The neighborhood kids were walking to school with Kelton, the new kid, filling him in on everything they thought he should know, when they saw Mrs. Cromwell walking outside to get her newspaper.
“There’s Mrs. Cromwell, hurry to the other side of the road,” one girl said.
The kids shuffled across the street before they got to Mrs. Cromwell’s house.
“Why do we want to avoid Mrs. Cromwell?” Kelton asked.
“Because she’s got ‘S&P Syndrome,’” another kid said.
At school they introduced Kelton to more of their friends. Then one of the kids called an alert: “Oh no, here comes Cory. Hurry down the hallway.”
Kelton inquired why they were avoiding Cory, and several of the kids said, “He’s got ‘S&P’ real bad.”
Kelton was curious about what this ‘S&P Syndrome’ was, so during lunchtime when he saw Cory sitting by himself, he introduced himself and sat with him.
“Nobody ever sits next to me,” Cory said. “And when we choose sides for sports during gym class, I’m always the last one to get picked. Probably because I don’t know the rules very well. My dad left us and I never have had anybody teach me. When I tried out for little league baseball I didn’t have a good glove and couldn’t ever catch the ball. I never get a chance at anything…” Cory continued to pull for Kelton’s sympathy all during lunchtime.
On the way home from school, Kelton saw Mrs. Cromwell walking to her mailbox. As he walked by, Kelton said, “Hello ma’am, how are you today?”
“Well,” she said, “my doctor told me I have bursitis in my shoulder, and my back’s been hurting for a long time. Makes it hard to come out here and get my mail. And look at my fingers; I can’t even bend them anymore with the arthritis. My children and grandchildren never visit me anymore…” She continued for 15 minutes until she was too tired to stand there pitying herself any longer, so she walked back to her house.
Kelton realized Cory and Mrs. Cromwell needed some attention, but not with sympathy & pity. They needed R&A, respect and admiration. The next day he left some magic seeds on Mrs. Cromwell’s porch and some magic drumsticks in Cory’s locker.
Cory saw the drumsticks and started tapping them on the lockers, then on the trash can lid, the walls, anything he could drum on. He had a good beat. It was so fast that the kids started dancing to it. They all told Cory how they loved his drumbeat. The music teacher heard about Cory and recruited him into the band. Everybody liked the pep rallies with Cory’s drumming. When he did his solo, the kids would jump up and cheer.
When people went by Mrs. Cromwell’s house, they noticed new flowers and shrubs and weeping willow trees, perfectly manicured. They liked walking past the house just to smell the flowers and see the organized colors. Soon her children and grandchildren were visiting her every weekend. They would see Mrs. Cromwell on her knees caring for her gardens and wondered how she could do such tedious work with her poor health. But she no longer complained about it.
With all the attention, Cory and Mrs. Cromwell stopped trying to seek sympathy or pity from others. They got all the praise and attention anyone would ever want.
Kelton felt good.

Buscrat’s Fables are simple stories that each a moral. Buscrat welcomes you to visit buscratsfables.com for more fables and welcomes your comments, suggestions and requests.