“Ricky!” Mom called from the doorway to the garage. “Get out here now, or we’re going to be late.”
Grabbing Mom’s purse, which she’d left on the counter, checking to make sure the car keys were still in his pocket, and adjusting his pants, which were practically falling off since he’d lost his belt, Ricky made his way to the car.
Mom was already in the passenger seat with a sour pucker on her face. “We’ll be late.”
Ricky glanced to make sure the garage door was actually open before he backed up. The last time he’d been in this much of a rush, he’d made a thousand-dollar mistake, so he was always careful now to double-check.
Safety before speed, as Mom would say.
Of course, this was the same woman who was at the moment complaining so loudly you’d think they must be half an hour behind schedule.
Well, as much as Mom was griping about it, they weren’t late. There was no reason to worry about traffic in Orchard Grove on a Saturday morning. Ricky would bet his entire paycheck, small as it was, that they’d be at least a few minutes early.
But of course, there was no reason to try to convince Mom of that. All that was left to do was apologize for his tardiness, tell her how hard he’d work not to let something like this happen again, and keep his eyes on the road like a good, conscientious driver.
A courteous driver is a righteous driver, and all that other junk Mom quoted.
She yanked down the visor to block out the morning sun streaming in through the windshield. “What’s it doing so light out today?”
It was less than four minutes later when he pulled in front of the Orchard Grove Family Medical Center and jumped out to open his mother’s door for her. “What time do you think you’ll be done?” he asked.
She let out a loud, noisy sigh as he reached in for her purse.
“I couldn’t tell you, son. You never know with these doctors how long these appointments will take. It could be ten minutes, or maybe he’ll find something wrong and have to spend hours. You better plan to come back around eleven.”
By which he knew she meant no later than quarter ’til.
“I’ll be here.” He hurried ahead to open the door to the medical center. “Want me to walk with you up to the office?”
“I’m not an invalid yet.” She reached out her hand and pressed the elevator button.
Ricky waited until the doors opened, then gave her a quick kiss good-bye. “I’ll just be running a couple errands, so I’ll see you soon. Have a good appointment.”
“I might,” she sighed as she got onto the elevator, “unless he finds out that I have a cyst or the cancer’s returned.”
Ricky didn’t bother to mention that chiropractors probably weren’t in the business of diagnosing cysts or cancer, but then again, what did he know? His mother was a walking medical encyclopedia. She could stub her toe and diagnose herself with colon cancer a minute later.
Stepping outside into the bright sunshine, Ricky smiled. There was something about spring — and having nearly an hour before he had to chauffeur his mother anywhere — that made him feel optimistic.
The feeling you get after you just completed your last homeschool test of the year or when the girl you’re crushing on just agreed to meet you at the prom.
Of course, those were distant memories now. He shouldn’t dwell on them. After all, he had errands to run. This weekend was the third-year anniversary of Mom’s victory over breast cancer, and even though she never said anything outright, she’d left enough hints that Ricky knew she was expecting some special way to honor the occasion. He’d already made reservations for a fancy Sunday lunch tomorrow at the Main Street Hotel, and he wanted to run by the Safe Anchorage gift shop to pick up some of those handmade goat lotions and candles she liked so much as a present.
A godly gentleman should always be considerate, giving, and generous. How many times had Mom crammed those words into his brain until they were permanently branded into his psyche?
Considerate, giving, and generous. Like the son who buys his mother fancy gifts and takes her out for an expensive brunch to celebrate three years cancer-free.
Considerate, giving, and generous. He could recite those words in his sleep. Hadn’t Mom always said that’s what would make him a good husband? However, based on his own pitiful track record in romance, he wasn’t so sure that considerate, giving, and generous were the most sought-after traits in a man.
How about strong, handsome, and muscular? What would be so wrong with that?