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Bill W

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Everything posted by Bill W

  1. Thanks, James, and you'll get a quick glimpse about how all of them have been doing and how they party together.
  2. The wedding is going to be a big event, and we'll soon learn how the Hubbard situation is handled. Thanks for the feedback.
  3. Yes, the wedding and birthday celebration will be awesome, and I'm sorry to keep dragging the Hubbard situation out, but it will be resolved soon, so just hang in there.
  4. Yes, Pat is tying the knot. It should be interesting.
  5. After we finished our discussion with Graham, and the movie the boys were watching had ended, we sent them upstairs to get ready for bed. When we went up to tuck them in, Revin had something he wanted to tell us. “I had fun makin’ the Easter eggs. I’ve never done that before, but I liked doin’ it.” “I’ll make sure to tell Grandpa Josh then, because it was his idea,” I agreed. When Brandon and I went downstairs after saying goodnight to each of the boys, we immediately began getting ready for Easter morning. We’d be waking the boys a little earlier than usual so they’d have time to find their Easter baskets and the Easter eggs before we headed to church, and we got busy hiding those things now. Before we could do that, however, Brandon and I had to put together the Easter baskets for our sons, while Dion and Trey did the same for their two. We utilized the candy and other items Brandon and Trey had purchased the previous day, and then Brandon and Trey hid the Easter baskets while Dion and I hid the eggs. We made sure each basket had one of the boy’s names attached to it so they’d get the correct one, because there were a couple of extra items in each one that we’d added for that particular boy. Once those things had been taken care, the four of us said goodnight to Dad, Pop, and the others and turned in as well. The next morning we got the boys up at 7:30 so they could claim their Easter baskets and find the eggs. Ryan and Noah weren’t totally with it just yet, so they told the other boys that if they spotted their Easter basket to bring it to them and they’d give them a dollar later. The other boys didn’t mind doing that, since they’d already be scouring the first floor looking for their Easter basket, and they might even pick up an extra buck in the process. While the boys were racing around the downstairs, Dad and Pop started getting things ready to make breakfast, and before long some of the others began emerging from their rooms and joining us as well. It seems the boys were making enough noise looking for those items that it woke the others up, but they weren’t upset. They merely joined us in watching the enthusiastic antics of our sons as they searched for the hidden surprises. Once they found the Easter eggs, we had the boys put them back in the cartoons to make sure they found them all. We didn’t want to miss one and then have our noses find it later, after it began to rot. Besides, anyone who wanted to eat one of the hard boiled eggs were welcome to them, so this way they were all in one place when anyone was so inclined. Once each of the boys had their Easter baskets and all of the eggs had been found, we told the boys they’d have to wait until later before they could eat any of the candy. They didn’t put up too much of a fuss about that, and then we all went in to have breakfast together. As soon as we finished eating, everyone began to get ready for church. We would all be attending, although we’d have to take several vehicles to get there. We’d also be meeting up with some of the others who lived locally, and then they’d follow us back to the house once the service ended so they could have Easter dinner with us. Brandon and the boys went with me to pick up Becky. As soon as she got in the SUV, Revin began telling her about what he’d done the previous day and this morning. “I got to color some of the Easter eggs yesterday with Grandpa Josh, and this mornin’ I had to hunt for my Easter basket and some of the eggs.” Becky raised her eyebrows when she heard this, and then she looked at us. “The Easter bunny must have got confused then, because he left an Easter basket for you at our house too.” “Oh, goody, I get two Easter baskets this time.” “Maybe you could share some of the candy you got at their house with the other boys then,” his mom suggested. “But they got their own Easter baskets,” Revin reasoned. He obviously didn’t want to share his good fortune. “You don’t have to give it all to them, maybe just give half of it to them, or maybe you could share it with Dr. Currie and Dr. O’Hara.” “Yeah, they can have some of my candy, and Grandpa Josh and Grandpa Jake too, cuz they’re all really nice to me.” That seemed to placate Becky’s fears that Revin would eat too much candy, and we were soon at the church and heading inside. On the way to our class we introduce her to Pat and Tori, and then we introduced her to Graham, Sammy, and Andrew next.” “I hope I can remember all of your names,” she said as she greeted them. “Don’t worry about it. They’ll let you know if you get it wrong, and you’ll be meeting a lot more people before the day is over, but we’ll wait and introduce you to the others when we get to the house.” I was sure her head was spinning as we sat down and waited for the class to begin. After the class ended, I offered an explanation to Becky about the situation with the Easter baskets. “We couldn’t very well have our sons find their Easter baskets and have Revin disappointed about not having one.” “Yes, I understand, and I should have talked to you about it in advance, since I knew he’d be with you on Easter morning.” “We’ll know better next time,” I agreed, and then we went to find the others so we could all sit together for the sermon. We ran into Uncle Steve, Aunt Mary, and Aunt Sally along the way, so I thought I’d handle that situation now. “Becky, let me introduce you to three of our very closest friends. This is Steve and Mary Shay and this is Sally Swarthout. Uncle Steve is a judge and he’s handled many of the adoptions for us, and Aunt Sally is the head of D.S.S. and has helped us find some of the boys. Uncle Steve, Aunt Mary, and Aunt Sally this is Becky Kramer, and you will meet her son, Revin, when we get to the house. He and Tristan have become very good friends.” The four of them chatted briefly, and then we had to take our seats for the service. Our extended family occupied nearly three full pews as we settled in to listen to today’s homily. It was another lengthy service, which was to be expected seeing the minister had a great deal to remind us about on this very special day. As soon as the minister led us in the closing prayer and we’d uttered our final amen, we hurried outside so we could get to the house first. We wanted to be there when the others arrived so we could introduce them to Becky, one car full at a time. Once we arrived home, Dad asked Ryan and Noah to help Dion and Trey set up a banquet table in the living room and another in the foyer, because we’d need them today. “Should we set up any of the card tables?” Noah asked. “No, I think there will be enough room at the dining room and the two banquet tables so we won’t need any of the card tables this time.” While they were doing that, Brandon and I welcomed everyone as they arrived, and we had Becky stay with us. We also asked the boys to lend a hand, and they took everyone’s coat and hung it in the closet in the family room. Over the course of the next half hour, we introduced Becky to Kevin and Vinnie, Jessie, Cole and Beth, Dustin and Katie, and Richard. Even though it seemed like a large group to her, we explained that there were many more who wouldn’t be attending today. “I don’t know how you guys do it and are still kind enough to invite Revin and me to join you.” “It’s because you’re part of our family now too,” I stated, which earned me a hug. “You’re too much,” she said as she released me. Everyone milled around in the various rooms chatting and catching up with each other until Dad announced it was time to eat. Everyone then took their place at one of the tables, with the adults in the dining room and living room, while the boys gathered around the table in the foyer. Before we started to eat, however, Pat asked Dad if he could say something. “I think you’ve all met Tori by now,” he said as he looked around the room. “The reason we came here today is because we wish to make an announcement. I’ve told some of you already that I proposed to Tori on New Year’s Day and she accepted, and we’ve now set a date and made the appropriate reservations for the wedding. We’re going to get married in Pittsburgh on August 18th and you’re all invited to join us. You’ll also be getting an official invitation in the mail, but we wanted to also ask you in person.” “So you’re getting married on Dad’s birthday?” Dustin followed. “Yes, I thought of that when we chose a date, and since the entire family will be there I thought we could also celebrate his birthday at the reception. Tori thought it was a good idea as well.” “Wow, that’s going to be one wild day,” Kevin observed. “I hope you reserved a big hall for the reception.” “Yes, it will handle up to 250 people, so there should be enough room for both of our families and friends. I just want you to R.S.V.P. as soon as possible, because I’m also going to reserve entire floors of the hotel that’s near the church and reception sites to make it easy on all of you.” “And I’ll make it even easier,” Dad offered. “I’ll charter a bus for everyone living in the area so we won’t have to