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Community Entertainment & Leisure
02-27-2015 01:21 PM
Chapter 82 (Word prompts: Sausage, valentine, repairing, north wind, tenderhearted, awkward, shoulder, interference)
Staring at the computer screen showing a picture of a house with a For Sale label, standing shoulder to shoulder with Craig and listening to her best friend and Craig’s best friend seemed the most normal thing that Madison had ever known. She thought she should be asking questions, not only of Rebecca but also of herself and yet she knew those questions had already been answered for the both of them.
From somewhere a huge north wind had come along and blown both their worlds apart when she was least expecting it. Had Rebecca really been looking for a change or had that call from Jason been the interference in her life too?
As usual there was no time to consider these questions because of the giggles coming from the other room. It was Rebecca who went running for the kitchen muttering something about it being a mistake to leave children and dogs without adult supervision. Madison was reminded at how much she didn’t know about children, although she should have thought about the danger of unsupervised dogs.
It wasn’t as bad as she had imagined. The cereal box was beyond repair as it was now mere fragments scattered around the kitchen. Pearl was holding up one piece that faintly resembled a valentine. She handed it to Craig as though it was a precious gift. Socks was observing the presentation with the pride of an artist. The two pups had abandoned the debris already littering the floor and were investigating a sausage wrapper that was dangerously near the edge of the counter. Daisy and Tedi were looking awkward showing that they had no part in the destruction of the kitchen.
Madison managed to grab the bit of wrapper just as the larger of the two pups was jumping to retrieve it. She placed it along with a few other of the remains from the adult breakfast that had obviously been prepared while she slept into the trash under the sink.
“We left you a plate in the microwave”, said Craig and he walked across the room.
Madison was busy looking at the disappointment on the little black faces and asked if they had been fed. She was assured there was no danger of starving dogs, but she broke off small pieces of her toast and gave some to each animal anyway. She remembered being called too tenderhearted as a child and realized even though it might be true, she didn’t care at all. So with that thought she cut up one of the meat patties and passed those around too.
It only took a few minutes to clean up the floor. Stan and Rebecca went back to the computer and Craig took the children back out to the barn. Madison still had no idea of plans for the day as she put the last bowl into the dishwasher. With the sound of the water filling she sat at the table with another cup of coffee and took her journal from it’s place on the shelf.
(To be continued)
01-21-2015 02:26 PM
Chapter 81 (Word Prompts: insomnia, wind, edge, change, winter, inactivity, birds, clarity)
Madison had no problem with insomnia. She left Rebecca in the kitchen having a beer with Stan. Everyone had decided to stick to the coffee or soft drinks while around the kids, but now they were in the barn, probably all wrapped up in the sleeping bags. They had looked ready to fall asleep when Madison had suggested they leave them. As long as there was activity around them they would want to stay awake so as not to miss anything. She didn’t mind admitting that she would welcome a little inactivity herself, as she climbed the stairs to the bed.
The sun was high in the sky when she awoke on Sunday morning. The clock said it was after 10:00, much later than she normally slept. She could hear voices coming from downstairs, although unable to recognize any of them or to hear what was being discussed.
The cacophony of voices, both human and canine, coming from the kitchen reminded her of the birds from the morning before. It seemed everyone was inside and all talking at the same time. She didn’t need to see who was contributing to the chorus to realize how her life had changed over the past few days. It seemed such a short time ago that she had been at home, all alone except for the company of Tedi, then there had been the addition of Daisy and now this explosion.
She stood at the edge of the group, completely unnoticed. Craig was filling bowls of cereal for the children. A total of five dogs seemed to be waiting in case a few nuggets happened to fall on the floor. She wondered if they had been fed. She would have to find out about that later. For now finding her way to the coffee post was her first priority.
Seeing Stan head toward the same destination made her realize that Rebecca was missing.
“Is Rebecca still sleeping?”
Stan chuckled as he filled Madison’s cup from the almost empty pot. “Oh, no. We’ve been at the computer in the other room. We been doing some research and think we might have found some possible grants that she can apply for to get her plan off the ground.”
Madison was surprised that things had progressed so far. The last she had heard, Rebecca was attempting to get some clarity on all the ideas she had.
“Come on in here with us and let Rebecca tell you what she’s learned. She’s pretty excited about the whole thing.”
Madison made her way though the crowd of bodies, thinking the kitchen just wasn’t large enough to accommodate three adults, three children and five dogs. Craig noticed her as she passed by and signaled that he would join her shortly.
