***Well, I’m back at the ranch. It was fun helping Tom, but I don’t think I’m cut out to be a firefighting dog. Katie wasn’t too happy with me at first because they had to put off going to the place where people are sick and like to pet dogs. We still have work to do, anyway. We can’t sit on our laurels. We have to keep up with the physical therapy. Katie wants to be able to run.
Grandma Helen was sitting in her favorite rocking chair on the porch. It was a beautiful morning and the view was truly magnificent.
“May I join you, Mother? I have some tea for us and slices of your delicious banana bread.” Dina put the tray down on the little table next to Helen.
“Of course, Dina…I was just thinking about you. I hoped we might have a little time together, today. Please…sit down, dear.”
The two of them sat in silence for a few minutes and enjoyed the the peaceful morning.
I’m glad Arf is back,” Helen said. “It was nice of Tom to bring him all the way back to the ranch. I wonder what possessed that dog. He should have known we would all be worried sick about him…especially his Katie.”
“Arf isn’t like most other dogs, Mother. He’s highly sensitive to people’s needs. I guess he thought Tom needed him.”
“I suppose,” Helen said. “Do you remember that little dog you and Steph had? You named him Toto after the dog in The Wizard of OZ.”
“Yes,” Dina chuckled. “That was our favorite movie. We begged for baskets for our bikes so he could ride with us like Toto rode with Dorothy.”
“You promised you would take turns but that didn’t work out too well.”
Dina took a sip of tea and turned to her mother. She had tears in her eyes.
“I need to say something to you, Mother. I know I was wrong. I told myself that all I cared about was time with Katie. I didn’t need anyone’s forgiveness for leaving the way I did when she was a baby. I thought I was mentally prepared to accept Steve’s anger as well as yours. I thought a relationship with my daughter was a long shot, but it was all I needed. Now I want more. I love this crazy, amazing family.
“I’m your Mother, Dina. I won’t say it didn’t hurt, but after spending time with you again, I have begun to understand what you must have been going through. You were so young. You had a baby that would need a great deal of care and on top of that, you were told you had a terminal illness. You must have panicked at the thought of Steve having to take care of both of you and everything else. Did you not know that I would be there for you?”
“I wish I had told you, Mother. As it turns out…you were there for me. You did what I should have been doing, and I will be forever grateful to you for that.”
“Thank God for the miracles we’ve experienced with both you and Katie. Have you had this talk with Steve?” Helen asked.
“No. We’re both concentrating on Katie right now.”
As the, two were talking, Jamie drove up in her Jeep.
“Jamie must be here to pick up Miss Bessie,” Helen said. “She took a job at the General Store. She’ll be working with Steph…part-time of course… Steph knows that Katie and Steve don’t really need me anymore. I wonder why she didn’t ask me to help out. I guess I have fences to mend with my other daughter, too. Here comes Bessie. Now doesn’t she look ridiculous?”
Let the General Store Gossip begin!
“Good morning ladies.” Jamie took a double take when she saw Miss Bessie. “My don’t you look lovely.”
“Well, I felt it important for me to make a good first impression.”
“Don’t you think the white gloves are a little much? After all, you’ll be handling all those eggs.” Helen couldn’t resist the comment. “Oh look…here comes Brad. He’s riding the prettiest horse on this ranch. I haven’t seen him since the night Tom was here.”
“Hello ladies…where are you going all dolled up like that, Miss Bessie?”
“I’m dropping her off at the General Store on my way to the vet clinic,” Jamie said. “She’s going to be working there part-time.”
Brad looked at Jamie but didn’t offer a response. “Is Mark in the house, Miss Bessie? I need him to take care of things around here for a few days.”
“I’ll go get him for you,” Dina said.
Arf came out and sat in front of Jamie. He must have thought she needed a rose.