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
"Everything's important to you," Haden teased, when Adam said he wanted to talk about something important.
"No, it really is important," Adam insisted.
"Let him talk," Rita insisted. "What is it, Son?"
"My birth mom called today and said she is out of prison," Adam said. "She wants to see me."
"She what?" Darrell asked with concern.
"How did she get our number?" Rita asked. "And I thought she wasn't eligible for parole for another seven years."
"I asked Uncle George, and he said she probably got our number through my biological grandparents," Adam explained. "He said they knew I'm now a Harrington and I live in Sparks. Uncle George knew she was on parole due to prison overcrowding. He also said she called him and wanted our phone number, but he refused to give it to her."
"Do you want to see her?" Rita asked.
"Remember, the decision is yours," Darrell added.
"I told her I'd have to think about it," Adam said. "After the way she treated me the last time I saw her, I don't think I want to see her."
"I wish I could see my parents at least one more time," Brody said.
"Yeah, but you had good parents," Adam said. "My mom only cared about her drugs. She actually abandoned me."
"I guess you have a point," Brody admitted.
"Son, take some time and think it over," Darrell said. "There's no need to rush to a decision. I'll talk to Steve and see what he thinks, just in case you decide to see her."
The phone call was for the most part forgotten as Adam and his team were in full basketball competition. As the regular season was ending and the playoffs were beginning, Spark had handily won their conference; and as such would host at least the first game of the playoffs.
The first game of the district was against a team that just made the playoffs, and was a lower seed than Sparks. The coach had warned them about overlooking a lower seed team - still Sparks overlooked the team - and won the game by just three points. The game was a wakeup call to the boys, and the next game against a higher seed team was a blowout.
Sparks won their district and region, and was the second seed team in the state tournament. The team won the next two games, and won the right to play the number one seed team in the finals. A large portion of the town traveled the 150 miles to support the team in their first state basketball final. It was a slow start for Sparks. Adam missed a wide open three point shot, but Jon rebounded the ball... only to throw it away when passing it back to Adam. The Nash Tigers had quickly jumped to an eight point lead when Justin was fouled on a layup. He made the free throws - and Sparks began to hold their own. Late in the third quarter, Adam hit a long three pointer, and Justin stole the ball on an inbound, passing it to Jon. Jon hit a three pointer. Sparks went on to win the state championship by seven points.
The boys were planning a campout during their spring break. Brody and Chad were especially excited, since it was their first campout.
The construction of Haden's and Kyle's house was well under way. Deposits were made for the gas, water, and electricity. Although Haden would be living close to his old home, he had mixed feeling. He would be leaving the only home he'd known all his life ... Amy assured him all would be fine.
When the day finally arrived for the campout, Brody was beyond himself with excitement. As Adam had done for his first campout, he packed enough for a month. With Adam's help, he finally selected only the items that he really needed.
When the other campers arrived, George and Chad were already at the campsite. "He was so excited about the campout, we just left early," George explained.
Ray and his boys had already brought firewood, and hay for the horses. He'd also brought the food and camping gear out earlier that morning.
Over Lacey's objecting, but finally agreeing, Perry brought Dustin along. Dustin loved riding, and Monday proved to be a perfect mount for him. Dustin wanted to sleep in the tent with his uncles; but as a condition to Lacey's agreement to allow him to go, he was to sleep in the tent with his dad.
After caring for the horses, Adam announced that it was time for a snack. The others readily agreed. Once the tasks were completed, and the snacks consumed, Adam asked, "Perry, could we take Dustin fishing?"
"Yeah, Dad, I want to go fishing," Dustin excitedly asked.
"I'd better go too," Perry said. "He isn't afraid of anything and has to be closely watched."
"Maybe we can have fish for dinner," Haden said. "Grandpa, are you going fishing too?"
"If you want fish for dinner, I'd better," Walter joked.
The group walked the short distance to the pond and were soon enjoying themselves. Almost as if planned, Dustin caught the first fish. Fortunately it was a keeper as it was unlikely he would have allowed it to be thrown back in. Once there were plenty of fish for dinner, it was time to head back to camp. Dustin wanted to continue fishing, but Perry promised they would cook his fish for him to eat.
"Grandpa, look at my fish," Dustin said as he exhibited his fish to Darrell.
"Dustin, that's a really nice fish," Darrell said. "What are you going to do with it?"
"I'm going to eat it," Dustin said with a look that said 'what else would I do with it.' "Grandpa Walter said he'd cook it for me."
"Okay guys, let's take care of the horses," Jeff said. "Since Walter and Haden are cooking, we'll need volunteers to take care of their horses."
"I'll do it," Dustin quickly volunteered.
"Well thank you, Dustin," Jeff said as he gave a quick wink to Perry.
Shortly after the horses were taken care of for the night, the delicious evening meal was ready - it was the freshly caught fish, hush puppies, coleslaw, and Lois had sent a peach cobbler. No sooner was the cleanup from the evening meal completed when Brody asked, "What's for breakfast."
"You can't be hungry already," Darrell said with a chuckle.
"No ... no, I'm just curious ... really," Brody protested.
