As the first hints of morning filtered into the darkened kitchen, the excited boy scurried around, from the dish cupboard  to the kitchen table, where the large silver toaster hummed away, gorged with the remaining contents of the english muffin package… Oh, they smelled so good toasting away, as bacon and eggs sizzled in the fry pan, only a few feet away!!
      Matty climbed onto the bench that was his seat, and peered into the glowing recesses of the toaster, and smelled the wonderful aroma that wafted from the golden biscuits… His dad stood at the stove, and, patiently cooked the morning feast… “Sunny side up, or, over easy, Matty?”
      “Daddy, you know I don’t like my eggs runny!!” Matty replied. “Gerry is the only one that eats them all runny… it’s just gross!”
       “Hey, there’s nothing wrong with runny eggs, Matt . At least you don’t have to chew them as much!”said the smiling father…

        “EWW… that’s just gross!!” laughed the blond haired boy. “I want them flipped over, and cooked all the way through, but not really dry… where the yolk is still orange, but, not really hard…”
         “Holy Mackerel!!” interrupted Matty’s dad, laughing. “Who do you think I am, for cryin’ out loud, Betty Crocker? I’ll tell you what- I’ll make them ‘over easy’, and, if you don’t like them, I’ll eat ’em!! Do you want me to mix the bacon in the eggs, or to the side?”

      
 Matty considered his options, holding his finger to his mouth… “Can you cook them apart, then put them on top after they’re all cooked?”
         “Good grief, kid… you’re worse than your mother, I swear! I’ll put them on the plate, and, you can arrange them under, over, sideways, or whichever way you want… as long as you eat them…. Geesh!!”

Matty grinned, and walked to where his dad stood, in his plaid wool work shirt, and gently hugged him from behind…”Thanks for taking me with you, today, Daddy…”

“It’s OK, kid… Your mom wants you out of her hair today, anyways, and, I figured there were worse ways to spend a Saturday… Now, get those muffins buttered… your eggs are almost ready.”

“How about jelly, Daddy?…. I like strawberry jelly on my muffins… you know, the kind they show on TV on that farm…”

        “Oh my God, Matty… are you sure you’re my kid? When did you get so fussy??”

        And so it went, the early morning gloom, giving way to a sparkling new Autumn day for the 9 year old boy and the carpenter and father of 6…

        Breakfast was over, so, Matty and his dad headed out, into the morning chill, and boarded the ‘Country Squire’ station wagon that was asleep in the driveway in the front of the red house…The trip to the Northeast hills of the state took about 35 minutes… Matty leaned his head against the car window, as the mammoth car glided like a limousine down the tree lined roads… Everywhere, the trees were in full fall color- crimson reds and golden yellows, with the last remaining greens interspersed…Content from the breakfast feast, the little blonde boy watched the colors blur by and slowly his eyes grew heavy and he was dozing again, and dreaming about happy things…
       The past week in school had been an exciting one, even tho it had started off poorly… Matty smiled in his sleep, thinking about the new friend that he had made… A boy named Bobby… He had come into school on the first day as a new student from another part of the state. Matty was immediately taken by the sparkling eyes and the mischievous smile. Bobby, tho, didn’t seem to notice him at all, which saddened the boy. At lunch on the first day, their teacher had placed Bobby at a lunch table with other kids, much to Matty’s dismay… Even recess was a problem since Matty was assigned certain classroom duties for the first week that cut his recess time in half… By the time he finished cleaning the chalkboards, and, joined the other kids, Bobby had established his own group of playmates, most of which, Matty didn’t care for… But, soon enough, Bobby grew impatient with the behavior of some of the kids, and started to shy away… Matty saw his chance, and, approached the new boy.
      “Hey, whatcha doin’?”  Matty held his breath, as the new boy surveyed him… “I’m MMatty” he stuttered…. He felt his face turning red, as he shifted back and forth, nervously, from one foot to the other, hands in his pockets…
       “So…. Hi MMatty!! ” Bobby snickered… Wanna play king of the mountain?”
       “I guess so, sure…” Matty didn’t know what to make of the new blonde- haired wiseguy. Soon, tho, it was clear. Both boys were meant to be friends… The tall, shy kid, and, the wiry, wise- cracking kid… Double trouble, all the way!!

