The parents ate the sour grapes, but the children got the sour taste.
— Jeremiah 31: 29
…Two sparing committed contestants (of another age) thrust their
swords at the other. In a minute, they dropped their arms, desiring peace.
A cloud opens… and their attention is snared by a near criminal family (of
the 2000’s) surely needing aid from upper powers or the rightful party on
In the suburban section of the “Windy City” of Chicago, flanking
Lake Michigan, Flo Steward inherited rabid teens from, Job, her
foxy husband — and his bad habits treating others putrid.
Ratty cousin, Kieran Steward awoke early to torment his cousin.
He snuck in her room hollering: “GET UP!” He yanked the bottom of Emmy
Braggart’s precious bed quilt, goading her. “It’s ‘your duty’ This morning
to take the dog out. You’ve ‘been a pain in the butt’ since you were
dropped here years ago.”
“What ‘business’ is it of yours? I don’t ‘harass you’ when you
have ‘dog duty,’ YOU MONSTER!” Why oh why did her parents leave her
at Aunt Flo’s that gloomy secretive night!!! She — an isolated child
never hurting a soul — thrown into a house of creepy cousins — dominated by an
immoral father’s aim to outcast his wife’s deserted niece, Emmy.
Pesky cousin, Kieran reminded her of her lonesome bearings.
Aunt Flo had allotted a room, all to herself. She loved her more than
anyone in the whole wide world! What would she ever have done without her
love and support? Now, the ogre pinched her toes! “OUCH!” She threw a
pillow at him, as he turned; it hit him on his noodle brain. He was
a pain in the rump, and it was super to be a tough tomboy? He’d drive
her out someway just give him time?
She’d been dubbed “the outsider cousin” by the other children in
the Stuart family; as far back as she could remember. She’d learned of
Jesus at home from Aunt Flo, and in school. She’d let him guide her
through the trouble if he’d excuse her temper at the: get back at Emmy
In the garage by the kitchen door, Emmy grabbed the leash off
the hook for Cherie, the house poodle. She found… about every bush to lift her
leg to wet it like morning dew. Emmy now a fifth grader felt more like a
grown teenager with a life so full of skill. When she thought of being
alone with her taunting cousins, she cringed. Years ago (in the middle
of the night) she’s hustled out of her bedroom into their car. Her dad
drove the half hour trip to his sister’s house?
“We’ll be back for you… in a week’s time.” Her mother bent to kiss
her, and than hurried her into her husband’s kin house. She’s thrust
into the extra room that became her prison. Going home in a week, never
came — her mother kissing her goodnight and reading children stories to
her? Her dad would wave smiling, as he watched the news or a western
All at once… she’s forced into this home of packed wolves
standing for cousins. Joyce was the only cousin that cared for her.
She’d had sympathized with her plight when she first came for the visit
that turned into a lifetime. She’s kept ignorant what happened to her
parents’ (that ominous night) when she was only an unaware child. Somehow
her aunt must not know or certainly, she would tell her, now just sad
memories? Close to bedtime during those few years, she had questioned her
Aunt Flo many times after that day burned into her memory.
Cherie was finished ruining the neighbor’s bushes, not far
from humongous Oak Park. She neared the garage with her reflections. She
hung his leash on her special hook, and entered the kitchen eyeing her aunt
(her refuge) at the stove. What a horror house. Someday Aunt Flo or she
would erase their ignorant faces.
“Hey Cousin Em, so John Block, ‘your buddy playmate,’ wants you for
his girl.” Cousin Kieran teased her, laughing. Eugene scratched him in the
ribs likes a wild dog. She stuck her tongue out at Kieran… She sat down
firmly to concentrate on consuming: maple syrup pancakes, pork sausage,
and orange juice. She had toughened up to their smart aleck attacks. The
two girls, Janice and Grace, both older (not especially pretty) enjoyed
playing naughty tricks and blaming them on her? They glowered at her
smartly any chance to humiliate her.
Their mother eyed them like a hawk — quickly moving to the table, and
pointedly nudging them. Flo had to keep on the ball with her trying
girls and boys? She glared at them now. What a trial like Job, they
cursed by him or his kin? She never would have expected breeding
inconsiderate kids with an uncaring husband ever since she took her niece
in. Gruffly, she elbowed them.
“HURRY UP! You’ve school and discipline coming up by your teachers
if you are naughty, and don’t learn to treat others better?” Aunt Flo
always could tell who was lying and telling the truth so, they always got
caught. Their crimes did not pay, Emmy thought, triumphant for once.
Emmy hoarded friendships with the neighbor boys and girls like
she was gathering an army. She felt like ganging up on them
sometimes, but the way her Aunt Flo felt for her, stopped her urge. Those brats of hers must
take after her husband’s family, she figured as she matured. Job made it
clear; he just abided her as a boarder or less. Her Aunt Flo owned the
house. She knew about religion, and mused if this house was her
sacrifice in life. If so she hardly did well at it.
