Carriage Trade

Chapter Four

Their housewarming party was one huge cookout and "bring a dish" party, but more importantly, people brought used furniture, a very eclectic mix I might add, but with gifts of carpets, furniture, pictures for the walls and some table and floor lamps, the house was basically furnished anew in one day. The place looked wonderful and it had a 'lived in feel' about it instantly. Our housewarming gift to them was new mattresses for the donated beds, something we were happy to do for them. As David said, he bet they christened the king sized one in their bedroom before the last car left their yard that Sunday night.

Although I had offered Mary a week off to get settled in, she and Lou had begun classes on the Department of Children and Families Services website to begin the fostering process, and if she was home, she'd be so far ahead of Lou in the class it wouldn't be like they were studying together, and they really wanted to do this thing together. So, she came in to work and they would do the course together at night before bed.

David was interested, as was I, so we went online that night after dinner and found out we also would qualify to take the online courses, so we signed up and watched the first tutorial module together, then took turns doing the test at the end of it, both of us passing very well thank you. We both felt pretty good about that and proceeded to try and get the other pregnant when we had finished and gone to bed. It was going to be a very interesting week of classes and tests if this kept up, and I think we both had that in mind as we did it again for the rest of the week.

By the fourth week, we were asked to tour the renovations with Paul, who was ready for us to make some decisions, some of which he said he had a pretty good idea of what we would decide on, but he had to have our preferences signed off on. The woodwork in the finished rooms......painted, the flooring......all natural wood, medium toned stain, the bathrooms......tiled heated floors, like the radiant heat under the wooden floors, kitchen cabinets..... the same medium floor stain on the kitchen cabinets, and the hardwood flooring on the kitchen floor, the, all natural stone, except the sink area, stainless steel there and a stainless backsplash there as well, bathroom counters.....natural stone there as well.

He asked if we had color preferences or should they use, in every room, the slightly muted white we had liked in his aunt's drawings. David and I had discussed this, and we wanted the color in a room to come from the furnishings and the accessories, so muted white it was, throughout.

The work so far was spectacular. The light from the skylights filtered down the staircase and during the day the sunlight flooded the whole house. The windows were a good size and we were having a private patio installed off the kitchen in the back, accessed from the kitchen and living, or great room, from several French doors installed where windows had originally been. The large patio looked over the large empty lot behind the Victorian property, which was going to be fenced in from the other properties along each side and the street behind, to give us a big secure fenced in yard and room for a pool. We figured some raised flower and vegetable beds would be fun and could be a good family project each year.

By the time the interior was starting to be finished off it was also time for our application process to begin. There were, of course, several dozen forms to be filled out and checked by the staff at the DCFS and what seemed like endless interviews, both at their offices and then by an assistant to the regional director's assistant at our home. That in itself was a bit amusing, since Mary (yes, another Mary, this one lived over in Granby with her husband who was an investigator for the agency). Mary explained that everything so far had checked out very well in our favor, and now it was the household suitability tour. David and I chuckled as she started to notice the first floor was all various office spaces. We took her for a tour and explained that this floor of the house, except for the kitchen, was an independent editing business, bedrooms and our own quarters were upstairs. For some reason she wanted to see there also so we walked with her up the wide staircase as she talked about how true to detail the first floor was which she only expounded upon when she saw the rooms Tony had created for me. She loved the Victorian details throughout and said she expected more bedrooms, but then again, we probably wanted only one child to begin with.

We had to laugh then, and then quickly explained that this was not where we would be living when we took a child or children home for the initial home visits, but out back in the old carriage house. Apparently, no one had shown Mary the papers where we described our new abode, created from the old four thousand square foot carriage house. It was with great relief to be able to show her the interior of the nearly finished home we were having created. When she saw the exterior, she began taking pictures, and didn't stop through the whole tour of both floors. She was able to look at the drawings Paul's aunt did, and she could see the finishing touches being installed. We were able to take her out the kitchen's double French doors to the back patio and show her the hole already dug for the pool and the newly fenced in big lot.

She asked who was doing the beautiful work on the place and we told her, and it was her turn to laugh as her boss was related to just about every member of the construction crew. She had facilitated in almost all their adoptions, Paul's included. She told us then that as soon as the building inspector had done his final inspection and granted an occupancy permit, then she would stop by and do another inspection, but she didn't see any problems in the way of us taking in a single or more, as we certainly had the room for them, in a most unusual and beautiful home.