Rebecca was just hanging up her cell phone when they joined her at the computer. Madison saw that the screen was filled with the real estate section of the local paper. “There are two places I can look at this afternoon”, she said without looking up.
“You are looking at real estate now? I thought you weren’t planning on making a change until the winter”, said Madison.
“Well”, said Rebecca. “I guess I am in a sort of a whirl wind right now and it might not work out. Of course it will take a few months for me to get things wrapped up at home, but the more I thought about things it rather seemed that perhaps I should get the ball rolling, so to speak. I might be going back and forth for a while, but Stan said he can help me get things in order here if I find a suitable place. The zoning laws are a lot less strict here than at home and I don’t think I’ll have any trouble finding a place where I can both live and set up my practice.”
Rebecca seemed so excited about the plan that Madison could only be happy for her. Just then Craig joined them. It seemed he had already been filled in on the grand scheme of things. The voices of the children were softer now, but still clearly audible from the next room. She could tell their bowls were being shared with the pups. Craig’s smile told her that he was totally enjoying the madness. Much to her surprise she realized she was too.
(to be continued)
01-10-2015 12:50 PM
Chapter 80 (Word Prompts: insomnia, wind, edge, change, winter, inactivity, birds, clarity)
As it turned out there was no need to be concerned with insomnia by the time everyone got to bed. The evening was filled with activity of all sorts, each more fun and laughter filled than the last. Stan was a talented musician and before long everyone joined in for an old fashioned sing-along. All the songs were unfamiliar to the children but they made up for not knowing the lyrics by dancing to the rhythms. Even Johnny joined in with the puppies nipping at his heels. Madison was so pleased to see the smile on the little boy who was normally so serious. She hoped it could be continued after eating dinner.
When she and Rebecca returned to the barn after putting some of the food away they saw that Craig had built a fire near the edge of the barn, almost in the doorway. The wind had changed direction and the smoke was blowing away while providing some warmth for the occupants. Both puppies and children seemed to be tired out and Stan’s music had become much softer than before, and he was singing a song almost a lullaby.
A supply of sleeping bags had appeared from somewhere and the children and pups were all snug near the fire. Obviously this return to winter was not proving to be a problem with the festivities.
It seemed entirely natural that Rebecca should find a place near Stan while Madison joined Craig, who was tending the fire. Dusty had vanished while the women were inside without saying goodbye, but then it really hadn’t been a social visit.
“I think Robert had some sleeping bags around here someplace if you and Rebecca would like to join us”.
Madison wasn’t certain if he was serious or not. “Well, I’ll mention it to Rebecca but my idea of camping out is spending the day in the woods and the night at a four-star hotel for a complete change. I’m afraid I’m a soft bed, bubble bath kind of girl at heart.”
Craig laughed. “Well actually, I think Stan is pretty much the same as you. I’m certain he will be heading home before too long.”
“If you and the children are really planning on camping out, that means there’s a spare bedroom inside if he would like to spend the night.” They were both noticing that he and Rebecca where sitting closer together than they had been a few minutes before.
Rebecca had told Madison a bit more about her day and her tentative plans for the future while they had been alone in the kitchen. Madison remembered how helpful Stan had been while they were attempting to research the animal rescue groups in the vicinity and suggested Rebecca ask him for any knowledge he might have. That might help her to clarify some of her thoughts. He certainly knew a lot of people in the area. She couldn’t help but notice that Rebecca’s smile got a lot larger with that suggestion.
“Do you have any plans for tomorrow?” Madison had realized that all the plans seemed to have been around tonight without any thought for the rest of the weekend.
For a moment she thought Craig might have fallen asleep sitting there as his eyes were closed and it took a while for him to answer. It was certainly warm here near the fire and he’d had a busy day. But then he seemed to awaken.
“Do I remember that you told me there were a lot of birds here this morning?”
“Yes, crows I think. At least they were black and they seemed to communicate with the dogs. I almost got the idea they were trying to communicate with me. Why do you ask?”
Madison noticed that his brow was lined in a way she hadn’t noticed before. “I was just thinking about a crow that almost hit my windshield last weekend. It gave me such a strange feeling and I felt that it was a bad omen at the time.”
Madison suddenly felt his uneasiness. “Well, nothing bad has happened”, she quipped.
“That we know of”, said Craig with more seriousness than Madison wanted to hear.
