Grace knocked on the Weaver family's screen door.
"Willie, are you home yet?" she shouted. Grace had to shout, because Willie's golden retriever, Flop, was barking so enthusiastically. Flop was always glad to see Grace.
Willie opened the door for Grace, who scratched Flop's silky ears. "Want to go down to the beach? The tide is out, and I want to collect some more shells to put on the wreath I'm making Mom for Christmas."
"Yeah, let's go!" replied Willie. "Come on, Flop!"
Willie and Grace walked down Beantown's main street to a set of old wooden stairs that led down to the beach. As they carefully walked down the splintery steps, they talked about their plans for Thanksgiving, which was just a week away.
"What are you the most thankful for, Willie?" asked Grace, as she threw the Frisbee for Flop.
"I'm thankful for my family, and for old Flop, I guess. How about you, Grace?"
The November wind was brisk as the kids walked on the beach, picking up shells.
"Oh, I'm thankful that my brother is coming for Thanksgiving, thankful for the pretty shells God made, and for Furball, and for--Hey! What's this?" Grace stopped so suddenly that Willie bumped into her.
"What did you find?"
"An old bottle. It's half buried in the sand."
Flop, who was chasing seagulls and sniffing piles of kelp came bounding over to investigate. He began digging in the sand with his front paws, and soon the bottle was free. Willie picked it up and thought to himself that it was the strangest bottle that he had ever seen.
"Grace!" he said excitedly. "I see a piece of paper rolled up inside!"
"Can you get it out?"
"No. The bottle is sealed shut with some kind of metal. We'll have to take it home and see if Dad can get it open.