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Joy's Legacy Chapter 8

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CHAPTER 8

 

Jack got home just in time to milk the cows and eat supper. He and Carol had a good arrangement. She would milk the cows in the morning, feed the chickens and the horses and then work at her stay-at-home-job for a few hours while she let Luke play. Jack would come home after work each day, milk the cows, care for the horses and tend to their small garden. Carol hated gardening, but enjoyed the produce of it. Jack enjoyed doing it, but was finding that he was really asking Luke to help a lot, since there was so much work elsewhere to be done.

 

Jack felt bad for Luke. He knew that Carol loved him with her whole heart, but also knew the difficulties that she had with children. She had been the youngest of four siblings, all of whom had moved away to better and higher paying jobs in different areas of the country. She had pretty much been left to herself to be raised, and didn’t have many friends. Jack knew that this is why she liked living in the country so much, she had few friends, but the ones that she had were like family to her. Real family. Jack had encouraged Carol several times to home-school Luke, but she was afraid that she’d mess him up too bad. She figured that maybe he could go to school at the Reservation when he turned seven. That’s when the Reservation took in new students. They wanted to make sure that the kids had plenty of time to play and learn while playing, so they didn’t start school until they were seven years old.

 

Jack figured that things might change for Carol, now that they were going to have these new babies. She really was a loving mother, and enjoyed babies very much. Jack remembered fondly the time that with out knowing it, he came into the room while she was holding baby Luke. She was singing softly to him, a sweet song about how much she loved him and how happy she was to be his mother. Jack had fallen in love with her all over again. This was a very soft side of Carol that he didn’t often see, and he was so glad that he had been able to quietly get their camera and take a picture. Later on he had developed the picture in black and white, and had made a beautiful frame to put it in. He wrapped it in pretty paper as best as he could on her first Mother’s Day, and given it to her, signing it “Love to you always, Jack”. She had received the gift surprised, as Jack wasn’t much of a mushy kind of guy either. She didn’t say much when she opened it, but he could see the tears in her eyes as she quietly thanked him. Later, the picture had appeared next to her side of the bed. He always looked at it with pride, knowing that not only that he had taken a great picture, but he had also touched his wife’s heart.

 

He finished his chores and went inside to clean up for supper. To his surprise, Carol was sitting on the rocking chair with Luke, reading him a book. He washed his hands at the sink and looked back at them.

 

“So how was your day?” He asked, drying his hands.

 

“It was great, Papa! Mother and I went for a picnic on the lake!” Luke answered excitedly.

 

“Oh? Was that fun?” He looked quizzically at Carol.

 

She smiled back at him. “It was a lot of fun. Just Luke and I. We played games, caught our own lunch and even took a nap on the grass, didn’t we, Luke?”

 

Luke nodded his head excitedly. “Yup! And Papa, a rabbit came real close to us today. Mother says that he must of thought that we were part of the grass!” he giggled.

 

Jack smiled. He wasn’t sure what had come over his wife, but he sure did like it. Luke was more excited than he had been in a long time, and Carol’s faced seemed to flush of happiness. Jack walked over to them and gave each of them a kiss.

 

“So,” he asked, “Do you need help with supper?”

 

Luke giggled. “Mother said that we are going to have sandwiches!”

 

Jack looked at Carol surprised. Not that he minded, but they were used to having a bigger meal than just that.

 

Carol nodded. “Yup, sorry hon. I’m just really tired out today, I think the twins are settling down to be born soon.” She put her hand on her bulging stomach. “I can’t wait to meet them,” she said softly.

 

Jack looked at her with a softness in his eyes that he always got when it came to talking about their children “Neither can I,” he answered.

 

They worked together to get supper ready. It didn’t take long since it was only sandwiches, and they were soon cleaning up the dishes. Jack told Luke that he could go out and play, more than anything to get a chance to talk to Carol.

