“Mom, why don’t we have a pool?” Ruthie asked her Mom, who was working on cleaning the kitchen stove.
“We don’t have a pool, honey, because it costs a lot of money, and it is a lot of work to take care of,” Mrs. Camden answered.
“I really want a pool,” Ruthie sighed.
“Alright, well I’ll make you a deal,” Mrs. Camden told her daughter, “If you can pay for a pool and you can take care of it, you can have one. Ok?” But she knew that wasn’t going to happen.
“Ok!” Ruthie exclaimed, “Thanks!” Ruthie out a huge smile on her face and ran up-stairs to try and find the money to buy the family a pool. She knew exactly where she was going…The Bank of Simon! She was going to try and convince him to ‘lend’ her the money to get the pool.
Mrs. Camden smiled as she watched the littlest, curly haired Camden run up the stairs, happy as could be. Then, she continued cleaning the stove as her husband walked in through the backdoor. “Hi honey!” Mrs. Camden said before giving Rev. Camden a kiss.
“And how was your day?” Rev. Camden asked.
“Well…Ruthie wants a pool, which she won’t be getting and a Mrs. Kindermin called for you,” Mrs. Camden informed her husband.
“Oh, well, I’d better call Mrs. Kindermin back,” he rushed off into the office.
Mrs. Camden finished the stove and started the laundry. She was exhausted, but someone had to do it. Just as she pressed the ‘wash’ button Lucy came running down the stairs with the phone her hand, as always.
“Mom!” Lucy exclaimed looking happy she caught her in the kitchen, “I need you to make a few cupcakes, only a dozen.”
“But I have things to-,” Mrs. Camden got cut off.
“Thank-you.” Lucy said. Than she left and Matt came sown.
“Mom, I need someone’s advice,” Matt said.
“Don’t mind the cooking and cleaning, I am listening,” Mrs. Camden said trying to give her son a hint that she could use some help.
“Ok, well I want to break-up with Mandy…but I don’t know how to tell her,” He said staying seated.
“I don’t know Mandy that well, so I’m not sure what would be the best way to break it to her. Sorry!”
“Ok,” Matt said, then left. But then, just before Matt left, Simon came down.
“Mom, I need-,” he was cut off by a frustrated Mrs. Camden.
“No, no more ‘I need’s’ or ‘I want’s’! I bake a DOZEN cupcakes…and don’t even get a simple ‘Thank-you!’ So I’m DONE!” Mrs. Camden said, then stormed up-stairs and slammed her bedroom door.
Simon just stood there, stunned. He never knew his Mom could do that. She had NEVER done that before. So Simon just stood there, and waited for someone to walk in. That someone just happened to be his dad.
“Simon, Simon, SIMON!” Rev. Camden yelled, “What is wrong?”
“Me-she-I-and-SLAM!” Simon revealed still stunned.
“Ok, I’ll go talk to her.”
Rev. Camden made his way up-stairs, but he was stopped by yelling.
“NO!” said Lucy as she stormed out of her room.
“Wait, wait, wait. What’s going on?” Rev. Camden asked.
“Mary took my sweater because I accidentally washed hers too long and it…well...it would fit a Barbie.” Lucy explained.
“Well, I think that sounds fair.”
“Ugh!” Lucy grunted and walked away.
Rev. Camden shrugged and continued to his room. He opened his door to find his wife packing some of her clothes in a suitcase.
“Honey, what is wrong? Where are you going?” rev. Camden asked in a panic.
“That is IT! I’m sick of working my butt off everyday for nothing, not even a ‘Thank-you!’ and I’ve had ENOUGH. I’m going to stay at my dad’s for a few days or weeks,” Mrs. Camden said.
“Annie, honey, stop for a second,” he said grabbing her arm. She stopped and started to cry into her husband.
“No one appreciates what I do for them and I’m tired,” Mrs. Camden said in tears.
Outside the door everyone was listening in, “Is mommy leaving?” Ruthie asked.
“Shhhh…” Mary waved her hand at her little sister, “Quick their coming...RUN!”
Everyone scattered; Lucy and Mary to their room, Simon to his room, Matt to the bathroom, and Ruthie to the kitchen.
* * *
“Are you sure you want to go?” Rev. Camden asked his wife once more before she left for her flight.
“Yes, but I’ll be back in a week. I just need to get away for a while,” She reassured him, “and sure that you can keep the house standing by yourself for a week!”
