Spencer had brought chairs from his place and Kate had taken a couple of odd wooden chairs from John’s apartment back when they had cleared it out. They had enough seats now even if they didn’t match. The table would be crowded, but Kate looked forward to it. She loved entertaining and having company and this was the perfect holiday for it.
The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Kate made preparations for their Thanksgiving dinner. Spencer and some of their friends from the base were getting together on the day before the actual holiday because some of them had to work the holiday shift or mids that weekend.
After a delicious lasagna, French bread, salad and of course, cake (which Mrs. P swore Sarah was a natural baker) and ice cream, Mrs. P ushered them to sit in the living room. Mrs. P and Sarah left the room for a minute while a nervous Kate and a cheery Spencer chatted.
The following weekend, Kate and Sarah and Spencer were invited to Mrs. P’s for dinner to celebrate Kate’s birthday. Sarah was ‘helping’ Mrs. P make her a cake. Kate was sure it would turn out delicious, despite the ‘help’ that her helper provided.
Sarah was so excited to see the ‘aminals’ at the zoo. She and Kate had read several library books over the last few days in preparation for their outing. They read about the different kinds of animals you might find in a zoo. Kate was excited to show them to Sarah and to spend a relaxing day with Spencer as well.
The day turned out to be perfect for November. It could have been snowy, rainy or windy and cold, but it was going to be in the low-sixties, which Kate thought was a fluke. But they were going to enjoy it.
When they arrived and parked in the zoo parking lot which was pretty sparse, Spencer took out the stroller for Sarah, but she wanted to walk for a while first. Kate held her hand while Spencer pushed the stroller loaded with their jackets, water bottles and a cooler holding their lunch. The stroller was a gift from several of the office gals and Kate had made great use of it so far.
Sarah enjoyed all the animals they saw from the elephants, painted dogs, tigers, lions, giraffes, ostriches and peacocks, snakes (ew, Sarah said), hippos, to the fish and birds. The walking was great exercise and Sarah was ready for the stroller after several stops along their route. They rode the train, which she loved and they enjoyed popcorn during a break, sitting on one of the many benches along the zoo’s walkway.
Clouds starting rolling in and the wind picked up, so they made their way back to the car. The threat of rain had been minimal, but now it looked like the skies could give way to a rain shower. Sarah had fallen asleep in the stroller, so it was just as well they leave. Kate had several snapshots to scrapbook later when she got the photos back.
“That was fun!” Spencer said, unlocking the car.
“Yes, it was,” Kate said, unbuckling a sleepy and heavy Sarah from the stroller. Spencer unloaded their things and folded the stroller to stow in the trunk.
Kate thought about how easy it was to do things with Spencer and Sarah. She had dreaded being a mom, and knew it would be hard. Not all days would be like this. Gazing through the window along I-64, back across the river to Illinois, Kate thought more and more about making the three of them a permanent family.
Until next time,
After a solemn dinner, Kate dropped Lauren and Judy off at their hotel, and shortly after put Sarah to bed and thought seriously about signing her papers to get out of the Air Force. She decided to go for it. With her mind made up to take the early out, she slept peacefully.
Tonight, Lauren and Judy wanted to take Kate and Sarah out for dinner. Kate suggested a family restaurant near the mall. During dinner, Lauren told Kate about the box of things for Sarah. Kate thanked her and said she could get it tonight when she drove them over for the night. Kate was taking them to a hotel in the area after they retrieved their suitcases from John’s now empty and clean apartment. “I’ll give you my copy of his key,” she pulled it out of her purse and took it off the ring.
When Kate had kissed him earlier, Spencer thought he’d died and gone to heaven. Her flowery shampoo and her soft lips almost did him in. As far as he was concerned, he could be her ‘southern devil’ all day long. He would keep giving her flowers and other gifts and planned to get her a new robe for her birthday coming up.
In the morning, Spencer came in with a long-stemmed pink rose for Kate. “It’s beautiful, thank you.” She gave him a quick peck on the cheek before putting the bud in a vase.
“Now, that’s what I’m talking about,” he said quietly.
Kate and Sarah picked up Lauren and Judy around five for dinner. Kate didn’t look forward to being at John’s apartment; this would be her first time there since he died. She had a key, but hadn’t felt the need to use it. As a matter of fact, she’d have to give it to Lauren to turn in to his landlord.