 

“Are you feeling ok?” Jack asked Carol, trying to be careful in how he sounded. He didn’t want to offend her.

 

“Yes, I’m fine,” Carol responded. “Just a little tired. It gets tiresome carrying two babies all the time, Jack!” She smiled at him. “But I’m glad I took the day easy today, and was able to spend so much of it with Luke. He really is a neat kid. I feel like I have isolated him, expecting him to behave older than what he is. And now that the twins are almost here, I want to make up for that. Luke will no longer be my little boy, as I’m going to need him to grow up and be a big helper. So today I just wanted to take the time to enjoy him at six years old, and do whatever he wanted to do. That’s why there was no real supper today. I hope you don’t mind.”

 

“Mind? Carol, I’m very happy that you were able to spend this time with him,” Jack said as he moved back a lock of hair that hair that had fallen in front of her eyes. “I will gladly eat sandwiches for weeks, or make supper myself if it means that the two of you enjoy each other so much!” He leaned towards her and kissed her on the lips. “I love you,” he whispered.

 

“I love you, too, Jack. You are a wonderful father and husband, even if you do shoot better than I do!” She ended playfully. Carol was very competitive, even when it came to Jack.

 

Jack smiled. He dearly loved this woman, even if she sometimes seemed to do everything as good or better than he did.

 

Jack’s face got serious as he thought about the meeting he had had with the elders and his neighbors that afternoon.

 

“Something wrong?” Carol asked.

 

Jack recounted with as many details as he could remember the events of that afternoon. They discussed the issues for a little while, and what it could all mean for them and their future.

 

Carol put her hand on her stomach. “Well, if they are right, and Mr. Bodaway usually is, then we better listen to them and do as they say. What’s the worst that can happen if they are wrong? We can take some stuff back, or what we can’t, we’ll just have to trade for something else. How much money do we have put away?”

 

Jack shook his head. “Not as much as I’d like us to have. But I would say that about $5000 if we pull everything together.”

 

Carol nodded her head thoughtfully. “Wait here,” she said as she went back to their bedroom. A few minutes later she came back to the kitchen with a wad of cash in her hand. “Here, I want you to take this, and add it to the $5000.”

 

Jack looked at the money. “Your mad money? Are you sure? I thought you were saving it for something special. Carol, you’ve been saving for years! I can’t take that now!” Jack protested.

 

“No, Jack, you have to. What good is a wad of cash gonna do me if I can’t feed my family or clothe my babies? Take it, and don’t argue. There should be about $3000 or so in there. Make sure that you buy enough ammo and guns, but I sure would appreciate you buying me some diapers as well. If things really get as bad as they are predicting, I’m not going to want to spend all my time washing diapers by hand. When you buy them, buy different sizes and some clothing too. Now we don’t need boy clothing since we’ve got Luke’s old clothes, but if there are girls in here we are going to need something for them. I’ll go garage-saleing tomorrow, and you can take Luke with you to Duluth and buy what ever you need there. I want to stop by the Larson’s and talk to them, too. I’m sad that they are leaving, though I must say that I’m glad it’s Rebecca’s family that is coming to live next to us. It could be a lot worse, you know, specially given the circumstances.”

 

Jack nodded. It could be a lot worse. They could not know anything, or worse yet, be the “give-me, give-me” kind. Jack hopped that Rebecca was right and they were the hard working kind. It would be nice to have other Christians around them, and he was hoping that Carol could become friends with some of the women. She had no close friends, and Jack wished there was something he could do about that. Maybe she could teach the women some shooting and fishing, and they could teach her some of the finer points of home-making.

 

Jack and Carol finished cleaning up and called Luke back in to the house. They wanted to spend a fun evening together as a family before things got too out of hand. They played games and ate ice cream, which was a special treat for them. Luke had a special glow in his eyes. Jack knew that they didn’t do this as often as they should, and was glad for the opportunity to show Luke how much he meant to them.

