Bernie and Tallie’s family grew one–and sometimes two–boys at a time–then came the dog…
Over the next couple of years, Tallie set aside the desire to have a baby and refocused on being the best mom and wife she could be. One of her new skills was using the camera Bernie had bought as one of her Christmas gifts. The photos weren’t so great at first, but she learned quickly and recorded many joyful occasions with photos. She also started an album for each of the boys, wanting them to remember the happiness that filled their childhoods.
She told herself her family was complete–until Bernie phoned one day from the child welfare office. “Aggie Cousins called me about a seven-year-old boy…”
Immediately, Tallie knew their family was going to expand once again. “What are his circumstances?”
“His parents just dumped him.” Bernie’s quiet voice vibrated with indignation. “I thought he might appreciate staying with a real family for awhile.”
By then, Tallie knew Bernie well enough to know Jeremiah wouldn’t be going anywhere else. “I’ll set another plate at the table.”
Bernie struggled to contain a smile. “I have the chance for another job that means I could be home during the day. Maybe organize some soccer games after school. What do you think of that?”
All the boys but Collin received this news with joyful agreement. “Does that mean you won’t be a police officer any more?”
“A sergeant with the State Police. But I’ll be at the bottom of the pecking order and working nights. I can sleep in the morning when I get home but could coach some afternoon soccer games and eat dinner with everyone before going to work.”
“Okay then.” A grin settled on Collin’s face.
“I’m going to need you boys to help your mother out even more. Help secure the barn and house before bedtime.”
A chorus of “yessirs” echoed around the table.
“Thinking we should get a dog too.”
“Are you serious?” Grady’s face lit up even more. “A big dog?”
Bernie laughed. “Big as a bear. What do you all say?”
© Genie Gabriel, Wild Irish Rogue
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