Westcott Family Farm

by Nicholas Hall

Chapter 9

"Someone said that God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December."

(Sir J. M. Barrie)

There a few leftovers after supper; brats (no hot dogs), some beans, no potato salad, and some salad. The ice cream supply in the freezer reached a disastrous low and the household supply of strawberries demolished. Those, however, could be readily replaced in the morning by picking fresh ones. The boys didn't hesitate in cleaning up, doing dishes and putting them away, and taking care of leftovers. Andy told them the leftovers would show up in the morning in breakfast burritos. The boys were more than comfortable with that announcement. Apparently, I thought, they liked burritos.

Andy questioned their willingness to help cleaning up and fixing meals. Robbie responded, somewhat puzzled.

"We're used to it, Uncle Andy. Anyway, isn't that what family does; pitch in and help out?"

It certainly was that way with Janet Wescott's sons and the way Andy and I lived our lives. Our family operation was managed in the same manner. All employees, supervisors, and owners pitched in wherever and however it was needed. It made the operation run smoothly and with a certain degree of overall pride. At the end of each season, we made certain every employee received a bonus. The better the season, the higher the bonus. It was my belief I'd rather take a little less and make certain our employees were treated right. It made them harder workers and tightened their loyalty to the Farm and to us.

Kitchen and dining room cleaned up and ready for breakfast, Janet asked her sons to join her and Uncle Andy and me in the living room to discuss her doctor visit and the visit with the lawyer. She did ask me to bring a glass of red wine with me.

"I'll need it," she advised, "to get through this."

I thought I would too, but decided to wait.

Janet sat on the couch, opened her arms so Eddie could snuggle under one and Jamie the other while the other four settled themselves on the floor in front of their mother. Andy was saddened how healthy her sons looked compared to her emaciated, disease wracked body. He and she knew very well why it was so and how soon her sons would be without her. It wouldn't be long this evening before Jacob and the boys knew what he'd suspected and now knew. It was going to be a very short summer for Janet Westcott.

"Boys," she began, "I met with an attorney, Jim McClain, today in a law firm our family has used for many years to represent us. The firm is J.W. McClain and Associates and has represented Uncle Jake, your grandparents, and I think my grandparents. We talked about my illness, the life I wanted for my sons, who I wanted them to be raised by, and how much I loved them."

The boys were beginning to shift about uncomfortably, wondering, yet knowing, what the direction her informing of her visit was leading, hoping it really wasn't true, although they knew it was!

Jim McClain agreed to prepare her last will and testament, guardianship papers naming Andy and me as the boys' guardians until the adoption consent papers she signed was approved in court once she was gone.

"He told me the necessary papers would be ready in a couple of days and he'd bring them out for me to sign."

Janet paused, looked at her sons, her eyes beginning to moist over. Robbie rose and stepped over, offering his young comfort to his mother and cautioning her.

"I know what you want to say, Momma, but do the little ones need to hear it?"

Janet released her two youngest sons, reached up and hugged Robbie.

"You, my oldest son, have been your brothers' rock ever since you could toddle. Remember when you picked up that little stick, put your arm around Davey, pulled him close to you in order to protect him, and raised that little stick to strike the strange creature if it came closer?"

"How did I know it was just a rabbit?"

"You didn't but you were ready to do battle anyway, rabbit, dragon, or anything else which might harm your little brother. But yes, the little boys need to know. I've never withheld the truth from before have it?"

"Christmas," Davey sort of choked out, "not telling us what you bought for gifts."

"And Easter," Scotty added, tears streaming down his face, "after you hid the candy."

Their remarks seemed to lighten the mood, but not completely.

"I hoped it was okay with you to make Uncle Jake and Uncle Andy your guardians and give my consent to adopt you boys?" she asked apologetically.

She wanted to make certain her sons agreed and participated in her decision. If her sons entered into the arrangement unwillingly, they'd be angered and the home would be in constant turmoil. She knew her brother; they were twins and she was impressed with his compassion, the fair and loving adult he'd grown into, and his excellent management of the Farm, using not only his horticulture degree and experience, but his talent at money management. If Andy was correct from what she'd heard on their trip to town and the attorney, they made money, a great deal of it, from the Farm and their investments in other ventures.

Janet sighed, knowing her own money management skills were lacking, but she didn't lack skill in fucking! She was damned good at it, making certain those men whose cocks were nestled in her cunt were well satisfied, wanted more, and left very healthy tips. It was that, plus her other part-time jobs, she used to feed and clothe her family. What they didn't have in material things, she made up for with love. There was no doubt in any of her sons minds she didn't love them above life itself.

Her ability to earn a decent living for her sons declined somewhat as she aged, but really fell off as she became ill. It was more than just a little difficult for some john to enjoy fucking a skinny, disease-ridden whore. She lived life one day at a time, hoping she could earn enough for the next day. Those times were over and the end of her life not far away.

