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Karens fishing trip, p.1
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       Karen's Fishing Trip, p.1

           Ann M. Martin
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Karen's Fishing Trip


  The author gratefully acknowledges

  Gabrielle Charbonnet

  for her help

  with this book.

  Contents

  Title Page

  Dedication

  1 Summertime at Last!

  2 Only One House

  3 Daddy’s Vacation Plan

  4 All Girls!

  5 On the Road

  6 The Three Musketeer Hotel

  7 Keegan (A Boy)

  8 The Secret House

  9 The Monster of Shadow Lake

  10 Poor Fishing

  11 Lures

  12 Footsteps in the Rain

  13 Worms, Worms, Everywhere

  14 Making Cards

  15 Can Keegan Come?

  16 The Surprise

  17 Together and Apart

  18 Happy Father’s Day

  19 Let the Contest Begin!

  20 Good-bye, Shadow Lake

  About the Author

  Also Available

  Copyright

  Summertime at Last!

  I was still eating breakfast (a bagel with pineapple cream cheese) when the phone rang. My stepsister, Kristy Thomas, answered it.

  “Karen,” she said, “it is for you. It is Hannie.” She held out the phone.

  I gulped and swallowed and leaped for the phone. “Hello?”

  “Hi!” said Hannie Papadakis. “Are you dressed? Have you had breakfast? Can I come over? Has Nancy called yet?”

  I thought for a second. “Yes, yes, yes, and no,” I answered.

  “Okay. I will be right over.” Click. Hannie hung up.

  I hung up too. I finished my orange juice. Then I waited for Nancy to call.

  My name is Karen Brewer. I am seven years old. It was Monday morning, the first official day of summer vacation. So naturally my two best friends and I wanted to share it.

  Soon Nancy Dawes called. She said her mother could drive her to my house. After I hung up the phone, I sat on my front steps to wait for Hannie and Nancy.

  I was at my big house. That meant Hannie was just across the street and one house down. Nancy was farther away. She lives next door to my little house. (I will explain all this in awhile. I know it is confusing.)

  Ten minutes later Hannie and Nancy had arrived. We all ran into the backyard. We sat down on the grass beneath the big sycamore tree. For awhile we practiced whistling with grass stems.

  “Summer, summer, summer,” Hannie said happily. She lay on her back and looked up at the sky.

  “I know what you mean,” said Nancy. She lay down too.

  I lay down so that our heads were all touching. We looked at the blue sky and the puffy white clouds that floated overhead. Here is how I felt: If I were any happier, I would just explode.

  “There is nothing better than the first day of summer,” I said.

  “Yup,” said Hannie.

  Do not get me wrong. I love school. I love my teacher, Ms. Colman. Every day is exciting in Ms. Colman’s class. But I also love long summer days, and swimming, and having time for lots of gigundoly great ideas.

  “So what should we do this summer?” I asked. “The Three Musketeers need to have the best summer plans ever.”

  Hannie and Nancy and I call ourselves the Three Musketeers, because we are all for one and one for all.

  “Maybe we should not have any definite plans this summer,” said Nancy. “Maybe we should let summer happen to us.”

  I did not like that idea. I am a person who feels better knowing what I am going to do. Sometimes I like surprises. But I love to make plans and schedule everything.

  “Hmm,” I said. That is useful to say when you need more time to think.

  “Maybe we could have a general list of things to do,” said Hannie. “Then we can decide every day.”

  Nancy and I both thought this was a good idea.

  “We have to have a lemonade stand for sure,” I said.

  “We are going to be on Kristy’s Krushers again, right?” said Nancy. Kristy’s Krushers is my stepsister’s softball team.

  “Absolutely,” said Hannie. “And we have our summer reading list. That means going to the library. And we have to ride our bikes a lot.”

  “And we have to have tea parties and sleepovers,” I said.

  “And we have to get ice-cream cones and go to afternoon movies,” said Nancy.

  Guess what. I felt even happier, and I did not explode. Amazing. But I did think of one sad thing about the summer. My little brother, Andrew, would not be able to share it with me. I guess I had better explain about my two houses, and why I am usually a two-two.

