Three Finger Cove: Matthew ~ Book Five

Chapter Sixty~One

Ken Thomas didn't sleep past 8:30 that morning. He slept well, but his internal clock told him to get up and it was 8:30. He used the facility, dressed and then went out to get his morning newspaper, but it wasn't there. So, he went into the Kitchen Nook to find Momma Maria had it waiting on the table in front of his favorite chair along with a cup of hot, fresh coffee.

"Thank you, Momma for getting my paper and the hot coffee," offered the woman's boss, Ken Thomas.

As Mr. Ken took the paper out of its sleeve, he immediately noticed the side headline.

Local Hero Survives Plane Crash

Mr. Ken read the accompanying article to find out what they had to say. He was impressed they got the story right. He noticed they even had what the Houston television stations had from his news conference about what happened at Houston International Airport. The Cove's owner was very impressed. He was also happy they didn't exaggerate the incident and make him out to be a 'super hero'.

It was close to 9 a.m. when Mr. Wayne joined his employer at the Kitchen Nook table. Momma brought over a cup of fresh, hot coffee for him. She then told the two adults she was holding breakfast for her chicos (boys), and they would be very pleased with what she had fixed for her 'boys'.

It was almost 10 a.m. when the Cover boys, including Collin, entered the Kitchen Nook all dressed and clean smelling.

"Oh, mys ninos," exclaimed Momma Maria, as she saw her 'boys' come into the Kitchen Nook. "Comes overs heres ands lets Momma gives youse all Momma hugs."

The boys got into line and not only received hugs from Momma Maria, but gave them back as well.

Momma Maria was wearing one of her Christmas aprons along with the Three Finger Cove broach. Matthew noticed and thanked her for wearing them. Momma gave Matthew an extra hug. She then thanked him for making her know how much they all cared and thought about her.

"Good morning boys," offered 'dad' Ken, from his favorite seat in the Nook, as he read his morning newspaper and drank his coffee.

"Good morning 'dad'," called back the boys, as they waited for their Momma hugs.

"Good morning, Bro," offered Collin, with a smile, and got out of line to give a hug to his Big Bro.

As soon as the boys got their hug from Momma Maria, they headed over to their 'dad' to hug him. They all thanked him once more for their Holiday vacation, even if they did get an extra amusement ride in the end.

The boys laughed at their attempt at a joke about the fast decent they had on the business jet. Mr. Ken considered that as a good sign that the boys were dealing with their experience in a good and positive way. He even noticed Matthew was joking along with his 'brothers'. The man still knew he needed to get in touch with Doctor Doug.

Momma Maria had waited on breakfast for her 'boys', and boss and Estate Master, and considering what they had gone through the previous day she wanted to make them a very special breakfast. So, the woman made them a Ham & Cheese Bake that included cut up French toast mixed into milk, eggs and spices and of course ham and cheddar cheese.

She also created a Chocolate Chip Pancake Casserole made with layers of fluffy pancakes, sprinkled with chocolate chips, and showered in powdered sugar. She served maple, strawberry and blueberry syrup on the side for them to choose as their topping of choice.

Then, for a sweet finish, Momma Maria made Churro Waffle Dippers with both a vanilla and chocolate ganache on the side. She also made, for each of them, Giant Cinnamon Rolls that were 10 inches around and were smothered in a white dripping icing. She told them to share them with their friends after they ate their burgers and dogs.

The boys ate heartily that morning and as they ate they told Momma about their inflight emergency. The woman listened intently, and never asked any questions, as each boy told her how they saw what happened.

After breakfast, 'dad' Ken asked the boys to stick around for a few minutes. He wanted to take the time to remind them about what would happen over the next three days. He told them their friends could stay today until 6 p.m. as usual. Mr. Ken continued and explained their friends had to leave by 4 p.m. on Thursday because they had to rest up and relax before the New Year's Eve Party.

'Dad' Ken continued and reminded his 'boys' that on Friday at 1 p.m. he had invited all of their friends, and their families, over to The Cove. He told them there would be other children wanting to swim, and they'd have to give them the Swim Test. 'Dad' Ken explained the caterer would be there and would serve the remaining foods from the night before. So there would be no burgers and dogs to burn. The boys all laughed.

