I got a spot on the school newspaper as a columnist. I just don’t know what to write my first column about. I admit I have been a bit distracted lately by all that has been going on around here. The first bit of exciting news was that Braden and Edna had a baby boy named Francis. The second big thing to happen was that Ben graduated and moved out. He decided to follow in Brandon’s footsteps and become a fireman. Ben moved into a spare room at Brandon’s house and is helping with expenses. He likes being closer to the fire station in the event of an emergency.
Old man Teeter recently died and so mom and dad bought Darris Teeter Grocery. Out of respect for Mr. Teeter they decided to keep the name and are changing very little about the store.
I have a lot of ideas on how we could improve the store but mom just doesn’t want to hear it.
“Mom, the prices at the store are way too low. There are no other grocery stores around here for miles meaning that people will either pay what we ask or drive a minimum of a hundred miles to get their items. If we raised the prices we would make a fortune.”
“I am not interested in making a fortune. One of the reasons I bought the store was so that I could keep it running the way Mr. Teeter would have wanted it. He was always against making people pay top dollar for food. He thought of everyone in this town like family and you don’t cheat family.”
“But mom it isn’t cheating people. The produce, especially the stuff you sold him, is worth way more than he was charging for it. In fact if anyone has been getting cheated over the years it is you and the other farmers. If you charged the customers more to buy food you could pay yourself and the other farmers more for the product.”
“Briana I am done discussing this with you. I am not interested in charging more for items. I am not interested in changing the stores name or decor. And I am most certainly not interested in firing people. When you are older you will better understand how things work – how important loyalty is.”
Ugg – she just doesn’t get me. What does she know about running a business.
This is just one of many fights we have gotten into lately.
Looking back now I wish mom and I could have figured out how to work out differences. I will always regret fighting with her. One day, I had just gotten to school when my phone rang. My caller ID showed it was my brother Benjamin.
“Hey, Ben, can I call you back later? I was just about to head into class.”
Then it dawned on me, Ben would have known I had class now. So he wouldn’t have been trying to call me unless something was wrong.
“Wait, why are you calling me?”
When he answered I could tell he was upset. “Sis, I was calling to tell you to get Bianca and come home right away. Brandon and I got a call earlier. There was a major accident downtown and they needed the fire trucks to bring the jaws of life to help free people from the wrecked cars. As soon as we got there our fire chef told us to go back to the station. We knew immediately that it must be someone we know. Briana, it was mom and dad. They were on their way to deliver this months produce to the store when someone ran a red light and plowed into them.”
“Are they on their way to the hospital?”
“No,” he said chocking up. “They were killed instantly.”
We buried mom and dad under the big tree in the yard. We put mom next to Chestnut as we know how much she missed him every day.
We had a funeral for them at the house and Sara came back from Riverview. It was great seeing her and she was a big comfort with mom gone.
That night after the funeral Braden pulled me aside.
“Bri (that’s what he always called me), are you ok? You have handled all of the funeral arrangements. Are you taking care of yourself?”
When Braden asked me if I was ok it was like the dam burst. I just threw myself into his arms and cried and cried. He just rubbed my back and let me cry it all out.
“A few days before mom died we had a huge fight (actually all we ever did was fight). I am sure we both said stuff we didn’t mean, but what if she died thinking I didn’t love her,” I said.
“Oh, Bri, of course mom knew you loved her. I am sure she never once doubted it.”
Bradley, who still lives at home, took a leave of absence from the science center to pursue some of his own research interests and take care of the farm.
I have also been filling out scholarship applications for college. I took an aptitude test and scored high in both business and communications. While I like writing I think I am going to pursue a business degree as it will allow me to make the most money.
Speaking of money after we paid for mom and dad’s funeral expenses we had just enough of mom and dad’s life insurance money left to renovate the barn. Bianca’s art career is taking off and she has expanded from painting into sculpting. We had a lot of windows added to the barn so it brings in a lot of natural light and you can see the fields. We took out the stalls and added more art equipment.
Between school, college prep, and renovating the barn time sure flew by and soon Bianca and I were turning 18.
I graduated as Valedictorian and got a full scholarship to attend college.
Sims University here I come!