  Only One House

  I am usually a two-two because I usually have two houses, two mommies, two daddies, two best friends, two stuffed cats, and two bicycles. You name it, I probably have two of them. I even wear two different pairs of glasses. The blue ones are for reading. The pink ones are for the rest of the time.

  This is how I got to be a two-two: A long time ago, I lived in the big house all the time. Back then it was just me, Mommy, Daddy, my little brother, Andrew, and Daddy’s cranky cat, Boo-Boo. Then Mommy and Daddy got a divorce, which meant they were not married to each other anymore. So Mommy moved into a little house not far away. (It is next door to Nancy’s house.) Andrew and I went with Mommy. Daddy stayed in the big house because it is the house he grew up in.

  Then Mommy got married again, to a very nice man named Seth Engle. That makes Seth my stepfather. He came to live with us in the little house. He brought his cat, Midgie, and his dog, Rocky.

  Then Daddy got married again too, to Kristy’s mommy, Elizabeth Thomas. Elizabeth’s kids are Sam and Charlie, who are in high school; Kristy, who is thirteen (I just adore Kristy); and David Michael, who is seven, like me. But he does not go to my school.

  Then Daddy and Elizabeth adopted my little sister, Emily Michelle, from a country called Vietnam. Emily is two and a half.

  There were so many people at the big house that Nannie, Elizabeth’s mother, came to help take care of everyone. Nannie also helps out with the pets. Kristy has a new puppy named Scout. She will keep her for a year. Then Scout will go to guide dog school. Plus, David Michael has a puppy named Shannon, and of course there is Boo-Boo, and our fish, and Andrew’s pet hermit crab, and my pet rat, Emily Junior. The big house is always pretty noisy and exciting.

  At first, Andrew and I stayed at the little house most of the time. We lived at the big house only every other weekend. But Andrew and I wanted to see our big-house family more often. So Mommy and Daddy talked, and their lawyers talked. Everyone agreed that Andrew and I could live at the little house one month, and at the big house the next month. So we did that, and everyone was much happier. Then Seth was offered a job for six months in Chicago, which is a big city far away. (The big and little houses are in Stoneybrook, Connecticut.)

  Well. I could not decide whether to go with Mommy and Seth and Andrew to Chicago for six months, or to stay at the big house for six months. (Mommy decided that Andrew was too little to be away from her for six whole months. After all, he is only four going on five. But I am much older than he is. So I had to decide for myself.)

  I tried Chicago. But I was not happy there. I did not want to go to a new school. I wanted my same old room and my same old friends and my same old Ms. Colman and my same old street and my same old neighborhood. So I came back to Stoneybrook. And I am very glad I did. I do miss Mommy and Andrew and Seth a lot. But we write and call and send e-mail all the time. And I will visit them for a whole month soon. So I am doing fine.

  Anyway. Now that I am at the big house for awhile, my life is a lot simpler. I do not have to think about changing houses. And the big house is always fun and full of people. Right now it was full of
my family and my two best friends as we ate lunch.

  There are so many of us at the big house that we eat at a long, long table with two long, long benches. Today I was sitting between Hannie and Nancy. Nannie had made a gigundo pile of tuna-salad sandwiches. Plus we had carrot sticks and apple slices and glasses of milk and afterward two chocolate chip cookies each.

  “What is everyone going to do this afternoon?” asked Daddy. (He works at home. Elizabeth works in an office, which is why she was not eating lunch with us.)

  “I am going to look for a job,” said Charlie. “I need gas money this summer.”

  “I am going to look for a job too,” said Sam. “There are a bunch of CDs I want to buy. And the paper route does not pay enough.”

  “Okay,” said Daddy.

  “I have a baby-sitting job,” said Kristy. (She runs a baby-sitting business with her friends. She is an excellent baby-sitter.)

  “I am going to play with Scott and Timmy Hsu,” said David Michael. (They live down the street from us.)

  I looked at Hannie and Nancy. “We are going to hang out and enjoy the summer,” I said.

  “Sounds like a good plan,” said Daddy.

  So the other two Musketeers and I put a few more cookies in our pockets, and headed outside to start enjoying the summer.

