This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
This story is copyright by Owen Hudson, all rights reserved. Distribution, including but not limited to: posting on internet sites, newsgroups, or message boards, or in book form (either as a whole or part of a compilation), or on CD, DVD or any other electronic media, is expressly prohibited without the author's written consent.
Dreams Don't Grow on Trees
"Does this mean you're out of a job?" Amy asked Darrell upon learning that the lumber company was being sold. "I can't believe Paul would do this."
"Well, he did," Darrell said.
"What's going to happen now?" Haden asked.
"I'll continue to go to work just like in the past," Darrell said.
"Do you still get to boss people around?" Adam wanted to know.
"Yeah, just like I get to boss you around," Darrell laughed.
"I wonder why Paul sold the store when it's making a lot of money now," Amy questioned.
"Paul said he was in the banking business, not the lumber and building supply business," Darrell explained.
"But Dad, you're doing a good job of running the business and making money for Paul," Amy pointed out.
"I know ... and that's why I bought the business," Darrell laughed.
It took a minute or two for the Harrington kids to get the impact of their dad's statement. Finally Haden asked in excitement, "Wow, Dad, how did you pull that off?"
"I mortgaged the farm for the down payment, but I think it's a safe bet," Darrell explained.
"Does that mean there will be payments on both the farm and the business?" Haden asked.
"I guess it does," Darrell admitted. "I guess I should've discussed this with the family before I made the decision, but I was so excited that I didn't think about it."
"I don't know about the others, but I think it was a wise decision," Haden admitted.
"I think so too," Amy agreed.
"Yeah, Dad, and now I can work at the store," Adam joined in.
"Not while you're in school," Darrell said.
"Well then, this summer," Adam pleaded.
"We'll discuss it this summer," Darrell smiled.
"When does all of this happen?" Amy asked.
"Actually, it will be pretty fast," Darrell explained. "Paul already had a contract pretty much ready. I'm having Steve look it over just to be safe... not that Paul would try to cheat me. In reality, all Paul is doing is getting back the money the bank has invested, plus interest. I told him he could sell it for much more than he's selling it to me."
"Do you get to keep the airplane?" Adam wanted to know.
"The airplane belongs to the bank, not the store," Darrell explained. "Besides, I wouldn't know how to fly it. However, now we'll be able to afford to fly where we want to go."
"Are we rich?" Adam questioned.
"No, we're not rich, but we'll live comfortably," Darrell smiled. "I can now make sure each of you gets your college education."
"I have a scholarship to pay for mine," Amy mentioned.
"Yes, but there are other expenses, and your college savings is already running low," Darrell reminded his daughter. "And I'm sure you'll want to continue your education. Haden, you'll have more money saved, but I can now afford to make up any difference. Adam, we have plenty of time to add to your college fund. I'll also help Perry make up what his GI benefits don't pay. Lacey's almost finished and won't need help."
"What college fun?" Adam asked.
"Not college fun ... college fund," Darrell laughed. "As soon as you became part of this family, I started a savings account to pay for your college education."`
"What if I don't want to go to college?" Adam asked.
"If you don't want to go, I won't make you," Darrell said. "But I will insist you have a career chosen that you want to pursue."
"I could work at the store."
"You could, but remember, I've been there for years, and I'm just now learning the business end. You'd probably need to go to college to get a business degree."
"If you want me to go to college, I'll go."
"I'd love to see all of my kids get college degrees, but I want you to get a college degree only if you want a degree."
"I don't know why you wouldn't want to go to college," Amy said. "You're making all As and Bs."
"I just don't want to study all the time like you do," Adam argued.
"I have to study a lot, because in nursing we have to spend a lot of time in a clinic or lab," Amy pointed out. "Haden doesn't have to study nearly as much as I do."
"Alright, I guess I'm going to college," Adam grinned.
"Good for you," Darrell hugged his son.