When the occupancy permit was issued a few weeks later, it was posted on our door the day before David's birthday, bringing him one more year closer to me, but my birthday was a week before Thanksgiving, in only one month, the work on the interior finished one month ahead of time. The pool was finished, and we had christened it just two days before. That weekend we moved into the new spaces and began to try different pieces we couldn't live without in different locations, finally settling on one configuration we could both agree on.  We had been scouting for just the right pieces we could get reasonably, pieces that gave us maximum usage of the piece in its new home.

We didn't go overboard on the other bedrooms upstairs, but we moved some of the bedroom pieces I had and some from the rest of the rooms from the house that we both liked. We bought some more things but decided to leave the decorating to the rooms' occupants, there were enough furnishings for them to at least sleep in them, not that we started out planning to fill each bedroom, but we did furnish completely a guest room, that left four other good sized bedrooms, although one only had room for a twin bed, the one closest to our master bedroom. Some of the great Orientals my aunt and uncle had collected made their way into our new house, and the pops of color were just what the place needed to give it that "home" look we wanted, and when Mary (from DCFS) came by two days after our housewarming she told us just what all my employees and Lou had told us, it looked like it was made just for us, which it had been.

David and his boss had started to receive monthly reports about the income the trust fund was earning. It wasn't gobs and gobs of money, but it was just what they needed, funds to carry over a vet until their allotments came through. It was implied when they gave out money that it wasn't necessary to repay what was given to the vet for groceries or a rent payment or deposit, but 9 times out of 10 they were repaid, and the funds put back into use. David said it was so gratifying to be able to help out someone in need and that's what it was all about, wasn't it?

That's the attitude we went to our first "meet and greet" at the boy's dormitory at the DCFS one Friday afternoon, in early November. The girls, Mary and Lou, were at the girl's dorm doing the same thing. We wished each other luck as we parted from where we had parked next to each other in the big parking lot that sat between the two buildings and David and I entered the reception area for the boy's dorm and signed in. We were given name tags to wear, "David Weston" on his and "Matt Blackmer" on mine. We were shown into a large living room type space, with several seating areas and a few tables and chair sets scattered around the big room. We were graciously greeted by Mary and introduced to her boss who seemed to know all about us as we chatted for a while.

David noticed them first. He said they had captured his attention while he was looking around, and he told me not to be obvious about it, but there were two boys on a settee at the far end of the room over my left shoulder. Mary told us about them and as we listened I stole a glance over there and gosh, they were so cute together, and then it hit me, they were obviously brothers and the older one, about ten I thought, was consoling the younger one, about 5 or 6. Mary was telling us that they were indeed brothers and that they had been abandoned when their parents fled the state when they found out the police were after them for selling drugs. Both parents had died in a car crash during their escape into Connecticut and now the boys were afraid they would be separated. Not many foster parents were willing to take in a couple of boys at a time.

David looked at me with one of those raised eyebrows looks, and I nodded back at him. Mary laughed at us and said, "Why don't you two go and see if there is interest on both sides, I happen to think you four are a good match". She laughed a little at that and we moved off to sit across from the two boys. We sat and looked at the boys and then we looked at their name tags. The older boy was Matt and the younger one's name was David, I laughed thinking we had been set up somehow, but sure enough, as soon as the boys knew our names, and that we were considering inviting them both to our home for the weekend, and that we'd never split them up unless it was to go to different schools someday, they began to relax and ask us questions, just as we were asking them questions. Before we knew it, Mary had come around and she asked the two brothers if they wanted to see pictures of our house. They both nodded, and she sat between them and showed them the most recent shots she had on her phone.

I thought both boys were impressed and Matt asked how old the building was and we told them both that the building was a couple of hundred years old, but the insides were all brand new and needed a family in it, it was just too big for just David and me. Matt said that they'd like to spend the weekend with us and young David agreed, so Mary told them to go get a bag packed for each of them and then meet us all in reception. I called after them, telling them to pack their swimsuits also, we had a pool they didn't see in the pictures. While they were gone Mary laughed again and said she had one more picture to show us and then she scrolled through and showed us the one she took when we saw what the boy's names were. I begged her to send me that one and David showed her how to forward that shot to both our cells, it was priceless. The boys arrived shortly with their bags packed and they were signed out and then we had to sign that we had taken them for the weekend and would have them back by eight Sunday night.

