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"It's a time when we count all the blessings God has given us," replied Terry, "and this year, we have more than usual to be grateful for." Terry looked at the turkey label and sighed. "I got a late start with this bird. Izzy's usually the one who cooks Thanksgiving around here. Jake, could you fix the hot apple cider? John and Harry will be in a few minutes, and I still have this bird to contend with."

"You could put the turkey in the sink and run cold water over it," suggested Jake. "I don't know how long it will take to thaw, but it might be worth a try."

"Where on earth did you learn that trick?" asked Terry in admiration.

"It's no big deal," shrugged Jake, heating a pan of water on the stove for the hot apple cider. "I read it in one of the cookbooks Mom lent me."

"Ahhh," smiled Terry, "someone who actually reads those things. I just hit the high spots and improvise the rest."

"That's because you know what you're doing," grinned Jake. "I don't know if this is the right time to say this or not," he sincerely added, "but I wanted to personally thank you for your generosity."

"Come again?" asked Terry, puzzled by this display of gratitude.

"Your pickup," explained Jake. "I just wanted to thank you."

"What about my pickup?" asked Terry, with a twinkle in his eye. Suddenly thinking that Abby had misunderstood her uncle's offer, Jake blushed in embarrassment. At this, Terry burst out into peals of laughter. "I'm only teasing, Jake!" he cried. "You're very welcome!"

A few minutes later, John and Harry trudged into the kitchen with red noses and numb fingers. They gratefully accepted the hot beverage Jake had waiting for them, and laughed at the still bagged turkey bathing in the kitchen sink. After a few moments of exchanging remarks about the weather, Harry asked Jake where Abby was.

"She should be along in a little while," answered Jake, returning to the stove to pour another cup for John.

The conversation changed topic, until Abby appeared in the kitchen doorway and accepted a mug of hot cider from Jake.

"Harry!" she exclaimed in a pleased voice. "So, that was you outside my window this morning! When did you get back?"

"Yesterday!" greeted the young fishing buddy. "Mom said if it weren't for these school breaks, she'd never see me at all!"

"Won't you be graduating soon?" she asked, making a quick mental calculation.

"Next year," answered Harry, "so I'll be back in the neighborhood before you know it. Speaking of the old gang," he ventured, "I saw Tyler, yesterday."

"How is he?" inquired Abby.

At this, Jake turned to wash the countertop, intently listening to every word.

While Harry was nearing the end of his college education, Tyler had only begun his that August. Since both were attending the same school, Abby was curious to know how her old friend was doing.

"Has Jane adjusted to college life, yet?" smiled Abby.

Harry looked at her with a strange look on his face.

"Didn't you hear about the accident?"

"What accident?" she asked, soberly sitting down at the kitchen table. Abby could tell bad news was coming.
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