by BethAnn, Dana, Susi, and Leslie
Honey Wheeler breathlessly entered the Manor House stables.
"Jim?" she called out.
"Back here, Honey," replied Jim, peeking his head around the corner of the tack-room door.
Honey smiled and walked over to the tack room. She watched in silence for a few moments as Jim polished Jupiter’s saddle.
"You’ve already exercised Jupe?" she asked. "My, you’re an early-bird!"
Jim chuckled. "I wanted to beat the heat. It feels like it’s going to be another scorcher!"
Sleepyside was in the midst of another July heat wave, complete with the oppressive humidity for which the Hudson River Valley was famous.
"I think you’re right," Honey agreed. "It should make for perfectly perfect swimming weather, though. You didn’t forget the picnic, did you?" she asked anxiously.
"You’ve reminded me of the picnic every day for the last week," Jim replied. "How could I possibly forget it?"
Honey smiled sheepishly. "Would you like to ride into town with me this morning to help me pick up some last minute supplies?"
"Gosh, I wish I could, but Mr. Jefferies is coming today, so I need to stick around here."
"Mr. Jefferies is coming today? On Regan’s day off?" Honey was puzzled. Regan was absolutely meticulous about the care the Wheeler horses received. Why would he schedule the farrier’s visit on his day off?
Jim laughed at the look on his sister’s face. "Relax, Honey. There’s no mystery," he teased. "You’re becoming more like Trixie every day," he added, and ducked when Honey pretended to swat at him. "Mr. Jefferies called this morning while I was saddling Jupe and asked if he could change the appointment to today. Apparently his mother-in-law is ill, and he and his wife will be leaving for Pennsylvania later this afternoon."
"Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that!" cried sensitive Honey. "I hope it’s nothing too serious."
"Me too," agreed Jim. "But I could hardly say no to him under the circumstances. As it is I think it was awfully nice of him to make time to see us before he leaves. Normally I would have told him to just wait until he got back, but Strawberry threw a shoe yesterday," he said with a nod toward the scrap bin where Regan kept the old iron horseshoes.
"And since Regan is gone, are you going to follow Mr. Jefferies around from horse to horse, making sure everything is done correctly?" Honey teased.
Jim chuckled. "I think I’ll trust him to take care of everything by himself. But I will stick around just in case he needs anything or has any questions." He glanced at his watch. "I should be done by noon, if you want to wait…"
"Oh, no, I’ll go by myself. I will let you help make the hamburger patties later this afternoon though."
"You’ve got it. Be sure to buy plenty of hamburger; Mart promised to bring his appetite."
Later that afternoon…
Honey entered the Manor House kitchen, her arms laden with packages, which she quickly deposited on the stainless steel island.
"Good afternoon, Miss Honey," greeted Cook. "I have your cake ready," he said proudly, and nodded toward the gorgeous, triple-layer chocolate cake.
"Oh, it’s beautiful," cried Honey. "You’ve outdone yourself! It’s awfully nice of you to make this for my party," she added gratefully.
"I would have been happy to prepare all the food for your party, Miss Honey, you know that."
"Oh, yes, I do, but I really hate to create all that extra work for you," she said as she pulled packages of chicken, hamburgers, and rolls from the grocery bags. "Besides," she added with a conspiratorial wink, "this way I can show off all my newfound cooking skills."
"Well, I definitely don’t want to deprive you of that pleasure," chuckled Cook. "After all, you are my prize pupil."
Honey laughed, then unpacked the rest of her groceries, thinking while she did so of how naïve she had been when the Wheelers had moved to Manor House six years ago. She was so deep in thought that she didn’t hear Jim enter the kitchen.
"Earth to Honey," he said teasingly, waving a hand in front of her face.
"Eeek! Jim! I didn’t hear you come in!"
"Obviously," chuckled Jim. "Hey, listen, I’ve got some bad news about the picnic."
