Sunday, December 30, 2012
Good Neighbor Sammy
Chapter Thirty Five
Good Neighbor Sammy
“Hi mister, Whatcha doin'?”
Ross looked towards the door of the old house he was restoring. There stood the cutest little blond haired boy about five years old.
“Hello, sport, where did you come from?”
“From my house,” he answered. “Do you live here?”
“Not yet, I'm trying to fix it up so I can live here. What's you name young fella?”
“My name is Samuel Joseph Flynn but everybody calls me Sammy. My grandma said not to bother you. Am I bothering you, mister?”
“Not at all, I needed to take a break.”
“It's kinda cold in here. Don't ya think?”
“It's very cold in here, but I had to open the door to let some fresh air in. Can you smell the paint?”
“I sure can. Did you chase the ghosts away from here?”
“Did ghosts live here?”
“My grandma says they didn't. When I was just a little kid I was afraid of this house but now I'm not. It isn't very scary in here.”
Lacey walked in with some sandwiches she made at home for the two of them. She was enjoying helping Ross with the house. Before he changed anything, he asked her opinion. He wanted to make sure she would like living here if she ever accepted his proposal and married him.
“Well, hello young man, I'm Lacey. Are you a contractor?”
“I don't know what that is, I'm Samuel Joseph Flynn. You can call me Sammy.”
“It's very nice to meet you Sammy. How would you like a cookie? I just happen to have some in my bag.”
“I do like cookies.”
“I thought you might,” Lacey said as she pulled a sugar cookie with blue frosting out of her bag.
“I'm sorry folks, Sammy knows better than to barge in on you. I'm Sammy's grandmother, Mamie Flynn. We live next door,” said a kind elderly lady.
“Mrs. Flynn, please come in.” Ross introduced himself and Lacey. “Sammy is just fine. I needed a break and he is a great little guy.”
“We were just about to have a bite to eat, Mrs. Flynn,” said Lacey. “Would you and Sammy like to join us?”
“Oh that's very nice of you. Sammy has already eaten. I won't even try to take that cookie away from him.”
“Please sit for awhile, I have a fresh pot of coffee in the kitchen. If you don't mind drinking from Styrofoam, you are welcome to a cup. I haven't met any of my new neighbors yet. It has been too cold to do any work outside.”
“Please call me Mamie. It's so nice to have young people in the neighborhood. This old house has been sitting vacant for a couple of years now. I'm afraid Mr. Hendricks didn't keep it up as it should have been. He was a nice old gentlemen but he was a bit senile. His parents built this house when he was just a wee babe. He was close to one hundred years old when he died.”
“I can see how much work you have done here. It looks lovely. When do you think the two of you will be moving in?”
Ross smiled, “I wish it was the two of us Mamie, I can't seem to convince Lacey that she can't live without me and she should marry me. As soon as I finish painting, I will officially be your next door neighbor.”
That evening, over dinner, Lacey filled Ross in on the story of Mamie and her grandson. Mamie and her husband, Emmett had been married almost twenty five years. They had given up on having any children years earlier. As much as they both wanted a family, it simply didn't happen. It was a shock to them and everyone in town when Veronica Diane Flynn was born on the same month Mamie turned fifty two years old.
Veronica was a pretty little girl. People who didn't know Mamie and Emmett always commented on their sweet little granddaughter. Veronica knew her family was not like any other in Camden Corners. Mamie and Emmett loved their daughter very much and treated her like a princess. She wasn't allowed to do the simplest things all the other children did, for fear she would be hurt.
Veronica was completely unprepared when at twenty years old, Justin Lake came into her life. It was love at first sight for Veronica. She had never before defied her parents. Justin was a smooth character who swept her off her feet. She fell hard for this man of questionable morals. He introduced her to the game of pool and the taste of hard liquor. After a few months of toying with her affections, he left town on his motorcycle and left a brokenhearted, pregnant Veronica behind.
Veronica cried herself to sleep every night until the day she gave birth to Samuel Joseph Flynn. Being a mother brought out the best in the pampered girl. She doted on her baby boy. When the child was just beginning to walk, the doorbell rang. It was none other than Justin Lake.
“I've missed you princess, come take a ride on my bike with me,” said the smarmy gentleman who glanced at the little blond boy smiling at him from behind his mother.
Veronica, again, was hypnotized by Justin Lake. She shouted “I'll be back, Mama.”
Mamie Flynn's heart fell to the floor, she shouted for her daughter to stop. She feared for Veronica's safety. Her intuition proved to be correct. Just outside of town, Justin's motorcycle hit an oil spill, the bike went off the side of the road throwing its passengers onto the pavement, killing them both instantly.
Emmett never recovered from his daughter's death. He died of a fatal stroke just one month later. Mamie was heartsick. She lost her daughter and husband. If it hadn't been for Sammy, she may not have survived herself.
Sammy was so young, he didn't comprehend what had happened to his only family. It took all the strength Mamie had, but she was determined to make the best life possible for her dear grandson.
Mamie had some health problems herself. She knew the chances she would live to see her grandson grow into a man were slim. She dreaded the thought of that happy young boy being a ward of the state. Neither Mamie or Emmett had any living relatives. Every night she prayed for a solution to her problem.
She watched as the vacant house next door began to look like a home again. She could see a tall young man inside almost every night repairing the walls, changing out pipes, restoring the wiring. Almost every evening a pretty young lady joined him and worked right along side him. Mamie didn't mean to be nosy, but she did see them kissing quite often. She had a perfect view from her upstairs window until the day she saw blinds and curtain rods being installed and the windows being covered.
