For Maddie and Cissy Sweeney it was simply the most exciting day on earth. The bull work was done and they were now actually playing on the front porch of their new home. 'Their Home', wasn't that grand? And it had this front porch, a big front porch, where they had some dolls and doll furniture and were playing.
They were, of course, making a huge amount of noise but for Maddie and Cissy, Madelaine and Cecelia, that was the norm. They were out going, effervescent and therefore noisy a lot of the time.
Now and again Angela, their Mom, would come out onto the porch to make sure they were okay but she kept an ear open for the din of their play time and would have only worried if the noise subsided.
The move to this small house was Angie's decision after the note from 'Reba' someone finally told her that Tim was dead, gone. He'd died somehow in an accident. Reba didn't offer details apart from the fact that Tim was dead and buried, and Angie wasn't going to ask.
There was, for Angie, also some real relief in the situation. She hadn't felt good about buying the house and moving while the shadow of Tim was still over her head. They had had any number of 'set to's' over the years of their marriage, about 8 to tell the truth, about 'her' money.
Her Momma and Dad had been fairly rigid in their advice about it. Angie did have money but, after that first year and a half, and after Tim had shown how unreliable he was, going off any time he wanted and not showing up for days. Then only breezing in with the 'hi babe' attitude that he was sure would settle everything down for him and her again.
Angie had hung on and then devoted herself to the twins, who were born after she and Tim had been married for about a year and three quarters.
One of Angie's early lessons was that Tim's lifestyle, the way he planned and lived his life, did not admit him being tied down in any way by the duties of being a father. He told Angie boldly, during one of their arguments, that he wasn't 'Dad' material.
The downright happiness of those lovely little girls didn't seem to bring him around at all. He was gone a good deal of the time. Meanwhile, Angie worked, and took care of the twins. They formed a very happy, if incomplete, little group, the three of them.
Angie knew that she could give credit for part of this attitude to her lovely Mom, also Angela, and Dad, Duane. They stood by her, made sure that she had what she wanted, and even advised her to wait to purchase a home until life was a bit more settled for her.
They'd been right there, when Angie finally got that short note from 'Reba' about the death of Tim.
In that instance there was some weeping but it was more weeping for the loss of a possible life.
It was also then that Duane had suggested that it was time for Angie to have her own home. The apartment should be given up in favor of a small house.
It was done that way, with Momma and Poppa paying the lion's share for the house and now here they were.
Both Duane and Angela senior had thought that giving Angie some time to get settled in her own way was a good idea. That's why they weren't there that particular day.
The tasks were going well and the girls were out on the porch making their noises and behaving like the very active 6 year olds that they in fact were.
Tom Lanton, Police Captain Tom Lanton, had noticed that new neighbors were moving in. He also noticed the two lovely little girls and their equally lovely Mom. He in fact took some time that morning to work on a plan to welcome the new neighbors.
MOMMA, IT'S THE COPS
Angie was working inside getting the kitchen settled, and singing to herself. The relief in her life these days was hard to calculate or understand unless you'd been the one that had had to deal with Tim Sweeney's ways for all these years.
Tom had gone to the precinct house that morning and made sure that things were well organized and priorities for their work were set. Then he went home to make his preparations to welcome the new neighbors. He was driving his cruiser that morning, and when he pulled into the driveway, he heard the choruses of "Momma, it's the cops!"
Angie heard the two of them but thought it was just another facet of their play.
Then Maddie and Cissy got even more strident, and were calling out: "Momma, the police are here!" This was accompanied by the continually shouted words: 'The Police, The Police, The Police'. Angie could also hear the girls jumping up and down in their excitement.
It was then that Angie went to the front porch. She did in fact see a policeman coming up the walk and carrying a box in his hand.
"Hi," Tom Lanton said. "I'm your next door neighbor."
"Hi yourself," Angie said.
"No possibility of sneaking up on you, I guess," he said, grinning at the two equally grinning girls.
"Hi, Mr Policeman!" they said, first Cissy and then Maddie.
