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Subject: Jaiden – Chapter 120 Gregory A. Patrick 07/13/2021 Jaiden — Chapter 120 Disclaimer: This story is the intellectual property of the writer/owner and is fully protected under the United States Copyright Laws 17 USC 101, 102(a), 302(a). All Rights Reserved. No reproductions or other uses are allowed without the author’s prior written consent. The story Jaiden is wholly a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons living or dead, events that may or may not have occurred, or places or businesses that exist or may have existed is purely coincidental. The story Jaiden contains sexual inferences and direct mention of male-to-male sexual contact. Leave this site immediately if: (A) You are under the age of 18; (B) Access to this story is a violation of the laws of the city, state, or nation in which you live; or (C) If this type of story or writing offends you. Neither the writer nor Nifty assumes any liability regarding an individual’s access to or an individual’s decision to read Jaiden’s story. Nifty runs off financial donations made to their site. Please remember to donate accordingly. fty If you wish to comment on this story, address your comments ail. No argumentative or disrespectful comments will be allowed. Readers leaving argumentative or rude comments will not be allowed to make future remarks. Greg Patrick “Good morning, Deandre; has your mom gotten here yet?” “Good morning Dr. Jaiden; mom went to get her some breakfast; she should be back any minute.” “Good, we need to talk.” “You got your last chemo treatment yesterday. How are you feeling today?” “I was a little nauseous yesterday, but I feel good this morning. I ate all my breakfast, and it didn’t make me sick, so I’d say I am doing pretty good.” “Deandre, that’s a good sign. How would you like to go home on Saturday morning?” “You’ll have to stay inside until your immune system is back up to par. Once that happens, you can go back to school as long as it is online.” “When can I see my friends?” “I’d say you can see them as soon as your immune system is working correctly, and the risk of getting a cold or a virus is low. As long as they aren’t sick and you all wear a mask, it should be OK to let them visit with you inside your home. Don’t venture outside until we tell you it is safe for you to do that.” “Ah, good morning, Mrs. Angelino. Please, have a seat, and let’s have a conversation with Deandre. “Mrs. Angelino, the tests that were performed last Wednesday show that Deandre’s cancer is in remission. There is no sign of a growing tumor in his abdomen, and no surgery will be required at this point. As I told your son, I think he can go home on Saturday morning as long as he follows the rules we lay out for him.” “Dr. Jaiden, what would those rules be?” “He will have to stay inside the home until his immune system recovers. His friends can resume coming to see him once we check the immune system and it is working correctly. He is not to go to any shopping centers or grocery stores where he can’t control his environment and prevent exposure to viruses. We’ll repeat some blood tests on Thursday, and if the results are good, he should go home Saturday morning.” “That is awesome, Dr. Jaiden. I think he will rest better in his own bed where people won’t be coming in and out all night. We had a hospital-quality air filtration system installed in the house, and the air in his room is double-filtered. We also have masks they use here at St. Jude’s for everyone to wear inside the house.” “Perfect, Mrs. Angelino.” “Deandre, what is the first meal you want when you get home?” “Liver and onions with creamed potatoes and English baby peas.” “Are you joking with me, Deandre?” “Dr. Jaiden, believe me, that is his favorite meal. I am not a fan of liver, but he likes it, so I cook it for him. The family sits with him at the table while he eats the liver, but I have to go to the kitchen and clean while he is eating that.” “Deandre, what is so funny?” “Dr. Jaiden, when mom is in the kitchen while I enjoy my liver dinner, she isn’t cleaning as much as she is going `earl, earl, earl’ over the garbage can.” “Really?” “He’s telling you the truth, Dr. Jaiden. Liver grosses me out more than anything I have ever cooked for him.” “Well, Deandre, I have to hand it to you; the vitamin B levels in your blood are excellent for what you have gone through.” “Tell you what, Deandre, don’t eat your lunch tomorrow until you see me.” “Why, Dr. Jaiden?” “Oh, I might bring you a surprise for lunch tomorrow.” “What is the surprise going to be?” “Deandre, if I told you that, it