"Boys, after we get through New Year's Day it will be a downhill run to getting back to normal around here at The Cove. Saturday your friends will be over and leave by six and on Sunday your friends will have to leave by five. Then, come Monday you'll all go back to school and there will be peace and quiet around here for a change," laughed 'dad' Ken.

"'Daaaaaad'", yelled all the boys.

The boys went outside to await their friends. They used the ramps to their advantage. They knew once their friends arrived they'd want to see the artist's rendition of the Cove Skate Park and then the ramps would be crowded with their friends.

Collin and Mr. Ken talked some about the emergency and then changed the subject to what they would be looking for as they shopped for houses. That brought a smile to them. Collin then went up to pack and get ready to leave for his 'other' house

The Cover's friends began arriving at twelve noon, as they normally did. Their first question was could they see the painting. Robert had to correct their thinking and tell them it was an artist's rendition.

As the rest of the boys arrived, they all wanted to see the picture on the easel, as well. Kyle told them they sent them a picture of it and wanted to know if that wasn't enough. The boys looked around at one another and then back at Kyle and almost in unison said, "NO!"

Everyone laughed at what just happened. Kyle reacted by sticking his tongue out at them. The boys laughed some more and even Kyle laughed. While that was going on, Eric pulled his Best Friend aside and said something to him. The two teens then rushed inside to see Robert's dad.

"Dad," called out Robert, as he and Eric went to the Study door. It was there they saw their older 'brother' Collin, sitting and talking to Mr. Ken and Mr. Wayne.

"Yes, son, come in and bring Eric," called back the teen's dad. "What can I do for you?"

"Collin ... are you getting ready to go back to your, ahh, home?" asked Robert.

"Yea, I need to get back to Grammy and let her see for herself that I did indeed survive the aircraft emergency. Come over here and let me give you and Eric a hug before I head out," said Collin, as he stood up and beckoned his two 'brothers' to him.

After the hugs, Collin hugged his Big Bro and then picked up his bags and took them out to his car. His other 'brothers' saw him and they ran over to say goodbye to him and get one last hug from the college freshman.

"Ahh dad, all the guys ... they want to see the artist's rendition of the skate park. Can ... can Eric and I ... can we take the picture and easel out to the garage, so they can see the real thing?" asked Robert.

Dad Ken smiled and told the boys they could, but they needed to keep the rendition on the easel. He told them to make sure their friends didn't handle it or smudge it as he had plans for it when the park was finished. The two Best Friends smiled, they could take the picture outside. Robert carefully took the picture off the easel to carry it, while Eric took the easel.

"Hey, everybody," called out Robert. "My dad said we could bring the 'real thing' out here for you to look at. He also told us that you couldn't hold it or touch it. He has plans for it later and wants it to stay looking nice."

Robert and Eric set the artist's rendering up inside the garage to keep it out of the bright sun to keep it from fading. As soon as the two teens stepped aside the boys crowded in. They crowded in so close the easel was almost bumped over. Charles caught it before it fell.

"Hey everyone, stay back," yelled Charles. "You almost made if fall over and that would NOT be good for your being allowed to come back here. Now ... only five or six can look it at a time. We'll start with Matthew and his friends first and we'll work up in age by us 'brothers'."

"Hey, why do they get to look at it first?" called out Chuck.

"You know why, Chuck," replied Robert. "Charles has a point and my dad does things just like that with us. He'll start with the youngest, because as the oldest we have the fortitude to wait. Now, let Matthew and his friends come up, first. Matthew's already spent hours looking at it, so he doesn't need to inspect it too close." The boys all laughed.

Matthew's six friends came up to the picture and looked it over. They pointed at elements, but never touched the picture. They discussed what they saw and were amazed at the different areas in the park.

After about five minutes, Charles called, "Next."

Kevin and his friends stepped forward, but Robert said Kyle was the next youngest. Kevin thought about that for a few seconds, and said, "Oh, yea, I am older, aren't I?" His friends laughed and stepped back to allow Kyle's friends access to then picture.

