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Main Street #5: The Secret Book Club

Flora Northrop sat on her front stoop and surveyed Aiken Avenue. Early morning was one of her favorite times of day, and an early summer morning was especially delicious. On this Friday in late June, Flora inhaled deeply and caught the scent of grass, of rose petals, and of something soft and sweet that eventurally she realized was rain. It had rained the night before—the trees were vaguely drippy—and it looked like it would probably rain again later that day. Flora didn’t care. She liked rain.

“Ruby!” called Min from the other side of the door. “Please get a move on. It’s time to go.”

Flora listened fro her sister’s response and heard nothing.

“Ruby Jane!” called Min a moment later, and Flora thought her grandmother sounded just the teeniest bit impatient now. “Ruby?”

What? I’m coming!”

Min, who had opened the front door, now ducked back inside. “Ruby, I hope that what I just heard you say was, ‘I’m on my way, Min Dear’”

Flora turned around, smiling. But when she caught sight of her sister’s face, her smile disappeared. Ruby looked like a storm cloud.

“For corn’s sake,” said Min. “Ruby, what’s the matter?”

“I don’t want to go to the shore,” replied Ruby, an impressive whine to her voice. “Are we going to have to go every day this summer?”

Min turned a gaze on her granddaughter that said “What do you think?” as plainly as if she had used words.

“All right. I know we won’t be going every single day,” said Ruby huffily. “I just don’t want to go today. It’s too early. I wanted to sleep late. Isn’t that what summer vacation is for?”

“If you’re a sloth,” said Min.

Flora got to her feet. “Come on, Ruby. Hey, I know what will make you happy. I saw the baby phoebes when I woke up this morning.”

“The babies? The phoebe had her babies?” Ruby brightened and Min shot Flora a grateful glance.

“Yup,” replied Flora.

Three pairs of eyes looked up to the window box outside Flora’s room. In it was a mossy nest built by a shy phoebe.

“Did all the eggs hatch?” asked Ruby.

“All three,” said Flora.

“Just like last year,” said Ruby, and she skipped along the path to the sidewalk while Min locked the door of the Row House.

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