(to be continued)
01-07-2015 08:31 AM
Chapter 79 (Word Prompts: insomnia, wind, edge, change, winter, inactivity, birds, clarity)
Rebecca was hoping to get some clarity on her thoughts while making the drive back to Madison’s but had little time to contemplate what she knew would be a life-changing project. The wind had increased during the day and she was reminded that it might be spring at home in middle Georgia but it was still winter in the north of the state.
There were two cars already there when she arrived and neither belonged to Madison. She saw no evidence of the camp fire that she had hoped for and the house seemed deserted when she entered. The only sign of life she had seen was a flock of birds, starlings she thought, lined up on the fence beside the road. She felt that moment of panic one feels when they discover they have arrived at an appointment on the wrong day when she remembered that the children had planned to camp out in the barn.
She couldn’t believe her eyes when she made her way to the barn. Craig had set up a grill near the back. The children were busy playing with several dogs and cats, all of which seemed to be having a great time. Madison and Craig were talking to a man she didn’t recognize, but must have been the owner of the car she had noticed with the emblem of a badge on the license tag. Stan was standing at the edge of the adult group while still seemed to be a part of the children and animal group. In fact, she saw he was holding a small kitten as he spotted her and headed in her direction.
“Come on and join the party”, he said while stroking the fuzz ball in his hand. “We are sort of winging it, but we have some hot water to make coffee, tea or chocolate and there’s some beer in Craig’s truck if you would like.”
He led her over to the coffee pot that was plugged into an outlet beside a partially built work table. There was an assortment of mugs along with some jars of instant coffee, chocolate mix, and a basket of tea bags. Rebecca chose a tea bag and dangled it into the hot water about the same time that Madison saw that her friend had arrived and joined the group.
“It seems that Dusty has brought some news of the children’s mother. Come on over but we are trying to keep our voices down so the children don’t hear.”
Rebecca laughed as she thought the last thing the children would be interested in was the conversation of adults when the alternative was puppies and kittens. “Where did the assortment of animals come from?”
“I’ll have to tell you about that later, but it seems to be a blessing in disguise”, said Madison as she led the way back to where Craig and Dusty was standing, deep in conversation.
“I can’t exactly tell you how I found the information, just that I have learned that the week before Joanie went missing, Jason made a rather large payment to some clinic in the next county.”
“What clinic?” This seemed to be the first time they noticed that Rebecca had joined the group.
Madison performed the introductions while Dusty went into his pocket and brought out a small notebook and began to search for the appropriate page.
“Was it Apple Valley?”
Dusty looked at her in amazement. “That sounds right.”
“Have you asked Jason about it?” Madison gave Craig a little nudge as his voice was beginning to sound excited and louder as a result. Rebecca didn’t think there was anything to worry about where the children were concerned.
“No, I haven’t questioned Jason”, said Dusty, a bit louder than usual, showing his frustration.
“How could I explain even having this knowledge? We have no evidence that any crime has been committed. We have a mystery but Joanie is an adult woman who has the right to go away without telling anyone. The most she would be guilty of is child endangerment since she left the children on the road, but as it turned out they have been well taken care of. And I also need to remind you that Jason is an attorney and I would be the one on the hot seat should he find out I have knowledge of his financial affairs, so please all of you keep this quiet. I was just hoping this might mean something to you.”
Craig shook his head, “Can’t we ask them if Joanie is there?”
“They couldn’t tell you”, said Rebecca. “They wouldn’t give out information on a patient without a court order, but I think I know a way to find out.” She went on to tell them about meeting the people over the weekend and having an invitation to visit them at any time. She might even find an excuse to meet some of the patients or at least get a glimpse of the paperwork.
Dusty seemed ten years younger after hearing this idea and Craig was feeling hopeful of some answers for the first time in a week, even though it was difficult to hear that his best friend must certainly be involved with whatever was going on. Stan was looking at her with an even greater appreciation than before, which was saying a lot because he was entirely smitten for the first time in a long time. Madison was thinking that it was amazing the way some things seemed to work out and called out that it was time for the celebration to begin and asked Rebecca to help her bring the food from the kitchen.
When they returned Craig already had hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill. Stan had brought out his guitar and he and Dusty were singing some folk songs that reminded them all of college days. The children were dancing to the music with the puppies nipping at their heels.
Rebecca watched the group and thought this would be a night of insomnia with making plans for a future after what seemed a very long time of inactivity.
