With the use of a hatchet and sling blade, they cleared the overgrown vegetation from the back yard. After loading all that would fit in the bed of his pick-up truck, they made a quick trip to the county landfill. When they got back home, Ray had a suggestion for what to do with the remainder of the brush. “Why don’t we have a ‘welcome home’ bonfire tomorrow night when we pick up Timmy? He’ll love it.”
“Do you think that’s safe?”: She asked nervously. “I don’t want to get a ticket from the fire department for illegal burning.”
“Of course. We’re in the country now. We don’t have any restrictions on us here. All we have to do is pile some river rocks around the perimeter as a firewall. We just need to keep plenty of water on hand to douse the fire with. We’ll roast some marshmallows and have some fun while getting rid of the rest of the vines and dead brush.”
The next morning they drove to the airport to pick up their son. Timmy was glad to see his parents after being in California for a whole month. He was also anxious to see his new home for the first time. He wanted to explore every inch of the property and countryside.
“Now you have a back yard to play in!”; His mother cheered. “Won’t that be great? We just made it inhabitable last night. We thought we would have a little bonfire to celebrate you being back home with us!”
“That’s great.”; He replied in a lackluster tone. He didn’t have the heart to tell them that his grandpa had made a bonfire while he was there. Later that evening, Ray and Rhonda were surprised when Timmy gathered river rocks and arranged them around the brush pile without instruction. His actions implied that he knew more than he let on.
“Where do you learn about fire safety?”; The Hobbs simultaneously asked in amazement.
“From Grandpa and Grandma.”; He grinned.
As boys are endlessly curious, it didn’t take long for Timmy to explore the apple orchard and smokehouse. “Can I have a glass jar?”; He asked one morning.
“May I.”; His mother corrected.
“May I have a glass jar?”; He replied, exasperatedly.
“What do you want it for?”
“I caught a BIG spider under a box in the smokehouse and I want to…”
She cut him off. “A spider! You stay out of that place! Some spider bites can kill you. It didn’t bite you did it?”
“No. He won’t bite me, he’s a friendly spider!”; He pleaded.
“Dozens of people every year die from ‘friendly’ spider bites.”; She told him scornfully. “You don’t want to be dead like all those people in the cemetery out back do you?”
“Are those real livin’ dead people?”; He asked with wide open eyes.
“Yes.” She frowned at his double negative.
“I didn’t think they was real.”
“Were, honey. I didn’t think there WERE real.”
“What about the grave between the two tombstones? Are there anybody in that one?”
“This time she didn’t correct his grammatical error. “What grave, honey?”
“Come out back and I’ll show ‘ya.”; He offered. “My spider is out there too.” Timmy hoped she would change her mind about giving him the jar. He wasn’t quite ready to give up on having an arachnid ‘pet’ but she was focused on the other thing he mentioned. The spider turned out to be a harmless, garden-variety web-spinner but the unmarked grave was less easily explained. During supper that night, Rhonda asked her husband about it.