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It could look a little bit better but Jane was tired of working on it so decided to settle for good enough.  But unwillingly she let the words her Mother always said at a time like this pop into her head…  Mother said this every time,

“A job worth doing is worth doing well.”  There were many days when Jane wished she had been taught that a job may be good enough when it wasn’t getting any better.  Perhaps she would teach her own daughter that so she wouldn’t feel guilty when she just didn’t want to always waste her time trying to get everything so perfect.    When she gets a daughter… after she gets married… as soon as she finds a guy to marry… or even one who calls for a second date,… if she ever gets a first date.

Jane was an old, fifteen and a half, who had never been kissed or pursued by a boy.  She had to admit some of that was her fault, because she disappeared into the background as often as she could, just to avoid being the center of attention. 

But the question was how could it be better?  She sat before the old mahogany dresser she had been polishing and looked into the three way scalloped mahogany framed mirror she had just cleaned and wondered,

Why do only Princesses in Fairy Tales have Magic Mirrors that show them the way to be better?  

But there she was a plain girl with a plain name staring back at her with her dark blonde hair pulled back out of the way held tightly in a rubber band. But as she sat criticizing her image the plain Jane in the mirror began to gently change.

Her dark straight hair fell loose from the band and slipped to her shoulders in soft waves, framing this face with a shine that made her eyes brighten and her lips curve up in a pleasant smile. There was no crown upon her head but there could have been as she was clearly a Royal Princess.

“Janelle!”  Her Mother called, “You must hurry dear and get dressed for the dance your escort will be here soon.”

Janelle answered sweetly just as any Princess would.

“Please keep Ryan company until I get down, I won’t be long,”  She stood to go to her closet but as her eyes took in her image in the Mirror it began to change as she watched.

First her sweat shirt faded away and the sparkling pink and white top that slipped to the edge of her shoulders was revealed.  Her blue jeans were lost by the full white ruffled skirt that featured the same pink sequins as were scattered on the white ruffled blouse.

Suddenly her old tennis shoes were replaced with white satin slippers that glided across the floor as she walked away from the Mirror for a full length view.  Just a tiny spray of perfume from the crystal bottle on her dresser and she was ready to go.

But could she?  Jane stood framed in the Magic Mirror looking at Janelle.  If she walked away from this Mirror would Janelle or Jane do the walking?  There was only one thing to do.

Instead of walking away from that Mirror, she walked toward it.  Then gracefully stepped up and into it going by way of the door she saw in the background…  in the Mirror.

At the foot of the stairs Ryan stood in his dark tux holding a corsage of pink rose buds for her wrist.  

Janelle smile and thanked him and the two said goodbye to her Mom and Dad and went out to the sleek little Porsche  his parents had lent to him for this important school dance.

It was everything a dance should be and they had a wonderful time.  That night as Janelle stepped from the Mirror back into her own bedroom she carefully hung the beautiful gown into the closet and came back to sleep and dream of that perfect evening.      

In the morning she dressed in her jeans and sweat shirt to go back to work on her Art project which was a large metal sculpture of her own design,  It was an ordinary Saturday but she had the memories of that night before to think about.  However back to thinking about her work she remembered that she needed some things from the Hardware store and a few from the Art Supply Store to finish.

Soon she would turn 16 and then she would have her driver’s license but today it was back to her old, bicycle .  So she climbed upon it and headed for the local shops.  Pumping Along slowly on the bike brought back the memories of yesterday at school.

In memory, there she stood, part of the scenery, observing the girls who had a lock on getting all of the notice from anyone in the room.  They never seemed to care if it was a boy or an adult of any kind, as long as they were that shining  center where others were drawn to look at them and only them.

She had been watching long enough to have learned something by now, but whatever it was, it still eluded Jane.  But that was before the Magic Mirror transformation. 

But back to now, Jane was planning to work hard today and perhaps get that unusual sculpture looking as she had seen so clearly it in her mind from the start.  If she finished it in time for the County Fair she would enter it this year, so off to the local shops with her purse on her shoulder to hope what she needed would be in stock. 