wouldn’t be a surprise.” When Peyton and Jaiden got home for the evening, Jaiden walked into the den, hugged his sons, and played with them for a few minutes before talking to Ginny and Granny. “Ginny, Granny, would one of you mind sauteeing some calf’s liver in some brown gravy and onions and preparing some mashed potatoes and early English peas for a patient at the hospital?” “Jaiden, if you go get the liver, we’ll cook it and put it in a dinner container so it can be warmed in a microwave tomorrow. We have some instant potatoes in the cupboard that we can prepare to taste like fresh creamed potatoes, and we have several cans of peas on hand.” The next day, Jaiden put the food in the refrigerator on Deandre’s floor and told the nurse to have a nurse’s tech warm the food in the microwave and give it to Deandre at lunch. A few minutes after the patients were being given their lunch, Jaiden walked into Deandre’s room and watched the boy’s face light up like a Christmas tree. “Dr. Jaiden, thank you so much; this food is delicious.” “I’m glad you’re enjoying it, Deandre, the ladies who keep our ten children during the day prepared it for you.” “You have ten children, Dr. Jaiden?” “Dr. Peyton and I have five sons, and our brothers who live with us have four sons and a daughter.” “Wow, and y’all live in one house?” “Yes, we do, but it is a big home.” “Will you please tell those ladies thank you for me?” “No, sir, I won’t. I’ll let you tell them.” “Ginny, this is Jaiden. Would it be possible to put your phone on the speaker so a young man can speak to you and Granny?” “Jaiden, Geraldine is standing here, and the speakerphone is on.” “Mrs. Ginny, Mrs. Granny, this is Deandre. Thank you for cooking the liver for me; it is so good. I haven’t had it in a long time, and it is much better than what I have at home.” “Son, you are very welcome; we’re glad you enjoyed our cooking. We’re going to pray that you continue to get well and that your cancer never comes back.” “Thank you, I love you.” “We love you too, Deandre, be good!” “Yes, mam.” Ginny put her hands on the French doors and looked at the mountains. Tears streamed from her eyes as she said, “Geraldine, I know we came here to take care of these children, but I think God has handed us a brand new ministry that we didn’t see until today.” “Martha, I am feeling the same thing; we have to pray that God will lead us to do His will for these and other children.” “Amen, to that, Geraldine!” Granny and Ginny took the children outside to play in the yard. Ginny was standing at the railing to the deck, tears streaming down her face. Gampy had snuck over and quietly walked out on the deck and put his arms around Ginny. “Martha, what has you so emotional?” “Ezra, you know that meal Geraldine and I prepared for the little boy in the hospital?” “Yes, why?” “He used Jaiden’s phone to call and say thank you. He was so sweet. He said he hadn’t had liver in a long time and that it was his favorite meal.” She turned and faced Gampy and said, “Ezra, I think God has given Geraldine and me a new ministry with children.” “Martha, Taylor, and I could have told you that a long time ago, but you two needed to find that out for yourselves.” “What do you mean, Ezra?” “Honey, I have had a recurrent dream for several months now, and with what you just said to me, there is no doubt what the message was. We all have a new ministry; the question now is how do we move forward with it?” When Peyton and Jaiden got home, Ginny and Granny mezitli escort sat down to talk with them. They asked,” Jaiden, Peyton, Geraldine, and I believe God has handed us a new ministry to provide for the children in the hospital. Do either of you have any idea what we could do to help the children without exposing them to potential health risks?” “Peyton spoke up and said, “Ginny, Granny, because of the chemo the children are taking, they are often cold in the air conditioning. So a knitted shawl or blanket would be nice. It doesn’t need to be anything large, just big enough to wrap around their shoulders or lay over them.” “Guys, that is a great idea. We’ll talk to the ladies in the church mission group to see what we can get started.” Nothing was said about the idea until the following Sunday when Ginny and Granny walked into the house with forty new crocheted blankets wrapped in sealed, sanitized plastic bags. Jaiden and Peyton could not believe what they were seeing. They took the bags to the hospital on Monday morning, had the plastic wiped clean of any germs, and distributed the blankets to their patients. When the two got home from the hospital, they showed Granny and