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The Jacksons – for Oct. 22, 2009

Andrew Jackson sat alone at the kitchen table, a steaming cup of coffee in front of him. Outside, through the kitchen window, he could see the snow drifting gently down, the unusually large flakes undisturbed by wind, settling on the ground and on the leaves of the big old elm tree in the front yard. The chill in the outside air was enough to keep the snow intact as it fell on the tree, but the flakes that reached the ground melted quickly, leaving a picture of green grass, green leaves, and pure white snow unlike anything Andrew could recall from his past experience.

Muffled voices sounded from upstairs, then the sound of footsteps on the stairway and a few moments later Andrew’s daughter Jennifer appeared in the doorway. She pulled a chair out from the table and sat down, absentmindedly smoothing her tousled hair with her hands.

“Good morning,” she said. “I said good morning to Mom.”

“Uhuh,” said Andrew. “And how did that go?”

“She was looking out the window,” said Jennifer, “and she said ‘look, the whole world is being covered in Kleenex.’ So I said ‘it’s snow, mom,’ and she said ‘oh dear, that’s going to make a mess of the Kleenex,’ and then she said, ‘don’t forget to take the turkey out of the oven,’ and went back to sleep.”

Andrew laughed. “Those are some good painkillers the doctor gave her,” he said. She’s certainly getting her sleep.”

Jennifer got up and walked over to the counter to pour herself a cup of coffee. “Yeah,” she said, then grinned. “A little awkward trying to have a conversation with Mom when she’s on drugs.”

“It’ll be better in a day or two,” said Andrew. “She’s only supposed to take the powerful ones for a few days.”

“Good,” said Jennifer. “It’s too weird.” She took a sip of her coffee, which seemed to perk her up immediately. “I can’t believe it’s snowing and everything is still green,” she said. “The weather just doesn’t make any sense this year.”

“Can’t argue with that,” Andrew agreed. “We had one month of summer and that was September.” He took a sip of his own coffee and they sat in silence for a moment.

“So how long is Mom going to have her arm in that cast?” asked Jennifer after a minute. “Is it going to be long?”

“The doctor figures six weeks for sure,” said Andrew. “He seemed to think it was a pretty bad break.”

“I was there when it happened,” said Jennifer. “It was a pretty bad break.” She paused. “She’ll be like that guy on ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ on TV, who had to cook with a broken arm.”

Andrew laughed again. “Right,” he said. “If Rose complains about cooking we’ll just tell her to suck it up and pretend she’s on TV.”

“That’s not what I meant,” said Jennifer echoing Andrew’s laugh. “If we did that, we’d have ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ right here in the house.”

“It’s going to be a little like that anyway if you and I have to do the cooking,” said Andrew.

“I like cooking,” said Jennifer. “So for the next six weeks I’ll make sure I’m around as much as I can be, and once Mom’s up and around she can teach me her recipes. We can put the armchair in the corner over there and she can sit and supervise. And you can stay out of the kitchen because that’s better for everybody.”

“Thanks, I think,” said Andrew. “I expect you’ll call me when it’s time to make the gravy. Oh, by the way, Amanda offered to come help with the housework a couple times a week since she’s only working half-days at the florist.”

“Really?” Jennifer was excited. “That’s so nice! I like Amanda a lot! And I hate housework a lot! It’s perfect! Except for Mom’s broken arm of course,” she said a little more soberly. “But I’ll bet Brady and Amanda will be here a lot more for a while, which would be awesome.”

“It all boils down to what I always say, isn’t that right?” said Andrew.

Jennifer nodded. “Life’s an adventure all right,” she said. “That is what you meant right?”

Andrew got up. “Yup,” he said. “Life’s an adventure. I think I’ll head upstairs and see if our adventurer up there needs anything.”

“Be prepared,” said Jennifer. “She may ask you to go shovel the Kleenex off the walk.”

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