As she rode the path beside the ball park where a girl’s team had the field,  Jane realized that the time was long past when she wished she was more athletic so a team Captain might ask her to play with them.  That would never happen. 

Instead her eyes searched the stands where the parents and friends sat to cheer on their teams.  She scanned the backs that were turned in her direction, trying to see if he was there and if so did he remember last night at the dance just as she did… as perfect.  Perhaps he would not remember it at all.  Maybe she only wished he would.

 She should have been watching the path instead of day dreaming.  Something buried in the dry weeds was struck hard by her front wheel, and Jane found herself flying over the handle bars into the thick weeds, striking her head against the chain link fence.  A bit dazed, she sat a minute, feeling embarrassed as she hoped her careless accident had gone unnoticed.  Jane began to slowly pull herself up and try to determine what hurt the most… her head and elbow or her pride.  Then she saw him running in her direction.

Oh no! it really was him!  Ryan just had to be the one kid who saw her go over and was on his way to …   She smoothed her long dark blonde hair back from her face and retied the bow that was supposed to be holding it back.  

“You okay?”  Ryan called from beyond the fence, as he searched for the closest gate.
‘Yes. I’m fine.”  she answered quickly, hoping he would stop and go back to the game.  But he made his way out and picked up her bicycle.

“I’m glad you’re fine, Jane, but your Bike is in trouble.”  Jane looked at what he saw and sure enough the front tire was almost off.

“Oh darn, Now I will have to call and get my Dad to come take it home.”   She reached for her cell phone but realized that her purse was gone. it had taken a jolt from her shoulder and was lying somewhere in the weeds.  Soon they were both on their hands and knees feeling around for it.  Jane shyly told Ryan that she would be alright so he should go back to the game where the fans sat screaming over some exciting turn of events, which he was missing.  But he ignored her suggestion and kept searching.

“Here it is!”  Ryan called from a few feet away.  He held the small leather Purse up high to prove it, the broken shoulder strap dangled down..

“Oh! Thank you.”  Jane answered softly,  “I might not have thought it could have flown so far away.”  She stood and went to where Ryan was waiting and began removing the nearly lost phone.

“It seems to be okay in spite of the trip.”  She told him, listening to the dial tone.   Ryan had propped her damaged bike against the fence.  “You know, something?  I think I can fix it for you.  I carry tools on my bike just over there locked to the rack.  Don’t call anyone until I look at your bike and see if it is fixable.

They walked toward the bike and Jane wanted to protest, but the words didn’t come.  She looked from the loose tire to the one boy she wanted most to see and dreaded the most to have come to save her when she must have looked like an idiot crashing like that.  

Jane stopped at her bike and was glad to see that the tire was not flat just askew.

As soon as Ryan was back, he began at once to use a screw driver to see if the tire could be persuaded to fit back in place.  He was very efficient and she was impressed as she watched with her head close to the work so that she might learn what to do if it ever happened again.

She stepped back before thanking him for fixing it, feeling embarrassed for wondering if he had any memories of last night’s dance.  It had seemed like a dream.  Maybe it was.   Ryan was putting his tools back in the bike pouch and smiled.  Then he asked her a question.

“Were you on the way here to watch the girls play their Saturday baseball game?”  

She wasn’t.  It had never entered her mind. So why was her head nodding, “yes.”

“Well, it’s not over yet.  Come on and I will get you a coke and we can watch it together.”

He immediately began to pull the bikes to the rack where he locked them together, without further question.

Jane followed him to his bench seat in the stands, where his coke was sitting on the wood.  He picked it up and sipped at it. Then as it was warm and flat tossed it in the trash can six feet away. 

“Sit here I will be right back.”  So Jane did.  At first she felt embarrassed about what the other kids might think.  But before he had even returned with two cold cokes, she was hoping they would watch and see him come sit by her side and just think something… no matter what.  The art project and the hardware store were forgotten for now.

She was slow to relax and get into the game at first, but soon found herself deep in watching and enjoying it all.  Her elbow only hurt when she clapped her hands for a home run.    

