writing books; traveling all around the Bluegrass State in The Woody Bus with Mom and Dad; speaking to students in schools and libraries, encouraging them to get a good education, to be respectful, and to work and dream like a big dog. It's a great job, but it's still hard work.

"Mom and Dad have always told us that with each paycheck we have to save 10 percent, give 10 percent to charity, and we can keep the remainder. With our last paycheck, we saved our 10 percent and we gave 10 percent to the local children's hospital. The money we used today was our spending money. Anyway, it's not like we bought something crazy - like the actual yard or anything. We made a wise purchase that might really help us. Come to think of it, Chloe, this sweet little treasure in our wagon could actually change our lives!"

"Did you hear Mr. Martin say, 'Woody, this would be the perfect item for you?'"

"Yes, Chloe, I heard. I wonder what Mr. Martin meant when he mumbled something about it causing a civil war. I have never heard that term before. I wonder just what a civil war is and what you need to do to cause one."

Still trying to figure out what caused a civil war, I realized our neighbors were coming outside and waving to us. "They're probably waving because it's not every day you see a black-and-tan miniature dachshund pulling a wagon while his older redheaded miniature dachshund sister rides on top," I explained to Chloe.

"Are you sure they're not waving because we're making so much noise!?" Chloe asked.

"Once again you're worrying, Sis. They're probably waving because we live in a friendly neighborhood. We help our neighbors with their yard work, we pick up their trash, we share Mom's homemade cookies with them, and we're always friendly and respectful."

"You're right, Woody. As your older sister I do tend to worry. Look! Mom and Dad are on the front porch waiting for us."

"Dogwood," Dad frowned, "what on earth is that sitting in your wagon?"

"You mean Chloe?" I asked Dad, troubled that he called me my birth name Dogwood instead of my nickname Woody.

"No, not Chloe. I think I know what your sister looks like. I mean that big contraption that is banging, clanging and making so much racket that everyone in the entire village has walked outside to see what is producing that noisy raucous."

While I tried to answer, I noticed that Dad looked a little speechless and Mom was trying to contain a smile. All of a sudden, I was starting to question our buying decision and the jewel that was sitting in my red wagon.

 

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