We Saw Daddy Kissing Santa Claus

By E Walk

(Copyrighted by the Author)

Edited by Radio Rancher

Chapter 7 - Who's the Boss Anyway?

The boys left and I noticed that Nugget and Cleopatra were following them. Hank noticed too, "Well, I guess we know who the bosses are. Even the dogs are snubbing their noses at me. You'll probably be the next one to desert me."

I made sure the bedroom door was shut and put my arms around Hank. "My Doctor prescribes that we take a hot shower and then go relax by the fireplace and have an eggnog or two and cuddle."

Hank started to laugh, "Your doctor sounds like a quack, but I rather like his prescription. Let me help you get undressed."

There was a lot of touching in the shower but nothing more. We each put on a pair of the skimpy briefs and went downstairs. We were sitting on the sofa watching the fire in the fireplace and enjoying the Christmas tree with our spiked eggnogs. No, that's not right. I was reclining against the arm rest and Hank was lying against me so his head was resting on my shoulder. We were talking when Jacob and Kevin appeared with the dogs following them.

Jake started in on us, "Well, if it isn't the kissing bandits. Can we have one of them egg noggy things, too?"

Hank answered, "Yes, you may, but would you please go light on the bourbon. We wouldn't want you to show up for basketball practice drunk."

Kevin turned around, "Up yours, Dad."

Hank was ready for that comment, "Not likely, Son."

The guys left and returned with a glass of eggnog and sat in front of the sofa and leaned against it so that I could feel their heads touching me. Kevin looked at us, "Dads, can we have a New Year's Eve Party?"

I spoke before Cowboy could say anything, "Guys, you shouldn't always be having all of the parties. Where and when would you want to have it?"

Jacob took over, "We were sort of hoping that Dad R. would let us ask the people out here for a barbecue dinner and we could let everyone ride a horse in the afternoon if they wanted to and then we could go to the house on the hill for a swim party. Dad R., is it permissible to ride the ten horses at the other ranch?"

I didn't give Hank time to answer, "Guys, aren't you asking a lot of Mr. Rodgers, after the way you have lambasted him the last couple of days? It sounds to me as if you just want to show off Mr. Rodger's good fortune. Hank and I will discuss this and let you know later. Thanks for asking though, before you made any arrangements."

Hank turned and looked up at me with a questioning look and I just shook my head no. The twins didn't argue. I think that they realized that I might have been correct in my evaluation of the situation. I looked at the clock on the mantle and suggested. "Guys, it's 11:00 o'clock, I think we should think about retiring to our bedrooms. Guys, please make sure that Cleo gets her medicine."

Hank and I went to his bedroom and he started to challenge me, "Why wouldn't you let me agree to the guys having the party?"

I ignored the question and went to brush my teeth and Hank followed me, "Steve, please answer me."

I looked at him, "Hank, there is a matter of liability. What would happen if someone fell off a horse or got hurt in transit from here to the other house?

I have no problem with what the guys are proposing, as long as they do all the preparations. They shouldn't expect adults to be taking care of the arrangements. We will not provide the snacks and things to eat. That has to be their responsibility. They could ask their friends to bring the food for the meal."

Hank had a funny look on his face, "Steve, aren't you being a little hard on the guys?"

"Hank, they need to learn that everything doesn`t come to them on a silver platter. Now let's go to bed."

We crawled into bed and left the door open in case the dogs decided they wanted to come in. I kissed Hank goodnight and nothing more happened. I was awakened in the middle of the night by Hank moaning thrashing about, "No, please don't let anything bad happen."

I tried to wake him, but he kept moaning. Finally I was able to get him awake, "Hank, what's wrong?"

Hank was confused and fell against me, "Steve, I had this awful dream. There was this man dressed in black with no face. He was carrying a scythe and laughing. He said, `One down and now on to the next one.' Let's go check on the boys."

We went to the room where the twins and the four dogs were sleeping. Nugget looked at us, but didn't move. The twins were both quietly snoring so they were okay. I led Hank back to the bed, "Hank, it was probably just a bad dream about what happened to your parents and your sister. Now let's go to sleep."