On Sunday Dad had driven Jane to the hardware store, as he needed a couple of things himself.  Jane dashed next door for the Art supplies she wanted and then she was back working on her project.  As she worked she smiled at the memory of Ryan riding his bike beside hers as she rode it home from the ball game.  It was almost as good as her dream about the dance.

  He said he just wanted to be sure his fix held. He wanted to be here if her tire slipped again. The reason didn’t matter, it was that he lived in the opposite direction, but had seen her safely home before heading off toward his own house.

Then it occurred that she should make Ryan some cookies or something sweet to thank him for how he had helped her.

So setting the art work aside she hurried to the kitchen.  Chocolate chip cookies were very popular, so she made a large batch of king size cookies and packaged them in a blue checkered cloth lined basket.  With plastic over the top to keep the cookies fresh she carried them to school on Monday.

Jane waited within sight of his locker to slip the basket to him unnoticed when he arrived.  She spotted him walking toward his locker, but before she could take a step, two of the hulking, basketball types came down the hall pushing each other as if they were in an all important game.  Just as Jane stepped in Ryan’s direction, one shoved the other smack into her and sent her flying into the wall of lockers.  The basket went straight up and quickly down, landing hard and filling the air, along with the wide hall floor with sweet smelling chunks of broken cookies.

“Hey there!”  Ryan shouted as he rescued Jane before she slipped to the floor with the cookies.  “What’s with you?”   She steadied herself against the wall and looked aghast at the hall floor. Ryan laughed,  “Just look at those cookies!  They flew further than your purse and cell phone Saturday!  But are much easier to find.”  He began to pick up the largest pieces and drop them into the handy basket.

The bell rang and a teacher appeared who told them that the Janitor would sweep up the mess.  Then she remarked,

“They looked to be home-made and delicious.  It’s too bad.  I’ll handle those two ruffians myself.  I saw them cause the accident.”  

Ryan looked into the basket as he parted with it and told her,

“You probably won’t be able to eat the ones, I gathered.  They’re pretty dirty now.”

“They were for you.”  Jane told him softly. “I wanted to thank you for fixing my bicycle.”  Ryan looked into the basket again.  Then suggested,

“If we carry them to the Park after school we can feed the crumbs to the birds that beg there.  They eat off of the side walk all the time.”  He laughed and Jane laughed too.

“That sounds like more fun than eating them myself.”  Jane replied, “At least the birds will get fat and I won’t.”

The Park Pigeons made short work of the basket full of cookie crumbs,  At first the couple found an empty bench and just sat on it talking about the mess in the school hall and the careless boys that had caused it.  Ryan said he hoped they weren’t in too much trouble, as he selected a chunk from the broken cookies and tossed it out to see which bird would get to it first.

Jane wanted the teacher to throw the book at them.  But then she was the one who put the time and effort into baking those smashed cookies she remembered all of the good ingredients like that cube of real butter and those real chocolate chips…  she had poured one half of a whole new bag full into cookies, plus the walnuts.  In frustration she tossed a small handful at the few birds at their feet.

The more they threw, the more birds arrived, until finally Ryan just up turned the basket and let the remaining tiny pieces fly.  Very soon not a single tiny bit was left on the walk at their feet

A couple of girls from the school that Jane had seen playing in the baseball game came walking by.   They stopped when one saw Ryan and Jane and came over.  

“Hi Ryan .”  One girl said.  

“Hi Julie, “  he replied.   The other girl just stood looking at the birds for a minute.  Then she noticed the empty basket and remarked, to Jane.

“I’m sorry for what happened to your cookies today. I saw the whole thing. Quite a mess.  I was going to try to help you clean it all up,  but the teacher came and took charge, so you didn’t have to. Pretty lucky huh?”  Not for Ryan, who might have gotten to eat them, if they hadn’t hit the floor..”  Karen laughed so did Julie  Then Julie turned to Jane to tell her,  “I never saw you at the baseball game before.  I didn’t know you were interested.  Any chance you might like to play?”

