ell guys, another year is shot.” Andrew Jackson leaned back in his recliner and surveyed his surroundings. Various members of the family occupied the couch and chairs and even some of the floor space of the Jackson family room. Some were drinking coffee, Brady had a beer in his hand, and Rose was working on a glass of Chardonnay. “It’s officially 2011,” Andrew added.
“One year to go,” said Jennifer, who was parked on the couch between her sister-in-law Jackie and Brady’s girlfriend Amanda. “And then it’s all over.”
Rose gave her daughter a quizzical look. “All over?” she said. “What’s all over?”
“Everything,” said Jennifer. “The world is going to end. The Mayan calendar ends in 2012 you know. So that’s it. The end.”
“We’ve had this conversation before,” said Jennifer’s brother Brady. “And it was boring the first time too.”
Andrew chuckled. “Agreed,” he said. “What I want to know is, what are you all going to do in 2011 that you didn’t do in 2010? Anybody made any resolutions?”
“I have!” Jackie put her coffee cup down on a coaster on the coffee table. “I’m going to not get pregnant in 2011!”
“Well, everybody needs to have a goal!” said Andrew amid laughter from the rest of the family.
“I’ve got one too!” said Randy. “I’m going to not get my wife pregnant in 2011!” He grinned. “I made that resolution just now,” he added to more laughter from the others.
“OK then,” said Andrew. “Anybody got any plans for 2011 that don’t involve not getting pregnant?”
“Not me,” said Jennifer with a chuckle. “ALL of my plans for 2011 involve not getting pregnant.”
“Good lord!” said Andrew. “I would certainly hope so!” He took a sip of coffee. “This conversation is not going quite the way I expected.”
Rose laughed. “I was going to say that I expect to spend a good part of 2011 trying to convince Randy and Jackie to have another baby!” she said. “But maybe I won’t.”
“Good idea,” said Randy. “Be happy with the grandchildren you have.”
“Oh I’m happy!” said Rose. “It’s just that once you start having grandchildren it’s hard to stop.”
“I can help you stop,” said Randy. “And apparently I’m going to,” he added giving Jackie a grin as he spoke.
Andrew looked at Brady, who was comfortably ensconced in the old armchair next to the TV. Amanda had moved from her seat on the couch and was sitting on the floor leaning up against Brady’s legs.
“What about you two?” said Andrew. “What are you going to do differently in 2011 than you did in 2010?”
Brady looked as though he was thinking about that for a second. Amanda turned her head to look up at him and gave him a little smile. “Good question Brady,” she said. “What do you think?”
Brady shrugged. “Maybe we could change our living arrangements a bit,” he said.
“I’d be up for that,” said Amanda. “What did you have in mind?”
This little back and forth between them had drawn everybody else’s attention, which seemed to be what the two of them had in mind.
Brady paused. “How about we get married?” he said.
Amanda appeared to think about that for a second. “Good idea,” she said. “I like it.”
Brady looked at Andrew. “That’s it then Dad,” he said. “I’m going to get married in 2011.”
There was a momentary slightly awkward silence. Andrew looked at Rose who was staring at Brady and Amanda who appeared to be trying not to laugh.
Jennifer stared first at Amanda, then at Brady, then suddenly leaped from the couch with a shriek. “Omigod! You guys are engaged! Mom! They’re serious! They’re getting married!” She practically threw herself across the room at her brother. “That’s so awesome Brady!”
Brady allowed himself to be embraced by his little sister, not an everyday occurrence. “I think she’s more excited than we are,” he said, laughing.
“Speak for yourself,” said Amanda smiling happily. “I’m pretty pumped!”
“Dude,” said Randy. “Worst engagement announcement ever.”
“No way! Best engagement announcement ever,” said Jennifer. “That was so funny!”
Rose got up and walked across the room. “This is why we had kids,” she said. “Because we knew you’d make us happy!” She pulled Amanda to her feet and gave the girl a big hug. Brady got up and Rose put an arm around him and hugged the two of them together.
Andrew looked equally pleased. “What a way to start the new year,” he said. “In 2010 we got a grandson, in 2011 we get a daughter-in-law…”
Brady laughed. “And in 2012 it’ll all be over!” he said.
Randy gave his brother a mock frown. “Come on Bro,” he said. “Don’t start that again.” Visit Rollin Penner’s website at www.thetravelingmedicineshow.com to hear
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