Harvest Festival

Bea polished the dining room. The lemon oil glimmered over the dark veins of wood. She placed the square glass vase in the center of the table. Her roses fell to one side bleeding red petals on to the freshly polished surface. Tenderly Bea gathered the petals in her hand and carried them to the trash. She thought she heard the mailman coming early. Nothing. Bea went through her shelf of vases and chose a curvy milk glass one. Carefully Bea transferred the roses from the clear vase to the white one. More petals rained into the sink.
The mailbox lid creaked. Bea hurried to the door and then slowed her steps. Her mail was two advertisements, some bills, and flyer from her old school for upcoming Harvest Festival.
Memories flooded into her of the pumpkin painting, apple bobbing contests, corn husk dolls and the children laughing and the heady sweetness of warm mulled cider and Mrs. Weismann’s homemade bread and butter pickles. Bea had been on that committee for eleven years and had chaired it for seven before the bitches from Language Arts took over everything. She flung the flyer into the trash. As she closed the door Bea noticed the oblong box leaning by the door. She didn’t remember what it was at first then realized it was the insect habitat she had ordered for the kids. She hadn’t wanted the summer to be all princess tea parties; she wanted science and adventure. What she got was a box of praying mantids.
Sighing, Bea bought the box over to the counter, thought better of it and set the box on the bench by the back door. She moved the flowers from the white vase back to the clear and returned the square vase to the table trailing scarlet petals all the way.

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