Jane was caught by surprise.
“ I… I’m not really very athletic.”  Jane explained, 

“Well who is?  We just go out there and play for fun and the exercise.  Keeps the pounds off you know.”.  She tapped her slim  hips. “Well next time you’re free come out and sit on the bench with us and we can talk about it. While you watch the rest of us  stumbling through.  It’s not like a life ambition to play in the big leagues you know.  Our only fans are our parents and few kids from school.”  They began to walk away then Karen shouted back,

“See you at the Park. Bye!”

“What do you think?”  Jane asked Ryan.

“Can’t hurt if you get a few free Saturdays.”

“That is the problem I have so many unfinished projects to work on now  There’s my Sculpture and a dress I started to make and two paintings, which I may just give up on so I can get my Art piece ready by the Fair Day..”

Ryan saw a final chocolate chip trapped in the basket weave and popped it into his own mouth and rolled his eyes as it melted on his tongue.     

  “That was very tasty.  Those cookies must have been great… lucky birds.”  Ryan smiled as he told her,  “The birds and I thank you.”  

 Jane was pleased and returned the smile as she rose to head for home.  She was thinking that if she didn’t go and at least try to join a game with the girls,  no one would ask her to do anything with them again.  How could she mix her time to have her own Art things and still try to be friendly with others?  It was such a surprise to be asked.  Her first clue about how other girls did it.  She walked along toward the bike rack wondering about that then she stopped and turned to ask Ryan about something she thought might replace the cookies.

“Do you like chocolate fudge?”  Ryan threw a question right back at her with a serious face.

“Do you like Christmas?”  Jane laughed and informed him that she had a half bag of the chocolate chips left, so they could go to her house and make fudge if he wanted to.  He did.  So they got on their bikes and rode straight there.

Jane’s Mom was working at her desk so, they went to the kitchen and Ryan just stood looking around while Jane began throwing stuff on the counter next to the stove.  On top of the fridge Ryan spotted a plate of the very cookies they just fed the birds, making his mouth water.  Jane saw him looking at them and explained, 

“My Mom put those up there to save for Dad.  You may have a couple if you like.  Just don’t eat them all.”   She warned with a sly smile.

“Then I better not eat any.  I don’t want your Dad mad at me before I even meet him.”  He turned his attention to what Jane was doing., adding slowly as he watched, “I’ll just wait for the fudge.”

So now you may read this passage about how they made their fudge or skip past it and get on with the simple story. 


Ryan watched as Jane choose a well worn pot with a heavy bottom and put it on the stove with low heat.  She handed Ryan a cube of butter from the carton and ordered him to unwrap it  and drop it in the pot as she opened a large can of evaporated, milk . 

“The whole cube?”  he asked, as he held it over the pot to await the answer.  

“The whole cube.”  Then she handed him the opened can.  “Pour this in and yes the whole can.”  Ryan poured it slowly watching it hit the melted butter and sizzle for a second. By then she had the top off of a bottle of corn syrup.  Jane tipped it twice and two large glops dropped into the pan causing two bubbles to pop into the bottle.

“There.”   she said quietly to herself,  “Two glubs ought to do it.”

Ryan asked seriously, 

“What’s a glub?”

Jane answered just as seriously.  

“A glub is the noise the bubble makes, as it pops into the bottle contents.” 

“Oh I see.  Or rather… I heard,”  He kidded her.  Exactly how many table spoons full is that in the recipe?”   Jane just shrugged,  She was busy opening the full five pound sack of sugar.  He watched her as she tipped the sack and the white sugar began to pour into the pot.  She stopped, hefted the bag and poured a little more.  Then closed the bag with a clip and put it in the cupboard.

A brown can marked Cocoa was on the counter with a sack of mini-marshmallows , a bottle of vanilla and a half used bag of chocolate chips .  Jane pried up the lid on the cocoa and tipped the can up over the pot of sugar and stuff.  Some cocoa poured into the mixture.  Then she held the can a moment longer as she asked, 

“How dark or light do you like your chocolate?” 

