“...And make sure you put the casserole in the oven at 4:30 so it’s ready in time for supper.”
I gave a small nod, still engrossed with the Hardy Boy’s book I was reading. Joe had just been hit over the head and had been knocked out. Frank didn’t know he’d gone to the old mansion, so who would ever find him?
“Tara!” Mama’s voice broke into my head. I quickly skim read the last of the sentence before looking up.
“You weren’t paying attention to me, were you?”
“I’m supposed to put the casserole in the oven so it’s ready to eat by 4:30.” At least I thought she’d said.
“No, no, no.” Mama looked a little bit frazzled.
I closed my book and put it next to me on the couch. “I’m sorry. What am I supposed to do?”
“I have to go to Forward Focus for about an hour to finish up some work. I need you to put the food in the oven at 4:30 and please make sure you have the table set by 5:00. Alright?”
I nodded. I wished I was a bigger help to Mama but I got so engrossed in my books that I sometimes forgot anything else existed.
After Mama left I glanced at the clock on the wall. I needed to take care of the food in thirty minutes. I started to pick my book up again, then stopped. I didn’t want to lose track of time and disappoint my family.
Walking into the kitchen, I set the timer on the stove and then settled at table with my book. I’d just read in the kitchen to make sure I heard the timer and that way I could make sure my family had a warm dinner at 5:30 when my parents got home from their job.
* * *
Sitting at the table an hour and a half later with my family all around me, eating the delicious broccoli and cheddar concoction Mama had made us, I smiled. It felt good to know that my family could count on me and that I’d helped get this wonderful meal ready.