Ambe and Sister Sidonee

Written By: Carol Reinsma - Nov• 04•11

Nothing cheered Ambe more than the dances of his little sister, Sidonee. She danced while the water boiled away for her morning tea. Her feet sashayed forward from side to side. She wiggled her bottom. Her arms and hands glided like birds flying back and forth from the trees.

Ambe clapped. “Your dancing is the best,” he said.

Sidonee clapped back in delight. “I wish you could come to school and see me dancing on the stage.”

“I’ll be there,” Ambe said. “The farmer gave me a free day because of your school program.”

Sidonee clicked her heels. “Wonda-ful. You will be proud of me. The teacher said it will be a chair dance. We will dance around the circle of chairs.”

“What else?” Ambe asked.

Sidonee danced around an imaginary circle. “What else? Everyone will see me with my braids pulled up on the top of my head and my feet touching the ground as lightly as feathers.”

“Come sit with me,” Ambe said. “I have a story for you.”

Sidonee’s feet stopped frolicking. “Dancing fills my head, there’s no room for a story.”

Ambe clicked out of the side of his mouth. “The story will help you win the chair dance game.”

Sidonee would not listen. She danced right out the door.

Ambe didn’t chase after her. The only thing he could do was to be there for her when she needed him. At the school, he sat in the first row behind Sidonee’s class.

Chair Dance was second to last on the program. Ambe could see Sidonee’s feet tapping the whole waiting time. Finally, the teacher called the class up to the stage. Fourteen chairs formed a circle for the group of fifteen. As the teacher explained the rules, Sidonee stood to the side with a wiggling body.

Ambe walked over hopping to get Sidonee’s attention. She ignored him. Her eyes were only looking at the chair in the center front.

The music started. Sidonee lost herself in the dance. When the music stopped, all the children scrambled to get a chair. The boy, Jevonte, ran toward the chair Sidonee wanted. She tried to bump him out of the way. He tried to bump her out. Then quick as a wink, the smallest girl in the class slipped onto the chair. Jevonte ran to the last open chair and Sidonee stood without a chair.

The teacher announced that Sidonee was out of the dance. As soon as she walked off the stage, Ambe invited her to sit beside him.

“Do you want to hear the story?” Ambe asked.

Sidonee wiped away her tears and nodded.

“Storytalker says that Orange Feather Chicken and Red Feather Chicken both saw a kernel of corn on the ground. Beak to beak they stood above the kernel. ‘Mine,’ said Orange Feather. ‘Mine,’ said Red Feather. With nips, pokes, and jabs they went after each other. Then quicker than a peck, Brown Feather swooped in and snapped up the kernel.”

Sidonee grinned. “Silly chickens. Silly Sidonee. Now I know why you wanted to tell me a story. Chair Dance is a game about paying attention, not about dancing.”

Ambe nodded. “You are still the best dancer.”

“And you are the best brother,” she said. 

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