The next several days were hectic ones for the Harringtons. Darrell was busy with the purchase of the store, and Amy was busy as usual with her nursing studies; so this left the running of the house to Haden and Adam. Haden was amazed at how much help Adam was - Adam had learned to do laundry and fold it properly, as well as many other chores.
"Adam, where are your glasses?" Haden asked when he picked Adam up at school.
"They got knocked off in gym and Conner stepped on them," Adam said in near panic. "Please don't tell Dad."
"Dad will see that you don't have glasses," Haden laughed.
"It's not funny," Adam protested. "Lend me some money and take me to see Dr. Bishop to get new ones."
"I'll take you to get new ones, but Dad will be the one that pays."
"No, don't tell him. He'll be mad."
"Why would Dad be mad? It was an accident."
"But I should've been more careful."
"Adam, it was an accident. I'll pull over and call Dad now."
"Haden, please don't call him."
"Adam, you know Dad won't be mad at you."
"What did he say?" Adam asked as soon as Haden hung up the phone.
"He said he would call Dr. Bishop and for me to take you there now."
"Really, he wasn't mad?"
"Adam, Dad may be strict and sometimes overly protective, but he's not unreasonable."
"My mom would have beaten the crap out of me."
"That part of your life is in the past."
"I know, I know."
"My brother needs new glasses," Haden said, upon arrival at Dr. Bishop's office.
"Oh yes, your dad called," the receptionist said while giving Adam a reassuring smile. "Dr. Bishop said Adam wouldn't need a new exam yet. Dr. Bishop suggested sports glasses too, and Mr. Harrington agreed. You can take this prescription next door and they'll fix you up with new glasses."
"You guys are late," Amy said when the two brothers arrived home. "Adam, you got new glasses!"
"Yeah, his got crushed in gym today," Haden explained.
"I like these better than the old ones anyway," Amy said, as she took a pan of bread pudding out of the oven. "They look good on you."
"I got sports glasses too," Adam bragged.
"Put them on and let me see," Amy requested.
"Dr. Bishop and Dad decided it would be a good idea," Haden explained.
"Wow, you look like a jock with those on," Amy said.
"No, I don't," Adam blushed and went out the door still wearing the sports glasses. "I'm going to take care of the dogs."
"He didn't want Dad to know about his glasses," Haden said after Adam went outside. "He was afraid Dad would be mad."
"He should've known Dad wouldn't be angry over that," Amy said.
"We forget what his life was like before he came to live with us. He said his mom would have beaten the crap out of him over the glasses."
"Eventually, he'll learn to trust us. He's a sweet boy, and I don't know how anyone could have mistreated him."
"Some people are like that, look at what Mom did to me."
"I'm hungry, what's for dinner?" Adam asked, as soon as he entered the room.
"Pot roast," Amy said. "We'll eat as soon as Dad gets home."
"Man, he's really late," Adam said.
"He should be home soon," Amy said. "He called and said he'd be a little late."
"I wonder when that'll be," Adam questioned.
"It shouldn't be long," Amy said. "But if you're really hungry, I'll fix you a plate now."
"No, I'll wait for Dad," Adam said, as he looked at his watch.
"I think I heard him drive up now," Haden observed.
"Oh boy," Adam said as he rushed to greet his dad.
"Hey, Adam, don't you think you should put your other glasses on first?" Haden suggested.
"Oh yeah," Adam agreed as he quickly changed glasses before greeting his dad.
"Well, what brought on this warm greeting?" Darrell laughed, as he walked into the kitchen with his arm around Adam.
"I don't know if he's hungry are just happy to see you," Amy smiled.
"Both," Adam giggled.
"I had to work late to pay for your new glasses," Darrell teased.
"I'm sorry, Dad," Adam said in a quivering voice. "It really was an accident. Conner stepped on them when they got knocked off in gym."
"Son, I'm just teasing you," Darrell said, as he gave Adam a reassuring hug. "Accidents happen, that's why I wanted you to also get sports glasses."