 

They all went to bed early that night, and though Jack would have liked to ‘know’ his wife in the way that Adam ‘knew’ Eve, he held her close instead. He knew that she was very uncomfortable as it was, being over eight months pregnant, and didn’t want to be inconsiderate. He enjoyed holding her close until they fell asleep.

 

The next day, after their morning chores and breakfast was done, they got ready to leave. The plan was for Jack to take the truck and the trailer, and go to Duluth to buy supplies that they would need. He would be taking Luke with him and this would allow Carol to go to Grand Rapids to and hit the garage sales and other stores to get some supplies from there.

 

Jack and Luke would be stopping by the Larson’s to say good-bye. The Larsons where anxious to get to Florida and get settled there before every thing went south. Jack pulled the truck around to the front of the house and found Carol holding Luke tightly.

 

“Now you be a good boy for your Papa, ya hear me son?” She asked looking into his eyes.

 

Luke nodded his head, “Yes, Ma’am.” He replied.

 

“And remember what I told you, ok? No matter what.” She said as she held him tight again and kissed his little head. She turned to Jack and gave him as close a hug as she could, with her stomach getting in between them. “Now you be careful, ok, Jack? I want you home before sundown. You bring back my boy safe. Don’t go around playing ‘Rambo’ out there. We don’t know how bad things are going to get or how quick, and I’d rather not face this with out you. Besides. These babies are going to need lots of lovin’, and I know that you can do that for them.” She reached out and caressed his face. She put her arms around his neck and kissed him.

 

“We’ll be fine,” Jack assured her. “Be careful yourself, and be sure to take care of those babies of ours, ok?” He said and then leaned in for one more kiss. “I love you!”

 

“I love you, too, Jack. Luke? I love you, son. Have a good day, ok? Oh! I almost forgot. Here,” she said as she put some cash in the boy’s hands. Treat your Papa to an ice cream cone somewhere, ok? There’s enough in there for one for you, too.” She winked at him.

 

“Thank you, Mother! Thank you very much!” Luke said wrapping his little arms as tight as he could around her legs. Wow. Ice cream two days in a row, this was quite a treat for Luke.

 

“If there is money leftover, you may buy some hard candy and bring it home for special treats, ok?” Carol said.

 

Jack glanced at the money in the boy’s hand and smiled. Oh, there would be money left over for sure. He smiled at Carol. She must have known that candy would be something that they could give Luke in tough times to make them easier. They normally didn’t allow him to eat much, but he was allowed some on special occasions.

 

Jack and Luke each gave Carol one more hug and a kiss, and then took off to say good-bye to the Larsons. This was also a tearful goodbye, as they had really grown fond of each other over the years.

 

“I’m leaving you my butter making supplies, Jack,” Mrs. Larson said, “Make sure you give them to Carol with this book. It has taught me everything I know about making butter. If I can do it, then so can she. I’m also leaving you our supply of winter food. There is no way that we can take it with us, and this will also help you have extra canning supplies for next summer. We agreed to sell everything on the farm to Rebecca, but I told her that I was going to give you those things. She agreed, since you are the one that provides us with the milk to make the butter anyway!”

 

Mr. Larson had his own parting gifts. “I pulled what I had two of in my garage and put it into some boxes for you to take home, there are over there by the stove. You can come and pick them up later,” he said. “Mostly tools and such. But there are also seeds, the kind that you can plant and then get seeds from what ya get. Ya know what I mean?” He asked Jack, hoping Jack would understand.

 

Jack nodded. “We sure do appreciate all of this, Mr. and Mrs. Larson. I’m not even sure what to say. Thank you, thank you so much!” He said, his voice filled with emotion.

 

“Well, that’s all ya gotta say, son,” Mrs. Larson said. “Now come on over here and give me a hug.” Jack gave her a big bear hug and then turned to Mr. Larson. No words would come to him, and it was a good thing, as he didn’t trust his voice.

