I want you to help,” said Toby getting right to the point. With Toby in his house shoes Jack was just a little bit taller than the older man. Standing just inches away looking down at him Jack noticed, for the first time, the lines of age around the man’s eyes and a tiredness even though the day had just began. Toby had always handled the ranch on his own, even the repairs to the barn roof had been Toby’s chore until the last couple of years. It occurred to Jack that the uncle he had known all his life, as the white haired stick of energy, was getting old. “Today we spend getting ready for the harvesting crew,” Toby continued. “I’ll oversee most of the action and make any decisions that need made. You’ll be my runner, picking up things I forget, which I seem to do constantly and getting messages from the field to the barn and things like that,” he paused a second and then added, “are you game?”
Jack answered immediately without taking thought, “sure, it sounds like fun.”
“Fun? Well, yes, I suppose it could be fun,” Toby grinned at Jack. “But it’s going to be a long day and this is new for me too so you’re going to have to step in and stop me from trying to do everything.”
Jack’s only thought was to get started, “I’m ready.”
“Hang on. We’re going to take it real easy today. I need to save myself for tomorrow. We start with a nice breakfast with a lot of conversation,” Toby said as he started the walk back to his house. He turned his head and asked over his shoulder as he walked, “How are you with eggs and toast?”
“You mean cooking them?”
“I know you can eat.”
“Sure, I’ll make breakfast,” Jack answered feeling good about having the task.
“Good,” Toby said as they walked into his home. “I’m taking a quick shower and then we’ll eat.”
Jack was left alone to hunt through the kitchen, finding pans and food in the places they are usually found and had breakfast well on its way before he heard the sound of water rushing through the pipes to Toby’s shower.