CHAPTER SIX HUNDRED and FORTY-NINE
Monday afternoon —2:00 p.m.
Delphie stood in the middle of the gardens they’d started just a few months ago. The plants were loaded with fresh vegetables and fruit. They’d used windmills to keep the squirrels and other animals off the beds so they’d lost almost nothing. This garden burst with goodness.
Delphie looked up when she heard the door to the Marlowe School slam open. The teenagers fell out of the building a flood of water out of a loch. The boys chased each other across the grass that she and Jacob had planted after they’d put these boxes in.
The Marlowe School stood like the proud old lady she was. From the back, where she was standing, she could see the new playground and the outdoor classroom. The new playground that Jacob had built was complete with its own sand pit and places to put toys to clean. The grass started at the edge of the playground and went to the raised beds. The grassy space was large enough that the kids could learn La Cross or play soccer or even American Football. The gardens began at the edge of the fence.
Delphie waved, and the teenagers ran toward her. Mike pulled up and got out of his Bronco. He took out two round tipped shovels and carried them toward her. Delphie grinned at Mike and turned back to the children. Noelle was running with her friends Hope and Joy. Charlie and Tink were together. Nash and Teddy. Even Wanda was there!
When the children arrived, Delphie cleared her throat.
“Okay, I think you all know who I am,” Delphie said.
“Delphie!” the teenagers yelled.
Ivy went to Delphie’s side to give her a sideway hug. Delphie grinned at the child.
“The State has recommended adding more physical activity to your schedule,” Delphie said. “We’re going to teach you running, walking, lifting weights — exercise you can do as you grow up. You know, Jake’s recruiting people for a La Crosse team.”
“Basketball,” Charlie said with a nod. “We’re putting in a court on the other side of the building.”
“Afternoon shade,” Delphie nodded.
“Football, too?” L’Ron asked.
“If you’d like,” Mike said. “We’re going to do an ice hockey clinic since so many of your parents play.”
The boys grinned. The girls looked nervous.
“Today, we’re going to get you started taking care of these vegetable gardens,” Delphie said. “Most of you were here when we put them in. Now you’ll get to take care of the plants and the harvest. We’re going to make some things from them. And. . . Well, we’re going to have fun.”
Unsure of what to say, the kids jostled each other.
“Okay,” Mike said. “I need you to put yourselves into teams of five. We’ll give each team a bed and help you work through what needs to happen.”
“Will we plant for the winter?” Noelle asked.
“We will,” Mike said.
“Can we work the bees?” Wanda asked.
“Let’s make that a team,” Delphie said.
“Aww,” a few kids said.
“Okay, let’s see how many kids want to be involved,” Delphie said.
“What about those beds?” a young man Delphie recognized but couldn’t place.
“Those are assigned to other people,” Mike said. “We can help if they need help, but we’ll let them take care of their own plots.”
To Delphie’s surprise, the teenagers easily sorted themselves into groups. They were so happy to be together that Delphie had no problem with them listening. In less than a half hour, the kids were working to pull weeds, tie up limbs, and harvest anything that was ready.
Delphie caught Mike’s eye. Mike gave her a thumbs up. Delphie lit her smoker and pulled her hood on. She led a team of mostly girls over to work with the beehives.
Everyone had a good time.
Denver Cereal continues on Monday...
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