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The Jacksons, Feb. 28, 2013

Rose Jackson set her coffee cup down on the table and stared at her husband Andrew across the table for a moment. “So let me get this straight darling,” she said. “You told the kids that I wanted to move to town?”

Andrew nodded apprehensively.

“And then,” said Rose, “you suggested that Randy and Jackie could move in here with their family and look after the farm?”

“Something like that,” said Andrew.

“And then,” Rose continued, “you suggested that instead of coming with us to town, Jennifer should stay here and help Randy look after the farm?”

Andrew furrowed his brow sheepishly. “We were just… you know… shooting the breeze. Sorry.”

Rose picked up her coffee cup and took a sip. “Well then I guess we better start looking for a place,” she said.

Andrew raised his eyebrows. “Right now?” he said.

“No time like the present,” said Rose.

“So you like my plan?” said Andrew.

“I think it might be the best plan you’ve ever had,” said Rose, “aside from your plan to marry me and have a bunch of kids. That was also a good plan.”

“Wow,” said Andrew. “I can’t believe it took me 29 years to come up with a second good plan.”

“No kidding,” said Rose. “But hey, your first plan was still working, so what the heck, why panic?”

Exactly,” said Andrew. “That was my thinking.” He paused. “So you’re serious?” he said. “You actually want to move to town?”

Rose took another sip of coffee. “Face it,” she said, “I’ve spent way too much of my life outdoors. I want to move into a nice apartment that’s attached to a grocery store and a shopping mall and maybe a swimming pool and a curling rink, so I never have to go outside if the temperature is below freezing or if it’s windy or if somebody reports seeing a mosquito anywhere within the last week.”

Andrew got up to get himself another cup of coffee. “OK, now you’re just being silly,” he said. “We are not going to move to Edmonton and live in the West Edmonton Mall.”

Rose put on a crestfallen look. “A girl can dream, can’t she?” she said.

“Absolutely,” said Andrew. “Dream on. But realistically, there isn’t a shopping mall or a swimming pool in town and that glorified Quonset they call a curling rink has no attached housing as far as I’m aware, so you may have to settle for a little house somewhere close to the Safeway.”

“Oh all right,” said Rose. “But you have to promise to take me to the West Edmonton Mall at least once a year.”

“No problem,” said Andrew. He sat back down in his chair. “You going to miss the kids?” he asked.

“Brady and Amanda will be just a few blocks away,” said Rose. “And every day that the temperature outside is between 75 and 85° with no wind and no clouds and no mosquitos I’ll drive out to the farm to see Randy and Jennifer and all of them. So no worries. It’s time we grow up and move out on our own.”

Andrew nodded. “My thinking exactly,” he said.

“I think we should get a dog,” said Rose. “A little Bichon or something. An inside dog.”

“How about we get a chihuahua?” said Andrew. Then we wouldn’t have to worry about people wanting to come visit us.”

Rose pondered that for a second. “There is something to be said for that,” she said, “but the problem is, if there’s a chihuahua in the house we may not want to live there either.”

“That would kind of defeat the purpose,” said Andrew. He leaned back in his chair. “So, just one question,” he said. “Who’s going to live in Randy and Jackie’s trailer?”

Good question,” said Rose. “Hey, maybe Brady and Amanda would want to move out here to the country. It’d be cheaper than where they are now.”

“Maybe we could play musical houses,” said Andrew. “Randy and Jackie move in here, Brady and Amanda move into the trailer and we can move into Brady and Amanda’s house in town.”

“All in the family,” said Rose. “I like it.” She paused momentarily. “One other thing,” she said. “In all seriousness, when would we do this?”

“Well, not tomorrow,” said Andrew.

“How about Saturday?” said Rose.

Andrew laughed. “Goodness, you are in a hurry suddenly,” he said.

Rose grinned. “I’m kidding,” she said.

“I was thinking not this summer, but the next one,” said Andrew. “Gives us some time to work out all the details.”

“Sounds about right,” said Rose. “And here I was just planning to have a quiet cup of coffee this morning.”

“You know what they say,” said Andrew. “The best laid plans…”

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