(to be continued)
01-01-2015 02:02 PM
Chapter 78 (Word Prompts: quilt, cedar, hope, train, ice cycle, possibilities, teacher, restless)
Rebecca was pleased to have the aroma of cedar be replaced by the pleasant scent of fresh baked bread as she entered the cafeteria. She must have taken longer to get there than she thought because some people were already leaving and she found herself sitting with leader of her discussion group. At first she thought her disappointment in the lecture had been noticed, judging from the ice cycles that she imagined in the clear blue eyes behind the thick lenses of her glasses. But then the cold vanished with her smile and Rebecca realized she wasn’t even remembered as being a part of her discussion group.
“Do you mind if I join you? I hate to eat alone and I seem to have missed most of the group. I’m Valerie Stevens.”
At the nod from Rebecca, she settled herself on the other side of the table. With introductions taken care of and the issue of first names being used addressed, they both settled down to the job of eating. Rebecca had chosen a large sandwich which required both hands to manage and seemed to have been made from the fresh baked bread that she had first noticed. Valerie had chosen a healthy looking salad.
“Where are you from?”
Rebecca was unsure why the question had surprised her and then she realized this was the first time she had been asked during the two days. Normally that was the opening line for any conversation when meeting new people. For some reason her spirits began to improve and she dared to hope that something positive might come from this after all.
“Well, you’re from the big city. What are you doing in this back woods place?”
Rebecca didn’t usually hear Macon, GA being described as the big city, but compared to this it must seem so and she began to talk of her thoughts about changing her practice to the treatment of children and of moving to another area where she felt needed.
Valerie seemed to be listening closely as her thoughts were outlined and didn’t interrupt with questions at all.
“There is certainly a need for what you have outlined in this area but it would mean starting an entire program. We are way behind the times in all of our programs for children. They have all taken a back seat to the mental and physical health of our adults. You are right that it would be beneficial to help the children earlier. We teachers do what we can, but in this day of consolidation many of our communities don’t even have their own schools and our high school serves two counties.”
“What about the Department of Family and Children’s Services?”
Valerie just shook her head. “In most areas this falls under the County Sheriff or whatever government an area has. Luckily we don’t have a huge crime problem but the police forces more closely resemble Andy and Barney than anything you will find in a larger city. Sometimes there are only a handful of members and they have little training in social problems. Situations are generally only noticed when a domestic disturbance is reported or when a child gets into trouble.”
Thoughts were running through Rebecca’s mind rapidly. She had not contemplated starting a program from scratch, but she could see this might be a benefit. She would have to give this additional thought but there were definite possibilities here.
Her train of thoughts was interrupted as she heard Valerie telling her about the role played by the area churches in finding homes for abandoned children. This made her think of the little faces she had seen the night before and realized if it had not been for Craig stepping in, there was no place for them to go after their mother had disappeared. She thought of the warm quilt she had wrapped around herself this morning and found what she wanted most was to wrap it around those children and keep them warm and safe,
Rebecca spent a very restless afternoon, She managed to talk with the people from the clinic again and was invited to pay them a visit, but she knew her decision had already been made. She would not be joining their program. Instead she would hope to set up her own. That would certainly take some planning.
(to be continued)
12-27-2014 11:32 AM
Chapter 77 (Word Prompts: quilt, cedar, hope, train, ice cycle, possibilities, teacher, restless)
Rebecca tried to pay attention to the lecturer leading the discussion group that should have been interesting. Mrs. Stevens was listed as a school counselor and teacher. Rebecca wondered if she was as boring to her students as she seemed here, as she tried to suppress yet another yawn.
It was disappointing that the conference had turned out to be so much less than she imagined. The only interesting people she had met were a group who had started a clinic in an adjoining town catering to those with problems of addiction. They were hoping to expand into the treatment of the families of the addicts, but had no plans to include the children. Of course there were possibilities of more programs in the future, but they seemed to think that working with the adults would feed down to the children. Rebecca had believed this herself, but was now realizing that until the adults gained some skills, the children were left to fend for themselves and many times were damaged more in the process. She had hoped to give voice to her own ideas but had not found a suitable time and place. She was becoming restless as she watched the day slip away.
Rebecca’s train of thought was interrupted by the sound of an alarm signaling time for lunch break. The sound brought back memories of her days at school and even intensified as she made her way to the school cafeteria where they had been told lunch would be served. They weren’t really very pleasant memories and she would be just as happy if they could stay buried in the past.
