This is a work of fiction.
By dinnertime, everybody had something on their needles, and it had stopped raining.
While Lydia helped me with the dishes, the boys ran around, burning off the energy they hadn’t been able to use up that day.
I woke up at midnight, and on my way back to my tent, I heard a sound near the boys’ tent. It reminded me of the sounds knitting needles make, but I decided not to go and investigate, since it was a slight sound and not bothering anybody.
As I lay back down, I wondered who it might have been.
In the morning, Freckles appeared tired.
“What’s for breakfast?” Sammy said.
“Everything,” I said. “What would you like?”
Sammy started to answer, and then we heard a car. It slowed, and I saw Emily driving. She looked around as though uncertain if she had the right place, and then she saw me. She parked and got out of the car.
“Welcome,” I said. “We were just starting breakfast.”
“Um, er, are we having sandwiches?”
“Sure, you could, but we’re having anything we’d like. For example, I’m having pancakes.”
“How do you make them here? Do you use some sort of . . . packaged ones you don’t have to cook?”
“Oh no, we use the usual ingredients.”
“But how do you cook them? Is there a stove here?” She looked around again.
Before I could answer, Sienna got out of the car.
“Mom, Berkeley’s hungry.”
“I’ve got just the thing for that,” I said. “How about all three of you come and I’ll show you everything and fetch bananas for anyone who’s really hungry.”
Emily nodded, and went and got Berkeley. I led the way to the firepit. I’d put the fire out after dinner, and we hadn’t lit it yet.
“This is our firepit,” I said. “We cook everything over it.” I pulled a box of matches from my pocket. “It’s time to light it now.”
I heard another car coming and put the matches back.
“Hello,” I heard Curly say.
“Hi there,” Andy’s voice said. “My name is Andy, and these boys are Dan and Steven. Are we on time?”
“Yeah. Grandma’s lighting the fire. By the way, I’m Benjamin, but please call me Curly.”
I made a mental note to pay him a bonus for being a good host, and called to them all to come over to the firepit. Emily was staring at me. I took out the matches again and pulled one from the box. Emily gaped. I couldn’t tell if she was afraid or just not used to watching old ladies light fires, so I struck the match and touched it to the kindling.
“Cool,” a boy’s voice said.
I looked at our guests. Andy was a little shorter and slightly less well-built, but in every other way, he resembled Chuck. Dan and Steven looked like miniature copies of him, so either they’d inherited most of their appearance from their dad, or their mom also looked a lot like him.
“Cool!” the younger boy said.
“Copycat,” Dan said, smiling at his brother.
“Meow!” Steven said. Berkeley laughed.
“While this is getting hot, let’s do two things. First introduce ourselves, and then decide what we’re having, so we can cook it as soon as possible. My name is Lydia, but everybody calls me Grandma.”
“Hi, I’m Andy.” He looked at Emily.
Curly introduced himself again.
Sammy said, “I’m Sammy.”
“I’m David, but call me Freckles. I’m ten.”
“I’m ten too. My name’s Daniel, but please call me Dan.”
“I’m nine!” Sienna said. “My name’s Sienna. This is Berkeley, my little bro.”
“I’m not little!”
“Yes you are, but that’s okay.” She looked at Lydia. “What’s your name?”
“Lydia,” she whispered.
“How old are you?”
“Do you like swimming? I almost got all the badges. Mom, can I show Lydia my bathing suit?”
“Nuh, no,” Emily said, still staring at the fire.
“Because it’s in the dirty laundry bag and I don’t want to open it until I can throw it all in the machine.”
“Do you have any pictures?” I asked.
“Oh, yeah, on Mom’s phone.”
To Emily, I said, “How about you and Sienna show Lydia the pictures after we eat.” She nodded vaguely. “So let’s talk breakfast. Berkeley, what would you like to eat?”
“Spaghetti, please,” he said.
“For breakfast?” Dan said. The little boy nodded.
“Do you like meatballs with it?” He nodded enthusiastically. “Great. It’ll take a while to prepare, so how about a banana and yogurt while it’s cooking?” He nodded. “Does anybody else want spaghetti and meatballs?”
“Me,” Sienna said. “Please.”
“Please,” Steven said.
“Copycat,” Dan said.
I grinned at Steven and said, “Are you having fun saying please, or would you like some spaghetti and meatballs, too?”
“Yeah, I like spaghetti.”
Dan asked for a standard breakfast of bacon, eggs, hashbrowns, and toast, and his dad suggested he should add some fruit to that, to which Dan smiled indulgently and agreed to accept a small bowl of fruit salad.
Andy said, “I usually have a smoothie, but who brings a blender to camp?” I laughed.
“There’s one in my car,” Emily said. “The cabins don’t have them so I brought mine.”
“You brought your blender just for me?”
“No, I packed the car. We’re leaving after.”
“Oh, well, er, can I borrow it, please?”
Without a word, she tore her gaze away from the fire and went to her car. I wanted to know what was eating her, but I couldn’t ask in front of the others.