A Warm Jacket

Flat Paul's Travel Diary
February 1, 2000

Dear Mrs. Lewis and the Second Grade Class:

"What's your favorite color, Flat Paul?" asked Miss Cynthia. I answered without looking up from my game. "Blue!" I said.

"I thought so!" she said. "Looks like we guessed right, didn't we Perry?"

Miss Cynthia and Perry Bear were working at the big desk. I was lying on the floor, trying to teach the little bears to play U-No. I am very, very fond of playing U-No!

"Flat Paul," said Miss Cynthia, "we need to see if this fits." She held up something flat ... and blue ... it was a new blue jacket!

Perry helped me up onto the big desk. My new flat jacket was a perfect fit. It had buttons and pockets and even my name, Flat Paul! I looked down at my arms inside the jacket. It was so nice and warm!

"You'll need that jacket today, Flat Paul!" said Miss Cynthia. "You're coming with me and Perry as we do more work for the newspaper. It can be very cold in the winter in eastern Washington. We will be going outside to a recycling plant."

"And shopping!" said Perry Bear. "Don't forget that you promised to take me to the fabric store for a new bow-tie!"

Soon we were buckled into our seat belts, riding in the car. The air was brisk and cold. I could see my breath! Perry Bear was wrapped in a nice warm scarf. I was happy to have my new blue jacket.

First stop: Bethlehem Lutheran School. Last year, the school won the Earth Day aluminum can contest. The students earned money for their school, and helped protect the environment. Perry Bear was to interview the principal, Mister Dan. Kidzone readers would want to know how to collect cans to make money for their school.

I listened quietly as Perry Bear interviewed Principal Dan. Miss Cynthia took lots of notes. We learned many ways to help our communities save natural resources by recycling.

Next stop: the recycling plant. Mister Wayne, owner of the business, waited to show us where recycled materials went after they were collected. I liked the small forklift trucks that moved large boxes around the plant.

Perry Bear liked the crushing machine best. Cans were dumped into a long trough. They rode a conveyer belt up, up, up and into the mouth of the crushing machine. When there were enough cans, Mister Wayne pulled the lever. The machine groaned and crunched. Soon, all the cans had been crushed into a solid block of metal.

Back in the car, Perry Bear spoke up from the back seat. "Remember, Miss Cynthia, you promised!"

"So I did, Perry Bear!" said Miss Cynthia. It was time for Perry Bear to select some new spring bow-ties. The car stopped in front of a big, big fabric store.

Perry Bear, Miss Cynthia and I looked at the beautiful ribbons. There were ribbons with bears and ribbons with dots. There were bright ribbons and shiny ribbons and velvet ribbons. We each chose our favorite and took it to the counter.

"I can't choose!" said Perry Bear. "I like the one with flowers, but the red one is pretty, too. And the stripes! They're so spring-like! How will I ever choose?"

Miss Cynthia just laughed. "Like owner, like bear!," she said.

Perry Bear got three new bow-ties today!

Your flat friend,

Flat Paul