We were awakened the next morning by the phone. Hank hesitated before he answered, "This is Hank Rodgers. ... Oh, hi David, how's everything going? ... That's great! ... No, Wonder Dog and Peter Pan are getting a lot of exercise. Kevin and Jacob are taking good care of them. ... Let me talk to your Daddy or Mommy. ... Hey Dusty, it sounds like everything is going okay. ... So, Danny seems to have more energy? ... Make sure he doesn't overdo it. ... Okay, see you Thursday about four."

Kevin and Jacob were standing there listening. They were dressed in sweat pants and a hoody. When Hank hung up, Kevin asked, "Dads, are you going running with us or are you going to lay in bed all day?"

Hank stood and stretched, "I think I'll go running with you. I'm not sure about your wimpy Dad."

I pointed at the two guys, "Give us five minutes and we'll be with you."

We met Kev and Jacob downstairs and were walking out the door when the phone started to ring. Hank went and looked at the caller I.D. He picked up the phone and put it on speaker. "This is Hank Rodgers."

A voice who obviously was upset answered. "Uncle Hank, Dad died in his sleep last night. He got to see his grandchildren one more time. Can we please come home? Jennifer and her husband don't need us here. The next little Morris is due anytime. Tad and I don't want to live in this big city. We want to live on the farm with you. That's all we've ever known. Please can we come home?"

Tears were streaming down Hank's cheeks, but he held together rather well considering that the twins were wiping their eyes with tissue and my sweat shirt was beginning to show signs of wet spots.

Hank looked at us, "Tim, let me speak to Jennifer."

Jennifer came on the phone, "This is Jennifer. Mr. Rodgers, Dad sat down last night and talked to the guys and us and explained that you had their power and of attorney and guardianship papers. They really want to go home. Dad's death has left a big hole in their hearts."

Hank was rubbing his head like he was thinking what to do, "Jennifer, we're going for a run so I can get my thoughts straight. May I please speak to Tad?"

A different voice came, "Hi Uncle Hank, please can we come home?"

Hank was really shedding tears now, "Tad, we're going to go for a run now. I need time to think about what needs to happen. I'll call you back after we have had breakfast."

Tad asked, "Who is we? I thought Dusty and his family were in Florida."

Kevin took the phone, "This is Kevin Michaels. We're going to take your Uncle Hank and our Dad and run their butts into the ground. We'll talk to you when you get back since Mr. Rodgers is making us do your work. Over and out."

We took off running and the dogs were running with us and no one was talking. It was as if we realized that Hank needed to sort out things since we didn't really know all of the pieces. I don't have any idea how far we ran but Jacob took charge when we got back. "We'll fix breakfast before Dad R. takes us to the other ranch shows us what to do. Now move and change into suitable clothes while we burn breakfast."

We were sitting on the bed taking off our running clothes and Hank totally lost it. "My world is starting to crumble. Bill is gone, and he has been my pillar through a lot of years."

I took Hank and held him and looked at him, "Cowboy, I think you have it all screwed up. I think that you have provided Bill and his sons a safe environment, and I'm guessing that you have been paying his medical expenses. Look at it this way, he left a legacy for you to take care of, but you can't fix all of the problems of the world with money. God must have needed Bill for something special. It is now our job to make sure that Tim and Tad can achieve to their fullest potential."

We were lying on the bed when Jacob came in, "Well why wouldn't I have guessed, Barney Rubble and Fred Flintstone are reclining on the bed together in a state of undress. I guess I had better call the news media and report this phenomenon, since neither of you seem to have an erection."

Hank turned to Jacob, "Up yours, Little Boy."

Jacob was ready that answer, "In your dreams, Dad R. Now get your fat asses out of bed. Breakfast is ready and we need to decide how best to help Tim and Tad and we need to get the stables cleaned out."

Jacob left and Hank turned to me, "Your sons don't mince words."