She hurriedly preparing for the first day of school. Joyce
(the same age) waited at the door to walk the few blocks to elementary
school. “Don’t ‘worry about’ your appearance — you’re a beauty. That’s why
my elder sisters are jealous of you? Let’s go meet John; he’s a
gentle soul that you beat yesterday hoisting yourself up to the tree
house?” She took her arm and they flew out the door and across the yard to
John’s house. Carl and Thomas Nelson across the street followed behind
them. Slim, and tall, dark haired Thomas always liked to climbs the tree
house with Emmy.
John feeling restless — waved and moved along side. More neighbors
came out of their houses along the way, waving, and anxious all going the
same path to the Catholic grade school through the sixth grade. The crowds
waited outside to enter the building, boys standing together, and the
Emmy felt like thirteen, but was supposed to be nine? Her body
changed in the last few months. She than found her aunt and told her what
happened? She had replied not to worry; she’d take care of the issue. She
had matured ahead of Joyce, Norah Path, friend Ginny Mossy. John shyly
smiled at Emmy.
Finally… the doors opened…and the school kids entered like
racing cattle until they were told to halt, to receive their
classrooms? Emmy waited with the others — glad school commenced… on a
hot sweaty fly swatting summer day…
Flo sipped coffee with her friend, Marcy Nelson (both blondes) her
sociable neighbor from across the street. Marcy had birthed Carl and
Thomas from a teen marriage of two years, and a girl from Hattie — now all
teenagers. She kept this early embarrassing matter a secret. They relished
coffee relaxing with vacation finally over. At the end of August, you felt
like pulling your hair out….
“Before we talk each day, let’s hold hands and bow our heads to
pray. Oh Lord, we pray for these teens… we ended up with…and we hope
someday they will repent. Amen.”
“That’s good of you Flo!”
“I’m ‘so happy’ school inaugurated! I wish they’d treat my niece
better instead of this ‘constant bickering.’ Say Job changed his bias
attitude, it would help?”
“It seems ‘looking at her,’ she can take care of herself. It’s
heartbreaking ‘that hitch’ in life. You said what ‘a fine job your brother
and wife did’.”
“She has ‘stopped asking questions’ about her parents. I don’t have
the answers, even though, we reported they're missing? I hired a Private
Detective using cash; I saved. Job never cared when they dumped their
daughter on us. He let me aware how explosive, he was for Emmy, and my
“They fool us ‘now and then’? We had no idea what we were in for…?”
“The teens are devils except for Joyce? The damage is done!
All we can do is hope for the best — how long the torturing went on
in their minds.”
“They have selfish ways. I don’t recognize what to do. We try
patience, love, and pray for them. Pour me another cup if you’re
having one, and then we both must get to our housework?” They relished
this early morning time together praying, sneaking coffee, and relaxing.
Emmy, Joyce and John, was assigned to the same homeroom and today
was told by the staff they only had a half day of school. He
neared Emmy to walk the blocks to the house. Joyce tagged along
behind — happy for Emmy. She had allays there, and one was she. She’d
help beat the crap out of Kieran for the years of anguish. Say it
wouldn’t have been for his mother (being a Beacon in a storm).
Joyce worried at times that her cousin might run away. She’d
miss her Tomboy ways and engaging smile. After school, she stopped at a
small candy store, hankering for her favorite hardball candy. Coming out
on her way home, she eyed her dad leave his mistress’s house, and she
quickly found cover behind a large yew bush. He strutted pass her….
What a dud for a dad, why’s he not happy with Mother and them.
John approached…. “There’s your dad leaving that bad person’s
house,” he taunted? Joyce hurried ahead…John caught up with her and kept
up the pace.
“I just — J John, you surprised me. I wanted candy… at the store.”
She liked John sometimes, and other times, he suddenly pried. Why should
she admit anything to him? It was none of his business — what went
on. It burned her up about nosy people. “HE’S A RAT, ‘RIGHT’ GIRL!” John
stared at her for an answer. He noticed how angry her face became…. He has
a nerve, she thought. In front of his home, she pushed him down on the
lawn, and sat on him — ready to do war.
“I hate him. He’s ‘a toad’ of a dad — giving my mother a hard time.”
John nodded, and wrestled out from under her, brushing his clothes off?
Emmy came outdoors peering at them, were they wrestling?
“What can we do for the rest of the day?” John glanced around….
“Joyce what do you think? Emmy neared her? Do you have an
idea like take food, and sit in the tree house? Do our parents have jobs
for us?” They idled outside John’s house, “go in John, Emmy said, and find
out if you have jobs? We’ll wait here?” Joyce watched him dash inside
ready to please Emmy.
“Let’s first: see the frogs by the pond? After, we sit in the
tree house watching the earthlings below.” It made them feel great sitting
high above the world.