I should tell you right now that both David and I were so pleased that these two little guys wanted to actually come to visit with us. I know, I know,.... some of those adults there in that meeting room were "choosing" someone to come home with them, but these two scared guys, overcame their fears and after talking to us, and then Mary showing them those tiny phone pictures, well,... they chose us, and it was such a "watershed" moment for me, and I think David as well. There wasn't anything within reason I wouldn't do for them from this day on. We did see that Lou and Mary's car was gone when we left, and we assumed they too had begun the bonding process with a girl they had felt a kinship with.

On the way home, we stopped in at a drive through and we all got milkshakes to slurp on as David continued driving us home. The milkshakes unleashed a lively conversation in the car which continued even as we parked in the big garage at the end of the drive. The boys asked about the big old house and we told them we used to live in there, but now it was where my business was, and we'd show it to them the next day, but right now we had to get them settled in and get dinner underway.

They liked the new spaces right away, you could tell by the way they had smiles on their faces as they moved around after we had all entered through the entry. We walked them around the first floor so they would have an idea where everything was, especially the half bath next to the kitchen, the kitchen itself, which at their ages could be the most important room of the house, the gym, which young Matt wanted to spend time in and the big shower bathroom off the workout room, just in case the half bath was occupied. Then it was upstairs.

They were shown our bedroom, and then the room we had set up as a guest room, and young Matt went to place their bags on the bed there, but David asked them if they wouldn't rather have their own rooms, there were still several to choose from. Young David liked the little room nearest ours. He said it was just his size and he'd have his own shower bath. Young Mat chose the room right next door to his brother, one of the ones with a double bed in it. He too would have a similar shower bath. It didn't take long to get the boys settled in their rooms and there were a few things David and I noted that we should really have for them, like a night light in the bathrooms in case they needed to use the toilet in the night, and eventually a student's desk in each so they'd have a place to do their homework, and maybe later a computer for each, maybe a laptop that wouldn't take up too much room. I saw that a couple of bookcases would maybe encourage them to not only read, but help them keep their rooms neat in the long run.

After their rooms and bathrooms were setup with what we thought they'd need, it was down to the kitchen and getting dinner ready. We all decided that burgers cooked on the grill out on the patio and a couple of sides, like Coleslaw and Potato Salad would be fine. We all had an active part in our dinner, David and young Dave took care of the burgers on the grill and Matt and I set the table indoors and placed glasses of milk at all four places, then we went outside with the other two and the boys got a tour of the patio and backyard, including the fenced in pool area. I promised them that the next day we'd make time to use the pool and just then David called out that the burgers were ready, where was all his help? We three laughed at that and went to help the poor man with his one plate of burgers.

The talk around the table was about what David and I did for work. They both grasped that David had been a crew member on a rescue team in the Air Force and had plenty of questions about that, but they really were impressed when they were told he too was a student, studying to be a teacher. He laughed when they were more impressed with that, telling them that for many years I was a teacher of college students, that I had helped write a textbook, and was now the owner of the business in the big house, where I corrected other writer's books and stories before they were published. The boys were both looking at us funny, I think they were wondering if we had brought them to some kind of fancy school or something. To dispel their worries, I tried to lighten their moods by suggesting that we all get the kitchen clean from dinner and then, if it was still light out, we'd go in the pool tonight and tomorrow too. The boys certainly knew how to pick up and clear the table, and I rinsed as David filled the dishwasher. The boys were halfway up the stairs before we had even started the washer, so David was the first one of us to go up and change himself, and I was hot on his heels.

We all met in the hall and little David had his suit on backward, so I showed him a trick to remember how to tell the front from the back, just look for the strings and then put that side in the front, then he wouldn't have the strings tickling his butt. Young Matt thought that was hysterical and both boys were laughing so hard Little David had trouble switching his suit around so Big David held the giggling boy up under the arms and I knelt and slid the suit down and turned it around to slide it up his legs and then David started wiggling his fingers and tickling Young David so he was a giggling twisting mess by the time I got him suited up and both David's and both Matts were laughing so hard we almost all had to run to a toilet before we went downstairs to the pool.

It was fun watching the 9-year-old Matt dragging his 6-year-old brother around the shallow end of the pool by the back of the life jacket, we had brought two out for young David and Mat, until we were assured, they indeed had swimming skills. Matt told us they had swimming at the Y in Springfield sometimes twice a week. They got on the DCFS bus and all the boys at the home went, some to play sports, the older boys, the rest for swimming lessons. Alternating days the girls went, and the boys stayed in their dorm, school and the Y were the only times the boys left the dorm. We told them that we had a lot planned for Saturday and that the afternoon on Sunday would be calm, but we had some things planned we bet none of the other boys had done before.