Ginney a couple of pictures of babies clutching their new blankets in their hands while sleeping peacefully. Then, the guys and the ladies shared a few tears with each other. Week after week, new blankets from the church would arrive in large numbers. The project would spread among the city’s African-American churches allowing every child in St. Jude’s to have a special blanket that would always be theirs. It was nothing more or less than people loving people the way God intended it to be. News of the blanket project reached Jaiden’s and Peyton’s friends at Fox news. They drove into Memphis to interview Ginny and Granny about what they had gotten started. The ladies told the news crew that they had spoken with Jaiden and Peyton and what they are doing was the result of the conversation they had with `their’ boys. Peyton and Jaiden were also interviewed by news crews from all the major television networks. Finally, on Friday night, the story was aired. Friday evening, Jaiden’s mom and Peyton’s parents called to congratulate their boys on the news of the project they were a part of. An hour later, Jenny and her temple friends excitedly called. Monday morning, Jaiden and Peyton got a message to see the hospital’s CEO in his office. When they reported for their meeting, local news crews were present. “Drs. Riley-Reynolds, because of you and the ladies who help raise your children, every child in this hospital now has a homemade, crocheted blanket. This past weekend alone, we received over ten million dollars in new donations to the hospital.” “Sir, if Peyton’s and my popularity in any way caused an increase in donations to St. Jude’s, we are eternally grateful and thrilled. Our intention is to revive my mom’s and dad’s dedication to and love for St. Jude’s and to expand the hospital’s reach across the nation.” The news crews started peppering Jaiden with questions about his dad concerning St. Jude’s. He referred their questions to the hospital’s CEO, who explained the reason for Jaiden’s comments. The news crews were incredulous at what they learned. That night, the local stations carried the interviews on their six and eleven o’clock newscasts. The newscasts were picked up by national news organizations and broadcast across the United States. Again, donations poured into St. Jude’s, and gifts for the children were received by the truckloads. Ginny’s and Granny’s new church, New Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church, was now on the national map like their home church, Erie First Missionary Baptist Church. When the ladies and their husbands arrived at church on Sunday morning, a crowd was gathered to celebrate what they had done for the patients at St. Judes. A unique service celebrated the ladies, a service attended by Jaiden, Peyton, Dale, Charley, and their children. After church, a feast fit for a king and Queen was served in the church’s large social hall. When the meal was over, Jaiden didn’t move a muscle; he had stuffed himself with southern foods he had never tried before. Peyton took one look at his husband and died laughing because he knew what Jaiden had eaten and thoroughly enjoyed. “Jaiden, how did you like those batter-fried skins?” “They were different. To eat those things again, a person would have to develop an acquired taste.” “I agree, hon; do you have any idea what you ate?” “No, and I’m not sure I want to know.” “Well, I’m going to tell you anyway: they were batter-fried chitlins.” “Oh no, I think I’m gonna pull a Charley!” “What do you mean, sweetie?” “Peyton, I think I’m gonna puke!” Charley started clapping his hands like Jaiden’s mom as he held his head back and howled. Dale and Peyton joined Charley in laughter when they looked at Jaiden and saw he had turned green. When the dads retrieved their children from the nursery, one of the ladies was slumped in a chair, fanning herself with a paper fan. “Lord, those boys like to have run me to death. Thank God for their little sister! I have never seen such a small girl reign in nine boys the way she did.” The dads started laughing when they looked at a corner of the room and saw their sons sitting quietly in their seats. Dale said, “yep, that’s my girl! Alaina Noelle is one tough cookie.” The nursery worker said, “Brother, you can say that again!” That comment made every adult in the nursery start laughing. Charley looked at the children and asked, “guys, what did you eat for lunch?” The children replied almost in unison, “fish.” “Fish! Daddy didn’t see fish in the dining hall.” “Mr. Charley, the Reverend got them some catfish and some broccoli salad that we ground finely in the