Susan hummed softly as she unlocked the apartment door. It had turned out to be a good day; Iris had cheered up and remembered happier times from her childhood. They also spent part of the morning choosing more recipes for Susan to work into the menu and supper had been a success. All of which put her in an upbeat mood for the evening.
Inside, she found Dave writing at the table. "Hello, Dave. How was work today?"
He looked up with an easy smile, "Nice. I got two of my chicks to sit on my shoulder while I did chores. And there's a big bag of lettuce and spinach in the fridge." Looking back down at the paper, he continued, "I'm trying to tell Mom all the news from church without the gossip."
"How is she doing?"
"All right, I guess. Grandma's house is in a quiet neighborhood, but Mom is worried the riots might reach them."
Susan nodded thoughtfully; it was certainly an understandable worry. Now that she heard more of the daily news with Iris and Grace, she also was more concerned with the increase in riots. They didn't seem limited to any particular location or cause either. The violence in Europe seemed to revolve around brutally high unemployment and austerity cuts while Canada dealt with a severe drought and heatwave with resulting power brownouts and forest fires. In the U.S., each city affected blamed something different for the unrest, from unpopular criminal trials to political scandals. Susan was convinced the true reasons were almost always economic.
Dave's forehead twisted with his thoughts, "It's ironic that Dad applied to work at the plant that got shut down, which made the union start the protests, which led to the riots, and now they're even worse off. I wish they were still here."
"They haven't mentioned moving back?"
"No. They've turned the entire backyard into a garden and Grandma couldn't take care of it alone. Plus, Mom likes her new church. If Dad could find some work, they'd be happy there." A wistful look crossed his face, "I thought about going back now that my cousins have gone to Florida, but I feel useful here and I wonder if they'll stay gone."
"What do you mean?"
"If Florida doesn't turn out to be the easy living they expect, will they show up in Wichita expecting Grandma to take them in again?"
"Ah, yes, that's certainly possible. And the job market isn't any better in Florida. Well, you're welcome to stay with us as long as you want. You've made yourself an asset." She smiled fondly at the young man who had become a second son to her during the last twelve years of his and Danny's friendship.
"Oh! I almost forgot; I'll be late tomorrow. I promised to help make strawberry jam. I think all the gardeners I help have conspired to teach me every different way they know to preserve produce."
Susan firmly squelched her flash of envy at the variety of jobs he got to do and reminded herself how lucky she was to have work of any kind. "I hope you'll take notes on the processes. I've never made jam."
Dave nodded and bent back to his letter.