A Valentine for Grandma
It was just a harmless 1)prank, that’s all it was.
And it wasn’t as if Old Lady Hayes didn’t deserve it. The way she used to scream at us for “borrowing” a few of her precious 2)raspberries each summer, like we were stealing gold out of 3)Fort Knox － well, she had it coming.
At least, that’s the way we saw it as George finished tying the string to the red, heart-shaped box. We giggled as Ron added the final touch: two plastic red roses, glued to the lid. “I wonder what will surprise her most,” I asked as George practiced 4)jerking the box out of reach by 5)yanking on the string, “seeing a box of candy on her step, or watching it fly away when she tries to pick it up?”
We laughed as we watched George make Albert chase the box around the garage. For a 6)chubby 10-year-old, Albert did a good imitation of Mrs. Hayes’s 7)hunched 8)hobble and her seemingly permanent 9)scowl. And we howled when he picked up a broom and pretended to ride it through the 10)midwinter air while shouting, “I’m Old Lady Hayes, the 11)driedest-up old 12)prune in the west!”
Ron was first to notice my dad in the doorway. Within seconds, Ron’s anxiety was shared by all but Albert, who continued to 13)swoop around the garage until he came 14)face-to-belt-buckle with our silent observer. For a moment, the only movement in the room came from the little puffs of steam escaping our mouths. Dad broke the stillness by walking slowly to the empty candy box lying on the floor. He picked it up, and 15)dangled it by the string and watched it swing back and forth. Then he looked into the eyes of the frightened boys. And, as was his custom, he looked into their hearts as well.
“It doesn’t seem so long ago that I was pulling Valentine’s Day pranks,” he said as he laid the box on a 16)workbench. “One year my cousins and I decided to pull one on our Grandma Walker even though we loved her － she was the sweetest grandma a boy could have. We were just feeling 17)devilish and decided to have some fun at her expense.
“Early in the evening we 18)snuck up to her doorstep with a can of red paint. Grandma was hard of hearing, so we didn’t have to worry about being very quiet, which was a good thing, because every time we thought about how funny it was going to be to see Grandma try to pick up a valentine that was just painted on her doorstep, we couldn’t keep from laughing.
“It didn’t take long, and it wasn’t very artistic. But for an old woman with bad eyes, it would do. We kicked the door and hid behind the bushes. When Grandma finally appeared she stood in the doorway, her gray hair pulled back tightly into her usual 19)bun, wiping her hands on her usual apron. She must have heard the 20)commotion in the bushes because she looked in our direction and spoke loudly enough for us to hear, ‘Who could be knocking at my door?’ Then she looked down. Even from 15 feet away we could see the joy in her eyes when she 21)spotted a splash of red at her feet.
“’A valentine for Grandma!’ she 22)exclaimed. ‘And I thought I’d be forgotten again this year!’
“She tried to 23)retrieve her prize. This was the moment we had been waiting for, but somehow it wasn’t as much fun as we expected. Grandma 24)groped at the fresh paint for a moment. Slowly, she figured out our prank. She tried to smile. Then, with as much dignity as she could 25)muster, she turned and walked back into her house, absently wiping red paint on her clean, white apron.”
Dad paused, and for the first time I noticed that his eyes were moist. He took a deep breath. “Grandma died later that year,” he said. “I never had another chance to give her a real valentine.”
He took the box from the bench and handed it to me. Then he turned and left the garage. Later that night a red, heart-shaped box with two plastic roses on it was placed on Mrs. Hayes’ front doorstep by six giggling boys. We hid behind snow-covered bushes to see how she would react to receiving a full pound of candy and nuts.
With no strings attached.
1) prank [prANk] n. 胡闹，恶作剧
2) raspberry [5rB:zbEri] n. 山莓
3) Fort Knox 纳克斯堡，美国国家黄金储藏地，位于肯塔基州
4) jerk [dVE:k] v. 急拉
5) yank [jANk] v. 猛拉
6) chubby [5tFQbi] a. 圆脸的；丰满的
7) hunch [hQntF] v. 使（背部等）弯成弓状；使隆起
8) hobble [5hCbl] n. 跛行
9) scowl [skaul] n. 怒容；愁眉苦脸
10) midwinter [mId5wIntE(r)] n. 仲冬，冬至（十二月二十二日左右）
11) dried [draid] a. 弄干了的。dried-up，干缩的
12) prune [pru:n] n. （美俚）傻瓜；讨厌的人
13) swoop [swu:p] v. 飞扑，猛扑
14) face-to-belt-buckle belt-buckle是皮带上的搭扣。因为父亲比阿尔伯特高，因此阿尔伯特一转身，刚好只及父亲腰部，面对父亲皮带上的搭扣
15) dangle [5dAN^l] v. 使摇晃地挂着
16) workbench [5w/:kbentF] n. 工作台
17) devilish [5devliF] a. 精力旺盛的
18) sneak [sni:k] v. 鬼鬼祟祟地走。其过去式可以是sneaked或snuck，尤其是在方言中snuck用得比较多
19) bun [bQn] n. 小面包状的卷发
20) commotion [kE5mEuFEn] n. 混乱；骚动
21) spot [spCt] v. （口）认出，发现
22) exclaim [iks5kleim] v. （由于惊讶、痛苦、愤怒、高兴等而）呼喊；大声说
23) retrieve [ri5tri:v] n. 取回，收回
24) grope [^rEup] v. （暗中）摸索
25) muster [5mQstE] v. 振起，鼓起
祖母的GREnjieyingyuzhufu/ target=_blank class=infotextkey>情人节
“我在GREnjieyingyuzhufu/ target=_blank class=infotextkey>情人节那天干的恶作剧似乎就发生在昨天，”他把盒子放在一个工作台上时说道，“有一年，我和表哥表弟们决定给沃克奶奶开个玩笑，尽管我们爱她——她是天下最好的老奶奶。我们只是精力过剩，并决定跟她逗逗乐。
“那天晚上一等夜幕降临，我们就拿着一罐红油漆蹑手蹑脚地来到她的门阶前。老奶奶耳朵不大好，所以我们不用太轻手轻脚。这真是件乐事，因为，只要一想到老奶奶试图捡起一份画在台阶上的GREnjieyingyuzhufu/ target=_blank class=infotextkey>情人节礼物会有多滑稽时，我们就忍不住笑。
“‘给奶奶的GREnjieyingyuzhufu/ target=_blank class=infotextkey>情人节礼物！’她高兴地大声说道，‘我还以为今年我又被人遗忘了呢！’
父亲停止了述说，第一次，我发现他的眼睛湿了。他深深吸了一口气。“就在那年，没过多久老奶奶就去世了，”他说，“我再也没有机会送给她一份真正的GREnjieyingyuzhufu/ target=_blank class=infotextkey>情人节礼物了。”
疯狂英语精华A Valentine for Grandma文章来源头牌英语[精华汇萃]