"What?" cried Honey.
"Well, I just got a call from Regan. He’s stranded in White Plains."
"His car just died on him. He had it towed to a garage, but they won’t be able to fix it until they get a part in. He’s fit to be tied right now; you know his temper."
"I know his lack of patience with cars, too."
"Yeah, he had a few choice words regarding said car," laughed Jim. "Anyway, he needs a lift. Tom is picking Mother and Dad up at the airport, and Miss Trask is still visiting her brother, so, that leaves yours truly to play gopher."
"Oh, Jim! You won’t make it back in time for the picnic!"
"I know Honey. I’m really sorry. But there will be other picnics this summer, right?" Jim said cheerily.
Honey bit her tongue. There won’t be other picnics on this day, she thought. She sighed. I’m being silly. No one else knows why this day is so significant. Jim just thinks it’s a regular BWG picnic.
"I…I guess you’re right, Jim. We’ll do it again soon, I’m sure."
"That’s the spirit, Honey. But maybe you could save me a slice of cake?"
"Of course, Jim, and I’ll save one for Regan, too," Honey smiled bravely. After Jim left the kitchen she wandered around the house aimlessly. She tried reading a book in the library, but couldn’t focus on the words. She wandered into the sitting room and sat down at the piano. Maybe some music will make me feel better. She gave that up after a few minutes, though, as she kept hitting sour notes.
Still deep in thought, Honey headed to her bedroom and pulled a large, ivory-colored scrapbook from her bookcase. Miss Trask had given her the scrapbook and a matching leather-bound diary for her thirteenth birthday, just before they moved to Sleepyside.
‘May the pages of these books be filled with wonderful memories…’ Miss Trask had written on the card. Honey had doubted it at the time; her life to that point had contained very few happy memories.
Now, however, as Honey randomly turned the pages, she saw photographs and mementos from all the wonderful times she had had since moving to Manor House. She flipped back to the front of the book, and studied the photograph on the first page. It was one Miss Trask had taken, of Honey standing by the Manor House gate, with the puppy Bud at her heels. Although Honey was smiling in the picture, the smile didn’t quite reach her eyes. She looked very pale, and very thin in the expensive white sundress she wore. It really wasn’t one of Honey’s favorite pictures, but she had given it a prominent position in the scrapbook for one reason; it was the last picture taken of her before she met Trixie Belden.
How different my life would have been if I hadn’t met Trixie that day, Honey mused. She remembered standing in the driveway that day, watching Trixie and Bobby approach. She had been excited about meeting a girl her own age, but also nervous; it was a small wonder that Reddy’s rambunctious greeting that afternoon had caused her to cringe in fear.
"Don’t pay any attention to him," Trixie had cried. "He’s just showing off. He wouldn’t hurt a fly," she had reassured Honey. Then, in her friendly, frank way, she had introduced herself. "I’m Trixie Belden."
"And the rest is history," Honey giggled. She sobered quickly, though, when she turned a page and found a black feather pasted in the book. Her mind flew back to her first encounter with Queenie, the afternoon that she and Trixie went up to the Miser’s Mansion.
Honey had often marveled at the amazing coincidence that had brought Trixie and Jim into her life within a few hours of each other. Six years ago at this time I didn’t know either one of them. Now I couldn’t imagine my life without either one of them.
Honey continued to pore over the album. She giggled at the scrap of blue denim fabric, complete with a small patch, and remembered that long ago afternoon when Trixie had taught her to ride a bike. She shivered as she read an old newspaper account of the fire that burned the old Mansion. What an awful night that was! And then the next morning, Jim was gone.
Honey turned the page. "Jim was gone," she murmured to herself, "but that just led to another incredible adventure."
Her eyes fell on a picture of Trixie and herself standing in front of the Silver Swan. Miss Trask had taken the picture before they had left on their trip upstate to find Jim. Honey smiled as she realized how different she looked from that last, sad picture taken before she had met Trixie. She was tanned and happy, her hazel eyes sparkling at the thought of the adventure that lay ahead.
