We arrived back at school from our field trip to the airshow just in time for me to walk through the school and out the front door to meet Momma. I jumped into the back and strapped in.
"Hey Sweetie. How was the airshow?"
"Momma, it was fantabulous! There were parachuters and planes flying by with smoke. And we ate our lunch outside. Ben - he's a kid in my class - he said he wants to fly airplanes like that one day. Of course, I don't think I would want to fly upside down. I mean, I thought they might just dump themselves right out!"
Momma chuckled. "I'm so glad you had a good time."
"But we missed seeing the angels. That made me a little bit sad, They were supposed to be blue. I told Katie that the only angels I'd ever seen wore white and were in the Christmas play."
"Oh, you mean the Blue Angels. They aren't really angels. That's the name of their team. They fly these really fast fighter jets."
"Well that makes a lot more sense. I mean, why would they have angels at an airshow?"
"Honey, I need to stop by the store for some things. I hope you're not too tired."
"Naw, I'll be all right."
Momma parked the car in front of the big store. I liked this store. I could get crayons and snacks all in the same place. A person could probably find just about anything in a store this big.
Momma held my hand and we walked up to the glass door. It opened like magic. How did it do that? Momma pulled a shopping cart out, but I walked beside it. I was way too big to ride in the cart anymore. And anyway, Momma always needed my help to get stuff off the low shelves.
We started down the bread aisle. I spotted a man with something on his arm. When he walked by, I noticed it was a picture. It looked like he had drawn on his arm with markers. I didn't like the picture. It was scary.
One time I drew a picture on my arm with markers. My picture was pretty, but I still got in trouble with Momma. She said that markers weren't for drawing on arms and legs. They were for paper.
We turned down the peanut butter aisle, and I saw the man again. Just as we got closer, Momma rushed past him. I don't know why. Momma must have been in a hurry to get to the next aisle.
Did that man know he would get in trouble for drawing on his arm with markers? If he didn't get it cleaned off before his momma saw it, he would probably be punished. I just had to keep him from getting in trouble.
We started down the aisle with the clothes washing jugs, and the man turned the corner, coming toward us. Here was my chance to help. "Hey, Mister, you know that drawing on your arm? You need to clean that mess off before your momma sees it. Trust me, you'll get into a lot of trouble for using markers on your arm."
"Chloe!" Momma said.
The man smiled and didn't say anything. I was sure he smiled because he was glad I warned him.
When we got into the car, Momma turned around and looked at me. "Chloe, you have got to think before you speak. What if you had made that man mad or hurt his feelings?"
"But I did think about it for a whole lot of aisles. I needed to warn him before he got into trouble with his momma."
"Honey, that wasn't marker. That was a tattoo. It doesn't come off. He had that put on his arm on purpose, using needles."
"Needles! Like at the doctor's office?"
"And he can't wash it off? Ever?"
"Well, no, he can't just wash it off like markers."
"He has to wear that ugly, scary picture forever?" I shook my head. "Bless his heart. I was too late. His momma's gonna really be mad at him."
What does it mean to think before you speak?
Why should we think before we speak?