Good morning, FFFs,
It's hot. It's humid. It's summer. And I stay inside in the AC as much as possible. Sure, call me a wimp. I grow languid and my brain won't create stories when I'm too hot and humid.
But let's change the subject, shall we?
Camp NaNo starts next week. Am I ready? Sure. I guess. I mean I'm just going to keep doing the same things I've been doing the last two weeks, so yeah, let's keep it up. I'm really enjoying this "different story a day" thing. Here's my "schedule" (subject to change when any story gets finished) (All titles are working titles and may be changed at a moments notice.):
Monday– "A Police Force for Christmas"
Tuesday– "Lawrence & Lenexa"
Wednesday– "Full House Christmas"
Thursday– "Secret Project"
Friday– Uh, I actually haven't written on a Friday yet, but it might be another Christmas story.
Saturday– Well, I don't have a set story for this day either. I could work on one of two things. I guess we'll see what happens.
If any of you who read this would like to do Camp NaNo but don't have a cabin, you are welcome to join us Next Door. We still have 8 beds left. ;)
Okay, here's the first part of my 4th of July story. I haven't decided what I think about it yet. Let me know your thoughts.
A 4th of July to Remember
Mr. Al Wu held the small American flag in his left hand along with the piece of paper as he stood up. He glanced over at his wife as she stood near him, with their ten-year-old son, Eric, between. This was it. The time had come.
“Everyone, please raise your right hand and repeat after me. I hereby declare on oath–”
“I hereby declare on oath–”
The judge continued reading the oath that would forever change the lives of those in the room. “. . . That I will support and defend the constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies foreign and domestic . . . And that I will bear truth faith . . . So help me God.”
The room echoed the solemn pledge. “So help me God.”
Looking up, the judge smiled. “Congratulations! You all are now United States Citizens!”
The room erupted into applause and cheers. Mr. Wu felt tears forming in his eyes as he clapped with the others. This was really happening. This day he had dreamed of for so many years. It had finally come!
Once again standing, Mr. Wu received a firm handshake and his certificate as a citizen of the United States from one of the clerks in the court room.
Mrs. Wu stood, one hand still holding the American flag as it rested against her pregnant stomach. With a smile that made her face seem to glow, she shook hands and took her certificate before resuming her seat as the small gathering clapped.
The next one called was Eric Wu. The boy stood straight and tall, solemnly shook hands, and took his certificate.
“Thank you, Father,” Mr. Wu breathed. “We are all Americans now.”
The rest of the ceremony was short, and soon everyone was dismissed. The newly sworn in citizens greeted each other like friends and family even though most of them had never met before and came from different countries. But the countries of their birth no longer mattered; now they were Americans.
“When is your little one due, Mrs. Wu?” asked one of the clerks who had taken a few moments to chat.
“In two weeks. I am thankful this happened before she arrived.”
The clerk smiled and tucked a strand of blonde hair behind her ear. “I’m sure you are. Do you have a name picked out yet?”
Mei shook her head. “We have not decided. So many names.” She shook her head again, and her black hair swung loose in a graceful way around her face. “When she arrives we will find her name.”
“I’m sure you will. Well,” the clerk held out her hand, “congratulations once again on becoming American citizens. And congratulations on your new little one.”
“Thank you very much,” Mei Wu said softly.
Al gently took his wife’s arm and, with Eric following, walked out of the courthouse and into the bright summer afternoon.
“Dad,” Eric said as they drove home, “the baby will be born an American, won’t she?”
“Yes, son. She will, thank God.”
The morning light shone through a break in the hazy clouds and seemed to make the American flag waving proudly in the breeze to glow. Everything was quiet out in the country. No traffic, sirens, or neighboring dogs broke the hush of that July morning. Mr. Wu, returning from his morning run down the country road, turned into the freshly mowed yard and paused to look.
The house wasn’t new, and the white paint was peeling from the porch pillars, but it was home. Flowers grew around the porch while the chair and porch swing sported pillows of red, white, and blue. Looking beyond the porch, the rolling fields of grass changed to a misty hill covered in trees which gave it an almost purple look.
“O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain.
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America! God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!”
Softly, as he started walking slowly, Al Wu sang the words through with a fervent heart. “Brotherhood,” he mused, walking slowly to the house; “people from every country in the world have come together, and each has given something to this country. Some have not given good, and for that it is a shame. But others have given good. God helping us, we will give good to this country who has taken us in. And may we always be the kind of people who give our best to this country as Americans.”
He stopped short and stood silent. “That’s it!”
Suddenly he hurried across the yard and into the house. “Mei,” he called, hearing someone in the kitchen.
“I am here.”
Rushing into the kitchen, Al beamed at his wife. “I have a name for the baby!”
Mei rubbed the round bulge under her red and white dress. “You do? She is not born yet. How do you know?”
With a movement, Al snatched a pen and a paper napkin and wrote a name.
“Ann?” Mei sat down at the table. “I do not understand this. How–” She broke off as her husband wrote a few other things on the napkin. Suddenly her eyes filled with happy tears. “Yes, yes. That will be her name. How did you think of it?”
“I was outside, and it just came to me. But her middle name, Mei, that I do not know.”
“Let us wait on that. But should we spell it like my grandmother A-N?
Al shook his head. “No, she will be an American, and it will be spelled A-N-N.”
“Ann,” Mei repeated dreamily rubbing her baby bump once more. “It is the only name that would fit.” She smiled up at her husband. “Now go. Get a shower and come help me. I hear Eric upstairs. Now there will be no more peace for this Independence Day.” She smiled as she spoke. “Just think, Al, our first celebration as Americans is to celebrate the birthday of the country who has given us a home and freedom.”
Leaning down, Al let his kiss answer for him before he left the kitchen.
Is it hot and humid at your house?
Are you doing Camp NaNo?
What did you think of the first part of this story?