by Nancy Barlow.
Warm, humid summer night, four kids from 2 to 18. all sleeping quietly. No need for an alarm: Dad's eyes are open before the sun is up. Feed everybody. Get busy on the day's chores. Start cooking (big casserole?) for Civic Club tonight. Gather eggs, clean and grade them, package then deliver them.
Midafternoon, clothes on the line, ominous rattling in the sky across the lake. Mama races out to take down the laundry, a couple kids following to help. Mama admits she's afraid of the lightning. Rain's coming down in sheets. Porch furniture cushions make a fort in the living room. Windows closed, breeze is gone, heat is... well, it's Florida.
Home from Civic Club, kids pretending to be asleep. Soon everyone is sleeping, including the dog under the porch. Tomorrow it starts again.
Mama... the hardest working, lovingest woman alive.
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