food processor in the kitchen. You should have seen those children scarf down that salad.” “Charley said, “I can’t believe they ate broccoli!” “Mr. Charley…” “Whoa, I’m just Charley, not Mr. Charley.” “Well, Charley, let me show you. Children, would you like some more of the broccoli salad?” The dads were surprised to see all ten children run to Mrs. Irene to get some more broccoli salad. They ate all the salad that was left and asked for more. They weren’t happy that no salad was left for them to eat. Peyton said, “well, I’ll be. Wait until mom and dad hear about this. Jaiden, your mom is going to be surprised as well.” Dale said Charley’s and his parents would be just as surprised. Jaiden looked at Peyton, Dale, and Charley and asked, “Guy’s, do you know what kind of vegetable broccoli is?” Peyton replied, “Oh no! Cruciferous vegetables; oh no!” Jaiden looked at Charley and Dale and asked if they minded driving the children home in the van. Each said they would be glad to, so the children were loaded into the van to head home. “When Peyton and Jaiden got in their Lincoln to head home, Peyton turned to Jaiden and said, “Jaiden, that was mean.” “Yeah, babe, it was. But, I bet that by the time Charley and Dale get the children home, they will understand why I asked them to drive the van.” “Sweetheart, remember turn about is fair play, and I’m sure Charley will figure a way to pay you back by the time he gets the children home.” “Yea, I know. The good thing for me is that I can always get `called’ to the hospital.” “Jaiden, that is so devious, you should be ashamed. If the hospital calls you to come in, you better take me with you!” They both laughed at Peyton’s statement. They got to the house right behind Dale and Charley. When they pulled into the garage, Dale asked Jaiden and Peyton to get the children inside, saying he and Charley urgently needed to go to the bathroom. When Jaiden stuck his head into the van to get the children out, he yelled, “OH MY WORD! Geez, how can children so small make such a stink?” Peyton started gagging when he got into the van to help get the children out and inside the house. Dale looked at Charley and said that he had gotten back at Jaiden in the best of ways. He had pozcu escort already texted Jaiden’s mom and told her what happened and what he had done to get back at Jaiden. When all the children were inside, Peyton said they needed to take the children outside to `play.’ Not one person disagreed. As the dads got the last child outside, Jaiden’s phone rang. “Jaiden, this is Mom; how are my grandchildren doing?” “Now that they are outside, they are doing just fine, Mom.” “It’s interesting that they would be doing just fine in the backyard but not in the house.” “Mom, they had raw broccoli salad at lunch, a lot of it! The ladies in the nursery ground the broccoli in a food processor so the children could eat it — a lot of it!” “Jaiden, are you saying the children learned to play the tuba? “Mom, they learned to play the tuba, the trombone, the trumpet, bass sax, bugle, French horn, and kettle drums.” “We were driving down the interstate headed home and passed a sewage treatment plant that actually smelled good.” “Jaiden, you should be ashamed!” “Not in the least, Mom. Charley has already gotten me back.” “How so?” “When we got home, he said he and Dale urgently needed to go to the bathroom and asked Peyton and me to get the children out of the van. When I stuck my head inside the van, it took all I had not to puke, as Charley would say. Peyton got into the van to hand me the children, and the smell was so bad he was gagging.” “Jaiden, I am going to be Dr. Mom for a minute: go to the drug store and get some liquid Beano and put one drop in each child’s mouth. The Beano will stop the gas within munites.” “Thanks for the idea, Mom. I’ll go to the drug store as soon as we hang up.” “In that case, son, I’ll talk to you later to see how it is going with my grandbabies.” “Hey guys, I have to go to the drug store for a minute. I’ll be right back.” When Jaiden returned home, he took the Beano outside and gave each child one drop as his mom instructed him to do. He was surprised that the children stopped farting within minutes. He told Charley, Dale, and Peyton what he had done, and they thanked him profusely. Charley texted Jaiden’s mom to thank her as well. Thirty minutes later, Peyton’s Dad called him and ragged the crap out of him and Jaiden. “Son, you’re a doctor; didn’t you realize what cruciferous vegetables would do to a child when they ate them?” “Dad, I didn’t know they were eating broccoli.” “We went to an appreciation service and