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“But it won’t be here! I want to slide here where we live.”
“I saw two flakes of snow falling,” comforted Alice. “I saw them on my muff.”
“Church must have been very short today,” Edith said. “You were only gone an hour.”
Theodore told her about the rector’s being housed with the grippe.
“I’m always afraid of that in winter,” she said. “That siege Ted had once weakened him so. That’s why I try to keep him from exposing himself.”
“Dinner is served,” was announced at the door.
“Let’s all march in,” Theodore suggested.
“But first we must all wash our hands,” said the mother. “Run along upstairs. Ted, leave your hat and coat up there. I’m not sure I want you outside today.”
“The outside air can’t hurt him,” demurred Roosevelt, when the troop had pelted off up the stairs.
“You aren’t sure of that. You can be too insistent about toughening up Ted, as the doctor reminded you. After all, you were a frail child yourself.”
“But my life in Dakota toughened me. Now I never have a pain and rarely a cold,” he insisted.
“You were grown then. Give your sons a chance to grow, Theodore.”
“I suppose you are right. You usually are. Anyway, this is going to be a dour day, although those clouds show a few signs of thinning and letting the sun shine through.” He studied the sky from the window.
They went in to dinner then and there was the usual argument about who should say grace. Ethel won and hurried through the little verse, conscious of impatient looks from her brothers, moving their eyes though their heads were bowed.
There was a bounteous spread on the table and for the first time in days there were no guests. Obviously everyone was respecting a family’s desire for privacy on this holiday and Edith was grateful.
The big turkey that old Davis, the gardener, had fattened in a little pen, feeding it corn and all the scraps from the kitchen, stood brown and beautiful at the head of the table and Theodore sharpened the carving knife on the steel with a ringing noise.
“Only two drumsticks,” he remarked, slicing away, “so somebody has to be content with the second joint.”
The expected shrill protests arose, Kermit insisting that he had never had a drumstick since he could remember.
“You can’t remember long then,” declared Ted, “for you had one at Thanksgiving.”
“We’ll settle this.” Roosevelt took an envelope from his pocket and tore it into strips, two longer than the others. “The long pieces get the drumsticks and no more said about it.” He folded them carefully in his hands with the ends visible and passed them around the table.
Ethel and Archie won and squealed with delight, while Alice remarked philosophically, “I’d rather have breast, anyway. Drumsticks are dry and tough.”