"Can we eat now?" Adam giggled.
"It smells good, and I'm starving too," Darrell said.
"Did you know Justin's brother Joe is getting married?" Adam asked in between bites of pot roast.
"No, who told you?" Amy asked.
"Justin," Adam said.
"Who's the bride, and when's the wedding?" Amy asked.
"Amy, I should've known you'd ask 1,000 questions."
"That wasn't 1,000; it was only two, wise guy. Just for that, I don't think you should get any bread pudding."
"Bread pudding? Yuck!"
"Yuck? Don't tell me you don't like bread pudding," Amy said.
"I've never had it before, but it doesn't sound good," Adam admitted
"You don't have to eat it... I'll eat your share," Darrell teased.
"Dad, I didn't say I wouldn't try some," Adam countered before digging into his dessert. "Hey, this is really good."
"Well, I guess I won't get your share after all," Darrell joked.
"I guess I'll have to call Betty to find out about Joe," Amy said, wanting to get back to the upcoming wedding.
"Call Perry, he's the best man, and Justin and I get to hand out the programs like we did at Perry and Lacey's wedding," Adam proudly announced.
"When did you find out about the wedding?" Haden asked.
"Justin told me today at school," Adam revealed.
"Then you haven't officially been asked to be part of the wedding party," Amy pointed out.
"Well, Justin just found out about it yesterday," Adam said. "Joe asked him then."
"I'll call Lacey as soon as I clean up the kitchen," Amy said.
"Go on, Adam and I'll do it," Haden offered.
"No, I'm caught up with my homework," Amy argued. "You and Adam have been doing most of the work around here lately."
"Whew," Adam said, as he wiped his brow.
"Oh, get out of here before I put you to work," Amy laughed, as the men retired to the living room.
"Well, Adam's right," Amy said, as she entered the living room with her cell phone still in hand. "Joe's getting married. It's Lacey's friend she worked with in her uncle's restaurant. Joe met her before he went into the military."
"I told you so," Adam bragged.
"I didn't doubt you," Amy said. "I just wanted more information."
"Okay," Adam said, and went back to reading his book.
"No wonder we haven't seen much of Joe lately," Darrell mused. "Do you know where Joe's working?"
"He works at Sears and going to college," Adam said, as he looked over his book.
"How do you know all of this?" Haden asked with a smile.
"Did you forget that Justin's my best friend?" Adam asked, then went back to reading.
"He has a point," Darrell stated.
"Dad, did you decide if I could workout with Haden?" Adam asked when the discussion changed from the wedding to other things.
"I'm not sure it's a good idea, Son," Darrell said. "But I'll tell you what, I'll talk to Dr. Ortiz, if he thinks it'd be okay, I'll agree."
"Thank you, Dad," Adam said while giving his dad a hug. "Will you call him now?"
"Son, it's after his office hours," Darrell laughed. "I'll call tomorrow."
"Okay," Adam reluctantly agreed.
"What did Dr. Ortiz say?" Adam asked, as soon as Darrell arrived home from work the next day.
"He said you're impatient," Darrell laughed.
"Dad ...," Adam protested.
"Alright, he doesn't recommend bodybuilding at your age," Darrell said.
"But he thinks strength training would be fine."
"What's the difference?"
"Well, I found out the hospital has a fitness center with a certified trainer. So I talked to the trainer and he said he'd have you doing mostly stretching exercises. I signed you and your brother up."
"Me?" Haden asked in surprise.
"Someone has to take him," Darrell said.
"How much does it cost; I'm not sure I can afford it," Haden protested.
"I'm paying for Adam's, and I'll pay for yours," Darrell offered.
"Come on, Haden," Adam pleaded.
"Who'll cook dinner?" Haden argued.
"We can eat a little late, if necessary; you'll be going Monday, Wednesday, and Friday," Darrell said. "Those are the days you don't have college classes, and Adam won't go to Boys and Girls club on those days."
