The enemy party

 
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She was the dark-eyed daughter of the village barber—small, stormy, an economy-sized carbon copy of a movie-star beauty seen through the wrong end of a telescope. She was also the terror of the tiny tots and the ringleader of the “big kids” in the third grade.

Pat and Peggy, regular victims of the dark-eyed terror, came home crying almost daily. Determined to break this cycle, Dad came up with an idea. “Let’s have a party.”

Pat and Peggy’s tears dried up magically. Right away they got creative: “Ice-cream, cake, yellow balloons!”

“And friends,” Dad added.

The tears started again. “We don’t have any friends,” Pat blubbered.

“Nothing but enemies,” wailed Peggy.

An inspiration hit Dad. “Let’s have an enemy party. Let’s invite all your enemies—especially the worst ones—and we’ll fill ’em up with cake and ice-cream and give ’em big yellow balloons to take home.”

Peggy and Pat looked at each other and rolled their eyes in a “what’s with Dad?” expression.

But Dad kept encouraging them, and they did their part.

The enemy party was a wild success. And the “terror of the tiny tots” had the best time of all. She ate ice-cream and cake, got a big yellow balloon, and rolled on the floor in delight.

Pat and Peggy never came home crying again. Their greatest enemy became their greatest friend and protector.

One day the former terror’s father dropped by and asked why she had been invited to the party. “Well,” Dad said, “She’s a solid citizen who likes ice-cream and cake and big yellow balloons. Why not?”

“You know,” her dad said, “no-one ever invited her before. You have no idea what a difference it has made!”