Westcott Family Farm
Copyright© 2021 – Nicholas Hall
Robbie’s words, soft as they may’ve been, as sincere as a thirteen-year-old can speak them, given freely out of affection, sounded as a gong in an empty cave, a trumpet echoing in a large metal culvert, or a cannon’s blast resonating over a lake on a quiet summer’s night!
Andy was silent, I lay still, feeling the soft up and down movements of Mattie’s chest as he slept peacefully, unaware of the drama attending about him, waiting for my spouse’s response to his nephew’s offer.
“Thank you for your offer, Robbie; it’s a very special gift you give. Please don’t be offended, disappointed, or sad when I tell you I really can’t accept such a generous gift. I’m very happy with Uncle Jacob as my husband and we vowed to be faithful to each other when we married.”
“It doesn’t mean I love you any less; in fact, we love you more knowing you trust us enough to share your all. We’re so happy you and your brothers came into our lives, making us as one large family. As a family, we stick together and love one another for whatever we are or what we do,” and sealed his promise with a kiss on Robbie’s forehead and a warm, enveloping hug, securing their bodies together.
“Why don’t you just sleep now, Robbie, and enjoy our company, knowing Uncle Jacob and I will keep watch for you, helping you guard and protect your brothers and you from all we can.”
Robbie sighed, sort of wiggled around as if to make himself comfortable and soon began emitting the soft, deep sounds of sleep.
Sometime during the night I woke, a light, soft, high tenor voice singing gently so as not to be heard by others, the singer thought, a lullaby while delicately caressing my face, brushing my hair back carefully from my forehead, and ending his grooming and singing, with a murmured, “I love you, Uncle Jacob,” before resting his head back on my chest.
Mattie sang and spoke clearly and without hesitation laying on me in the darkness, giving me pause to wonder just what the problem Mattie had and how it was to be corrected, as I carefully hugged the now sleeping boy to my body.
In the morning, when Andy and I wakened to start our day, Robbie was back in his own bed. I picked up a still sleeping Mattie and carried him to his bed, nestling him between Eddie and Jamie.
“I’ll start breakfast,” Andy announced, “if you want to go out and get the crews going for the day. It’ll be pancakes, bacon, and juice.”
I nodded my approval, jammed a sweat-stained, straw cowboy hat on my head and walked out to the office where Ted and Lee gathered the sizeable crew. Ordinarily, the work day started at six for most of the crew, although some started earlier.
“I’ve got a crew out filling the strawberry orders for the day. We’ll have today’s order to the markets in town by eight,” Ted announced. “After we’re done here, we’ll mark the rows for the U-pick crowd, set up the scales and pay booth, and open at seven for them.”
“Have one going to the stand in Bemidji and have three pickups with market trailers tagging along off to farmer’s markets in Grand Rapids, Walker, and Detroit Lakes. The farm market boys have a mixed load, but all carry peaches, strawberries, and blueberries.”
“I’ll need one truck on Thursday,” I announced, “the first of the canner tomatoes are ready and I have a load ordered and have to pick them up.”
Turning to Lee; “You’ll need to move some of the travelers to the strawberry fields not being picked, turn on the pivot systems in the sweet corn, and put a couple of travelers in the cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and other veggies since the forecast has changed. I don’t want to take a chance on no rain. The crops need to water now.”
“Also,” pointing at the four high school boys, “do you think you can get the hay the guys baled and stacked under cover in the next couple of days?”
Lee thought they could get the rest of this crop, the first of the season and the heaviest, done, if not in two days, then maybe three.
“Good. If the price is right, I’d like to get some of it sold, although I may have to keep a little more for home use this next year.”
“Why is that?” Ted asked.
Before I could answer, I spotted Mattie running from the house toward us, with Robbie not far behind. Mattie ran up to me and wrapped an arm around my waist, looking up and grinning! Robbie came to a halt not far from Mattie.
“This is one reason,” I explained to the now curious crew chiefs and crew members still present, “This is Mattie,” nodding my head toward the boy attached to me, “and his brother, Robbie,” flipping my head in Robbie’s direction. “They are two of my six nephews who’ll be living with Andy and me from now on.”