"Okay, that'll work this semester, but what about next semester?" Haden asked.
"We'll worry about next semester when it gets here," Darrell said. "I'll likely be able to leave work long enough to take him then."
"Alright, I'll do it for the brat," Haden smiled.
"Yay ... but I'm not a brat," Adam protested.
"I ran into Linda at the hospital, and she thought something was wrong," Darrell said. "When I told her why I was there, she said Kyle would probably want to join too."
"Cool," Haden blushed.
"Thank you, Haden, for agreeing to take me to the gym," Adam said, as he gave his brother a hug.
"Oh, I don't mind," Haden said. "I'm just worried about keeping up with everything that needs to be done."
"Maybe I can find time to help more," Amy offered.
"I have an idea," Darrell said. "I'll check into hiring a housekeeper."
"Dad, we can manage," Haden protested.
"It would only be once or twice a week," Darrell explained. "She'd do the major cleaning and the laundry."
"Cool," Adam quickly agreed, since he'd lost interest in doing the laundry.
"I'll ask around about someone," Darrell said. "I want to make sure the person is honest."
"You might ask Linda," Haden mentioned. "She has a housekeeper."
"I didn't know that," Amy said.
"Neither did I, until I was there one day when the housekeeper came to clean," Haden said.
"I wondered how Linda managed to keep her house so clean and work full-time," Amy acknowledged.
"We'll talk to Linda after church Sunday," Darrell said. "Debbie invited us all to lunch after church."
"Linda, Haden mentioned that you have a part-time housekeeper," Darrell said, as the group ate.
"Yes, I hired Heidi about three years ago," Linda said. "She was a lucky find."
"Do you think she would be interested in another couple of days?" Darrell asked.
"I'm sure she would," Linda said. "But she won't work when her kids are out of school."
"Oh, that's too bad," Darrell said.
"Dad, if her kids are out of school, we should be out too," Amy pointed out.
"I guess you're right," Darrell admitted.
"Heidi is very honest," Linda said. "I've left money and jewelry out, and it was only moved for dusting. I'm sure she would be interested in picking up a couple more days. Her husband works at Walmart, and we all know how little they pay. I pay her $12.00 an hour, which is more than most pay; but she's worth every penny I pay her. She likes to work from 9:00 until 3:00, so she can be home when her kids get home from school."
"Have her contact me," Darrell said.
"I'm sure she's home from Church, I'll call her now," Linda said, as she left the table to retrieve her phone.
"Dad, can we afford to pay that much?" Amy questioned. "That's almost $600 a month."
"According to my accountant we can," Darrell laughed. "It seems that Sparks is growing to the point that I need to hire another checker."
"I would be interested in that," Betty said. "My hours have been cut to the point it's hardly worth working."
"Come by the store tomorrow and we'll talk," Darrell said.
"Oh, Betty, that would be a wonderful job for you," Rita remarked.
"It would certainly be easier for this old lady," Betty laughed.
"Mom, you're not old," Justin said.
"Thank you, Son."
"Let's go to my room and play some video games," Mark said, after rinsing his plate and putting it in the dishwasher.
"Isn't it amazing how well Adam's doing," Rita remarked when the boys went upstairs.
"He has adjusted well, but he still has some insecurity," Darrell remarked and went on to explain the incident with Adam's glasses.
"Heidi will be here tomorrow," Darrell announced when he arrived home from work. "She'll be here Tuesdays and Fridays. She said for us not to make our beds since she will strip them and put clean linens on."
"How will she get in the house if we're not home?" Amy asked.
"I made a key for her," Darrell said. "Linda said she can be trusted."
"I wish she could come by so I could show her where everything is," Amy remarked.
"She came by today and I showed her," Haden said. "She also gave me a list of cleaning supplies she likes, and I've already bought those. Fortunately, she likes most of the cleaning supplies we already use. Dad, we decided it would be better to change linens on Fridays. She also said we need not make our beds on Tuesdays, since she could do that too."
