The farm had many vehicles, including an ultra-cool four wheeler, an ultra-ugly four-wheeler, several beat-up farm trucks and four golf carts. Bobbi was driving a golf cart, which she parked next to the ultra-ugly four wheeler, outside Rick’s house.
After unloading several bags of dandelion flowers and placing them on the ground in front of the porch, she walked the three narrow steps up to the front door and pulled the metal handle beneath the doorbell sign, scrawled in Halloween-style letters.
The door had a “Wolf’s Den” sign with a large grey wolf staring directly at the waiting visitor. Bobbi pretended she was staring it down, until Rick answered – which meant she was glaring directly into Rick’s eyes when the door opened.
“You hung that sign at your own eye level.” Bobbi observed.
“On purpose,” Rick admitted with a characteristic grin.
Bobbi threw her thumb over her shoulder, indicating the bags.
“Contraband!” Rick growled with glee.
“Dandelions,” Bobbi shrugged. “As requested.”
“Can’t make dandelion wine without them.” Rick chuckled.
“Is it enough?”
Rick considered the bags for a few moments. “It’s a good start. We’ll see how far it goes. If we need more, I’ll make another request.”
“How much do we need?”
“At least two years worth. We sold a lot of bottles last year. The supplies are down.”
Bobbi stood silent for a few moments. she was out of small talk and unsure if she should ask the question gnawing at the back of her brain.
“You got your first mentor-ship.” Rick observed. “Scary, isn’t it?”
“That obvious?” Bobbi asked.
“You’re easy to read,” Rick shrugged. He clearly did not mean this as an insult, but Bobbi felt insulted anyway.
“Georgia’s a good kid.”
“She’ll do well.”
“And if it doesn’t work out, her family won’t get thrown off the farm. The entire family will not become homeless because of me.” Bobbi finished. As she spoke her voice became weak and sadly hopeful.
Rick just stared at her for a few moments. “Wow,” he said.
“That’s it? Wow?” Bobbi retorted.
Bobbi sighed, muttered goodnight and crawled back into the golf cart.
“Hey,” Rick shouted.
“I’ve mentored a few kids.”
“A few, when they were a good fit. Usually didn’t fit anywhere else, just like Georgia. No one got thrown off the farm, even when the mentoring stopped.”
Rick shrugged. “They’re kids, things change. Besides, the reason we mentor them is for they’re own safety. Building relationships and learning farm skills is part of being safe, but the bottom line is this – teach her how to keep from getting herself hurt of killed on a farm. City kids and suburbanites don’t know how to do that.”
Bobbi was momentarily stunned. “That’s it?” She replied. “Safety?”
“If you can teach her a few things about the orchard while you’re at it, even better. But, yeah, it’s about safety. Keep it in perspective.”
Bobbi felt significantly better. “Thanks Rick – seriously, thank you.”
Rick gave her a quick two-fingered wave, grabbed a few bags of dandelions and disappeared behind a permanent shed built beside his house.
Bobbi headed for home, very grateful for the opportunity to deliver the dandelions.