Jeanne York was strolling across the big bridge that seperated her house from the Hendricks's when her brother, came up to her and shouted, "Hey! Did ya heer about the new kid in town?" "No I didn't, who is he?" Jeanne shouted back, even though they were only a few inches apart.
"Well I'll tell ya. His name's Harlan Avery and he's come here from Maine. I gess he's a city slicker!" Her brother grinned impishly and zoomed off for a short while.
"Harlan Avery," Jeanne mused to herself as she stepped off the bridge. "That sounds romantic. I wonder if he likes ice cream? Vanilla with raspberries on it." You see, Jeanne and her brother, Hoover, live in the hills, and they don't get novelties like ice cream very often like we city folk do. Well, Jeanne had to hurry to her home on the hill, what she called MoleHill for many different purposes. Her family was known for exaggerating and making things more troublesome than they really are. The Yorks had been that way since they were born. Why, even Jeanne's brother had screamed his head off when a frog had jumped into the creek, creating a small plop.
Jeanne took her shoes off and rolled her denims high above her ankles to show bare feet that were soon covered with mud. She waded through the inch deep mud right in front of their house. Her feet made fresh prints on the stairs to the cabin. Her younger brother’s prints were still smaller than hers.
“Have you seen Harlan?” Jeanne asked.
“No, I haven’t, I only spoke on a friend's phone, he sounds like a really cool kid. He said his dad is doing er-something for the university.”
“That means he’ll no doubt think we rednecks aren’t good enough for him. Don’t raise your hopes to much.”
“No he isn’t like that at all.” Hoover replied, “he said his mom and dad would really like to meet us next Tuesday.
So the next Tuesday Jeanne and Hoover went down to the small-town in the valley where the better off folk lived. They were both wearing their neatest clothes and their mom made sure they were properly washed and tidy. They found the house where Harlan Avery lived. Yes it definitely was an educated folks’ home and the two kids could see computers and educated books in the front room. The kids wiped their new shoes carefully and didn’t leave any dirt on the clean doorstep. With her heart pounding Jeanne rang the front door bell. Mrs. Avery came at once to answer the door with a welcoming smile on her face but that wasn’t what the kids noticed first. What they saw first of all was she was African-American.
Harlan Avery and his older brother Steve were both on computers that were really cool, the plasma screens were neat, nothing like the second hand Dell computer that the York family had at home. Jeanne and Hoover were soon playing games that taught them about Africa, about the slave trade and about American history. The two rednecks liked to think they’d done learning when school finished for the afternoon but those computers were just so cool and the games were so cool as well, the kids didn’t mind learning.
“My dad helped develop this game.” Harlan said proudly, “He works for the Education Department of the University of Main.”
Hoover looked a bit bemused as he wasn’t quite nine and wasn’t used to long words like, “develop”.
“Does your dad really write computer programs?” Jeanne asked admiringly.
“No, Leroy helped write the stories, the Computer Department did the programming.” Mrs. Avery corrected, then she invited everyone into the kitchen because she was sure just everyone would love some fresh popcorn.