It's a beautiful morning! It's in the 60s right now and the windows are open. We've actually had the windows open for the last three mornings because it's been so nice. By late afternoon it has been hot enough to shut the house and turn the AC on again. But these mornings with the windows open (in August!) have been delightful. What about you? Have you had cooler weather or are you still sweltering in summer's heat?
Well, I'm not sure where the week went. My computer says it is Friday, but it feels like Friday was just the other day. Does anyone else feel that way? (Maybe this past week had fewer days than usual.) In spite of the "short" week, I have managed to get quite a bit done. As I'm sure you've noticed, I designed a new header for the blog, changed the fonts and created a button as well as putting a new background on. Do you like the new look?
Writing. Yep, I'm still doing that. In fact, I think I'm writing a new book right now. Oops. I wasn't going to work on any new book until I had gotten some other projects done. I set aside the new Graham Quartet mystery, and have made myself not even think about TCR so I wouldn't want to work on it. I was just going to write a few short stories for this blog. Ha! So much for that idea. I was having a hard time writing one of my short stories and grabbed a calendar to write a description just to get my brain going. (I really enjoy describing things with words.) Well, to make a long story short (Is that even possible?), the description turned into a "short" story which has now grown to over 24,000 words. (That translates into 24 weeks of posting! Yeah, crazy.) And the story still isn't finished.
I hope you are ready for this next part of the Ria and the Gang story. Enjoy!
To the Farm
“From the base,” Frank grinned. “I didn’t tell anyone I was coming. Wanted to surprise Mom and Dad,” and he turned a bright look on his parents who were standing in the doorway watching.
“He certainly succeeded,” Grandma Foster laughed. “We were still sitting down to breakfast when in he walked and asked if he could have a bite as well.”
“Did you feed him, Grandma?” Fred questioned with a grin, already knowing the answer.
After a few moments of chatter, Grandpa looked about. “Hey where are the rest of the gang? I thought everyone was coming out?”
“I was about to ask about them, too, Dad,” Frank put in.
“The others will be along some time. Ria took us on a shortcut.”
“I didn’t know there was one,” and Frank looked interested.
Perching on a chair, Ria smiled and told about how she knew of the secret path, though she wouldn’t tell any of the rhyme for finding it.
No sooner had she finished than the sound of boyish voices and the tramping of many feet on the porch was heard. The kitchen door was opened and in crowded the gang. When they saw the three missing ones calming sitting or standing before them, questions began to fly, and for several minutes no one noticed Frank. So noisy did the tumult of tongues become that Phil put his fingers to his lips and whistled for silence.
“Now,” he began when the room was hushed. “How did you three get here? Did you walk the whole way?”
Ria giggled. “Nope, we ran part of it. It was a short-cut. And I’m not going to tell you all about it because Uncle Edmund and Mom said it was a secret. Now aren’t you going to say hi to Uncle Frank?”
As she expected, the moment she mentioned his name and looked over at her uncle, the crowd of boys suddenly forgot her and rushed at the newcomer.
It was later than Ed had planned before they actually got started on the work, but Frank pitched in to help. The storm windows were soon down and carried to the barn for summer storage. A few of the lads tackled the smokehouse roof while Jason and Tom took apart the tractor. Ria helped outside for a while and then joined Grandma in the kitchen to prepare lunch for the gang. This was eaten outside with great relish, for the walk as well as the work had created keen appetites in everyone. There was much talking and laughing during the meal, but at last it was over and the lads returned to work, leaving Ria the task of helping Grandma clean up.
Perhaps thirty minutes later, Grandma and Ria, who were finishing the last of the dishes, heard Winston shout something and then came Jack’s call, “Ria!”
“You had better go see what is wanted, Dear,” Grandma told her. “I can finish the last few things.”
Nothing loathe, Ria dashed outside to see Jack trying to hold a wiggly puppy in one arm while keeping his paintbrush out of reach in his other hand. When he saw Ria a look of relief came over his face.
“Here’s a job for you,” he said. “Take Patriot somewhere else and keep him occupied before his name becomes Paintriot!”
With a laugh, Ria took the squirming ball of fur.
“Don’t put him down until you’re well away from here,” Winston warned from his perch on the ladder where he was painting.
“Come on, Patriot,” Ria crooned, “we’ll go play by ourselves and have fun just us two, won’t we?”
For answer, the puppy licked her chin vigorously while his tail wagged so hard, it seemed as though it must fall off.
For several hours the only sounds about the house were hammering, sawing and the calls of the gang. Back behind the barn Ria and Patriot played happily until, during a game, Ria caught her toe in a small hole and tripped over the puppy who dashed in front of her at that moment. Patriot gave a sharp little yelp as Ria fell.
“Oh, I’m sorry, Patriot,” Ria soothed the frightened puppy while rubbing her ankle with her hands.
Patriot came up and whimpered, wagging his tail as though saying he was sorry he had caused her to fall.
“I know you didn’t mean to run in front of me, but now,” and Ria winced as she moved her foot, “I can’t play with you any more. Besides,” she went on as the puppy stretched out with his head on his paws, “you really should take a nap.”
Carefully standing up, Ria slowly began to make her way towards the house only stopping long enough to shut Patriot in the barn for his nap. She hoped the gang would all be elsewhere, but instead she found almost the entire group gathered in the kitchen with glasses of lemonade.
Jack glanced up, “Did you wear that puppy out?” he asked as she came in.
“Where did you leave him?” Winston asked. “Not running loose, I hope?” and he pretended to look worried.
Ria shook her head. “No, I shut him in the barn.” Moving slowly away from the door, she tried not to limp. Ray pulled out a chair for her and she sat down with a small sigh.
The boys resumed their conversation which her entrance had paused. All except for Jack. Crossing his arms on the back of her chair, he leaned over his cousin and asked in low tones, “What did you do to cause you to limp?”
Ria looked up, startled. She had thought that no one had noticed since Ed and Al weren’t there. Jack gently pulled one of her braids while regarding her with his dark eyes.
“Well?” he pressed when she didn’t reply.
Attempting to frown, she answered. “I tripped over Patriot and twisted my ankle a little. But I’ll be all right in just a little bit,” she hastened to add as she saw he was about to speak.
Have you ever twisted your ankle?
What do you think of the new blog look?
Will you be back next week?