“I’ll bet you two are here to tell me Uncle Andy has breakfast ready, right?”
Mattie just beamed up at me and bobbled his head up and down.
“Guess I’d better go with you inside to eat.”
Turning to leave, I asked, “If you guys know anyone who’d like a job of cooking and helping with six boys, the oldest thirteen….”
“Almost fourteen,” interrupted Robbie.
“.. and the youngest seven, let me know.”
I hadn’t taken three steps toward the house, my arms over the shoulders of Robbie and Mattie, when a high school boy, the youngest of the four, said, “My grandma was a cook at school until she was laid off and could use a job.”
I turned to the young man who spoke up so quickly, smiled my appreciation to his request, and asked, “Could you have her give the office a call later today. I have to take the boys to town for some shopping.”
I shifted my hands from shoulders to holding hands, clasping one hand in Robbie’s and the other in Mattie’s. Mattie was sort of skipping and swinging his and my arms back and forth clearly happy and feeling safe in the company of his Uncle Jacob and his new home.
I so was busy laughing at Mattie’s antics I failed to notice Robbie look over his shoulder at the young high schooler who suggested his grandmother needed a job and might be interested. I also failed to notice the young high schooler look back, give Robbie a smile and wink. Unspoken messages were communicated and understood by both.
The boys were great about setting the table, pouring milk, coffee, and juice as well as putting platters of pancakes and bacon on and a couple of bottles of maple syrup on the table. Scotty and Davey were busy helping Andy finish cooking the pancakes while Jamie and Eddie helped their mother to the table.
The boys waited until their mother was served before they began asking, politely, for various items. Robbie made certain the younger ones had plenty on their plates before he and Scotty served themselves, even then, hesitated until Jacob announced,
“Uncle Andy and I always eat last, so you help yourselves.”
Of course, I didn’t add it was just usually Andy and me at the table, if and when we didn’t eat out. All of that was about to change. Eating out, with now nine in the household, would be a special treat.
The conversation was light, yet the boys were excited about shopping for new clothes. Janet was quiet, eating slowly, while Robbie would take a moment every now and then to urge his mother to eat something. “You have to keep up your strength, Mom,” he’d plead. He knew, as well as the older boys, she’d need any reserves she had to stay alive as long as she could; not as long as they wished, but every day would be a blessing as far as they were concerned and, even at their young age, knew it.
Patting my stomach, indicating I was full, I thanked Andy and the others for a delicious meal, announcing after I visited with Mrs. Jenkins, I’d take the boys to Bemidji shopping
“And see the attorney,” Janet reminded me.
“Ah, so I shall, dear sister, and our insurance agent. We have to add the boys to our family policy. I don’t think I’d be able to add you, however.
“Doubt it Jacob; I’m uninsurable at this late stage.”
“Which reminds me,” Andy stated unequivocally, “after you’ve rested, we’re going to the clinic and see my supervising Doc. He’ll request any medical records and take over your case. You’re going to need some pain management before long and we need a physician of record, you know, a personal care physician. Once that’s done, I can act on his behalf when he’s not available.”
“Records! That reminds me,” Janet said, “I have copies of the boys’ school records so you can enroll them in the fall. The school may want to send for them all again- don’t know, so check.”
There was much for Andy and me to contemplate and do with the unexpected growth in our family, in addition to managing Westcott Family Farms and Andy’s position as a physician’s assistant. We were now surrogate fathers and, if Janet had her way and she would, we’d be appointed guardians with full parental rights to six very handsome, growing, and energetic boys.
“Let’s clean up and head to town.”
It took only those words from me and Davey organized the clean-up. The table was cleaned, dishes in the dish washer, and pots, pans, griddle washed, dried, and put away. It certainly wasn’t the first time the boys did this particular chore or managed for themselves. I thought they had to in order to survive, considering all of the places they probably lived and the life style of their mother.
Faces and hands washed, my troop of nephews, Mattie holding my hand, headed out to the office to get the keys to a Farm nine passenger van and introduce the boys to Mrs. Jenkins. She was busy at her desk when we entered and looked up when Eddie sneezed coming in the door. She smiled politely and warmly, waiting for the group to assemble in front of her desk.
