Chapter 8

 

Chapter 8

            It was one of the coldest winters Maycomb County had seen in awhile.  It as also the winter that Mrs. Radley died.  No one really noticed because she was rarely seen.  Jem and I thought that Boo had finally gotten her.

            The next morning I woke up with a fright.  I screamed and Atticus came running from the bathroom.

            “The world’s endin’, Atticus!  Please do something—!”  I dragged him to the window and pointed.

            “No it’s not,” he said.  “It’s snowing.”

            The phone rang and Eula May, the telephone operator, called and said there would be no school.  Jem and I ran to the backyard and it was covered with a feeble layer of soggy snow.  We decided to make a snowman.  Atticus didn’t think we’d have enough snow to make a snowball.

            Miss Maudie yelled over to be careful with her flowers.  She was not happy about the snow and was worried about the snow and freeze ruining her azaleas.  We asked her if we could borrow some of her snow for our snowman.  Jem filled five laundry baskets with earth and two with snow. 

            “Don’t you think this is kind of a mess?”  I asked.

            “Looks messy now, but it won’t later,” he said.

            Jem scooped up an armful of dirt and patted it into a round shape for the torso.

            “Jem, I ain’t ever heard of a n****r snowman,” I said.

            “He won’t be black long,” he grunted.

            We couldnt’ wait for Atticus to come home and see our creation.  Atticus complimented Jem and thought whatever he ended up being in life, he’d never run out of ideas.  Atticus told us we needed to disguise our snowman by putting an apron and broom since it looked too much like Mr. Avery.

            It was one of the coldest nights in Maycomb’s history.  I went to bed and minutes later, it seemed, I was awakened.  “Is it morning already?”

            “Baby, get up.”

            Atticus was holding out my bathrobe and coat.  “Put your robe on first,” he said.

            We went to the front door and Miss Maudie’s house was on fire.  Atticus told us to go down and stand in front of the Radley’s house.  All the men were trying to help by carrying out her furniture and the fire truck was having difficulty with it being cold and all.  Mr. Avery got wedged in the window trying to get out of the house and we were scared for him.  He finally got free.

            I became aware that I was slowly freezing.  Jem tried to keep me warm but I was still cold. 

            It was dawn before the men began to leave.  Miss Maudie’s house was destroyed so she would be staying with Miss Stephanie for the time being.

            Atticus looked over at me with curiosity and then sternness.  “I thought I told you and Jem to stay put,” he said.

            “Why, we did.  We stayed –“

            “Then whose blanket is that?”

            “Blanket?”

            “Yes, Ma’am, blanket.  It isn’t ours.”

            I saw that I was clutching a brown woolen blanket and was just as bewildered as Atticus.  We hadn’t moved an inch and Jem didn’t know how it got there too.  Atticus grinned and said, “look like all of Maycomb was out tonight, in one way or another…”

            Jem seemed to have lost his mind.  He started telling Atticus all of our secrets.  About the hiding place, Mrs. Radley covering the knot-hole with cement, pants and all.

            Atticus told him to slow down and that it is probably a good idea that we keep the blanket to ourselves.  “Someday, maybe, Scout can thank him for covering her up.”

            “Thank who?” I asked.

            “Boo Radley.  You were so busy looking at the fire you didn’t know it when he put the blanket around you.”

            I got all nervous and almost threw up with the thought.

            Miss Maudie had a positive outlook on what happened to her house.  She was actually happy now because she would have more room for her flowers now that she can build a smaller house.  The only thing she was worried about was all the danger and commotion it caused.  Miss Maudie continued working on her garden and yard.