With just days to go until Mother’s Day, dawn breaks gently in Shady Pines Story Town. A soft breeze flows through the open window and into the kitchen of the house on Dogwood Drive across from Copy Cat Lane. Birds chirp loudly as they perch in the tall, leafy tree outside. The Sanders’ home hums with activity on this beautiful spring morning.
Harold Sanders is feeding his four-legged children.
He fills the food and water bowls of Boomerang, the Australian Shepherd dog, and Halley’s Comet, a silver streak of a cat.
“There you go kids. Breakfast is served.”
The back-door swings open and Edna Sanders appears with a fistful of colorful flowers. “Wow, the garden has come alive in the past week.”
Harold shakes his head in wonder. “Honey, you have a green thumb. I can’t believe the size of those roses.”
Edna places the cluster of white, dark pink, yellow and peach colored blooms on the kitchen counter. “I know. They’re so much bigger than last year. Will you grab a vase for me? There are several in the top cupboard.”
Harold reaches way up to the top cabinet and brings down a container of cut glass. “What about this one? It should look great with sunlight bouncing off it.”
Edna smiles. “That’s perfect. Oh, my gosh. What time is it?”
Harold looks at the clock on the wall. “It’s 8:30. Are you rushing somewhere?”
“I know,” says Edna. “But I have to go to Fred’s Corner Grocer and I want to get there when there aren’t too many people. Social distancing you know. I’ve got my mask and gloves in the car. Will you put the flowers in that vase with some water and take care of the kids?”
Harold sees Boomer looking up and sniffing at the flowers on the kitchen counter. Halley has jumped up on her window seat and is licking her paws. “I think I can manage.”
As Edna scurries up the stairs to get dressed, Harold sits at the kitchen table, flips on the TV and clicks through channels. “Let’s see what looks interesting.”
While he tries to decide what program to watch, Harold notices one Mother’s Day commercial after another. “Oh, NO! Mother’s Day is this weekend. Boomer, Halley, we have to do something special for mom!”
Boomer barks. “Halley, what’s going on? Is something wrong with mom? What do we have to do?”
“I have no idea,” says Halley. “She looks okay to me.”
“What’s a Mother’s Day?” asks Boomer.
Edna rushes back in, kisses Harold on the cheek and grabs her car keys. “Bye. See you later!”
“Bye, dear,” says Harold.
Harold turns off the TV. He needs a plan. Boomer wanders over. Harold takes the dog’s head in his hands and looks into his eyes. “What are we going to get her boy?”
Harold stands up and goes over to the kitchen desk where Edna sorts the mail and makes lists of things she wants to get done. Maybe something here will spark an idea. Halley follows him, jumps onto the desk, pushes her head against his arm and demands to be petted.
Harold just laughs. “You like to get into the middle of things don’t you girl? OK, I’ll pet your head and you can help me look for clues.” Harold rummages through bills, junk mail, and an invitation to a party.
“Wait. That’s it. I’ve got it you guys. We won’t buy her a Mother’s Day card, we’ll make her a card. We’ll do it together. Follow me!”
Harold makes a bee line for the den with Boomer right on his heels. Halley trots along bringing up the rear. Harold knows exactly where Edna keeps baskets full of paper and coloring pens and all sorts of craft stuff.
“Here’s everything we need. Wait a minute. Boomer, what’s your chew bone doing in this basket? Halley, isn’t this your squeaky toy?”
Boomer looks at Halley. “Uh-oh. I forgot about the day we played in here even though we weren’t supposed to.”
“Look on the bright side. Dad found Mr. Squeaky,” says Halley. “Do you think he’s mad at us?”
“Hope not,” says Boomer.
Harold chuckles. “You two are something else. Grab your toys, I’ll bring what we need. Let’s head back to the kitchen ’cause Operation Mother’s Day Card is about to begin.”
In minutes the kitchen table is covered with thick paper in a variety of colors, coloring pens, scissors, glue – the works. Boomer crawls under the table and chews his bone. Halley grabs Mr. Squeaky toy with her teeth, throws it up into the air and chases after it.
Harold looks around the room. “We need to add things to the card that will be meaningful to Edna. The flowers! They’re perfect.” Harold takes out his phone and snaps a picture.
Next he sees the framed picture of the family. “That’ll work.” He snaps another photo.
After he prints out copies of the flowers and the family, Harold sits at the table and tries to make decisions. There so many different colors of paper. How will he choose?
“Boomer, Halley, what color should we use?”
Halley jumps up the table and lands in the middle of pile. Boomer stretches up, places his front paws on Harold’s legs and barks.
“Whoa. I did ask for help didn’t I?” Harold looks at Halley’s pink collar and tag. “That’s it, Halley. Pink. It’s your mom’s favorite color.”
“Do you see Boomer? I’m helping and you’re just loud,” says Halley.
“Oh pipe down you little pipsqueak. You didn’t do anything,” says Boomer.
Harold glues the pictures onto the card. Next, he picks up a coloring pen and starts to write a message. He seems pleased with his message. “You know kids, Mother’s Day is a time when we get to tell Edna just how much we love her and appreciate all that she does for us.”
Before he can finish the sentence, Halley sees a bird perched in the tree right outside the open window. In a flash, she leaps off the table sending papers and pens flying and scattering everywhere. Before they can hit the floor, Boomer is charging after Halley, running and dodging the flying objects.
“Oh, golly. Boomer, HAY-LLEEE! Come back here,” yells Harold.
The back door opens, and a startled Edna tries to take in the scene. “Harold, what’s going on?”
Harold points towards the window. “Quick. Grab Halley.”
Edna lunges just as her silver streak of a cat was about to launch toward the tree. “Come here girl. I got you. Hang on to my shoulder. That’s good.”
Meanwhile, Harold collars Boomer. “All right boy. Let’s calm down here.”
Closing the window, Edna looks around the kitchen. It was so tidy when she left.
“Are the groceries still in the car?,” asks Harold.
Edna puts her hands on her hips. “They are. But first things first. What in cryin’ out loud happened while I was gone?”
Harold picks up the pink card and turns it around to show his wife the message. “We were trying to surprise you with a Mother’s Day card.”
Edna put both hands over her mouth. “Oh, my goodness. You guys made this for me? It’s beautiful.”
Harold is moved by his wife’s emotional response. “We wanted to give it to you on the actual day, but…”
Edna kneels down and hugs Boomer and Halley. Then she hugs her husband. “Don’t you all understand? Everyday in this family is Mother’s Day to me!”
“I have no idea what that means,” says Boomer.
“Neither do I,” says Halley. “But I think that pink piece of paper makes her cry.”
“Yea. I wonder what’s up with that?” asks Boomer.
And so we leave the Sanders family on a happy note. Harold and Edna clean up the kitchen mess. Boomers chews his bone and Halley plays with Mr. Squeaky toy on this lovely Saturday morning in the small Southern town of Shady Pines.
***Please leave a comment below and let us know what you thought of our story.