I started to laugh, "Don't you mean our sons. It appears to me that we are going to have four teenage sons, before long. Now, unless you want your little sausage cooked, I suggest that we get moving."

Breakfast was fun and Kevin announced, "Dad, you are in charge of the cleanup detail while Mr. Rodgers takes us to the other stable and shows what has to be done."

I watched as they left in the pickup. The dogs seemed like they were lost because they were left behind. I finished the cleanup and went to take a shower. I had just exited the shower when Hank came into the room, "Steve, you're sons are trying to kill me. I can't possibly keep up with them; they're in the barn taking care of the horses, then they are going back over to other ranch to do the work. I need a hot shower and don't put any clothes on until I give you permission to do so."

I followed him into the shower and grabbed him, "Look mister, I don't take orders from no one. Why shouldn't I get dressed? Is there something about my body you like?"

"No, Mr. Michaels, you have nothing that I don't have. I would like to play with that little toy of yours, but that will need to wait until later. There are more important issues on the table now."

When he finished, he picked up the phone and sat on the bed still naked and motioned for me to join him. Which I did. He put the phone speaker and set it on the bed. He looked in a book and dialed a number.

"This is the Morris residence. Jennifer speaking"

"Jennifer, this is Hank are Tim and Tad nearby?"

"Yes, they're standing right here. They've been waiting for your call. I'll put the phone on speaker so they can hear what you have to say."

Hank nodded, "Before, we talk about what to do about your Dad's remains. I have some questions for you. First, you're due very shortly aren't you, and second, how are your other children dealing with their Granddad's death?"

Jennifer's voice came back, "I'm due next week. As far as the children, Dad sat down with them last night and explained that he was very ill and was going to heaven very soon. I think he realized that his time was up. The oldest three understand the concept of death, but the two youngest don't understand why people have to die."

Hank shuddered, "Jen, there is no way you should be flying here for a memorial service. I'll set up a service on the second, since the guys go back to school on the third. Jen, please have your Dad's body cremated as he wanted, and the boys can bring the remains back with them when they come home on Saturday as scheduled. Make sure you have any bills sent to me."

"Tad and Tim, you need to stay and help Jennifer with the children until Saturday and come home as scheduled. You're due to arrive at 1:15. Call your girlfriends and tell them that they are invited to a party on Saturday. There is going to be a barbecue here at the ranch starting at 2:00 and then the party is going back to the house on the hill for a New Year's Eve swim party. Kevin and Jacob are hosting the party. They just don't know it yet."

"Uncle Hank, where are we going to be living when we get home?"

"Tad, we'll discuss that when you get here. I haven't got that far in my thinking yet. I'll call later after I have had a chance to talk to people and make the arrangements. It may not be until tomorrow. Tim and Tad, will you please make sure the children are okay?"

Tim came on, "Uncle Hank, why didn't you tell us how ill Dad was?"

Tears were forming in Hank's eyes, "Guys, your Dad didn't want you to know because he knew that you would worry. He wanted to make sure that you wouldn't try to baby him. Now I need to go."

Hank turned off the phone and threw it on the sofa, "Steve, please hold me."

I did as requested and kissed him on the ear, "Hank, let it go. You'll feel much better if you get rid of the anger you are feeling."

The flood gate opened and tears started to run. Hank looked up me, "Yes Daddy."

"Don't Daddy me. I don't want to be your Daddy. Sugar Daddy maybe, but not your Daddy. Now, let's get dressed and go check on the guys."

We got dressed in our jeans and cowboy boots and went to the stable. As we were entering, we heard Kevin, "Knock it off Alhambra or you're not going to get an apple. Now get back in your stall. If you don't behave I'll smack you on your nose again."

Hank was laughing, "Kevin, you are doing to the horses what you and Jacob accused me of doing to you. You're using strong armed tactics on the horses."