An expired dog tag, one that Reddy had managed not to lose, pasted to the scrapbook page made her laugh as she remembered all of the delays that Reddy had caused before they left, and all of the mischief that he and Bud had caused on that trip.
Of course, Honey reflected, they did help us find Jim. And Joeanne as well.
On that same page, there were several pictures of Reddy and the little black cocker spaniel that she had so impulsively given to little Sally Darnell.
I miss that little puppy sometimes, Honey thought to herself as her slender finger caressed a photo of the cute little puppy. But I know that he’s much happier living on a farm with all of those kids to play with. And Sally was so happy. Honey grinned as she remembered little, impudent Sally Darnell thanking Honey for returning ‘Sally’s’ puppy to her. Every so often, Honey received a letter from Sally, telling her about school, and living on the Smiths’ farm, and what a good little dog Bud had turned out to be. Every time she read one of those letters, Honey had known in her heart that she had done the right thing.
She turned the page and saw a postcard of Autoville, the little trailer park in which they had stayed during their hunt for Jim. Honey remembered Jeff, the weasily waiter who had worked at Autoville, and the bushy-haired man who had served as a valet at the little trailer resort, Al. Trixie had known right away that something wasn’t quite right with Jeff, and Honey knew it went beyond how rude the man had been to her when the two had collided in the cafeteria.
"And she was right, as she usually is," Honey said softly, turning the page and finding a small twig among the treasures in the scrapbook. Honey and Trixie had spent so much time wandering through the woods around Autoville between looking for Jim, hunting for Joeanne, riding to the various boys’ camps, making trips over to the Smiths’ farm, and scouting for Jeff and Al’s hideout, that Honey had impulsively taken a twig from those very woods as a memento that she could keep forever.
Also on that page was a picture of Trixie and herself atop Prince and Peanuts, their faithful equine companions while they were staying at Autoville. Trixie looked so at home atop Prince, a quiet black horse that reminded Honey of Susie, that it was hard to believe that she had only been riding a short time when that picture had been taken.
Honey turned the page and laughed out loud at the next picture. One of the boys at Wilson Camp had snapped a photo of Ben declaring her "The winnah!" after their good-natured swimming race in the quarry.
Three recipes graced the next page. The first was the wonderful stew that the girls had feasted on while at the Wilson Camp, and the other two were complements of Mrs. Smith: her spiced grape juice and to-die-for chocolate cake.
Another smile appeared on Honey’s face as she thought of the roly-poly woman with a personality that could be likened to a bulldozer but with a heart as big as the ocean. The generous woman talked a tough game, but you only had to know her for about thirty seconds to know that her bluster was all for show. Even Jimmy Crow had known that he could haunt the Smith farm with impunity. The smile faded from the 19-year-old’s face as she remembered the misery that Jimmy Crow had almost caused by stealing the treasured gold album locket that held all of the pictures of Mrs. Smith’s sons and her husband.
"All’s well that ends well," Honey reminded herself, refusing to dwell on what might have happened if Trixie hadn’t climbed that old tree and found Jimmy’s crow’s nest with all of his loot, including Mrs. Smith’s locket. That charmed existence that Trixie seemed to lead had been working in full force that day as she had chosen to climb the very tree that would solve one of the mysteries they had been working on.
Another turn of the page revealed a blue hair ribbon. It was not the same hair ribbon that Joeanne had worn, but one that Honey herself had owned when she was "all ribbons and bows and lace" as Trixie liked to say. This hair ribbon was of a more expensive material and nowhere near as faded as Joeanne’s had been, but that did not matter to Honey. After she had returned to Manor House after the trailer trip she had been cleaning her room and found her blue hair ribbon. It had immediately reminded her of brave little Joeanne and all of the adventures that she had shared with Trixie while upstate. Knowing it would be another perfect memento, Honey had immediately added it to her scrapbook with all of the other keepsakes that she had collected during their search for the redheaded runaway.