“Ok, but be careful,” he told her.
They kissed, and then Mrs. Camden left, past the metal detectors, to her flight.
Rev. Camden waved to his wife, and turned around heading for his car.
Wow! He thought, She is really gone. He drove and stopped at 129 Hiverd Place. He got out of the car and knocked on the old wooden door. While he waited he noticed that there an old pair of men’s slippers, a tie, some shirts, and a top hat in a brown, cardboard box labeled ‘charity’ on the front. But before he really had any time to think about it Mrs. Kinderman answered the door, “Hello?”
“Hi, Rev. Camden here!” He said with a smile, so Mrs. Kindermin opened the door all the way.
“You can call me Eric. Here is the medicine you wanted me to pick-up,” Rev. Camden handed the elderly lady her medication.
“Thank-you Eric. You can call me Rosy,” she informed him, “come-in, come-in,” she motioned him inside the house.
“I couldn’t help but notice the box outside labeled ‘charity’,” he told her, taking a seat on the couch. It seemed like everything in this house was old, but had never been used, moved, or even touched.
“Oh, yes,” Rosy started, taking a seat too, “Those were my husband’s old things.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry-,” Eric started to apologies.
“No, no. It has been 5 years since Tom passed, but I miss him more-and-more everyday. You should appreciate the time you have with the ones you love, while you still have them. I took my time with tom for granted, and now he’s gone!” Rosy said, stating to get chocked up by her lose. “I’m sorry to have wasted your time, I’m sure you have more important things to do than listen to an old lady complain.”
“No, you may have just saved my family and my sermon,” He smiled, “Thank-you!”
* * *
The week dragged on-and-on without Mrs. Camden, but all of the Camden children were doing their parts in keeping the house up-and-working for their mother. Everyone stopped when they heard some one open the front door and say, “I’m home!”
All five Camden kids same running at their mom at once, all yelling different things. At the same time they all hugged their mom, forcing Mrs. Camden to trip, fallowed by everyone else. Laughter broke out from everyone.
“We missed you so much,” Lucy told her Mom.
“I can tell,” Mrs. Camden said, still giggling.
“We kept the house up!” Mary informed her mother.
Just them Rev. Camden walked downstairs with a load of laundry in one hand and a broken toy in the other, “Welcome home honey,” he said proudly. After their father came down everyone was back to their chores. “I missed you.”
“I missed you too!”
“And thank-you,” he said.
“For keeping the house running, for cooking dinner every might, for working so hard.”
“Oh, well, you’re welcome,” she said surprised.
“We all take everything you do for granted and we overwork you,” Rev. Camden admitted.
“Yes you do but you are forgiven,” she smiled and kissed him. “I’m going up-stairs to unpack, then I’m going to make dinner, ok?”
“Ok, I’m going to finish the laundry and fix Ruthie’s doll,” They both went their separate ways.
As Mrs. Camden went up-stairs she was stopped in the hall by Matt, “Mom, I just wanted to tell you I didn’t break-up with Mandy we talked. And I’m really sorry!”
“It’s ok honey. I have to unpack,” she told him looking down at her bags.
“Let me help you with that!”
* * *
The Rev. was at work. It was Sunday and half of Glenoak was at the church.
“I learned last week that you can’t take anything for granted. Weather it be a person or time, live life like there is no tomorrow, because everything can change. So this week…live it up! Don’t forget to thank people and mind your manners, because you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone,” he said, at then he smiled at his family sitting in the crowed. “Amen!”
After that everyone in the congregation got up, and left.
* * *
“Mommy,” Ruthie started, “Go look outside!” Ruthie and her mother turned and walked out the backdoor to find Simon and Happy sitting in a blow-up pool. It was small but just the right size. “You said if I could buy a pool and take care of it I could get one. Well, Simon help me pay for it, and we are going to take care of it. It is for everyone to use!” Ruthie said with a huge smile on her face.
Her mom was stunned, “Wow! That is very nice of you two.” She turned to her side and hugged her daughter.
“We didn’t tell nobody yet,” Ruthie told her mom.
“You didn’t tell anybody, anybody,” Her mother said correcting her daughter. Ruthie was still working on her double negatives. “I’ll leave you to tell everyone else about it, ok?”
“OK!” Ruthie said running inside the house. Mrs. Camden fallowed behind her, and Happy jumped out of the pool. Mrs. Camden gave her son a glare.
“I’ll get him!” Simon said with a half-smile.
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