“Ugh.” Steph shook the dirt from her hands and looked around her. “What a mess.”
Tom whistled as he continued to move branches and other debris that was scattered around the yard into a pile near a large garbage can. “It could have been worse.”
”How? We just buy this house, and then we get hit with tornado force winds and hail. Look around us. We spent days getting this garden to look perfect for the house warming party, and now it’s trashed.” She held up a flower that had been lying on top of the ground, with its roots showing.
“Dear, we could have lost the house. I could have lost… you. If you’d been outside working when that freak storm hit, that huge branch would have landed not just on the flower bed, but you, as well.”
”I guess you’re right…”
”I know I’m right.”
”I should be happy that neither of us were hurt, and the house wasn’t damaged more than it was. A few shingles to replace and it’s as good as new.”
”Exactly. A few plants to replace, a yard to clean up, some hard work, and things will be back to normal. You’ll see.” He hugged his wife, kissed her and said, “Now, let’s clean up and grab something to eat in town.”
* * * * *
*What are all those cars doing along the road?”
Tom shrugged. “Maybe there’s a party at one of the neighbor’s house.”
”Um… we have no neighbors for miles. We moved to the country so we wouldn’t be so crowded.” She pulled a cell phone from her purse. “Maybe there was an accident and we should call the police?”
”I don’t think this looks like an accident.” He pulled into their driveway and parked the car. “Ok, now that is weird. There’s a light on in our backyard. Stay here. I’ll check it out.”
“Oh, no you don’t.” She climbed out of the truck. “I’m coming with you.”
As they walked into the backyard, they saw about a dozen people setting in plants, trimming bushes and cleaning up the mess they hadn’t finished earlier.
“What? What’s going on?” Steph looked at the smiling faces of her parents, family and friends from church.
Her mother moved next to her. “When your father and I heard that you had a little storm damage, we decided to throw you a surprise garden party. We each brought some plants from our own gardens, some cuttings. Rachel even brought you one of her prize rose bushes.”
Tom wandered around shaking his head.
Her mom stood beside her, arm around her shoulders. “So, do you like it?”
Steph hugged her mom. ”I couldn’t be happier. It’s lovely. Thanks all of you. I wish I had something to give you. The cupboard is pretty empty.”
“Not to worry. We have that covered.” She pulled a tablecloth of a long table that sat by the garage, to reveal a buffet of fruits, veggies and snacks. “Welcome home, kids.”
Mark stood next to his new bride. “And a happy home, it is, with neighbors like you.”
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