"Hi to you, he said. "I'm police Captain Tom Lanton."
Now it was "Momma, Momma he's a captain! A captain!"
"Thank you, girls," Angie said and the two of them, though still grinning, stood and watched silently.
"I've taken the liberty of bringing some things here," he said. "Didn't know if you've had the chance to shop or not."
"How nice," she said, looking on as he opened the box and showed her. It was some ham, cut into slices, bread, cup cakes, which got a shout from Cissy and Maddie, some fruit and milk.
There was clapping now from the girls, who were anxious to have a treat.
They did in fact have their treat, to which they invited Tom Lanton, on the porch. There was a table on the side porch, which was screened in.
Angie and Tom took the time, while the girls were busy with the treat, to get to know one another a little bit. She was forthcoming about the reason to finally move from the apartment and buy the house.
By then the girls were back on the front porch playing again.
"They are just lovely!" he said.
"Thank you," she replied, "At times a hand full."
"I don't doubt that for a minute," he replied. "If ever I can help, please let me know."
"That's very nice of you," she said, with a smile. "It seems that they are already smitten with you."
"My charm!" he said with a grin.
Exactly at the time of this first encounter between Angie Sweeney and Tom Lanton, Angie was a very pretty 30 year old. She was petit, indeed none of the women in her family were very large. She took rather after her Mom and her Aunt Jane. She was 5'5" and had auburn hair, with just a hint of red lurking there somewhere. After the birth of the girls, she had gotten back into pre-pregnancy shape and had maintained herself over the years. Despite her Tim's lack of interest in either Angie or the twins, Angie Sweeney was lovely.
Tom Lanton had been married to a woman who got more and more critical of his time away as a policeman. She, at times, thought, vocally, that she could certainly do his job better than he. He always simply let her spout such opinions, which she was wont to do often enough.
They eventually simply separated and she went her own way. She had never wanted children, a continual bone of contention between them.
Indeed, not having children was one of the sadnesses of Tom's life. After the marriage broke up, Tom bought himself a house and settled there, introducing into the house two cats, whom he called 'the bandits'. They were his devoted fans, Edie and Rooney, were their names. Together they served to bring Tom out of the funk that the disaster of his childless marriage had produced.
While Angie Sweeney was in the process of getting things settled in the house, Tom Lanton saw the girls almost on a daily basis. Angie, who worked for her Dad, was taking time off to get settled in the house with the girls.
It provided Angie with quite a busy week.
On the Wednesday of that week, Angie and the girls' first week, Tom came home for lunch. It gave him a chance to check on the 'Bandits' at his house. When he pulled into his driveway, he noticed Maddie and Cissy playing on the porch.
"Hey Policeman!" a squeaky voice called out. Tom waved at the two of them. "It's captain," the other voice insisted. Both were grinning at him.
"Momma, it's the police!" Cissy called into the house.
Angie appeared in the door to say 'Hi' to Tom.
Tom stood by the railing of Angie's porch, with the two girls standing by and grinning at him. He was certainly a favorite of theirs.
"I have someone that I'd like you to meet," he said to Cissy and Maddie. "That is, if your Mom won't mind."
Angie Sweeney and the girls had lived in an apartment where pets were not allowed. It was therefore a major thing, when Cissy and Maddie discovered that two cats were lurking in the house next door, where the big police captain lived.
"Momma?" both girls were calling at once, while dancing around on the porch.
Angie laughed and said: "Not at all; maybe I should meet this person also."
"Maybe you should," Tom said. "It's two by the way."
"Two?" Cissy said.
"Yes," Tom replied. "I'm referring to 'the bandits', as I call them, at my house."
"Bandits?" Maddie asked.
"Yes," Tom said, "My two cats."
Then there was pandemonium. Both girls were jumping up and down and alternating saying 'please' or 'Momma' or 'may we?' or all sorts of variations on 'now'.
It was quickly decided that the four of them would make a trip to Tom's house to meet 'the bandits'.
.... There is more of this story ...