42. Spotlight on Crepuscular Meadows: Missing the Founder's Day Parade

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42. Spotlight on Crepuscular Meadows: Missing the Founder's Day Parade

Ginny Fassbender was less charitable than most when she heard that the Dandriches would not be in town on Wednesday for the Founder's Day Parade.

"I had counted on them for a float," she complained.

"You'll have plenty of floats as it is," Mayor Gladhand replied, putting down his pastrami sandwich for a moment so he could think of a tactful way around this issue. Freckles was hovering in the background with a pitcher of water. Attentiveness to people's need for water was usually good for an extra big tip, and Freckles could think of lots of things to use any extra money for.

The Mayor opted for distraction as a way of smoothing things over. "More coffee, Freckles?" he asked.

Freckles lost no time in sidling over to the coffee pot in back of the counter. He remembered that the Mayor liked his coffee with milk, no sugar. By the time he was back outside with the mayor's coffee, Ginny Fassbender had proceeded to another topic: "I notice that Clematis Station has been slow to tell us how they plan to participate this year," she said, somewhat accusingly. It was safe for her to say this outside, out of earshot of Emma Sullivan, whose mother, after all, worked at Clematis Station.

The Mayor breathed a sigh of relief. "They took up a collection for a float featuring a train station festooned with Clematis vines," he said solemnly.

Placated, Ginny let things rest for now. There would still be hell to pay on Wednesday, when the town's citizens realized that there would be no Dandrich family float, but for now there was peace. Last year, the Dandriches had organized a float for the Second Federal Crepuscular Meadows Bank. As a senior vice president, he had sufficient sway to organize such things, and frankly
no one else at the bank even cared. Jim Dandrich was the only town resident who worked at the bank, and ultimate ownership rested with a distant holding company. There once was a time when people took out mortgages with the assumption that the money being lent was a pool of savings by many local citizens. That time was now a distant memory. Mortgages were bundled into packages and sold to god knew what other entities.

Freckles brightened up a bit when he saw Chandler Dandrich coming into the cafe. "Mom is too busy packing to cook," he explained. "What's today's special?"

"Meatloaf with potatoes and carrots," Freckles said. He didn't even have to consult the menu on the wall. The specials always included this particular dish, and he knew that everyone in town liked it.

Soon, Chandler was on his way back to Birch Street with his package. The Mayor was on his third cup of coffee now, Ginny was long gone, Letitia Lochinvar was at the table next to the Mayor with her daughter, and a minor civil war was about to erupt because fans of the town's two rival Summer baseball teams had happened to cross paths unexpectedly.

There was never a dull moment in Crepuscular Meadows, despite the placid surface of things....

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