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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
My Very Eager Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas


Mungo put the finishing touches around the house. He had spent an hour decorating the walls with pictures of outer space. There were pictures of the planets, space ships, aliens, and stars. He was happy with the way the room looked. "What do you think, Ginger? Does it look Ďspaceyí?" Mungo laughed.

DING DONG! "Hello, wee Hamish. How are you doing tonight? Come on inside," Mungo said without waiting for an answer.

"Hello, Mr. McGee. Wow, what have you done to the walls? Are we talking about space ships tonight?" wee Hamish asked.

"In a way. Weíre talking aboutÖ.." DING DONG! "Let me get the door first and then Iíll tell you." Mungo opened the door. "Hello wee Fiona and Gavin, and how are you tonight Andy?" he asked, inviting them in.

"Wow, Mr. McGee? Are you going to tell us a story about aliens? Are we going for a ride on a space ship?" Gavin joked.

"Very funny, Gavin. Donít frighten the wee ones though with talk of aliens," Mungo warned, lovingly.

"Weíre not scared of aliens, Mr. McGee," said wee Fiona, proudly.

"Iím not either," added wee Hamish.

DING DONG! "Well, Iím very happy to hear that. You go and help yourself to the snacks and Iíll get the door." He opened it to welcome Gregor and Morag. "Everyoneís here then. Good."

"What kind of snacks are these?" asked Gregor.

"Iíve purchased some Ďmoon piesí, some nebula bars, a few milky way sandwiches and one or two Martian crisps. Eat up then," he urged. They did.

"Gather round," Mungo said a few minutes later. "Tonight Iím going to tell you a story about outer space. Iíll try not to make it too scary. First of all though, who knows all the planets in our solar system?"

"I donít," said Andy. "I know Earth and Mars."

"I see, nobody knows. Hereís a way to learn then. Thereís a sentence Ė My very eager mother just served us nine pizzas. You can remember that way," Mungo smiled.

"Thereís a planet called Nine Pizzas?" asked Gregor.

"No, donít be silly. This is a way to learn the planets. Take the first letter of each word and thatís what the planet begins with. Mercury is the first, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto."

"I get it, Mr. McGee. If we remember that sentence, it will help us remember all the planets," Gavin laughed.

"Youíve got it. Our planet is what?" Mungo asked.

"Earth," boasted wee Hamish.

"Thatís right. Who knows the answer to this? Is Scotland above or below the equator?" he asked again.

"Scotland is above," answered Morag. "Australia is below. My Auntie Sheila lives in Australia and my Uncle John lives in New Zealand. Theyíre both below the equator."

"Thatís very good, Morag. Do any of you know how many miles we are away from the sun?" Mungo asked.

"Lots," answered Andy.

"Millions," added Morag.

"We are 93 million miles away from the sun."

"Thatís a long way," said wee Fiona.

"Now that you know a little bit more about the planets, weíll begin our story," Mungo started.

"Mr. McGee, instead of a story, can we just talk more about the planets?" asked Gavin.

"What do the rest of you think?"

"Yes, lets learn more," said Gregor. The others nodded in agreement.

"All right then. Weíll talk about some space words. Who knows what a comet is?" Mungo asked.

"I remember seeing a comet once," Andy said.

"A comet is a celestial body, like a small planet that moves around the sun. It is surrounded by sort of a mist and sometimes has a tail to it. Several years ago Halleyís comet passed our earth. Thatís probably the one you saw, Andy. Have you ever heard of an asteroid?" Mungo asked.

"I havenít heard of a stroid," wee Fiona giggled.

"An asteroid is another large rock and it also revolves around the sun, but most of them are found between Mars and Jupiter. They donít do much; just float there. Another thing that you hear about in space is a meteor. They are chunks of rock or metal that fall through space and when they enter the earthís atmosphere they burn up. If they donít burn up and fall to earth, they are called meteorites."

"Have any meteors hit the earth?" Morag asked.

"I donít want one to hit my house," sighed a worried wee Hamish.

"Donít worry, bairns. Meteorites rarely happen. They usually burn up as soon as they go through the earthís atmosphere." Seeing how he needed to change the subject, Mungo said, "Who can remember the names of the planets? Who was paying attention?"

Gavin shouted, "I remember. I remember. My very eager mother just served us nine pizzas. That means the planets are Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto."

"Very good, Gavin. Excellent. Mercury is very close to the sun. Itís so close that nothing can live on it. Itís too hot. Itís even too hot on Venus. Earth is in the perfect place. Mars is too cold. Scotland is in the perfect place on our planet, donít you agree, bairns?" Mungo asked.

"I love living in Scotland. Iím glad there are no meteorites here," Gregor said.

"I love living here too, Mr. McGee," Andy said. "My mum and dad are taking me to the Trossachs next weekend." He grinned.

"Thatís one of the loveliest places in Scotland. Youíre very lucky." DING DONG! "There are your mums and dads. Tonight you can practice your planets. Iím sure theyíll be so proud of you," Mungo said, getting up to answer the door.

That night, after all the bairns had left, Mungo took Ginger and went outside. He gazed up into the sky. "Thereís Orion," he pointed out. "Thereís the Big Dipper and see, Ginger, that bright star, thatís Venus. I wish I could have shown the bairns. Maybe next week." Just then a shooting star darted across the sky. Mungo gasped in delight. He stood outside for a while longer, gazing into the heavens and then headed for the house. "Come on, Ginger," he called, "itís time for bed."


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