Monday, February 05, 2007

Sunning

The sun was shining, the sky was a bright blue and a cool breeze blew through the air. As I went on one of my daily walks, enjoying the warm sun on my face, I heard a familiar voice.

"Hello, Lady!" A small voice greeted me. I turned to see Ernie the Earthworm laying in the shade of a leaf that had been propped up on some thick grass. His little acorn hat shaded his eyes so all I could see was his glowing pink body.

"Hello, Ernie," I greeted him. "What are you doing today?"

"What does it look like I'm doing?" Ernie asked, tipping his hat up so he could narrow his eyes at me. "I'm sunning myself."

"But you're in the shade," I said.

"Well then, I'm shading myself." Ernie retorted, relaxing under his leaf.

"You never struck me as the sunbathing type," I said. "Aren't you worried about getting sunburned?"

"I'm more afraid of the birds," he said, creeping closer to the edge of his leaf. "If I lay in the sun too long, they think I'm a scrap of ham."

"Do birds eat ham?" I asked, looking confused. "I would think worms would be tastier than ham."

"Shhh!" Ernie whispered, looking around carefully. "Don't give them any ideas. I've managed to convince them I'm an Earthworm God. So they don't mess with me."

"Is that why you needed your hat?" I asked, trying not to smile. Every time he turned his tiny pink head, his hat spun around like a top.

"Of course not," Ernie snapped, acting as though I was dumb. "I need it so I won't get freckles."

I just stared at him. "I have sensitive skin, you know," Ernie said defensively. "People pay money for this shade of pink."

"I'm sure they do," I said, trying not to laugh.

"Lady, where is my hat?" Ernie demanded, trying to see if I was holding it in my hand. "You promised me a spring hat."

"It's not spring yet," I said.

"What do you call this?" Ernie said, looking up at the great blue sky.

"Gorgeous weather," I said.

"Gorgeous weather is the definition of spring," Ernie said triumphantly. "Give me my hat!"

"I don't have it," I said. "You'll have to wait."

Ernie scrunched up his face and his thin pink body began to tremble. The next thing I knew, he was throwing himself all over the ground wailing. "Gimme gimme gimme gimme!" he screamed.

The birds perched above my head didn't miss this new action.

"Is it a worm?" one pondered.

"No it's a ham," another said. "Dummie!"

"You're all wrong!" the third bird said. "It's a french fry!"

"It's pink, stupid!" the first bird said.

"Duh," the third bird said. "It's pink for Valentine's Day. Isn't it romantic?"

"It's not romantic because it's a worm!" the second worm argued. "Only cockroaches are romantic. Now that's elegant cuisine right there."

While the birds argued over dining choices, I bent down and whispered to Ernie, "They think you're a pink french fry."

Ernie quit flopping and sniffled. "I might as well be," he sobbed. "You don't even care about me enough to make me a spring hat." He began to wail again. Rolling my eyes, I took his pre-existing hat and tied some flowers and tiny clovers to the top of it. I bent down and handed it to Ernie.

"How's that?" I asked. Ernie stopped wailing and eyeballed his new hat. "Marvelous!" he cried happily. He put it on his head, causing the flowers to flop over in different directions.

"Don't I look darling?" he beamed up at me. Once again, I couldn't break his wormy little heart.

"Darling," I said, trying not to laugh. And with that, Ernie the earthworm returned to his sunning, the birds continued to argue regarding the romance of worms, and I took a few more minutes in the glorious sunshine. After all, it was a wonderful day for sun.