 

Mr. Larson struck is hand and shook Jack’s. “Ah, come over here, ya big goon,” Mr. Larson said as he embraced Jack. The two hugged and then pulled back, a little embarrassed. “Now if you go telling anyone that I cried when I left, I’ll come up all the way from Florida and give you a likin’, ya hear?”

 

Jack chuckled, his eyes filled with tears. “Well, I won’t if you don’t!”

 

Luke gave each of the Larsons a big hug. They were like grandparents to him, and he had enjoyed their friendship very much.

 

Jack and Luke took off, and made the two-hour trek to Duluth. While there, they shopped at all the specialty shops that they didn’t have in Grand Rapids. They were able to buy extra canning equipment, jars, lids, and all that went with it. They found a Church garage sale that they just couldn’t pass up. While there, they found a great deal on linens, and Jack decided to buy them all, even though they weren’t all the size for what they needed. They were cheap, and he was sure that the material could be used for other stuff if needed. There was also a bunch of big garbage bags, filled with yarn of all kinds. The lady said that they even had wool in there. He took five bags. He saw a ton of used notebooks and school supplies. The notebooks only had a few pages that were used, so he bought a bunch of those as well.

 

“Papa, look! Is this one of those old sewing machines that your Mama used to use?” Luke said as Jack approached him.

 

Jack couldn’t believe it. “Sure enough, son, that’s one just like it.” He bought that too, grateful to know that someone was coming that would know what to do with it. He was glad to see that extra replacement parts came with it, as he knew that those would be hard to find. He was able to buy a few bags of material and just hoped that he was getting the right thing.

 

They came to the shoes part, and found that a family of all boys had donated their shoes. Jack bought all the boots in all the sizes that he could, thinking of Luke. They’d have to figure out something for the twins later. He also bought Luke some ‘good’ shoes, since now they were actually be going to church, since there would be a church close to them.

 

Jack was very grateful for the garage sale. He spent several hundred dollars there, and the church people were grateful to him.

 

They took off from there, and went to Dairy Queen. They had their special treat there, and then went to Costco to buy some other things. Jack was able to buy a couple of buckets with a mop squeezer on them. He figured that these would help with the washing of clothes, since they wouldn’t be able to use the washing machine. He wondered how Carol was going to like washing clothes by hand.

 

At the stores, especially Costco, Jack found that people were a little anxious. He found that a lot of them were buying water, batteries, and canned food. He overheard a man talking on his cell phone about what else to buy. He had all canned food, some medications and bottled water. Jack wondered how long the food would last. He thought of encouraging the man to buy more staples, like beans, rice and pasta, but thought better of it when he heard the man swearing at whoever was on the other side. Jack knew he didn’t have to worry about grains, as that was something he bartered with the Reservation for.

 

“Grain mill,” he said out loud. “I need to get a grain mill.” He made a mental note to stop by a special store that he knew of that sold stuff like that later.

 

They hit a few more spots, including the store that Jack had wanted to go to, and then headed back. It was soon going to get dark, and they wanted to be home before that.

 

Luke fell asleep on the way home, allowing Jack time to think. He thought about all the things Mr. Bodaway had said before. Would things really get that bad? Well, Jack knew that Mr. Bodaway had very interesting connections with people in authority, so he thought that he probably knew what he was talking about. Jack wondered who the mysterious ‘friend’ from the White House was. Maybe he’d ask Mr. Bodaway some time.

 

As they turned off the highway onto the road that led to their home, Jack saw smoke in the distance. Confused, he stepped on the gas to get to the source of the fire faster.

 

His heart started beating harder and faster as he heard sirens coming from where ever the fire was. He shook his head. No, he thought. It couldn’t be.

 

His eyes betrayed the truth as he turned onto the road that went to their home. There were several police cars, fire trucks and an ambulance blocking the rest of the way to his house. Jack sped up until he reached them and jumped out of his truck. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. His home was on fire!

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