“Jason Lee Baldwin, you get yourself in here right this minute,” a voice called out over the lawn and up to the tree house where one nine year-old Jason Lee Baldwin was hiding.
He put a finger to his lips. Wide eyed, his eight year-old brother, Barry Ray, and six year-old sister, Sherri Lynn, barely moved, watching him.
“You’re in a pound of trouble,” Barry whispered. “Pa’s gonna yank a knot in your butt for sure when he gets home.”
“All I did was check for that leak in my bike tire by filling water in the sink” Jason explained.
The back door of their home slammed shut. “Oh what I’d do for just a moment of peace around here.” Their mother’s voice faded into the house.
“I’m tellin’,” Sherri whispered to Barry.
“For your saying a naughty word.”
“You know and I’m not saying it ‘cause then I’ll had said it.”
Barry looked bewildered and Jason said. “She’s talkin’ ‘bout butt.” He looked at Sherri. “Butt’s not a naughty word; it’s just somethin’ we all got.”
“You’re just saying that to keep Barry out of trouble.”
Jason looked at his brother and rolled his eyes. “We got bigger problems that that.”
Suddenly they heard their mother scream from the laundry room. “Barry Ray, how many times have I told you not to bring those frogs of yours into this house?”
“Now you’re both in trouble,” Sherri said, smugly.
“And Sherri Lynn,” their mother continued, “you keeping your chewed bubble gum in your pockets is positively disgusting.”
Sherri blushed and shrugged.
“We gotta think of somethin’ to calm her down before Dad gets home next Monday from his meetin’,” Jason said. “But what?”
“She did say she’d like a little peace around here.” Barry offered.
“Okay,” Jason said, hopefully.
“She’s always sayin’ how peaceful it is at church.” Sherri helped out.
“And she likes bubble baths,” Barry went on, ‘cause the way she smiles when she comes outta the bathroom. Pa says it makes her feel rested.”
“Maybe we could talk to Reverend Brown and he’d let Momma sit in that baptismal tub during one of his sermons…”
“And we could bring some of her bubble bath,” Sherri broke in excitedly, “cause it smells so pretty.”
Jason shook his head. “I don’t know; I think she’d feel kinda funny taking a bath in front of all those church people.”
“Then what are we gonna do?”
“We could run away.”
“Don’t you ever watch TV?” Jason said, grimly. “They’d have people in the house asking all sorts of questions and Mom would be upset ‘cause things weren’t dusted or something.”
“Yeah, then Dad would come home early from his meetin’ and we’d really have our butt’s in a sling.”
Sherri glared at him and he said, “Jason told you, that’s not a bad word.”
Jason ignored them both. “They might even ask about our doin’ our homework.”
“I do my homework,” Sherri added proudly.
“You’re in kindergarten, you draw pictures. You don’t do real things like numbers and words.”
“Someday I will.”
Jason sighed. “So, what are we going to do?”
Sherri brightened. “I know, in Sunday School we learned about God tellin’ us to say we’re sorry when we do something wrong ‘cause when we do, it makes everyone feel better.”
“Oh brother, that’s about the dumbest idea…”
“No, wait.” Jason’s eyes widened. “Why Sherri Lynn, I think you’re a genius. Momma’s always telling us to do things to make God happy and this has gotta make Him happy so it’ll make Momma happy, too.” His enthusiasm exited the others
“It’d sure get us out of a jam.”
“We’ll apologize, help out with the chores, like sweeping the garage, takin’ out the trash, makin’ our beds…lot’s of things.”
“I’m old enough to help set the table.” Sherri beamed.
“I’ve got some money. I could ride my bike down to the store to buy some ice cream.
“Yeah, chocolate. She loves chocolate.”
And maybe some new bubble bath?
“Yeah and then be real quite while she takes a bath.”
Radiating with their idea, they scrambled down from the tree house.
At the base of the tree, Sherri turned to her brothers. “Soon as Momma has her bath and finds her peace, I’m tellin’.”
“‘Bout that naughty word.”
Her brothers rolled their eyes, setting out, nonetheless to bring peace to their Momma’s life, regardless of just how temporary that peace might end-up proving to be.
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