Monday, July 11, 2011

Shep Ferguson Ch. 7 The Rest of the Clan Pt. 2

Gillian and Jeremy Blackford

When Loni Faye Hammond came over to the Blackford home for a play-date that included lunch, she noted Robby’s ears were pointed like an elf and found that she just loved them. He whispered to her that he got them from his grandmother who was beautiful, but that she also had elfin ears. Loni Faye decided she must meet her someday. She didn’t have a grandmother who lived nearby and certainly not one with pointed ears.

Robby continued to excel in school, always coming home with an A+.  He especially loved to do his homework in his father’s office. It made him feel older and smarter. Lately he had begun dreaming of the day he would have his birthday and become a teenager and all the possibilities that event would bring about.

Gillian had fired the second maid, and was now kept very busy with the large house to clean, meals to make, and caring for her husband, Jeremy, her son, Robby, and the new baby, Ryan. They counted on her for every little thing, and sometimes she did feel as though she was being taken for granted. When Jeremy came home from work, he took out the trash and helped clean up some of mess, but basically, he had free time that he filled with things like painting and fishing. He was currently in the process of doing a portrait of Gillian and he wanted to paint one of his eldest son next. Happily he did spend time with Robby every day, and she (and Robby) gave him due credit for that. Most of the time, though, Gillian was taking care of the baby and the house, without all that much help from him.

Angelo Severino was another friend who joined them for supper. After the meal Robby took him up to what the family called the recreation room where they played on the pinball machines and later on had a lively game of darts. 

Gillian felt sorry for the little girls of Pleasantview when Angelo got to high school. He was a very handsome child and would be a heart-breaker when he got older, she felt sure. Those little girls would grow to be nubile teenage girls, all with a crush on Angelo—although Gillian felt one or two would still go after Robby; the little heathens.  She actually could not bear to think of dealing with a teenager. Not yet anyway.

Gillian still loved to cook and especially loved baking desserts, so there was never a shortage of cakes and pies around. Therefore the adults and even Robby made sure to keep up an exercise regimen. This wasn't difficult for Robby, because he was a high-energy kid who could not sit still even early in the morning. He would make a paper airplane and play with it until he heard the bus honking its horn. Gillian had to dispose of the airplanes that littered the living room every morning after he left. At least he always stuck to yesterday’s paper, she mused.

One morning Jeremy surprised her by bathing the baby so she could have a quiet twenty minutes in the bath. He was very affectionate with the children, but wasn’t much for changing diapers or bathing as a rule. He did help out with feedings from time to time. If Gillian was busy with housework or cooking that is. If she was reading or on the computer he usually just said something like.

“The baby is crying, Gill.” Or “Sounds like Ryan wants his bottle.”

Even when Ryan became a toddler, most of the responsibilities of teaching him to walk, talk and potty went to Gillian. Jeremy had actually been much more help with Robby. But now Robby was more fun to do things with than a toddler, at least in Jeremy’s mind, so he tended to spend much more time with him.

One Saturday evening, when the kids had long since been in bed, Gillian cut big pieces of butter cake with chocolate frosting for a snack for Jeremy and herself. She hungrily devoured her piece of cake then rubbed her belly contentedly,

“Gosh, that was good, if I do say so myself,” she started to stand up. Jeremy was still eating.

“I’m so tired I can’t stand it,” she murmured, “I’m going to bed, will come you come soon?”

“Oh, brother—you’re tired?” Jeremy made an irritated face.

She looked back at him in wonder.

“I’ve spent the entire day trying to entertain Robby,” Jeremy went on resentfully, “Not that I minded that, of course, you know I love being with him. But he is a handful some times, he has so much stamina and enthusiasm, it can really take it out of me.  So I can’t see why you’d be so tired…you’ve been in the house all day—“

 Gillian sat back down and spoke angrily,

“Just hold on there, boy. What do you think I was doing all day—eat bonbons and reading People magazine? You kill me, you don’t even know what it takes to keep this family functioning—and on time. Today was just an example.  It was beautiful out today, I would have liked to be out there, too, but while you and Robby fished, I was teaching Ryan to walk. During the time you and he played a video game, I got Ryan up from his morning nap, fed and clothed him, fixed lunch and cleaned up afterward. Then you two shot hoops and I dusted, vacuumed and took out the garbage.”

Jeremy started to interrupt, but she cut him off, holding her hand up like a traffic cop.

“I’m not done. Then you guys went swimming…and stayed in there until dark, I might add. Meanwhile I emptied the potty-chair and cleaned the bathrooms, tucked Ryan in, and made a cherry pie. When Robby went to bed I made sure to give some extra special time to you—not like that was a chore or anything, but, well, I was tired, yet I was thinking of your needs, too. So I come out here to serve you a snack—a cake that I made yesterday while you were painting—and you start belly-aching because I said I was tired. So, you know what? When Ryan wakes up in the middle of the night; guess who’s going to take him to potty and give him his bottle? You, honey. Don’t wake me.”

She stalked off to their bedroom. She would have slammed the door but didn’t want to wake up the children.

“Belly-aching?” Jeremy repeated to himself in surprise. He shook his head and then shrugged. Women were so moody. Maybe he could butter her up with an apology and some additional affection. He headed toward the closed door of the master bedroom; he would reason with her.

The next morning, knowing nothing of his mother’s chastisement of his father, Robby came downstairs to find Jeremy sleeping on the couch. This was surprising, but he had a child’s agenda. He wanted to ask his father if they could go swimming again today. First he heated up a left-over omelet in the microwave, ate it and put his dish in the dishwasher. It was still dark so Robby sat on the carpet in front of his sleeping father and waited for him to get up. He wasn’t particularly patient though and he kept coughing every so often. It wasn’t a real cough but he did cover his mouth when he did it.

Presently, as dawn was breaking, Jeremy woke up and looked around as if he didn’t know where he was for a moment. He could hear Ryan jabbering to himself in his crib and there was no sound from the master bedroom.

“Can we go in the pool and play Marco Polo again?” Robby asked right away.

Jeremy narrowly avoided looking at the master bedroom door as he spoke,

“We’ll see. Only if your mother says it’s okay.”

“Maybe we should ask her to go swimming, too,” Robby reflected, “And then she might say it’s okay.”

Jeremy got up off the sofa and stretched, trying to un-kink his back muscles. Robby was still waiting anxiously for an answer.

“I think you may be right, Robby, I think you may be right.”

And so it was that all three Blackfords enjoyed the pool that Sunday afternoon and harmony was restored in the family.


mrssimgirl said...

Awww! LOL Men never do know how much a mother/homemaker does do they?? Well I am glad they invited her to swim, how thoughtful! hehe Love the update! (Hey at least Robby puts his own dishes in the dishwasher ;-))

Lorelei said...

Yeah, notice how the guy who was going to "reason with her" somehow ends up on the couch? LOL