And that was how it went. After Kyle went Kevin, then Charles and finally Robert. All the boys got the chance to take a good look at the picture on the easel. After that, they all talked about what they saw with one another. A few of the boys went back to check on something to make sure of what they saw.

As the boys skated that afternoon, their minds were on what they would be able to do on the new Cove Skate Park. A few were so absent minded they almost collided with one another and sometimes they actually did. That brought out a few laughs.

Matthew's friends asked Robert and Eric to point out the elements to them that they showed Matthew the other day. The two teens took the boys over and showed them what they thought everything was and what they'd be able to do with the element.

But the Cove Skate Park wasn't the only thing the Cover's friends wanted to know about. They also wanted to know about the airplane crash, but Robert had to explain that it was an inflight emergency.

All five Cover boys told their story and how they reacted to the initial explosion when the engine blew up and the cabin filled up with a dense white smoke. They told their friends about how the airport people wouldn't let them leave, and they didn't give them anything to eat until their 'dad' got them a free meal at an Italian restaurant.

Their friends had a few questions about the plane, and what it was like to fly in a plush business jet. The Covers told them about the food the airplane had, and how comfortable those seats were.

Then the boys' friends got down to the nitty-gritty of their Holliday Vacation. They asked them all about the trip and they wanted them to start from the beginning. The Cover boys each gave their observations, and then told them about the rides they rode.

Robert especially told them about Jason and how he acted, as he had to get them to the front of the line, so they could ride as many of them as they could while they were there. Eric told them how Mr. Shartz, the parks manager, sent the man back to the office and got someone else to take them around to park to finish riding the rides.

Matthew spoke up and told the group about what they did in the Ghoul World dark ride. He told the boys how it rained that morning and the second parks manager, Mr. Walthers, had some of his maintenance men show them around the park. The youngest Cover began by telling them how the men turned on the lights inside the ride and they were allowed to walk all around inside.

Matthew told the boys how the men explained how some of the ghosts, goblins and scary characters worked and then pressed something and they came to life. The youngest Cover said he almost jumped out of his skin when the character jumped up and at him. The boys all laughed.

Kyle spoke up and added how they had to watch where they walked, so they didn't walk on the track the Ghoul cars rode on. He told them they also weren't allowed to touch anything, because they could change something and the character might not work right.

Matthew picked up the story. He told them they couldn't believe they actually were able to see something that most people didn't, and here they were seeing something very few get to do. Then, he told them what happened when the men sent a Ghoul ride car though the building.

"Yeah, Matthew yelled and asked why they couldn't ride it instead," spoke up Kyle.

"Yeah, I did. But, if you don't ask the question I was told you can't get an answer. So, I sort of ... I sort of yelled the question," smiled Matthew. The boys all laughed.

"Yea, but we, my brother and I, we got to ride first," gloated Kevin.

The Cover boys continued telling all about their Holiday vacation. Robert's highlight was when he was able to ride the Stagecoach wooden roller coaster, with his dad.

Kevin told how Mr. Wayne asked his older 'brothers', Robert and Eric, how they like the meal they had on it the first time they rode it. The boys didn't understand what Kevin meant, so Robert told them Mr. Wayne meant all the bugs that hit them on the face as they rode up and down the hills.

"Yea, then Robert picked at his teeth. It was gross!" added Kevin. "Ewwwww!"

All the boys laughed at the telling of the story. But, they wanted more. Charles took over the storytelling and told them how they intended to ride the Stagecoach as a group, but their 'dad' wound up talking with the people in line. He told them how three coaster trains came through and were loaded with new riders, and they just stood there listening to their 'dad' talk.

Charles explained how their 'dad' asked the riders what they thought about the park and the new improvements he'd funded. The pre-teen then told them his 'dad' asked the people in line if they liked the new restrooms. The boys snickered at that telling.

"Yea, but my dad ... he was looking at getting real time feedback from the people in line. I asked him about that later. He told me he specifically wanted all new restroom buildings at all of his parks, because that was what most people hated. He told me restrooms tend to get musty and nasty because they are kept dark and dank, and with no real sunlight ever getting inside.

