Rosemary heard Charlotte pounding up her back patio steps well before she saw her. Charlotte was singing a song, loud and off key, but singing just the same. It was a Sunday school song that Rosemary remembered from her past.
“Manny, just where do you think Char learned of that song?” Rosemary asked him. To her knowledge Charlotte had never attended Sunday school. Charlotte’s Uncle Paul was doing a fine job raising her. Sadly Charlotte’s parents were killed in a plane crash six years ago, when Charlotte was two. Paul owned the hardware store next door and lived in the apartment above it. Since Paul had the hardware store to run Sunday morning’s Charlottes’ attendance to Sunday school was almost nonexistence. However, Paul behaved more Christian than most Christians did, he was a gentle soft spoken man that did very well at raising Charlotte. A time or two Rosemary had witnessed Paul reading and teaching Charlotte of the bible and the many stories in it, even acting out some of the parts to score a laugh from Charlotte. Nothing was more beautiful than Charlotte’s laugh.
Charlotte’s personality was as colorful as Cyndi Lauper minus the orange hair. In some ways she was mature beyond her years, and in other way she was just a giggly girl ready to bust into a dance move or throw a blanket over her head and spin around for no apparent reason, either way this is the reason that Rosemary and Charlotte made the best of friends because laughing was never too far away. Even the 20 year age difference didn’t matter. Charlotte’s huge blue eyes sparkle and light up whenever she speaks. She has a head full of naturally curly honey colored hair. Her sense of style is unmistakable, she has a way with clothes and outfits that blows Rosemary’s mind. Charlotte could pull an outfit together and one would swear that it was going to look hideous, because it did on the hanger. Then when Charlotte puts it on and adds a funky hat or chunky necklace with bright socks somehow it would look like it was made to be together. It was like magic. She was a designer’s dream. Together they were forever getting into trouble or starting a new adventure. They shared a love of reading and spent hours doing just that. They have done everything from sailing with pirates on the Caribbean Sea to riding horses in the wild, wild, West.
As Rosemary was listening to Charlotte sing, Ephesians 5:19 popped into her head. “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the lord.”
Within a minute Charlotte had burst through the back door like a whirlwind tornado into Rosemary’s kitchen, hugged Tops, and had grabbed a cookie from the bottomless cookie jar, while slamming herself into a chair at the dining table in her kitchen.
“I can’t wait till summer,” Charlotte said. “I’m forever pining for the grass under my bare feet. You know that I got a way cool nail polish that matches my new pair of flip flops, right? Happy Valentine’s Day, Rose! Did you open my card? I made it for you. Did you get the Dad’s Root beer that I gave you?” Charlotte exclaimed as she hugged Rosemary! “I was wearing my red dress with the purple polka dots when I made it, just so you know, so I matched the card to my dress!” And sure enough the card was red with purple polka dots on it, Charlotte didn’t miss a thing.
One of their favorite indulgences was to drink old fashioned soda pop of any sort, Dad’s Root beer, and Cream Soda or Orange sodas. They were always drinking them and they would save the pop tops in a huge terra cotta wide mouth jug that sat in her living room. Sometimes when they were bored they would play a game and try to see who could make the most pop tops into the jug. Life just moved at a slower pace in Huckleberry.