Next to the blue hair ribbon was a telegram. It was not a pleasant telegram; in fact, it was her mother demanding that Honey be waiting for her in Sleepyside when her parents returned from Canada—whether Jim had been found or not. But, despite how crushed Honey had been upon receiving that telegram, she had kept the paper as a remembrance of how far she and her mother had come since those days. Realizing that they had closed the canyon that had stood between them when Honey was younger was indeed a pleasant memory for the young woman. The closed gap between the two was highlighted by the pictures on the opposite page, pictures of Honey and her mother smiling together in the cafeteria at Autoville. Honey still remembered her impulsive dash across the cafeteria to hug her mother, surprise at seeing her parents in the little trailer village and excitement over Jim making her forget her shyness. Honey thought of the words her mother had crooned as she smoothed Honey’s hair with her slender hand.
"My precious baby," she had said, I’ve missed you so."
Until that moment, Honey had thought her mother barely knew she existed, let alone missed her when she wasn’t around. Wiping the sudden moisture from her eyes, Honey reflected again how lucky she was to have found Trixie and Jim, knowing they were at least partly responsible for the relationship she shared with her mother and father now.
Upon turning the page and seeing the articles about the capture of the trailer thieves, Jeff and Al, Honey knew that the pages devoted to that particular adventure were coming to a close, but she also knew that other adventures would always follow.
Honey pushed back a strand of her hair and turned another page. A smile spread across her face as she looked at a picture of the Gatehouse as it was before the Bob-Whites made it their clubhouse. Covered with vines, windows bare, no one would have suspected that this shabby shack contained a mystery.
And what a mystery it had been! Remembering, Honey felt the same shower of excitement running down her spine that she had felt when she had discovered that the little piece of ‘glass’ between her fingers was a genuine diamond. Trixie had not had to do much work to convince her to keep the finding of the diamond a secret—at least for a little while—and to try to find out by themselves who left it there. They had had little experience with real mysteries then, Honey reflected, but their conclusions about how the diamond had come into the old gatehouse had come pretty close to the truth. It had been one of these unbelievable coincidences that Dick the Dip had happened to overhear their conversation while he lurked in the poison ivy. Their conversation had told him everything he needed to know to worm his way into Manor House. Silently sighing, Honey shook her head about her own naivety back then. Meanwhile she had learned to keep her tongue. At least she hoped so. And after all, her casual words to Trixie about needing a chauffeur had given them the most exciting adventure.
She laughed out loud as her gaze fell on the next side. A business card was glued on this page of her scrapbook which read ‘Schoolgirl Shamuses Inc.—When the F.B.I. gives up, we take over’ printed in red. How well she remembered the banter she, Trixie and Jim had had that morning on the porch! That name had stuck ever since then. Jim should have considered a career in an advertising agency, she thought to herself, still grinning, as she turned the page. It showed a photo of Dick, standing in front of the Wheeler’s midnight-blue sedan in his chauffeur uniform. Honey’s brows furrowed slightly. She still couldn’t see why Trixie likened Dick to a weasel. He was one of the most handsome men she had ever seen. But she had to admit that Trixie seemed to have a kind of instinct that smelled each crook in a mile’s distance.
Dick really had been a bad crook. Shuddering, Honey remembered how he had prowled through the house in the middle of the night, when he thought everyone was asleep, trying to steal back the diamond. But the next morning had brought even more excitement, Honey thought with a reminiscent smile. The events of that special morning still stood bright in her memory. She had still been sleeping when Trixie had left to gather up the eggs. After she had woken up, she had dressed quickly and then ran down the hill to Crabapple Farm. She had skidded to a stop when she caught sight of the two handsome boys next to Trixie. A wave of shyness threatened to close over her, but Trixie’s cheerful introduction had helped her to overcome it quickly. Trixie’s brothers had been such good sports when they told them about the diamond. Of course they had teased them, especially about their plan to become detectives, but that had somehow added to the fun.
