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The Jacksons – for Jun. 4, 2009

Dust billowed behind the black Chevy Camaro as it sped along the dirt road heading towards the Jackson farm. Brady Jackson kept the gas pedal down, enjoying the warm wind gusting in through the open T-roof and the music blaring from the speakers as he drove. When he passed the row of trees that his grandfather had planted 50 years ago, he took his foot off the gas and hit the brakes hard enough to put the rear wheels in a skid. Turning the wheel hard to the right, he executed a skilful four-wheel drift onto the driveway leading to the Jackson yard.

“Geez,” said the pretty dark-haired girl in the passenger seat. “You scare the crap out of me when you do that.”

Brady grinned. “I’m a scary guy,” he said. “That’s one of the many things you love about me, Amanda.”

Amanda snorted. “There’s not that many things I love about you,” she said.

Brady’s grin didn’t fade. “It only takes one,” he said.

Amanda allowed herself a smile. “Well there is more than one,” she said.

“I love everything about you,” said Brady.

It was Amanda’s turn to grin. “I am a lot more lovable than you,” she said.

“True that,” said Brady as he turned the car up the track leading to Randy and Jackie’s trailer. He pulled up beside the pickup parked next to the trailer and turned off the ignition. “Here we are,” he said.

The door of the trailer opened as the two of them got out of the car.

“Hey guys,” said Randy from the doorway. “Come on in. Supper’s ready.”

“Good timing,” said Brady. “What’re we having?”

“Barbecued steak,” said Randy. “Naturally.” “Excellent.” Brady paused. “You remembered Amanda’s a vegetarian, right?”

“Well duh,” said Randy. “She’s like the only vegetarian we know, so it’s not likely we’d forget.” He led the way inside. Jackie looked up from the sink where she was rinsing a dish in preparation for putting it in the dishwasher.

“Hi there,” she said brushing a strand of hair from her forehead, smiling. “Welcome. Randy, go ahead and sit at the table. Everything’s ready.”

Randy led the way to the table where the three of them sat down and a moment later Jackie joined them. “Dig in,” she offered and for a minute conversation lagged as the four of them filled their plates.

“Where’s Allison?” asked Amanda after a moment.

“She’s having a late nap,” said Jackie. “She’ll probably wake up any minute, but she needs her sleep. She’s had a cold this week.”

“Sure it wasn’t the swine flu?” said Brady. Randy laughed. “According to the doctor, no it wasn’t. Just a plain old-fashioned cold.” He cut a piece of steak on his plate but paused before putting it in his mouth. “So, they tell me you guys are moving to town,” he said.

“You got it,” said Brady. “Next month.” “Mom’s a little freaked out,” said Randy.

Brady stopped chewing. “About what?” he asked, surprised.

“About you guys moving in together,” said Randy. “She was just still trying to get a handle on Jennifer’s boyfriend problems and then you load that on top of it.”

“Jennifer’s got boyfriend problems already?” said Brady.

“She’s got a boyfriend,” said Jackie. “That’s the problem.”

“Ah,” said Brady. “I get it.” He took another bite of steak and washed it down with a sip of apple juice. “And here I thought Mom would be thrilled.”

“Parents are so unpredictable,” said Jackie. “It’s not that Mom’s not thrilled,” said

Randy. “She’s thrilled and freaked out at the same time. You could have given her a little warning. That might have helped.”

Brady shrugged. “Too late for that now. I guess Mom will just have to deal with it.”

“So, I have to ask, Amanda,” said Jackie, “what makes you want to move out here into the sticks? I mean aside from Brady,” she added.

Amanda thought about that for a moment. “It was the timing mostly,” she said. “My sister is moving back home for a while to stay with my mother and I feel like I need to get away, so when Brady got the job at the body shop…well, we just decided to go for it.”

Randy made a wry face. “Not exactly the way our parents did it,” he said.

“This ain’t the 20th century,” said Brady. “Times have changed. Although not that much in some ways I’ll bet. I’m guessing if we knew all the stuff our parents got up to before we came around, they might not be that different from us.”

“There is nothing new under the sun,” said Jackie. “Proverbs something something.”

Amanda looked confused. “It’s from the Bible,” said Jackie.

“Oh.” Amanda tilted her head. “I don’t know much about the Bible.”

Brady chuckled. “Neither does Jackie apparently,” he said.

Check out Rollin Penner’s music at www.myspace.com/rollinpennerandthetms

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