Time seemed to go fast, I still went to New York each month, I did my Christmas shopping while I was there. Thanksgiving was just around the corner, and we were invited to Mary and Brian’s for dinner. I baked several blackberry pies to take with us. Dinner was excellent and the company was stimulating.I met a lot of Mary and Brian’s friends, as well as some of their relatives. Jeff was home and we had a long chat about school. For me it was a great evening.
With Christmas right around the corner, I reminded Cody that he had a larger crew to go and get the tree. I think this was the first time the boys actually had to go into the woods to get a tree. They were familiar with the woods from berry and nut picking, but they never went tree picking.
I flew to New York for the Board meeting as usual. I knew Cody would have the tree trimmed by the time I got home. Brad told me our belligerent London Company had declared bankruptcy last week and wanted us to try and bail them out. But there was nothing we could do, we told them what would happen and they didn’t listen.
“Alan, this letter came for you from Ambrose.”I opened the letter and there was only one word, ‘thanks’. The letter was perplexing until I remember our conversation when I was in London.
“I wonder what happened and who was pushing so hard to buy back the stock. If I didn’t know better it looked like a scheme to run the price up so someone could unload their stock for a huge profit.”
“It’s funny you said that, just one week before filing for bankruptcy, two members of the Board were arrested for price fixing. They had a huge number of shares that they tried to sell on the market, only the market realized something was going on and halted all activity on their stock. So guess who was caught holding the bag, a lot of shares worth nothing.”
“Serves them right, that was a good company making a decent profit. Too bad some people get greedy. I feel sorry for those employees that didn’t know what was going on.”
“There were a few employees that sold their stock back in June, but that was too far back to indicate any fraud. Did you have any stock?”
“Yes, but I sold back in June as well. I knew what was going to happen if they didn’t listen, so I sold. If someone would ask me, I would’ve told them to sell.”
Robert made the Board aware of the loss of a profitable client in London due to stupidity. I just laughed because a lot of people made money, except the master minds behind the scheme.
I was glad to get home, I knew the tree would be trimmed and there would be a small tree in the great room. This year I would like a small family Christmas. I bought stockings for all of us to hang on the fireplace. The kids and I bake cookies, while Cody went and did his shopping. It was fun and I think they ate them as we baked them. I had some Christmas tins I picked up in Clarion, so the kids were packing them with cookies. We had one for Andy’s parents, Nancy Jean’s parents, the boy’s teachers and some business associates in New York.
I booked a one week cruise to start on the 27th. We wouldn’t be going to New York this year. But a cruise would be nice. When I told the kids they were excited and wanted to know where we would be going. I wouldn’t tell them as I wanted it to be a surprise. I had to include Andy and Rich, they were our traveling companions.This year I had also included Jeff and Nancy Jean, as well as Mary and Brian. It was my Christmas gift to them.
Cody and I got a Christmas gift as well, thanks to Miss Brown. The judge overruled Child Services and approved our adoption of James and Nels. The papers showed Cody as the adopting parent, so the kids could choose a new name, James became James Alan Aaron and Nels became Nelson Alan Aaron. I was proud and Cody was like a Cock on the Wall.He strutted all the way home from the court house.
When school resumed, Cody took the boys in the truck and had their school records corrected. Andy took it upon himself to make sure their friends knew that they were officially the sons of Cody Aaron. When the boys got home, they were bubbling over telling us about Andy telling their friends about the adoption. They had a smiles on their faces as I sat a snack in front of them. Cody was acting the proper role of a proud father.
Actually, nothing really changed. Cody still had a big smile on his face. I don’t think he ever thought he would be a father and now he had two sons. Of course, the next time Ralph came to the diner, guess who was telling him all about the boys. Ralph knew that we were fostering the boys and now he knew about the adoption. “Cody, I can’t tell you how glad I am about the adoption. I always knew you liked kids by the way you acted with my kids when you visited. Now you’ll have the chance to help two young boys grow into manhood. But, the road isn’t always smooth, there’ll be rocks and barriers that you’ll need to overcome. Raising kids in today’s world isn’t easy. Too many distractions and not always the best.”
“That’s true, Ralph, I think living in a small town has its advantages over a city. The distractions are less. When you have time, bring the family and stay with us for a few days. Get a feeling for country living including some good fishing.”
The school year was moving fast, soon it was the Easter break. We stayed home and attended the sunrise service in Cook Forest, stopped at the lodge for breakfast and then headed home. In the afternoon Mary and Brian came over with Easter baskets for the boys. Andy stopped by a little later and we had a basket for him. There was a small gift in the basket and a little light on the candy. Jeff and Nancy Jean came over later in the evening, they had chocolate eggs for the boys. I had a small basket for them with a gift as well.
After the Easter recess, the tempo at school picked up for the boys as well as Cody. After this year, Cody had one more year before he would receive his diploma. It was amusing to see the boys and Cody studying in the evening.Whenever the boys had a problem or couldn’t understand something, Cody would take the time to explain or show them how to approach the problem. There was a potential danger in having a home tutor.If they didn’t understand something or miss something in class, Cody was there to help them. I was afraid they would not pay attention in class. I didn’t want the boys to ignore their teachers.