       Matty awoke with a start, as the lumbering station wagon lurched and bounced over the suddenly bumpy road… He  sat up in the seat, and looked around at the changed scenery… His dad glanced at him and remarked, “Welcome back… that must have been a nice dream… you were smiling the whole time!!”
    
       The boy blushed… unsure of the correct response….

       Now they were traversing a different scape… the road was hard packed dirt, riddled with deep puddles and, surrounded by clearings that reminded Matty of the stories of the early settlers- clear cut lots, speckled with the stumps of once magnificent oaks and maples… The boy pressed his face to the car window, and, surveyed the strange scene… “Why are all the trees cut down over there, Daddy” the boy pondered…
       “Building lots… there’s going to be 25 houses back here someday, if we ever get a decent road put in…” The Great Lady bounced high with that statement,  and then, bottomed on her springs…. “Cripes!” muttered the irritated dad. “This is JUST great!! I come out here, for a short day and, I’ll need a new car before it’s over…”
       Matty giggled… Dad was always exaggerating things… It was, after all, just a bumpy road.

       One last hill, and, suddenly they came upon a group of parked cars and trucks, and a very large crater …. mounds of dirt, and a large yellow bulldozer, sitting idle in the crisp morning air… Behind all this, and down a fairly steep hill, was a pine covered structure, rising magically from it’s concrete perch; reaching towards the clear blue sky… A group of laughing men stood near the cars, in the sun kissed clearing, warming themselves in preparation for the coming work. One man turned, and waved briefly as Matty and his dad turned the corner and squeezed the wood paneled car into an uphill space near a blue truck.
      “OK, kiddo, out we go!!  Now, look… I’m here to work today, and, not to play. So… you’re going to have to entertain yourself. This isn’t the best place to be running around and not paying attention, either!! See that pile of wood blocks and scrap over there?? See the pieces with the nails sticking out?? Trust me- you REALLY don’t want to step on one of those 16 penny nails!! It’ll go right through your foot! So, no fooling around… If you want to watch, fine! But, this isn’t a playground, OK?”
      Matty nodded in agreement, and meekly exited the parked behemoth… As he rounded the car, a curly haired, muscular man yelled, “Hey, squirt!! What’s that in your pocket?? Some toy that you found recently??” Matty was confused… “Hi Uncle Barney…” he mumbled. The man laughed, and, the other guys followed suit, glancing at Matty, presumedly for a reaction…
     Matty’s dad looked back at him, and, scolded, “Get your hands out of your pockets… Geezzz!! “
     The boy was startled, and, confused… What had he done wrong? Why were all these big guys laughing at him? Even his dad thought he was doing something wrong…
    “Why do I need to take them out… I l..like keeping them in my pockets…What’s wrong…”
     “Just do what I tell you!” the boy’s dad exclaimed. “Cripes!! It looks like you’re playing pocket pool, or something!!”
  

     With that remark, all the men roared, as Matty stood by himself, red-faced and teary-eyed…. The blonde-haired boy turned and walked behind the blue truck. He sat down on the running board, and silently wept at the dirty insinuations, and the betrayal…

     The sounds of an army of hammers echoed through the woods… The boy sat on a the edge of a granite ledge and looked back towards the golden colored building. On the roof, three men hauled large sheets of plywood, and, as they reached the open areas of exposed rafters, threw the big sheets down with a bang, and, another two men positioned the panels in a staggered fashion, and nailed them off, reaching frequently to their mouths to grab a nail or two, or into their waist worn toolbelts to replenish the supply… Laughter, and a snarky, crude, banter filled the air, interrupted by the sharp hammer strikes…Matty winced at the loud talk and, turned towards the safety of the nearby woods. He left his perch and wound his way into the dense underbrush, towards the virgin stand of white pine and blue spruce. There, he was at home, with the little creatures of the forest and the silent and gentle caress of his Father…
  
 He glanced back, one last time, to the beehive of activity, but, noone seemed to be watching.. He wiped the last tear from his eye, and left that world behind.

              

 It was like walking into a different and magical world. He prepared for his mission…

continued in part 2….

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