"I also hired Heidi's husband Todd to work in our tool rental department," Darrell said.
"Can we eat now, I'm hungry," Adam said.
"You're always hungry," Darrell said, as he grabbed his son and ruffled his hair.
"Well Nate worked me hard at the gym," Adam said, as he patted his hair back down.
"If it's too hard, you don't have to go," Darrell pointed out.
"No, it was fun," Adam objected.
"Nate had him doing mostly stretching type exercises," Haden explained.
"Hey, what is this stuff?" Adam asked when Haden placed a plate in front of him.
"Adam, your brother cooked a nice dinner - that wasn't very nice of you," Darrell reprimanded.
"I'm sorry," Adam said, lowering his head.
"It's okay," Haden said. "Try it and if you don't like it, I'll fix you something else."
"No, Adam, you do have to try it," Darrell said. "But if you don't like it, you can find something else yourself."
"I really didn't mean it that way," Adam said. "I just didn't know what it was."
"It's braised chicken with artichokes and olives," Haden explained.
"Hey, this is pretty good," Adam remarked, after first making a face, then smiling.
"Yes, it is," Amy agreed. "I'm beginning to think Haden is becoming a better cook than I am."
"You're both good cooks," Adam said between bites, then added, "You too, Dad."
"Thank you, Son," Darrell said. "But your brother and sister are becoming gourmet cooks."
"Yeah," Adam agreed - not sure what gourmet meant. "What's for dessert?"
"You should know, I saw you checking it out earlier," Haden smiled.
"Yeah, but I didn't know what it was," Adam admitted.
"It's a buttermilk pie," Haden said.
"Yuck," Adam said, then added, "But I'll try it," when he saw the disapproving look his dad gave him.
"Mom used to make those," Amy recalled.
"Yeah, I found some of her old recipes" Haden admitted.
"It's good," Adam confessed.
"See, you don't know if something is good or not until you try it," Darrell pointed out.
"I'll get it," Amy said as she left the table to answer the phone.
"That was a great dinner," Adam said, as he began clearing the table and placing the dishes in the dishwasher.
"Thank you," Haden smiled.
"When are you and Amy going to teach me to cook?"
"Maybe this summer when we have more time. But we can do some between now and then though."
"It was Grandma," Amy said when she finished the phone call. "She reminded me about going there for Thanksgiving. I invited her, Grandpa, Uncle Scott, Aunt Julie, and their families to dinner Saturday."
"Grandma's a great cook, we need to make sure we serve something good," Haden said.
"Tonight's dinner was very good," Adam said.
"Adam's right," Darrell agreed.
"I wonder if the kids will eat it," Haden stated.
"I asked Grandma what they would eat," Amy said. "She said the kids would eat what was on the table or go hungry. She said they really weren't picky... their parents were raising them that way."
"Amy, I'll do the entrée, if you'll do the desserts," Haden offered.
"What can I do?" Adam asked.
"You can make the salad," Amy suggested.
"Cool," Adam smiled.
"Did you remember to give them directions to get here?" Darrell asked.
"Grandma said they knew where we live," Amy said.
"Oh, I guess they would," Darrell said.
The family was amazed at how clean and fresh the house was when they arrived home the next day. All the linens were perfectly folded; socks and underwear were all neatly arranged in each family member's drawers. Even the refrigerator was clean and food items neatly arranged.
"We certainly are getting our money's worth in hiring Heidi," Darrell proclaimed.
"Yeah, and I won't have to clean the bathrooms," Adam boasted.
"We still have to pick up after ourselves," Amy reminded.
"Okay," Adam agreed. "I'll still have a chore to do. I'll still need to take care of the dogs."
"I guess the dogs didn't bother Heidi," Darrell said. "I told her to call me if they tried to bite her."
"They barked and carried on when she came yesterday," Haden said. "After I introduced them to her, they were fine."