drive so many vehicles. Just let me know if you’re interested in doing that.” “When would it leave and when would it return?” Kevin wanted to know. “That way I can let Jeff know so he can be in charge of the pharmacy while I’m gone.” “If the bus leaves at 8:00 on Saturday morning, we’ll have plenty of time to get to Pittsburgh before the wedding. We’ll leave Pittsburgh on Sunday afternoon so we’ll be back early enough that you’ll have a chance to get ready for work the next day.” “Ok, that sounds good,” Kevin agreed, and then Dad offered a brief prayer before we began to eat. Each table had plenty of food for those sitting there, and we all gorged ourselves before we finished and pushed away from the tables. Throughout the meal various individuals got up and walked over to Pat and Tori so they could congratulate them, so it turned out to be a double celebration. “Thank you for inviting me. That was a wonderful meal,” Becky said as we were leaving the table. “I don’t think I could have ever done that well fixing a meal, even if it was for only a tenth of the people you have here.” “Dad and his helpers have had plenty of practice over the years and they’ve patented the process,” I replied. “If you liked today, then you will love it when you join us for Thanksgiving and Christmas.” “It was amazing,” she gushed, “and I can’t believe you’re inviting us to join you when you’ll be having even more people than you have here today.” “Yes, as I said you’re part of the family now, so we expect you to come.” “Ok, and if those meals are half as good as today I know I’ll enjoy them.” “And we’re not done yet. In an hour or so we’ll have dessert.” “I’m not sure I have room left for dessert,” she stated while looking horrified at the thought of eating more. “That’s why we wait a while first,” I confessed. “It gives what we’ve just eaten a chance to settle so there will be room for more.” “I see, so maybe I’ll have enough room for a small portion.” In the interim, Becky had a chance to chat with some of the others and got to know them better, while the family members also became acquainted with her. She attempted to keep an eye on Revin at the same time, but he was busy racing about with the other boys, so sometimes he was out of her view. “I hope you don’t have a problem with Revin running around the house with the other boys,” she stated looking concerned. “Of course not. He knows his way around and he’s not the only one doing it, so he’s fine. Don’t worry about him and just enjoy yourself.” She seemed to relax a little after that and had some very in depth conversations with the others. She had a chance to learn a little about each of them, and they learned more about her and Revin as well, and that continued until it was time for dessert. “You have two choices,” Dad announced after calling us back to the tables, “so just let me know which one you’d prefer. I made a pineapple upside down cake and a cherry cake with cream cheese frosting.” The boys all opted for the cherry cake, along with some of our brothers, but most of the adults preferred the pineapple upside down cake. “I haven’t had this in ages,” Becky said after she took her first bite. “My mother used to make it on special occasions, and this is just as wonderful as she used to make.” “I’ll let Dad know you enjoyed it.” “Yes, tell him he did a great job with everything today. I’ll try to tell him myself, but with so many people here I’m afraid I might not get a chance to do that.” “I’ll do it for you, just in case you don’t have an opportunity to tell him personally.” Shortly after we finished our desserts, some of our guests decided it was time for them to leave, since they had a long trip home. Pat and Tori were the first to depart. “Thanks for joining us and sharing your great news,” Dad told them as they were getting ready to leave. “Thanks for having us,” Tori replied. “The meal was wonderful and I had a great time.” “I’m glad you did and I look forward to dancing with you at the reception.” “I look forward to that too.” The rest of us took turns congratulating them again, as well as saying goodbye, and each of us promised to let them know if we’d be able to attend their nuptials. “You’ve given us enough notice that even Frankie should be able to take time off so he can be there as well,” Dad stated. “Good, because we hope every member of this family can attend.” “Just don’t forget to warn the Pittsburgh riot squad to be ready for us,” Dion teased. “I’m sure they’ll be on high alert,” Tori joked in return. “And that’s just for our sons,” Brandon added, drawing a few punches and harsh looks from the boys. Graham, Sammy, and Andrew left next, but Graham managed to pull me aside first so we could speak privately. “Let me know how things turn out with Dad’s friend and don’t be afraid to ask if you need me to come back again.” “I’ll keep in touch and hopefully you won’t have to do that. Thank you for all you’ve done already.” “Hey, that’s what family is for.” Shortly after they drove off, Uncle Steve, Aunt Mary, and Aunt Sally took their leave as well, and then Becky turned to me and spoke. “I’m afraid it’s time for me and Revin to return home.” “Ok, I’ll have Tristan get your coats and I tell Brandon that I’m going to drive you back.” Of course Tristan and Wyatt wanted to go with me when I took the Kramers home, so I let Dion and Trey know too. I then drove the two of them to their place and said goodbye. “Thanks for inviting us. We had a wonderful time,” Becky announced as she was getting out of the SUV. “Yeah, thanks for lettin’ me stay with you again cuz I had a lot of fun,” Revin added. “You’re both welcome and I’m glad you enjoyed spending the day with us.” “And I can’t wait to stay with you next Saturday,” Wyatt added, which brought a smile to Revin’s face. “I’ll try to plan something special to do with you boys then,” Becky offered. “I’m sure they’ll be happy with whatever you do,” I responded, hoping she didn’t feel obligated to do something huge or expensive the next time these two stayed with them. “Bye, Revin. I’ll see you at school,” Tristan said before Becky shut the door, and then they all waved at each other. Once they were safely inside, I took the other two home and we said goodbye to the rest of our guests as they were leaving. Once everyone had gone, we helped Dad clean up the mess and put away the banquet tables. Once that had been taken care of, we all went to the family room and crashed in front of the TV. “That was fun,” Joshie said once we were all together. “I like it when so many people are here.” “Grandpa Josh, did you know Uncle Pat was getting married?” Benny asked. “He told me he’d proposed to Tori when I talked to him on New Year’s Day, but I didn’t know they’d set a date already.” “Are you mad that they’re going to get married on your birthday?” Ryan followed. “No. In fact I’m honored, because they’re going to have a birthday party for me at their reception. Most people wouldn’t want to share their special day with someone else.” “Yeah, I didn’t think of that,” Ryan confessed. “That is pretty nice.” “Do you think we’ll be able to get everyone on one bus to go there,” Trey wanted to know. “I’ll make that determination once I know how many want to go with us. If there are more individuals than can fit on one bus, then I’ll just charter two buses instead of one.” “Won’t that be expensive?” Noah asked. “Yes, but considering it’s going to be a very special event, it will be worth it.” After watching a movie the boys had selected on one of the channels, we went out to the dining room for a quick snack. We merely had sandwiches made from the leftover ham we had earlier, along with whatever else they wanted. The boys also had another piece of cake to go with it, and then we told them they had an hour to do whatever they wanted before they had to get ready for bed. Once they took off, the rest of us sat down to chat with Dad. “So you’re going to call the medium tomorrow?” Dion wanted to know. “Yes, I’ll call him while you’re at work. I’ll let you know what he has to say when you get home.” “I hope he knows of a way to end this with Hubbard permanently,” Brandon added. “And I hope he can get here soon, if he does have a way to end this,” Trey stated. “I think we all hope for those things,” Dad agreed. “The medium was quick to tell me to call him if I needed anything else, so I have a feeling he has a backup plan.” “I hope so, because I don’t want Hubbard to get out of hand,” I stated. “He’s already killed cats and I’m worried that he might do something that would injure one of the boys.” “I know and I’m going to do everything in my power to prevent that from happening,” Dad confirmed. “If the medium can’t help us, then I’ll just call around until I find someone who can.” “Ok, that sounds good,” Trey agreed for all of us. “Just let us know if we can do anything to help,” I added. After we sent the boys upstairs to get ready for bed, we went up to say goodnight and tuck the younger boys in. Once that had been taken care of, Brandon and I went to our room, ready to turn in as well. It had been a tiring, but enjoyable, day spending time with the extended family, but tomorrow we’d be returning to the normal grind again. We just hoped Dad and the medium could solve the Hubbard problem for good.
  6. Happy Birthday, big guy. I hope it was a great one.
  7. Bill W

    Sorting Things Out

    Yes, that's all very true so we'll see if they are able to find someone with experience who can handle this for them.
  8. Bill W

    Sorting Things Out

    Thanks, stix, and Hubbard will be dealt with.
  9. Bill W

    Sorting Things Out

    It seems you might be right about that.