By nine the sun was setting and we made our way back to the house, we all had to run through showers to remove the chemicals from the pool water, so we asked young David if he could shower alone, and his brother told us no, he just would stand under the spray and pretend he was standing in the rain, but they would shower together in his bathroom, then see to it he got dried well and dressed in his jammies as it would be David's bedtime by then. We left them to it, telling Matt to call out if he needed any help and we, my David and I, went to our bedroom to rinse off together. We tried to make short work of it and when we were done, we could hear the boys in Matt's room giggling and having fun as they got into their sleep clothes. It was a great sound and my David pulled me in for another kiss as we stood in the hall and the sound of young laughter could be heard.

We told the boys to meet us in the kitchen, where we had a plate of brownies waiting  when they came downstairs, so with a glass of milk each we all sat at the kitchen table and we told the boys what we had planned for the morning. As soon as we had a tour of the big house and they got to see what I did for a living, we were going to pack a picnic lunch and take them on a canoe ride. David had taken me out on several of his excursions, and the one I had liked the best had been to the Quabbin Reservoir. It was on one of our trips to there David had shown me vestiges from a couple of the towns flooded to make the huge body of water, built to provide Boston, a half state away, with clean drinking water. It was fascinating to see bits of streets and building foundations under the water. There were plenty of fish to be seen, and not on the end of a hook. Every time we'd been there were deer, raccoon, skunks, and the occasional opossum, moose, wildcat, ducks, and sometimes hummingbirds. David said that from the canoe we should be able to see plenty of wildlife and not be in any danger from a smelly skunk.

We drove off after the boys got a look at where we used to live and where I worked, I had to show them how I corrected mistakes on a manuscript on my work computer, and thankfully they thought it was cool. They wanted to know who lived there now, and we told them no one right now, but we had a plan in the works to put up students from the local colleges, most of them vets like David.

Our ride was full of more questions and we tried to answer them as best we could, and when we got to the Visitor's Center at the Reservoir, we were told our four-man canoe was ready. David's were only two-man ones and the state didn't allow 'foreign' boats or other watercraft in the water here, it was a protected water source and only their own craft was acceptable here, so a rental fee was paid, and we also rented four life jackets. It was a canoe after all and the first time the boys had been with us and we were always conscious of the possible hazards out on the water, so sue us, we were being careful of our precious cargo.

There were four bench seats in the canoe and we placed the boys one each on the two middle seats  I took the Bow seat, so I could see where we were going, and David took the stern seat, so he could steer. We ended up on a small island for our picnic, and while there Matt had to pee so we told him to pick a tree and water it, just don't turn around and flash everyone out on the water or they'd all want to come and share our lunch. He laughed and went off so of course, David had to try it too, so off they went to give back to nature, as David watched after them and I prepared our sandwich plates and drinks and chips. The boys had finished and were coming back to the sandbar we were set up on when Big David began to laugh and ran up a way to where the boys were, stunned in place as two immature tiny hummingbirds were hovering in front of them, joined with the boys in a staring contest. They looked like they had been cast in stone, staring at the little hovering birds right in front of them. The boys' eyes wide as saucers. As David approached the birds took off, the boys running to him and clutching at him, asking what those things were, were they some kind of fancy drones? Why did they have those swords on their faces? What made that funny noise coming out of them? Why did their wings move so fast? Thank god I had caught it all on my phone and with that I was able to slow the film down and show them they were small birds that beat their wings so fast they were almost invisible, and that the sword they carried was really a long pointed beak and the noise they made was the air rushing over their fast-beating wings.

Once it was all explained to them, they thought they were really special to have been witnesses to those little hovering birds. We finished lunch and packed everything up in the carrier, leaving nothing behind except the boy's tree watering, which they also thought was cool.

Once home we all took a bathroom break and then drove over route 202 into Granby where we took the boys into the past, to Nash's Dino Footprints. There we went into the center in a separate building and we got to look at all kinds of dinosaur footprints and depictions of the types that used to live here in the Connecticut River Valley, the Pioneer Valley of Western Mass. There were even some for sale, and we did find two small ones for the boys and then we went out back and looked where the footprints were embedded into the shale deposits thousands of years ago. There was an area where you could hunt for more, but you also paid for what you found, so we decided to go for a real treat, Ice cream cones which we ate by the roadside dairy where there were picnic tables to sit at. Once done we went back to the house and got into our swimsuits and spent about an hour there until it was again time to eat, but this time we had oven fried chicken legs and we again ate outside on the patio. It was about six when we were all finished and then after waiting an hour we went back in the pool for a little exercise before the boys went to bed.