The aroma of cedar hit her in the face as soon as she opened the restroom door. It had been proven that aromas and sounds here powerful triggers for memories and here Rebecca had just experienced them both within just a few minutes. She was relieved to find the Ladies Room empty and decided to hurry and hope that no one else would come in. She just needed enough time to return to the present, to the confident woman of now and not the frightened, lonely little girl she had once been.
She stood at the sink and watched her reflection in the mirror as she applied another layer of lipstick. She was reassured to see an adult standing there, looking attractive if not actually beautiful. It was a long way from the braces and glasses that had looked back at her from a mirror like this once upon a time. She didn’t want to think about those days and told herself it was just because she was tired that it was all coming back.
Her alarm had been set for 5:00. She had been warm and comfortable under the quilt that Madison had given her. She wrapped herself up in it as she went downstairs to make the coffee. It had been much colder than she had expected. There had been a layer of frost on her car window and it seemed cold enough for ice cycles to form if there had been enough water available.
It seemed to take forever for the car to warm up and she hoped this wouldn’t be cause for the cookout to be cancelled. She thought she might be just as excited about that as the children. She couldn’t deny the impact that last night’s dinner had made on her, not only meeting Stan, who seemed both attractive and interesting, but it seemed that the children represented everything she had been thinking about for the past year. She could see that on a physical level they were being well cared for, but the look in their eyes were so similar to what she had seen so many times when youngsters were living through things they had no way to understand or express. Yes, she knew that look well.
(to be continued)
12-22-2014 02:18 PM
Chapter 76 (Word Prompts: quilt, cedar, hope, train, ice cycle, possibilities, teacher, restless)
Craig had just poured a second cup of coffee when Johnny appeared in the doorway, the quilt wrapped around him against the chill of the morning.
“Are your sisters still asleep?”
“No, they wanted to get dressed first. Do you have some juice?”
“No, I don’t have any juice but I do have some hot chocolate I can make.” Craig thought a bit of caffeine couldn’t hurt the children and that was something he loved in the morning when he was a child. Judging from the smile on the boy’s face, it was a hit with him too. “Here, have a seat at the table and I’ll make it.”
Johnny took one of the four chairs just as the girls appeared already entirely dressed in their jeans and sweaters. Johnny told them about the chocolate while Craig put two more cups into the microwave.
Craig handed out all the cups and then took the fourth chair at the table himself. Johnny had taken the chair where the notepad was laying and was reading the list.
“Is the cedar for the campfire?”
“We might use some of the chips in the fire, but I thought I might teach you some carpentry and we could build some shelves. Have you ever used a saw or hammer?” Craig watched the boy’s face brighten almost as much as it had at the mention of the chocolate. Then watched the smile fade away as quickly as it had appeared.
“No”, he said. “Dad said I was too little and would just be in the way.”
Craig could tell that had hurt him and he wanted to be careful not to say anything unkind about the boy’s father, even though he was angry that he had said something to make his son feel so bad.
That can be true unless you can actually help on a project. I was about your age when my father started to let me help. What do you say we give it a try?”
“What about us?”
“I think the two of you might help too, if you want to, but I have a feeling that you will be more interested in another surprise that’s waiting for you.”
“What?” Ruby and Pearl cried out in unison. Craig could tell that Johnny was also interested.
Craig chuckled, “It wouldn’t be much of a surprise if I told you, now would it. Johnny, why don’t you go get dressed and we’ll go over to the diner and get some breakfast so we can get started on our day. I’m going to get the truck heated up since it’s cold outside. I even noticed an ice cycle
hanging from the faucet this morning, so I’ll be out in the garage when you are ready.”
The diner was warm and toasty when they got there. It was still chilly outside and they had to park several spaces away so the heat felt good. Johnny led the way when he saw that the same booth was empty where they had sat last night. Josie arrived there at the same time with water glasses and coffee for Craig. She started to hand out menus but Craig ordered eggs, bacon, toast and orange juice for everyone. He knew the children had hoped to be on their way a lot earlier than they were going to be with the extra errands and they would be restless if they had to sit too long.
They were almost ready to leave when the door opened again and Craig heard Josie call out to Dusty. He turned around and saw him heading in their direction. From the look on his face he felt that there might be some news that he didn’t want the children to hear so he got up and met the sheriff before he reached the table. Although it was only a few feet away the thoughts were running though his mind. The possibilities seemed to be endless. He only hoped that the day would not be ruined for the children.