“Boys,” I said by way of introduction, “this is Mrs. Jenkins. She’s our accountant, office manager, and right hand from before your Momma and I were born.”
She looked at me, then quickly scanned the boys before looking back at me, nodding her head in understanding.
“Well, such a handsome group of young men standing in front of my desk. Janet should be so proud of you I’m certain. But, I am at a loss who each of you are so could you help me with your names, please?”
Robbie, since he was the oldest, stepped up, smiled at her, saying, “Nice to meet you. I’m Robbie and I’m the oldest. Our Momma is really, really sick and brought us home to live with Uncle Jacob and Uncle Andy.”
“Oh, dear,” Mrs. Jenkins murmured softly, but said no more.
Robbie gave Davey a nudge; he introduced himself and his was followed by Scott, Edward, and James until there was just the one boy left. He stood close to me, slightly behind me, shyly looking down.
“And who would this very handsome young man be so attached to your side, Jacob?”
Before any of the other boys would answer, as they were wont to do, I hugged Mattie even closer, saying, “This is Jacob Mathew or Mattie as we call him. He doesn’t say much out loud, but his eyes, facial expressions, and subtle movements speak volumes for him. Like now; he wonders who has the other office behind you, Mrs. Jenkins.”
Leaning over slightly, I offered, “It’s mine, Mattie, and you and your brothers are free to check it out if you want.”
All six scampered into the office with Robbie taking immediate possession of the swivel chair behind the desk. The others just wandered around looking at things, especially the pictures of family members and others in the office.
Mrs. Jenkins looked questioningly at me.
“Janet here and quite ill?”
“Yep; arrived here yesterday after you left for the day.”
“I’m taking one of the vans to take the boys on a shopping trip for clothes.”
“Well, Jake, we better order more farm tee-shirts and baseball caps; some in smaller sizes. I’ll go up to the house after you leave to see her. I often wished she’d come home, but not like this. Is there anything I can do to help?”
“If you would please, call our insurance company and see what I have to do to add the boys to our company health plan and could you give Jim McClain a call and have him come out to meet with Janet, Andy, and me. She needs to set up guardian papers, last will, and such. Oh, check with the school and see what they need to enroll the boys in school next fall. Better to check now since they’ve traveled all over the mid-west and south.”
Stepping into my office intending to announce it was time to leave on their shopping trip, but hesitated as I watched my nephews. Robbie remained ensconced in the chair behind my desk, while the others were busy exploring. Led by Mattie, they moved from pictures on the wall to those on my desk and filing cabinets. Mattie would point at a picture, raising his eyebrow in question, and David would merely shrug, unable to answer the silent question, until they came to a picture of Janet and me as small children, sitting in a cart being pulled by a small burrow or donkey.
Mattie grinned and Jamie exclaimed softly, “That’s Uncle Jacob and Momma when they were little!”
His brothers grinned and nodded their concurrence.
Our wedding picture, sitting in a prominent position on the desk, was the next to draw their attention. Mattie picked it up carefully and smiled.
“Yep; that’s Uncle Jacob and Uncle Andy,” commented Robbie proudly, still sitting behind the desk.
As he was speaking, he glanced up and saw me standing in the doorway. One would’ve thought he’d be embarrassed or perhaps discomforted seeing his Uncle standing there, but not Robbie!
Robbie had been wrapped up in his own thoughts concerning the good-looking high school boy who smiled and winked at him earlier when Uncle Jacob was talking to the two supervisors before breakfast. He’d been rolling over, in his mind, just how big a cock the boy might have or perhaps a small or average sized one; whether there was a thick bush at the base or sparse like his; whether his cock was cut or uncut like his; what it looked like stiff and how it tasted; or did the high school boy like to top or bottom or both, as he did? Did he like to kiss? If he fucked, did he take it on his hands and knees or on his back with his legs wrapped around the waist of his lover or any way he could get it begging for more or crying for it to be rammed deep and to the bush? Did he have a boyfriend? What the hell was his name? Barely one day and one night at his uncle’s house and maybe, just maybe, he’d found a fuck buddy – other than his brothers.