  Daddy’s Vacation Plan

  Sometimes enjoying summer can be hard work. Running around in the sun and riding bikes and climbing trees can wear you out. After doing those things in the big-house neighborhood for a few days, Hannie and I went to Nancy’s house. (It was weird seeing my little house next door without going in it. But another family was renting it while my little-house family was in Chicago.)

  At Nancy’s house we worked very hard on our mud-pie bakery all afternoon. We were not making little-kid-type mud pies. They were much better than that. We decorated our pies with flowers and pebbles and twigs and moss, and baked them in the sun, and served them on beautiful shiny leaf-platters. And we used only the finest dirt, and fresh water right from the hose.

  I was exhausted by the time I went home.

  That night at dinner I could barely keep my eyes open long enough to eat. (I had already taken a bath and was wearing my pajamas.) My big-house family was gathered around our table, eating lamb chops and corn on the cob and fresh green beans. I was eating with one hand and propping my head up with my other hand.

  Then Daddy tapped his water glass with his fork. “Ahem,” he said. “I have a question to ask. Elizabeth and I thought it would be fun to go on a family vacation together, starting not this Friday but the Friday after that. We would like to go to Shadow Lake. Does that sound like a good idea?”

  “Yes!” I shouted. Suddenly I felt wide-awake. Daddy has a vacation house at a ski resort called Shadow Lake. It is in western Massachusetts, about two hours away from Stoneybrook. When it is too hot to snow-ski, you can go there for fishing and water-skiing and hiking and all sorts of fun things. I love going to Shadow Lake.

  “Sounds good to me,” said Kristy.

  “I want to go,” said David Michael.

  “Boys?” asked Daddy. He looked at Sam and Charlie.

  “Well,” said Charlie.

  “Um,” said Sam. “Actually, I just got a job. I am washing dishes at the Five Happiness restaurant. I am going to start tomorrow afternoon.”

  “I got a job too,” said Charlie. “I am going to be making deliveries for an auto-parts store. I do not think I should miss a week of work to go to Shadow Lake. Even though I love Shadow Lake.”

  “Me too,” said Sam. “I wish I could postpone taking this job. But I am afraid they will give it to someone else. Can I stay home with Charlie while you go to Shadow Lake?”

  “Stay home?” asked Elizabeth. “By yourselves?”

  “I am seventeen,” said Charlie. “Sam is fifteen. We are old enough to be responsible here by ourselves for a week. Besides, someone has to stay home to take care of Scout. Right?”

  “I was going to take Scout with me,” said Kristy.

  “If Scout goes, then Shannon should go too,” said David Michael.

  “And Emily Jr.,” I said.

  “I think all the pets should stay here,” said Daddy.

  “Then can we stay here to care for the pets?” asked Sam.

  Elizabeth looked at Daddy. Daddy looked at Elizabeth.

  “We will need time to think about this,” said Elizabeth. “We will talk it over and discuss it later, okay? Now, how about everyone else?”

  “Actually, dear,” said Nannie, “I have a very big order coming up…. ”

  Nannie has her own chocolate-making business.

  “If you need to stay home, that is okay,” said Elizabeth.

  “There!” said Charlie. “Nannie will be home too. Now can Sam and I stay here?”

  “We will think about it,” said Daddy.

  “Can I ask Mary Anne to come with us?” asked Kristy. (Mary Anne is Kristy’s best friend. She is gigundoly nice. She is a little bit shy. I am not shy.)

  “Can I ask Hannie and Nancy to come too?” I said. I was so excited that I was bouncing up and down. Hannie and Nancy had come to Shadow Lake once before. I knew they would want to come again.

  “Can I ask Scott and Timmy Hsu to come?” asked David Michael.

  “Me! Me!” said Emily Michelle. She tried to stand up in her high chair. Her sippy cup tipped over but did not spill.

  Elizabeth laughed. “Yes, honey, you will definitely go.”

  Daddy took a breath. “I did not think our vacation plans would get so complicated,” he said. “Although I should have suspected it. But Elizabeth and I will talk it all out, and we will tell you our decisions tomorrow.”

