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  • The few puff of clouds glowed a soft reddish orange in the pale blue autumn sky as the sun was going down. Above them was a perfectly drawn half moon. The breeze, slightly cool, was dry and refreshing. No rain or snow tonight, he thought as he looked out from the porch at the barren trees and the single pine between the two houses at the corner of the next block. He took another puff off his hand rolled cigarette, a sip from the hot coffee in the black mug in his hand, and sat back in the newly repaired glider.

    He looked at his watch. Four p.m., an hour before time to start dinner. He quickly went over his menu in his mind. Pork loin roast, sauteed lightly with onion, a gravy, white rice in the steamer. A green vegetable, probably string beans. Easy to prepare, he'd done it a thousand times before. Hearing Olivia scratching insistently at the back door, he rose to go back inside. The Shih Tzu popped inside as soon as he opened the screen and waited patiently for him to open the main door to the kitchen.

    The day was ordinary for a Tuesday. The garbage trucks came through on Wednesday morning, so he'd gone through the house collecting all the small trash cans, replacing their bags of cardboard and whatnot with empty bags, cleaning the cat litters, bagging it all into a larger bag, taking it out to the brown plastic container supplied by the company, unlocking and opening the gate, rolling the can and its contents to the curb of the alley.

    Back inside, the next task was to clean under the refrigerator, which meant clearing all the junk collected from the top and setting it to the side. Tupperware containers of various items that would not fit in the shelves, thermal cups, a beautiful green and clear glass brandy set with four glasses that was never used, but would need to be cleaned of the grease and dirt that accumulates on any exposed surface in a kitchen. It took him about an hour to clear the top, push the refrigerator out from the wall, clean the floor, wash the items and return it all to its starting position.

    He'd done the stove yesterday. That took nearly three hours. Lots of grease accumulates behind a stove.

    Next task, the glider out back had a board in the seat that had rotted away. He had some scrap lumber in the garage, checked it and found a piece that would be suitable. He set up his work table, cut the board to the right size, sanded it, then headed to the glider with three nuts and bolts and the drill. He used a hacksaw to cut off the old, rusted on bolts, put the new board in place, drilled the holes while his daughter held the board, then had her hold the wrench on the nuts while he screwed in the new bolts.

    He thought back to the morning, when he'd first gotten up, said his prayers, walked down the stairs with Olivia at his heels, shut off the security alarm and opened the back door for her morning constitutional. He'd continued down the stairs to the basement to feed the cats, the came back to the kitchen and turned on the coffee pot he's set up the night before. He grabbed the container of pills with a letter on each compartment he filled every week and opened the T compartment, poured a glass of juice, swallowed the pills. Not sure what sounded good, he fixed Olivia's bowl combination of wet and dry dog food. He decided on a scrambled omelet with some left over meatloaf and a couple of eggs with a little mozzarella cheese.

    He lit the burner under the T-fal skillet he'd placed on the stove, cut one pat of butter and tossed it in, then heard Olivia scratching at the screen door to come in. When he opened the door, she rushed past him and went out to the dining room to lie on the carpet and await her meal. He tossed a hunk of the meatloaf in the pan and broke it into small pieces, then cracked two eggs into the pan and used the spatula to stir it all about. Just before the eggs were totally cooked, he added a few grinds of pepper, then sprinkled the cheese over the top. A few more stirs, and he sat the skillet on a cool burner, turned off the fire, and took out a plate. But before he plated his breakfast, he walked across the living room and into his den to grab his bible and his latest journal. Sitting them on the dining room table as he passed, he went back into the kitchen to plate his food, came out with plate in one hand and a coffee cup with fresh, black coffee in the other. Atop the cup was balanced the dish with Olivia's food. The little dog was sitting patiently at his side, looking up at him as he said a prayer of thanks for his meal. As soon as he said “Amen”, she was on her hind legs, her front paws together making a running motion. He sat the bowl down and she quickly went to devouring her food.

    Reading the bible while having breakfast was a habit with him. Sometimes, like today, the verse or segment was short, which left him more time to jot down notes in his journal. When he finished his breakfast, he took his plate and Olivia's bowl into the kitchen, washed the dishes and the pan and placed them in the dish rack. He'd pour another cup of coffee, pick up the bible and the journal from the table, and head into his den to complete his daily writings. Then he'd get on with the tasks of the day.

    After five p.m. Time to get dinner started. One daughter was at work, the other at school, his five year old grandson was on the sofa watching Spongebob Squarepants.

    He was right. It was an ordinary Tuesday.

    ~Fred~
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