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Paddle Your Own Canoe
Chapter 19

Dee walked through the dark house while flashes of lightening lit up the rooms.  Even with a booming of thunder and the cracking of lightening there was still quietness all about. The noise wasn't what woke her though. There was something unsettling bothering her. She couldn't put her finger on anything, just a vague uneasiness about something intangible.

She and Jimbo had been friends since they were kids.  Someone, some time or other had informed them they were cousins, and was it third, fourth, or maybe fifteenth?   It didn't matter. In the Indian culture, once a cousin, always a cousin and related.  Jimbo was half of his tribe and half of a strong Scot  background and this gave them a bond also.

When they were in school, he was a gentle giant and quietly stepped to her side when she needed him.  As a  police officer when they were adults there were times when she found him to be a source of comfort. During extended family crisis he was the one to shoulder the heaviness of her father's death while her own husband was working in Dallas.

Jimbo was married to a lovely lady who was never  jealous or envious of their friendship.  Now,  as they were both growing older, it was his coming once a week that helped her with the bare uncarpeted floors in her house.  He was still a big man. He walked through with ease what it would have taken her a whole day to accomplish.

The bright sunlit morning belied the fact the night before had been one of dark storms.  When Jimbo knocked at the front door, as usual,  Dee was thankful to see him there.

“Hey Guy!  Come on in this house.  You are a sight for sore eyes.”  Dee kidded him, but she meant it.

Over the years they always took a few minutes  to visit over a cup of coffee while she outlined the day's chores.  He never complained or questioned what she wanted done.  It was a little more taxing to accomplish their full stride attack on the house because of the little ones.  Sam tried to keep them from under foot but any project  is fascinating to children.  They followed Jimbo around asking him questions as he worked.

“I've got a new tractor.”  Randy bragged.

“Well now!  Is it a John Deere.”  Jimbo was accustomed to having a conversation with his own grandson who was Randy's age of four.

“Shore is.  See here. It is green, and there's the name, right on the side.”

“Let me see that?  You know you are right.  There it is.

J o h n   D e e r e.”   Jimbo spelled the name out.

Amidst all the activities going on in the house, together they stripped floors,   cleaned closets, and used Jimbo's height to go over ceilings with a brush and a clear cleaning solution.

He had discovered an invasion of ants under the drapes in one corner of a room.  With the discovery she and Sam had battled the tiny insect and thought they had them beat but Jimbo discovered their tracks again.

“We put out ant control.  I wonder why it hasn't worked?”   Dee complained.

“The rain has probably washed it away. You will just have to do it again.”

“Oh drat!”  Dee muttered.

Jimbo was a wealth of knowledge for the up keep on a home. His days of being raised on a ranch by grandparents gave him an extra amount of acumen for management.  There was hardly ever a situation for dealing with a problem he did not know something about or was able to point a person in the direction to find the answer.

“Jimbo, I need this floor jam repaired.  Do you have any idea who can do this?”

“There's a retired man over at Newkirk who loves to keep busy.  He doesn't charge much and he does a good job.”

“Oh fantastic.  Do you have his phone number?”  Dee was unbelieving to find someone this easily.

“I have it at home and I'll call you when I get there.”   Jimbo told Dee.

The snake in paradise reared its ugly head and by way of the grapevine Dee  was made aware there was quite a bit of gossip going around as to her relationship with Jimbo.

“You have got to be kidding?”   Dee was flabbergasted to hear the complaint.  “At our age? For crying in the sink.  I cannot believe it.”

Dee was quickly thinking through the matter.  “Poor Jimbo's wife. Oh blast, blast, blast.  It is absolutely absurd.  Sheesh!  Don't people have anything else to do?”

This was that something to have been bothering her mind.  Of course, she must have been unconsciously aware of the talk and that was what was causing her sleeplessness.  There was nothing abnormal as to having a sixth sense.  She was just so acquainted with the ways of a small town, a large extended family, and any other complexities dealing with the changed values during the era  in which she now lived.  Gone were the days of the Gentleman rancher, cowpoke, gardener, repairman.  These few older men who were of that genre were themselves almost icons.

“I guess we will have to burn the ideals of our generation in effigy.”

“Don't bother.”  Sam shook his head.  “Too much going on now. No one would notice.”

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