  10. The week was going by peacefully, but that all changed when we got home from work on Thursday night. Brandon and I had gone up to our bedroom to change when Dion knocked on the door. After telling him to come in, we could tell that something was wrong by the look on his face. “What’s the matter?” Brandon asked. “I decided to walk the perimeter of the property earlier to see if Hubbard had been up to more mischief when I found three dead cats.” “What makes you think he was responsible for that? Couldn’t the cats have just died naturally?” I asked. “No, their heads were bashed in.” “Cats are skittish, so how could Hubbard have been able to do that?” Brandon wondered. “Either the cats couldn’t see or sense him coming, since he is a ghost, or he killed them by throwing rocks at them.” “Throwing rocks at them wouldn’t crush their skulls,” Brandon countered skeptically. “No, but he could have stunned them first by hitting them with a rock he threw and then bashed their heads in afterward.” “Dad said Graham will be here on Saturday, so we only have to wait a couple of days before we get our answer,” I stated hoping it would calm him down. “If Graham spots Hubbard then it would be a good indicator that he’s responsible for everything that’s been happening.” We encouraged Dion not to tell anyone else about this, not even Dad or Pop, because we were afraid that one or more of the boys might overhear the conversation. In the interim, Brandon agreed to keep the boys occupied after dinner so Dion and I could go out and bury the evidence. We didn’t want the boys to learn about the latest incident. We were able to keep things fairly normal for the rest of the night and still accomplish our mission, and then the following evening Revin came home with the others so he could spend the weekend again. The boys were playing video games in the family room when Brandon and I got there, so we popped in to say ‘hello’. We waited until the boys had finished the game they were currently playing before we spoke. “Did you boys have a good day?” I asked after we’d greeted them. “Yeah, and my mom’s excited about going to church with us on Sunday and then coming here to celebrate Easter,” Revin told us. “I’m very glad to hear that, and I hope you’re happy to be here as well.” “Yeah, I always like coming here cuz I get to be with Tristan and Wyatt and there’s so much to do.” “So you don’t come here to see the rest of us?” Brandon teased. “Yeah, I like being with you guys too, but the weekend goes faster when I’m here cuz I’m doin’ somethin’ all the time.” “Ah, ok,” Brandon replied. “And we enjoy it when you’re here as well.” Brandon and I then went upstairs to change and we didn’t see the boys again until we sat down to eat later. We were about halfway through the meal when Revin asked a question. “How come they call this GOOD Friday if it’s the day Jesus was killed?” “Damn, he’s doing it again,” Noah groaned. “Ignore him, and that’s a very good question,” Dad stated while glaring at Noah. “There are three possible explanations that I know of. The first is that it turned out to be very good for everyone in the world because Jesus gave up his life to save the rest of us from our sins, thus making it a Good Friday. The second is that it was first called Holy Friday, and the word good was used as a synonym for holy, thus making it Good Friday. The last is that the day was also referred to as God’s Friday, and then later a written or verbal version of that term was misinterpreted as Good Friday.” “Ok, I see now,” Revin responded, looking satisfied. “And I’m glad to see that you’re a curious young man who isn’t afraid to ask questions,” Dad added, taking an indirect shot at Noah. “Yeah, but the rest of us have to listen to it too,” Noah countered. “And it doesn’t hurt you to learn these things either, because I doubt you knew that information beforehand.” “I knew the first part, but not the other two,” Noah followed. “And now you know those as well,” Dad added smugly. The rest of the evening wasn’t quite as eventful or combative, and eventually we went up to tuck the boys in after they got ready for bed. When we entered the room, Tristan looked up and asked a question. “What are we gonna do tomorrow?” “I’m not sure,” I replied. “Grandpa Josh might need some help getting ready for Sunday, and some of us will be cleaning the house and preparing the bedrooms for company. I doubt we’ll be doing anything special, if that’s what you’re asking.” “Nah, I just wanted to know what was happenin’,” he responded cheerfully, although he appeared slightly disappointed. We finished tucking them in and kissed each one on the forehead before saying goodnight. Brandon and I then went downstairs and told the others about Tristan’s question. “Oh, I have something special for them to do,” Dad announced with a hint of excitement in his voice. “I’m going to have them help me boil eggs and color them for Easter.” “Do you have everything you need to do that?” Brandon wanted to know. “Yes, I purchased a couple of kits while I was doing the shopping and I also bought plenty of eggs, so we’re all set.” “While you’re doing that with them tomorrow, it would be the perfect time for us to run out and pick up the remaining items that we need for their Easter baskets,” Trey pointed out. “You’re right, and I’ll go with you,” Brandon agreed. “So I guess that leaves Dion and me to do the housework,” I stated sarcastically. “You were going to do some of it anyway,” Brandon replied, “and we won’t be gone very long. We’ll help out when we get back.” “Don’t forget that Graham, Sammy, and Andrew will be arriving sometime after lunch,” Dad reminded us. “Yes, and I can’t wait to hear what Graham has to say,” I confirmed. Now that Saturday was planned out, we turned our attention to other things. Elliot’s commencement at Yale will take place at the end of May and Noah’s high school graduation ceremony will happen at the beginning of June. There was a great deal to do to prepare for those milestones as well, and we only have a couple of months before they occur. When our discussion about those topics ended, we all agreed to call it a night and headed to bed. Tomorrow would be a busy day and we all needed to make sure we were well rested. The younger boys woke up early, so we had breakfast with them, as well as with Dad, Pop, Dion, and Trey. The four older boys didn’t wake up until later, so Dad fixed breakfast for them when they finally stumbled downstairs. The rest of us started working on our chores once we finished breakfast, and then Dion and I recruited Ryan and Noah to give us a hand after they finished their breakfast too. They weren’t exactly pleased that we had singled them out, so we explained that Grandpa Josh had something he needed the younger boys help with, which didn’t exactly placate them. “Why do we have to get all these other rooms ready?” Ryan grumbled. “Graham, Sammy, and Andrew are coming for Easter, and we aren’t sure who else might show up, so we’re getting them ready just in case.” “Can’t we just wait and do it if more people show up later?” “We could, but I know you boys and you’ll try to find a way out of helping then as well, so we might as well do it now.” “Awww, come on. We aren’t that bad.” “Not bad, but you can be a little lazy sometimes.” “We help out a lot.” “And you can prove it by helping us get this done now.” He seemed momentarily lost for words, so he quit arguing and did as I asked. While we were doing that, Dad was busy explaining to the other boys what he had planned for them. “Since Easter is tomorrow, I’m going to have you help me prepare a couple dozen Easter eggs. We have to boil the eggs first, and I’m going to have Benny and Joshie help me with that because they’re older. As soon as the hard boiled eggs have cooled down, we’ll begin coloring and decorating them. Benny and Joshie can help with that as well, if you want to, but I’ll leave that decision up to them.” “Is it like we did other years when we wrote on the eggs with that special crayon or put stickers on them before dipping them in the different colors?” Joshie wanted to know. “Yes, that’s exactly what we’re going to do.” “Yeah, that was kinda fun so I’ll do it with you,” Joshie agreed. “And I’ll do it too,” Benny agreed. “I’ve never done it before. Is it hard?” Revin followed. “You mean you’ve never decorated Easter eggs before?” Dad asked mildly surprised. “We had Easter eggs, but I never did anything like you’re talkin’ about. I just had to find where the Easter Bunny hid the Easter eggs so I could put them in my Easter basket.” “I see, so your mom must have decorated them while you were either sleeping or doing something else.” “I didn’t know that. I thought the Easter Bunny brought them.” “The Easter Bunny only brings the Easter baskets,” Tristan explained. “Ok, then if I do this with you guys, maybe my mom will let me do it with her from now on.” “Yes, she just might,” Dad agreed. “But we never helped you boil the eggs before,” Benny challenged. “No, I had Ryan and Noah helping me with that task, because you were too young at the time. When they no longer wanted to help me with it then I just did it myself.” “Oh, ok,” Benny relented. Dad then had both Benny and Joshie place a half dozen eggs in the bottom of a pan and cover them with water. Once they’d done that, he had them adjust the burner on the stove to medium-high, and then he had them place the pan on the burner until the water came to a boil. As soon as that occurred, he had them turn off the burner and place a lid on the pan, and then they set it aside until the water had cooled. Eventually, he helped them drain the water and set the eggs to the side, and then they repeated the process with another half-dozen eggs each. By the time they were finished with the second dozen they took a break, because it was time for lunch. Dad told them they’d finish up and color the eggs after they ate. While Dad, Trey, and Brandon were getting the meal ready, the rest of us washed up, and then