"Momma," Robbie, responding to her question concerning his Uncle's, "If that's what you want then it's what we want. Uncle Jacob is family, he's your brother, and we will be safe and loved by him and Uncle Andy. You know we'd want that more than being split up and sent to live with who knows who. But you don't need to rush it, okay?"

"Oh, Robbie, I'm afraid I must. The doctor told me what I already knew. It's a very aggressive form of lung cancer and is spreading very, very fast. We probably only have a month or two at the most to be together."

The living room suddenly became quiet, the quietness of a dark cave, the stillness of a pond on a windless day, or the silence of the tomb. My eyes misted, but as concerned as I was for the impending loss of my sister and her loss of life, I was currently more concerned for her sons, my nephews. The reality, the actuality, the finality of the fate awaiting their mother and them now announced by the mother they so dearly loved.

I scanned the very small, vulnerable boys seated on the floor or snugged up to their mother. The little boys started soft sobs, their young minds trying to absorb what their mother just said, not wanting to believe it, but knowing they must.

"Isn't there something you can do Uncle Andy?" pleaded Scotty, face contorted in sadness, eyes overflowing with tears, looking at Andy.

He shook his head sadly. "I'm so sorry, I wish there was, but there's nothing the doctors can do; I asked. But I can promise you I'll make your Momma comfortable until her last days. You have my word."

Six crying, sobbing, boys huddled around their mother, all wanting to be hugged, kissed, and hug back and kiss back; wanting to hold on to her as if their doing so would prevent her from being wrenched away from them by the Specter of Death.

Janet was a heavy smoker once when she was active in the "trade" or working in the various part-time restaurant, bar-tending, or other work she was able to find to tide her and the boys over between "paying" customers. Not taking care of herself now was taking its toll. She could only hope, with the boys being raised me, a non-smoker, the least I could do was to discourage them from taking up the habit.

"Boys," she said softly, as the sobbing and sniffling began to subside, "I know you're sad, so am I, but we have to remember the good times we've had together and plan for your future, right?"

"Like what good times?" asked Scotty.

"Oh, there were lots, weren't there? Like the time you jumped off of the high board at that public pool, popped up out of the water, losing your suit in the process. There you stood bare-ass naked for the whole world to see!"

"Or when Davey and Scottie were in that music program in grade school and somebody dropped an SBD (Silent But Deadly) fart and all of the kids on stage scrunched up their noses, choking, and trying not to laugh, until some little kid down front shouted out 'who farted?" Robbie contributed with a laugh.

"Who farted?" Eddie asked.

"Just now or during the program?" Scotty asked. Before anyone could answer, he announced, "Both times, me!"

It was evident from the odor now permeating the living room, it was another SBD.

"Pinch your cheeks shut or go wipe," Davey admonished his younger brother along with the groans of his brothers.

"Remember when I'd take you to those library book sales? On the last day when we could buy a bag of books for three dollars and all Mattie wanted to do was want to buy classical music CD's? I couldn't talk him out of it so I'd give him two dollars to spend since most of them sold five to the dollar?"

"Yeah," Robbie added, "he'd take over a half hour sorting through just to pick out ten; then it was mostly piano or orchestra and piano. The first time he did we had to drive all over town hunting for a garage sale where we could buy a portable CD player and headphones so he could listen. It cost two bucks as I remember."

"Where is his player?" Janet asked.

Mattie pointed up the stairs.

"The batteries are dead," Jamie volunteered.

"How many CD's do you have Mattie?" I asked, hoping he might tell me out loud. No such luck!

Mattie grinned, held up both hands three times, then four fingers, indicating he had thirty-four.

Andy made a mental note to check on the battery size needed and have a supply on hand.

The boy's mood changed as the evening wore on, laughter replacing tears as they shared remembrances of the happy times they spent together as a family. I was surprised to really discover how close they were to each other and their mother in spite of being raised in a less than stellar environment. Times had been tight for them, yet they seemed to care little about it, secure in what they had, who loved them, and life in general. Someone might say they didn't really know they were poor and cared less. Their mother's main source of revenue was, to them, something she did to pay the bills. It didn't change their love for her or hers for them.

"Kids really didn't care," I thought listening to their banter with each other and their mother, "as long as they are loved, feel safe, and know what the rules are."

My nephews were certainly raised in a different environment then their mother and I were or many other children, but they seemed none the worse for it. Certainly, their expectations might be different, experiences varied and unusual, learning to appreciate what they had, and most definitely were street wise and survivors in an uncertain world.

Raised in the same home, Janet and I matured in different worlds. One matured in a world society approved of and patronized and the other in a world polite society found distasteful and publicly vanquished while enjoying private pleasures with what was forbidden.

