Good morning, all. It is awake I am and the juices are flowing this morning. Just wanted to check in with you. Going back to my writing now. Will be posting today's portion of the story in about one hour. Come on back then, and see what young Pete has to contend with today, won't you?
(Okay, I'm back.) Pete finished scanning the local want ads. He had been hoping to find summer jobs for the boys. Pete was thankful for the three days a week delivering flowers that he had. Still, it would help if he got something that paid more money or were given more hours per week. Yet, he didn't complain. He knew that his having the delivery job was a blessing because he could drop by to check on the boys and his sister if he needed to and he saved money on lunch that way too. He sighed and was still perusing over the job situation when Julie came back in lugging her crocheting box. She had been given a kit, but Julie's work had soon needed more space and had grown to fruit box size, though Julie, bless her heart, still referred to it as her kit.
Julie placed her things just so around her and then bent to get the ripple afghan that she had just started. She had drug her granny square throw from her bedroom chair and her crochet on the double afghan that she had made for her bed, downstairs with her.
“Pete,” eleven-year-old Julie said.
Pete looked up and said, “What Julie?”
“I was wonderin’ if I could make some throws and coverlets for some of my friends and all.” Pete had learned years before never to take anything Julie asked him for granted, so he said, “And just what does ‘And all’ mean?”
"Well," said Julie, sort of hem-hawing. "I wondered if I might sell some of them in the children's bazaar booth at the July 4th and Labor Day picnics?"
Pete looked at Julie, his little sis and wondered where the time had gone. He couldn't believe that she was eleven years old. It seemed like it was just yesterday that Dad had died. Pete shook himself out of his reverie and replied, "I don't know, Julie let me ask Mom about that. Okay?"
Julie said, "I hate it when you say that because you and Mom always say no to everything I want to do to help out around here. In case you both hadn't noticed, I am not a baby anymore. When Daddy died, "He didn't leave no babies!"
Pete pushed back from the table and reached Julie in one stride. He enfolded her in his arms and said, "Aw Spunkin, that's not fair."
Julie started to cry and told him about the girls in her English class talking about where they were going to go for school shopping during the summer. She told Pete that Gwendolyn Braggadocious had named all of the girls in the room that mattered. After she had done that to the whispering snickers and thumbs up from her buddies, she had proceeded to name the other girls in the room one by one. She had said that Hanna Ship was too fat to matter. The whole class had laughed at that. "But I didn't laugh because I did not think it was funny and I wondered what she was going to say when she got to me," said Julie.
Pete was wiping his sister's eyes when the boys came in from their chores, books in hand. They both stopped in the kitchen doorway and chorused, "What's wrong with Julie?"
"Nothing, a little family talk, and TLC, won't cure," Pete said with asperity.
Joe bounded into the room and grabbed a tissue out of the tissue box that was on the table and handed it to his sister, before settling himself on the sofa. Bud sat in the wing back chair that Momma always used.
"Alright guys, Mom just drove up in the driveway, so go help her bring in the food," said Pete.
The boys bounced up and headed toward the glassed in area that was their front porch to stop short. Their Mom was already out of the car and she was hurriedly wiping her eyes as she turned away from the windows back toward the car. Bud, ever the sharp one said, "She looks like she's been crying."
They both turned and went back into the living room and Joe, said to Pete, "Momma's been crying, Sh-sh-sh."
When Momma came into the front room, she had four innocent looking pairs of eyes intently looking at her. She said to Julie, "Where's my hug; can't a momma get a hug around here today?" To which all of her children responded, and she ended up in a big bear of a group hug. Julie's voice was heard from within the group hug, "Momma, why were you crying?"
The boys yelled, "Julie."
Momma shushed each one of them and told them all to sit down. Then she said, I have some bad news, children. Bud piped in, "I hope it don't mean that I don't get my x-box for my birthday."
Pete cleared his throat and grunted under his breath and said, "What is it Momma that has made you cry?"
"It's nothing that a little extra effort from all of us won't remedy. It's just that Claudia Braggadocious used my computer after hours yesterday and sent out some unflattering emails about the boss' wife. The boss' wife came to the office today, and we all could hear her crying from his office. When she left, she gave me a red-eyed, malevolent stare and hissed as she passed me that she had been nothing but good to me. Then her husband called me into his office and fired me after yelling at me. He was so mad when he called me in, that he slammed his office door so hard that it bounced back open, and all of the office got to hear him dress me down. I was so humiliated that I could not hold my head up as I packed my things."
Momma sat down on the arm of the couch and finished drying her tears and said, "But that is that. What we have to do is figure out how to make ends meet until I can get another job. Pete, I didn't stop by the store on my way home. Do you kids think that you can eat the remainder of yesterday's spaghetti for dinner?" Sure we can; can't we troop," said Joe.
When Momma headed to the bathroom to freshen up, Pete who had not said a word, looked at Bud and said, "You are in charge until I get back. Make sure everybody gets the same amount of spaghetti. Me? Don't worry about me. I ate on the truck today."
Pete went upstairs and came back down with his steel baseball bat and banged out of the door. He was muttering under his breath about seeing a liar about a lie and a bonehead about a bone.
Momma came out of the bathroom to see him tearing down the road in her car. All she could do was wring her hands because she had never learned to drive that old stick of Pete's that had belonged to her husband. Momma got on the phone and called her brother, Justin, in Toledo, who lived 200 miles away.
(That's all today dear blog reader. Tune in tomorrow for another day in the life of Pete Handlebiz and the troop.)
Doing What I Can, While I Can,