we set the table. When Dad announced lunch was ready, we all sat down to enjoy what they’d prepared. “How come you had us stay and watch Benny and Joshie boil the eggs?” Tristan asked while we were chowing down. “It’s because either next year or the year after that Benny and Joshie won’t want to do this any longer and I’ll need new helpers. By watching what they did, you’ll know how it’s done so you’ll be able to take over that job from them.” “So me and Revin will be doin’ that next year?” “Possibly, if Benny and Joshie don’t want to do it again. It will also depend on whether Revin is still coming here and if he wants to do that with you. Remember, it may not be next year and you might have to wait until the year after that.” “Will I do it too?” Wyatt chimed in. “You’ll need to be a little older before I let you do that.” Dad’s answer seemed to depress Wyatt a little, and when Tristan saw how he was reacting, Tristan said something to him. “When we start doin’ that job then you will be nearly as old as we are now. Grandpa Josh wouldn’t let us do it this year either, so you’ll have to wait like we did.” After thinking about it briefly, Wyatt seemed to perk up a bit. “Yeah, we just have to wait until we’re as old as Benny and Joshie are now.” “That’s right,” Dad agreed. “You need to be that old to do the job safely, because I don’t want any of you to get burned, either on the burner or with the boiling water.” “K,” Wyatt replied simply. After Dad had determined the hard-boiled eggs had cooled down, he called the boys together to decorate them. He watched as they did as he instructed and they were doing quite nicely when the front door opened. It was Graham, Sammy, and Andrew. “Hi, guys,” Dad greeted them. “We were wondering when you were going to get here,” “The drive wasn’t bad and the weather’s nice so we made good time,” Sammy answered. “We just got a late start.” “And how was the scenery?” Dad followed. It was his way of asking if Graham had spotted Hubbard without saying so directly. “It was interesting, but I’ll tell you about it later,” Graham replied. He obviously didn’t want to say anything in front of the boys. “I can’t wait to hear about it,” Dad responded. “Are you hungry?” “No, we ate before we left this time,” Andrew confirmed. After Dad excused himself to check on the boys again and was convinced they would be able to continue without his help, he sat down with the rest of us as we chatted with the recent arrivals. We discussed how things had been going and what they’d been up to, and that continued until another car pulled in the driveway a couple of hours later. “Who is it?” Pop asked, since he couldn’t see out the window from where he was sitting. “It’s Pat and Tori,” Trey announced. “I didn’t know they were coming.” “Neither did I,” Dad confessed, “but Pat knows he and Tori are always welcome to join us.” After they came inside and we had a chance to greet them, Dad asked a question. “Why didn’t you call and let us know you were on the way?” “We wanted to surprise you,” Pat answered. “Tori enjoyed herself the last time we were here, so we decided to come back and join you again.” “And we’re happy you’re here,” Dad confirmed as the rest of us nodded in agreement. As Dion and I were helping our guests get settled into one of the open bedrooms, Dad, Pop, Brandon, and Trey were busy in the kitchen preparing our next meal. When everything was ready, they called us to the table to eat. “This is like being at a banquet,” Tori observed as she looked around the table. “I don’t usually eat with this many people, except when I eat in the cafeteria at work.” “Then wait until tomorrow, because there will be even more joining us for Easter dinner,” Dad answered and then chuckled. “Even though Easter is a little earlier than normal this year,” Pat stated next, “at least this time it matches up with the events as they happened in the Bible.” “What do you mean?” Sammy wanted to know. “Passover began at sundown on Good Friday this year, just like it did when Jesus was crucified. It doesn’t always match up that way.” “You’re right and I never thought about that before,” Sammy agreed. “Why isn’t it the same every year?” Revin asked, which caused Noah to groan. “It’s because the two holidays are celebrated by different religions and the dates for each is based on a different criteria,” Dad stated. “It is slightly confusing, but Easter happens on the first Sunday after the first full moon after spring begins, and Good Friday falls on the Friday before Easter. Passover, however, is determined on a different basis and begins on the 15th day of Nisan, which is a month in the Jewish calendar.” “So they don’t use the same calendar as us?” Revin followed. “They do in their daily lives, but their religious ceremonies are based on the traditional Jewish calendar.” “I didn’t know that,” Tori blurted out in surprise. “They’ve maintained the traditional Hebrew calendar throughout the years, and even though it’s the year 2018 for us, their calendar says it’s the year 5779.” “How do you know all of this?” Tori challenged. “I’ll admit I cheated,” Dad confessed. “I did a little research online during the week just in case someone asked about it this weekend.” “Lucky us,” Noah mumbled. “You should be happy that he explained it for us,” Tori said, directing her comment at Noah. “I thought it was very interesting.” Noah didn’t respond, since he felt everyone was taking Dad’s side, and we finished the meal without further comment. Afterward, the boys and a few of the others went to the family room to watch the movie Ben Hur, and the rest of us headed into the living room to see what Graham had discovered. “So did you see Hubbard?” Trey asked to start things off. “I did. In fact, I spotted him as we drove here earlier. I’m not sure if he knows I can see him or if he was just reacting out of habit, but he gave us the finger as we were pulling in the driveway.” “So he’s still hanging around,” Trey sighed. “Yes, he is,” Graham concurred. “I’ve also been looking out various windows on that side of the house to see what he’s up to and he seems to be constantly patrolling that section of the property line.” “It’s the same location where everything has been happening,” I confirmed. “That’s where the SUV got hit with a rock and Dion’s car nearly did, and it’s where the branches and glass was found in the street.” “And it’s where I found three dead cats,” Dion interjected. “That wasn’t near the street, though, and was farther up the same boundary.” “I think he’s been trying to find a way to penetrate the barrier you established,” Graham announced, “and I don’t think he’s going to be satisfied until he gets in the house again.” “Even if he gets past that barrier, there’s another one inside the house, so he’ll just be frustrated again,” Dad pointed out. “Maybe, but he’d be closer to all of you when he does the various things to harass you. Even though he might not be able to get inside the house, he could still do things to the cars or even you guys when you’re outside.” “Damn, I never thought about that,” Dion added showing his exasperation. “We’ve got to stop him from getting past the barrier then.” “Did you see Abernathy too?” Brandon chimed in. “No, just Hubbard. Abernathy might have decided to move on without Hubbard.” “Hopefully he was smart enough to move into the light as the medium directed him,” Dad stated. “I’m not going to do it tonight or tomorrow, but on Monday I’ll call the medium who helped us before and see if he has any suggestions about how we can get rid of Hubbard for good.” “That works for me, but just let me know if you need me to come here again,” Graham offered. “I will, and thank you for doing this.” “It’s not a problem and it got us to spend Easter together too.” We all had a lot to think about now, including what we were going to do if the medium couldn’t help, but at least we knew what we were facing.
  11. Owen's family has moved away, but we'll be seeing him again.
  12. Thanks, tor, I'm glad you enjoyed it.
  13. Thanks, Stix. It seems as if David Hubbard is persistent, if nothing else.
  14. Brandon, that's a possibility, so what do you think he's going to do now?
  15. The next morning we woke the boys and had them get ready for church. After attending Sunday school and sitting through a rather lengthy sermon, we went out for brunch and then dropped Revin off at his house on the way home. “Did you have a good time?” Becky asked when she greeted her son at the door. “It was a blast,” Revin answered. “We did all kinds of fun stuff yesterday for St. Patrick’s Day, and I got a leprechaun tee-shirt too.” “Wow, I guess you did have a good time. Did you thank Dr. Currie and Dr. O’Hara?” “Yep, I did, and Grandpa Josh too.” She raised her eyebrows when he said this. “It’s what all the boys call my dad, and Revin started doing it too. I hope it’s not a problem.” “Actually, I think it’s cute.” “I’m glad you’re not upset. By the way, next week is Palm Sunday, so would you like to join us when we go to church? We’ll have to stop here and pick the boys up anyway, since they’ll be staying with you next Saturday night.” “Yes, I’d love to go with you, and I think I’ll join you the following Sunday for the Easter service as well.” “Great! And I’m glad you’re going to do that, because then you can ride back to the house with us for Easter dinner.” “Is there something I can bring?” “I’m sure Dad has it all planned out already. We usually have ham for dinner and he makes a special cake for dessert.” “Ok, but I feel that I should contribute something.” “You are. You and Revin.” “That’s just two more mouths to feed.” “Don’t worry about it, because no one is going to complain or say a thing.” “Then I look forward to the experience, especially meeting more of your family.” “You’ll also get to meet a few of our friends as well, because some of them will also be joining us.” After finishing my chat with Becky we headed home, but just before we got to the property line something hit the SUV. “What