Everyone had assembled in the foyer and Father Lawler went to Chad and whispered, "Chad son, they are not going to take your sons from you. I'll fight tooth and finger nails to make sure that they don't. The bigger issue here is what is going to happen to your other five brothers and sisters. I think it is God's calling that they live with you and the Walkers for the time being."
Father Leahy came over and was talking to Chad and Tim, "Guys, I think that you have both landed on your feet with this group of people. I can not imagine that Mr. Stone and Mrs. Young would even think to pull you out of that environment. I am sure that Mr. Stone and Mrs. Young are struggling with what would be best for your brothers and sisters."
We went to a semi quick food restaurant and ordered lunch, but Chad and Tim hardly ate anything. I couldn't handle the tension anymore and looked at the two young guys. "Chad and Tim, let's go for a walk. They'll save our sandwiches for us."
We went outside the restaurant and sat on a bench. I pulled the guys close to me. "Guys, everything will work out just fine. Remember, I have met your parents and I am sure that Mr. Stone and Mrs. Young will see right through them. They have been trained to spot problem areas. I haven't been trained in that area, but I already know that your parents will probably shoot themselves in the foot or somewhere else that hurts even more this afternoon."
"Now I want you two gentlemen to get back in there and eat, so you have the strength to support your brothers and sisters. Is that understood?"
Chad must have been feeling better because he answered, "Dad Doug, did I understand that we should go back in there and gorge ourselves so we would throw up and everyone would leave because of the stench and then we could go home."
I looked at Chad and couldn't refrain from laughing. "You wait until I get you home. I am going to chase you around the house in front of your sons with a wet spaghetti noodle. What are they going to think when you are yelling, 'I surrender.'"
That was all that it took to have the two teenagers to convulse in my arms. Grandmother saved anymore tension. "Okay, you laughing hyenas. We need to get back to the church, so we can make plans to meet the rest of your brothers and sisters."
We assembled back at the church and Mr. Stone took charge. "I am going to meet with Mr. and Mrs. Harmon and Father Leahy. Mrs. Young and Father Lawler will be meeting the other children one on one after they watch the interaction between Chad and Tim and them. Mr. Wilkins and the Walkers to include Henrietta, Bryce and Doug, I would like for you to make the proposal that you take Tim to live with you and see if the Harmons agree to sign the paperwork. We will deal with this before we start on the issues dealing with the other five children."
He continued, "I would ask that everyone maintain a low profile until after the Harmons leave if they do come. Does anyone have any questions?"
I was surprised when Chad interjected, "Mr. Stone, Mr. Harmon is a salesman and will not always say what he should, instead he will say what he thinks you want him to say and Mrs. Harmon will agree with anything he says."
Mr. Stone looked at Chad, "Young man that is a rather bold statement."
Tim interrupted, "But Mr. Stone, it is true. He has been known to not quite tell the entire story."
The discussion was interrupted because the other Harmons were approaching the entrance to the offices. Chad, Tim and Mike disappeared. Father Leahy, took those of us who were to be involved in the Tim matter to the library. Mrs. Young led the others to where Mike and Tim and Chad were waiting.
The two areas were as different as night and day.
When the other five children saw Chad and Tim, they huddled around them and hugged them. The two youngest boys, Billy and Bobby, practically pushed Chad and Tim over by jumping into their arms. Billy asked, "Are you coming home, please? Dad and Mother won't let us do anything and all we get to eat is cereal and toast. Please Chad and Tim, you have to come home."
Chad put Billy down, "Everyone, please listen to me, this is Mrs. Young. She and Father Lawler would like to visit with you. They want to make everything okay, so if they ask you a question, please answer them truthfully. I don't know what is happening yet, but I want you to meet your two nephews as soon as possible."
Bobby looked at Chad like he was weird, "But I'm too young to be an Uncle."
Tim assured him, "Bobby, you are an uncle to two cute little guys and they need you to help take care of them. We are all going to need to help Chad be the best Daddy he can be."
Mrs. Young had to turn away to get rid of her tears, and Father Lawler had tears running down his cheeks under his glasses.
Mrs. Young asked, "Jenny, would you please come with me and Father Lawler? Chad and Tim, would you please take care of your brothers and sisters for a couple of minutes."
It was less than two minute when Jenny came out and announced, "Deanne and Dianna, Mrs. Young and Father Lawler would like to speak with you. Chad, Mrs. Young said you were to call the Pizza Hut and ask them to deliver two large pizzas and some sodas. She said she would pay for them."
Chad had never ordered pizza before, but he got through the process. When the young man who was delivering the pizza walked into the church, Mike met him and paid him. The Harmon children began devouring the pizza and Mrs. Young and Father Lawler joined us in the library.
The scene in the library had been anything but pleasant. Mr. Stone was relentless and finally got the Harmons to acknowledge that they had indeed signed the papers making me Chad's guardian. I was pleasantly surprised when he Mr. Stone changed gears, "Mr. and Mrs. Harmon, I think it would be in everyone's best interest if you also signed over the guardianship of Timothy to Mr. Walker as well. Just from the few minutes we have had together, I don't think it would be in the best interest of Timothy for him to ever return to your house."
Mr. Stone ran his fingers through his hair, "Mr. Hutchins, I believe that you have some paperwork that would assign Mr. Douglas Walker as the guardian for a certain Timothy James Harmon."
Frank pulled out the documents and without hesitation the Harmons signed them. Mr. Stone looked at the papers, "We'll stop by your house on the way out off town to get Tim's papers that we need. Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to go visit with my colleague and Father Lawler about other issues that we need to address."
"I would ask that the Walkers, except for Mr. Doug Walker, accompany me. Mr. Wilkins, I think you and Doug should stay here and visit with Father Leahy and the Harmons."