Sammy was fascinated with the activity in the neighbor's house. Mamie told him not to bother the man who was working there but he found his way to the front door while she was busy in the kitchen, washing their supper dishes.
After meeting Ross and Lacey, Mamie was certain her prayers had been answered. She was sorry the couple didn't have any marriage plans, but it didn't discourage her from her own plan. She had known Jack Crowley since he was just a little guy. She walked to his office one afternoon while Sammy was in school.
“Mamie, how nice to see you. You are looking quite well, what brings you to my office today?” said Jack.
“Jackie,” Mamie still called him Jackie even though Jack was old enough to qualify for the senior discount at Denny's. “You and I both know I am on borrowed time. I don't want my little Sammy to be without a loving home to grow up in when I'm gone. My plan is to name a legal guardian for him. I have a little money in the bank and after selling the house, there should be enough to help pay for his college education when the time comes. There is a young fellow who bought the old Hendricks place. He and his young lady friend have done a wonderful job restoring it. In fact, it has never looked better. Getting back to the purpose of my visit, I have done some checking on my own. Seems Ross McCoy, that's his name, has a good job at the hospital. Carl Hanson thinks the world of him. He comes from California and had a rough start in life, but seems to have straightened himself out. He and Lacey Marino are an item, although they have no plans to marry anytime soon. I'm hoping that situation changes. Lacey is the daughter of Rick Marino and we both know what a good family he comes from. Sammy has taken to Ross and Lacey and I think they have a real affection for him too.”
“Mamie, you have given this a lot of thought. I don't know Ross very well, but I do know Tracy thinks highly of him. He has been staying at The Merryweather, you know. Lacey and her sister, Erin are very nice young woman. They don't come any better than Rick and Julianna. What does Ross think of your plan?”
“I haven't spoken to him yet, Jackie. I wanted to get your opinion first. Of course, I would like it better if those two were married, but maybe if they shared custody of Sammy, they would get the idea.”
“I'm not sure you can depend on that. If you are serious, I can draw up the papers. I hope this guardianship isn't needed any time soon. There are many people in town who would like to see you have a long life, Mamie.”
“Oh dear, I have already had a long life. If it weren't for Sammy, I think I would have passed on a few years ago, whatever youthfulness I have, I owe all to him.”
Jack hugged his old friend.
Mamie walked back home. She left a note on Ross' door on the way back asking him and Lacey to stop by her house before he started with his work that evening as she had a matter of importance to discuss with them.
Ross read the note and wondered if Mamie was going to tell him not to encourage Sammy to visit quite so often. Ross loved having the little guy around. He never thought much about having children before Sammy came into his life. He would abide by Mamie's request if that was what she wanted to discuss with them.
Lacey and Ross arrived at Mamie's door. “Hello Mamie, you asked to see us this evening?”
“Please come in, I have asked Mrs. Graves, across the street, to watch over Sammy while we talk,” said Mamie.
“This sounds serious, Mamie,” said Ross. “I hope we haven't done anything to upset you.”
“Upset me?” she replied. “Oh no, you haven't done anything. This is a serious issue though. I don't expect you to give me an answer tonight, but I would hope you would think about it.”
Mamie told them of her wish that Ross and Lacey would become legal guardians of Sammy in the event of her death or incapacitation.
Ross was stunned. “Mamie, I don't need to think about it. Sammy is everything I would want in a child of my own. I am honored you would even consider entrusting his care to me. What do you think, Lacey?”
“I hope it won't be necessary, but yes, I would be delighted to be Sammy's legal guardian. You do realize Ross and I are not married.”
“Yes, I am aware of that and I hope I'm around to celebrate your nuptials one of these fine days. However, if that is not to be, I was hoping you would share in Sammy upbringing. I have spoken to Jackie Crowley and he will get the papers together just as soon as I give him the go ahead. I feel much better knowing Sammy will be taken care of if I can't do it myself.”
The young couple hugged Mamie and walked back to Ross' house.
“Can you believe that, Lacey? I thought she was going to say Sammy couldn't come over anymore. I don't want anything to happen to Mamie, but I do like the thought of that little guy being in our lives.”
“What I can't believe is that she would trust two unmarried, childless people to care for her precious grandson. Ross McCoy, when are you going to make an honest woman of me? It's been at least three weeks since you have asked me to be your wife.”
Ross reached into his pocket. “I was never a boy scout, but I am always prepared.” He got down on one knee and said, “Lacey Marino, for the 25th time, will you do me the honor of becoming my wife.”
“Ross McCoy. I would love to be your wife, I thought you'd never ask,” she laughed.
The blind hadn't been drawn giving Mamie a perfect view of Ross placing the ring on Lacey's finger. She opened her window and shouted “It's about time! Make it a short engagement, you two have dawdled long enough.”
The wedding was held in the chapel near the foot of the mountain. Samuel Joseph Flynn was the ring bearer. The couple moved into their newly renovated house. Even though the work was completed, Sammy visited often.
Two months later, Mamie passed away in her sleep. She died satisfied that Sammy would be loved and cared for. Little Sammy was heartbroken over the loss of his grandmother. He moved into his new home with Ross and Lacey and settled in with his new family. The couple legally adopted him and he, along with the rest of the family welcomed a baby boy into the world several months later.