the heck was that?” I asked as I pulled over and stopped. Brandon and I got out to investigate, but I wanted the boys to remain where they were. “You boys stay in your seats while we check it out,” I told them before we closed the car doors. “I didn’t see you hit anything, but there appears to be a small dent in the rear panel on the passenger’s side,” Brandon pointed out. “I wonder what caused it,” I said, and then I walked back to the spot in the street where it had happened. After looking around, I picked up a rock slightly smaller than a baseball that was lying at the edge of the pavement. After picking it up and visually examining the surface, I noticed there was a speck of paint on it that was the same color as our SUV. “I think I found what caused the dent, but I don’t know who threw it,” I said as I carried it over to show Brandon. “I didn’t see anyone else around, but I guess it could have been thrown by a kid hiding somewhere.” “Possibly, and it’s bad enough that I’ll have to get it fixed.” We then got back in the SUV with the boys. “What was it?” Noah asked. “It looks as if someone threw a rock that hit the SUV, but we don’t have any idea who did it.” “That sucks,” Ryan stated, verbalizing what we all felt. When we reached the house, I decided to check with Dad to see if he needed any help either next weekend or on Easter. “Dad is there anything we can do to help the next couple of Sundays, like possibly doing some of the shopping or cooking?” “No, I know exactly what I need and I’ve got everything covered.” “Don’t be afraid to ask if you need anything or if you want us to pick something up.” “I’ll ask if I think of something, but other than Brandon and Trey helping out with the small stuff like they normally do, I’ve got the other tasks well in hand.” “If you say so, and it looks as if Becky and Revin will be joining us as well.” “That’s fine, because there will be more than enough food to go around.” He seemed confident in his plans, but I hoped he wasn’t taking on too much. I can’t help worrying about him since he had a heart attack several years ago. He hasn’t had a relapse or any other problems since then, but I still worry that he is overdoing it at times. That’s one of the reasons Brandon and I took over the hotel from him, because we didn’t want him doing so much. Even though I understand he won’t live forever, I’m not sure what we’d do without him. He does a great deal to help out with the task of raising such a large group of boys, and I know Dion and Trey value his assistance as well. Seeing that issue had been addressed, at least as far as Dad would allow, I went upstairs to change and then I started doing my weekend chores. Before long, Dion came over to speak with me. “I heard about what happened to your SUV when you were driving home, and I think someone threw a rock at my car too. It didn’t hit, but I saw something whiz past the windshield.” “Did you see who threw it?” “No, I didn’t see anyone around. Do you think it might have been David Hubbard again?” “Damn, that possibility hadn’t crossed my mind, but maybe it’s because I was hoping he’d given up and moved on by now.” “Possibly not. The last time Graham was here he said Hubbard was still hanging out just beyond the property line.” “Yes, I remember, so I’ll talk to Dad to see if he thinks we need Graham to come back and see if Hubbard is still hanging around.” “Good idea.” I then got Dad alone so I could mention it to him. “So what do you think?” I asked after explaining the situation to him. “I’ll call and invite Graham, Andrew, and Sammy for Easter, and then he’ll be able to look around while he’s here to see if he can spot Hubbard or Abernathy.” “Ok, let’s do that then, but I actually hope it was just a mischievous kid.” “Yes, because a kid would be less likely to do it again,” Dad agreed. I put the incident out of my mind after our conversation, but the following morning I noticed something else. Brandon and I had just left for work and as I was driving down the street I noticed the sunlight glinting off of something in the road. I stopped to examine what it was. “Damn, someone smashed a glass bottle, or maybe two on the pavement,” I told Brandon as I got back into the driver’s seat. “I’m going to back up to the house so I can grab the push broom and sweep it to the shoulder. There are a couple of nasty looking shards that could puncture a tire and cause a flat, or possibly an accident.” I backed into the driveway, put the SUV in park, and went inside to get the broom. Dion and Trey saw me and asked why I’d returned, so I explained the situation before grabbing the broom and sweeping the glass off the street. When I finished, Brandon and I continued on to work. “Maybe Dion’s right. It could be David Hubbard doing these things.” “It’s possible, but why did he wait until now to start harassing us again?” “It might have something to do with the weather. It’s just starting to warm up, and until recently the rocks and litter, such as glass bottles, have been covered by snow or frozen to the ground. That means he either couldn’t find them or possibly free them from the ground until now.” “I suppose that’s possible, but now we’ll have to wait nearly two weeks before Graham gets here to confirm or reject our assumption that Hubbard is the one doing these things.” “We’ll just have to remain alert and make sure that the boys don’t go anywhere without one of us with them.” Nothing much happened over the next couple of days, but then as we were coming home on Friday we noticed something else. There were several tree branches strewn across the street just before it crossed our property line. They weren’t large enough to make the street impassible, but they did create a hazard. They could get kicked up as a vehicle passed over them and then chip the paint or cause scratches in the finish. When we went inside, we asked Dion and Trey if they had noticed them when they arrived home earlier. “No, there was nothing in the street when we came home,” Trey confirmed. “So it had to happen sometime during the past couple of hours,” Dion added. “No trees are close enough to the road for that to happen naturally,” Brandon pointed out, “so someone has to be responsible for putting them there.” “I’m sure plenty of branches came down under the heavy snow accumulation during the winter, so whoever did it probably had plenty of branches laying around on the ground to choose from,” I agreed. “They just had to pick them up and lug them to the street. I don’t think a kid would have been likely to go to that much trouble for a prank.” “I agree, so I’ll go with you and help to remove them from the pavement,” Dion offered. “Ok, let’s do that now,” I stated. Just as we were removing the last of the branches from the street, another branch about a foot long and as thick as a hot dog came flying through the air and hit me in the back. I quickly swung around to see what had happened, and after spotting the piece of wood that had struck me; I looked around to see who had thrown it. There was no one else around, except for Dion. “Did you see who threw this?” I asked as I picked up the small branch. “No, I only heard it when it struck you and then landed on the street.” “It has to be David Hubbard then. No one else would be waiting around out here just to do these sorts of things.” “I believe you’re right.” Once the road was clear, we returned to the house. Dad, Trey, and Brandon were putting dinner on the table, so Dion and I washed up quickly and joined them. “What were you two up to?” Dad asked as we arrived late to the table. “There was some debris in the street and we went to remove it,” I answered simply so I didn’t alarm the boys. Dad merely raised his eyebrows and shook his head in understanding. After dinner, Brandon and Trey helped Tristan and Wyatt pack their overnight bags, because Becky would be picking them up in the morning to spend the day and stay overnight with them. When they finished, they carried the bags downstairs and set them in the foyer, and then they joined the rest of us to watch a couple of shows on TV. Wyatt showered and slept with Tristan again, and I think both boys were excited about spending time with Revin and his mom. As we were tucking them in, I hoped they were calm enough so they could fall asleep fairly quickly, because I didn’t want them to arrive at the Kramer’s house all tired out. They both seemed fine when they came down to join us for breakfast the next morning, and then we sent them upstairs to change out of their pajamas. Becky and Revin pulled into the driveway just before 10:00 to collect them. “Hi, Becky, how are you today?” I greeted her. “I’m doing better now that Revin’s no longer pestering me about when we’re going to come get these two.” “Yes, sometimes the boys lack patience.” “Sometimes?” she asked raising her eyebrows and looking at me oddly. “Ok, most of the time then,” I conceded and she laughed. “I hope your afternoon and evening go better.” “Oh, the rest of the day will be fine, now that Revin has these two to keep him company.” After making sure both boys had their overnight bags with their clothes for church, we walked with them as they went out to Becky’s car. “We’ll pick you all up at 9:30,” I said after the boys were buckled into the backseat. “Ok, I’ll make sure we’re all ready,” Becky agreed. “Oh, and don’t feed them a lot for breakfast, and just eat enough to tide you over as well, because we’ll be stopping for brunch afterward.” “Maybe you could just drop us off at the house first,” Becky replied, and I realized she was probably worried about the extra expense. “No way! You’re going with us and it’s our treat.” “You don’t have to do that.” “I know we don’t have to, but we want to, so don’t argue.” “Ok, if you insist,” she relented before putting her car in gear and driving off. Much to our surprise, Benny and Joshie spent most of the day with Ryan and Noah. Usually, the older pair had more important things to do than spend time with their younger siblings, but