Chapter 35

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The day after the funeral all of my siblings gathered at the farm house. It had been agreed upon that none of our family should be there, only the four of us. Matt had agreed to take the kids out to the back pond to fish. He understood the need for us all to deal with the material side of things for the final closure before we headed back home.

Mary showed up first. Her hug was longer and tighter than usual. "How ya doing?"

I nodded. "Good. I made some of Mom's iced tea. Want some?"

She smiled. "Yes. I never take the time to make it."

"It's really quite simple," I said over my shoulder. "I make it for Matt all the time."

She pulled out a chair from the small table that was in the kitchen. It was the first we really had gotten to talk since Mom died. I welcomed the alone time with her.

"What did you think of the service?" Mary asked as I handed her a tall glass of iced tea.

I hesitated before getting my own and sitting down across from her. "To answer diplomatically, it could have been worse. To answer bluntly, it sucked." I drew a long sip of tea and let the coolness slide down my throat. It would be interesting to know what she thought of it.

Mary tried to hide a smile with her glass, but she couldn't. "Well said. I couldn't believe that man didn't even try to get our names. He didn't even speak to anyone except Erick. And he couldn't find one thing good to say about her?"

I sat my glass down and raised my eyebrows at her. "Guess he deserved that dressing down she gave him."

We both broke out in laughter. It felt good. Too much crying had been done. Too much anger had rolled about. We needed a good laugh.

Mary sobered first. She looked intently at me. "Thank you."

"For what?"

"For keeping your promise. I know it was hard. Leslie pushes buttons you don't even know you had. I wanted so much to tell her myself how I felt, but Mom was more important."

"Mom is gone now," I said softly. All humor had left me as well.

Mary looked around the kitchen. "Yes, she is." She leveled her eyes at me. "I consider the promise fulfilled."

I swallowed. "Mary, what happens now?"

"We move on. Life continues. We have our families to deal with."

"Will today go by without an incident?"

She took another sip of her tea. "With Leslie involved, I highly doubt it."

The sliding door opened and caused us both to jump. We hadn't heard a vehicle pull up. Erick stuck his head in.

"Anybody home?"

"Come on in," Mary called out.

"Is that tea?" Erick asked as he entered and gave us both a kiss.

"Yep, just like Mama."

Erick sat down. "Well, pour me some."

As soon as I handed him his glass, the door opened again.

"Hellooooo!" Leslie's voice brought an immediate quite.

She walked in carrying a box. Behind her walked in her husband and daughter. The three of us at the table looked at each other. Erick raised his eyebrows.

"I brought some doughnuts. I hope there's coffee."

There was but the mean bug bit me as Mom would have said. "There's tea."

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