Joseph Anderson Donetti
Solves the Family Mystery
Joseph Anderson Donetti Solves the Family Mystery, Chapter 1
Home From the Emergency Room
By Linda Porter Carlyle
In the first Joseph Anderson Donetti series, Joseph traveled across the United States to spend the summer with his grandmother, G. M. Joseph didn't know his grandmother, Jesus, or the little town of Jacksonville, Oregon, where he spent the summer. He didn't even know why his mother had sent him to Oregon! In these stories, we will find out more about these mysteries in Joseph's life.—Mrs. Sox
Joseph Anderson Donetti's eyes were shut. His head rested against the back of the truck's seat, and he breathed softly and slowly.
G. M. glanced over at Joseph and smiled. What a day it had been! She turned the truck into the driveway and shut off the engine. She sat very still for a little while, enjoying the stars sparkling in the summer night sky. "We're home," she said finally. "Wake up."
Joseph stirred. He rubbed his eyes. "I'm hungry," he announced.
G. M. laughed. "Well, I suppose you have good reason to be," she answered. "We had more urgent things to think about than supper. What are you hungry for?"
Joseph grinned. "Strawberries!" he said.
"OK," G. M. said. "I'll get a flashlight and pick us a bowl.You just get yourself into the house."
Joseph climbed gingerly out of the truck. The pills the emergency room doctor had given him had taken away most of the pain. But he still moved like an old man. The doctor had said there were no broken bones. But there would be plenty of colorful bruises.
Joseph settled himself in a chair by the kitchen table to wait for G. M. His mind whirled with the events of the past couple of days: the woman with the snake on the plane who told him that God had big plans for him; meeting G. M. for the very first time; Mac, the red-haired girl next door who climbed in his bedroom window; Harvey the Third lizard; his accident in the woods; and Mr.Evan's showing him how to become a part of God's family.
"You look deep in thought," G. M. commented as she came in through the back door with a heaping bowl of strawberries. She took the berries to the sink and began to rinse them with cold water.
"How can I find out what God's plans for me are?" Joseph asked. "How do I know?"
"That's a very good question," G. M. answered. She wiped her hands and sat down beside him at the table. She picked up her Bible. "Listen to this," she said, turning pages. "'I have good plans for you. I don't plan to hurt you. I plan to give you hope and a good future. Then you will call my name. You will come to me and pray to me. And I will listen to you. You will search for me. And when you search for me with all your heart, you will find me. I will let you find me,' says the Lord." (Jeremiah 29:11-14, International Children's Bible)
G. M. looked up. "You can know for sure that that is one part of God's plans for you. For you to get to know Him. I think you're going to need a Bible of your own," she continued. "We'll get you one tomorrow."
"Why did Mom send me here for the summer?" Joseph asked
"Oh, Joseph," G. M. said, "that's a really big question. And the answer is a really long one. Why don't I finish fixing the strawberries now? We'll eat. We'll get some sleep. And we'll talk all about it tomorrow."
Joseph nodded. He guessed his question could wait a little longer. He was getting sleepy again.
Suddenly there was a thud on the back porch.
"What's that?" G. M. exclaimed.
"It's me, Mac, Mrs. Anderson!" a voice called. "Open the door. I've got cookies!"
G. M. opened the back door, and Mac danced into the kitchen carrying a big blue plate. The plate was full of fat, fragrant cookies.
"Mom and I made them," Mac announced. "Mom says that anyone who has to go to the emergency room deserves cookies when they get home." She paused and looked Joseph over. "I don't see a cast." Mac sounded disappointed. "I guess you didn't break anything after all. That's probably a good thing. If parts of you were in a cast, you couldn't go swimming with me this summer. Now we don't have to worry about that."
Mac put the plate of cookies on the table. "It's my own special recipe," she said. "Dad calls them 'dump cookies.' He says I just dump everything in the house into them. But I don't. I'm very careful about picking just the right ingredients. I watch a cooking show on TV every week. I know about these things!"
G. M. grinned. She winked at Joseph and picked up a cookie. "Thank you for your thoughtfulness," she said ."Tell your mother Thank you for me too."
Joseph bit into one of the fat cookies. "This is good," he mumbled with his mouth full.
"Well, Mac, I hate to rush you off. But, as you can see, Joseph is sleepy. He's had a rather full day. You can come back in the morning and continue your conversation." G. M. held the back door open.
"I'll come over early," Mac called to Joseph over her shoulder. "I'll pick you up. You can go to work with me."
G. M. shut the door. "Finish your supper," she said. "I'll be right back."
G. M. soon reappeared, carrying an old leather book. "This was my father's Bible," she said as she laid it on the kitchen table. "I'm going to loan it to you until we can get you one of your own." G. M. touched the Bible lovingly. "He would have been so proud to have his great-grandson reading it."
When Joseph was full of strawberries and cream and homemade cookies and two more of the emergency room doctor's pills, he decided it was definitely time for bed. He picked up the old Bible and climbed the steep stairs. He stood in the doorway of his mom's old bedroom and smiled to himself. It was nice to know more about his family. Most of his friends from his neighborhood had grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins who all seemed to live next door. He had always only had Mom.
He crossed the room and sat down on the bed. He opened the leather cover of the Bible and turned the thin, delicate pages. He noticed that there was a lot of underlining. And there were lots of pages where someone had written tiny notes in the margins. Joseph wondered why. He had never been allowed to write in books.
Joseph put the Bible on the floor close to the head of his bed. For some reason, he just wanted to keep it close. Joseph climbed under the quilt. He fell instantly asleep.