Note: We've had so much fun with serialized stories that I'm trying my hand at one again! Here's the next installment of a new adventure for Cara Mia Delgatto and her friends. To read Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14 scroll to the bottom of the blog where it says OLDER POSTS.
Early Sunday, I dragged myself out of bed, got dressed, clipped the leash on Jack, patted Luna, and waited downstairs for Skye. We both wore jeans and tee shirts that bore our logo, a treasure chest.
"I'm going to swing through McDonald's. Their coffee isn't as good as ours, but I think we need to get going," I said.
Skye yawned and nodded. When we got into my car, she slumped down in the passenger seat. "Remind me again why we're doing this."
I chuckled. "It started as a good deed for one of Honora's friends. From there it snowballed. If you can call something that happens in Florida a snowball. Sort of a mixed metaphor."
She groaned and closed her eyes.
After a trip through the drive-up lane, we headed for Martin Gardens. "I don't expect anyone to be there," I admitted to my friend. "It's a Sunday. It's early. Anyone with any sense might show up around noon."
I was wrong. Seems that one of the local ministers had suggested to his flock that good works are a form of prayer. His congregation had gathered at the curb. Poppy walked the minister over and introduced us. "Pastor Jeremiah Hockey," he said, shaking my hand. "If you don't mind, I'd like to say a blessing over this endeavor."
I don't consider myself religious, but I do believe in God, so my own spirits lifted at this sign of goodwill. But I had to be honest. "I'm not in charge. Greta Morgan is. Ah, I see her!" I waved to my friend, and she hurried over. A young man tagged along. She met the minister and introduced her son Freddie.
After the blessing, Greta spoke to the gathering. "Wow," she said. "This is amazing. Thank you so much. Okay, Let's dig in!"
Poppy gathered a group of people who were ready, willing and able to perform physical labor. Cooper appeared, seemingly out of nowhere. He came with a crew and a truck full of supplies. These would be transformed into a gazebo, a spot for sitting and reflecting. That would form the hub of the design. Cooper came over to me and introduced Ben, a man who made water features. He would add a small fountain with enough of a basin for koi. Detective Lou Murray joined us. He brought the community service workers. They were tasked with digging the shallow trenches that would become walkways. Meanwhile, other church members prepared the soil for the plants we hoped would come. Rather than have people drop them off at the store, which would have necessitated us hauling them to the site, we told the public to bring the plants to Martin Gardens. There they could draw their discount coupon.
At first I was worried that we'd have nothing to put in the soil. But another truck pulled up. This one was filled with shrubs. As I approached the driver, Cooper jogged over to meet me. "These are on me. My contribution."
What could I do but thank him?
As the day wore on, more and more people volunteered their time and supplies. A pet shop owner brought another couple of large cages. A florist directed the planting of flowers that could be cut and brought inside. A local farmer set up a small vegetable garden in one corner that had been previous designated only as "plants." Then members of the media trickled in. I must have answered a thousand questions about my involvement.
During a pause for water, I took Greta aside. "How's Helen?"
"Holding her own."
I must have looked excited, because my friend rushed to add, "That's not uncommon. Many people rally right before they leave us. Sort of a last hurrah. And before you ask Kookie--"
But she was interrupted by a man with a face as red as the bandanna that Poppy kept pulling out of his back pocket. The expression on his face terrified me. Greta noticed and turned around quickly.
"Mr. Salazar! So good to--" She didn't get to finish.
He started shaking a sausage-sized finger in her face. "How dare you! This is beyond insolent! This is willful destruction of corporate property. You're fired. I want you off the premises right now! Get your things and leave!"
~ To Be Continued~
Oh, boy. How am I going to end this? Hmmmm.....
Stayed tuned! Lots of love--j