Busted Axle Road
Chapter 84: September, 1987

Copyright© 1993, 2001, 2010

"Aunt Jenniferrrr!" Tiffany cried, streaking across the room, Henry hard at her heels.

"You've grown a lot since last summer," Jennifer told the little girl. Well, not little any longer; she was up to her chest, now. She remembered when she'd babysat for Tiffany, when she had been a baby. The years did fly by.

"Well, come on in and sit down," Kirsten told Jennifer and Blake. "Mike's not home, right now, but he should be back before long. You know my neighbor, Jackie Gravengood, don't you?"

Jennifer nodded to Jackie, who had come up to the house while Mark and Mike were running the dogs. "Sure," she said. "We shared a memorable flight last summer. I'm sorry I never had a chance to make it back out, but time just sort of flew by."

"It does do that," Jackie said. "It seems like that was just a couple of weeks ago."

"You like coffee?" Kirsten asked. "I was just about to make a fresh pot."

"I'll pass," Jennifer said. "I'm just about coffeed out today. I know that you haven't met him before, but this is Blake Walworth."

"You've got to be Kirsten," Blake said. "You're just as pretty as Jenny has been saying."

"Jennifer has talked a lot about you," Kirsten said with a blush. "So, did you come out to see our new house?"

"I wanted to see it," Jennifer said. "And, I want you to come and see mine. I just signed the papers on Elmer Sorensen's old place."

"That place with all the acreage, out on Point Drive?" Kirsten asked. "I saw that Binky just cut the price on it."

"I was going to do it, then I wasn't," Jenny said. "I thought about having Uncle Brent build me a place, but when we got into town, and saw that the price had been lowered, we went out and looked at it, and realized that it's just right."

"Well, congratulations," Kirsten said. "Does that mean you're really going to move back here?"

"I'm afraid it's going to be next spring before I can spend much time here," Jennifer said. "I've got a lot contracted for between now and then. I'm kind of hoping to get back for a couple of days between Christmas and New Years, but it's just going to be an in and out sort of thing. I've got to do a live TV special on Christmas Day, so that kind of shoots Christmas in the foot for me."

"Your folks will be glad you can make it back at all," Kirsten said. "When Danny goes off to college next year, the quiet is going to be hard on them."

"Well, with any kind of luck, I ought to be home next Christmas," Jennifer said. "Do you expect Mike to be long? I kind of hoped to have Blake meet him."

"He and Mark are over at Jackie's, running the dogs," Kirsten said. "Sometimes they're fairly quick, but you never know."

"You keep greyhounds?" Blake asked.

"No," Kirsten smiled. "Our husbands went crazy this summer, and decided to start a dog team. Now, they've got two."

"My dog, George, is running wheel in Daddy's team," Tiffany said. "You'll have to meet George. He's a nice dog."

"He's also the only one that gets to sleep inside," Kirsten said. "No, we have really gone to the dogs the last few months."

"You mean, a dog team, like the Iditarod?" Blake said. "I didn't think you got that much snow around here."

"We get enough," Kirsten said. "The road commission hasn't been too good about plowing this road, and Mike says he doesn't want to get a snow machine. The guys have really been having fun with it, and really, it's kind of fun to watch."

"Daddy has let me run Cumulus and Ringo with the cart," Tiffany said. "It's a lot of fun to do, too."

"Are you big enough for that?" Jennifer asked.

"It's worked out all right," Kirsten said. "Cumulus and Ringo are the command leaders, and they mind better than the rest of the dogs. Mark just got a new dog a week or so ago, and he's trying to break him in. Mike's team is still pretty green, so they need work, too."

"I'd kind of like to see that," Jennifer said.

"No reason we couldn't," Jackie said. "I don't think they were going out on the trail, tonight. Shadow -- that's the new dog -- needs to run with the team out in the open a bit, so he doesn't try to wrap himself around a tree."

"Sure," Jennifer said. "Let's go up and see."

"Daddy says that he thinks that George is going to be a command leader when he gets bigger," Tiffany said. "Then, when he does, I want to have a team of my own. Can I ride with you, Aunt Jennifer?"

"Sure thing, Tiffany."

"Me, too!" Henry pleaded.

"Come on, you two," Jennifer said. "I think we can all get in our car."

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