Betty hated winter.
It made her bones ache in her hands and wrists, and it seemed to bring out the worst in her sons.
All spring and summer, their father kept the three boys busy. They worked in the cotton fields they were share cropping, hoeing and chopping. Backbreaking work. They fell into bed at the end of each day, exhausted.
But winter was their time. “Let boys be boys.” Their father would say. They had free reign to do as they please, much to her chagrin.
Last week, they were caught skiing down Main Street. An ice storm had closed down the street with thick ice and they had found a jet ski and a boogie board. Her oldest son, Brian drove the jet ski with Calvin, the youngest hanging on the back. Jerry stood on the boogie board and held onto a rope.
“It wouldn’t have been so bad, Missus Dudley,” the sheriff’s deputy rubbed the back of his neck. “But they were goin 60 miles an hour in a 30 mile an hour zone.”
Today, the boys had been out longer than usual and she began to get worried.
Just as she put a chicken in the oven, the phone rang. 'Here it comes', she thought to herself.
The voice on the other end was the sheriff himself. “Missus Dudley?”
“Where are my boys, Sheriff Grant?” Betty wasted no time on niceties.
“They are with me, Missus Dudley.”
She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. “What did they do?”
“Well, Missus Dudley, it would seem that your boys decided to build an ice house. They chopped up some ice and decided that was too much work and would do ice fishing instead. Since they had chopped holes in the frozen pond to get their ice blocks, they thought to fish there. But the wind was a bit nippy, so somehow, they got Mr. Johnson’s old shed and pulled it onto the pond. They said that it kept slipping out of place, so they chained it to their pickup truck.”
She let him continue without comment.
“Calvin, he had some cherry bombs left over from Fourth of July and they tried to blast the fish out. But his aim wasn’t too good and one firecracker landed in a corner. Before they could grab it, it exploded, and caught the shed on fire.”
“My boys!” She felt faint.
“Now, your boys are fine.” Sheriff Grant reassured her. “They got out ok, but between the heat of the fire, and the explosions, the hole got bigger and the shed sank into the pond.”
'He seemed to enjoy telling this story,' Betty thought to herself.
“When the truck started rolling toward the water, Brian realized he had forgotten to set the parking brake.”
“Oh, no. Not the pickup?”
“Yes, ma’am. It’s at the bottom of the pond. Didn’t know it was so deep.” Sheriff Grant cleared his throat. “There’s more, ma’am.”
“Go on.” Her head swam. Would this never end?
“Well, Brain called Ted, you know his father owns the towing company. Anyways, they talked Ted into bringing out the tow truck and they tried to fish the truck out. I’m still not sure what they hooked onto, but the winch wasn’t strong enough to lift it up. Calvin took it into his head that if you revved up the engine, it would boost the winch motor. He hopped into the cab and stomped on the gas. The truck slipped gears and shot forward, breakin the winch off the truck. He traveled a good block before he ran over Missus Tompkins gas meter.”
“But its alright, Missus Dudley, the fire department took real good care of that.”
“Where are they now?”
“I put them in a jail cell. Seemed like they caused enough mischief for one day and they couldn’t do much harm there.”
“I see. I’ll be coming in as soon as I find their father.”
“Well, do what you must, but they said they would rather stay in jail than face their dad.”
"Me too!" She said her good byes and hung up.
Betty hated winter.
It made her bones ache and seemed to bring out the worst in her boys.
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