This is the first draft of a first chapter. I am excited to have you guys to share this with. Thank You.
CHAPTER ONE – SOMETHING VERY GOOD INDEED
· Mama and Clementine are driving down the driveway and turn onto Walnut for the first time in decades.
· She can still handle the stick shift like a pro and remembers learning how to drive this beast on her 19th birthday.
· It was a gift from her parents, but she was not happy about it.
· “It was born the same year as you were” Father Said “1950”
· For a young lady, 19 was a perfectly respectable age, there was nothing respectable about a 19 year old farm truck.
· It looked like a short school bus, It billowed smelly smoke out its read end, and its driver side seat made a very convincing fart sound every time the truck bounced.
· Her father had tried to make it better by painting the truck Mama’s favorite color.
· He painted it bright orange with house paint and a brush.
· Father was not a very good painter.
· The only thing worse than driving a short bus on your first day at a new school, was driving a bright orange short bus on your first day at a new school.
· 37 years later and Clementine is that same bright orange, only Mama is no longer embarrassed.
· Today, Mama is proud.
· No one thought Clementine would ever be this color again
· But right after something very bad happened to mama, something very good happened. Something very good indeed.
· Mama is not only a Mother and a Grandmother, Mama is also a wife.
· When her husband passed away a year ago, She was sure nothing good would ever happen to her again.
· But Mama was wrong, because Just one week after Papa passed, she heard a combination of tapping and giggling at the screen door.
· Her three grandchildren, Ronny, Samantha and Jack were waiting to give her a hug and kiss in exchange for a piece of salt water taffy.
· This was an Underbilt family tradition.
· Even the grandchildren’s parents, Mama’s own children still took part.
· Everyone had come to Papa’s house to help Mama sort through the back shed and the detached garage.
· Both Papa and Mama were taught by there parent to throw nothing useful away. This was a rule, and they lived by it.
· For some reason, that lesson did not carry over to the younger generation.
· The parents often complained that Mama and Papa were packrats.
· They have been dreading this day for years, but had their work clothed on and were ready to go.
· When the first garage door swung up everyone saw the amazingly huge pile of stuff that has been stored inside.
· When the second door swung up Clementine was there, and she was defiantly not orange
· One of the dads climbed in and turned the key.
· Clementine started on the first crank, and she sounded good.
· With that discovery, there was an instant change in the plan
· The parents decided to finish the restoration of the old truck.
· They dove into the truck making a list of everything that still needed to be done. It was a long list.
· It is decided that the family will get together on Sundays and work on the old truck just like papa used to do.
· Ronny was the only person who was not happy about that decision.
· Sundays used to be Ronny’s favorite day of the week
· Papa and he would play “And Then!” for hours and hours
· “And Then!” was the best game ever, but starting it was a trick.
· Papa would ask Ronny about his day, and just as Ronny would start to answer, Papa would interrupt him with a loud and dramatic “And Then!”
· This was always followed by something ridiculous.
· Something like “The teacher turned into bull frog and hopped up onto the overhead projector.”
· To play the game, you had to add to this crazy the story until the other person interrupted you with there own loud and dramatic “And Then”
· Ronny and Papa would always tell stories about dragons, or space men, or farm animals taking over the city.
· The stories were always silly and never about anything real.
· But now, Papa was gone and silliness like “And Then!” was gone too.
· Ronny realized he was going to have to find a new favorite day of the week.
· The only thing left for him to do was to sit on the back porch and wait his growth spurt, witch was already more than 2 years overdue.
· Samantha, who’s favorite day of the week was Thursday and Jack, whose favorite day of the week was Saturday were thrilled with the idea of spending their Sundays at Papa’s house.
· And not just because of the saltwater taffy.
· Samantha and Jack looked up to Ronny.
· He was the only big kid they knew.
· But right now, Ronny wanted to be alone.
· Ronny was sitting on the edge of the back porch kicking at the dandelions, so were Samantha and Jack.
· Mama saw the three cousins and knew something was wrong, but also knew better than to ask.
· Instead, she put on a pot of water and pulled out the ingredients that would make it all better.
· The recipe was simple, The first thing you needed, were special mugs.
· Mama picked out 5 blue mugs at the dollar store, and Papa hung 5 hooks under the cupboard by the sink.
· Mama used white puffy paint to write Mama, Papa, Ronald, Samantha, and Jack onto the 5 mugs.
· Those mugs were only to be used for Mama-Chocolate.
