Vocabulary Can Be a Beast

gratulation – noun

[grach-uhley-shuh n]

  1.   a feeling of joy.
  2.   the expression of joy

tweak – verb, noun



  1.   to change (something) slightly in order to improve it : to make small adjustments to (something)
  2.   to injure (a part of your body) slightly
  3.   to pinch and pull (something) with a sudden movement
  4.   to criticize or make fun of (someone or something)


5.   an act or instance of tweaking; a sharp, twisting pull or jerk.


Something flashed by outside his window. Joey jumped. He looked up and out his window. A huge, gnarly tree waved at him but that was not the flash Joey had seen. Movement in the tree begged him to look harder.

“Was that you squirrel?” Joey said out loud. Not that he’ll hear me with my window closed, he thought. He opened the window.

“Hello squirrel,” he called. “Did you just jump from limb to limb?” 20151117_134058

The squirrel twitched his tail.

“What does that mean exactly?”

The squirrel turned away from Joey then jumped up two branches.

“I see, you don’t want to talk. That’s fine. I’m going to sit here and watch you.”

At the last word, the squirrel hurried up the tree and disappeared behind the trunk. Joey could see the tail poke out from time to time on each side.

The tail disappeared. Joey waited a minute but the squirrel was gone.

Joey went back to his vocabulary homework. He was stumped writing a sentence for the word gratulation. It was an extra credit word but he needed all of the points he could get. gratulation

Another flash of gray zoomed past his window in the tree. Joey knew the squirrel was back.

“Hello again.” he called. The squirrel faced him. Its’ cheeks were clearly stuffed with goodies and twigs were sticking out of it’s mouth. It scampered up to the spot where Joey had seen it before and once more disappeared.

This time Joey continued to watch for the squirrel to appear. Every few seconds, the squirrel would climb around the trunk so Joey could see it and each time, the squirrels’ cheeks were less full.

“So, you’re hiding your treasures up there huh?” However, Joey could not see the actual spot in the tree where the squirrel kept running to. He closed his schoolbook and headed outside.

Sitting right below the tree, Joey looked straight up to where the squirrel had been but the squirrel was nowhere around. Joey waited patiently.

Soon enough, the squirrel scurried back, cheeks full, twigs sticking out of it’s mouth, paused at the base of the tree when it saw Joey then scurried up the tree to it’s favorite spot. Far up, a nest could be seen and the squirrels’ tail swished back and forth. Joey moved to the other side to get a better look. He could not get a close enough look though so he hurried into the house and got out his father’s binoculars.

Back outside, Joey looked up the tree and found the squirrel.

“That’s quite a nest you have there squirrel,” Joey said. The squirrel looked down at him. “You have done a fine job. Are you filling your nest with goodies or doing repairs?” 20151124_083946

In response, the squirrel scurried down the tree trunk, ran through the yard and disappeared into the neighbors yard.

Minutes went by, then half an hour. Just as Joey stood up, the squirrel scampered back, cheeks once again full and more twigs sticking out.

“I see you have more materials for your sky high home,” Joey said.

“Click, click, click,” the squirrel said studying him. It swished its tail. Joey sat still enjoying the interaction.

Suddenly, the squirrel ran partway up the tree, ran around the trunk twice then dropped something to Joey before scurrying up to it’s spot. Joey picked up the squirrel’s offering. It was an acorn.

“Thank you,” Joey called. He looked up at the squirrel with his binoculars. Using it’s paws and teeth, the squirrel was tweaking its’ nest with twigs. As Joey watched, the squirrel also emptied its’ cheeks into a hole in the tree.

“So that’s your treasure chest.” The squirrel again looked down at him.

“I promise I will not tell any other squirrel or bird.”

“Nik, nik, nik.” The squirrel said swishing its tail.

“I’ll be right back.” Joey ran into the garden shed, scooped out some sunflower seeds and ran back to the tree.

“You gave me a wonderful gift, and now I have one for you too. Get these quick or the birds will get them first.”

He emptied the scoop of sunflower seeds on the ground at the base of the tree trunk then returned to the spot he was sitting earlier. The squirrel watched him from his nest.

Two birds flew in landing by the seeds but Joey chased them away.

The squirrel finally scurried down the trunk. It filled his cheeks full then scurried up the tree before Joey could chase it away.

“Those are for you, I will keep the birds away until you get them all,” he yelled up the tree.

And for the next half an hour, that is exactly what Joey did until the squirrel got the very last sunflower seed.

Joey waved goodbye to the squirrel and went in the house.

His Mom was in the kitchen preparing dinner.

“You sure look happy. Your school work must be done.”


“Give me one of your vocabulary words in a sentence.”

Joey felt the acorn in his pocket.

“My heart is filled with joy and gratulation because a squirrel gave me this acorn.”

“Great sentence. How did you come up with that?” she asked.

Joey showed her the acorn and told her the story.



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