Ugly Sally was sitting on a park bench, enjoying the warm summer weather. A group of girls from her school were standing under a tree just a few feet away.
“Isn’t that Ugly Sally?” asked Melanie, one of the girls.
“Yes,” said Betsy, another of the girls. “She is the ugliest person I have ever met and the clothes she wears, they are horrible.”
Ugly Sally overheard the girls. She got up from the park bench and went over to where they were standing. Just before she reached the tree, Ugly Sally felt a hand on her shoulder.
“Don’t worry about those girls,” said a sweet voice from behind her. “They are just mean.”
“I was going to give them a piece of my mind,” said Ugly Sally.
“They aren’t worth it,” said the sweet voice. “My name is Julia. I think you were in my biology class last term.”
“Yes,” said Ugly Sally, turning to see the face of the sweet voice and recognizing Julia’s face. “I remember you. My name is Ugly Sally.”
“It is nice to meet you,” said Julia, holding out her hand for Ugly Sally to shake.
“You want me to shake your hand,” said Ugly Sally.
“Yes,” said Julia. “I do.”
“Why?” asked Ugly Sally.
“Maybe I want to be your friend,” said Julia.
“I would like that,” said Ugly Sally. “I have never had a friend before.”
Ugly Sally shook Julia’s hand and the two girls went over to the park bench and sat down.
“So,” said Julia. “How did you ever get the name Ugly Sally?”
“My father called me that one time because he heard me talking to myself in the mirror one day,” said Ugly Sally.
“You didn’t think you were ugly?” asked Julia. “Did you?”
“No,” said Ugly Sally. “I was repeating what some other children were calling me.”
“They sound like mean children,” said Julia. “They shouldn’t have called you ugly.”
“Can I ask you something and promise you won’t take offense?” asked Julia.
“If you are going to be my friend,” said Ugly Sally. “Then you can ask me whatever you like.”
“Well,” said Julia. “You are different from everyone else. Why is that?”
Ugly Sally told Julia about how she was really a monster and how her father found her alone in a little cabin in the woods and how her parents adopted her.
“That is such a sweet story,” said Julia. “I bet your parents love you so much.”
“Oh they do,” said Ugly Sally. “And I am so lucky to have them as parents. I love them more than anything.”
“I can tell by the way you talk about them,” said Julia.
“Can I ask you something?” asked Ugly Sally.
“Yes,” said Julia. “You can ask me anything.”
“Why do you want to be my friend?” asked Ugly Sally. “You could be friends with almost anyone and yet you want to be my friend.”
“I actually wanted to be your friend a long time ago,” said Julia. “I just didn’t have the courage to ask you. I used to watch you in our biology class and I thought you looked so lonely.”
“I wish you had have asked me back then,” said Ugly Sally. “I was lonely.”
“That is too bad,” said Julia. “My mother is cooking chicken for supper. Would you like to come for dinner?”
“I don’t know,” said Ugly Sally, suddenly worried about her table manners. “I don’t think that would be a good idea.”
“Well,” said Julia. “Maybe another time then.”
Julia and Ugly Sally sat for a few more minutes talking and then Julia had to go home to help her mom with dinner.
“We can meet here again tomorrow at the same time,” said Julia, getting up off the park bench.
“Yes,” said Ugly Sally. “That would be nice.”
Ugly Sally went home and told her parents about her new friend, Julia.
“Julia asked me to have dinner with her tonight,” said Ugly Sally. “I declined though.”
“It would have been good for you to go,” said Mother.
“Yes,” said Ugly Sally. “However, I don’t think they would have liked my table manners. Do you think it is too late for me to learn?”
“It is never too late for you to learn your table manners,” said Father. “I can teach you.”
That night, Father and Mother both helped teach Ugly Sally some table manners. They first taught her how to sit properly in a chair and to not slouch over the table like she normally does. Then they taught her how to use utensils and how to wipe her mouth with a napkin.
“Would you like to come for dinner tonight?” Julia asked Ugly Sally about a week later.
“I would love to,” said Ugly Sally.
Julia’s mother cooked fried chicken and home-made fries for dinner. Ugly Sally was on her best behaviour. She sat properly in the chair and she tried to use a knife and fork to eat the fried chicken.
“You can eat the fried chicken with your hands,” said Julia, seeing Ugly Sally struggling with her knife and fork. “Fried chicken is finger food.”
Ugly Sally felt right at home with Julia and her family. She even offered to help with the dishes.
“Your new friend is so polite,” said Julia’s mother. “She is a joy to have around.”
Ugly Sally thanked Julia and her mother for a wonderful time.
“You can come back anytime,” said Julia’s mother.
“Thank you,” said Ugly Sally. “That was a wonderful dinner. I enjoyed it very much. Finger food is my favourite.”