"He told me he hadn't planned to talk to the people in line, but when the opportunity presented itself he went with 'the flow', as he called it. He told me he was glad he had. He asked the people if they had questions and/or comments. They asked him about when they were getting new rides and especially a new roller coaster.

"And, you know what he told them? He told them the truth. He told them if the park has a steady increase in attendance and revenues, he'd install a new coaster, but for next year they would only get three new flat rides. They asked him if he was increasing ticket prices and he told them no, he wasn't.

"Yea, then he explained a new Fast/Faster/Fastest Pass, FFFP he called it. He told them they were going to try next year," added Eric. "Then when Mr. Ken told them the prices someone said that was too much and he called out lower prices. The crowd laughed over the haggling. You had to be there to hear how that went."

The Covers added a few more tidbits about their trip when someone asked when they were going swimming. Then someone, probably Chuck, asked when they were going to eat. Robert took a vote. Eat first or swim first. Eating won out. That meant the boys had to get into gear and get everything out and down to the Patio. Asher and Hunter asked to be the cooks. Logan said he'd help them set up, since they hadn't done that very often.

Matthew and his friends got into the thick of things. They immediately got into the three groups and tried to help where they could. But being the youngest they weren't allowed to do any of the bigger jobs associated with getting the barbeque together.

Matthew got mad at the group he was in. He yelled for them to stop. He told them that just because he was the youngest didn't mean he couldn't do his share. He told them to stop treating him like he didn't matter, or he'll talk to his 'dad' and things would change and some of them might not be coming back.

Trevor was the oldest in the group and he directly asked Matthew what he wanted to do. The young Cover told him very loudly he didn't want to be always told to carry the cups, or whatever tiny item they thought was all he could handle.

Since they were getting the burger and dogs today, Trevor told the Cover to load the burgers and hot dogs onto the cart and when it was full to push it to the elevator and take it down and then out to the Patio. Matthew smiled at being given an 'important' job, and he and Max went at it with gusto.

Out on the Patio, Logan watched as Asher and Hunter prepared the grill and got it cleaned and then started it without any trouble. Then, as the burgers and dogs arrived, they took them and placed them on the hot grates. Logan went and got a pan they would use to hold what they cooked, or burned, until there were enough for everyone to eat.

While the cooking was being done, a low murmur was going through the boys. Trevor got with Robert and the other boys and talked to their group of friends. The boys were staying away from Matthew as if he had the plague.

Robert saw what was happening, but before he could go over to talk to him, about what he said to Trevor and the other boys, the three adults, along with Russell and Jordan, came outside to have a burger and dog with the boys. They greeted the men and then let them go first with fixing their late lunch.

The boys liked it when they were able to sit with any of the men. They were able to talk to them and get information they couldn't get otherwise. Today the big topic was the new Cove Skate Park and when they would start construction and when it would be finished.

Mr. Ken overheard the questions coming from the other tables, so he stood up and got the boys attention. He told him work on the skate park should begin the first thing next week and should be finished by 1 June. He also told them that if they have bad weather the project will be delayed two days for every one bad day.

The boys moaned at hearing that. Mr. Ken told them it was better than him building four or five new ramps and putting them at the bottom of the driveway. Then they would be separated from one another and it would be out in the sun all afternoon. The boys moaned some more knowing what the man said was right. They knew they needed to just wait for the build to be over.

The boys then called out a few questions to Mr. Ken and he answered them.

"Boys, what is not seen in the artist's rendition or picture, if you prefer, is there will be a few sails set above the skate park that would give you some shade. We haven't decided where to place them. We decided to wait and see how the sun tracks before installing them.

"We are also installing a covered pavilion that will have male and female restrooms, a freezer for the burgers and dogs, and a stainless steel sink to use to clean your utensils up when you're finished. I am also installing a gas grill that is twice the size of what you use now. On top of that, there will be soda and water dispensing machines to keep them cold for you.

"There will be ceiling fans in the pavilion, plenty of lights, trash cans and of course security cameras. The pavilion will also have plenty of picnic tables and seats, which, by the way, we haven't yet chosen. There will be a twelve foot wide driveway between the main drive and the pavilion and will parallel the wall and be about four feet away from it.

