Good Morning Ted and Jody:
The day started out dry and by noon we suffered full sunshine. It turned out that the weather was organized by the school system which turned students loose for a week of spring break and thought they would treat the students the first afternoon with nice weather. It isn’t going to last.
After playing pin cushion for an hour, I drove to the auto dealer in Vancouver to see about a minor adjustment on two of the controls on the vehicle’s computer I simply could not find and ask about oil changes. I have driven the Ridgeline for over 5,000 miles and the oil check says I have 50% oil life. Could this vehicle really go 10,000 before its first oil change? The dealer says yes. So, I stopped on the way home and talked to Fred. He said, “It a Honda.” I asked what that meant and he replied “Precision and almost no space between moving parts. I’ll bet it uses 00 20 oil.” It does and what that means in the clearance in the moving parts in the engine is very small so the oil must be like water when it is cold to get into all the nooks and crannies. Live and learn. Fred is the one who was adamant that I not let the oil changes on the Hyundai go more than 4,000 miles between for the oil got dirty. I guess the Hyundai doesn’t have the precision of a Honda. I liked the Ridgeline from the get go. I like it better and better.
When I got home the 9-year-old boy next door, LJ (little Jason) wanted to know if I needed any help. I have talked to his mother who is delighted the kid wants to help me. She says he is a bit shy and it is very good that he is reaching out (could it be to someone who is his own age). I have some pots in the back yard. I wasn’t planning on planting as much this year, but that is something LJ and I can do together. So, we planted snow peas, green beans, and some shallots. 30-minutes of toil is about all I can handle. So, I promised I would buy some more seed and we could plant again tomorrow or whenever he has time in his busy schedule (he’s on spring break and I suspect Mom will want him to help me a lot more than I need help).
I turned the speculation on and see they are still concerned with the “Russian Connection” (Maybe Popeye Doyle could clear it up for them but it would involve a car chasing an elevated rail.) The problem with all the focus on the pestilences’ tweets and Russia is that the world goes on and starvation in South Sudan and dozens of other international events and domestic problems take a back seat while we all watch the modern equivalent of Punch and Judy. Who is paying attention to the important stuff?
I trust this finds you in good health (at our age, that is alive), happy (smiling but not because we have gas) and holding a winning lottery ticket.
Warmest regards, Ed
051 Sometime Earlier
Fiction in 749 words by T. Edward Westen
Alice Beaverton and Jessica Ann materialized. “OK, Baby Jessica Ann, you can open your eyes now,” Alice said. “Do you know where we are?”
Jessica Ann nodded her head very fast. “We are at Melissa’s. I like Melissa. Melissa plays with me.”
“That’s right Baby Jessica Ann,” Alice said. “Would you like to play with Melissa?”
Jessica Ann smiled broadly and said, “Yes, Mommy, I like to pay with Jessica Ann.”
Alice put her hand over the greeter on the door and announced, “Jessica Ann is here.”
Almost immediately Melissa opened the door. “Hello, Jessica Ann, who have you brought with you?”
Jessica Ann said, “Mommy. I brought my Mommy with me.”
Melissa’s face registered surprise and a bit of dismay. She looked down to Jessica Ann and asked “Di you come to play?”
Jessica Ann nodded her head solemnly and said, “Yes.”
Melissa replied, “Well then go into the play room and pick out a puzzle for us to work on. I’ll be in after I talk to your mommy.”
Jessica Ann looked up at her mother for approval and Alice nodded her head yes and shooed her off with a backhanded wave of her fingers, “Go, Baby Jessica Ann. Go pick out a puzzle.”
When Jessica Ann disappeared in the house, Melissa turned to Alice and said, “I know of no other way to say this, but you husband told me that you were in jail and if you got out you did not have permission to pick up Jessica Ann.”
“Ex-husband and it was prison, not jail,” replied Alice “I was released for good behavior just last week. When Walter divorced me, the courts gave him custody and me six hours a week visitation. Yesterday was my first supervised visitation with my Baby Jessica Ann. At the end of the visitation, Walter did not show up to get his daughter. Six hours later he appeared four sheets to the wind and couldn’t even open his front door. The visitation supervisor was there and had Walter hauled off to jail for child neglect. It seemed to me that the only reasonable thing to do was to bring her here where she is comfortable and loved.
Melissa smiled, “I do love that little munchkin. There have been times that I thought about calling the authorities about Walter, but quite frankly, she was with me most of the time so she was safe and well cared for. Heaven knows where the authorities would have put her.”
“Then I think we agree that Jessica Ann is better off here with you than with either her drunken father or the foster care system,” said Alice.
Melissa shook her head in agreement. “Most definitely.”
“Has Walter kept current with your fees for your services?” asked Alice.
Melissa wrinkled her nose, and said, “He’s only a week or so behind.”
Alice took out her identity tab and handed it to Melissa. “Run this to cover what you are owed and what you would get for the next two weeks.”
Melissa held up her hands as if to say that is not necessary when Alice interrupted, “I insist. It takes money to keep a child. Let me pay so when I get custody I will feel comfortable using your service.”
“Well, if you put it that way, I will,” said Melissa taking the identity tab holding next to her reader and then she said, “Your thumb needs to confirm this transaction.”
Alice placed her thumb on the device and Melissa then handed her identify tab back. “Now understand we need to keep this arrangement hush hush or Walter will somehow mess it up,” said Alice.
Melissa looked confused. “Isn’t Jessica Ann being here on the up and up.”
Alice, sighed, “It is on the up and up, but it is best on the QT as well. I will come back in 6 days as my court visitations allow, but I know Walter will do something to spite me by taking her away if he finds her. I can live with the court’s decisions, but I am not sure he can. Do you follow.”
Melissa sighed and moved her head as if to say, indeed I do understand. Out loud she said, “I think it best of Jessica Ann stay with me.”
Alice thought, ‘Jessica Ann here where she always has been, not even Walter would think to look here.’ Out loud, she said “Good, I’ll be back in six days.” Nodded and walked away.