Eddie, standing next to him, gave him a jab in the ribs, bringing his attention to me standing in the doorway.
“Time to go,” I announced and the boys scrambled to join me.
“An effort made for the happiness of others lifts above ourselves.”
(Lydia Maria Child)
The ride to Bemidji in one of the Farm’s nine passenger vans wasn’t exactly a quiet one. No, it was filled with excited boy chatter; chatter concerning shopping, a lake they drove by wondering if it was as big as the lake at Uncle Jacob’s, an ugly dog standing by the road pissing on a sign post, and sundry other things which might capture a boy’s attention, imagination, or cause a complete collapse in laughter.
The chatter subsided as we pulled into the large parking lot of a national big box store in one of the malls in the city and parked the van not far from the entrance.
“So we don’t have far to carry all of our packages,” I explained.
“Can’t we just use a big shopping cart?” asked Jamie. “There’s a whole row of them in the shopping cart thingy.”
“Or use one of those in some of the parking places where lazy people left them, rather than push them into the shopping cart thingy,” groused Eddie.
“Cool it guys,” cautioned Robbie.
“We’re cooling it,” explained Eddie. “I could’ve said, ‘left there by some lazy fat bastard.”
“Well, it could’ve,” Jamie said in defense of his brother.
“Better watch it you two!”
“At least he didn’t say ‘some fat fuck” like you do Robbie,” countered Jamie.
I decided it was time to stop the banter, opened the van door, announcing, “Anyone who wants to go shopping climb out; those who wish to further discuss the shopping cart situation, can wait in the van.”
Gathered around their uncle, I explained I planned on each of them getting three pair of jeans, six pair of underwear (“your choice” chorused by “boxers”), six pair of socks, three pair of shorts, six tee shirts, three polo shirts for nice wear, a cap, six handkerchiefs, two pair of tennis shoes (one for every day and the other for special occasions), couple of light sweat shirts, a light jacket, and a belt.
“How about a swim suit,” Scott asked hesitantly. “Or we can just go skinny dipping and let the fish chew on Robbie’s worm,” receiving a poke in the arm from his older brother.
“How about something for Momma?” Robbie suggested.
Mattie made a motion with his finger toward his mouth indicating eating and smiled.
“Chocolate!” Davey said. “Momma loves chocolate.”
“Yeah,” added Scotty, “Maybe one of those boxes with all kinds of filling in them. You know, the ones you don’t know what’s in it until you bite and then give it to Mattie, if you don’t like it!”
I gathered at that moment Mattie loved chocolate as well- any type of filling. His love of chocolate seemed to come natural to him since I loved it as well.
“Maybe some new clothes for Momma would be better,” Robbie suggested. “She needs a new nightie and maybe a robe.”
“Yeah,” Jamie piped up. “She always buys us our stuff first saying hers is just fine.”
“Why don’t we let her pick out some things for herself?” I said, adding to the discussion. “She and Uncle Andy are coming to town to see a doctor and if she feels up to it, he can take her shopping?”
Before my nephews could comment, I quickly texted Andy telling him to not only buy some nighties, underwear, robe, and slippers, but some around the house clothes as well as a couple of new dresses, knowing full well my sister would be buried in one.
Message received, I herded the boys in through the front door and headed them toward the men and boys clothing section of the store. Standing amidst the assorted racks of clothing, I came to the realization I failed to bring anything with which to measure the boy’s sizes. My dilemma was apparently solved when a sales associate, between the ages of twenty-five and thirty I thought, inquired, “May I help you?”
“I need to outfit my nephews with clothes and shoes. Unfortunately, I didn’t bring a tape measure with me.”
“No problem; I have a couple here we can use,” reaching in a pocket and bringing forth two. “If I help, we can fill your needs much more quickly since it seems you have a large group of young men to purchase clothes for. Why don’t I take the older ones and you do the younger ones? We’ll use a couple of changing rooms for them to try things on, okay?”