The boys then asked him and Mr. Wayne about how they felt when the aircraft went "BAMMM". Mr. Ken smiled and told them what went through his mind. Mr. Wayne told him his version of what happened. The boys were satisfied.

The boys did a great job of cleaning up the Patio and putting all of the barbeque stuff away. The boys who weren't involved went inside to change into their swimming suits. Russell and Jordan were already there waiting on the gaggle of boys.

Robert caught up with his dad and told him what Trever told him Matthew said. Dad Ken listened and then asked his son to go get Matthew, so the two of them could talk.

Robert went to Matthew, as the younger Cover was changing, and told him to go up to the Study because 'dad' wanted to talk to him. Matthew asked his 'brother' what their 'dad' wanted. All Robert would say was he knew and he should be prepared.

Matthew put his shirt on after he put his swimsuit on. He then walked up to the Study.

"Come in Matthew," said 'dad' Ken, when he heard the light knock on the doorframe.

"Yes, 'dad', what do you want?" asked Matthew.

'Dad' Ken asked his youngest to sit and he came from behind his desk, so they could talk face-to-face. Mr. Wayne was already in one of the other soft leather chairs, and would sit in to listen and learn his employer's methods on how he deals with his 'sons'.

"Matthew ... what did you say to Trevor?" simply asked 'dad' Ken.

"I... I told him to let me and my friends help other than carrying cups or all the lightest things they had. I was mad. They never let me and my friends really help. They treat us like ... like we are little boys and weak and can't do anything," replied an angry Matthew.

"Hmmm, so you want to be treated as an equal, I take it?" asked foster dad.

"Yes, 'dad', I want to do my share, but they won't let me. And ... and it isn't just Trevor. How will I ever learn what to do and, how to do it, if they keep me in the dark, or in the background, so I don't or can't learn, 'dad'," answered the still mad Cover.

"Oh, OK, I can understand that you want to do your share and to help. Now ... what else did you tell him and the other boys?" calmly asked Mr. Ken.

"Well ... I threatened to tell you and ... ahhh ... I told them ... that I would talk to and ... and I told them things would change, and some of them might not be coming back. I was mad they keep doing that to my friends and me.

"I live here don't I? Shouldn't I have more to say about what I want to do? You told us that if any of our friends act up and cause problems then they wouldn't be back. Well, to me they are causing problems for me, and they treat me like a little kid. Was I wrong 'dad'?" finished Matthew.

"Well, 'son', I wished you had come to me about this first, before it got to this point. I can't speak for them, but ... even though you felt like you were being mistreated; I'd say you went about it the wrong way. Now ... how do we handle this?" said Mr. Ken, and left the door open for the boy to say what he felt.

"'Dad' ... you should tell all the boys ... for them to stop treating me and my friends like we're little kids or nobodies. That they should let us do more and when we do something wrong they tell us how to do it right. That, I am a Cover just as my 'brothers' are. Shouldn't that mean something, 'dad'?" was Matthew's straightforward reply.

Mr. Ken now had a quandary. The boy was wrong, but right at the same time. Matthew was a Cover and that gave him more standing than any of the other boys, but not his 'brothers'. The man knew he never told the boys directly they were special and had specific 'powers', but he never told them they didn't. He had made it known, though, that he will protect them with everything he has. Mr. Ken knew he needed to talk to all of his boys about this.

"Matthew ... what you did was the wrong thing to do, but ... I'd say it was for the right reason. Do you understand what I am saying?" said 'dad' Ken

The boy thought about what he was asked and then replied he did.

Down in the pool area, Matthew's friends were wondering where he was. They were able to play with some of the twin's friends, but for some reason the older boys were ignoring them. They wanted to know where Matthew was, so they went to Charles and asked him.

Charles told them his 'brother' was up in Mr. Ken's Study talking to their 'dad' probably because of what he told Trevor earlier. Max now knew what that was all about. He was now mad that the older boys were doing that to his friend.

He gathered the other 5th grade boys together and told them what Matthew had done and said to Trevor. He told them he figured that was why the older boys were ignoring them. He asked them what they should do. He reasoned they were coming to The Cove much longer than he was and should know what to do. They changed clothes and went looking for Matthew.