Kevin wasn't going to back down, "Dad R., Alhambra didn't respond to the nice treatment like the other seven horses. He thinks he has to be the boss. He needs to learn that when Jacob and I are taking care of them, he needs to cooperate like the other horses. We're ready for inspection here. We're going to ride to the other ranch before lunch and take care of things. We'll take The Count and Nappy and the four dogs with us. Dad, you really need to decide on a name for your horse, otherwise she'll think her name is Hey You."

Hank, held up his hand, "Guys, your Dad and I need to go make arrangements for Bill's funeral. We probably won't be back until later this afternoon. Oh and one other thing, The party will start at two on Saturday. You can have your meal here and after you clean up your mess, we'll move to the house on the hill. I have already invited Tim and Tad and their dates and they will be providing meat which you are responsible for cooking."

"Your Dad has suggested that you should have your friends bring the remainder of the food. Oh yeah, anyone who attends must have a permission slip from their parents and statement relieving me of any liability. Now, do you have any questions?"

Jacob nodded, "Dads, I have several questions. I think we need to discuss this in detail tonight over dinner. We need to make sure that we understand exactly what is expected of whom."

Hank nodded, "That sounds fair to me. We'll see you after Basketball Practice. You guys will need to fix your own lunch."

Kevin threw up his hands, "So, what else is new?"

Author's Note: If you would like to read more of this story and other interesting stories. You might want to visit www.tickiestories.us.

Editor's Notes: It looks to me as if things are progressing very well so far. I think that Tim and Tad will get along just fine with their new brothers. Their Dads already seem to be getting along just fine.

I think that Hank still has a lot to deal with, but he is learning to trust others to love him, which he has needed to do for some time now. You can't be self sufficient all the time. You need your family to be there for you. Money isn't everything. Love is very important, and there will be plenty of love to go around, I am certain.

The teens seem to be adapting very well so far and taking the responsibilities that have been given to them. They are actually very mature and they seem to be enjoying the responsibilities and the fact that the adults seem to trust them to make the right decisions most of the time.

I think that when we are kids, we don't feel quite as devastated when an adult in our lives passes on. We somehow look at them as being old or at least adults, and having lived their lives. We miss them terribly, but somehow we know that if they were suffering, it is better that they are no longer suffering.

I never cried when my Grandma died, I felt sad, but no tears came. I felt guilty about it, but I never cried. When my Dad died, I shed a few tears, but I had to be there for my Mom, so I didn't have the luxury of coming to pieces. When I was a teenager, I lost a good friend of mine, whom I was pretty closed to, but I wanted to have been closer to him. I had teased him when we were in high school, but we had become good friends after we both got out of school, and after he died, I felt guilty that I had not been there for him, earlier on and that I wasn't there when he died, I spent days brooding over what I might have done to be a better friend to him, and crying till my eyes were red.

After several nights of not being able to get much sleep, I finally was exhausted, and fell asleep. I had a dream that night, and I had a dream about Duane In my dream he sat down on my bed, and told me that he was in a much better place now, and that I didn't need to worry about him any more. He had suffered from several ailments, some of which none of us knew about. We knew he had an Ulcer and had been taking medication for it. We didn't know that it had been getting much worse. He also had epilepsy, and had been having at least on or two seizures on a daily basis or more. In my dream, that night, he hugged me and told me that he was feeling happy now, and he was no longer sick, and that now he could run around and have fun like other people. He told me not to cry for him any more, that he was really fine now. I told him I was sorry I had teased him when he was a kid, and he said that he didn't mind me doing it, because I was never mean to him, and he knew that I really did care about him. I still think about him every so often. Like today for instance, and I used to feel guilty that I hadn't cried for my Grandma and my Dad, but I have thought about that. They were both in a lot of pain as well, and they were both quite in their nineties when they died, so they each had a full life. Duane was only in his late teens when he died, so it might have been a wake up call for me that I was not immortal either.

I really do believe it was him that came to me to let me know he was all right, and not just some subconscious thing, or a dream.

Funny thing, I still miss him. I haven't thought about him in quite a while now, but I still think about him now and then, like when I drink a glass of buttermilk. He loved buttermilk. So do I.

I am ready for the next exciting chapter.

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher