The rains subsided at noon and Jean and I scarfed down our bologna sandwiches and ran outside with our bucket at 12:05. The wet ground squished between our toes. I set the metal bucket down, pulled out an empty pill bottle, perfect for holding dirt, and began flipping over the small pavement stones while Jean dug with her toy spade. Handfuls of long, glorious worms writhed below each stone, some two or three segments long. I tossed them into the bucket. Jean threw in some of the cool mud/dirt she dug up, so the worms could eat.
We had a strict bucket list. Only worms, dirt, rocks, leaves, grass, and Roly Pollies were allowed in. No oranges, spiders, or crickets. We traveled the four corners of the backyard, digging and splashing. As the bucket filled up, it got too heavy to lift and we left it by an orange tree, running back every minute or so to fill it, yelling what we were putting in it: “Six worms, two Roly Pollies, eight leaves, and a rock,” I’d yell. And Jean, who couldn’t yet count, would say, “Six worms, two Roly Pollies, eight leaves, and a rock,” as she put three worms and a handful of leaves in.
After the bucket was full, we divvied up our loot. I could count to twenty pretty well and was sure we had about ten-thousand worms. I split the extra long ones so we had even more and shoved them in my pill bottle with a leaf to eat. Jean got most of the Roly Pollies and the one ladybug that had snuck in there. Neither of us really wanted the rocks or the dirt, so we dumped it out.
I set my pill bottle down and Jean threw her Roly Pollies. We went back inside. It was 12:20.
It rained all last week. The sun finally came out on Friday and we went for a walk. There, just writhing on the sidewalk, was the first worm Zach had ever seen. He looked at it.
He grabbed it.
And then he squeezed it into two worms!