Peter burst from the car barely a second after his dad stopped in front of the cabin a few miles outside of Crossing, Oregon, owned by Micah and Helen Williams. His twelve-year old head didn’t notice the warmth from the summer sun as he leaped over the logs laid in a neat pattern around the campfire pit and headed straight for Sandy River.
“Andy!” said Peter.
A blonde boy just Peter’s age looked up from his work trimming a tree branch. Andy smiled. “Hey!”
Peter came to an abrupt stop. “I made sure my knife was sharp before we left.” He pulled it out and displayed the gleaming edge on his favorite pocketknife before picking up a branch and settling in beside his best friend.
“I thought you’d never get here! What took you so long?”
Peter thumbed back at where his family was gathered outside the cabin greeting Andy’s parents. “Mom was waiting on the pie to finish baking.”
Andy’s eyes immediately lit up. “What kind did she make?”
“Hey, Andy!” Peter’s nine-year old sister came up behind the boys. “Can I help?”
“You have to have a knife,” said Andy.
“Pops said to always carry my knife,” said Brittany dutifully.
Peter thought about their grandfather. He was insistent on a lot of things, carrying a pocketknife being one of them. You never know when it will come in handy, he’d say.
“You can cut off the smaller branches on that pile of limbs, Britt,” said Peter pointing towards the trunk of the tree they sat under. “They have to be cleaned off before we can tie them together to make the roof for our fort.”
While Brittany chose one to get started on, the boys continued their work cutting off the larger limbs and trimming the branches to roughly the same size.
“What’s Logan doing?” said Andy.
“He’s pitter-twatted,” said Brittany quite seriously, focused on her work.
Peter rolled his eyes. She’s never going to get that one right, he thought. “Twitter-patted, Britt.”
“That’s what I said,” said Brittany.
“Huh?” said Andy.
“It’s from a movie,” explained Peter. “He saw a girl Sunday and now he can’t keep his mind on anything. He even burned the pancakes this morning!”
Normally his sixteen-year old brother was good in the kitchen, at least on breakfast foods. But this week it had been one disaster after another, from smoking up the kitchen to forgetting to roll up the windows on Mom’s car before washing it.
“Dad was reminding him about finishing school and getting a job and all that kind of stuff,” said Peter.
“Who’s he like?” said Andy.
“Some girl named Heather,” said Brittany.
“Her family came down for a visit from Portland,” said Peter.
“Oh, yeah,” said Andy. “Mom and Dad talked to them for awhile. Her parents are thinking about starting some sort of bed and breakfast.”
“What’s that?” said Brittany.
“It’s kinda like a hotel,” said Andy. “They talked for a long time about the difference in starting a business in Portland versus out here.”
“Are they moving to Crossing?” said Brittany.
“I don’t ever want to move away,” said Peter.
“Me, either,” said Andy.
“Well I’m going to be a nurse and work in a hospital and make people all better,” said Brittany.
“You do that, Britt,” said Peter. “But Andy and I are going to stay in Crossing forever and take care of it.”
Peter took a break in carving and looked at Andy. Andy returned his steady gaze and nodded slightly before returning to his work.