Quite often, when grandmothers tell their amazing stories from days long past, the folk listening assume that the tales are at best exaggerated. James and Elisa thought so too.
The Talisman Sagas
The Grass Is Always Greener
by Valerie C J McGee
James is none too happy to be sent to spend three months with his maternal grandmother and his five year old sister. Envious of his friends, who all have summer jobs. Without the things he feels matter most, his vacation takes a bizarre turn, when the combined "gifts" that he and Elisa have and a talisman created by a mysterious African prince, take them to the last place he could have expected.
Join these courageous siblings as they travel back to 1943. Together , they will make new friends and encounter grave danger. Can this fifteen year old get Elisa back home? And will he finally understand that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence?
Take a sneak Peek-------->
The Grass Is Always Greener
Book One of The Talisman Sagas
Valerie C J McGee
Elisa gradually opened her eyes, momentarily disoriented and wiped the drool from the side of her mouth. Her brother, James, was still sleeping with his arm wrapped protectively around her. She felt a stab of guilt at the big wet spot on the left side of his favorite Karl Kani shirt. A silent prayer was made that it dried before he woke up. Her body was strongly suggesting that she visit the tiny restroom, to the rear of the bus. He had already given her a thorough description of it earlier on their trip. Combined with their mother, Sarah’s, warnings about catching crabs, lice and a variety of transmitted diseases, assisted Elisa in pushing the need to the back of her mind. At least, she should be able to make it the next rest stop.
She took in a deep sniff of James’ cologne. Like their father, Lynn, he always smelled good and was impeccably groomed. Elisa worshipped her big brother, even if he did get on her nerves sometimes. She knew that he was probably the absolute best gift her parents had ever given her. With a ten year difference in age, he had a bad habit of acting as though he were her father, but then, hey! Who’s perfect?
The bus driver, must have read her mind, because less than half an hour later he announced that they were about five minutes from the rest stop . Elisa knew that was the half way mark to their maternal grandmother’s house. Mamie had refused to move to New York, even though she claimed to be “as old as the sky is high”. James figured her to be somewhere in her 80’s, if not older. He was thinking about her pies as he opened his eyes, to see Elisa staring up into his face with unabashed adoration. Without thinking, he kissed her forehead and tugged lightly on one of her corn rowed braids hanging down to the middle of her back.
“Hey Big Head”
Elisa quickly eyed his shirt and breathed a sigh of relief that her prayer was answered.
“You hungry?” he asked.
“You know Mama packed enough food to last us a week"
At the mention of Sarah, Elisa’s eyes began to water.
“How come Mama and Daddy didn’t come with us?" She whined.
“Girl…don’t you start that whimpering again” he warned
“I had to listen to that mess through three states for Pete’s sake. Dad wants us to keep Grandma company for the summer. They’ve got to work and will be driving out there to bring us back. We’ll be just fine… just fine. Grandma’s cool ,..weird, but, cool.”
“What’s there to do out there, anyway?”
"Look, at least you were able to bring most of your dolls and stuff with you. I had to leave all my games, my system. and the pc home.”
"Yeah, but Daddy let you borrow his old laptop! "She reminded him.
"Yeah, but, it doesn’t have my stuff on it. And as you said its his old one, not the new one he just got .Besides, I had planned on getting a summer job. Like last year."
"But Daddy said he’d pay you for watching me."
"Hmmph..I doubt Dad’s gonna pay as much as a real job would’ve. My whole posse got jobs, ‘cept me. I, on the other hand get to spend eight weeks hanging out with and eighty year old and a five year old. And, ain't neither one of you a guy,… lucky me ." He added sarcastically
"I thought you liked being with me and I know you love Grandma as much as I do."
“True, but, I ain’t a kid no more, so… hangin’ out with you and her ain’t exactly ‘aw’right… know what I mean?"
"No... I think she’s funny"
"She is, but let’s be honest.. she’s a tad bit crazy too"
"Ooo. I’m tellin’!"
"Yeah.. you do that and trust me…” he replied with a clenched fist in her face for emphasis..
Elisa eyed the fist with disdain. Despite all of the threats James made on a fairly frequent basis, she knew his threat was no more that just that., a threat. Her big brother would have a massive coronary if anyone harmed so much as a hair on her head. Anyone who knew either of them knew that as a fact.
"You hungry, or what?"
"Yeah, but I’ll wait ‘til after I pee. I’ve got to go really bad."
"You remember what Mama showed you about public toilets?"
"Don’t use it while there’s stuff already in it..". She recited
"...Don’t even try to use it if there is waste on the seat. Use lots and lots of toilet paper folded over the seat and the opening so the nasty water can’t splash up on my boose.."
"Make sure you take tissue with you in case they don’t have any"
"Oh, and use tissue or paper towel to turn the water off and open the door when you are done."
After securing their belongings as best he could, James led her hand in hand to the ladies’ room. As was their family custom, he stood guard just outside the door well within earshot. It was important to him that she knew that he’d go in if he had to. Fortunately, the bathroom had been freshly cleaned. Upon her return they browsed the souvenirs to give out as well as a few trinkets for themselves. Once back on the bus, they ate heartily, chatted about the scenery, and then, lulled by the rhythm of the bus, were lulled back to sleep, both seats pushed back and his arm once again wrapped around her, for protection.