Reaching for the Moon by Lucy H. Pearce Read Online (FREE)
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It’s not every day you wake up with a mission on your mind, but I had a mission and I was determined to accomplish it. Except for the sound of Mama humming and the clinking of dishes as she washed them in the sink, the house was quiet. Moments earlier Daddy had left for work and my brothers and sister had set off to school. As I sat at the kitchen table still fiddling with my oatmeal, I couldn’t get my brother Charlie out of my mind. I kept revisiting the scene at the kitchen table the night before, when he’d struggled with his math homework.
First Mama had tried to assist him with it. Back before she’d had Horace, Margaret, Charlie, and me, she had been a teacher. She should have been able to help him figure out his schoolwork.
But the way he had slumped over onto one elbow had signaled that he was feeling frustrated.
“Sit up straight,” Mama had told him, and he did.
Horace and Margaret were steadily scribbling away at their assignments, apparently unbothered by Charlie’s challenges.
“Maybe you can explain it better than I can, Josh,” Mama said to Daddy, who was sitting in the front room reading the White Sulphur Sentinel, our town’s newspaper. Daddy loved to read the paper. He also read the almanac. Mama adored us, but she was very orderly and from time to time she could be a bit strict. Our father was a little more relaxed.
Daddy set the paper down and slowly unfurled himself from his favorite chair. More than six feet tall, he towered above most everyone.
“Let’s see what we can do here, Son,” he said, sitting down and scooting closer to his youngest son, the chair scraping loudly across the oak floor.
Daddy put his left arm around Charlie, who leaned into him.
“I can’t figure it out,” Charlie said, his lack of confidence evident in his voice.
“Yes, you can,” Daddy told him. “We just have to explain it so that you get it. Once you understand the background of any idea, you can figure any problem out for yourself.”
Daddy’s personality could be more comforting than Mama’s. Numbers were also Daddy’s strength. He may have had only a sixth-grade education, but he was really good with figures. Envisioning things was one of his strong points. He was so good that he could look at an entire oak, pine, or even a chestnut tree, and tell you how many logs it would yield once it had been cut down. We even lived in a home he had built for us.
Charlie was two years older than me, but for some reason he seemed to be a little slow. At least, that’s what I thought back then. I would be well into adulthood before I discovered that the issue wasn’t that he was slow. The truth of the matter was that I was fast. It turned out that I was very gifted in math.