Note: The Jake Chronicles always takes place within the timeline of the Blake World. This entry is after Begin Again and before Hard Target.
It’s New Year’s Eve at the ranch and that means it’s time to party with the family. But this year is extra special because Uncle Jared is marrying Aunt Autumn tonight. We’re finishing up breakfast so Dad and Mackenzie can get ready. Mackenzie is the flower girl and Dad needs his standard five hours of primping if he’s going to be on time to the wedding. Mom says we have to put on nice clothes, comb our hair and try to be good until midnight. Dad says it wouldn’t hurt to be good all year-long and that we should all make at least one New Year’s resolution.
“What’s a resolution?” Connor asked as he munched on his toast.
“It’s a promise you make to change something in your life, hopefully for the better.” Seth sipped on his juice.
“What’s your resolution Dad?” Jake asked.
“I am going to manage my work schedule better so we can go on a few more family vacations this summer. Maybe we can do a road trip to the Grand Canyon.” He smiled.
“Yet another excuse to buy an RV.” Morgan squinted at Seth.
“What about you Mom?” Jake turned to his mother.
“I am going to do my best not to cry when your sister starts school.” Morgan caressed Mackenzie’s cheek.
Next year Mackenzie starts school and mom has been a little sad. I heard mom and dad talking about it the other night while they cleaned the kitchen. She said she’s not ready for her last baby to grow up and go out into the world. Dad said they could remedy that with another baby. Mom threw a dish towel at him and told him to keep dreaming.
“Oh yeah? What school is she going to?” Connor replied.
“Our school.” Jake shook his head.
“What!” Connor replied.
“Remember grandpa said to get ready because Mackenzie was going to turn the school on its head.” Colby added.
So the Blake kids have a bit of a reputation at our school. And the teachers and the principal cringe when they see Grandma coming through the doors. Grandma says you better have a damn good reason or a screw loose to discipline one of her grandkids.
“I get to go to school with Jake and Connor and Colby?” Mackenzie stopped eating her cereal and smiled.
“Yes.” Morgan nodded. “And Jack and Matt. Pretty soon Gabe and Owen will be there. And before you know it, Tucker and the triplets will be there too. It will be a home away from home.”
“I bet the faculty is going to love having another Blake kid in their school.” Seth mused.
“Did Grandpa make that donation to the school so they wouldn’t kick us out?” Colby asked.
“Where did you hear that?” Morgan wiped her mouth with her napkin.
“That’s what Caine Jr. said.” Jake replied.
“That’s not true and I wouldn’t take anything that boy said with a grain of salt. He used to eat paste at recess.” Seth’s jaw ticked.
“Grandpa made that donation just the same as he makes any donation. It wasn’t to bribe the teachers. We pay a hefty tuition for a quality education for you, just like the other parents.”
That made sense. Grandpa was a generous man and even though the family had the Blake Foundation, he still donated to various charities. When he and Mackenzie watched TV together and saw a sad fundraising commercial for organizations who rescue animals from cruel environments, he whipped out his checkbook and send it to the organization to cheer her up.
“I told Caine Jr. that he was a jerk and he should mind his own business.” Jake took a bite out of his apple. “And if he didn’t shut up I’d write him a check for a knuckle sandwich.”
“Jake.” Morgan said sternly.
“Caine Jr. walked away real mad like he wanted to cry.” Connor laughed.
“I’m counting on you boys to be a good example for your sister when she gets there. There’s already footage of her pushing away the reporter who got too close to your dad that day at the stadium. And she pinched a boy at a birthday party a couple of months ago because he tried to skip the line to get in the bouncy castle.” Morgan shook her head.
“But letting Sam teach any of them Karate was a good idea?” Seth gave Morgan his best smile, then turned back to Jake. “The boy had to stick up for the family. Jake, just remember what I said about football being a lot like real life.”
“I know Dad.” Jake replied with a big smile.
Dad has been teaching me about football. He says the same principles can be applied to real life and to think of jerks like Caine Jr. as the opposition who doesn’t want you to score a point. If you can beat them at their own game without letting them see you sweat, then the victory is all the more sweeter.
“OK, roguish clan. It’s time to get on with our day.” Morgan stood and began clearing plates. “Philly Grandpa and Grandma and the rest of the gang will be stopping by soon. Don’t forget to ask Great-Grandma Reed if she needs help around the house. And if Uncle Derek and Aunt Charisma are still sleeping in the guest house, do not wake them up until they are ready.”
We all scampered upstairs and got ready for the day. Like Mom said, the Philly family came by and the house was bustling with activity. Uncle Derek and Aunt Charisma eventually came out of hiding from the guesthouse. Aunt Charisma helped Mom get Mackenzie ready for the wedding. Uncle Derek and Dad had another one of their marathon talks about relationships while helping the boys.
Later on, when we were all seated and waiting for the wedding to begin, I looked around the room at my family. We were an interesting group. Grandma Teri-Lyn says we come in all shapes, colors and sizes but the most important thing about us is the love we share and the values we embody. Grandpa John Jacob and Grandpa Curtis often joke that they planted good crops and got good kids out of it. Love is what keeps us growing as the family continues to expand and welcome friends into this world of chaos, fun and adventures. Dad is right. There is magic on this ranch and it touches everyone who visits.
The wedding music started and Aunt Autumn looked pretty as she walked down the aisle. Uncle Jared looked so happy I thought he was going to cry. There’s a bet going on around the ranch about who will be the next to have a baby. There are so many possibilities but the end result is that I’ll get another cousin to add to the gang. Because that’s what it’s all about, family.
At midnight, Grandpa’s going to light the fireworks. I can’t until the New Year. It’s going to be awesome.
Hope you enjoyed Jake and the gang’s latest adventure! 2017 promises more grand adventures for the eldest Blake grandchild as he watches and reports the family’s zany activities.
In case you missed it, check out Tree House Follies with Uncle Jared, Kangaroo Court with Uncle Channing, Phone Follies with Uncle Tyler, Big Brothers Club Meeting with Uncle J.J., Music Lesson with Uncle Tate, Running Interference with Uncle Robert, Field Trip with Uncle Bubba, Babysitting Avery & Wyatt and Present Hunting with the Gang!
Until next time,
Copyright © 2016 Rhonda Laurel. All Rights Reserved.
© Can Stock Photo Inc. / aaron007