“Dark!”  was Ryan’s prompt answer.  So Jane tipped more cocoa powder into the pot.  Ryan peeked in to see if it looked dark enough to him.  He couldn’t tell because the mixture had just begun to boil a bit around the edges but the whole lot was just that… a white and brown mess in a white milky, yellow buttery, bubbling liquid.   

Jane was handing him a large wooden spoon and telling him to stir until the sugar was dissolved.  So he followed her orders and began to stir.  It was fascinating to watch as he stirred until the whole mess turned into a brown boiling soup with piles and piles of glossy bubbles forming on the top.  He stirred as she directed to keep the bottom from sticking and burning.  It was beginning to smell like a candy store or a bakery.   

Jane reached around him and hung a long thermometer on the side of the pot with end in the mixture and the face looking at him.  She pointed to a line that she said read, “Soft ball.”   It said lots of other stuff too  with the numbers in both Degrees and Centigrade’s.  None of which could be seen through the boiling steam that soon covered the glass.  So Ryan stirred and tried to peek at the numbers next to the “Soft Ball”  to see how far they had to go.  

Jane offered him a clue.

“See how shiny and glossy the bubbles are?”

Ryan nodded.  He had noticed that.

“When the candy is ready to remove from the stove the bubbles will have changed into little thick volcanoes spewing up thick bubbles that no longer shine.  

Ryan continued to stir as Jane put away the ingredients they had used and got out some nuts and a pair of cup cake pans.

“What kind of nuts do you like?’  Jane asked.  “Walnuts or Pecans?”

“I like them both.”

“Okay then both.”

“How do you feel about Macadamia nuts?”

“Oh I love those little white things”

“Then we’ll have all three. So the folks can get a surprise in every bite.”

She took a big hand full of each kind and piled them on the cutting board.  Then told him as she handed him a huge butcher knife, 

“I’ll stir awhile, if you will chop.”

“Gladly.”  Ryan  answered as he wielded the heavy knife through the air like some sort of a  Samurai Warrior.  “Let me at ‘Em!”

After a few serious cuts into the piles of nuts,  Ryan stopped and asked Jane.

“How much do you want these things chopped?”

“Just enough and not too much.”  Jane answered.  Ryan put the knife down on the board to protest.

“That is the stupidest answer I ever heard.”  He complained.

“That is the only answer I know.”  Jane explained.  I learned to cook from my mother who learned to cook from her Mother and so on.”  Jane told him.  “It is the answer to everything,  How much flour do you add to your bread or rolls?  How much sugar or chocolate do you add to the fudge? How much water do you give the garden”  The answer is the same…  Just enough, but not too much.  Anyone can figure that out.  My great grandmother  used to say that every Danish recipe in her home town started the same with… 

“ You take your large scooper filled with enough butter and…”  

Having explained she looked at the thermometer.  Oh it’s time to test, she said, as she reached for a small saucer and filled it with cold water.   Then she took a small spoon and dipped a dab of the boiling syrup into it and dropped it into the water.  With her finger she pushed the dab of fudge around in a circle.  Then she stopped to show him.

“See how a bit of the butter goes up to the top and makes a circle that floats on the surface?  That means the fudge is not cooked enough.  But now taste this?  She put the tiny chocolate dab onto her finger and put it to his mouth.  Push this around with your tongue and tell me if it is sugary.  Can you feel the grains of sugar or is it smooth and creamy?”

“Very good and very smooth.”  Ryan told her.

“Good, If it was grainy after cooking this much then it needs more liquid. But it was smooth, so we only need to just cook it a little longer.”

“Do I still stir?” He asked. “Never mind I know.  he told her before she could answer.  “Just enough, so it won’t burn… but not too much.”

“Right!”  Jane laughed, “You are a fast learner.” 

With the next test in the cold water the syrup was immediately pushed into a small soft ball that held together.  No floaters.  They each took a taste and pronounced it perfect.                                  

