9500 Riggs Road
9500 Riggs Road
There were no funerals on Monday, so Albert and his family had the day off. The girls awoke early to the smell of chicken being fried. June sat up in bed waking Mable; she crawled out from under the covers and jumped over onto Molly's bed. Mable began to shake Molly, she lay there pretending to sleep, and then sprung up, roaring, scaring Mable causing her to scream.
"I swear, you guys," June said. "Hey, smell that, it must be picnic day, Daddy must have today off."
The girls flung the covers off and all three stampeded down the steps, Mable in the lead, dressed only in underpants. Albert sat at the table drinking his coffee. They could hear the sound of grease popping in the skillet as Lucy fried chicken. June and Molly walked into the kitchen, Mable crawled up onto her father's lap.
"Morning there, Mable. You ready to go the creek today?"
Mable picked up Albert's coffee cup, it was almost empty. Albert used four teaspoons of sugar and never stirred it up, that left a syrupy base in the bottom of his coffee cup. He always saved it for Mable. Mable picked up her father's coffee cup and emptied it, drinking down the sweet mixture. She set the cup back down on the table and wiped her mouth with the back of her hand.
"Yep, weady." Mable answered, smiling up at Albert. "Mable you're somethin' else you are." Albert loved the wildness about his youngest daughter; he worried, also, of how she would be treated by others, especially this fall when she would have to go to school. Neither Albert nor his wife had the heart to tell Mable. It was only a month away, and they couldn't hold off telling her much longer.
Albert loaded his family in the old black panel truck that they used to haul the funeral flowers. There were two single seats in the front, and the back end was dark because the only windows were in the back doors. The floor was dirty from hauling "stuff" to and from grave sites and to the cemetery dump. Albert and Lucy sat up front, while June usually sat between the seats. Molly and Mable would ride in the back of the panel truck. Every bump or curve that Albert hit or drove around, no matter how hard he maneuvered, spilled them over. More than once Molly had to grab hold of Mable to keep her from rolling from one end of the truck to the other.
Albert pulled into their same old spot. He got out and opened the back door. Molly and Mable came jumping out, as June came out the side passenger door, following Lucy. June carried the blanket that would be their table for the day and a large round thermos. Lucy carried a picnic basket. Albert carried his fishing rod and bait.
Albert went first, he place his brogan boot on the bottom strand of the barbed wire and pulled the top strand up high so his family could pass through. Albert ducked under and made his way to the water. June and Lucy spread the pink and white checkered blanket out underneath a large maple tree and sat down in the shade. Molly and Mable took off to explore the creek and anything that was around it. They sat down on the creek's edge, feet hanging over the side.
"Look there Mable." Molly pointed to a large, dry sycamore leaf that was floating down the creek. "That's a Jap ship trying to get into friendly territory." Molly looked down under her feet and picked up a hand sized rock and lobbed it at the enemy's approaching ship. (Ker plop! )The rock hit dead center and the leaf sunk under the water.
"Wook." Mable said, pointing to the water. A dozen or more large leaves came floating down.
"Ok, Mable girl, it is our duty to protect our country. Fire away!"
They began to lob rocks at the incoming enemy until every last one of the leaves had disappeared.