Sam – Chapter 2

The children arrived early the next morning they were both sleepy, though it became obvious that Carly was definitely not a morning person. She seemed to be dozing until Angela set some scrambled eggs, toast, and orange juice in front of her, that seemed to perk her up some she said “Thank you, Ma’am” and set to work with her fork. Sam came in to the breakfast table just about the time Mac got his plate, now Mac didn’t have any trouble at all waking up when he smelled the food.
“Thank You, Miss Angela,” he said brightly and he dug in.
Sam sat down and said “Good morning children, how are you?”
“Hey, you really are the guy from the creek,” Mac said, his fork poised for another stab at his plate.
“Yes silly, I told you, that’s who said he found a tent for us,” Carly said to Mac, “Oh, and we’re fine Mr. Sam, thank you,” Carly said a little sleepily.
Sam had a little trouble concealing his own yawns, especially when Carly had a particularly long one. So he got up and poured himself some coffee.
Meanwhile Angela was in her element, she had always missed taking care of her own children since they had left home to start their own families. She didn’t spoil children mind you, but no one went hungry either. Angela dearly loved children in general, and she was quite fond of Hannah’s in particular, and she let them know it by her affectionate attentiveness.
“Well children,” she said sitting down to her own breakfast, “Do you have anything in particular that we need to do today?”
“Yes ma’am,” Carly said, “I have some summer reading to do, Mama says that if I spend about an hour a day on it that it will be enough, I brought the book with me. She also said that if we had something really interesting to do that I could skip a day and double up on it the next.”
Carly had given Sam a curious look when she said “really interesting” then he remembered the tent.
“Oh Yes, Carly I did get that tent out of storage, it’s waiting for you on the back porch. If you like we can put it up after breakfast,” Sam said.
“Oh, boy” Mac said, “Can I go look at it? Oh yeah, uh, Can I be excused?” Mac started up.
“Hold on just a minute pardner, Carly is not finished with breakfast yet, and we want to do this all together.” Sam said.
“Oh, Ok,” Mac plopped back down a little bit crestfallen.
“Carly do you enjoy reading? Do you read on your own without being coaxed?” Angela probed.
“Yes Ma’am, but it is hard to do it so early in the summer, when there’s so much other stuff to do.” Carly was thinking about when she and Mac were running wild in the fields, the last few days, and it sort of tugged at her.
“OK, I’m finished, Mr. Sam. May I be excused Miss Angela?”
“Of course you may” Angela replied, pleasantly surprised at Carly’s excellent manners.
Sam grabbed his coffee mug and headed for the door to the patio. “It’s this way Carly, Mac come on now.”
Mac was at his elbow before he finished the sentence. On the patio Sam put his mug on the patio table, he picked up the tent and walked out into the yard. Mac was all questions.
“That’s really a tent? How big is it? Is it waterproof?”
“You will see soon, Mac, come help me pick up some bricks here,” Sam picked up a couple himself with the tent under one arm. “OK, set them down over here. Carly you hold this.” He said handing the tent to her, “Now Mac unzip the cover and slide it off” Mac was practically jet propelled at this point, he quickly slid the cover off. “Alright now Carly give the tent a shake and when it starts moving let go of it.” Carly shook it and when it moved she let out a little squeal, “Fwoomp” the popup popped into shape.
“That’s so cool” Mac said
“Wow” said Carly.
“OK, now we weight it down inside with the bricks, Mac put a brick in that corner and I’ll put one over here and then we’ll put the other two in.”
It was a little old and a little faded orange and blue two man tent, but to the kids it was huge and they loved it, Carly was fascinated by the odd-shaped, zip up windows. Sam showed them how to zip them open and Carly just sat inside with a funny little smile on her face.
Mac ran around the yard chasing Ralph the dog, for a little while, sort of burning off the excitement, suddenly he skidded to a halt and yelled. “Mr. Sam, what happened?” he said pointing at the hole in the shed roof.
