So, I’m trying something different for the New Year. Several talented authors and I are getting together to write a round robin free read which we will post on Mondays and Thursdays on various blogs. (Thanks to Jess Small for the graphic)
So far the schedule is:
January 5 Sophie Bonaste Part 1
January 8 Brynn Stein
January 12 Grace Duncan
January 15 Suki Fleet
January 19 Elizabeth Noble
January 22 Kim Fielding
January 26 Lane Hayes
January 29 Charlie Cochet
Different Tracks Part Two:
Peter pulled his long blond bangs off his forehead and tied a sweatband in place. He’d been volunteering at Habitat for Humanity every Saturday since he was sixteen. Coming up on ten years now, he thought as he grabbed his toolbox from the back of his pickup and started toward today’s site.
He had grown up in rural Pennsylvania, not that far from here in fact, so he felt like he had been born with tools in his hands. There had always been something to fix on the farm. It had been his granddad’s place, and his dad’s before him. Things were always breaking. Fences needed mending, boards needed replaced in the outbuildings. And even when things didn’t need fixed, new things needed to be built. New troughs had to be made as the number of animals grew. More barns and chicken coops had to be built. There was always something. And from the time he could physically lift a hammer, Peter had loved to help.
In high school, Peter’s youth group got involved in Habitat for Humanity as a summer mission project. They all came every Saturday during July and August that year. Peter just never stopped coming.
By now, he knew everyone here.
“Hey Mike,” He threw up his free hand as he passed a man in his thirties. “How’s Barbara?”
“Much better, thanks.” Barbara was Mike’s wife and had been battling pneumonia.
Peter side-stepped quickly as two men came through, carrying a stack of two-by-fours. He playfully swatted at the first man, Ken, by way of saying hello, but noticed the second man was struggling.
“Oh hey, Mr. J.” Peter dropped his toolbox – as ‘out of the way’ as it was possible to get at a construction site – and grabbed the end of the stack. “Let me get that for you.”
Mr. Jacob’s (‘Mr. J’ to all the regulars here) was seventy-two years old, but showed up every weekend and threw himself into every task like he still thirty. It was remarkable to see, and Peter admired him for it. He really did. But sometimes, like now, Mr. J tried to do more than he could handle.
Peter didn’t give Mr. J time to say ‘no’. He just nudged him out of the way, while taking the side of the two-by-fours, and scooted around to the edge once the older man moved.
“I had it just fine, son.” Mr. J protested.
“Oh, I know, Mr. J.” Peter responded. “But I needed to stretch my muscles a little. You know. To warm up.”
Mr. Jacobs smiled but muttered as he wandered away. “Young whipper-snappers think they can do so much better than us old folk.” But Peter knew there was no heat it in. He’d known Mr. J for years. As he’d known most of these men. And a few women. Peter and Ken dropped the two-by-fours near one such lady.
Jo had been volunteering with this group almost as long as Peter had. She could match the men board for board with the circular saw and dared anyone to tell her she couldn’t. At five foot two with looks that a prom queen would envy, she used to have to constantly convince everyone she could really do the work. After seven years of volunteering here, all the regulars now just handed her the saw, brought her the stack of wood and let her go.
Peter straightened up from having dropped the wood, and was tucking his shirttail a little more tightly into the back of his pants when he saw a Honda Civic pull up next to a row of cars belonging to the volunteers. Out stepped a skinny, brown-haired man, probably about his own age wearing a wife beater and baggy jeans, covered in tattoos.
“Is he working here?” Peter asked Jo.
She just smiled. “Why? Are you interested?” When Peter didn’t answer she added. “I’ll flirt with him when he comes over and find out if he’s playing for your team or mine.”
Peter elbowed her. “Jo!” Then chuckled. “What if he plays for both?”
Jo adopted an evil grin. “Hey, I’m game for sharing.”