"Boys, it's time for bed," Janet announced. "Give Momma a hug and trot your butts up the stairs to bed."

They lined up, youngest to oldest, and gave their mother a hug and a kiss, turned around and did the same to me and Uncle Andy, saying their "goodnight's" before heading up the stairs. Mattie lingered in his hug with me, hugging me tightly, trying to keep himself close as possible seeming fearful I'd be taken away as his Momma said she would be.

I sensed Mattie's tension and anxiety. "Not to worry, Mattie, I'm not going anywhere soon and neither are you! Uncle Andy and I want you to live with us and grow up here? Okay?"

Mattie nodded, smiled, gave me a kiss, and followed his brothers up the stairs.

I thought, after the boys went to bed, my sister would soon follow since she must be tired after the long, wearisome, disheartening day, but I was taken aback when she announced quietly, she wished to talk to Andy and me, after I poured her another glass of wine. I did, but also mixed Andy and me a brandy old-fashioned.

Each of us took a sip of our drinks before Janet spoke.

"Jacob, I want my sons to grow up here at home. I want them to experience some of the same things and accumulate memories such as I had and shared with you as we grew up. I want them to have the experience of working on the farm, in the fields, taking care of chickens, beef cattle, and hogs, along with the vegetable truck garden crops. That includes planting, hauling irrigation pipes and guns, starting plants in the green house, and learning how to keep the records and books."

"They need to go to fairs, carnivals, school and university events, skinny dip in the lake, go fishing and hunting, boating, move snow, ride school buses, fight mosquitoes, meet people by working the markets, and ride in a donkey cart. They need to have Christmas, presents around the tree, stockings full of candy and special presents, and snow on the ground; Thanksgiving on the Farm with stuffed, roast turkey, cranberries, mashed potatoes and gravy, salads, and two or three kinds of pie; all of those things you and I did growing up. It was evidently good for you and not so great for me in the long haul since I failed to appreciate it."

"Are you certain, Janet," I asked, "you really mean everything, even the naughty, fun things?"

"You mean like the time, Jacob, you dropped the green, leopard frog down the front of Sam Roger's swim suit when he and some of other guys came over for a swim?"

"Yeah! He thought he had ahold of it a couple of times when he reached down front, but didn't grab the frog. Finally pulled his suit off and the frog hopped away."

"Didn't put it back on either," giggled Janet. "He had a bigger cock then I thought he would for a ten-year-old. It fit well though with a little wiggling around."

"Couldn't believe you'd fuck him right there on the dock and those other two guys as well."

"No worse than you bending over on the beach so his big brother could plow your ass! He was around fourteen or so, I think."

"Once he finally got it stuffed in there and started to pump, I thought he was going to split me apart."

"Bothered you so much you let Sam have a go afterwards, didn't you?"

Andy sat quietly as they both laughed about it. He couldn't believe how candid they were or promiscuous as youngsters. He knew Jacob was randy as hell and would stuff his prick up him any chance and now he was hearing firsthand how much his sister loved sex as well.

"Well, maybe not everything," Janet qualified. "Although knowing those sons of mine they'll try a lot of the same stuff. Doing a lot of it now. Can't be raised in a house where your mom is a flat-backer and not know a thing or two or enjoy all kinds of sex, with someone or by themselves."

Janet's energy began to fail as the activities of the day and the disease plaguing her body was taking its toll. With a yawn, she informed us she was going to bed, rose and slowly wobbled her way to her room. I so much wanted to help her to her bed, but knowing her as I did, she'd want to continue to care for herself as long as she could.

"It won't be long, Jacob, perhaps three or four weeks before she'll need a different arrangement for a bed. I've made arrangements for a hospital bed to be delivered. By then, every day and every hour might be her last. We visited with the doctor concerning hospice care during her last days and she requested he set it up. I've also arranged to use my PTO (paid time off) so I can be here to keep her comfortable and help the hospice care nurses."

I suppressed the sob growling around in my throat threatening to break through the tightness I felt there, listening to Andy speak of her last days, as I contemplated the death of my twin sister. We'd been close growing up and when she left home, I felt part of me left as well. Her return restored the loss I felt, but I was now going to lose it again. I reconciled, actually rationalized, part of her would still be here in the presence of her sons. They wouldn't replace her, but be available to hug, kiss, cuddle, and love, reminding me of her. I'd love them as much as I could; love them even more if possible than I'd loved my sister because the boys shared the same blood and genes.

The walk up the stairs seemed to take a long time, even though it didn't. Andy's hand on my back comforting and reassuring me of his love and support. The two of us would soon have legal custody of my nephews, bringing a whole new challenge to our lives. I decided to begin the habit of checking on our new boys each night before retiring myself.

I figured they'd be asleep by now. They all were except one.

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