· Other than the Mugs, you needed Hot water. Instant Hot Chocolate, and a very large bag of very small marshmallows.
· When the water started to whistle, Samantha, and Jack running
· They were settling into their chairs at the kitchen table when Ronny came walking in.
· He had his hands in his pockets and his eyes on the floorboards but he still sat in his spot at the table and gave Mama a quick smile.
· Mama knew no one could resist a mug of Mama-Chocolate.
· She poured 3 mugs half full of hot water and dropping ice cubes into two of them.
· She spooned in the standard amount of mix, stirred, and then started to add the marshmallows.
· The key to a good cup of Mama-Chocolate was the marshmallows
· Mama would ask how many marshmallows you wanted, and then pretend she misheard you.
· She would always double the amount you said and proudly pretend it was exactly right.
· Ronny asked for 5 marshmallows and got 10.
· Samantha asked for 7 and got 14.
· And Jack, as always, asked for 12 marshmallows and got as many as Mama could fit in the mug.
· Then, as always, Jack asked for a bendy straw.
· Mama came to the table with her own mug. This one was full of tea.
· She sat in her chair (the only one with a cushion) and tended to her tea.
· “Well” she said, “Sundays in this house are special.”
· Samantha and Jack looked up, both with Mama-Chocolate Mustaches, but Ronny did not look up.
· He had decided pick at the “A” the “L” and the “D” on his mug.
· He wanted it to say “RON” and but wanted it look as if the dishwasher had done it.
· “We keep Sundays reserved.” She continued. Pretending not to notice Ron’s disinterest “We call them Fundays, but it doesn’t look like you three are having any fun at all”
· Samantha and Jack both looked at Ronny who finally said with a shrug “Were board”
· “Well we don’t keep the fun out where the neighbors might see it.” Mama replied “We keep it hidden”
· “Where do you keep it Mama” Jack asked
· “Yeah Mama?” Samantha added” Can you tell us if you whisper it?”
· Mama smiled saying “I don’t have to whisper. It’s obvious if you look for it. If fact” She lifted her head to look out the rear window “I can see it all over the back lawn right now”
· All three children turned to see the fun, but Ronny was knew nothing was there.
· Mama continued “When I look at that folding chair, I see the mighty thrown of Back Porchland”
· Jack’s and Samantha’s eyes lit with excitement, but Ronny’s just rolled away
· Mama knew she had to push so she puffed up and proclaimed “Go forth my knights and defend my thrown against the rebel grasshoppers and their dragonfly army”.
· Samantha and Jack hopped down and ran through the screen door shouting “CHARGE” but Ronny dragged his feet.
· “Those two need your help Ronny” Mama said putting her hands on his shoulders “I know Papa taught you all about imagination, but he’s not here to teach them”
· He looked up at her “Ronny, Papa used to tell me all the time about how you could turn an empty box into a biplane and then fly that plane to the moon. Samantha and Jack don’t know how to do that. You have to show them how.”
· Then Mama asked “Do you remember what Papa used to call it when you were thinking so hard your tongue would sneak out?”
· “Yeah” Ronny said avoiding Mama’s eyes.
· “Well go show them how to think like that, Go show them how to use their imagination eyes”
· Ronny smiled big and looked at Mama. He didn’t know Mama knew about his imagination eyes. He liked that she did.
· As he started for the screen door and said “Mama?”
· “Yeah Ronny”
· “Next time you make Mama-Chocolate” He paused “ I don’t need any marshmallows, I think I like it just like papa liked it, Straight Up”
· “OK Ronny” Mama said “straight up it is, Now go forth and remove your cousins from the thrown of High and Mighty Mama before she is forced to throw them into the moat ”
· Ronny smiled and looked out the window, sure enough, Samantha and Jack were both squeezed into the folding chair arguing over who was going to rule Back Porchland.
· He rolled his eyes and shouted “Silly Knaves”
· The screen door slammed behind him.
· Mama gathered the mugs and washed them in the sink.
· As she dried them, she watched through the kitchen window
· Her children were huddled around an apple box that had been marked Clementine’s Parts and her Grandchildren were huddled around a loose paving stone.
· They had found some roly-poly bugs and were planning to use them in the battle for Back Porchland
· As Mama hung the mugs back on there hooks, she looked past Papa’s unused mug, and saw her family together in the sunshine.
· These Sundays were going to be full of adventure, and that was something very good indeed.
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