"This is my favorite time of the
year," exclaimed Albert Ant. "Thereís no better time than summer and do
you know why?" he asked the others.
"Because itís hot?" answered Amanda.
"No, because in the summertime
almost every family in town comes to the park for a picnic. You know what
that means?" Albert said.
"I know," shouted Andrew. "It means
Frisbees hitting our tree, balls rolling over us, and water balloons
splashing and washing us into the mud."
"Youíre right about that, Andrew,
but most of all it means food, lots and lots of food." Albert reminded
them of last summer.
The rest of the ants that lived with
Albert under the bark of the tall oak tree in the park began to scream,
"Food! Food! Food!"
"Letís be sure to pick the right
picnic people. We need to watch carefully to see who has the most," Arthur
The ants hid under the bark, waiting
patiently as the first picnickers arrived. A small family was the first to
arrive. The ants watched as they spread out a blanket on the grass. "I
smell cheeseburgers and chips," whispered Alice. "Letís go!"
"Shhhh. Not yet. We can do better
than this," Albert said, holding Alice back. So they waited and drooled as
the family took the food out of the basket.
"I see lots of chips," Alan giggled.
"I see, and smell, at least five
cheeseburgers," Adam said softly, "and I want them now!" He began to run
down the tree.
"Adam, get back here. If you wait
just a little while longer youíll get a feast beyond your imagination,"
Adam crawled back up the tree and
sat near the rest of them. "Oh look, theyíve got milkshakes. I love
milkshakes," he whimpered.
After a while the family left. The
ants rushed down the oak tree to see if any crumbs were left lying about
in the grass. There wasnít even one crumb. "Here come some more people.
Letís get back up the tree fast!" Albert shouted. They watched as three
grown-up people sat down under the tree. They had a picnic basket with
them and this excited the ants.
"Theyíve got a basket too. That
means they have a lot of food," Adela said, watching them open the lid.
Disappointment set in when they saw
that all the people had brought were apples, bananas, grapes, a loaf of
crusty French bread, and a bag filled with small cubes of cheese. "Apples?
I hate apples," whined Afton.
"Fruit? Cheese? Why, there wonít be
any crumbs left for us, except what falls of that loaf of bread," cried
"Be patient. I know a feast is
coming soon. Whatís so bad about fruit and cheese anyway?" Albert asked.
The group waited for a chunk of
bread to fall, but it didnít. After the picnic, the people cleaned up
every scarp of garbage, including the banana peels and apple cores. It was
about an hour before the next group showed up.
"I think weíve hit the jackpot!"
At least ten people came. Three
blankets were spread out on the grass under the oak tree. They carried two
picnic baskets, a cooler of soda pop, a giant watermelon, and most of them
had grocery bags in their hands. But the best thing was that there were
six children. That mean six children dropping food and tossing unwanted
bits and pieces into the bushes. Their whining would distract the
grown-ups so the ants could sneak up and escape with a goodie or two.
"Okay group, hereís the plan. Weíre
going to divide into six pairs. Each pair will be assigned a food to bring
back to the tree. Got that?" Albert asked. He looked at them for approval.
Nods showed him that they all agreed with the plan. "Adam and Amanda, you
bring us back some fried chicken. It looks crispy, golden and juicy. Bring
back at least one leg, if you can."
Adam and Amanda nodded, climbed down
the tree and headed for the fried chicken. It had been placed on a plate
right at the bottom of the oak tree. "This will be easy," Amanda said. "I
saw we each take back a leg," she added, feeling confident about
accomplishing their assignment.
"Aaron, Alice, your job is to get
some of that delicious potato salad. It looks like itís full of celery,
eggs, and lots of onions and olives. I can almost taste it already,"
Albert drooled. The two nodded and climbed down the tree. The potato salad
was in a large, green, plastic bowl, and it was covered tightly with
plastic wrap. Aaron and Alice knew this was going to be tough. First of
all theyíd have to get up the sides of the slippery bowl and they theyíd
have to figure out a way to get under the plastic wrap.
"Andrew and Afton, see that sack
over there, near the picnic table? There is a large bag of potato crisps
in it. As soon as they open it, you can grab as many as you can get and
bring them back," Albert said and they quickly ran off. The families were
spreading the food out and opening things from the bags; pretzels, cheese
puffs, and corn chips, but the potato crisps were buried deep in the
bottom of the bag. Andrew and Afton were going to have to be patient.
"What do you want us to do?" Alan
asked, looking at Adele.
"See that barbecue grill over
there?" Albert pointed. "They are grilling hamburgers and hot dogs. Anne
and I will grab the hot dogs. You and Adele are to bring back some
burgers, with buns, if possible."
The two ants were soon on their way
towards the grill. Smoke was floating into the trees, stinging Adeleís
eyes. "Come on, Adele. We canít let the ground down. Rub your eyes and
letís get those burgers," Alan said. She wiped the smoke out of them as
best she could and they continued down the tree.
"I almost forgot you two, Arthur and
Amber. You are to get those big, gooey, chocolate brownies over there on
the plate," Albert said. "Off with you now. I love brownies, donít you?"
Arthur and Amber scurried down the tree and headed for the plate.
Each pair of ants went about their
task. Adam and Amanda grabbed a chicken leg and carried it to the tree,
stopping now and then to lick their hands. "I love chicken, especially
when itís fried," Amanda said.
Aaron and Alice had a difficult time
climbing up the sides of the green plastic bowl. Aaron slipped once and
fell to the ground, nearly breaking off one of his antenna. When they
reached the rim, Alice poked a hole in the plastic wrap with a stick and
tore it big enough for them to scoop out some potato salad. Soon they were
on their way back to the tree.
Andrew and Afton had sat for a long
time waiting for the potato crisps to be opened. Finally one of the
children grabbed the bag and sat underneath the picnic table. The ants
thought that rather odd, but ran over there as quickly as possible. The
child ripped the bag open and chips spilled all over the grass. They
picked up as many of the salty crisps as they could carry and ran back to
Alan and Adele stood at the bottom
of the barbecue grill, waiting for a juicy burger to fall to the ground.
People always dropped at least one burger; always! It didnít take too long
for it to happen. A man dropped one and it splattered on the ground right
next to Alanís foot. Seeing that it was no longer edible, the man left it
there. The ants grabbed pieces of it, even though it was a bit hot, and
headed for the safety of the oak tree.
Arthur and Amber stood next to the
plate with the brownies. "We must get one. I canít resist the smell of
chocolate," Amber said.
"I hope there are nuts in them,"
Arthur added. They picked up the largest, gooiest, chocolatiest, nuttiest
brownie they could find and carried it back to the tree.
Albert and Anne didnít have to wait
for a hot dog to fall. By the time they arrived at the grill there were
already three of them lying on the ground. They each picked one up and
carried it back to the tree. The rest of the ants were already there with
their goodies. They started eating the potato salad, the chicken, and
brownies. The potato chips crunched in their mouths and they were all
covered with chocolate from the brownies. When they finished, there wasnít
one crumb of food left on the ground, except the bare chicken bone.
All the ants lay down on their
backs, patting their very full tummies and smiling contentedly. By then
the sun was beginning to set. They all fell asleep. A few hours later loud
booms and screams of laughter awakened them. They jumped up to see what
was going on.
"Look up in the sky!" shouted Alice.
"Itís fireworks," Amber laughed.
"Wow!" said Andrew.
For the next hour they sat in the
tall grass, looking up through the tree at the many colored fireworks
exploding above them. They enjoyed listening to the children laughing. "I
love summer," Albert said. "Itís my favorite time of year."