"I wish that Lenore could have come today," Eleanor Jenkins said.
"Too many places for her to be, Gran," Missy said. "Bryant wrote her. The letter made a fuss that she should have noon dinner with his sister Lola, and then the Days wanted her and Weshelle for supper. Maybe she can run in here for an hour or so between two Thanksgiving dinners, the way Chandra is going to do for the Pricketts, before she goes to the Days’. Well, Chandra’s really going over to David Jones’ house, since Nathan’s mom is Mr. Jones’ sister and they’re having Thanksgiving there. I can phone Lenore at Lola’s and ask, but I wouldn’t count on her being able to get away soon enough."
"Jasper Day isn’t even in town. He’s up in
"They guilt-trip her, Grandma. Because Aunt Lena and Sarah and Diana and Di’s girls had gone to the movies together and were left up-time, now Janice and Nell and Cassandra are putting pressure on Chandra and Lenore and Sarah’s kids to hang tight with them as a family group. Which goes triple now that Ed Monroe and Chauncey Wilson as well as Uncle Wes have all remarried. Plus, they’re pushing even harder since Janice and Ross adopted five kids and Nell and Fenton have adopted two kids. Replacements for the ones they lost. They’re trying to focus on them, I guess. Bonding and all that kind of stuff. Make them feel that they are really part of the family. Plus, with Cassie remarrying to a German guy this month and bringing in three stepchildren . . . and the Nazarenes lost almost their whole church congregation and their minister. The Days were hit really hard by the Ring of Fire."
"Teacher training. Child psychology as well as library science. I’m not ‘littlest’ any more, really," Missy said. "You’ll have to promote one of the great-granddaughters to spoil in that spot. Or leave it vacant for a while, considering that Chandra’s girls are twins, which might cause sibling rivalry. Wait and see what Chip and Katerina produce once they get themselves organized."
Debbie winced. Her mother-in-law’s talent for disguising catty remarks as polite comments was one of the banes of her life. It occurred to her that Ron Stone might not be so bad to have around if he had an antenna that picked it up too.
Then he got up and looked in the mirror. Missy. Miss Utterly Bourgeois. That meant that she knew, without thinking about it, where her body, her face, her hair, every bit of her, came from. What did he know about himself? Looking at his reflection, he had to admit that it would probably have been sort of hard to tell the origin of any of the component parts, even if he had known his mother at all and his father for sure, given how . . . average . . . the whole ensemble was that looked back at him.
For the first time in his life, it occurred to him that even though his biological paternity was a bit optional, so to speak, Dad had at least known his mother. In every sense of the word. They’d been acquainted. In his next letter to
"With somebody else, I expect. Or done something at their place with chicken. Based on the way she was looking at him, wherever he was, she would be too. Seemed rather taken by him. Vice versa. Both trying hard to keep anyone else from noticing. Success level with that project measurable at roughly zilch. Very taken with him. Can’t imagine where she gets it," he yawned.
That was probably the best tack to take, he thought, remembering that Debbie had been seventeen and still in high school when she married Don Jefferson, who was only a year older. She was eighteen when Anne was born and Don was killed in
He assured himself that Debbie hadn’t been reading his thoughts. "It’s not as if Tom Stone is a social pariah any more. He’s made a ton of money legally and his father-in-law’s not too shabby when it comes time to bargain either."
"Missy and Ron. Dissecting the dinner events." She frowned. "Missy has a sharper tongue than I ever realized. I wish that I weren’t such an honorable mom. I might have learned a lot from eavesdropping longer."
Debbie would rather not talk about her mother right now. "According to Ron, this school teacher out there, the one who is going with the Kochs’ daughter, is practically keeping a prize list under the heading of ‘up-time converts we have caught.’ With Chip, at the moment, as a candidate for the blue ribbon."
"Oh. I guess I never knew that. Our paths didn’t cross much."