"Well, Grant and I are the cooks in the morning, and we decided on pancakes and sausage," Darrell said.
"Yea," Dustin, who didn't seem to be paying attention, suddenly yelled.
"Grandpa, will you sing 'On Top of Old Smokey' for Dustin?" Adam asked.
After several campfire songs, Perry announced that it was Dustin's bedtime. "But Dad, I'm not sleepy," Dustin protested.
"Remember, you promised your mom you'd go to bed at your regular bedtime," Perry said.
"She wouldn't know," Dustin argued.
"But a promise is a promise," Perry pointed out.
"I want to sleep in my uncle's tent," Dustin said.
"Was that a promise too?"
"Well, I tried," Dustin said as he gave everyone a goodnight hug.
Haden woke to the aroma of brewing coffee the next morning and nudged Kyle. "I know, I smell it too," Kyle responded.
"Hey, I need to pee," Adam said as he entered the toilet.
"Just use the lady's since there're no women here," Haden pointed out.
"Oh yeah," Adam said with a grin.
"Hurry, because I have to go too," Chad said.
"Go where the bears go," Adam said as Chad entered the toilet.
"Huh, what bears?" Chad asked.
"It's a joke," Kyle explained. "You know the question 'do bears shit in the woods'?
"Oh yeah, I've heard that before," Chad said.
Once the hearty breakfast was consumed, the campers prepared to ride up Sutton Mountain. Adam explained to the new guys that it really wasn't a mountain.
After arriving at the top of the mountain and enjoying lunch, George pointed out their house. "Wow, you can see for miles," Chad remarked.
"Where's our house?" Dustin asked.
"It's too far to see from here," Perry explained.
"But Chad said we could see for miles," Dustin said.
"That's just a figure of speech," Perry said. "But you can see Grandma's and Grandpa's house from here."
After enjoying the view, the riders had headed back to camp when Adam asked, "What's for dinner?"
"Whatever it is, I'm sure you'll eat it," Perry teased.
To everyone's surprise, Ray had brought steaks. Lois had even sent pre-baked potatoes and a salad. "I need a couple of you guys to help with dinner, and the rest of you can help Jeff with the horses," Ray said.
Walter and Haden offered to help with dinner while the others went to care for the horses. "Haden, you can heat the potatoes while Walter and I do the steaks," Ray said.
Perry selected a smaller steak for Dustin; and to his surprise, he ate the entire thing. After an evening of stories around the campfire, mostly by Walter, Dustin gave no argument when Perry announced it was his bed time. The others soon decided to also turn in.
George and Grant had agreed to prepare breakfast. It happened to be Haden's favorite, biscuits and sausage gravy. Grant baked the canned biscuits in a Dutch oven while George made the sausage gravy. It was all delicious, and Haden even had a second helping as did most of the others.
"Your house is looking good," Walter said when they arrived back at the barn.
"Yeah, it should be finished in two or three weeks," Haden said.
"Jeff will be starting our barn in a few days," Kyle added.
"Dustin, we'd better get you in the shower," Perry said as he began unsaddling the horses. "Your mom will have a fit when she sees us."
"Then you'd better shower in the shower down here," Brody said. "Her car is here."
"You're right," Perry admitted. "It was a great idea to put in showers down here."
"We'll take care of your horses," Darrell offered. "You and Dustin go ahead and shower. The rest of us will shower at the house."
"There are towels, soap, and shampoo there," Haden said. "And I put blow dryers in the bathrooms. You'd better blow dry his hair."
"It looks like the ladies are having an after church party," Steve said.
"Mom said they would," Jarred said.
"Dad, I'm going on home and unsaddle and shower," Justin said. "Do you want me to unsaddle for you?"
"No thank you, I need a shower too," Grant said.
"Bye, Uncle Justin," Dustin said as he headed for the shower.
"I'll be back in a little while," Justin said.
"If you don't mind, I think I'll use the other shower," Walter said. "I don't want to hear Grace complaining."
"Not at all," Darrell said.
The ladies had prepared an array of sandwiches and desserts. In between bites Dustin had to give details of his campout. "We're going back again, huh Dad?"
"If you had that much fun, we'll go again," Perry promised.
"Uncle Tony, you should go," Dustin suggested.
"He doesn't like horses," Haden pointed out.
"Why not, it's fun?" Dustin asked.
"Alright Dustin, next time I'll go, just for you," Tony said. "I'll have to borrow a horse."
"You'll have fun," Dustin assured him.
"Mine is gentle," Rita offered.
"While we're all together, we're having a retirement party for Mom and Dad," Julie said.
"But no gifts," Grace added. "If you like you can make a donation to the Reed Center. However, later we will be having a house warming for Haden and Kyle and there can be gifts then. They'll need things like towels, linens, and such."
"Oh, Grandma, that won't be necessary," Haden protested.
"Hush now ... don't argue with an old woman," Grace countered.
The end of the school year was near, and Haden and Kyle had already moved into their new house. Their wedding was two weeks after the end of school. Adam, Jon, and Justin were looking forward to enrolling in driver's education. Adam had convinced Darrell and Rita into letting him have a car. Adam was still undecided if he wanted to see his biological mother or not.