luncheon for Ginny and Granny, and the ladies in their church fed the children catfish and broccoli salad. We didn’t know that is what the children would have for lunch.” “Son, I bet you ask next time.” “Maybe, maybe not, Dad. We trust those people. We’ll give the babies some Beano before they eat at the church again. By the way, your namesake was in the bathroom with his brothers last week while they all used the potty. Chuck looked at Jaiden and said, “Da, he stink!?” “Jim said, “he’s my boy, alright!” “Good evening, Ginny, Granny. I hope your day went well and that the children behaved.” “Jaiden, I hate to tell you this, but those children only act up if you and Peyton are home.” “When you walk out the door to go to the hospital every morning, their rambunctious tendencies immediately go away. The children only act up around their dads because they are competing for attention.” “That figures, all the studies I’ve read on childhood behavior say all children act that way when their parents aren’t around.” “This very true, young man, `is indeed true!” “Good morning, Deandre. Do you know what day it is?” “Yes, sir, it’s Saturday.” “Besides today being Saturday, what else is special about today?” “Do I get to go home today, Dr. J?” “Miss Ann is going to take your vitals, and if they are good, then, yes, you get to go home today.” Jaiden looked at the labs done earlier that morning. Perfect. He looked at the dietary chart to make sure Deandre was eating without problems. Great. Deandre’s weight was 68 pounds placing him within the guidelines for his sex and age. His body mass index was 18 kg/m 2, which was near perfect for his height and weight. Blood pressure was 110/65, respiration was normal. Considering what Deandre had gone through for the past two months, he was relatively healthy, and his cancer was in remission. “High, Mom, how’s your day?” “It has been relaxing after a busy day yesterday. How is your day?” “The boys are down for their naps, so I’m taking the time to relax. I went to the hospital this morning to release my first patient. I walked downstairs with him as he was being wheeled outside to his parent’s car. When I saw him get into that car to go home, I couldn’t help it; tears rolled down my face. Outside of the day boys were born, that was the proudest moment of my life. I felt like Dad was standing beside me with his hand on my shoulder.” “Jaiden, he probably was. Your dad loved you the same way you love your sons; he was so proud of you. I am so proud of you. You’re a good doctor now, but when you get some experience under your belt, I don’t think anybody in this country will outshine you.” “Mom, thanks for saying that; it means the world to me. I just want to be the best doctor I can be.” “Trust me, son, you will be.” “Mom, the boys just came into the den to cool down from playing outside. Can you cut your speakerphone on?” “OK, Jaiden, it’s on.” “Hey guys, would you like to tell grandma high?” Each of the boys said, “Hi, gamma!” Then Nathan pointed to the French doors and began excitedly saying, “Da, cat! Da, Cat!” “Jaiden, Did Nathan just tell you the cat was outside?” “He did, Mom, but the cat is at the French doors, not on the lawn.” “Oh crap! No No No NO! Geez, I can’t believe what he just did.” “What’s that, Jaiden?” He just peed all over the French doors, and it stinks. I’ll have to go wash the outside of the doors. I bought some special spray that neutralizes the cat odor. I don’t know who owns the cat, but if he doesn’t stop coming over here and spraying everything in sight, I will call the Humane Society and have them capture him. The last thing I want is for the children to get sick because of that cat.” “Agreed, Jaiden. Ask a couple of neighbors if they know who the cat belongs to, and if you find out, tell the owner what the cat has been doing and ask them to keep him at home, inside if necessary.” “That’s what I am going to do, Mom. Ginny and Granny have made friends with some ladies who keep children in the neighborhood’ maybe she or Granny can find out by asking their friends.” “Good idea, Jaiden. By doing that, you don’t have to risk alienating anybody but the cat’s owner. Since this is about the health safety of everybody concerned, I wouldn’t be too concerned if the cat’s owners got a little upset as long as they are civil about the matter. “I doubt they’ll get upset, but they will have to do something about the cat peeing on everybody’s homes and the children’s outside playsets.” “Dr. Jaiden.” “Yes, Maria.” “Dr. Stankovitz said he would like to talk to you. He asked me to let you know when I saw you.” “Thanks. Do you know where he