I think I just overheard a voting session going on downstairs, so I walked down to investigate. Right now the kids are playing a game called “Town”, in which they are all voting unanimously as to which jobs they will each have in the game. Elijah, who is the president, leads the way. He just told everyone: “The money will be returned to you post-haste.” Jack and Elsie are the mail men, Nadine is the store-keeper, and Betty is the pie-maker. Except for one problem: she doesn’t want to cook right now. So, Elijah called a town meeting where everyone offered their suggestions as to what she could do. “Who votes for Betty to be garbage collector?” Everyone said, “Aye.” The motion didn’t pass because Betty didn’t want to collect garbage. It was determined that she will help Nadine with her shop-keeping with jobs like: running to the bank (Elijah) for money, counting it, and putting it in the shop-keeper’s cash register. The post office is busy writing AND delivering mail. Mr. President is happily handing out money, calling meetings to order, and keeping things in order. “I have come to the decision that we need to have a police station and a police man for shooting, stealing and other suing consequences. Who should be the first annual police man? If something happens, you call the president and I will call the police. He shall remain in my jail.” After going through everyone’s names, and a resounding “Nay” for all to become policeman, except Jack, it looks like Jack is the official “new annual police man.” I think they are swearing him in to office. I hear: “Arise. And sit down.” No, actually this is court in session now. Nadine is speaking: “I am suing Jack Weldon. When I was sleeping, I saw Jack stealing my helicopter. It is worth 200 dollars and it is officially stolen.”
Elijah is calling Jack to the stand: “J-A-C-K,” he spells out his name.
Jack tries to defend himself. “Elijah, I was going to MAIL it to you!”
The questioning continues. “Is it true that you went into the store and took the helicopter without paying?”
“Was it a helicopter?”
“Was it worth 200 dollars?”
“Yes. Can I say something? I’m going to pay her 200 dollars when we’re DONE this meeting!” He gives a big sigh.
Elijah really is a kind soul. His verdict: “Since this is the first sue we’ve ever had, I’m giving this as a warning. You will not have to pay 200 dollars or go to jail or anything. You will have to pay 20. Meeting adjourned.”
Then, “I’m officially closed. I’m sorry I’m closed, but I really have to pee,” says Mr. President. “Please, hold your thoughts.”
In the past week or more, our little “town” has had a ton of adventures. The biggest one began on the last day of July.
Nadine was running from a bee, her brother, or both, and she tripped going up the concrete steps of our front porch. I heard her crying and there was a deeper pain in her cry than a typical hurt, which kept going. A day and x-ray later showed her big toe to indeed be broken. So, last Friday we headed to the orthopedic doctor to tell us if there was anything special we should be doing, and to get a better idea of what kind of a break it was.
As we drove to the appointment, Nadine and I were bouncing along in the Eurovan, windows down, enjoying the first day of August. I glanced down at the dashboard and it dawned on me that the gas was really low. Like, lower than the really low it was the night BEFORE when we were driving home from somewhere. I just had driven past my favorite exit for gas. Two more exits to go until a gas station was nearby. I wasn’t really nervous, but something inside of me just kept looking down at the dashboard and up at the exit, which all of a sudden seemed much farther than one mile away. Then it happened. Our van started to sputter. I’ve never been in this situation, but I was pretty sure we were running out of gas. Thankfully, Oceanus has manual transmission, so we coasted off the exit ramp and through one light. I tried to start her again, and we were able to get enough oomph to go through one more light before she gave up her last puff of fumes and coasted to a stop. In the left hand turn lane. Within sight of the gas station. Nadine was talking to her friend on the phone, and I told her to stay on the line with her until I got back. So, off I went with the keys, in my sneaks, running across intersections with “no pedestrian crossing” signs everywhere. After asking a few random strangers in the Wawa parking lot if they happened to have a gas can in their vehicle, I bit the bullet and bought a new can (to add to the three we already have in our basement) and filled it with two gallons of gasoline. Then a sweet lady drove me back to the van. Next thing I know, a friend pulled up behind us to see if we needed any help. It made me feel so much less like a crazy woman having her there with me!
Back on the road again, we filled her up with gas, and made it to the doctor only ten minutes late. The verdict is she has a fracture right on her joint in a tricky place. So he gave her a giant nifty boot to keep her foot flat and stable. She’s also gaining speed on a pair of crutches. Love her spirit. This week as a family we have been reading James chapter 1. She took the “falling into various trials” part very seriously, and now we’re getting all sorts of practice with “counting it all joy”.
Our week has been full of other things too! We started school, on a small scale. It is an opportunity to work out kinks and start slow. Seeing them eager to start has been encouraging! Nadine informed me, after just one day, that I have “improved so much as a teacher!” She makes me chuckle. On Sunday morning I had the honor of watching a sweet baby be born. That never gets old. On Wednesday we went to Marsh Creek with sweet friends to celebrate a wonderful birthday and to watch the sunset over the water. Beautiful! On Thursday we made an impromptu road trip to NJ to see more wonderful friends and played on the beach for the first time in years! I’m still picking sand out of my hair, and I only went knee-deep in the ocean.
I think the small town downstairs will be needing lunch soon, so I better take up the unwanted role of “cook” and whip something together. Hungry townspeople spells g-r-u-m-p-i-n-e-s-s in our near future. I hear there is a library now, and the police station is “officially open”. “Sometimes it’s open, sometimes it’s closed,” says Jack. Nadine counters with, “I just don’t think anyone is going to be bad! But, it’s good to have anyway.” Elsie is protesting her job as the mailman, but after some encouragement she just told the president, “I’ll still be the mailman, but when I get a new job, I won’t.” My, this is so fun. In the words of Mr. President, “I’m sorry I have to go. Please hold your thoughts.”