today seemed to be different. I wasn’t sure why until later, because that’s when we saw them put on their gear and head outdoors. I peeked out the window to see what they were up to, and they merely walked around the property. They appeared to be checking out the boundary markers that Dad and Elliot had set up to keep out David Hubbard and Sam Abernathy. I decided to ask them about it when they came inside again. “What were you boys up to?” “Nothin’ much,” Ryan answered. “We were just checking to make sure the stakes were still in the ground and the crystals were attached to the top,” Noah added. “And why did you do that?” “Because I heard Uncle Dion and Grandpa Josh talking about David Hubbard. They were saying that they thought he was doing some of the stuff that’s been happening recently, so I wanted to make sure he didn’t get into the house again.” “I see, and thank you for doing that.” The boys spent the rest of their time playing games against each other, both those in the rec room and video games, so the rest of us had plenty of time to finish our chores and take care of other things. When we sat down for dinner later, Pop asked Ryan a question. “Why haven’t I seen Owen around here lately? He used to show up at the house nearly as often as Revin does now.” “It’s because his father got a promotion at the bank and they had to move,” Ryan answered with a sad expression etched upon his face. Unfortunately, the question had reopened an old wound for him, because he went through a difficult time accepting the fact that Owen had to move to a suburb of Philadelphia with his parents. “When did that happen?” Pop continued. “His dad found out about the promotion just before school ended last year, and then he stayed in the Philadelphia area for over a month while he got used to his new job and found a place for them to live. They didn’t actually move until the beginning of August.” “Wow, how did I miss all of that?” “It happened around the same time that you were talking to Nick and Shannon about when you could get together over the summer,” Dad explained. “Oh, yeah, that’s right. It took us quite a few weeks to iron that out, because either one or the other couldn’t get off the same week I could, so we had to keep in touch until we worked something out.” “That’s right, and it explains why you either didn’t hear or didn’t pay attention to what was being said concerning Owen’s situation. We also left to spend time with Nick and Shannon on the same weekend that Owen’s family was moving.” “Sorry about that, and I feel badly that you two aren’t together any longer.” “Yeah, me too,” Ryan confirmed. “We were getting along great and I really miss him now.” “You should get in touch with him and see if you can work something out for this summer,” Brandon suggested. “Maybe he could spend some time here with us, or possibly you could go there and spend some time with him.” “Or maybe we could do both,” Ryan countered, suddenly perking up. “Yes, I suppose that’s a possibility too,” I agreed. “Ok, I’ll call him later and see what he says.” After we finished eating, Ryan went to call Owen and Benny and Joshie disappeared as well. I assumed they had gone up to their room to help each other enjoy a sexual release, so I didn’t go looking for them or ask what they’d been up to when I saw them again later. Since the older boys are more independent than their younger brothers, Brandon, Dion, Trey, and I felt a little lost. At this point on a Saturday we’d either be watching a movie or TV show with them, or the boys would be begging us to play a game with them. Seeing we didn’t have to do any of those things tonight, we sat down with Dad and Pop to discuss the current problem. “What do you think we’ll have to do if Graham confirms that it’s David Hubbard who’s been responsible for the recent events?” Brandon began. “If that’s the case, I’ll call the same guy who helped us get Hubbard and Abernathy out of the house and off of the property. Maybe he’ll be able to suggest a course of action to get rid of them completely.” “What do you think he can do that he hasn’t done already?” Trey followed. “I’m not sure, but I suspect he might have an ace or two up his sleeve that he can still play.” “I hope so, because I’m worried the problems might escalate, like they did when he was in the house,” Dion stated. “Yes, I’ve thought about that as well, but hopefully we’ll be able to do something before that happens.” “I hope so, because I’m worried about the younger boys,” I added. “I have visions of Hubbard doing something that injures one or more of them.” “I understand, and hopefully we can stop his activities before anything like that happens.” This was still on my mind when we said goodnight to the boys and headed to bed. It caused me to have some very unsettling dreams in which my worst fears actually came to fruition. That’s why I was relieved when the alarm went off and I realized it was time to get up. After getting ready for church, I ushered the boys out to the SUV, while Dad and Pop rode with Dion and Trey. We went directly to the Kramer’s house to pick up Revin, his mother, Tristan, and Wyatt. “So did you boys have a good time?” Brandon asked after we’d said ‘hello’ to Becky and Revin. “Yeah, Mrs. Kramer made pizza last night and she played a bunch of games with us too.” “I didn’t do anything special, but the boys seemed to enjoy what we did,” Becky offered. “And I’m glad to see them playing board games where they actually interact with others, rather than playing video games all the time,” Brandon told her. “And I think I enjoyed it as much as they did,” she admitted. When we arrived at church we introduced Becky to our friends, and then we took her with us to our Sunday school session while the boys went to join others in their age groups. When our class ended, I decided to ask Becky what she thought of it compared to the class at her church. “I don’t usually attend the Sunday school at our church,” she replied. “Wait, I thought Revin said he went to Sunday school when you went to church.” “He does. I drop him off in front of the church and tell him I’m going to park the car, but then I run out to grab a coffee before returning for the church service.” “I see, so what did you think of it?” “Actually, I enjoyed interacting with the others. I thought it was interesting that the person leading the group asked each of us to say what Palm Sunday meant to us.” “Yes, I enjoyed that as well and was surprised by some of their answers. Although most people started out saying something about Jesus’ triumphant entrance into Jerusalem or his upcoming crucifixion, I particularly enjoyed what they added after that. I liked when they talked about various memories it brought to mind about this same time from their childhood. I hope the boys will have similar wonderful memories when they get older.” “I agree, and I enjoyed their stories too,” she said as the boys came over to join us for the church service. After sitting through a rather short sermon, at least when compared to the previous Sunday or one of the minister’s usual homilies, we made our way to the vehicles and headed out for brunch. “I really enjoyed doing this today,” Becky said as I was driving there. “Great! And you’re welcome to join us whenever you want.” “Thank you and I might just take you up on that. It’s more fun going to church when you’re doing it with friends.” “I totally agree,” Brandon said, and I think he was as pleased with her response as I was. When we reached the diner she followed us as we made our way to the rear of the premises to where we normally sat. Our table was set up just as we expected. “I take it this is where you come every Sunday?” Becky asked. “Indeed it is,” Dad responded. “I could tell, seeing this area appears to be set up specifically for all of you.” “And today that includes you and your son as well,” Trey added. After we ordered, Revin asked a question. “Why do they call this Palm Sunday? Is it cuz of the trees or the palm of our hands?” “Damn, he’s never gonna learn,” Noah whispered, although loudly enough for the rest of us to hear. Becky looked at him oddly, so I gave her a brief explanation. “The boys don’t like anyone to ask Dad a question like that because he doesn’t usually give short answers.” She smiled and nodded in understanding. “Didn’t they explain that in your Sunday school class?” Dad asked Revin in return, while ignoring what the rest of us were saying. “I don’t think so. He just told us that the people put their cloaks and branches down on the ground as Jesus rode the donkey into the city. He also said some of the people raised their arms in celebration and others bowed down as he went by.” “Ok, then let me explain,” Dad agreed after he glared at Noah. “It’s called Palm Sunday because the branches the people laid down in front of Jesus’ donkey were palm branches. It was their way of letting him know that they thought he was the messiah, or savior, as he made his way into the city.” “I see. It’s cuz of the tree then,” Revin said in understanding. “Is that why there were all those green crosses made out of leaves at the church too?” “Yes, they were made using palm leaves,” Dad explained, and then he turned toward Noah. “And just so you know, it’s usually the fool who doesn’t ask about things he doesn’t know or understand.” Noah didn’t respond, but I think he got the message. He merely stared at the plate that had just been set down in front of him and quickly began shoveling food into his mouth. It also appeared that Becky got a kick out of how Dad had handled the situation. As soon as everyone finished eating, we drove Becky and Revin home. “Next Sunday you should eat a normal breakfast before church, because we won’t be going out for brunch afterward,” I told her before she got out of the SUV. “We’ll be having Easter dinner around 2:00.” “Ok, I’ll do that,” she agreed before getting out and heading to the house. As soon as she and Revin went inside, the rest of us made our way back to our house.
