THE HEAT IS ON
The windows are open in the Sanders’ House on Dogwood Drive near downtown. Big ‘ole ceiling fans whir as they go ’round and ’round trying to make the most of a soft summer breeze. It’s another hot Saturday in Shady Pines.
Edna Sanders sits in the kitchen flipping through her favorite recipes. “Oh fiddlesticks. It’s hard to come up with ideas when it’s this hot,” she groans. “I have no clue what to make for supper.”
Boomerang, the Australian Shepherd dog lies on the wooden floor and pants gently.
Edna gets up and fills Boomer’s bowl with fresh water. “It really is the dog days of summer isn’t it Boom? And that heavy coat of yours doesn’t help.” As she leans down and pets his handsome head Boomer gets up.
Edna looks around the kitchen. “Hmmm. Wonder where Halley is?”
Boomer barks. “I bet you know where she’s hiding, don’t you, boy?
A COOL IDEA
Edna heads down the hallway with Boomer at her heels. She reaches the small bathroom near the front door, gently pushes the door open and peers in. Halley’s Comet, a silver streak of a cat, is in the sink wrapped up like a ball.
Boomer goes up to the sink sniffing. “Halley what’s wrong with you? What are you doing in the sink?”
Halley opens one eye. “I was sleeping. Don’t you have anything better to do?”
Boomer tries to push her with his paw. “Of course I do. I don’t know why but mom wanted to find you. “
“Look at her,” says Edna. “Halley’s so smart. That’s probably the coolest place in the house right now. That gives me an idea.” Edna turns and walks away. “I need to call Harold.
Harold Sanders owns the Nuts ‘N Bolts hardware store in the middle of Main Street. On Saturday’s the store closes at noon. Harold carries a clipboard and checks on supplies. “You can always tell when we’re having a heat wave,” says Harold to himself. ” We sell so many fans, garden hoses, outdoor thermometers, and that sort of thing.
As Harold makes notes of what he needs to re-order, his cell phone rings. “Hi honey. What’s up?”
Edna is happy she’s reached him. “I want to run an idea by you.”
Harold sits down. “Oh boy. It’s not going to be like last time is it?
Edna frowns. “Harold Sanders. The bake off for charity worked out fine. In the end.”
Harold chuckles. Yes but the repairs to the stove and having to replace all those fire alarm units was – unexpected!”
Edna shrugs. ” Well, this is not that. What do you say we get the kiddie pool out and let Boomer and Halley play in the water to cool off?”
Edna sits at the kitchen table and Boomer lies at her feet. At the sound of his name he looks up.
Harold considers this for a moment. ” Do you think Halley will go for that? She is a cat after all.”
“Don’t worry. “I have a plan. And it includes floats,” says Edna.
Harold shakes his head. “All right. We’ll give it a shot. I’ll be home soon.”
Edna is excited. “Great! I’ll get everything ready. It’ll be fun. You’ll see.”
Harold shakes his head. Uh-huh. Love you.”
Edna smiles. “Love you, too.”
A PLAN COMES TOGETHER
Now Edna is in motion. She remembers she made her famous chocolate chip cookies the other day. She can warm those up for desert. She looks in the refrigerator. There’s iced tea and lemonade along with some chicken and pasta salad.
“That’ll work. Boomer, you and Halley can have some of that chicken for your dinner, too. How does that sound?”
Boomer wags his bobbed tail and barks. Halley wanders into the kitchen and yawns. “Did I hear my name?”
“Oh go back to your sink will ya?” growls Boomer.
“Why Boom I have a sinking feeling you’re not happy to see me.”
Edna opens the kitchen door leading to the tree and flower filled backyard. “C’mon kids let’s go out and make sure the hose is hooked up. We’ll need it to fill the kiddie pool with water. I want to make sure everything is in order when Harold gets home.”
Halley bolts for the open door with Boomer right behind her. The nimble cat zeros in on a tree near the house. A squirrel is eating nuts on one of the lower branches.
Boomer trots around looking for something. “Halley where did I put my bone?”
“Pipe down will ya?” hisses Halley hiding below the tree. “Can’t you see I’ve got a bead on this critter?”
Boomer comes flying toward her. “What critter? Where?”
The squirrel sees the dog and races away. Halley gives Boomer one of her looks. She sighs. “Really? You didn’t see the squirrel?”
Boomer grins. “Nope. But I did find my bone!”
Meanwhile, Edna untangles the hose.”Good. The nozzle is already on it.”
Bored with Halley, Boomer wanders over to Edna. “I’m going to see what mom’s doing.”
“Me, too,” says Halley.
Edna is set. “Okay kids. Let’s make sure it’s working.” Boomer arrives and sniffs at the nozzle. “Be careful Boom. I’m going to turn it on.”
Oh no! Edna doesn’t realize the nozzle is locked in the full position. Before you could yell, ‘There she blows!’ the nozzle rockets out of Edna’s hand. The hose snakes wildly around in the air spraying water in all directions. Edna dives for the hose, but misses. When she finally turns off the water, she hears loud barking and a cat screaming.
Halley dashes this way and that trying to avoid the gushing water. “Boomer!” she yells. Boomer runs in circles. “Halley!”
Arriving home and hearing the commotion, Harold bursts through the back door. He can’t believe what he sees. “What’s going on?”
Edna is drenched from head to toe. “Hi dear.”
Boomer is soaking wet hiding in the bushes. Halley is up in a tree frantically trying to lick herself dry. Harold takes another look at his wife. “Honey are you all right?”
Edna pushes wet hair out of her eyes. Her tee shirt and shorts drip with water and her flip flops splish and splosh as she walks towards him. “I don’t think we’ll need the kiddie pool just yet.”
Harold walks over to Boomer. “Come here boy. That’s it.” Boomer slowly comes out of hiding and puts his head into Harold’s outstreched hands. Halley looks down at the pooch from her perch.
“Boom you’re a mess. But you’re not hurt are you?”
Boomer looks up and see Halley. “I’m okay. But this shows you are a real scaredy cat.”
Edna joins in. “Oh Boomer, I’m sorry I scared you,” she says as she drops down and hugs him. “You too, Halley,” she calls out. Edna looks at her stunned husband. “Harold we’re gonna need some towels and a whole lot of tuna. We’ve gotta get Halley out of that darn tree!”
A QUIET EVENING
It’s late afternoon now and the shadows in the backyard grow longer.
A light wind catches the windchime made of spoons and makes it sing. Edna and Harold are back and forth from the house. They bring out plates, utensils and everything else they need. Before long the wooden table is set with all the picnic food and drinks Edna put together earlier.
There are two bowls on placemats on the ground. One bowl says, Boomer, the other says Halley. Both are filled with chicken.
Boomer looks over at Halley. ” I like chicken more than you do.”
Harold is relaxed for the first time since getting home. Edna has changed into a short sleeve summer dress. Harold figures it might be safe now to ask. “So what exactly did happen with the hose?”
“Well, ” says Edna. “It all started when…” Boomer lies in the shade chewing on his bone. Halley snoozes on the seat of a lawn chair. And that’s where we leave the Sanders on a lovely summer evening in the small Southern town of Shady Pines.
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