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“I’m so excited!” The sound of distant drums grew louder as Jessie stood with her friend Justin on the edge of the sidewalk waiting for the parade. Their parents stood behind them.
Jessie nudged Justin’s arm. “I love the Acorn Festival! Don’t you?”
“A-cons! I want a-cons!” Justin’s little sister, Ellie, bounced up and down in her father’s arms.
Justin rolled his eyes. “Ellie, you don’t even know what acorns are.”
“But Justin,” said Jessie, “do you even know?”
“Of course, I do. They’re seeds of an oak tree.”
“Really?” Jessie said, surprised. “I didn’t know that.”
Justin nodded, looking pleased with himself. “And there is an oak tree.” He pointed toward the city park on the other side of the street. Jessie looked where Justin was pointing. She could see the top of the large tree towering over the people.
“Haven’t you seen all the acorns under that tree?” asked Justin.
Ellie bobbed up and down again. “I want some pweeze!”
“Not right now,” said her dad. “The parade’s coming!”
“I don’t know why we have a whole festival named after acorns, though,” said Justin.
“Maybe it’s ’cause our town has lots of them or something,” said Jessie. She took a step off the curb to see if the parade was coming yet. “Anyway, who cares? I just wanna see the parade!”
Before long, she could see the marching band coming up the street, and soon rows of people in red and gold uniforms passed in front of them, playing their shiny instruments.
Jessie and Justin watched with their families as colorful floats, clowns with balloons, and people dressed in old-fashioned costumes moved past them. There were even horses pulling old-timey carriages.
At the end, the kids plugged their ears as the fire engine rolled by, blaring its siren—rrrooo, rrooo! A fireman waved and threw pieces of candy to the people watching. A few candies fell right at Justin’s feet. Ellie picked up a piece and danced around. “Acorns!” she shrieked excitedly.
“Don’t be silly, Ellie. It’s candy.” Justin handed one to his sister then stuffed a few more pieces into his pockets for later.
“On to the park for the ceremony,” said Jessie’s mom. She turned to her husband. “I think the mayor’s going to speak, isn’t he?”
Jessie looked at Justin and knew they were thinking the same thing. Booor-ing! She scrunched up her nose. “Do we have to go, Dad?”
“We’d rather get some hot dogs and cotton candy!” Justin rubbed his stomach. “I’m starving!”
“And I saw a pretty bracelet I want to buy at one of the booths.” Jessie quickly checked to make sure her money was still in her pocket.
Her mom gave her a quick hug. “It won’t last long.”
“Besides,” Justin’s mom chimed in, “it won’t hurt you two to learn a little history about our town.”
When they reached the park, Justin’s dad put Ellie down. “You’re getting heavy, Big Girl,” he said, then turned to Justin. “You and Jessie help keep an eye on her, okay?”
As they waited, Ellie wandered toward the large oak tree, squatting down every few steps to pick something up.
“I better grab her before she gets into trouble.” Justin walked over to pull Ellie back.
Ellie whimpered, and Jessie saw that she held tightly to something folded up in the front of her shirt. “What’ve you got, Ellie?”
“Shh.” Both moms shushed them. The mayor stood up at the speaker’s stand.
Jessie sighed. She didn’t feel like listening to a speech. She looked over at Justin to say something, but he was staring up at the mayor, listening carefully.
“Two hundred years ago, there was no town here,” the mayor was saying. Jessie found herself imagining what her town would be like with no stores, no houses—nothing but grass and trees.
“Our great founder, Elias Jefferson, traveled west,” said the mayor.
Hearing the name Elias made Jessie think of Ellie. Jessie looked down to see her on the ground, clutching the bottom of her shirt. Jessie still wondered what Ellie had picked up.
The mayor continued. “Elias stopped for a rest and sat under an oak tree—maybe on that very hill overlooking the town.” The mayor turned and pointed to a hill nearby.
Jessie pictured a rugged man leaning against a tree, snoring.
“When Elias decided to stay here,” the mayor went on, “he built his house and planted an acorn next to it, which grew into this very tree.” The crowd applauded as the mayor finished his speech.
“Cool story, huh?” said Justin.
“I’m glad I listened,” said Jessie. “Now, the Acorn Festival makes a lot more sense.”
Justin nodded. “It makes me like the festival—and our town—even more.”
Suddenly, brightly-colored confetti began swirling through the air and floating down all around everyone as the band played.
Ellie stood up in surprise, holding out the front of her shirt like a basket.
Justin laughed. “She’s trying to catch the confetti.”
But Ellie’s shirt was already full—and now Jessie could see what was in it. “Now you know what acorns are, Ellie.”
“A-cons!” Ellie said, pointing to the tree.
Justin patted her on the head. “Good job, Ellie. Wanna hear a great story about that tree?”
Justin & Jessie show kids how the Bible applies to real life! These weekly stories are part of Answers Bible Curriculum, our full-Bible, chronological Sunday school program for all ages.