Sam wasn’t quite sure what to say, he didn’t want to encourage the kids to play with volatile gases, but he didn’t want to fib. So he said “It was a project I was working on, it got a little out of hand.”
Carly came out of the tent gawking and said, “What kind of project could do that?”
“Well, I was making my own fuel you know sort of like gasoline.” He said.
“How do you do that?” Mac said.
“Well it’s a little complicated, Mac. I tell you what, I’ll show you tomorrow how it works, then I think I will take it apart, it seems a little too dangerous now that this explosion happened.” Sam was a little surprised at what he heard himself saying, but he did consider the safety of the children to be more important than his project.
For lunch Angela guessed that grill cheese was never out of fashion with the young and young at heart. She was rewarded for her efforts with an “Oh-boy” from Mac and a “Mmmm, I love grilled cheese,” from Carly, even Sam looked pretty enthusiastic about it.
“Miss Angela,” Carly said “May I do my reading in the tent this afternoon”
“Of course you may Carly, Sam do we still have the boy’s old sleeping bags?”
“Yes Angela, I think we do, sure they would be perfect to put in the tent to lie down on.”
When lunch was over Sam went into the garage and found the sleeping bags, he pounded the dust off of them and unzipped them to put on the floor of the tent.
“Wow, these are soft,” Carly said as she felt the old fashioned flannel linings.
“I like the pictures on ‘em” Mac said admiring the old hunting scenes on the flannel.
So Carly, Ralph and Mac piled into the tent. The tent was pretty warm even with the windows zipped open, and soon Mac, and Ralph were snoozing, and though she put up a pretty good fight Carly was soon asleep too, her open book just pushed a little away from her head.
Watching them from the window to the patio Angela said “Now see Sam, if we had told them they needed to nap they probably wouldn’t have wanted to.”
“Yes I see, you know I’m surprised that Ralph has taken to them so quickly, he’s so particular about strangers.” Sam said
“Yes dear he is, but he can see that we like them, so to him they are family.” She said with a knowing look. “Besides they give him a lot of attention.”
“Hmmm, I think we need to move the tent over into the shade so it won’t be quite so warm.” Sam said.
“Let them snooze dear, it’s not too hot yet and you can get Mac and Carly to help you move it after they wake up. I was going to wake them about 2:30 anyway so Carly can get her reading done before Hannah comes for them.” Angela said.
“OK,” Sam said. He found a magazine and quietly took his iced tea out on the patio. He looked up every once in a while to keep an eye on them. Sam didn’t realize how much he missed being around kids. Of course he loved the visits with his own grandkids but they were usually too short. He liked having Carly and Mac around and his problem solving habits had him thinking of all the things he had left over from the boys that they could put together and play with. Like the old train set, the erector set, or the legos the boys had when they were younger, and had left behind. ‘I’ll just check on that later, it’s so restful just sitting here watching the kids snooze for now,’ he thought. He had nearly nodded off himself, when Angela opened the sliding glass patio door quietly walked across the yard, and gently touched Carly on the arm. “Time to wake up sweetie,”
Carly yawned and stretched and looked a little puzzled.
“I guess I fell asleep,” she said still stretching. The slight commotion woke Ralph and Mac too. Ralph had a long stretch and yawned with the tip of his tongue curling up.
“Oof,” Mac said and tickled Ralph on the flank, Ralph spun around to play with his paws splayed out. Mac jumped up, and started racing around with Ralph in hot pursuit.
“Carly,” Angela said, “Sam wanted to move the tent into the shade so it will be easier for you to read and not get sleepy. It will only take a minute the tent is so lightweight.”
Sam had been listening, and hopped up to move the tent. After he moved it he got out the rain-fly to cover the top.
“What’s that?” Carly asked.
“It’s a rain-fly, it’s sort of like a shower cap for the tent, it keeps the rain out,” Sam said matter-of-factly.
