Written and Illustrated by Bron Smith
Author’s note: This
story has special meaning for me. I wanted
to share with Focus on the Family readers
my passion for the forgotten segment of
our society, the elderly in nursing homes.
For three years I visited Dorothy Weinsten
every Sunday in the nursing home in which
she lived. I even took her out to lunch,
dinner, and to holiday occasions. Focus
was kind enough to allow me to dedicate
this story to Dorothy. What a joy it was
to personally read my story to her at her
bedside when it was published in the April
2002 issue of Clubhouse Jr. Magazine. Dorothy
died shortly after. Now I am visiting others
in the same nursing home, but there will
never be another Dorothy.
Morty Mouse scampered down the shady rain
forest path. His favorite neighbor, Mrs.
Bisbee, was already outside planting spring
flowers in her window boxes.
“Good morning, Mrs. B.!” Morty called.
“Good morning, Morty,” Mrs. Bisbee replied.
Mr. and Mrs. Bisbee had always been like
grandparents to Morty. But after Mr. Bisbee
died, Mrs. Bisbee sometimes felt very lonely.
One Saturday the rain came down in sheets
around Huckleberry Hollow. Morty gazed out
his bedroom window and watched the raindrops
pitter-patter on his windowsill.
“What a boring day,” he muttered gloomily.
“Why don’t you go visit Mrs. Bisbee?”
Morty’s mother suggested. “I’ll bet she
could use some cheering up today.”
Morty’s mom wrapped up a piece of cheese
in bright paper and carefully placed it
in Morty’s lunch basket. Then Morty dashed
out the door into the rain and scurried
down to Mrs. Bisbee’s house.
”What a wonderful surprise!” Mrs. Bisbee
exclaimed as she unwrapped the cheese. She
broke off a bit for Morty and herself, then
she poured a cup of fiddle fern tea for
each of them.
The next Saturday Morty surprised Mrs.
Bisbee once again with a chunk of cheese
and words of cheer. Before long Morty’s
visits became a Saturday morning habit.
One Saturday Morty brought along his friend,
“Hey, let’s go visit my grandmother, too!”
Dooley said. Dooley’s mother wrapped up
some cheese for them, then off they went
to Dooley’s grandma’s house. They had a
great time sipping swamp tea and munching
cheese dipped in toadstool sauce.
“Thank you so much,” Dooley’s grandma
said, her white whiskers twitching with
Before long Morty and Dooley were visiting
both Mrs. Bisbee and Dooley’s grandma every
Saturday. They always brought cheese to
perk up the party.
A few weeks later their friend Wally asked
if he could join Dooley and Morty. Besides
seeing Mrs. Bisbee and Dooley’s grandmother,
they visited Wally’s neighbor who had been
sick for a long time.
Word of Morty and his friends’ special
visits spread all around Huckleberry Hollow
as more mice joined in. A special story
about Morty and his friends appeared in
The Huckleberry Hollow Gazette, calling
the group “The Cheese Brigade.” Soon “The
Cheese Brigade” was famous throughout the
One Saturday Morty went alone to Mrs.
Bisbee’s house. His friends were not able
to join him that day. As always, Morty found
Mrs. Bisbee in her rocking chair.
Suddenly, the kitchen door burst open.
Morty’s friends came streaming out of
the kitchen singing, “For He’s the Jolly
Good Rodent.” Many Huckleberry Hollow citizens
were there, including the mayor. Mr. Tootlemeyer,
from the Huckleberry Hollow Cheese Shop
brought baskets brimming with every imaginable
kind of cheese. Every mouse was there to
honor Morty for his kind deeds.
The mayor presented a medal of honor to
Morty. Tears of joy streamed down Morty’s
mother’s furry cheeks. To this very day
Huckleberry Hollow’s younger mice still
pay regular visits to the older citizens
of the village, including a kind, old mouse
at the edge of town affectionately known
as Grandpa Morty.