Marcie was leading the quartet to the little domestic arts building.
“Let’s see how my mom’s blueberry pie did in the judging.”
June and Ellie quickly agreed. Katie saw this as her chance to break away for a little while.
“You guys go ahead. I’ll meet you there in just a bit. I saw my little brother back there, and I should make sure he’s doing all right.”
“Okay,” Ellie said. “We’ll be over there.”
Katie headed back the way they had come, walking over to the midway of the county fair. She spotted her brother, Sam, throwing darts at balloons. He seemed fine. She looked over her shoulder to ensure that her friends had gone into the small building.
She stopped in front of a booth garishly painted and labeled “MADAME LEONORA – Fortunes! Predictions! Fate!” She gave the man standing outside the last of her precious tickets and went in.
“Come in, my child,” said a voice in the darkened box.
Katie’s eyes adjusted to the dim light, and she could see a gaunt woman with waves of dark, curly hair which was covered by a scarf. Large golden earrings dangled heavily from her ears. She was dressed exactly as Katie had always assumed a Gypsy woman would be.
Katie sat down on the near side of the table. A crystal ball rested between them.
“What is it you seek to know, girl?” Madame Leonora asked. Her voice was husky and exotic to Katie, who couldn’t know it was due to Pall Malls.
“Well, I want to know about my friends.”
Madame Leonora looked down her nose at the teen, waiting for more information.
“I … I don’t make friends easily. And they never stay my friends for long. I don’t know why. The three I’m here at the fair with seem really great, but I want to know for sure. Will they always be my friends?”
The fortune teller placed her hands on the crystal ball.
“The future is murky,” she intoned. “It is difficult to tell exactly what will happen in matters such as this. But one thing I can say for certain: It appears you will never lack for friends if you are kind, unselfish, and honest.”
“Oh! That’s wonderful! Thank you, Madame Leonora.”
The Gypsy woman – born and raised near Pensacola, Florida – nodded sagely and watched the girl depart.
Katie ran over to the little shed where the baked goods were judged; her three friends were waiting outside.
“How’s your brother doing?” June asked.
“My mom won a blue ribbon for her pie!” Marcie said.
“Oh, that’s great,” Katie said. “She must be so happy.”
“I’m sure she is.”
“What shall we do now?” Ellie asked.
“Let’s go on the ferris wheel again,” June said, and Marcie and Ellie agreed.
“Um, I’m out of tickets,” Katie said, “but I’ll go over there with you.”
“Why are you out of tickets?” June asked. “We all bought the same number of tickets, and we’ve all ridden the same rides.”
“Well … Sam was wanting to go on a few more rides, so I gave him my last tickets.”
“Oh, that was so nice of you,” Marcie said, putting her hand on Katie’s arm. “You’re so good to your little brother.”
“Tell you what,” Ellie said. “Let’s all give the rest of our tickets to younger children and then go get some ice cream. And I’ll buy Katie’s ice cream since she’s the one who first gave up her tickets unselfishly.”
“Oh, Ellie, I couldn’t,” Katie said, blushing.
“You can and I can.”
So the four went off to fulfill their plans.
It’s just like Madame Leonora said, Katie thought happily. I honestly will never lack for friends if I appear kind and unselfish. And I’ve obviously got a knack for that.