There were two seats empty at the counter. Craig normally didn’t like sitting there as it reminded him of being a passenger on a train where you were expected to talk with the person in the next seat, But it seemed a handy place to have a few words with Dusty and Josie saw where he was heading and met them with the coffee pot.
Dusty’s face was grim as he took a sip of his coffee and Craig was afraid to ask. “Is there some news?”
“Yes and no”, he said in a very low voice with the cup hiding his lips from anyone who might be watching. “This isn’t a good place to talk. Do you have some free time today where we can have a talk?”
Craig told him of the plans for the day. “I hope it’s not something that will spoil it. The kids are really looking forward to having an adventure.”
“No, in fact that might fit in well. Do you think it would be OK if I came by around 4:00?”
Craig felt like the children were probably feeling when he refused to tell them of the surprise as he told Dusty that I was certain 4:00 would be fine.
(to be continued)
12-14-2014 11:03 AM
Chapter 75 (Word Prompts: quilt, cedar, hope, train, ice cycle, possibilities, teacher, restless)
Craig gathered up a pile of cedar scraps left over from other projects and placed them where they would be easy to load into the truck. He had spent a restless night making mental lists of what he would take with him today. He finally gave up on sleep when it was still dark outside and, after checking on the children and readjusting the quilt over Johnny, he started a pot of coffee.
He was surprised to see a small ice cycle forming on the leaking faucet outside the garage and made a mental note to add a trip back by the children’s house to pick up some warmer clothing. With a hot cup of coffee in hand he jotted down a schedule for the day. The actual loading of the truck would have to be the last thing before heading to Madison’s. It was a very honest town by most standards, but it was best to avoid leaving things in the open bed of a pick-up truck so that would wait until after the diner. Now he was adding a trip back to the children’s house. It should be safe there.
His train of thought drifted to the sleeping children. It might only be his imagination but they seemed to be sleeping more peacefully than for many days. He had thought it would be good for them to stay in their own home and sleep in their own beds but perhaps he had been wrong. He remembered how well they had slept at Madison’s house with Tedi and Daisy for company. He hoped he would be able to get some advise from Rebecca, although he had the feeling he would have to get Stan away from her if he was to talk in private.
His plan had been to take some supplies to the barn and teach Johnny a few things about carpentry. He had noticed the boy seemed to be very good with his hands and was interested in how things were put together. He remembered being even younger than the boy when his own father had shown him how to hammer a nail and to use a saw on a piece of wood. He thought they could put up some shelves where other supplies would be stored.
Of course it was easier to think of activities for Johnny but he was concerned about the girls. He thought they were more worried than their brother, although they asked no questions and seemed content with their crayons. He thought perhaps he should take some of their drawings to show Rebecca. Perhaps he could get a few while they were gathering their coats.
The sun was coming up and Craig realized he really needed to talk with Madison to firm up the plans. He was afraid he had awakened her when he heard the tone of her voice and was ready to apologize when she told him of the addition of puppies to the managerie. Madison sounded upset but he thought it was perfect as it would give the girls something special. Between puppies and kittens the possibilities were endless.
He tore up his previous schedule and added a trip to the grocery store after the diner.
(To be continued)
12-10-2014 11:26 AM
Chapter 74 (Word Prompts: quilt, cedar, hope, train, ice cycle, possibilities, teacher, restless)
It was a busy morning. Madison managed to get the two new pups into the house and into the bath tub. Unlike Socks, they thought it was play time and the bathroom became covered in water. By the time the room was mopped up she had totally lost her train of thought along with all track of time. Perhaps another cup of coffee would help, so she headed back to the kitchen to find Tedi and Daisy missing. She knew they were in hiding, thinking a bath might be in their future too. They hoped by the time they reappeared she would have forgotten. She could have told them there was no danger for them today.
On her way through the great room she flipped on the television and happened to catch a weather report. They were predicting a cold front to be moving in overnight. She wondered if Craig had heard the news. She didn’t want the children to be turned into ice cycles from their night in the barn, no matter how much they were looking forward to it. She would have to remind Craig that she and Rebecca could share her room which would make the bed available where they had slept before.
However, the pups were a different matter. She made another trip out to the barn, this time followed by Socks and the pups. She wanted to see how the dogs reacted to the kittens. The door to the stall was closed but it wasn’t all that sturdy and she didn’t want to have to keep the outside door locked. Part of the worry was over when she discovered where Tedi and Daisy had found to hide.