  16. Yes, too many times that is true.
  17. Great, nothing like enjoying a story for a second time. You usually pick up even more.
  18. Thank you, hobo, and I hope you continue to enjoy this story.
  19. Thanks, Stix, although I'm not sure what you fear as a spoiler.
  20. Thanks for the feedback, James, and I'm glad you enjoy my little saga.
  21. Thanks, flesco, and Revin is fitting in well. I'm glad you're enjoying this.
  22. Thanks, tor. I just thought I'd have a little fun with the Irish.
  23. We stopped to collect Revin on our way to church the next morning and he seemed very eager to join us. “I really like doing this with you guys, cuz I get to be in the same Sunday school class as Tristan.” “I think he enjoys having you in his class as well,” I agreed. “Don’t you like the Sunday school class at your church?” Brandon followed. “It’s ok, but I don’t have any friends there.” “Don’t some of the kids from your school go there too?” “Yeah, and I know some of the kids in the class, but I’m not friends with any of them.” “Then you’re more than welcome to keep coming with us,” I offered. “Thanks, cuz I want to keep doin’ this.” When we got to church everyone went off with their age appropriate Sunday school group, and after the class ended I got to speak with Tristan and Revin’s teacher before the church service began. “How are the boys doing in your class?” “They’re doing very well and Tristan’s friend seems to really enjoy his time with us. Revin listens intently and is eager to offer a response whenever I ask a question. He’s a very likeable young man.” “Yes, we think so too, and I’m glad he’s fitting in.” I also watched Tristan and Revin during the church service and noticed that both boys were listening to everything the minister was saying. As I glanced around at the other congregants, I noticed that many of the other children weren’t quite as attentive. Some were whispering to each other while others were fidgeting in their seats or interacting with other kids, such as elbowing each other or writing notes back and forth. I’m glad these two weren’t behaving that way. When the sermon ended, we said goodbye to our friends as we made our way out to the SUV, and then we headed over to the diner for brunch. While we were eating, I decided to say something to Tristan and Revin. “I saw your Sunday school teacher earlier and he said you boys are doing very well.” “Yeah, I like him and I’m learnin’ a lot.” Revin replied. “Me too,” Tristan agreed. “And you boys were very attentive in church too. I’m very proud of both of you.” “Thanks, and I really like this church.” I think an appropriate translation of his comment was that he liked being able to attend church with Tristan. After we finished eating, I dropped him off at his house and waved at Becky as she greeted him at the door, and then we returned home. As soon as we got there, we all went to our rooms to change, and then Brandon and I started doing our chores while the boys entertained themselves or each other. The rest of the day and the next week were fairly uneventful, except for the fact that I had a feeling that Dad was up to something. I had no idea what it might be, but he seemed more excited than usual and wouldn’t answer my questions when I asked him about it. Then, to top it off, on Wednesday UPS delivered a medium size package addressed to him, but he wouldn’t tell any of us what it contained – not even Jake. He merely told Jake “you’ll see” when he asked what was in the box, and I wondered when that might happen. Nothing more was said about it, and on Friday, Revin rode home with Tristan and the others so he could spend the weekend with us. Wyatt appeared to be as excited as Tristan that Revin was here again, and the trio spent nearly all of their time playing games against one another. I was pleased to see they were taking turns so each of them got to play against the other two and they weren’t just interacting with Revin. When it was time to get ready for bed, the three wanted to shower and sleep together, so I merely told them to be careful in the shower. I didn’t want anyone to fall and get hurt, and they promised they wouldn’t fool around. When we went up to tuck them in later, they were all in their PJs and nestled in bed together, but this time Revin was in the middle, not Wyatt. “Revin’s the samich now, and me and Tristan are the bread,” Wyatt announced when we entered the room. “So we see,” Brandon concurred. “Yeah, cuz I wanted to sleep next to Revin too,” Tristan explained. “And Wyatt had to tell us why that made me a sandwich,” Revin added with a grin. “As long as you’re all comfortable and get plenty of rest, we don’t have a problem with this,” I confirmed. After tucking the blankets around them, Brandon and I kissed each boy on the forehead and wished them pleasant dreams, and then we slipped out of the room and headed downstairs. “I suppose they’ll probably do the same thing when they stay at Revin’s house next weekend,” Brandon stated. “I hope Becky doesn’t have a problem with it.” “I doubt she will,” I replied. “She seemed to be very understanding about the situation with Tristan and Revin, so I doubt it will be any different with one more.” “Yes, you’re probably right,” Brandon agreed. The next morning, Dad wanted us to wait for breakfast until the boys came down to join us. “Then we may not eat until noon,” I joked. “I don’t think they’ll sleep that late,” Dad countered. “I told them I was going to have a surprise for them in the morning.” “What kind of surprise?” “You’ll see,” was his cryptic reply. When the boys came downstairs about forty minutes later, I was surprised to see them all together. Ryan and Noah didn’t seem quite as alert as the younger trio and merely staggered to the table like zombies following a warm body or a loud noise. “We woke them up, cuz last night Grandpa Josh told us we were all gonna eat breakfis’ together,” Wyatt explained when he saw us staring at the older pair. “And they weren’t very nice about it either,” Noah grumbled. The three younger boys giggled and then Tristan explained what Noah had alluded too. “We just pulled the covers off him.” “And he was sleepin’ bare-naked,” Revin added with a titter. “Yeah, and my room is colder than it was under the covers, so it wasn’t a very nice way to wake up,” Noah added while glaring at the younger boys. “I agree, but I wasn’t totally naked,” Ryan chimed in. “I wore my underwear to bed, but it was still really cold and not a fun way to wake up.” “Quit complaining and sit down at the table,” Dad told them without showing any sympathy for their situation. “I’ll be bringing the food in shortly. Danny, would you please pour the drinks and Brandon, will you start making enough toast for all of us? I’ll take care of the rest.” We did as he asked, and several minutes later Dad was carrying in two platters, one with bacon and the other with sausage links, while Brandon carried in another stacked with toast. Dad then returned to the kitchen and came back carrying a very large bowl filled with scrambled eggs. “Why do the eggs look funny?” Ryan asked as he started to scoop some onto his plate. “That’s because it’s St. Patrick’s Day and I added green food coloring to the mixture before frying it up,” Dad explained. “Then how come we’re not having ham too?” Tristan followed. Dad gave him a puzzled look before he responded. “Why do you think we should be having ham with this?” “Cuz my mom used to read me this story about green eggs and ham.” The expression on Dad’s face was priceless, and Tristan’s reply caused the other boys, and even some of the adults to laugh when they heard it. They all knew he was referring to the Dr. Seuss book, Green Eggs and Ham, and Dad smiled before he spoke again. “That’s a very sweet memory of your mom and I’m sure you’ll always cherish it, so I’ll try to remember to add the ham when I do this again next year.” This appeared to satisfy Tristan, so Dad went back to the kitchen. When he returned, he was carrying two large jars. “And here’s some mint jelly to put on your toast.” He then set the jars that were filled with a green substance on the table. “I’ve never had that before,” Tristan commented as he stared at the jar. “Will I like it?” “Try it and you’ll find out,” Dad shot back. “Just put a little on a corner of your toast to start, and if you like it then you can add more to the rest of the slice,” I suggested. “Ok, I’ll do that.” We passed around the food and took what we wanted, and then we began chowing down. “The eggs don’t taste different,” Ryan observed. “No, the food coloring merely changes the appearance, not the way it tastes,” Dad confirmed. “And this green jelly tastes really good,” Tristan followed. “Yeah, I like it too,” Revin agreed. “I had a feeling you would,” Dad replied with a grin. Dad got up from the table before he finished eating, and when he returned he was carrying the box that UPS had delivered earlier in the week. He set it down on his chair, opened it, and pulled out an item from inside. It was green and he held it up. “I have one of these for each of you,” he said as he displayed a green tee-shirt. “What’s on it?” Wyatt asked after looking at the design on the front. “You’ve probably seen black tee-shirts before that looked like the wearer had on a tux…” “You mean those shirts that make you look like a penguin wearin’ a suit?” Benny interrupted. “Yes, I suppose some of you might look at it that way,” Dad agreed, “These shirts are along the same line, but they are designed to make each of you look like a leprechaun.” He was right. The design gave the impression that you were wearing a green leprechaun jacket, with a green vest, white shirt, and green bow tie underneath. “We’re pretty big to be leprechauns,” Joshie quipped. “Yeah, we’re gonna look like the Hagrid of leprechauns,” Benny added with a giggle. “And you guys are gonna look like his brother Grawp.” “That we are, laddie, but I doubt the wee folks will mind,” Dad replied using his best Irish brogue. He then checked the label on each shirt to see the size before handing it to an appropriate size recipient. He continued doing this until we all had a shirt.” “We aren’t even Irish,” Joshie pointed out as he waved his mocha colored arm about. “Au contraire. Don’t tell me you’ve never heard of the black Irish,” Dad teased. “Besides, Brandon is at least partially Irish, because O’Hara is an Irish surname. That would also make the boys who chose to use the hyphenated O’Hara-Currie last name part Irish as well. “Oh, yeah, I see now,” Benny chirped as a light flipped on in his brain. “And the rest of you many not technically be Irish,” Dad continued, “but on St. Patrick’s Day nearly everyone wants to be Irish, at least for the day.” “So why do people celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?” Revin asked. “Didn’t anyone warn him not to ask questions like that?” Noah groaned. The rest of us realized why he didn’t want Revin to ask that question, because he knew Grandpa Josh was now going to recite the history of St. Patrick’s Day. “St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland and it’s believed he lived