A couple of icebergs recently calved from the glacier to the east, dotted the south end of the sound. Here in the little bay were the city park lay the green water was calm. The sand was white and the spruces lining the south and north sides tall and dark. Towering over the whole scene was Devil’s Thumb and the Coastal Range of Southeast Alaska
“Shep gets so silly." Roxanne laughed
Maeve’s handsome big shouldered brunette son entertained his equippiers with a story punctuated by the vigorous shaking of his hands, the rattling of his head, swaying of his torso, pumping of his legs and the squirming of his bare feet in the white sand. He wore a light blue ribbon pinned to his light short sleeve shirt. Naturally his brothers chose the same sort of ribbon. His blonde brother Nome leaned back and let out a howl in appreciation of the story.
Beyond them at the water’s edge their children played and waded. One of the littler boys found a stick, waved it over his head while calling for the family pets. Big friendly Jake raced that way with big ears flopping and tail wagging. The stick flew through the autumn air and splashed into the still water. Gizmo chased after her mate, but her shorter legs put her at a disadvantage. She slipped behind Shep just as he leaned back to howl himself, stumbled a little and tripped over her. He fell on this back and butt in the damp white sand. Then a shower of wine rained down upon him from the glass he’d held at the time. Shep was the first person in the family to laugh. His brothers good naturedly pulled him back to his feet.
His, father John A. Sienna and Uncle Stan X. Scamander rushed over to roughly check on him. His father had chosen a light blue ribbon, hence his sons’ choices. Stan to make it fair picked pink. Consequently, Stan’s daughters chose pink.
Maeve smiled with delight; because Roxanne laughed so hard her rosy features were now red. Roxanne always worried so much when the little ones played near the water, regardless of how much Maeve assured her everything would be fine.
“Oh how awful!” her sister-in-law gasped between guffaws with tears running down her face. “Shep could have been hurt!” At which point Roxanne’s buxom son-in-law repeated the pratfall for those that had missed it. Maeve thought Roxanne would fall over she was laughing so hard. A couple of the men did. “Well!” Roxanne sniffled, and then smiled foolishly at her best friend. “Let’s go see what names people have suggested.”
Big ruddy Roxanne wore a blue ribbon because she just knew her step-daughter really wanted a boy. Maeve understandably wore neither upon the white blouse that looked so unnatural on her. But wearing white on picnics was a Sienna family tradition.
“Let’s see,” Roxanne said looking at the suggested “Boy” name penciled up on the poster inside the pavilion. “John, Jack, Jon, Zane, Ian, Johann, Jean, Renaker Duvall…” She turned her coppery crowned head to look at her sister-in-law with a questioning glance.
“Well it’s different.” Maeve suggested weakly. She’d gotten one of the grandchildren to print it for her.
“We haven’t had a Johnny in a while.” Roxanne pointed out as she wrote it on the list.
The next poster on the wall was an enlarged photograph of Shep with a tiny baby. The caption underneath said. “Our bundle of joy came early!” Both women laughed at the joke.
“I sure fell for it!” Roxanne admitted with a chuckle.
“I know.” Maeve reminded her. “I was the one you were screaming at when you got the email.”
“You screamed when I read it to you.” Roxanne retorted with another chuckle and pleased smile.
“True.” Maeve admitted. The blush that rose to her cheeks produced a pleasant pinkness like the affect that red algae has on the pools of liquid ice during the spring high in the ice fields of Alaska. “My husband knew immediately that it was Nome with his hair dyed brown, holding one of his own children for the gag!”
On the “Girl’s” list it was, “Agatha, Angie, Agnes, Agave, Ness, Inez, Augusta, Aggie and Princess Xenia …” the last in the same hand as Renaker Duval. Roxanne smiled and penciled in Agatha again because she thought Maeve liked the name or maybe she thought that contrary to family impression, little Agatha was Maeve’s favorite granddaughter. Next stop was the weight/height pool. Most of the family bet for large and long.
“Any suggestions?” Roxanne asked as she pulled a couple of bills from her large leather handbag.