might be this morning?” No, sir, but he did leave me this note with his cell number.” “Thanks, Maria.” “Hank, this is Jaiden. Did you want to talk with me?” “I did, Jaiden. The cat that has been terrorizing you and peeing around your house belongs to my wife. We live about 4 houses down the street from you, and our housekeeper told me a Martha Stuart told her what the cat was doing.” “I wanted to apologize for the cat’s misgivings and let you know we will be keeping him inside as much as possible. We kept him inside, but he is an ace escape artist, so the last time he got out, we left him out. He is probably coming to your house because of the children; he adores children.” “Hank, since you told me that, I’ll let the children play with him. I’m sure if they get too rowdy that the cat will jump the fence to get away.” “I don’t know if he will run away, Jaiden. My little boy, Richard, drags him around the house escort bayan by the tail, and the cat, Tom, lets Richard handle him however he wants. He’s not mean to the cat, and when Richard is down for a nap, Tom cuddles up next to him. I’ll let Rebecca know we talked and where you live so she can keep an eye on the cat if he gets outside.” “Thanks, Hank. I’ll tell Peyton and our brothers that we talked.” “Your brothers live with you, Jaiden?” “They do, and between us, we have ten children in the house.” “TEN CHILDREN! IN ONE HOUSE! I’m so tired at times that my two drive me nuts; I don’t know how you manage ten children in one house.” “Hank, the two ladies who help raise our children came with us from Erie. They each live on opposite sides of my home. Tell you what, are you off on Sunday?” “I am this week, thankfully.” “My brother, Dale, makes coffee and knishes that are to die for. Why don’t you and Rebecca come by the house around three o’clock Sunday. You can meet my family, meet our ten children, and observe how the children act. I’m sure they would like to meet and play with your children to the extent that they can size and age-wise.” “You have my cell number, so ask Rebecca and let me know tonight. If she is up to the visit on Sunday, I’ll get Dale to make the knishes Saturday and have them warm and ready on Sunday. I’ll invite the ladies who keep our children, and their husbands, over so you can meet them.” “The lady who is helping raise my sons raised me in Virginia, and I know you will love her. When my dad died in a plane crash, Ginny’s husband, Ezra, whom we call Gampy, stepped in and was a wonderful father figure and confidant to me.” “I’ll ask Rebecca when I get home and give you a call after dinner.” “I’ll be looking forward to hearing from you.” “Dale, can a person make knishes one night, put them in the fridge, and then bake them the next afternoon, and the knishes still be good?” “Sure, Jaiden, what do you have in mind?” “I’ve invited Hank and Rebecca Stankovitz over at two on Sunday afternoon for coffee and conversation, and I was wondering if you could make knishes for their Sunday visit.” “Sure, no problem. While I’m at it, I think I’ll make an extra batch or two and put them in the freezer for us. What fruit would you like for me to put in them?” “I was thinking strawberries with a light dusting of brown sugar before they go into the oven. it will be like sitting in Hawaii drinking Kona coffee and dipping strawberries in brown sugar.” Jaiden was used to getting up early every day to go to the hospital, so at 6:30 Saturday morning, he got up. He showered, dressed, and went to the kitchen to get the love of his life and himself, a cup of coffee. When he headed into the kitchen, an aroma from Heaven began wafting through the house. Dale had beaten everyone up that morning and had just made a pot of fresh coffee and put the first batch of knishes into the oven. Jaiden walked over to Dale, threw his arms around Dale, and said, “You’re the best, Bro; I love you.” Dale was a tad surprised at Jaiden’s morning greeting since it was something he usually didn’t do that way.” “Jaiden, I love you too! What brought on such a lovely morning greeting, we usually just grunt at each other when we get up?” “Dale, sometimes when I get up in the morning and don’t have to think about medicine, I can focus on things at home that truly matter and the people whom I deeply love. You do so much to make people happy, to make them feel loved.” “Next to Peyton and our boys, you and your children mean more to me than anybody in this world. Having all of you living with Peyton and me under one roof means more than I can describe.” “For what it’s worth, Charley and I have talked about that, and we feel the same way about you, Peyton, and