With that he motioned to Robbie, Davey, and Scottie to follow him toward one of the rooms. “I’ll start with you first,” pointing at Robbie, “get you measured for pants and you can try them on.”
“Do me last,” Robbie insisted, “and I can help you with my brothers. They may not want someone strange measuring them for pants and stuff.”
I thought nothing of it at the time since, in the short time my nephews were with me, Robbie was quick to help or defend his younger brothers. Robbie, however, was stepping forward for a completely different reason, I was later to find out, a reason he and Davey observed when the young sales associate approached them.
Outfitting Eddie and Jamie didn’t take long since I was able to pick out age appropriate shirts, measure quickly for waist size and pants length and choose accordingly from racks of pants and shorts, try on a couple of pair of shoes before choosing the size that fit, socks according to shoe size, underwear by size and age, and tee-shirts. They tried on sweat shirts, a light jacket, and a couple of polo shirts. Although the boys were small, the selections were more than adequate, even belts.
Mattie was a slightly different problem. He was growing and built somewhat differently from his brothers; slim, narrow, long waist, long coltish legs one would associate with a distance runner, and yet not tall for his age group. I figured he wouldn’t grow to more than five foot eight or so, but would remain a very svelte, lithe young man. The pants and shorts had to be small enough through the waist to stay up, with a belt of course, yet not short or tight. The same with underwear, without a belt of course.
It took longer than I thought it might. When I finished and asked Mattie to begin picking out clothes, Mattie gave a flick of his head toward the changing room his older brothers were using. I looked up and saw Scottie standing outside, a pair of pants in his hand. Scottie gave a nod to Mattie and Mattie tapped me on the arm and pointed toward his older brother. Something was up and Mattie was signaling me to check on it.
Walking toward the booth, I saw Davey step out, a pair of jeans over each arm and his fly still open. Davey gave a jerk of his thumb toward the door causing me to announce rather loudly, loud enough for anyone inside to hear me, “Good job Davey, now I’ll help Robbie,” opened the changing room door, and stepped in.
Robbie stood near the small bench used for a seat and the associate, face red and speech somewhat flustered, stumbled toward the door. “He’s been a great help. I’ll turn him over to you for now,” and left the changing room to Robbie’s voice, “Hi, Uncle Jacob. Maybe you can help me now,” grinning a most triumphant grin.
“You bet; your brothers are good to go and it’s your turn.”
Robbie slipped out of his old jeans and into the new ones, pronouncing them a good fit, peeled them off, and put his old jeans back on before leaving the changing room. The associate was nowhere to be seen.
The one shopping cart was full and Scottie fetched another one, almost filling it as well.
“Now for the box of chocolate,” I announced encouragingly with Robbie pushing one cart and Davey the other.
“What’s up?” I asked Robbie quietly.
“Not much now.”
“Tell you later.”
The choosing of a box of chocolates proved more daunting then the selection of clothing. Apparently, I thought, it had to be just the right box of chocolates and it appeared Mattie had the last say on the matter. It finally boiled down to a choice between two and was easily solved by me declaring we’d purchase both, much to the surprise and complete happiness of my nephews, especially Mattie.
The lady at the checkout counter rolled her eyes in dismay (or noting they failed to go to another line) as the boys and I wheeled the two full carts into the line.
“All on one?” she enquired.
I nodded and tilted MY head toward my nephews. “Start unloading, but give her time to run things through the scanner and bag them.”
The clerk gave a wave to a supervisor to come over and give a hand. The checker already decided a purchase of this size would take a supervisor’s approval anyway, so why not make him help? Those type of decisions were far above her paygrade.
The scanner dinged and beeped time after time after time as items passed over it and into plastic bags. I tried to maintain my cool, relaxed manner, acting unperturbed by the increasing amount on the register. I swallowed hard when the total was finally visible on the register and all of the bags were loaded back into the two carts.
“The credit card is going to take a beating,” I decided scanning the card through the scanner and entering my PIN number. Luckily, the credit limit on this particular card was quite high and could take the hit. It wasn’t going to be inexpensive raising six nephews.