Several of their adult children and grandchildren paused to hear the response. Maeve just smiled and gave her best friend a wink. Roxanne laughed as she selected a leaner child. They both turned then to look towards the beach. They smiled at everyone else’s inquisitiveness. Smiles framed by bright red lips still livened their fair faces as they turned to watch the children play and admire the incredible skyline. Shep, the father to be at any moment, saw his mother and mother-in-law smiling at him. He adored his mother. Everyone adored his mother-in-law Roxanne. His giddiness might be attributed to the wine on an empty stomach, but everyone who knew Shep knew it was just excitement about the baby, delight in being around the whole family and love for his very pregnant wife. With his usual wide toothy grin he strutted over to the two best friends his broad shoulders sway with each step. His blonde brother’s fond gaze followed him.
“Hi mom.” He announced to everyone with a big beaming smile.
He grabbed Maeve up in his muscular hairy arms crushing her crisp unwrinkled blouse and lifted her off her feet and kissed her squarely on her blood red lips. She pretended to hate that, much to everyone else’s delight. Roxanne hugged her son-in-law with just as much as enthusiasm and left heavy lipstick on his cheek.
“What was that for?” Maeve asked as she shook her straight black hair into place and whipped the tears of laughter from her glacial cheeks.
“I just wanted to give you a kiss and tell you both how wonderful you are.” Maeve black eyes and her best friend’s green ones glanced towards Shep’s father to see if he’d instigated this as he often did when the boys were little. Their suspicion didn’t faze the handsome young man at all. “You are wonderful grandmothers to our children and wonderful mothers to all of us.” He said with a wave of his palm up open hand that indicated his wife, brothers, and sister-in-laws. Then he simple stood smiling. “Mom, my wife and I” he glanced into the interior of the pavilion where Roxanne’s very pregnant stepdaughter sat. She pulled her sisters closer in around her. Shep’s brother stepped up behind him and laid a hairy hand on his shoulder for moral support. Shep’s broad shoulder visibly fell in relief. He started again softy, “We are thinking about not using family names for the baby. Would dad be disappointed? ” He bite his lower lip and stepped back into his brothers arms.
Maeve and Roxanne exchanged a pleasant look. The red-head nodded for black haired Maeve to proceed. “I know your father would like that idea. “
“Really!” Shep gasped with a drop of his jaw and a stumble backward, so his blonde brother actually had to hold him up.
The two brothers nodded reassurances to their wives and after kissing their mother and mother-in-law again hurried off to them
“Okay everyone.” Roxanne announced loudly. “Maeve is going to scry the sex of the baby. “
Roxanne and her step-daughters gathered up blankets and their bed folks helped the lady of the hour to lay down in comfort.
“Dearie, Maeve will need your wedding band.”
Maeve pulled a length of tread from her bag. With Roxanne’s aid she secured the ring to it.
Maeve stretched her arm over her daughter-in-law and started the ring moving in a circle above the younger woman. The extended family gathered around and once they all quieted down, Maeve explained that if the ring started swinging lengthwise it would be a boy, crosswise a girl. From the corner of her dark eyes she could see money being pulled out of wallets. A breeze blew in from the glacier opposite the park. But the day remained warm and the crowd hot with excitement. The breeze elongated the circling ring long ways; a mumble came from the crowd. The breeze eventually led the ring to swing back and forth from head to toe. Cries of “A boy!”, “A boy!” erupted from the kinfolk. Money exchanged hands.
“Wait!” she called pleasantly
The pendulum began to make smaller sweeps and elongated crosswise, until it was moving from one hip to the other. Some suggested it didn’t work. Everyone was looking at the family matriarch when she looked up from her work.
“Sure it worked. Twins, one of each.”
Everyone one screamed. Cries of “What are their names? What are their names?”
Shep joyously helped his wife up. Nome came to his side.
“Augustus and Joanna”
The crowd gasped. Repeating the names to themselves and those around them. Then the laughter and applause began. John A. Sienna beamed.