“How do I like my new job?” Cherry grinned and spooned ice from her water tumbler into her coffee cup. “I love it Dad, in spite of the heat.”
Cherry’s young pretty mother laughed. “If I’d known you wanted iced coffee for breakfast, darling, I would have fixed you a pitcher of it. But it’s a good idea. Never have I known it to be so hot during the last week of June.”
Three weeks ago Cherry had started to work as nursing supervisor of the Wayside Rest Home which was situated on the Bluewater Highway about twenty miles from her home town, Hilton, Illinois. The morning after Cherry began her new job, her parents had left on a motor trip and had just returned the night before.
“Tell us more about the patients,” Mrs. Ames said. “We got home so late last evening there wasn’t time to chat. But it’s only seven o’clock, Cherry. You don’t have to leave for a half-hour.”
“Well,” Cherry began, “you both know Mrs. Nellie Harmon. You were there last month when she underwent a tracheotomy at the Hilton Hospital. She doesn’t need any nursing car, except that her tracheal tube has to be taken out once a day. We use pipe cleaners to make sure it isn’t clogged, sterilize it, and replace it every morning. She’s a wonderful patient and has decided to make the Wayside her permanent home.”
Edith Ames nodded. “I can understand that. She has no children and has been a widow for years. What about that boy who broke his leg while vacationing at the Bluewater summer camp? I read about the accident in the copy of the County News you sent us, Cherry. As I recall, his parents are famous photographers.”
“That’s right,” Cherry said. “They’re in South America on an important assignment and made arrangements by long-distance phone for Ricky to be brought to the Wayside as soon as he was discharged from the hospital. His leg is in a walking cast, which he calls his cement sock.”
William Ames guffawed. “Pipe cleaners and a cement sock! It sounds like the kind of teen-age jargon Midge Fortune uses. Makes no sense to a businessman like me.”
“Ricky Cartright,” Cherry said, clutching her dark curls in mock dismay, “and Midge Fortune are two of a kind. Ricky’s room is on the ground floor, and he shares an adjoining bath with Bob Porterfield whom he hero-worships. Bob is awfully good to Ricky, otherwise we’d all go out of our minds.