Susan's 4th of July Fireworks. In past weeks I've showcased the heroine, Susan. Today I'd like to talk about the two men in Susan's life.
The first is her father, Hal. He was a single parent from the time that Susan was 12. He's a very involved parent - maybe too involved. Susan has reached a point in her life where she'd like to be in control of her life, but she doesn't know how to tell her father to butt out.
Susan recognized that her contrasting feelings toward her father were tearing her apart but she didn’t know how to resolve things between them.
He was the guy who picked her up off the ground when she was a child and fell off her bike. He was also the guy who forced her to sit at the kitchen table every night and study—whether she had homework or not. He was the one who took care of her when she was sick and the one who made her go to basketball practice after she’d sprained her wrist because “winners don’t let things like that stop them.” He was both the reason for her successes in life and for the feeling that she could never stop competing because not to win would mean not to be loved.
While Susan is struggling with this problem, her high school crush, Cal Wensloff moves back to Orchard Hill and takes a job with her father. Susan's father declares him off limits because he doesn't think Cal has enough ambition. But Susan agrees to go with Cal to see the float his sister and brother-in-law of Thorsen's Orchard have constructed for the 4th of July parade.
It was getting dark by the time they pulled into the farm yard. The last traces of pink and orange were fading from the sky. “I wish we’d gotten here in time to see the sun set,” Susan lamented. “It must be so beautiful up here on the hill.”
“We can come back another time, if you want,” Cal told her, raising hope in her heart again.
“That would be nice.”
“The float and stuff is in here.” Cal took her hand and led her to a shed. He slid back the heavy wooden door and felt around for a light switch.
Light burst from a bare bulb and the shadows retreated a bit.
“My sister is in charge of the float,” Cal explained as they approached the half -finished structure. “She came up with the theme.”
“It’s a little orchard,” exclaimed Susan.
“Right. Originally my sister wanted it to be the Garden of Eden and then you and I would be…”
“Adam and Eve? No way.”
“She wanted us to wear flesh colored unitards with fake leaves sewn on in strategic places.” Cal grinned. “I absolutely refused. I pointed out that the apples were what got Adam and Eve in trouble, so it wouldn’t make very good advertising.”
“What’s the theme now?”
“Snow White? But in that story the apple was…”
“Poisoned. I know. But dressing up as Prince Charming didn’t seem too bad compared to playing Adam, so I didn’t say anything.”
Susan chuckled. “You have a point.”
Cal took her hand again and looked into her eyes. His face was serious, but his eyes were dancing with laughter as he bowed and took her hand. “Susan, will you be my Snow White?”
She sank into a curtsy and replied “I’d be honored, Cal.”
When she straightened he didn’t let go of her hand.
I hope you'll be able to visit Orchard Hill soon and get to know Cal and Susan better.