“Hungry, eh? If you finish the car, I’ll go cook,” Chloe proposed. Todd was famished. He snatched the rag from her, soaped it, and began wiping the crusty wheel wells.
“Not pizza again, okay?” was his plea.
“Oh no, it will be something totally different and delicious! It should be ready by the time the car is shining. Oops! You missed a spot there,” pointing to the rear fender and trying to control the laughter that built inside her.
“Yeah…. I got it,” he irritably said. “Just hurry though…I’m starving!”
Chloe patted him on the head, “Yes, my little Toddy.” She barely got out of the way when her brother flung the soapy rag at her.
Mom and Dad were gone for the week visiting relatives in Omaha. Although they were missed, it was fun to have the independence of running the household in their absence. Now what shall we have tonight? She peered into the freezer and pulled out a microwavable mac and cheese dish. Removing it from the carton, she lifted the corner of the plastic and put it in for eight minutes on high. I’ll find a nice dish to serve it in, and viola…home cooked magic!
After Todd finished his feast, he was heading upstairs when Chloe called out from the kitchen, “Todd! Could you come here a minute please?”
Todd descended the stairs again, leaned on the entryway to the kitchen with his arms crossed and said, “What?”
“Well, I just thought we could spend some special time together. You know who I saw today? Jody!” Jody is a girl Todd likes a lot at school.
“Where did you see her?” he asked as he moved closer to the sink.
I handed him a dishrag, guided him to the sink and said, “She was outside after lunch, so we had a nice long chat. I didn’t realize she was so interested in you!”
His face beamed. “Really? She said she liked me?”
“Well, she is a woman of few words, but I would say that the conversation involved you.”
“Well, what did she say?” he eagerly asked.
“I think it was more of the look in her eyes when you were mentioned. I would call it a…wistful look. She gave me her phone number, perhaps thinking I would give it to you. Let me go find it.” Chloe bounced out of the kitchen, grabbed her favorite magazine, and headed for the couch, while Todd finished the dishes.
Todd entered when he was finished. “Did you find her number?”
Chloe looked up, saddened her face and said, “No, I didn’t. I’m sorry. I’ll keep looking for it though.”
Todd rubbed his dishpan hands, and headed upstairs. “I can’t believe she likes me.”
“Of course she does,” I encouraged at his ascent.
Just then, the front door opened and their parents walked in with armloads of suitcases.
“Oh! What are you doing home early?” Chloe innocently asked.
“Well, it seems your father ran out of his medication and we couldn’t call in a refill, because the original bottle was home. So here we are!” Mom was obviously frustrated with Dad. He just nodded in agreement and shrugged.
“Honey, I’m so sorry we had to come home early. We were having such a good time at your Uncle Fred’s. There is so much beautiful pastureland there. What a disappointment! Thank you for giving so sacrificially for me. You are too good for me!” Dad hung his head.
“Oh Arthur, don’t get so dramatic. It’s not that big of a deal. It’s always nice to come home,” she said as she took the suitcase to their room.
“Yes, it is…” Dad said under his breath as he slumped into his easy chair and removed his jacket.
From his pocket, a handful of pills spilled on the carpet. He quickly flew out of the chair to pick them up.
“Dad, are those the pills you supposedly ran out of?” Chloe asked with a suspicious look.
“Honey, after looking at cows for three days, something had to happen. I couldn’t take any more stink walks through the pastures or Uncle Fred’s cattle prod jokes. I believe I was beginning to lose it. I was desperate! You can understand that, can’t you?” The look of pleading was too much. I bust out laughing at his shrewdness. I hugged my Dad and knew that this apple didn’t fall too far from the tree.
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