"'Dad' ... maybe I shouldn't have threatened him, but ... what was I supposed to do? They won't let me do what they do. They don't listen to me because I'm younger than they are and are bigger than me, too.

"'Dad', I feel like Robert's friends ... that they think they are privileged and can do whatever they want because they've been coming here forever. They always take charge and ... and I felt like I had to say something to get their attention, so ... so they'd take me seriously and listen to me. What else was I supposed to do?" explained Matthew, and finished by asking a question.

"Matthew, I'm sorry you feel the way you do. But ... you should have said something to Robert about his friends first, and if they didn't' change then you should have come to me. But, for now it is what it is. So ... let us figure this out, together," replied 'dad' Ken.

After a few minutes of discussion, the three Covers came to a decision.

"Matthew," called out Max, as he and the other boys came up the stairs.

"'Dad'?" was all Matthew said.

"In the Study," called back Matthew.

"Boys, why are you looking for Matthew?" asked Mr. Ken.

"Well, Robert told him to come and talk to you, but he never came back," answered Brant.

"Yea, and the older boys won't play with us. Charles said it was because of what Matthew said to Trevor," answered Max. "I was there with him when he told Trevor to stop. He told him that just because he was the youngest didn't mean he couldn't do his share. He told Trevor to stop treating him like he didn't matter."

Mr. Ken looked over to Mr. Wayne and shook his head. He told the Estate Master he felt he was caught between a rock and a hard place. But, he told him he knew he needed to do something about all that. He added he had to do it soon to keep it from festering.

Mr. Ken led everyone down to the pool area. When he opened the door he saw the boys were gathered in their groups, and not playing and talking with anyone. He went over to Russell and Jordan and asked them what was going on.

The lifeguards explained when the younger boys got dressed and walked out of the pool area the other boys began getting together in their own groups. Russell said he asked Robert what that was all about, but he wouldn't say. The Cove's owner thanked them and then went over to the front of the pool.

Mr. Ken had Matthew and his buddies stand along the wall that separated the pool from the Great Room. Then, he called out to the other boys to get their attention.

"Boys ... gather around me, please. There is something that ... that I need to talk to you all about and I want your undivided attention," seriously said Mr. Ken.

The boys came over to the shallow end of the pool and settled down. When Mr. Ken saw all the boys were focused on him, he spoke again.

"Matthew has something to say. So listen up!" loudly spoke Mr. Ken.

"I ... I want to apologize to Trevor and ... and the other boys that I ... that I threatened earlier today with them not being able to come back here. I was wrong to say what I did. I ... I also shouldn't have taken my ... taken my frustrations out on them.

"What ... what I should have done was talk to my 'brothers', first, and ... and if they couldn't fix it then ... then I should have gone to my 'dad'. I'm sorry. I ... I didn't do it the right way ... but you older boys ... you pissed me off and I got tired of you treating me like I was a little kid" finished a still angry Matthew.

The boys had shocked looks on their faces. They only heard some tidbits of what happened while they were getting the barbeque ready, and now they heard what had to have been the truth.

After he finished saying what he intended to say, Matthew went to his 'dad' and cried into his shoulder. The Cover felt embarrassed that he had to apologize, but now that he had done it he felt relieved inside, because it was over.

"Boys ... now let me say something. This is an unfortunate incident that frankly ... I am surprised it hadn't happened sooner. Matthew felt that, as a Cover, he shouldn't have been treated the way he felt you older boys have done to him.

"Think back, boys ... how often did you take the lead ... and have the younger lads do the simplest things, do the light lifting, if you will. Otherwise, the mundane parts of setting up the barbeque. How often did you let the younger boys take the lead? How often do you let them make mistakes and then tell them what the correct way was?

"How can the younger boys learn ... if they aren't given the chance to try? You older boys, and yes, I am talking to you Robert and all your friends. You have all done this so often that you could do it in your sleep. But, let me ask, when do you intend to let the younger boys take the lead or make a decision? When you all go off to college? Huh?

"The way Matthew handled his frustrations and hard feelings today was wrong. And, he and I talked about that at length. You even heard his apology. But, what you, you older boys, have done to him, and maybe Kevin and Kyle, isn't right either.

"What you all have to understand is ... is that setting up the barbeque is supposed to be a team effort. But maybe... just maybe there are too many on the team and we need to cut it back some," said Mr. Ken, before being interrupted.

"NO, dad, you can't do that! You can't keep our friends from coming over," yelled Robert.

"No, I don't intend to limit the number of friends who come over. What I am going to do is make it, so everyone participates in setting up and tearing down the barbeque from now on. There are what ... some 40 plus or minus boys who come over here?

"How many boys does it take to actually get everything out and down to the Patio? If I recall correctly, in the beginning, it was done by only six – Robert, Brad, Chuck, Trevor, Gordon and Eric. When Charles arrived and started having his friends over it doubled the number and there wasn't any problems.

"But now ... that I've added three more foster sons there are 6 and a half times the original number. So, from now on there will be at least one Cover and two other boys, for a total of eleven, who will help set up the meal. When you're finished eating, I want nine different boys to tear down the barbeque. I'll let my 'sons' decide who those people are.

"If my math is right everyone will participate once every other barbeque, or so. Again, I'll leave it up to my 'sons'. And that includes Matthew. Maybe some of you have forgotten ... Matthew is a Cover, too! He has as much standing here ... as Robert and Charles do. Boys ... do I make myself perfectly clear?" directly asked Mr. Ken, of all the boys there.

The boys all replied practically in unison, that they did.

"OK, and don't forget that. No one has ever been asked to leave The Cove and never come back. Only you ... by your actions can decide if you will be the first!

"Now ... there is one more issue I want to talk to you about. I don't know why you older boys took it upon yourselves to ignore or completely refrain from playing with or talking to the younger boys, but that will cease immediately.

"If you have a gripe you take it up though channels. Start out with your Cover friend and let them and their 'brothers' try to fix it at their level. If they can't fix it then they will come to me.

"Boys, in essence, this group is like a 'family'. Those of you who have siblings know how little things between you can build up until one of you snaps and takes action. I do not want that to happen in this 'family'. Need I say more?" asked a very stern sounding Mr. Ken.

"Good! Now go change into your street clothes. Your Cover friends have a very special Momma Maria treat waiting for you. She made it for my 'boys' to share with you before you go home today. Now, go! Get a move on," directed The Cove's owner.

Inside the Locker Room, some of the boys asked Robert and Charles if their dad always gets that mad. Robert had to tell them he can count on one hand all the times his dad got upset enough that he even raised his voice. The teen told the boys that they had better heed what he just said.

Robert then told them that he thinks his dad is under a lot of pressure with all the ventures he has going and then on top of all of those he has the five of them to deal with. Robert said it came up during their trip and his dad said it wasn't a problem, but that he definitely had a tone of voice that said he was not pleased.

Charles spoke up and said if what Matthew was feeling, that he was being treated like a little kid and not being listened to, and he let it out the way he did, then they all need to treat everyone the way they want to be treated. The pre-teen added that this was a very hard time on their 'dad'. Charles said their 'dad' had to plan Christmas for the five of them, which he didn't have to do since Collin lived there.

The boys said they understood what was told to them. They also agreed that with all of them there, all of the time, they had to be adding some stress to Mr. Ken, too. But none of them had any idea of what they could do other than to do as he asked.

When the boys were changed and their swimsuits were in the dryer, they all headed up to the Kitchen Nook for their Momma treat. When they saw the huge cinnamon buns, topped with a thick white icing, their mouths watered.

Momma had the drinks, napkins, paper plates and plastic knives and forks ready for them. She told them she made them for her chicos, her boys, because of what they experienced with the airplane. She also said she wanted them to share those huge 10-inch around cinnamon buns with them because they would get extremely sick of they ate them all by themselves. The boys all laughed.

As the boys ate their wonderful dessert, which Momma had warmed up for them, Mr. Ken saw Trevor and Matthew talking. He wished he could hear what they were talking about, but the smiles coming from both boys told him they were making amends. He told himself not to ask, but to let either one of them come to him to tell him what they talked about.

The Cover's friends departed The Cove around 6 p.m. as usual. The Covers then went back inside to a wonderful Momma Maria dinner.


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