The Best Prize

Author:S. VanDuinen
Retail Price:$4.95
Grade Level:3-5

From the Back Cover:
When Walter becomes tired of walking Tippy, he thinks of a plan to get rid of the little dog. But when Henry wins first place in a drawing contest, Walter’s secret is found out.

1. Aunt Rennie’s Problem

As Aunt Rennie sat at the table by the window knitting a sweater for Walter, the boy who lived down the street, she was having a hard time concentrating. The knitting was not going well because she was worried about her problem.

Aunt Rennie still lived alone in her own house, but as she became older, this was becoming more and more difficult. Now, with winter coming, it would be even harder. It seemed everyone was telling her that it was time for her to move into a retirement home.

“It would be perfect for you,” they told her. “You wouldn’t be alone anymore. There would be other people to keep you company.”

Aunt Rennie just smiled when people said that. She had lived in this little house since she was born, and she wasn’t lonely at all. She was starting to have a hard time walking, though, and it was getting to the point that she could only take her dog, Tippy, for a walk when the weather was nice. On those days she could take her time and walk slowly, but when it rained or stormed, she had to stay home.

Aunt Rennie’s neighbors, the Van Houtens, lived in a big house just down the street, and they helped her out. Mrs. Van Houten would run errands for her, and her son Walter walked Tippy. They were good to Aunt Rennie, but she didn’t like to bother them. Walter wasn’t always very happy about walking the dog, and his little brother and sister were too young to do it. Aunt Rennie sighed as she thought about the situation. Maybe it would be better if she did move to a retirement home so she wouldn’t be a nuisance to anybody.

Aunt Rennie listened to the wind blowing outside. It was time for Tippy to go out, but Walter hadn’t come yet. If Tippy didn’t have to be walked every day, it would make things easier. Maybe she should find him a new home, but the thought of giving up Tippy made her sad. She enjoyed having the happy, playful little dog around to talk to.

Tippy barked in the doorway, jumping up against the door and trying to get her attention. She wondered where Walter was. If he didn’t come, she might just have to let Tippy out into the yard. She didn’t dare go out in the storm. She looked out the window once more, and sighed with relief because Walter was finally coming up the street. She stood up and made her way to the front door as quickly as she could.

“Hi Walter, it’s nice that you’ve come. Tippy has to....” Before she finished her sentence, Walter interrupted. “I can’t walk him very long, because I have homework to do, and a lot of other things.” Without saying anything to Tippy, who bounded excitedly around his feet, he snapped on the leash and hurried out the door.

Aunt Rennie sat back down at the table, her knitting in a heap on her lap. Should she just tell Walter he didn’t have to walk Tippy anymore? Should she get rid of Tippy? The neighbors were busy enough looking after her without having to worry about Tippy too.

A tear slipped down her wrinkled cheek. She hated to leave the home where she had lived her whole life and of which she had fond memories. This house had belonged to her parents, and they had both died here.

Aunt Rennie had often asked the Lord if she could stay in this house until she died. She had no family, but the Lord had always cared for her. Now she was old and didn’t know how much longer she would be living in this world, but she was confident that the Lord would continue to care for her.

She realized that the Lord’s will might be different from hers, and therefore she always added, “If I have to leave my house, wilt Thou give me a willing heart?” Sometimes she would have peace in her heart, knowing that the Lord’s ways are always right.

Right now she didn’t have that peace. When she thought about leaving everything behind, she was very sad. Getting rid of Tippy would be bad enough, but leaving her home would be even worse.