A little piece of faded, red fabric caught her attention. What was that? Could it be...? Yes, that was a piece of fabric from the strawberry-shaped pincushion where they had finally hidden the diamond. Honey’s shoulders shook in silent laughter as she remembered the wild goose chase on which Bobby Belden had led them. What a cute, little imp he had been as a little boy!
Absentmindedly she reached for a candy-bar beside her before she turned to another page. The next pages were filled with pictures of the first house party at Manor House. Many house parties had followed since then, and they all had been a lot of fun, but that first one would always hold a special spot in her memories. That was the weekend the Bob-Whites of the Glen had been founded. It had been like a dream come true. All her life she had been lonesome and miserable, the proverbial poor little rich girl, and without friends. It had already been great to find Trixie, but becoming a member of the Bob-Whites of the Glen had been the fulfilment of the wistful dreams the poor little rich girl had dreamt over her books. All of a sudden she had a bunch of friends who were like brothers and sisters to her—not that she had harboured especially brotherly feelings to a certain member of their club, even back then!
The next page contained scraps of carbon paper and tracing paper. Honey giggled as she remembered how Trixie had shown her how easily a signature could be forged. Definitely one of the things worth knowing for the rest of your life!
That part of her scrapbook ended with a collection of newspaper clippings about the super-pickpockets that had been caught by a bunch of schoolkids. Back then she had had no idea that she would have a whole collection of clippings like that within a year.
Suddenly Honey heard the grandfather clock chiming from the hall. Five o’clock! Oh no! She stood up and put the scrapbook away. I can’t believe I lost track of the time!
Honey rushed down the stairs to the kitchen and opened the refrigerator.
"What on earth!" she cried out loud. All of the food that she had unpacked earlier that afternoon was missing!
"Cook?" she called. No answer. Honey looked around the kitchen and discovered that the cake was missing too.
What could have happened to it? She thought frantically. She quickly searched the entire first level of the house, looking for Cook or one of the maids, but no one was around.
Calm down, Honey Wheeler! She told herself sternly. Some detective you’ll make! Now think rationally. What could have happened to all the supplies? Finally it dawned on her. Maybe Jim got back already, and has everything down at the lake!
Honey relaxed when she realized what must have happened, and took the time to enjoy her walk to the lake. As she walked, she watched the birds in the trees dancing back and forth between branches and she sighed in contentment. When she finally got to the lake she spotted several picnic baskets on the table, as well as Cook’s chocolate cake, but there was no sign of Jim, or any of the other Bob-Whites, either. She peeked into the boathouse, but that was empty too. Honey stood on the edge of the dock, peering at the slope that led to Crabapple Farm, looking for any sign of her friends.
"Boo!" Trixie leaped out from behind Honey. Honey jumped and nearly fell over into the lake in surprise.
"Don’t do that!" Honey yelled. While still the most tactful of all seven of the Bob-Whites, six years around Trixie had made her learn how to defend herself.
Trixie only laughed. "So where’s Jim?"
"I was about to ask you that same thing," replied Honey. "He said he was going to White Plains to pick up Regan, but then when I couldn’t find the food I assumed he got back early and brought it all down here."
"Well, there’s no sign of him here," said Trixie.
"Speaking of brothers, where are yours?" asked Honey.
Trixie shrugged. "I’m not sure. Brian had his nose in some medical journal all afternoon, and Mart and Dan took off right after lunch. I thought they’d be here, but, I guess it’s just you and me, kiddo," she teased.
Honey slumped to the dock and hid her face in her arms. "Great. Just great." She mumbled.
"Hey, I’m not exactly chopped liver, am I?" said Trixie, sitting next to Honey on the dock. "So they’re late for a picnic. Big deal. They’ll show up, and if they don’t, well, that just leaves more food for the two of us."
