He sat, back straight at the table, pulling his heavy oak chair closer to it. White hair parted from the left, framing a formidable face etched by the ravages of time. Sharp green eyes sparkled just a little at the sight of 11 grandchildren anxiously waiting for him to blow out the candles on his birthday cake.
“Edna Leighton Jones,” he said, smiling at his wife of 47 years, “You’ve outdone yourself this time.”
“It’s only a white cake with lemon filling and butter cream icing,” the slender woman said. Edna scampered back into the kitchen, her mom radar on full alert. “Eric! You know better than that!”
“You’re 36, boy!” his father laughed. “Time you stopped trying to steal cookies.”
“But they’re chocolate chip, and my wife can’t cook worth…beans!”
“Good thing she’s not here,” Edna said, laughing at the hurt face. “She might deserve the insult, but she’d not be kind.”
Two daughters and three sons doled out cake to children eagerly sitting at tables built for their smaller bodies. Finally! The adults settled into a table for 8 and began to enjoy the rich, creamy softness of their father’s birthday cake.
Ding…Dong… rang the front doorbell, the deep vibration of it stopping the festivities.
“Expecting anyone else, Edna,” her husband smiled.
“I was about to ask you the same,” she giggled.
As always, Edna left the dining room, passed a staircase leading to the 6 bedrooms upstairs, walked past a living room with floor to ceiling windows facing a mountain view, and looked out the peep-hole.
Hands trembling, she pulled the lever down, opened the door, and stared at a rare sight. “Is there a problem in the neighborhood, officer?”
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