When Amber woke up Easter morning, her first thoughts were the baby birds. To her relief, she found them safely in their nest. Both parents were sitting on branches nearby. Amber noticed that the babies were covered with fluffy down feathers. She knew it wouldn’t be long before they would be learning to fly.
The church pews were packed with people attending the Easter service. The Snyders were not able to sit in their usual place, but were forced to squeeze in next to a family with two small children. It was an unusually warm spring day, and the ceiling fans were not adequate enough to keep the church cool. Amber did her best to pay attention to what Pastor Evans was saying, but her mind kept going back to Saturday’s events. She had never thought that she would enjoy being around older people like that. Already she had made so many friends at the senior center. They were all so nice.
In the afternoon, Amber and her family took a picnic lunch to the park. It seemed like everyone in Bluesky was there. An Easter egg hunt was underway in a grassy area. Some clubs had set up booths for the kids. There was a fishpond, a beanbag toss, and balloon darts. In one area, kids were throwing water balloons and spraying each other with water guns. Amber decided to stay away from that area, at least for a while. She didn’t want to spend the afternoon trying to get dry.
Amber started looking around for some of her friends. She knew that Laura was going to Phoenix for Easter. She hadn’t seen Chris in church, so she thought he was probably out of town as well. Just then, she spotted Melissa by the booths. As she got closer, Amber noticed that Spike was with her.
“I’ve been looking for you,” Amber said as she walked up to Melissa.
“I’m glad you found me,” Melissa said, although Amber thought she didn’t sound like she meant it.
“Hi,” Spike said. He was wearing a shirt that read, “Here I am! What are your other two wishes?”
“Hi,” Amber said back, waving her hand vaguely.
“Spike is trying to win me one of those stuffed dogs,” Melissa said. “He’s pretty good at darts.”
“That’s nice,” Amber said, trying to sound bored.
After watching them for a few minutes, Amber wandered away. She bought some popcorn from a vendor and sat down on a bench near the pond. She ate the popcorn slowly, occasionally throwing a piece to some ducks on the pond.
“Nice day, isn’t it?” Amber looked up to see Logan standing next to the bench.
“Really nice,” she agreed.
“Are you having a good time?” Logan asked.
“Sort of,” Amber said. “But there’s nobody here to hang out with.”
“Why not?” Logan asked.
“Laura’s in Phoenix for Easter, and Melissa’s at the dart game with Spike,” Amber said.
Amber moved over so Logan could sit down on the bench. Then she offered him some popcorn.
“No thanks,” he said. “I just had lunch.”
The two sat in silence for a few minutes, and then Amber started telling Logan about the orioles that had been nesting in her tree. She was surprised to learn that Logan knew quite a bit about birds. He told her the names of some of the birds that were nearby, and Amber started asking him the names of all the birds.
“I don’t know them all,” he said, “But my dad is a bird-watcher. I used to go out with him sometimes. It was really fun to see how many we could identify.”
“You don’t do that anymore?” Amber asked.
“He’s pretty busy. He’s an airplane pilot, which means he’s out of town a lot.”
Just then, Melissa came stomping toward the pond and plopped herself on the bench on the other side of Amber.
“What’s wrong?” Amber asked. “Didn’t Spike win the stuffed dog for you?”
“He won the stuffed dog,” Melissa said, obviously upset. “But he gave it to Brenda Davis.”
“Why did he do that?” Amber asked.
“Who knows why Spike does anything,” Melissa continued. “Anyway, I told him my other two wishes were that he would drop dead and that I would never have to see him again!”
The Handy Helpers book series is available at Amazon