“So, are we ready to hit the Mall?”

“You make it sound like some sort of adventure,” Christina quipped.

“Hey, we rarely shop together these days.”

After wandering around for nearly an hour, they returned to the Laundromat arriving as their machines stopped spinning.  Loading their wet clothes into eight dryers, they plugged in their coins and made good their escape.  Gleefully Andrew said, “For once, it worked, we didn’t have to wait, alright!”

Christina asked if they could take a drive to the hardware store to see if the socket sets were still on sale.

“Sure, why not!  Besides, I’d like to take a look at the craft store myself.”  They piled into their car and headed downtown.

When they were finished looking Eilea suggested a pop.  “I’m buying.”

“Mom, have you ever known us to decline?’

“You’re right.  Silly question, what was I thinking?”

“Andrew, since you’re in the passenger seat, would you mind hopping into the store for us?”

“Ah, do I have to?”

“You would have to get out anyway,” Christina pointed out.

“Alright, what do you want?”

“The usual for me, Andrew, Coke.”

“What about you two?”

“I’d like to try that new iced tea, Arizona.”

“Have you tried it before, Theresa?”

“Nope, but Andrew said it’s really good so I’ll give it a try too.”

Eilea handed Andrew the money and he slowly made his way into the store.  When he returned, he said, “I got an ice cream cone instead.”

“Darn, that does look good,”  Eilea commented.

“Mom, here is your change and your coke.  Theresa, Christina, there you go.”

She started the car and headed to the waterfront while they sat and watched a variety of boats leaving and entering the harbor.

The owner/manager of the store spotted her as she headed into the Laundromat.  “Hi, Eilea, how are you?”

“I’m well, Marcie, and you?”

“Good, Good”

“Are you looking for anything in particular?”

“No, just wandering for now,” she replied as they splintered off in search of different interests.  They met in the centre of the Craft Store.  When Christina joined her a little while later, she asked, “Did you find what you were looking for?”

“Yes and no.  Not completely sure it’s what I want.”

“I imagine it’s time to get back to the laundry.”

“Yeah, I guess so,” Christina sighed.

The kidding and teasing was relentless and didn’t let up until they were home and everything was put away.  “Mom, I’m going to go to Brandon’s for an hour or so, ok?”

“Alright, see you later.”

The intervening four days passed quickly and before they knew it, it was time for their departure.

“Everyone remember your toothbrush and shampoo?”

“What time do you plan on leaving so I can tell Brandon?”

“I figured we’d leave after breakfast, say eight tomorrow morning,  we can drive as far as Black Creek and spend the night there.”

The following morning, everyone was up early spirits high as they packed the car.  “That didn’t take long.  I thought we could eat light, say muffins, jam and or cereal, so we don’t have a huge clean-up afterward.”

“I thought we could pack the milk, butter, cheese and meat as we’re heading out the door.  We can stop at a gas station, fill the car and pick up some ice then.”

“Mom, did you remember your bathing suit?”

“Yes, although Long Beach is absolutely too cold to swim in.”

“You can tan though mom.  You want to impress that eligible bachelor don’t you?”

Snatching Christina’s floppy hat out of her hand, Eilea draped it over her head and pulled it tight under her chin, “Oh, darrrrling, you’re soooo divine.  How did I eeeeever manage before you came into my life!” and then she faked a marvelous swoon that had them in stitches.

“Mom, you’re too much!”  Christina laughed.

“Alright, everyone ready to go?”

“Yep, Brandon and Cliff should be along shortly.”  No sooner were the words out of her mouth, than the phone rang twice indicating they’d arrived at the front door.

Brandon was a slender young man with dark brown hair and eyes.  He worked for the forest industry.  Eilea was impressed by his understanding, compassion and caring.  Christina was lucky.

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