Maple Dreams


            Scott Lancer shuddered as he watched his younger brother, Johnny, drown his flapjacks in maple syrup.  He, Scott, was the one who had grown up in New England.  Most people thought that, because of this, Scott would love maple syrup and all the other assorted maple products that came from Massachusetts and Vermont.  Not so, however.  Scott preferred jam on his flapjacks.  It was just another of those things that made him different from his brother.   

            After breakfast the brothers headed out to check the fence line.  They found a broken gate in the south quarter and about a quarter of a mile of fence pulled down by cattle leaning on it to get at the “juicier” grass on the other side of the wire.  It was well after noon when they finally stopped for lunch.  Johnny had gone back to the storage shed near the barn to get some fence posts and wire while Scott continued checking the fence line for more damage.  They met up where Wolf Creek came into the south pasture. 

            Teresa and Maria, the housekeeper/cook, had packed thick ham sandwiches, pickles, two mason jars filled with lemonade and some carrot sticks along with a package that Johnny kept well hidden from his brother.  For dessert there was some maple sugar candy.  Scott ate one small square while Johnny ate half a dozen.  His sweet tooth was legendary in the family and with their friends Maura and Jim Talbot. Maura was a surrogate mother to the two of them and Teresa.  Every day that she baked she sent, or saved, some of the goodies for Johnny and Scott.  Scott teased Johnny that Maura saved more for him because Johnny was her pet.  Johnny denied it but he knew that Maura had helped bring him into the world and considered him one of the special people in her life – not that she neglected Scott.  She tried to save things evenly but it was tricky to get Scott his fair share when his little brother was around. 

            During the course of the afternoon, as the sun rose higher and moved further west, Johnny could be seen taking something from a sack he had stashed under the wagon seat.  After eating it he would take a big swallow of cold water.  Replacing the sack and the canteen he would go back to work stringing wire with his brother.

            Finally it was time for supper.  The boys headed home and put up the team after parking the wagon in the barnyard.  Inside the house the air was permeated with the smell of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, fresh peas from Teresa’s garden and something that smelled suspiciously like maple to Scott.

            “What’s for dessert, Teresa?” Scott asked when the meal was over.

            “I made a cake today,” was the reply.  “A white cake with maple sugar frosting.”

            “Sounds good,” Johnny said.

            “Johnny, you had maple syrup on your flapjacks, had maple sugar candy for dessert and now maple sugar frosting on a cake.  Aren’t you ever going to get tired of maple syrup and maple sugar candy?”

            “Nope.  I like it,” was the answer.

            “Don’t you think that’s going a little overboard?”

            “But Scott,” Teresa said.  “You’re the one that told him it was Maple Sugar Month.  What did you expect?”



Submission Guidelines