your children. We feel complete as a family with all of you.” “If it hadn’t been for Peyton and you, Charley and I wouldn’t have what we have, and we wouldn’t have our own children. Charley and I have talked about how much you and Peyton have shown us how much you love us in ways we would have never imagined 10 years ago.” “When Peyton walked into the dorm apartment and caught Charley and me having that argument, we would have broken up. There is so much we owe you and Peyton for. To say we are grateful to you would be an understatement. We complete college with honors because of you and Peyton. We are finishing up a master’s degree in engineering because of you. We’re doing our internship with a major engineering firm that we love and enjoy – and we will get to continue working for the company once we get back home.” “Our work will result in thousands of children getting what they need to survive, to keep many families from suffering a tragedy from which they will never truly recover. True, they get used to and can manage their loss, but get over it, never.” “We go to the temple as a family on Saturday mornings to worship Hashem. We eat together as a family and help each other with the routine things in life. Our parents in our lives, in our children’s lives, because of the two of you and your parents. Your parents have shown us more love than our parents ever had.” “Your mom getting so pissed off and flying to Mobile to confront our dads the way she did, how much more loving could she be? She tells us we are her sons just as much as you are. She has provided us with things we would have never had on our own. Jaiden…” Dale’s voice went silent as he put his face in his hands and wept. Jaiden embraced Dale and held him until he calmed down. Then said, “Dale, I can’t explain it either. All I can say is that from the moment Peyton and I met you and Charley, we’ve had an unmistakable feeling that you were family. I thank Hashem every day for the two of you and your children. If it wasn’t for you and Charley, I have to wonder: would we be the family we are today? We seem to complete each other in amazing ways, and you two are a true joy in Peyton’s and my life, and we thank you for that. “But more importantly than thanking you, we have come to love you from the very depths of our hearts.” Charley and Peyton were standing in the den the whole time, listening to what Dale and Jaiden had said to each other. Charley looked at Peyton, and Peyton looked at Charley as tears streamed down their faces. Charley tried to say thank you to Peyton, but emotions kept the words from coming out. Peyton held Charley as they cried together and let their emotions rule the moment. They heard their children waking up, so they went upstairs, got them out of their beds, and took care of their morning routines. Jaiden went upstairs to help them with all the children. Finally, they got the children dressed and went downstairs to a breakfast of Dale’s knishes and his fantastic coffee. When breakfast was finished, the guys cleaned the dining room and put the dirty dishes into the dishwasher. That done, they put the children in the van and headed to the temple for Saturday morning services. When they got to the synagogue, they took the children to the nursery where they saw Hank and Rebecca Stankovitz and their children. Jaiden introduced them to Dale and Charley, and Hank introduced his wife to the guys. When Mrs. Irene met the children at the nursery door, Dale said, “Mrs. Irene, I have a surprise for you, and it’s still warm.” When she opened the little box, she found a strawberry knish. She made sure the children weren’t watching her as she took a bite of the pastry, closed her eyes, and enjoyed what Dale had given to her. When she had swallowed her bite of the knish, she grabbed Dale and gave him a kiss on the cheek. “Dale, when I bit into the knish and tasted it, I closed my eyes and thought I had gone to Heaven. You’re going to have to give me the recipe.” “Mrs. Irene, I’m sorry, but I can’t give you the recipe; I don’t know what the measurements are for anything. I just put the ingredients on the counter and start making the pastries. I can show you how I make them, and you can write down what I do.” “Back in Erie at our temple, I met with Hadassah at one of their monthly meetings. We made knishes and coffee. Perhaps I could do that here.” “Dale, that would be wonderful. Let me talk to the ladies in Hadassah, and I will let you know. You are such a mensch for offering to do that.” “Thank you, Mrs. Irene, you are sweet to say that.”

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