"Oh, Trixie, you don’t understand!"
"What don’t I understand?"
Honey blinked back her tears, and leaned her head against her best friend’s shoulder.
"What?" Trixie pried.
"It’s been six years."
"Six years? What has?"
Honey pointedly stared at Trixie and sighed. She wasn’t surprised that Trixie had no idea what she was talking about. "It’s been six years since I moved to Sleepyside."
"Six years? Jeepers! I can’t believe that!" Trixie shook her head in disbelief.
"I know. It feels like time has just flown by. Here we are, 19 years old and it seems like we just graduated high school. It felt like everything was changing when the guys left for college, but now it really feels like everything is changing."
"I know what you mean."
They gazed out over the lake, when Trixie’s mood seemed to change. "I have something to admit."
Honey looked at her best friend and waited for her to speak.
"I knew today was the sixth anniversary of when we met, and well, I hope you don’t mind, but I got you a present." Trixie pulled a small box out of her jean pocket and handed it to Honey.
Honey looked back and forth between Trixie and the box for a few minutes before she finally had the ability to open the box. Inside lay two beautifully engraved wooden necklaces on golden chains. One said "Best" and the other said "Friends." Honey laughed as she held them up to inspect them. "Trixie, they’re wonderful! Thank you!" She leaned over and gave her friend a big bear hug.
"You’re welcome. Do you know why they are made of wood?" Trixie asked.
Honey giggled, "Yes. That’s so clever. Here, I want you to have the one that says ‘Best!’" She leaned over and placed the necklace around Trixie’s neck. Trixie turned and did the same for Honey. "Thank you, Trixie!"
"You’re welcome! And, well, I’m not supposed to tell you this, but I am going to get up and leave, and when I do someone else is supposed to come up behind me."
"Okay…" Honey replied in a puzzled voice.
Trixie stood up, grabbed her shoes, and walked away from the pier. A few moments later, Honey could sense a presence behind her.
"JIM! What are you doing here? I thought you were rescuing Regan!"
Jim brought his crossed fingers from behind his back. "A little white lie."
Honey stared at him, dumbfounded. "YOU? Telling little white lies?"
"I’m sorry, little sister." Jim sat down and hugged his sister, "But we really wanted to surprise you, and make your party special."
Jim grinned, "You know the Bob-Whites...never needing an excuse to celebrate. But, well, we decided today was a special day, because of how much you mean to us."
Honey looked down at her hands in her lap. She could feel tears welling up in her eyes.
"Hey there," Jim reached over and patted her shoulder, "we love you. You’ve done so much for all of us, and we knew this would be the perfect day to show it. Here." Jim handed her a brown-covered package. Honey expertly opened the package and saw the book that lay inside. "The Girl’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing." She laughed.
"Well, I had to get you something that would remind you of me, but that was still practical. It was the first thing I saw that even remotely resembled what I wanted to get," Jim looked at her a bit sheepishly.
"Thank you!" Honey leaned over and kissed his cheek. "I will remember you every time I read it!"
"’Atta girl! Okay now, close your eyes."
"Hmm?" Honey looked at him and then obeyed. She felt his presence leave and shortly another presence took his spot.
"Brian and I fought over who it was that met you first. We couldn’t decide so we drew straws."
Honey opened her eyes to see Mart sitting next to her. "Sounds like when you two couldn’t decide who was going to carry my suitcase."
Mart laughed. "Those were the days."
"So are you all coming out here in the order I met you?"
"She’ll make a fine detective yet!" Mart quipped.
"Oh! That’s such a cute idea! I’ll bet it was Di’s." Honey winked at Mart as she said the other girl’s name.
Mart turned a shade pink as he confirmed her suspicion. "Yeah, well, I just wanted to let you know that I’m glad that you moved into the Manor House, and that you befriended Trixie, and, well, how much I appreciate how often you’ve helped me with understanding Di, and, well…everything! Here."