Jane had Ryan move the full and heavy hot kettle from the stove to the cutting board.  He watched as she gave the hot fudge a half of a bag of Mini-marshmallows and the entire half bag of chocolate chips,  He stirred as she poured in two glubs of vanilla and dumped a spoon laden with a large lump of soft butter and finally a glub of milk from the carton in the refrigerator, saying she was sorry they were out of whipping cream which was her first choice.  

 Stirring was getting difficult as the chocolate and the marshmallows both disappeared into the creamy mixture.  Jane lifted the mixed nuts from the board with her hands and dropped them into the fudge making the fudge grow lumpy and cooler.

She put little fluted paper cups into each of the cup cake pan holes then spooned large serving spoon clumps of fudge into each little paper.   When the fudge was all gone, but plenty stuck on the sides in the mixing pan, they took the pan and two spoons to sit outside on the porch to clean it by spoons full after scraping spoons full and washing the sweet down with the cold milk.  

With no longer a desire to eat the sweet they had made, they filled the cookie basket with the fudge cakes and put the others on a platter to add to those cookies on top of the fridge and left to take his Mother the basket of fudge they had so proudly made.

Ryan told her he had enjoyed making the fudge with her and he would think of a good fun guy thing to teach her the next time they were free.


If Ryan was afraid she would not like what he had to teach her, it was gone after Jane showed him the metal sculpture she was making to enter in the Fair.  They both learned something new.  Now they both understood that boys could also have fun in the kitchen and even girls liked to work with tools.

 Jane worked on her sculpture for the next few days but then back up in her room something happened that made her set it aside once again.

Janelle appeared in her Mirror and Jane knew she was going to have a Magic Time.  For this outing Janelle appeared wearing a complete hiking outfit, right out of the Bean Catalog.  She looked terrific in snug but stretchy khaki pants with laced up hiking boots, and a  bright red sweater hung over her shoulders.  Her matching red cap was set backwards until the sun was in her eyes, then it was ready to turn and give her shade.  Her long wavy hair hung in a long, neat, braid down her back.  Where was she going?

The standard back pack was large, but comfortable with wide straps and a full well balanced load.  

Janelle was ready for whatever the day brought as long as it was in the great outdoors.   She hiked on the backpack and left the room as usual through the Magic door she had discovered in the Mirror.

 Ryan picked her up in the Porsche and they rode in style through the early morning darkness to the last Parking lot at the foot of the marked hiking trails.

They chose the three star start that would get them to the top Peak and began to hike slow and steady from there.   The sun was still just below the horizon .  As they followed the Path and went higher up, so did the sun and they met in that perfect place where the entire valley lay before them with the sun rising out in a splash of yellow, and the mountains still lost in the deep purple shade.

Ryan poured two cups of hot chocolate and they each chose a donut from the six pack so they could watch the sun rise to full view as they enjoyed the mini-breakfast.

The next section of the path trailed down and up again through deep woods with very tall redwoods and fat green Pines.  Pine cones scattered the path and squirrels scampered to collect the nuts for the coming winter.  Now and then they paused, as did a deer, to stare at each other before going their own separate ways.  

With the sun high they were grateful for the deep shade. 

At noon they arrived at a flat place next to a bubbling brook where they put up a tent and Ryan made a fire pit.  Janelle opened her back pack to take out the lunch she had made at home for this camping lunch.

They spread a blanket over a flat rock and pulled off their boots to dangle their feet in the cool water as they ate the fried chicken and crisp cut up veggies, packed in ice and drank lemonade, while planning the walk to a peak and back before sun down.

This walk was more than a walk or a hike, it was a nearly vertical  climb up a rock face some of the way, until reaching the peak exhausted so happy  that they could, sit and admire the 360 view of the world and open blue sky.  

The downward way was part repel and l lot of hanging on to keep from making one final fall of it. 

Back at camp they rested and eventually cooked and ate some hot food consisting of cut-up hot dogs heated in a pot of baked beans over the camp fire.   Then by  taking turns reading by flashlight to each other, they could discuss the plot and guess at the ending with laughs, before finding a good place to put the sleeping bags for a marvelous view of the stars in the deep, dark, night sky.

