When I got home that afternoon, my mom told me that our church pastor had called and wanted me to give him a ring back. This wasn't at all unusual because I was the favored baby sitter of his wife and kids. He had a deaf daughter and I could sign enough to communicate with her with ease. I got into my swimsuit for pool duty, and before going outside, gave Pastor Mark a call.
Mark didn't need me to babysit, but he was wondering if I could fill in a spot they had on Kay's home assistance team as one of her regular's had broken a leg and was out for the summer. Everyone at church knew that the only Kay was the Colonel's widow. I asked Mark what kind of help I would be volunteering for, and he said mostly lawn maintenance, but there was always something with Kay and the church did its best to meet her needs. He told me that I always had the right to refuse, but that the lawn maintenace team was always there on Monday afternoons at 3 and that would be the main commitment required of me. Then, he told me Sandy had thought I would be able to help. I knew that since it was volunteering through church that my mom would have no objection, but I told Mark I would get back to him at Sunday services.
My mom thought it was a good idea as long as it didn't interfere with my work at the campground. I told Mark on Sunday that I could definitely do the yard work, and anything else would depend on my availability at the time.
When Monday rolled around, three o'clock found me at Kay's house on the hill. As I stood there looking out at the yard, I noticed that the property line was a stand of trees that was pretty dense. It was obvious where the yard work stopped. As I was looking, someone was suddenly emerging from the woods. A minute or so later, it became clear that the someone was Sandy. Her property was on the other side of the woods. As she approached she stuck out her hand to shake and told me she was glad I could join them. She then told me to remember where she had come out of the woods as it was a path directly to her backyard. "You use a riding mower at the campground?" Clearly Sandy had the business at hand on her mind.
I told her I did, but could also work any of the other lawn equipment, too. As it happened, they didn't have a riding mower, and the everyone was hesitant to ride the Colonel's tractor. Sandy told me it really wasn't much different if I wanted to give it a try. I thought it was a brilliant idea because I would get less dirty.
The tractor hadn't been used in quite a while, but clearly it had been well cared for. It started right up and I backed it out of the garage. It really made quick work of the main part of the yard and I was done mowing in about half an hour. I parked the tractor back where I had found it and went to look for Sandy. I asked her what was next and she told me that this week was a basic yard week and I should go check with Kay to see if she needed anything before I left. If not, I could leave through the path and she would see me next week.
Kay had lemonade set out for the work crew and I stopped and had a glass. She thanked me for helping and was glad to see someone from the younger end of the congregation for a change. I thanked her for the lemonade and was off.
Before I could make it through the woods, I saw a fork on the path. To the right I could clearly see the back of the hippie house. To the left an equally worn path, was a mystery. I wanted to see Jamie, but I also was curious as to what else was connected. The path went uphill a short way and then leveled off with a railing that overlooked the back side of the falls of the same river the campground rested on. There was a fire pit and a few adirondack chairs, one of which was surrounded by long curly hair. Ah, serendipity.
Jamie could hear me coming and he announced that he would rather not have company. It seemed a bit harsh considering he didn't know who was coming. "You don't want to know who it is?" My question was innocent enough. "If that's you, please join me. If it isn't, please don't."
I wanted nothing more than to be kissing Jamie's lips and feeling his hands on me, so I decided it was in fact me. I approached tentatively and leaned against the railing in front of Jamie but looking away. It only took a minute to feel his hands on my hips pulling me toward him to sit on his lap. I was turned to the side on Jamie's lap and his face was hidden behind his hair. His hair hadn't been combed and was a mess and upon a closer look, I saw that he had been upset. Maybe even crying. "I'd rather not talk about it, please. Can we just sit?"
We sat there watching the river for about an hour and a breeze came up. I told Jamie that I either had to go or go back to the house. "Or I can warm you up."
In a moment, Jamie had me straddling his lap and facing him. I was kneeling and it wasn't the most comfortable position, but he was kissing me, so I really didn't care. Yes, Jamie could warm me.