Before I start the Arf and Annie story, I want to ask you something. It will probably only apply to the baby boomer readers.
I made a bundt cake today which reminded me of the angel food cakes mom always made when someone had a birthday. I didn’t really like angel food cake. I thought they were too spongie, and Mom’s weren’t always the most beautiful.
I didn’t count the candles, but Dad must have been around 37 on this birthday.
When I got older, I asked for cheesecake for my birthday. The question I have is…did your mom take the angel food cake out of the oven and turn it over on a pop bottle to let it cool. It was just the right size to hold the angel food cake pan up off of the counter. Mom seemed to know just how long to leave it like that before she could easily get the cake out of the pan and onto the plate. It doesn’t work for a bundt cake because the hole in the middle of the pan is too big. My cake stuck to the pan a little bit so I had to put extra glaze on those spots.
Arf and Annie define their duties…
Arf: I know you love everyone just like I do, but we’ve got so many humans living here now that we’re running into each other trying to figure out who is keeping an eye on who. What do you think, Annie?
Annie: Well, I’ll try to keep an eye on Clark since he’s the newbie, but you might have to take him fishing once in a while. He has a secret, but I can’t tell you about it yet. I don’t think he’s ready to go public with it. Since I know his secret, I think I should stick with Clark.
Arf: Whatever…I still have some work to do with Katie, although she hasn’t seemed too interested in working with me lately. I think she’s getting complacent.
Annie: What does complacent mean?
Arf: It means happy with the way things are. Kind of lazy about striving to do the best you can. Anyway, I’m going to have to come up with some ideas. We’re going to go to the nursing homes and dance for the folks next week. Maybe I can show her that I still remember the steps and the signals and she’ll want to practice. She won’t be using her wheelchair, so that’s going to make a huge difference. I’m starting to feel a little overwhelmed and we haven’t even gotten to sad sack Brad, yet.
Annie: What is the deal with Katie’s parents? They seem to live separate lives, and only do things together when Katie is involved.
Arf: It’s a long story. They have been married a long time, but Dina left the family when she got really sick right after Katie was born. She thought she was going to die, but as you can see, she didn’t. Grandma Helen is Dina’s mom.
Annie: Now I’m getting overwhelmed, too. You go check on Katie, and I’ll go check on Clark. He should be back from Jamie’s by now.
Clark was in Brad’s study. He wanted to ask a favor, but he didn’t know if he should.
“Can I help you with something, son?” Brad got up and motioned for Clark to sit in one of the easy chairs while he took the other one. Brad didn’t like to have conversations across his desk.
“Well, Sir, I was wondering if it would be alright if I called my mamma. It’s in her nature to worry a lot and I want to let her know I’m okay.”
“I think that’s a good idea,” Brad said. “There’s the phone right over there. Talk with your mamma as long as you’d like. I’ll give you some privacy.
“Oh, no, Clark said. “I can’t call right now. Daddy will be home. It won’t do for me to call when he’s home. I’ll call her in the morning if that’ll be alright.”
Brad decided not to question Clark about his reluctance to call home when his father was there, but then he wondered what kind of parents would turn a sixteen year old boy out to fend for himself.
“Tomorrow is fine, Clark. You feel free to use the phone anytime…and Clark, I want you to know you can talk to me. I want to do what’s right by you. If you decide to stay on here, we’re going to have to start talking about school. Maybe we can find someone to help you catch up on your studies.”
“Yes sir. I know I should be in school, but can we wait just a while? I’m still stinging from my last experience.”
Arf found Katie playing alone in her room. She had her dolls all set up and they were all talking about stuff.
“Why does your daddy want to move?” The blonde doll asked.
“He says it’s too far for him to drive to his handyman jobs and he wants to find a place that’s closer to town,” said the little redheaded doll.
“I don’t want to move,” she said. “Boo Hoo.”
“Are your mommy and your Grandma Helen going to move, too?”
“I don’t know, but I’m afraid they won’t want to. What will I do? Will I go with my daddy or stay here? I don’t want my daddy to be all alone.”
That night, Brad joined everyone for supper a little late. He was excited about telling them his news.
“I’ve talked to Jamie several times today. Her mother is doing better and they have agreed to come here for a visit. They want Jamie to continue with her internship and studies without interruption.”
Brad turned to look at Dina.
“Anyway, since you have experience working with stroke victims, Dina, they want to hire you to care for Jamie’s mother.”
Dina was about to say something when Steve spoke.
“Will Jamie be living here, too?” Steve asked.
“Yes…that is if they decide to stay. Jamie said if her parents are happy here, she will try to lease out the farm. Grandma Helen and Miss Bessie would you mind getting those rooms with the little kitchen and sitting area ready? That will give them all plenty of room.”
“Now don’t that beat all!” Grandma Helen said. “I can’t believe the things that happen around here.”
“We’ll be happy to freshen things up, Brad,” Miss Bessie added. “I can’t wait to meet Jamie’s parents.”