They were in the stall immediately to the right of the kittens. Mama Cat was still sitting on the top, but it looked as though she and the dogs had reached some sort of agreement as she was just watching them, even appearing more relaxed than she had earlier. Madison remembered the other quilts and blankets she had spotted earlier beside the door and pulled them over to the stall. Socks and the pups seemed to sense this was for them. All it took was the nod of her head and the two pups curled up together. She was most touched by the way Socks looked at her before joining the others. There was an unmistakable smile on her face which made Madison think of all the possibilities as she went back inside to get to work on a batch of cookies.
With a cup of coffee in one hand and a cookie in the other, Madison realized that it had been long enough for Craig to have made the trip several times over. She thought about calling to see if there was a problem, but then decided he was in charge of the children and how they spent the day was up to them.
She became restless by mid-afternoon and decided to wander back out to the barn. Tedi and Daisy were still missing and she thought she would have heard if there had been a problem. She wasn’t expecting to be hit with the intense aroma of cedar at the entrance and was equally surprised by all the activity going on in the rear of the barn. She had totally forgotten that the original plan for the day was for Craig to move some of his things into the barn. She just stood there and watched, thinking what a nice sight it was.
Ruby and Pearl had found the pups and were playing with them. Craig had become a teacher and was showing Johnny how to use a saw, which was where the aroma was coming from. They were all so busy that they didn’t even notice that they were being observed, which was just as well. Madison wouldn’t have been able to explain why there seemed to be tears wanting to form in her eyes as she fled back into the house to return with a plate of cookies.
(to be continued)
12-01-2014 04:36 PM - edited 12-01-2014 04:40 PM
Chapter 73 (Word Prompts: aroma, socks, jacket, orange, frost, crow, fence post, flew)
The crow was now back on the fence post where she had first seen him, only now there were a group of his friends. They might have been complaining to the dogs, but she imagined they were telling her that she had overlooked the feeding of the wild life. Then she decided they were actually calling to their friends and more flew in to join the group. She wondered if bird food should be added to the list or if this would just encourage them. She had little knowledge of birds, especially crows, other than stories of how farmers stuffed jackets with straw in the attempt to chase them away from their crops. Of course she had no crops to worry about.
Socks and her two pups stopped at the same spot as before. It seemed the two pups could be encouraged to venture closer but remained with their mom. Madison thought this might be a good thing as she wasn’t certain how Tedi and Daisy would feel about an additional two. She was about to take the big orange bowl she had found in the bottom of a cabinet outside with more dog food when the phone rang. She saw that it was Craig as she picked it up.
“Is something wrong? You sound a bit frosty this morning.”
Madison was embarrassed thinking that she was rather short with her greeting. “I’m sorry. You caught me just as I was heading back outside. My back yard is fast turning into a zoo and I’m not certain what to do about it.”
“Are you saying you need to cancel this afternoon?” The concern in Craig’s voice was unmistakable.
“No, I don’t want to disappoint the children and I’m looking forward to it myself. It’s just that I’ve discovered the kittens are slightly larger than I originally thought and Mama Cat does not seem very friendly. In addition we have three dogs who have been added to the mix and a flock of birds are cursing at me.”
Craig interrupted, “Have you taken time for breakfast this morning?”
Madison looked at the coffee, still untouched. Craig didn’t wait for an answer. “I was calling to say that I’m ready to leave to get the children. I was going to take them to the diner for late breakfast of early lunch before we head in your direction. It sounds like you will be in need of some more supplies. The kids will be excited about a trip to the store so I’ll pick up some food for your zoo. It’ll all take at least a couple of hours so you get something to eat and take it easy.”
Madison thought he might be laughing at her but she didn’t care. It would be a great help if he brought more dog food. Right now coffee would be her first priority. She decided that a fresh pot was called for and by the time she had returned from the back yard again, the aroma was permeating the kitchen. Craig had been right. Some toast and jelly would make her feel a lot better. She turned around and was rewarded with the sight of three pups at the bowl. The two new pups looked up at her and she thought they were saying “thank you”. Somehow she knew it was all going to work out.
(to be continued)
- accepting clients
- book club suggestion
- Book Review
- boomer books
- dancing and hugs
- historical fiction
- Job Loss
- literary agent
- Long-term unemployment
- Middle Class
- reading lists