“Lunch time,” I announced after the van was loaded and the boys belted in their seats. I drove them to a burger place down the road and herded them inside. The bill there wasn’t as steep as the clothing bill, but it still topped fifty bucks.
“Yep,” I thought, smiling to myself, “going to be expensive, but well worth it. We often thought of having a family, but never realized a ready-made family of my own family blood would drive up the lane and move in. I was beginning to contemplate, in my mind as I watched the boys eat, how I’d increase the vegetable gardens to include extra for our own family to freeze and can; ordering extra fruit for the same purpose; revitalizing the chicken yard and coop to provide meat and eggs; and finally increasing the number of cattle, specifically adding a couple of Holstein steers for beef (they were larger and would provide more volume) and several more pigs for sausage, bacon, ham, steaks and roasts.
While I contemplated the changes Andy and I would have to make, including hiring a full-time housekeeper and a nurse for Janet’s last days, Robbie was rolling over in his mind their encounter with the “sales associate” at the store and how much he should tell his Uncle Jacob concerning it. He’d deliberately told Davey to leave his fly unzipped when he exited the changing booth, sending a silent signal to his brothers there was something amiss.
The “sales associates” offer to assist caused warning bells to ring in Robbie’s mind, bringing him to an immediate distrustful, spinning shivering, defensive mode! Not on the outside, visible to the man, but inside triggering his “fight or flight” mechanism. It was a gut feeling that not all was on the up and up. The man was far too eager to help when his eyes, quickly scanning the young boy clothed boy flesh arrayed in front of him; boy flesh he hoped to see, touch, fondle, and perhaps enjoy in the raw – sans underwear, and volunteer to “fit” the older boys.
He seemed to quickly dismiss the younger ones in favor of Robbie and his two oldest brothers. His eyes locked on Robbie, a small smile began appearing on the man’s face. As his eyes moved downward, he appeared to be mentally undressing him until settling on Robbie’s crotch, licking his lips in anticipation of what he figured was a prize indeed.
Robbie shuddered as he continued to munch his French fries remembering how he’d quickly announced he’d be last to be measured and would assist with his brothers to “save time,” especially after he saw the increasing bulge in the crotch of the “associate’s” pants. There was no doubt in Robbie’s mind what the man wanted and would try to get. He concluded the guy wanted to suck their pricks for lunch and stuff his cock up their ass for dessert. If he guessed right, the guy was homing in on him and would pass on his brothers, given the right moves on Robbie’s part.
Real alarms went off when the “associate” asked Scottie to remove his pants so he could be measured “more accurately.” Giving Scottie the nod, Scottie proceeded to remove them. When the man measured, from crotch to ankle, he rubbed the back of his hand up against Scottie’s underwear covered cock and balls. Scottie already figured out what the perv wanted, but allowed him to cop a feel anyway, then waited while the “associate” went out to find a pair of pants that would fit.
“Put’em on quick when he brings them in,” Robbie instructed, “then put your old ones on and send Davey in. Tell him not to waste any time getting here; don’t want my cock well lathered with tongue.”
The same procedure was followed with Davey, only this time, getting the signal from Robbie, let the guy sort of “brush” him several times, while Robbie got a good look at the “associates” identification badge. It was a fake; a damned good one, but a fake!
He was there to pick up young boys to fuck! How he did it, no idea, but he was there and he had a hard cock, clearly outlined in his trousers, announcing his intentions. Before Davey left, Robbie turned him from the man, facing him, zipped down his fly, and told him to leave. The “associate” damned near creamed on the spot thinking he was alone with his prize.
“No way was that goin’ to happen,” Robbie muttered half under his breath just before he bit into his burger.
“I beg your pardon?” I asked, wondering if Robbie was talking to me.
“The manner of giving is worth more than the gift”
“He’s muttering about the phony sales associate who was perving on his body and mine,” Davey offered. “The guy would’ve been stuck like a fat hog if he’d touched any one of us. Right guys?”
The other four boys nodded their heads solemnly, indicating it’d be so- even the two youngest, Eddie and Jamie.