Once the boys were snug in their beds, with...(OH, that's something else I was working on!) the boys were both tucked in and David and I were snuggled together on the great room couch, waiting for the evening news to come on when I told him that it was going to be really hard to take them back to the dorm in Springfield the next evening, and he held me close, saying he felt the same way, but that just gave us almost a week to come up with ideas for the next weekend. It would take three-weekend visits before the boys would be able to stay with us full time, and we would have two more weekends after this Sunday evening.

Sunday was spent being together again. First was breakfast, although not an elaborate one, and then Mass at the MCC church in town where we ran into several people both David and me knew from town and just before the service was to start Mary and Lou and a young girl walked in. Introductions were made all around and Mary, Lou, and Beth joined our group and we went in to snag a pew we could all share. Beth was a cutie. She had golden ringlets today, but we would learn that she preferred to have her hair loose and brushed out. She was 7 years old and quite the little lady for her age. At one point during the sermon, I looked down our pew and Beth was snuggled under Lou's arm and Mary was holding her on the other side, with a finger snuggled into one of Beth's curls. By the end of the sermon, which really wasn't that long, young David was on my lap and asleep on my chest. I couldn't remember feeling "parental" FEELINGS before, yes there was a need to nurture and protect these two boys, these two brothers who had no family to do the job for them, but when I looked down at little David asleep on my chest, well, I lost it for a few seconds and my arms encircled him and the tears just seeped out of my eyes.

 I prayed, I prayed to God to keep him safe for me, he and his brother, who was looking at us with a funny kind of look on his face, then he slid over from Big David's side and put his arm over us and he looked up at me and whispered," He really likes it here with you guys, well I guess we both do, so if you really want us, as long as it's on the up and up, we're yours, well yours and David's, but know this, no one hurts my brother, no one. Are we clear on this?" All I could do at that time was a nod. David slid closer and asked what was going on, and I told him I thought we ought to get married.

I whispered to him, over David and Matt's heads, that I loved him, that I loved him so much that I couldn't stand the time away from him even when he was in school, I thought that I'd never feel this way again, but there you go, love knows no bounds and I was so hopelessly in love with him. I wanted a family with him, and I wanted this family, the ones in my arms right now, he and me, parenting these two little guys. "Hey, I'm not that little", we heard from Matt, which got us chuckling, but then Big David was on his knee in front of us and he grasped my hand and kissed it, then asked me to marry him, again I was leaking and so choked up all I could do at that moment was nod my head, repeatedly. I know how happy I felt, and I only hoped he felt the same, and judging by the look on his face, he was, and even more as we shared a smooch right there in the church pew.

If the girls didn't figure out what was happening by then, Young Matt's "WHOOPEE!!" showed he did.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, that drew a lot of attention to our pew as the girls joined in Matt's joy and the people around us caught on to what had just transpired and began congratulating us, and since we were in the middle of the rows of pews that drew the attention of the celebrant, Fr. Wilkins, Tony's memorial celebrant and friend, and brother to our lawyer. He walked down the central aisle toward us and Young Matt told him that his Dads were getting married. He was so cool about it, he shook all our hands and then went back to the pulpit and announced to the congregation that we had just gotten engaged. The clapping set us all off again and we tried to compose ourselves for the rest of the service.

Lou and Mary admitted they too had gotten engaged and were thinking of a civil ceremony and we asked if they wouldn't want to share a church service with us if Fr. Wilkins could arrange it. They agreed they would, so we all descended on him in the lobby after he had seen all the other parishioners off. He thought our reasoning was sound, as we wanted to be married when the DCFS granted permanent custody, the next step toward adoption. We all agreed it wouldn't be a lavish affair, just ourselves and our co-workers and friends, a basic church ceremony with a barbecue reception after, probably at the ladies' farm.

So, the date was set, two weeks from yesterday, here at the church at eleven in the morning. We all went to our respective homes for the rest of our day, telling the ladies we'd see them during the week. The boys we took to the cafe on the green and we all had a delicious brunch. Over brunch, we discussed the David, David and Matt, Matt situation. I said that I'd like to call Young David, Davey or Dave, and Matt was always going to be Matty in my mind. I told them that after 90 days from us getting permanent custody, David and I would like to adopt them, and then they could both be called Junior if they wanted. Young Matt thought about it, but only for a second or two and said that he usually called his brother Davey, so why shouldn't we, and he thought Matty was a cool version of his name. David and Davey thought that all was good, so now we had a way to distinguish between the four of us without any confusion about who was talking to, or about, whom.

