"No, no," Gramma Ruth said to her grandaughter as she stepped into the puddle of mud near the porch.
"But, gramma!" the child whined.
"You know how it is, sweet. Now c'mon. You better wash up for dinner at Aunt August's house."
"Robbie!" Ruth hollered, searching for the teenage boy lurking in the yard.
"Yes?" he called.
"Now come and get ready for Aunt August's house this instant!"
"Yes, gramma," he said solemnly.
He entered the house from the back door. The small kitchen smelt of apple pie.
"Where's Anna?" he asked, searching for the little girl who was washing herself upstairs.
"Taking a quick bath," Gramma Ruth chimed, "now help me with this pie, would ya?"
He nodded, opening the steaming oven. Gramma Ruth's fresh apple pie.
"How far is Aunt August's house?" Anna called from upstairs.
"About five minutes, honey!"
Ruth carried the pie into the old car she owned.
"This baby's been with me since the sixties, Robbie. Did you know that?"
He shook his head.
"Honey, what's the matter?"
"Nothing? Are you sure?"
He nodded, staring into the deep sunset across the small road. This summer would be a long summer. Stuck here in Tennessee with Gramma Ruth and Anna. He was the only man in the house. What was he to do?
"You know that police officer that lives across the street?" he inquired as Ruth started the car.
Anna, dressed in a pink flowery dress, hopped into the car and buckled her seat belt.
"Oh yes," Ruth answered, smiling.
She knew a daughter lived. She knew that she was pretty. And she smiled wider as she drove to Auntie August's small country home.