Jane Taylor padded across the wooden dining room floor of her family's Arizona dude ranch and placed a bowl of steaming scrambled eggs on the long table.
In a few minutes her husband, Matt, her mother-in-law, Etta, the ranch hands/brother and father -in-law, John and Luke, and a dozen guests would gather around the table for breakfast.
Jane smiled. She loved this time of day, when she was together with her family, most importantly, Matt. Thinking of Matt made Jane think of the first time she had met him.
He had been looking for a church to go to for a short period of time while his broken leg healed. It wasn't long before Jane found herself taken by his sparkling blue eyes, rustic good looks and love of life. Almost before she knew what was happening, Jane had been married, swept away from her town life near St. Louis, and replanted on the dude ranch near Phoenix.
In this case opposites did indeed attract. At 22, Matt was never serious. A year younger than he, Jane was almost always serious.
Motherly Etta walked by the dining room doorway and out to the porch. A moment later Jane heard the familiar clang of the triangle signaling breakfast time. Borders swarmed from the hallway and upstairs rooms and Matt, John, and Luke stomped up the porch and into the house.
Matt stooped down and quickly kissed Jane's hair before moving to his place at the head of the table.
"Lovebirds." Luke muttered taking his place beside Matt, with his father, an older Navajo man, John, across from him. Jane sat at the end of the table.
"You'll not be thinking it foolish when your turn comes." John predicted.
"Hey, I'm seventeen. I have plenty of time before I get ready to settle down."
Jane smiled. "'Plenty of time to settle down' that's what I said, too. Two months later, Matt showed up."
The last of the borders came to the table, and Matt said grace. Then breakfast began and quiet reigned for the first few minutes as everyone enjoyed the food. John left as soon as he was through, and Luke, too, went outside after his third plate. Going in small groups, the borders, mostly tourists, left as well, leaving only Matt, Jane, and Etta at the table.
Etta began to clear the dishes away, admonishing Jane to "stay put or else."
"Sounds good to me." Matt said.
So Jane did as she had been told.
"Are you excited?" Matt asked her.
"About Jason coming? Yeah."
Jason was a one-year-old orphan boy from the nearby Catholic orphanage that Matt and Jane had recently adopted. They were bringing him home that very day.
Blonde haired, blue eyed, and sweet-tempered, Jason was something of an angel child.
"Hey, Matto, get yourself out here!" Luke called from outside.
"Matto?" Jane questioned her husband with raised eyebrows.
Matt shrugged and rolled his eyes, as he got up. "How that man is my brother, I will never know."
Jane laughed. "I'm not quite sure he's even a man, more of a boy, really."
"Very true." Giving Jane a quick kiss, Matt donned his Stetson and headed outside. Jane checked for Etta before she got up and headed upstairs to check once more on the nursery for Jason.
Jane sat down in the maple rocker that John and Matt had made and looked around the room. Mint green walls, sheer white curtains, a maple dresser, a changing station and a crib were all here, ready and waiting.