“You mean you could stay in the tent while it’s raining?” Carly asked wide-eyed.
“Yes and we might get to try it out, there’s rain in the forecast for tomorrow.” Sam said, he had heard the weather forecast on the radio.
“Could I sit in the tent while it’s raining,” Carly said excitedly.
“OK, Sam said. “Here’s the deal we’ll zip up the tent for tonight, It’s supposed to rain overnight, If the tent is still dry inside in the morning you can try it out.”
“Oh, Boy,” Carly said in a burst of enthusiasm that caught Sam off guard, you see Sam thought a tent would be a perfectly awful place to sit out a rain storm. He arrived at this attitude through many unpleasant camping experiences, once weathering a near miss from a tornado in a tent. “Well if you want to, we’ll see, but the tent has to be dry inside for us to go ahead with it.”
“OK, fair enough,” Carly said.
Carly settled down in the tent with her legs crossed and read her book, while Mac ran and tumbled and wrestled with Ralph, both boy and dog seemed to be having a supremely good time. The time seemed to go rather quickly as the afternoon waned, Angela called the kids for an afternoon snack of peanut butter and whatever (she had a lot of nice things other than jelly, like bananas, chocolate chips, etc.). Sam made sure he got his favorite, peanut butter and margarine on one piece of bread with a sprinkle of cinnamon. Before they knew it Hannah was ringing the doorbell, and Carly and Mac ran to tell her what a good day it had been. Hannah was pleased with their enthusiasm, but the big question on her mind was how well Angela and Sam had survived. Arching an eyebrow she asked, “Angela, how did you do today.”
Angela came over to her and gave her a hug and said, “Better than you could have imagined, by the way would you like to have supper with us some night this week? Friday is wide open for us.”
Hannah thought for a second and said, “Friday is good for me too, after all I don’t really have a social life anymore.”
“Good, we can discuss the bible study, and who we want to invite.” Angela said.
“How many people can you seat around the television?” Hannah asked.
“I guess about five or six, we could bring some dining room chairs in for any more.” Angela said, calculating in her head, “and maybe TV trays so they can take notes.”
Sam overheard this exchange and raised an eyebrow himself, ‘I guess I’ll ask Angela what this is all about,’ he said to himself.
Happy goodbyes, and see you in the mornings were exchanged and Hannah whisked the children away.
Sam gave Angela a significant look, “Bible study?”
“Yes Sam, Hannah and I went through this study with Amy, the pastor’s wife, we went through it rather quickly, and there was so much in it that Hannah and I felt we needed to hear it again. It is really good and we were hoping to share it with some of the other folks at church.”
“Is it one of those ‘for women only’ things,” Sam asked.
“Oh no, Sam it’s about how to hear God’s voice. It’s for everyone, or I should say for anyone who’s interested.” Angela said.
Upon hearing this Sam was puzzled, “I didn’t think the average guy could hear him, isn’t that for the great saints or apostles or something like that?”
“Come on Sam,” Angela said, “half the people in the Bible were average guys. Even Moses had just been herding sheep for forty years when God spoke to him.”
“Oh yeah, that’s right,” Sam said, “He was kind of out in the sticks for a while there, wasn’t he?”
“Yes, no egyptian delicacies for him as a fugitive,” Angela observed, “Well if you are interested Hannah is bringing the children’s version of the study tomorrow, so we can see if we can read it to the kids while they are here. You could read it for yourself and at least get the basics.”
“OK, I’ll check it out.” Sam said wondering what he had gotten himself into.
Sam went out on the porch and across to the tent, he picked up the sleeping bags to bring them in in case the tent leaked. When he stood up he saw the sunset and the most amazing pink and coral colors in the clouds.
Thinking out loud he asked “Wow, Lord, would you really want to talk to me?”
He chuckled to himself thinking ‘No way,’ he was startled when he thought he heard someone say “Way.” He looked around and shook his head, saying “What a goofy imagination I have.”

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