Sunlight was coming in through the seams of the tent when the girls woke up. As soon as talk was coming from the tent, Taylor appeared at the door flap. “Daddy’s making french toast,” she announced.
“My dad makes the best french toast,” Laura informed them. “He makes it with thick slices of bread, and he puts cinnamon in the mixture.”
After downing two servings each, the girls went to Laura’s room to get dressed.
“I don’t have my bike here,” Amber suddenly realized. “I’ll have to walk to the senior center.”
“Mandy will let you borrow hers,” Laura assured her. “I’ll go ask her now.”
At ten o’clock on the dot, the girls arrived at the senior center. They quickly checked the bulletin board to find their assignment. After going down the list several times, they were convinced that Mrs. Snow had forgotten to assign them a job. To make matters worse, Amber noticed that her flyer was missing from the bulletin board.
“Maybe it fell off,” Laura suggested.
“I don’t think so,” Amber said. “See, here’s the corner where I put the tack. I think someone pulled it down.”
After several minutes of looking, Amber located her flyer under a small table. She dusted it off and stuck it back on the bulletin board.
As they had been instructed by Mrs. Snow, the girls went directly to Walt’s office. They found him at his desk and explained the situation.
“Mrs. Snow isn’t here today,” he said. “Let’s go take a look at the list. Mrs. Snow said she was going to have you girls set the tables for lunch. Your names should be on the list.”
Walt checked the list but couldn’t find their names. “It looks like it was there, but someone erased it. I’m going to take you over to meet Bob Stone. He’s the lunchroom manager. He’ll show you what to do.”
Bob Stone was a big man with sandy-blond hair and a mustache. He was dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, with a large white dish towel tied around his waist. Bob smiled broadly at the girls and talked fast as he filled them in on what they would be doing.
“Usually, the ladies’ auxiliary from the Community Church sets up our lunch on Saturdays,” Bob explained. “But they’re working on table decorations for next Saturday. We’re having a big Easter luncheon. You will need to put out a plate, silverware, a glass, and a napkin at each place around the tables. Usually, we just put out forks and knives, but since we’re having pudding today, you will need to put out spoons as well.”
Bob showed the girls where to find everything. Then he left the Happy Helpers to set the tables and went back to preparing the food. Laura took charge of explaining proper table setting to the other two girls. She told Amber to put out a plate and glass at each place. Then she put a napkin and fork on the left side of each plate. Melissa placed a knife and spoon on the right side. In about forty minutes, the girls had finished their work. On the way out, they waved to Gus, who called them over to where he was sitting with some other guys.
“Like you to meet my cronies,” he said. “Here’s Al, Bert, and Norman. We’re planning our Monday-night poker game.” Gus gave the girls a wink.
“It’s nice to meet you,” the girls said.
“Tell them a joke before they leave,” Bert told Gus.
“Okay, try this one,” Gus said. “Why did the boy eat his homework?”
“Was the boy named Spike?” Amber asked.
“Okay, why did the boy eat his homework?” Laura played along.
“His teacher said it was a piece of cake.” Everyone laughed.
“That’s a good one, Gus,” Melissa said. “You’re a pretty funny guy.”
“We’d better get going,” Laura reminded Amber. “Your mom will be at my house to pick you up.”
“See you later, alligator,” Gus called after them.
“After a while, crocodile,” the girls called back a little awkwardly.
Out in front of the senior center, the girls saw Chris and Logan sweeping the walkways.
“Where’s Spike?” Melissa asked. “Isn’t he one of the Handy Guys anymore?”
“He went inside to use the bathroom,” Logan answered. “He’s been gone for a while though.”
“Are you volunteering here now?” Chris asked.
“We are,” Laura announced. “We just finished setting the table for lunch. It’s kind of fun.”
“Some of these old guys are really great to be around,” Logan said.
“You mean like Gus?” Amber asked. “He just told us a funny joke.”
“Why did the boy eat his homework, right?” Chris laughed.
“That’s the one,” Laura said.
“Kind of corny, huh?” Logan asked.
“Yeah, but we’d never tell Gus that,” Chris added.
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