new work
Illustration from What is the Full Moon Full of

Shulamith Levey Oppenheim

Cricket Stories

Cricket Magazine has graciously allowed me to post this story. Click here to go back to the list of stories.


"What If Cars Chased Dogs?"

Nana and Jonas and Nathan are sitting on the steps. It's a bright October morning

"Nana," Jonas asks, "did you ever play 'What If' when you were little?"

Nana smiles. "Oh my, yes." She points to a robin on the lawn. "What if the early worm got the bird?"

Nathan and Jonas shake their heads. "That's a great one, Nana!"

Nathan runs to the old spreading apple tree. "What if trees fell from apples?"

Jonas throws his head way way back. "And what if the earth warmed the sun?"

"And what if honey made bees?" Nana stands up. "It's time for breakfast now."

"And we can keep on playing." Jonas and Nathan open the door for Nana.

* * * * *

"What if bread were spread on jelly?" Nathan smooths a thick coat of grape jam on his toast.

Jonas peels off the top of his egg. "What if eggs sat on chickens?"

Nana puts a vase of rusty brown chrysanthemums on the table. "What if flowers fell from petals?" She kisses Jonas on one cheek and Nathan on the other.

Nathan wipes his mouth on a deep blue napkin. "I'm glad it's Saturday today. We can play 'What If' all day."

"What if school went to children?" Jonas grins.

"What if children taught teachers?" They all laugh.

The two boys jump off their chairs. "Now will you read to us, Nana?"

* * * * *

Nana sits down on the couch. She puts on her glasses. "What if glasses wore eyes?"

Nathan puts a book on Nana's lap. "What if kingdoms ruled kings?"

Jonas settles down next to Nana with his favorite dinosaur. "What if the earth disappeared from dinosaurs?"

"And what if fish caught fishermen?" Nathan sits down on the other side.

Nana puts a finger to her lips. "I know it's hard, but now it's time to stop. Each of us will think of one more 'What If' and then I'll read."

Jonas closes his eyes. He's thinking very very hard. "What if," he stops, "What if cats chased dogs up trees?"

Nathan opens his eyes very very wide. "What if," he takes a deep breath. "What if cars chased dogs?"

"That one's really silly!" Jonas winks at Nana

"That's what they're supposed to be, aren't they, Nana?" Nathan asks.

"They certainly are," Nana answers.

Jonas tugs at Nana's sleeve. "Now it's your turn, Nana. Please."

"Let's see." She pulls her two grandsons close to her. "What if clouds fell from rain?"


"And what if children tucked their parents or their grandparents in at night?" Poppy is standing in the doorway. He'd been taking his morning walk.

"Poppy!" Jonas and Nathan say together, "that's the best one of all."

Nana beams at Poppy, then at Nathan and Jonas. "Yes, it is the best one of all."

The world is full of What Ifs.
Make up your own.
Who knows what they will be.

Sitting at breakfast with Nathan and Jonas, two grandsons, I said, "Let's play What If!" Grins from ear to ear, and we were off!

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