Mike told me later that Mr. Stone was like a madman when he came out of the meeting. He asked Mrs. Young two questions as he watched the five young people devouring the last of the pizza. He practically ordered, "Mr. and Mrs. Walker and Mr. Long, I want you to take these young people to their old home and collect their belongings. Mrs. Young will go with you. I suggest that you get them out of town as quickly as possible."
The entourage left for the Harmon house accompanied by Mrs. Young. The children quickly gathered the few things they had, with Chad and Tim's help, and everyone was packed and ready to travel.
Mrs. Young saw them off and came back to the church to sit in on the rest of the proceedings. That was when the meeting with the Harmons turned really interesting.
The two vans started to Des Moines with Chad driving Dad's van. Dad told Chad to pull into a restaurant area at the Amana Colonies exit. They had a playground where the children could exercise. They went into the restaurant so everyone could go to the bathroom and Dad insisted that everyone should have some dessert to hold them until dinner.
Chad reluctantly participated. Chad suggested or rather insisted that the young people have something other than carbonated beverages to drink. He set the example by having a small Chocolate Milk Shake. The other six young people had no problem following that example at all. But Grandmother insisted that each of them have an apple turnover to make sure they didn't starve.
When Mr. Stone determined that the others were well on their way, he turned the heat up. "Mr. and Mrs. Harmon, I am very disturbed by your attitude. I can not, for the life of me, understand why you would bring seven wonderful children into the world and be willing to practically give them away. Just so you know, all seven of the children are safely out of Iowa City and will remain so until you can prove that you are capable of being caring parents."
"I understand that Father Leahy has already recommended that you get professional help. I suggest you do so. One of our case workers will be contacting you on Monday and presenting you with the necessary paperwork that indicates that the your youngest five children have been removed from your care, for just cause. They will be returned when, and only when, you can prove that you are prepared to be suitable parents."
Mr. Harmon turned red as Mr. Stone was speaking, "You son of a bitch, you can't take our offspring away from us. Those two heathens that we brought into the world by mistake will cause them all to go to hell."
Father Leahy looked at Mrs. Harmon and asked, "Mrs. Harmon, do you have anything to say about what is happening?"
Mrs. Harmon shook her head, "I agree with my husband. Whatever he says is right."
I felt a number of shudders around the table when she made that last comment. All I could think was that the creep has beaten the poor woman into the ground and has reduced her to a zombie. The guys hadn't been exaggerating when they described her as a yes woman.
Mr. Stone was very calm, "Mr. Harmon, for your information, my mother was not a bitch. She was a kind caring woman. I was born ten years after she and my father had been married. My Father died when I was two and my mother devoted her life to my sister and me. You realize, I hope, that you just told us that Chad and Tim were probably born out of wedlock. This makes this case even more bizarre. I can not for the life of me understand why you would just sign your sons away. That is not going to absolve you of your past sins."
Father Tom leaned over to me and whispered, "I'm beginning to wonder who the men of the cloth are around here."
Mr. Stone stood, "Now, if you will excuse us, some of us need to leave for Des Moines. My granddaughter is having her sixteenth birthday party tonight and I don't want to miss it. Father Leahy, I hope that you don't have any other things we need to visit about. I hope that you and Father Lawler will keep my office advised of what is happening with Mr. and Mrs. Harmon."
Mr. Stone wasn't finished, "Mr. Walker, Mr. Hutchins and Father Lawler, could you meet with us for few minutes, before we leave?"
Mr. Stone guided us into a small room and we watched as Father Leahy escorted the Harmons to the exit. When they were out of sight, Mr. Stone started up again, "Ian, how many of your other a parishioners are like that couple? Chad and Tim were right on the money about them. They are works of art and I hope they threw the mold away when they made them."
Mr. Stone turned his attention to me, "Doug, are you and your family going to be able to handle this influx of young people?"
"Jerry, a week ago it was just Mike and me, Here it is New Year's Eve Day, and we now have eleven more people living with us. It will work; the star that led Chad to Grandmother's house on Christmas Eve probably had this in mind all the time. I guess Mike and I had better be prepared for the twelfth visitor to descend on us shortly."
"Sorry for the humor, but I am sure that between Mother, Dad and Chad, they will figure out how to make it work."
Mrs. Young asked, "Doug, we have been invited to my daughter's house tomorrow for New Year's Day dinner. Might I stop by and visit since I am going to be in the neighborhood. It will save me a trip later."
I couldn't help myself, "Why not? Mike's parents and probably Frank's family will be there. I'll have a shoe horn to pry you in."
We shook hands with the two Fathers, walked to the car, and as we pulled away from the church, all I could say was, "Wow, this would make a great human interest story. There is no way I would subject these seven children to the scrutiny that, that would bring."
Frank, bless his heart, was concerned, "Doug, all those people can't fit in your house for any length of time. Everyone will become claustrophobic."
Little did Frank know.
After the stop for exercise and dessert, the other two vehicles made it to the house. Needless to say, the first stop for Chad was to check on his two sons.
They were both asleep and so Chad whispered to his brothers and sisters, "These are your two nephews. Let me show you to the rooms where you will be sleeping for now. First, let me introduce you to Aunt Elaine, Kendra and Kevin."
Little did anyone know what fate had in store for them.
Quite an interesting New Year's Eve, wasn't it. Well, I should say New Year's Eve Day. Once again Uncle Ed has brought us a wonderful chapter Complete with some wonderful children to love and a couple of nasty parental units to totally dislike. Hatred is a terrible thing, so even though those people were extremely hate filled individuals, It will do no good what so ever for us to hate them. We needn't waste our energies in such a fashion.
Those children will finally get the love they deserve, now and I couldn't be any happier about that.