Noticing their response, I held up my hands. “Hold it right here! We’ll talk about the phony associate in a minute. First, every one of you who is carrying a knife, raise your hand.”
Five sets of eyes pivoted toward Robbie. Robbie, before venturing any further into this discussion, scrunched up his face in thought considering what the outcome of this question might be.
“You’re not going to take them away from us if we do have them on us are you?”
My nephews were testing me much like Robbie tested Andy and lost. My answer or answers and how it was said it were important to my future relationships with them. I slowly shook my head from side to side.
“No, I’ll not do that. A knife can come in handy many times on a farm, but I will ask you not to use it as a weapon unless your life or one of your brother’s is in danger.”
“How about if our ass is in danger?” Scottie asked.
“Okay, that too, but for god’s sake try not to murder anyone.”
“Can we cut his nuts off?” chimed in Jamie.
“Because when you cut the nuts off of a critter they bleed a lot and I don’t want you ruining your new clothes. Now, what about this phony associate?”
I looked at Robbie for the answer. With a shrug, Robbie told me the whole story from the time the guy trotted over to help them, his own suspicions the guy was up to no good, to spotting the phony identification badge, Davey’s open fly as a shout for help, and my entry into the changing booth.
“Why didn’t you say something at the store?” I asked calmly. “I would’ve reported him to management. I know the man who is the manager of that store.”
“He was long gone, Uncle Jacob,” Robbie explained. “No way, no how will it happen to me again or any of my brothers,” he muttered, “Good riddance to the mother-fucker!”
“Yeah, he took off like his ass was on fire and the nearest water was a mile away,” giggled Eddie.
“Where did you hear that?”
“From Momma, Uncle Jacob, when she threatened to cut the social worker’s pecker off and stuff it up his ass when he came to the house.”
“Oh! What happened then?”
“We moved up here; left the same night.”
“Yeah, Robbie drove most of the way, too,” Scottie added, “except for a short ways Davey drove.”
“Oh, my god,” I moaned, imagining all that could have happened on the journey. “It’s a wonder you all weren’t killed or arrested for driving with no license.”
“But Robbie and Davey are good drivers, Uncle Jacob, so there was nothing to worry about,” Scottie added reassuringly.
I decided to make no other comments concerning my nephews’ knives, the pervert in the store, or their driving habits. No, I came to the conclusion I best not under estimate what my nephews were capable of doing. Granted, they were still young physically, but evidently their experiences, many and varied, prepared them to be street-wise of that there was no doubt. I decided I’d call the manager anyway when we got home. I knew him and expected him to take some action. Perhaps the store captured him on surveillance video or been seen by store employees. I also decided not to speak of the sexual innuendos of the man, but only the phony identification badge my nephews recognized.
Andy’s SUV wasn’t parked at home when we arrived. I thought they might be still in town. After all, they had a doctor to see, an attorney, and some shopping to do. I hoped Janet wouldn’t be too tired after coming home.
“Unload your clothes bags,” I said. “You can show them to your mother when she and Uncle Andy come back from town. I’ll put the van away and stop in the office. I want to talk to Mrs. Jenkins and Lee and Ted about the day. After I’m done, I’ll come in and see what we can get started for supper.”
The boys unloaded the van, carried their bags inside, and deposited them in the living room in anticipation of showing them to their mother.
“Save the chocolates until we’ve all shown her our new duds,” Robbie said. Looking at Mattie’s happy face, he grinned back, “Yeah, she’ll be happy, you dufus.”
Listening to a brief summary of the day’s activities, to this point, from Lee and Ted, I was well satisfied things were under control and well in hand for the next day. They had several large orders for berries and the trucks were on their way back from the farmer’s markets, sold out! The ones working the farmer’s markets and the stand in town would earn not only their hourly wage, but a percent of the sales as well. The U-pick operation closed down shortly after noon when the selected field was picked. Ted had a crew moving some traveler irrigation guns into that field to begin irrigation in the morning.
Mrs. Jenkins reviewed my bills with me and the day’s receipts; checked over the time sheets, and indicated my mail was on my desk.