The next morning they had hot chocolate again and the other donuts before a lazy, sight-seeing, hike, finding Blue Jays, an Eagle in flight, Squirrels, Rabbits,  Deer and two Bear cubs, watching for Mountain Lions, but never seeing one before they were back  to their parked car and civilization.

Janelle wrote the Magic Trip up in her diary right under the Formal Dance.


When Ryan called Jane the next day it was to invite her to help him fix up an old bike of his for his younger brother, Jason.

Jane agreed and rode her bike to his house wearing her freshly washed, but badly worn, old, jeans and her favorite working sweat shirt that didn’t mind getting a bit more grease on it. 

With every tool in the box they took the bicycle apart down to the last screw, nut or bolt.

When the pieces of metal were all set out on newspapers they began to sand and clean them with Brillo pads until they were reduced as much as possible to the basic metal.  Then they wiped them with turpentine  and began to paint.  The base paint was silver and by the time they had painted everything,  the first ones were dry enough to turn over and do the same to the other side.

Ryan had chosen a bright royal blue to paint them next.  They sat on the floor and pulled themselves or the papers around to get them all painted on one side and then left so they could dry while they had lunch.

It was just past noon so they ate P-nut butter sandwiches and drank milk.  Then they walked to the local theater for the Matinee.

Late in the afternoon, Ryan’s Mom ordered pizza,  so by the time they had finished it, the paint seemed dry enough to turn them over carefully to paint coat one on the other side.  Now they could let that paint job cure until the next day.

It took two week-ends to finish painting and put the bike together with the new tires and a good new leather seat.  

 Jason received a bright blue, good as new, bicycle for his eighth birthday from his very proud big brother, Ryan.  Jane bought him a bell for it.


Janelle surprised Jane by appearing in the Magic Mirror dressed to kill in a clean pressed, blue and beige baseball uniform.  Of course, they were  Jane’s school colors and the smashing outfit was a perfect fit. It was obvious that she planned to go to the park and join the Girl’s Baseball Game.  

 But would Janelle be accepted?  Of course she would, right after she presented the Captain with this stack of matching uniforms for all of the girls to wear.  Didn’t every girl love to dress up for the occasion?

Janelle cleverly left her jacket on until she had given the surprise outfits to the team Captain and she soon had them all trying on the uniforms looking for a good fit.  

Then Janelle quietly took her place at the end of the bench, but not without noticing that Ryan was seated at that end of the bleachers.

The score was 2 to 4, the other team, ahead, when Janelle went to bat.  The bases had two on first and second.  Of course Janelle must hit a home run to put them in front at 5 to 4.  So she did.  

Then as soon as the game was close to ending in the ninth with that same score, The opposing team, with one on first, needed a home run on their last out to get up by one and win.  

The entire field was alert to make that last out and keep the win.

The girl at bat was their best and she went to the plate full of confidence.  After one strike she hit the ball with fury and it flew high and far. Everyone in the bleachers and the game watched it fly out well beyond possible reach, they all assumed, of anyone.  But one girl, Janelle, took off running after it and didn’t stop until she was at the fence, then she jumped in a long stretch and took the winning ball out of the sky. 

That night Jane added that fantastic game story to her diary.

Jane intended to play in next week’s game, but she had to finish her sculpture, it was due to enter the County Fair this week.  She had filled out the paper work long ago and it was accepted.   So baseball was out for now.

On the day of the judging Jane stood before the Magic Mirror for a short time watching and hoping that Janelle would appear ready to attend the Fair and be there to accept the ribbon for the Art selection.  Janelle was sure to win.  Jane in person was not a sure thing.  It worried her that Janelle did not appear in that Magic Mirror and be there to help her to win at least a ribbon.

It entered Jane’s mind to skip going herself if Janelle in the Magic Mirror did not come to her help.  What time would be the last minute to decide?  The judging was in the morning and the awards were scheduled for the afternoon.

Without Janelle she could go by early and see who won,  then if she did not,  just stay home.  