"Grandma and Grandpa are here," Adam, who had been outside playing with the dogs, said.
"Well, go to the door and greet them," Amy said.
"I will, I will," Adam said before going to greet the grandparents. "And the others are here too."
"Well, Adam, don't you look handsome," Grace proclaimed when Adam answered the door.
"Thank you, Grandma," Adam said as each family member gave him a quick hug.
"You have a lovely home," Grace said upon entering and greeting Darrell.
"Thank you, but it has become almost too small for us," Darrell explained. "Haden and I converted part of the back porch into a bedroom. Before that this was just a two bedroom house."
"I remember the big house that used to be here," Walter said. "I remember that tornado that took it out too."
"Do you want to go see our dogs?" Adam asked his cousins.
"Sure," Ethan was the first to respond.
"Put your coats on," Grandma Grace ordered. "It's chilly out there."
"Where're Haden and Amy?" Julie asked.
"They're in the kitchen finishing up dinner," Darrell said.
"It sure smells good," Carl said.
"I'll go see if I can help," Grace said, as the women headed for the kitchen.
"Goodness, look at all this food," Carol said, after greetings were exchanged.
"It looks and smells good," Grace said. "What are you making?"
"Braised chicken with artichokes and olives," Haden said. "It was in some of Mom's recipes, but I don't recall her ever making it."
"Brenda was a good cook," Grace said. "She had to learn, since I worked the fields with your grandpa."
"She was a good seamstress too," Amy added. "She would have been a good mother if she hadn't been so bitter."
"She always wanted more than Walter and I could provide," Grace said. "She learned to sew, because she was ashamed to wear what we could afford."
"Perry and Lacey should be here soon," Amy said. "Dinner is almost ready, so we'll eat when they get here."
"I'll go see if anyone wants something to drink," Haden said. "I just made a fresh pot of coffee. There's also hot chocolate for the kids."
"You're busy here, I'll check," Julie offered.
"Lacey and Perry are here," Adam burst in the kitchen door with the announcement.
"Grandma, there's a creek down there," Wade said. "Adam said we could come and swim in the summer."
"You kids stay away from that creek," Grace cautioned.
"We didn't go all the way, Adam wouldn't let us go close," Hanna added.
"I knew I'd get in trouble if I did," Adam offered.
"Adam, do you think you can manage to bring the folding table and chairs from the storage building?" Amy asked. "We'll need those to seat everyone."
"Yeah, I can get them," Adam said.
"I'll help," Ethan offered.
"I believe everything is about ready," Haden announced.
"Hanna, would you go tell everyone in the living room to wash up for dinner," Grace said.
"Grandma, I forgot to ask if there's anything you can't eat," Amy said.
"Oh, Amy, I'm so much better since my gallbladder surgery," Grace said. "But I do try to avoid fatty foods."
"Haden, this is absolutely delicious," Julie said, as she enjoyed her meal.
"I'm amazed that you kids cooked this delicious meal," Grace said.
"I made the salad," Adam announced while waving his hand for attention.
"Well, Adam, your salad was delicious also," Grace smiled.
"Haden, I hope I can get a copy of this recipe from you," Carol said. "This is a wonderful meal."
"There's lemon meringue, apple, or chocolate pie," Amy said.
"Chocolate," was the chorus that came from the kids' table.
"Before everybody starts their dessert, Lacey and I have an announcement," Perry said. "We're going to have a baby."
"Oh, my goodness!" Amy exclaimed as she rushed to hug her sister-in-law and brother.
"I can't wait to tell Justin we're going to be uncles," Adam remarked.
"Don't you dare," Lacey cautioned. "We haven't had a chance to tell my family yet.
"Are you going to name him Adam?" Adam questioned.
"We don't know if it's going to be a boy or girl," Lacey laughed. "Besides, the child will have four uncles."
"Walter, this will be our first great grandchild," Grace pointed out.
"And my first grandchild," Darrell beamed.