Honey, now not at all surprised by a present, opened the package and began to laugh. Nestled between the tissue paper was a thesaurus. "Yes, I definitely will remember you by this."
"I figured you might," Mart grinned. "Well, I’d better get going; your ‘better half’ is next."
Honey watched him go, and when she saw Brian coming toward her, she quickly got to her feet and ran to meet him.
"Brian!" She flung her arms around his neck and hugged him.
"Mmmm, you know how to make a guy feel welcome," Brian said
softly as he returned the hug. Releasing her, he took her hand and led her back
to the water’s edge. "It’s so peaceful over here," he commented.
"Have you been watching the others?" Honey asked with a nod towards the two books that sat on the pier.
"Nope. We all decided that this was one-on-one time between us and you."
"Aww, that’s sweet. Thanks."
"You’re welcome," Brian said as the two sat down on the pier, and Honey scooted next to him so he could wrap his arms around her.
"I suppose I should give you my present," he said finally.
"Yes, I did notice the bag you were carrying, but I wasn’t going to say anything."
"I knew you wouldn’t," he grinned. "Here." He handed her the bag. Inside lay a heart-shaped box of chocolates.
"Six years...candy, iron, wood." Brian said in way of explanation.
"I know, but this is Valentine’s candy. Please don’t tell me you’ve had this box since Valentine’s Day."
Brian looked a bit sheepish. "Umm, actually, I’ve had that box since the Valentine’s after I met you," he admitted. "I knew you were special then, but I was too scared to give it to you. The box is old, but the candy inside is fresh."
Honey opened the box up to find the smaller versions of her favorite candy bars inside. "Oh, thank you Brian! This is wonderful." She grinned up at him as he leaned down for a quick kiss.
"I’d better go. If I’m here too long, we’ll get teased later." Brian ruefully admitted.
"Yeah, I know." Honey watched Brian go. She waited for Di to appear, but, when, after several minutes she still hadn’t appeared, Honey turned her attention back to the lake. Finally Di appeared.
"Hey, girl," Di grinned as she sat down. "Sorry for the wait. But, well, we were having technical difficulties."
"As long as it wasn’t a wardrobe malfunction?" Honey grinned.
"Madeleine Wheeler, I can’t believe you said that!" Di blushed, then quickly handed her a small package. "Here you go."
Honey opened it, and inside lay two lavender hair barrettes.
"They’re lavender to remind you of me, and hair barrettes, since you got your nickname because of your hair. They’re to remind you that we will always be together as friends."
"Oh Di! Thank you so much!" Honey hugged her friend.
"You’re welcome. You know I’m starving, so I am going to cut our visit a little short so that Dan the Man can get over here and see you...then we can eat!"
"You’ve been spending way too much time with Mart." Honey laughed as Di blushed.
"Yes, I have…and it’s been magnificent!"
"Oh, a ten cent word!"
"Like you said...I’ll see you in a few, my friend."
Honey giggled as Di left. She remembered the shy, uncertain girl that she’d met nearly six years before. It wasn’t long before Dan was sitting beside her.
"I just wanted to tell you how much you’ve meant to me. You’ve been a wonderful friend, and without you and the Bob-Whites, I don’t know where I’d be." He gave her a small statue of a man with an ax poised over some chopped wood. Honey immediately burst out laughing.
"I love it! Thank you!"
"You’re welcome, Honey. Thanks for believing in me." Dan stood up and reached out his hand to help Honey up. They quickly gathered the presents and placed them in the sack that Brian had used for his heart, and walked toward the others, who were busy setting out food on the picnic tables. Honey sat down and joined them. She looked at her six best friends in the world, and recalled the six years of wonderful times they’d had, and wondered how she had gotten to be so very lucky.
Happy Sixth Anniversary, Jix!