Her parents did not approve of that plan.  They were going to attend the awards and then see the rest of the Fair.  Jane should just go with them

 And realize that all of the entries could not be winners.  Winning the Blue Ribbon was for the Best in each type of entry then of course the two others, yellow and white ribbons for almost winning.  The winners of those still proudly displayed them.  The three stood side by side on the podium to be photographed.  However only the Blue received a cash prize in this Fair.

.“Who is this friend you want to wait for ?”  Mother asked.

Jane was caught without an explanation.  How could she explain the Magic Mirror and the girl who looked just like her named Janelle who came into it? And was the best at everything!  There was no way!  This Magic girl was invincible and Jane was not. 

The time passed with still no sign of Janelle.  Jane began to wonder if she knew Janelle well enough to pass for her.  What would she have to do to look as good as Janelle always does and walk like she does with all of that confidence.  And what else did she have that Jane did not?

Much nicer hair for one and brighter eyes for another and the clothes!  She always looked as if she was modeling for some top Catalog.

An hour before the time to leave, Jane sat in front to the Magic Mirror and just watched.  She began to pass the time by brushing her hair and with it down and brushed she was getting closer to Janelle.  Next she went to the closet and found a baby blue skirt that she had not worn in ages.  It was a little fluffier that she liked so she kept passing it by.  Janelle night wear it though.  What top went with it? Oh that white one with the blue lace.  Ugh Lace!  But it was intended for that skirt so was the best choice.  

There was a white sun hat with a wide brim high up on a shelf.  She stood on a chair to reach it and was pleased to see it bore a blue ribbon.  Her shoes were nothing like Janelle’s  She always had a good heel on hers.  She wondered if Mother had any that were more like that.

She did .  One perfect pair.  So Jane tried them on and found that she could walk well and even with that set of heeled shoes so she went to get Mom’s permission to wear them.

Mother just laughed. 

“But don’t you remember?  We bought them for you to go with a blue and white skirt that you refused to wear, so I took them over so they wouldn’t go to waste.  Take them back if you wish.”

When mother was ready to leave and Dad had gone o start the car, Jane came down to join them.  Janelle never showed up to her disappointment so her next disappointment would surely be at the judging.  So be it. 

 She put on the floppy hat and a pair of sun glasses to disguise her eyes, then added some pink gloss on her lips just like Janelle always did..  

 She looked herself over in the Mirror and was surprised at how much she looked like Janelle. She just might pull this off.

 Even in that last minute, though, she was still hoping that the Magic Mirror would work its Magic and produce Janelle, which she, Jane, had come to rely upon.  

She turned to leave by the regular door,  There was no going through the Magic Mirror door for plain Jane.

With one more look back, just in case, Jane joined her Parents in the car for the ride to the County Fair where she had an entry.

 “Too bad your friend couldn’t make it.”  Mother commented.

“I’m sorry too.”  Jane confessed.

“You look lovely dear.”  Dad told her looking in the rear view mirror.

Because she had made them leave a bit late, all three went straight to the Art Judging.  Jane sat looking at the Art pieces that had been moved to the front.  Were they the winners?  Hers was among them, so perhaps she would get a ribbon.

From her folding chair she looked the front pieces over.  She was pleased with the way she had polished parts of her metal sculpt to a gleaming shine and scrubbed to a flat matt look some others.  They made a good contrast and the Mahogany wooden base was oiled to enhance its beauty. 

Could she have made it better?  Jane wasn’t sure.  Each time she worked on it she became more pleased with the results.  It was a little better every time.  Would more time have made it better yet?   She was never certain she was finished, she really just ran out of time. Oh well there it was.  She knew she would never touch it again now that it had been judged.  

When her name was called she stood and walked confidently, just like Janelle in those shoes and that skirt, with her hair down in waves.  

She accepted her award with a big grateful smile.  

It didn’t not matter which place she took.  It never would, because she Jane, had been there to accept it herself with pride and nothing could make it any better than that.        

The words that Jane would write in her Dairy tonight would be by far the best of all.   If the wonderful Magic Mirror never returned Janelle again, just plain Jane would be alright.