“Nothing really important,” she explained. “I pulled out the bills and payments for products. The bills are in the stack to your left and the money ones on your right,” she commented as I sat down at my desk.
“Oh, you did have a call from Rose Boyer concerning you seeking a full-time housekeeper and cook. Wants to know when she can come in for an interview. You also had a call from the warehouse you’re supposed to pick up the tomatoes from on Thursday letting you know they still had blueberries if you wanted any and they’re short of help so you’ll have to bring someone along to help you load.”
“Call them and tell them we’ll take one hundred lugs of blueberries if they have them. I think we can sell that many. They should have some fresh fruit from down south as well. Check to see if I can get any radishes and green onions, bundled, and some peppers, green beans, cukes, zucchini, maybe some broccoli and cauliflower. Check last year’s sales for this time and order accordingly. Our bibb/ butterhead lettuce will be ready next week so see if they have some regular head lettuce.”
I made a note to line up help for Thursday, then asked, “This Rose Boyer; know her?”
“Actually, quite a bit. She was a school mate of your mothers, a grade or two behind her. Left after graduation to go to college somewhere down state to study music. She was the accompanist for all of the high school choral groups. Don’t know if she ever finished college, but I do know she married an over the road trucker, raised five kids, lost her husband in an accident, and moved back here after her youngest son died. She has family here yet.”
“When would I be able to talk to her?”
“How about tomorrow morning when she brings her grandson to work?”
“Which one is he?”
“Paul Boyer, the youngest on our crew; started this year. Ted has him working the fields.”
It identified to me who the young man who spoke up when I mentioned to Ted and Lee my need for a housekeeper.
“Give her a call and set it up, okay?”
I thought a moment before adding, “Give Beth a call at the market stand in town and have her call Pastor Wilson if she had any perishables that won’t keep until the next day. He’ll use it in his free meals program.”
“Nope; many thanks for watching the Farm today.”
“By the looks of the size of your family, Jacob, it won’t be the last time. No complaints understand; more sympathy for you and Andy since it’s just been the two of you in recent years.”
Andy was helping Janet into the house when I left the office. I hurried to assist, but we were quickly replaced by Robbie, Davey, and Scottie.
“We’ll do it, Uncle Andy and Uncle Jacob,” Robbie said as he took one of his mother’s arms and Davey the other. Scottie sort of stood behind her to help steady her walk.
“The little boys have a pillow and a blanket ready at the chair so you’ll be comfortable when we show you our new clothes,” he said to his mother.
Janet managed a smile and a “thank you.” Her sons loved her so much and she was going to be so, so, sad to leave them!
“Help me unload my car,” Andy asked me. “I’ve got several bags of clothes Janet picked out and I stopped by the super market to pick up some groceries. Supper will be hot dogs, brats, buns, potato salad, baked beans, and lettuce salad from our place. Ice cream and strawberries for dessert. I also picked up three gallons of milk, two gallons of orange juice, three dozen eggs, fresh mushrooms, and a package of flour tortillas. Its breakfast burritos and juice in the morning for breakfast, using the eggs, mushrooms, and leftovers from supper; if there is any.”
It didn’t take long to unload the SUV and put items in the refrigerator.
“I’ll start the grill while you take Janet’s clothes in to her,” Andy said.
“How’s she doing?”
“Later, Jacob, later.”
Mattie was in the process of just finishing showing his mother his new clothes. I held up my hand, leaned over to her asking, “Anything I can get you?
“How about a Brandy Old-fashioned, brother dear?”
“Done; Mattie, why don’t you, Eddie, and Jamie go out front and help Uncle Andy with fixing supper while Robbie, Davey, and Scottie show your mom their clothes. I’ll put your mom’s clothes in her room and fix her a before dinner cocktail.”
The “little boys” scampered out of the living room heading toward the porch and their Uncle Andy.
I returned from the kitchen with Janet’s drink, fluffed up her pillow a bit, rearranged her blanket, and quietly asked, “Bad day?”
“Yes and no; yes, I’m so fortunate to have six lovely, loving sons and a loving, forgiving brother. The no part is, it’s going to happen sooner than I wanted or expected.”
To be continued: