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Veterans Day

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Harge steps into his parents’ mansion home and moves along past the housemaid—Kimberly—into the parlor room where he finds his mother, daughter, and ex-wife. Carol is holding onto a small brown paper cut-out hand of a turkey Rindy made and just gave her seconds prior she had scribbled on with crayon. She looked lovely in red crimson with a golden pin of leaves & berries clipped to the upper left corner. Carol gushes over the homemade holiday art their daughter created. She kisses the paper hand cut-out turkey while Rindy beams proudly along.

“Hello, Harge,” greets his mother, resting her fine china teacup softly on its saucer she holds in one hand. “Is the car ready?”

“It’s running,” Harge tells her. He now stands still and watches his daughter dart over immediately towards him with another paper cut-out of a hand turkey.

“This is yours, Daddy,” she says.

He takes the paper turkey and places a hand on top of her head. “Why aren’t you in school, young lady?”

“It’s Veterans Day, Harge,” Carol speaks up for their daughter. “Day off.”

“Let’s go then.” Harge gives the turkey back to Rindy as he starts heading out.

All four of them sit inside the Rolls Royce with Rindy sharing the backseat with her estranged parents. Grandmother Jennifer sits beside the Airds’ hired limo driver in the passenger seat.

“John’s probably wondering where we all are,” Harge’s mother sighs.

“Let’s not keep him waiting,” Harge says.

They ride fifteen minutes to the church where they’ve kept all the war vets and their wives and children seated at round tables being served with breakfast. Harge finds his father sitting alone wearing his box army hat and suit. He leads his family past through the piling crowd towards his old man.

“Hello, hello!” John Aird greets his family, receiving small kisses and hugs. His eyes fall upon his wife, who smooths out her dress the moment she sits down. “What kept you?”

“Traffic on the way, dear,” Jen explains.

Carol smiles wanly as she nervously flips her hair back.

Rindy sits up with both elbows on the table.

“What have we missed?” Harge asks.

“A prologue speech and a few war time stories,” John shrugs. “Nothing out of the ordinary.”

Their waiter delivers them fresh squeezed orange juice and bowls of fruit. Throughout the meal, Rindy taps her mother to look at the front doors. Harge twists his torso around to gaze, too, and sees Therese Belivet coming, dressed in a fashionable plaid dress.

“What’s she doing here?” Harge finds himself say out loud, annoyed.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Carol responds back, “I invited her to join us.”