With the rest of the afternoon ahead of us the boys wanted to spend the rest of their weekend with us at our pool, so that's what we did. David spent a bit of time on his laptop out at a table on the pool apron, and when he was finished writing his proposal to his boss about us offering housing on a limited basis to students who didn't want to live in dorms he cannonballed into the pool and we all ganged up on him. When our time in the pool was over it was again time to rinse off and get dressed again for our evening meal.

Our meal was probably the most subdued time we all spent that weekend. Davey was poking his food around the plate and Matty was just plain sullen, but David couldn't stand the funeral atmosphere any more than I could, so we two started to talk about the next weekend visit and planning what we thought we'd do then, out loud, and in front of the boys. It wasn't until we were talking about taking the boys to the equestrian center at the University that their interest was caught and we told them that indeed, we meant riding horses, or maybe ponies in their case. David told us he hadn't ridden in years, since before he went in the service, but even with his new foot he thought he should be able to do pretty good, and that started another deep discussion off and soon the boys were looking forward to another visit, where they were sure they'd have more fun with us old guys. I then wanted to give them something big to think about, so I asked Matty if he'd stand with me when David and I got married during their third visit, just as David was asking Davey the same thing.

When they went to pack up for their return to the dorm, we told them only to pack what they needed during the week, the rest they could leave in their rooms here, that those were their forever rooms and that earned David and me big hugs from both brothers. The drive into Springfield went better than it could have, we had two bright boys to sign back in, not as gloomy as it could have been, and they were so pleased when we told the woman at the desk that we wanted a repeat visit for next weekend and the weekend after, that the boys were involved in our wedding and we needed them there. She smiled and said that it looked like everything worked out well for all of us and all we could do at that point was to smile big smiles and nod, all four of us, as we hugged each other and wished each other a good week until the next Friday afternoon. Matty was really chuffed when I gave him my cell number, just in case he wanted to call during the week.

The lady behind the desk was kind enough to let us write both our cell numbers down for the boys and she told them that in their free time they could come down to the desk and call us if they wanted. The boys thanked her and then it was hugs again and through the doors they went, waving goodbye to us. It was pretty gut-wrenching for us, but the kind lady at the desk had plenty of tissues at hand and shared them with us.

During breakfast the next morning my cell rang, and it was tough little Matty calling to see what we were eating, and to wish us a good day. We both talked to him and then to Davey before we heard someone telling them to hurry or they'd miss their school bus. It was a great way to start off our day. David left for school and work and soon my crew started to show up and we had a brief delay in the beginning of our work as both Mary and I had news to share with them. Of course, they were excited for us both, for our upcoming weddings, and for the children we were fostering as well. I did have one further announcement, and that was we were looking into renting out the second floor. There was my former quarters plus the other bedrooms up there. The offer was made to the employees before we went any further, but this core group of editors was a pretty stable group of men and women and no one was in need of housing at that time, I'd pass that on to David when he got home.

I really wasn't expecting another call from the boys, so when my cell rang about three thirty I was expecting it to be David, but to my surprise it was Davey, and he said he just wanted to tell me about his day in school and how the teacher had asked what everyone in his class had done over the weekend, and he told her about going on the canoe trip with us and how the hum birds kept flying in front of his face and how we saw roads and parts of buildings underwater and how they got to go swimming every day and how much fun we all had at church and how many more days until he could come home?

That last part really got to me and I know the eyes were tearing up as I told him only 4 more days of Summer school camp and David and I would be there to pick Matty and himself up for another fun weekend and that I loved him and his brother, that last part just slipping out, but it was very heartfelt.  He put his brother on and Matty and I talked about his day at the Summer School Camp the school system had started for the working parents in the city and that DCFS fully endorsed and supported, both monetarily and with adult supervision for certain crafts and sports offered to the students. They also got three hours of schooling during the full day.

After talking to the boys, I was daydreaming a bit and realized that in three days I had fallen in a totally different kind of love for sure, and as I looked across the room, there was Mary, mooning over photos of Beth on her cell phone, with an expression on her face like I imagined mine looked like, dreamy.

Comments appreciated at Art West