Teresa clattered down the uncarpeted stairs and dashed towards the kitchen that smelled of bacon, eggs, toast and coffee. She slid onto the smooth bench behind the square oak table beside Katie. “Move over.”
Katie fiddled with a loose thread on her shorts and poked Teresa in the ribs as she spread her arms across the table. “My spot. Sit over there. Got here first.”
Granny set a platter of pancakes in the middle of the table. “Girls enough. Katie move over and put your book away.”
Katie pouted, “But Granny…………”
Granny slid the eggs onto a plate before setting it on the table. “No buts. Aunt Georgina, Uncle Patrick and the twins arrive tomorrow and there’s a lot of work to do.”
“What work?” Katie asked as she closed her book.
Granny poured coffee. “Aunt Georgina and Uncle Patrick will use the attic bedroom. Joy and Hope will use Katie’s room.”
“What about us?” Teresa and Katie asked, as they helped themselves to pancakes.
“Let’s set up the old army tent.” Father dipped toast in his egg yolk. “You always want to go camping.”
“What fun.” Teresa wiped her milk mustache with her cloth napkin.
“But the ground is hard.” Katie’s fork clattered as she dropped it on the table.
Robert grinned. “I’ll set up the tent for you. Then put cots inside with air mattresses on top. Shouldn’t be that bad.”
The chair scraped on the linoleum when Granny pushed her wooden chair back. She started to clear the table. “Good. The twins can be a handful. Hopefully you will all get along.”
An hour later Teresa bit her lower lip as she took shorts out of the top drawer in the white dresser under the eaves. Granny had said to clean out a couple of drawers, and take clothes downstairs. Her thoughts wandered as she filled the box on the double bed, nestled in the little alcove, across from the large window. It doesn’t seem fair that I have to give up my room for a week. The last time they were here the twins followed me everywhere asking questions about everything. Aunt Georgina gave in to their every whim despite what Uncle Patrick said. The sound of a gentle tap on the door brought her mind back to the task at hand.
Katie shuffled across the braided rug saying, “I hope Joy and Hope don’t get into my stuff.”
Teresa put the last of her teddy bears and dolls in the trunk under the window. “Did you put everything away?”
“Yes,” Katie answered.
“Don’t worry then.”
They hurried down the steep narrow stairs when Granny called. “Is everything done?”
“Yes.” Teresa and Katie headed towards the door. “Want to help with the tent.”
The screen door squeaked when Teresa opened it. She lifted her face as the warm sun shone from the clear blue sky. The grass crunched under her feet as she walked towards the large green tent, cupped under the trees, with Katie following close behind. The air was filled with the flap of wings as a crow landed on Teresa’s shoulder. “Where have you been?”
Katie looked up at the black crow, with one skinny crocked leg, balancing on one leg on Teresa’s shoulder. “Back again?”
“Caw, caw.” King Cole rubbed his beak against Teresa’s cheek as he nestled against her head.
“Granny was sure King Cole wouldn’t come back when she chased him off with the broom,” Katie said as she ran her stubbly fingers over the crow’s sleek black feathers.”
Robert looked up as he pushed the last tent peg into the lawn. “What do you think? The trees will provide shade.”
Katie opened the flap and looked around the spacious tent. “Hot in here. It smells like dirty socks.”
Robert picked up the green cot. “You two bring the other one. Once it’s aired out it will be fine.”
Ten minutes later Teresa stretched out on a cot. “Not bad.” She grinned at Katie. “Which one do you want? You will be able to see the kitchen light from here.”
King Cole hopped along on one leg looking for unusual objects before flying up beside Teresa. “Caw, caw.”
Katie looked around for a minute. “This might be fun after all. Want the one close to the flap so I can see the stars tonight.” She spread out the red sleeping bag before testing it. “Will need my teddy bears.”
“Do you want to sleep out here tonight?” Teresa asked as she sat up.
“A test run?” Katie asked.
“Yes, Granny will be furious if the house is messed up again.” Teresa swung her bare legs over the edge of the cot.
As soon as everything was arranged,to their satisfaction, they stepped outside to gather up the things they needed.
Robert closed the flap. “Want company tonight?”
Teresa looked at Katie. “What do you think? Should we allow him or should it be a girl’s only night?”
Katie bounced up and down. “Oh, Robert please sleep here with us.”
When they reached the porch Teresa placed her hand in front of King Cole’s feet. “You have to stay outside. Granny doesn’t like you sneaking in.”
written by M.E. Hembroff