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The Jacksons

“Good job clearing the snow off the yard this morning, Dad,” said Randy Jackson as he poured himself a cup of coffee in the Jacksons’ kitchen. “Remember when that used to be Brady’s job?”

Andrew laughed and set his own cup down on the table. “I try hard not to,” he said, “but some things are hard to forget!”

“True enough,” said Randy walking over to the table and taking a chair next to Jennifer who was doing homework of some sort while enjoying a glass of milk and a few oatmeal cookies.

“True enough,” said Randy snagging one of his sister’s cookies. “What’s the worst Brady snow-clearing incident you can recall?”

Andrew pondered that for a second. “It’s a toss-up,” he said. “Either the time he dumped a full bucket of snow and gravel on the roof of the car, or the time he tore the bumper off of the half-ton with the loader. Take your pick.”

Jennifer looked up from her work. “I vote for the time he shot a hole in the hood of the half-ton,” she said. “And who took one of my cookies?” she added.

“Not me,” said Randy chewing noisily. “And shooting a hole in the hood of the half-ton wasn’t a snow-clearing incident so it doesn’t count.”

“Oh,” said Jennifer. “Well in that case I vote for the time he ran over the stop sign on the way over to clear the snow at Kendra’s house.”

“Ah, now that one I had forgotten,” said Andrew. “Probably because it didn’t involve any damage to my property, just for once.”

Randy chuckled. “Who would have thought,” he said, “that a guy who has such a habit of breaking things would end up making a living by fixing things instead?”

“It’s ironic,” said Andrew, “but in a good way.” He took a sip of coffee. “So tell me,” he said, changing the subject, “how did everything go while Rose and I were off in Hawaii? You kids got along OK?”

Randy and Jennifer looked at each other for a second.

“I thought it was awesome,” said Jennifer. “It was like a holiday at home for me!”

Randy nodded. “Yeah, it was kind of,” he agreed. “Allison and Andy Jr. loved having Jenn around all the time which made things really nice for Jackie. Plus it’s so much roomier here.” He paused. “Next year you can go for a month if you want,” he said.

“Or for the whole winter,” said Jennifer.

Andrew reached over and helped himself to Jennifer’s last cookie. He gave Randy a long look. “Here’s the thing,” he said. “Rose thinks you and Jackie should live here, in the house. She says it only makes sense since you have two kids and we’re down to one.”

“Well I want my own house,” said Jennifer, getting up from the table, “where people won’t keep stealing my cookies.” She picked up her plate and headed over to the cookie jar.

“So what’s the plan?” said Randy. “Mom wants to trade houses?”

Andrew shook his head. “Mom wants to move to town,” he said. “Into a smaller house with a smaller yard and more amenities close at hand.”

Jennifer looked aghast. “No way!” she said. “I am not moving to town! It’s bad enough I have to go to school there!”

“Who said anything about you moving?” said Andrew.

Jennifer stopped in mid-stride, a cookie in her hand halfway to her mouth, a look of puzzled surprise on her face.

The times, they are a-changin’,” said Andrew. “You’ll be 18 years old, Jenn, and I’ll be 55 and we should maybe quit while we still like each other.”

Randy looked nonplussed. “Wow,” he said. “That’s crazy. Two weeks living in the same house for me and Jenn is one thing, but doing it on a permanent basis is quite another. No offence Jenn,” he added.

“None taken,” said Jennifer. “I was thinking the same thing.”

“If you get on each other’s nerves,” said Andrew, “one of you can stomp off angrily to the trailer. Anyway, this is just an idea. I thought I’d float it out there and see what kind of response I got.”

Randy and Jennifer looked at each other.

“Maybe we should think about it for a few years,” said Randy. “What do you think Jenn?”

“I don’t want to move off the farm,” she said, “so either we live here together or I stay in the house by myself. So there.”

Andrew chuckled. “We ain’t leaving tomorrow,” he said. “Could easily be a year or two yet.”

“I’ll start packing your stuff,” said Jenn. “After I finish my homework.”

Andrew and Randy both laughed.

“Looks like you’re right Pops,” said Randy. “The times they are a-changin’!”

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