Unlike most other animals, Annabelle the Dog actually liked winter more than any other season. The one thing she disliked, however, was that her friends Bumble the Bee and Charlie the Goose were never around. Bumble always insisted on hibernating through the winter - as is the habit of most bees. And Charlie, like most geese, liked to fly south to some warm place.
"I must have frost in my ears," Annabelle told herself one snowy day, "because I'm almost certain that I just heard old Charlie the Goose!"
Without a moment's hesitation, Annabelle darted off through the snow in search of him. "Silly goose must be lost. What's he doing around here at this time of year, anyway?" she wondered.
Charlie the Goose finally appeared at the top of a small hill. He was squawking just as loudly and angrily as ever he had; a white crown of snow atop his head.
"Boy, am I glad to see a familiar face" said Charlie.
"You got lost on your way to Florida again, eh Charlie?"
"Okay, okay, I'm not ashamed to admit it. But since I'm back in Albemarle, where can I get some warm clothes and what do we do for fun when it snows? Asked Charlie.
"I think this is something Bumble just wouldn't want to miss," Annabelle said excitedly. "I'm going to show you guys how to sled and make snowmen and forts and maple-syrup slushies and everything else that's great about winter." "Fine, fine. First, though, we have to go find Bumble." So Charlie and Annabelle improvised a sled for the icy goose and they bounded off through the snow to a great big old oak tree.
Annabelle sniffed around until she found a little wooden sign.
This is the hibernating spot of Bumble the Bee
Well, Annabelle knew that it was not an emergency, but she also knew Bumble always loved an adventure with his two best friends. So Annabelle dug right through the snow and into the mud, down deeper and deeper among the tree roots until finally she found the little door into Bumble's bedroom. "Bumble? You awake?" Annabelle called.
Eventually Bumble emerged from his bedroom wearing a wool nightcap and flannel pajamas. "Whew, what's the date?" Bumble asked rubbing his eyes. "Seems like I just bedded down yester -" but Bumble's sentence ended abruptly when the first snowflake landed on his nose.
Annabelle laughed. "You and Charlie are going to experience winter firsthand with me this year. We'll build a snow fort and have a big snowball fight. We'll go sledding and we'll make snow angels. We'll -"
"Sounds pretty fun," Bumble interrupted, buzzing down from Annabelle's nose. "But Charlie and I need snow outfits. After all, we're not used to this kind of weather like you."
Annabelle found a coat and hat for Charlie in a bag of old baby clothes out in the people's shed. Then she tore the corner off an old blanket and punched a little hole in the middle. "A perfect bee-sized poncho," she said to herself, "won't Bumble be impressed."
Annabelle took the clothing to her friends and they enjoyed a great day of playing in the snow. Annabelle dug a tremendous snow fort, Charlie had a terrific time riding fast on an improvised sled behind Annabelle and even Bumble made tiny bee-sized snowballs to throw.
As the friends drank hot chocolate and munched cookies in the Clubhouse later that afternoon, Annabelle said, "This has been the most perfect winter day ever." I'm glad you got lost Charlie and glad that you woke up Bumble." "Well, I was rather upset at first about not being in Florida" admitted Charlie, but it turned out okay." "I think it was a great way to spend a wintry day...once in a very long while," yawned Bumble.
Mike L. Ford is the author of historical novels for kids of all ages. A North Garden native, he now lives in beautiful Greene County with his wife Holly, their new baby, and their two dogs.