sometime between 450 and 500 A.D. He was a Christian missionary and bishop whom the Irish called Padraig, the Irish form of his name. He is credited with driving the snakes out of Ireland, and he was the first one to be identified with the shamrock, a three-lobed clover leaf. He used it to demonstrate the Holy Trinity, or what you boys would know as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, when he was converting the Irish to Christianity.” “That wasn’t too bad,” Noah sighed when Dad finished, “but from now on Revin, don’t ask questions like that. You may not know this, but Grandpa Josh started out as a history teacher and he likes to ‘educate’ us.” Noah made air quotes as he said educate. “Ok, I’ll try to remember,” Revin agreed. “But why do we celebrate it on March 17th?” Benny followed, as if he hadn’t heard Noah’s previous warning. “It’s supposed to be the day on which St. Patrick died,” Dad answered simply, and then he stuck his tongue out at Noah. “And when you get dressed I expect you to wear those shirts.” “Can we wear it like an undershirt and put another shirt over it?” Ryan quickly followed. “I suppose, but people will be wearing green today and I’d think you would want to blend in.” “I don’t mind blending in, I just don’t want to stand out,” Ryan quipped back. “I’m afraid my friends would rag on me if they saw me wearing this shirt,” he added as he held it up. “Ok, but I don’t think anyone would try to humiliate you for wearing it.” “You obviously don’t know my friends,” Ryan added in a barely audible whisper. “NBC is going to broadcast the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade at 11:00, and I thought we could all watch it together before lunch,” Dad continued as he pretended not to hear Ryan’s comment. “And after lunch I thought we could take you boys to see a movie,” I added. “Can we go see Death Wish?” Noah immediately wanted to know. “I suppose you and Ryan could, but I thought the other boys might like to see Sherlock Gnomes instead.” “What’s that about?” Benny asked. “It’s a take on the Sherlock Holmes character, but this time he’s a gnome.” “Yeah, that sounds like fun,” Tristan and Revin shouted, nearly in unison. “Yeah, I want to see that too,” Wyatt concurred, and then he thought about it for a few seconds before adding, “What’s a gnome?” “A gnome is a kind of dwarf,” Brandon replied. “Oh, ok,” Wyatt agreed as he tried to picture one in his mind. “Do you remember the Travelocity commercial on TV?” Benny quickly followed. “They used a statue of a garden gnome in them.” “You mean the guy with the pointy hat?” Wyatt countered. “Yeah, he wore a pointy hat and had white hair and a beard.” “K, I understand now.” We had all finished eating long before this discussion ended, so we cleaned off the table quickly and then the boys got ready to head up to their rooms to get dressed. “Grandpa Josh thanks for buyin’ me one of these shirts too,” Revin said before taking off. “You’re welcome, and you’re the only one polite enough to thank me for it.” “Thank you, Grandpa Josh,” the others yelled from various locations after Dad’s less than subtle dig. “You’re welcome,” he hollered back, since some of the boys were already heading up the stairs. “Yes, thank you, Dad,” I added, with Brandon, Dion, and Trey quickly chiming in. “You’re welcome, but it’s just a little something to make the day fun and special.” We all came together again when Dad announced the parade was about to begin. It was interesting and featured quite a few bands, including one made up of bagpipers, and some of the color guards were carrying Irish flags. Many in the crowd were wearing green as well, and some of them were also sporting a shamrock in one form or another. Some of the shamrocks were designed into their hats, while others wore a shamrock pin on their jacket, and others were wearing shamrock glass frames. Many of them were also waving small Irish flags. “After seeing what some of those people were dressed like, I guess the shirt you bought us isn’t so bad after all,” Ryan relented. “But I still think my friends will make fun of me if they see me wearing it.” After the parade ended, we had lunch together, and then I had the boys get ready to go to the cinema complex. Even though we’d asked Dad and Pop to join us, they decided to stay home. Dad said he needed to remain there because he was fixing a special dinner for tonight, which made me wonder what he was cooking up. “Ok, we’ll see you later then,” I said as the rest of us headed out the door and piled into the vehicles so we could take off. While we were standing in line to purchase tickets, Trey and Brandon could tell from the discussion that Dion and I were having with the older boys that we wanted to see Death Wish as well. Seeing they were loving and understanding spouses, they urged us to go with Noah and Ryan and said they would take the other boys to see Sherlock Gnomes. Dion and I merely thanked them before purchasing the tickets, and before we headed to the appropriate theaters I bought everyone a drink to take with them. When we emerged from the theater a couple of hours later, Brandon asked how it was. “I think we’re all familiar with the original 1970s version staring Charles Bronson,” I began, “but this one seemed to be a lot bloodier than I remembered.” “I agree. Trey and I saw the original on DVD before,” Dion chimed in, “but this one seemed much more violent. I think I could understand the Bruce Willis character wanting justice for what happened, but he went a lot further than purely justice. What he was seeking was revenge.” “And it made me think the director must be an NRA (National Rifle Association) member and this was his version of a good guy with a gun. How was your movie?” “It was cute, but definitely geared toward the younger crowd,” Brandon responded. “I’ve seen worse, but I think the kids enjoyed it,” Trey added. “Yeah, Gnomeo and Juliet got Sherlock Gnomes to find out why all the garden gnomes were disappearing,” Revin explained. “I liked it,” Wyatt confirmed. “That’s all that counts,” I concurred as we headed out to our vehicles. The younger boys told me more about the movie during the ride home. However, I was grateful when we reached the house, because it got them to stop talking as they hopped out of the SUV. “What’s that smell?” Joshie asked as soon as he entered the foyer. “That would be dinner,” Dad explained from the kitchen. “I’m fixing a traditional Irish meal for you. We’re having ham and cabbage, along with boiled potatoes, carrots, and other vegetables.” “I hope it tastes better than it smells,” Noah muttered. “It does, and I want you to give it a try. I’m sure you’ll find plenty to eat whether you like the cabbage or not, because I know you all like ham. You also have enough time to wash up first, but don’t dawdle because I’m about ready to dish things out and take them to the table.” The boys raced upstairs to get ready, and when they returned a few minutes later Dad had nearly everything on the table. “Sit down and dig in,” he urged. To our surprise, he’d also made green Kool-Aid for the boys and had green beer for the rest of us. “Can I have a beer instead?” Noah asked when he saw the two beverages. “I’m eighteen.” “Since you won’t be going anywhere afterward, you may have one glass of beer,” I agreed. “How about me?” Ryan quickly chimed in. “I’m sixteen and a half, so can I have a beer too?” “Since you’re sixteen and a half you may have half a glass of beer,” I conceded. “But I’ll need more to drink than that,” he argued. “Then the rest of your meal will have to be washed down with green Kool-Aid, water, or milk,” I replied, disappointing him. “I guess half a glass is better than none,” he grumbled. “Yes, it is, so be satisfied that you’re getting even that much,” Brandon urged. “I am,” Ryan confirmed somewhat unconvincingly. The boys ate the ham, potatoes, carrots, and other vegetables without complaint, and each of them tried the cabbage, although only a third of them seemed to like it. That was ok, though, and they all ate enough to tide them over, and when we were done Dad brought out the deserts. “You probably don’t have a lot of room left, so we’ll only have green Jell-O with whipped cream and cupcakes for now,” Dad said as he set a huge bowl of Jell-O on the table beside a container of Reddi Wip. Jake followed behind him carrying a tray of cupcakes. “This should do for now, and then I’ll make a Crème de Menthe Parfait for each of you before bedtime.” “What’s that?” Wyatt asked. “Its green liquor that he pours over vanilla ice cream,” Noah explained. “Not a liquor, but a liqueur,” Trey corrected. “What’s the difference?” Ryan quickly followed. “A liqueur has sugary substances added to it so it’s sweeter than common liquor,” Trey explained. “So I’m gonna have more alcohol?” Ryan asked amazed. “A little, but your grandfather won’t be putting that much on the ice cream, just enough to flavor it and make it look Irish,” Brandon eagerly chipped in. “Oh, ok.” The cupcakes were chocolate with white icing, and there was a green-icing shamrock in the middle of each one. “It must have taken quite a bit of time to add the green shamrocks,” Dion commented as he studied the cupcakes. “It did, but it was worth it,” was all that Dad offered. After we finished those items, Dad herded everyone into the family room to watch the DVD of the Disney classic, Darby O’ Gill and the Little People. He’d obviously purchased it along with the tee-shirts especially for today, so we all found someplace to sit and enjoy it. “That was pretty good,” Revin commented when the movie ended. “Yeah, it wasn’t bad at all,” Noah agreed. From him, that was a high compliment. “I’m glad you enjoyed it,” Dad said with a huge grin. “Now it’s time for you boys to get ready for bed, because we have church in the morning,” I told them. “Don’t go yet, because they have to have their parfaits first,” Dad countered. “Jake and I will go fix them and the boys can eat theirs before heading upstairs.” After consuming another dessert, which I was afraid would put all the boys on a sugar high before bedtime, they went upstairs to shower and change. “That was good,” Joshie told Grandpa Josh when he finished his parfait. “Yeah, it was,” the others all agreed. “Thanks, Grampa Josh,” Wyatt said, which encouraged the other boys to follow suit. Tristan, Revin, and Wyatt showered together again, slipped into their PJs, and climbed into the same bed. They looked comfortable when we went in to say goodnight. “It’s a Tristan samich tonight,” Wyatt giggled, since Tristan was in the middle this time. “Yes, it is,” Brandon and I agreed. “And thanks for today,” Revin added when we bent down to kiss them all goodnight. “I never did this much with my mom on St. Patrick’s Day.” “We don’t usually do quite as much either, but obviously Grandpa Josh wanted to make it a special day.” “Yeah, and it was fun,” he agreed. “Ok, now get some sleep. Sweet dreams and we’ll see you in the morning.”
  24. Bill W

    Becky

    Just hang in there, because we'll be hearing more about Wyatt before this is over.
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