"I'm s-o-o-o-o bored," I said. "There is nothing fun for a monkey to do in this little bitty house! I want to go outside and play! I miss my friends."
"I know Linkee, and I'm sorry," Grandma said. "But we all have to stay inside by ourselves because of the coronavirus here in Thailand. If we go out, we could get sick. Or we might not know we have the virus and could make other people sick. All the kids have to stay away in their mountain villages. You will see them later."
"I don't want to see them later," I yelled. "I want to see them now!"
"Linkee...." Grandma said in her warning voice. "That's enough."
I sighed. At least Molly is still at home. She can play with me. I ran over and climbed up on her shoulder. She shrugged, but didn't pay any attention to me. She was doing her homework.
"Ouch," she said. "Stop that, Linkee! You are pulling my hair."
"Leave Molly alone, Linkee," Grandma said. "Here is a dust cloth. Why don't you go dust the window sills? With all the dust we have now in hot season, I can't keep them clean."
I didn't want to dust the window sills. I wanted to have fun. I dropped the cloth and stared outside. It was smoky out there and dusty, like it usually is in early April.
Suddenly, a face appeared in the window right in front of me! It was my pal Sam.
"Grandma!" I shouted. "Sam came to play with me."
"I'm sorry, but Sam can't come in," she said. "You'll just have to talk to him through the window. Remember, we don't want to spread the virus."
"Well, I'm not afraid of the virus," I said. "I'm a stuffed monkey and so is Sam. We don't get sick."
"No, but Sam's family might be sick and he could have the virus on his fur. Or we might be getting sick and not know it yet. You could send it to Sam's family. The virus is VERY contagious."
Sam looked sad. That's how I felt. Sad and mad. And I wanted to be bad!
I was thirsty. I should have asked Grandma or Molly to give me a drink, but I decided I wouldn't talk to those meanies. I would get it myself. I climbed up on the water dispenser and got the glass Molly left there.
Oops! I fell. The water went everywhere.
"Linkee, you almost broke my glass!" Molly cried.
"And just look at the mess you made!" Grandma said.
"It's sure hard to study here when everyone is making so much noise," Grandpa complained.
Nobody was any fun and everyone was mad at me! I wanted something to do. I looked at the blanket Grandma was crocheting. Maybe I could play with the pretty blue yarn. Maybe I could make a trap for someone to trip over. That would surprise them! I pulled and pulled, but I couldn't find the end of it.
"Linkee!" Grandma yelled. "You are unraveling my blanket! You just pulled out a whole day's work!"
I ran over and jumped on the table where Molly was still doing homework. Nobody wanted me to have fun.
"Linkee, please leave me alone," Molly said. "I need to use this time to get ready for the big test."
Meanie. I wanted to do something to pay her back. The scissors were on the table. I thought of an idea. It was a bad idea, but I wanted to do it. I took the scissors and snipped off the end of her ponytail.
"Linkee!" she screamed. "You cut my hair!
I don't know why she was so mad. She had lots of hair left. I ran over to Grandpa as fast as I could. He would protect me.
"Linkee, I can't work if you keep on bothering me," he said.
Grandma picked me up and sighed. "I think it's time to do something different," she said. "Molly, come help me make the Sunday School video. Linkee, you can help, too."
Since no one could come to our Sunday School and since the kids in America couldn't go to their Sunday School, either, Grandma told a story on video. That way the children here and in America could have a Bible lesson. I like stories and I like the pretty pictures she has, so I was happy to have something to do.
Molly got the camera all ready and Grandma began her story. Grandma said it was a story Jesus told. A man asked Him, "What is the most important commandment in the Bible?"
"Love God with all your heart, soul, and mind," Jesus said. "And love your neighbor as yourself."
"Who is my neighbor?" the guy asked him.
Jesus told this story. It was pretty exciting! A man went on a trip. Robbers jumped out at him and beat him up! They stole all his money and left him lying there dying and alone.
Two people came by, but they wouldn't help him. I guess they were too busy. Then a third man came. He helped the poor, hurt man. The kind man put him on his donkey and took him to the next town. They didn't have hospitals in those days, so he gave the innkeeper money to take care of the man until he was well again.
"Who was the good neighbor?" Jesus asked.
"The one who showed mercy and helped," the guy answered.
"You go and do the same," Jesus told him.
"Well, Grandma, I can't be a good neighbor," I said. "I can't even talk to any of our neighbors."
"Jesus meant that you should be kind to the people who are around you. Grandpa and I are your neighbors now. So is Molly," she said.
I felt bad. "I'm sorry I've been naughty today," I said. "I'm sorry I cut your hair, Molly. I shouldn't have messed up your blanket, Grandma. I haven't been a good neighbor today."
Grandma smiled, "We forgive you, Linkee. We know it is hard for little monkeys and for children to be cooped up in the house for so long. Maybe we should be better neighbors to you, too. Let's play a game together."
"Can it be the Bounce Off game?" I asked as I jumped with excitement. "I love to bounce the balls."
"We'll all play Bounce Off," Molly said as she put her books away. "I want to be a good neighbor, too."
And we did. It was lots of fun. But I am REALLY ready for the virus to go away so we can go outside to be good neighbors!
Hi kids! This is Grandma. I know you are probably getting tired of staying inside, too. And I know you miss your friends. But you can make a difference at your house by being a good neighbor to your family. If you are cheerful and try to do the things that will make the others happy, you will find everyone is more cheerful. You will be happier, too.
Do you know how else you can be a good neighbor to the people who don't live with you? By staying in and staying away from other people so they won't get sick. You don't want to get sick, either. Stay in and stay safe!