  I could barely sit still. Hannie and Nancy just had to come to Shadow Lake. They just had to!

  All Girls!

  The next day Daddy and Elizabeth said they had decided that I could ask Hannie and Nancy to come to Shadow Lake with us. Kristy could ask Mary Anne, and David Michael could ask Scott and Timmy Hsu. And Charlie and Sam could stay home with Nannie and take care of all the pets.

  Everyone was very happy about all these things.

  * * *

  “I can come!” Hannie yelled from across the street. She looked both ways very carefully. No cars were coming. So she scooted across to where I waited on the other side.

  “I can come!” Hannie yelled again.

  We grabbed hands and jumped up and down. “Yea!” I cried. I could feel my ponytail flapping against my back.

  “Yea!” Hannie said. We jumped up and down until we felt we could stand the excitement.

  “Come on,” I said. “I need some lemonade. Then we can talk about Shadow Lake.”

  Once we had our lemonade, we went into the backyard and sat down in the glider swing on the patio. We swung our legs back and forth.

  “Nancy called this morning,” I said. “She can come too. So the Three Musketeers will be together at Shadow Lake.”

  “Hooray!” Hannie cried. “This is going to be so much fun. I loved being at Shadow Lake last time.”

  “Me too,” I said.

  “Did you know that we will be there until Father’s Day?” asked Hannie.

  I nodded. “Father’s Day is on a Sunday. There is a fishing contest at Shadow Lake that day. Then we will come home on Monday morning.”

  “It is too bad I will not be home with my daddy on Father’s Day,” said Hannie.

  “That is what Nancy said too,” I told her. “But maybe we can call your daddies on Sunday, and wish them a happy Father’s Day.”

  “Good idea,” said Hannie.

  * * *

  Later on Nancy called again. Hannie picked up the phone in the playroom. I picked up the phone in the hall outside my bedroom. We both talked to Nancy at the same time. Together, we planned what clothes and books and games we would take to Shadow Lake. We decided we would each bring all of our bathing suits. We decided we would each take one book, and then switch them around. It took
us a long time to agree on which three books we wanted.

  Then Hannie had to go home for lunch.

  After lunch I went to my room and pulled my big suitcase out from under my bed. I wanted to start getting ready, even though our trip was still two weeks away.

  Kristy came into my room and put a pile of clean laundry on my bed. “Remember to take lots of shorts and shirts,” she said. “And maybe one or two nice dresses.”

  “Okay,” I replied. “Did you know Hannie and Nancy are coming?”

  “Great!” said Kristy. “Mary Anne is coming also. We will have fun together.”

  “With Scott and Timmy too,” I said. “They have never been to Shadow Lake before. They will have a great time.”

  “Actually,” said Kristy, “they are not coming. And neither is David Michael. When David Michael asked them, it turned out their family had already planned to go to Adventure Land that week. So instead of coming with us, David Michael is going with them. He will not come to Shadow Lake.”

  “Gee,” I said. “I love Adventure Land. But I am happy to be going to Shadow Lake with you and Mary Anne and Hannie and Nancy.” Then I had a thought. “Guess what, Kristy? David Michael is not coming. Sam and Charlie are not coming. Andrew is in Chicago. There will be no boys at Shadow Lake!”

  Kristy thought for a moment. “Except Watson.” (Watson is my daddy.) “But you are right,” Kristy continued. “There will not be any other boys with us.”

  We looked at each other. We grinned. Then we slapped high fives.

  “No boys! Hooray!” we cried.

  On the Road

  Not the next Friday but the Friday after that, I hopped out of bed early. Today was the day! I scrambled into my clothes fast and brushed my hair and pulled it into a ponytail. Then I ran downstairs and grabbed an apple-cinnamon muffin for breakfast.

  After breakfast we began to load Daddy’s van and Elizabeth’s station wagon. (The last time we went to Shadow Lake, there had been so many people, we could barely fit into three cars.)

  The Three Musketeers were going in Daddy’s van. Sam helped me carry my suitcase to the back of the van. Kristy, Mary Anne, and Emily Michelle were going in Elizabeth’s car. There was already a pile of suitcases by the back of the station wagon.

 
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