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"I wish there was something I could do to make it easier for him," sighed the girl.

"There is," relied Vera. "We can make tomorrow easier for your father, by making some changes."

"What changes?" asked Charlie.

"Well," answered Vera, "he uses too much energy and time to get dressed in the morning. Today made that perfectly clear. We need to replace his button shirts with the pullover kind; pants should have elastic waists, and not belts; shoes should have Velcro, instead of shoestrings."

"But," asked Charlie, bewildered by the suggestions, "will these things really help?"

"Mornings could be easier... for all of us. I know it's hard for you to imagine, but simplifying life can make a difference."

Charlie hadn't been through this before, but Vera had. The girl could only hope and pray that her Grandma was right. What Charlie didn't understand, she was learning-- the hard way.

Meanwhile, at Clark Plumbing Service and Supply, a certain member of the city council was learning how hard it was to change Adam Clark's mind, once it was made up.

"Surely, you won't turn it down!" protested Councilman Stafford, clearly annoyed by Adam's reluctance to accept the Mayor's generous offer. Even though Clark Plumbing Service and Supply was closed on Saturdays, Councilman Stafford had all but forced his way into the store when he saw Adam and Mike through the front window, finishing some last minute chores from the previous day. "The mayor has never had such a good opportunity to honor one of Twin Yucca's own for heroism!"

"Heroism?" asked Adam, placing an unused pipe back on the shelf. "I only did what anyone else would have done."

"Such modesty!" exclaimed the councilman. "Why, at great peril to yourself, you saved the life of that... that, young woman... what's her name?"

"Jessica Enslow," replied Adam.

"You're a bona fide hero!" finished Councilman Stafford, not missing a beat. Adam's decision, however, remained unchanged. Displeased, the councilman thumped his fingers on the store counter. "Then think of the citizens of this fair city," continued the councilman. "Will you rob them of their civic pride, only to satisfy your caprice?"

"Who was robbed?" asked Mike, walking to the counter where the two men were talking.

"Maybe you can convince your uncle to attend the banquet," said Councilman Stafford.

"What banquet?" asked Mike, putting down the box of plumbing equipment he had been carrying to the back room.

"You didn't tell him?" asked the councilman, addressing Adam.

"Dan," replied Adam, "it doesn't matter. I'm not going."

"The good people of Twin Yucca want to recognize Adam's heroic act, by holding a banquet in his honor. The mayor himself will present your uncle with a medal of heroism. What do you think of that?"

"Congratulations!" exclaimed Mike, clapping Adam on the back.

"There, you see? Your nephew is in favor of the presentation," reasoned Councilman Stafford. "He refuses to attend," explained the councilman, answering Mike before he had the chance to ask. "Very well, Adam," continued the councilman, "if I can't appeal to your civic pride, then let me appeal to your wallet. Think of all the free advertising you'll receive over this publicity! Why, reporters from Joshua Tree, Yucca Valley, Palm Springs, and Twenty-nine Palms will be at the ceremony! Think of that!"

"I appreciate the sentiment behind the banquet, and the ceremony, and the publicity," replied Adam, "I really do."

"Then what's the problem?" asked Councilman Stafford.

"Jessica Enslow walked away from that accident, but her sister didn't," continued Adam. "I don't want a medal for that."

"It wasn't your fault," reminded Mike.

"I know," replied Adam. "It was God's will."

"What do you want me to tell the Mayor?" asked Councilman Stafford, resigned that the plumber wasn't going to change his mind. "The Mayor was depending on this occasion to give an important speech. He's been working on it for the past two days. It's reelection year, and he needs every opportunity to present his agenda to the public that he can get." Councilman Dan Stafford had inadvertently let slip the true motive behind the banquet and ceremony. The Mayor wanted the attention it would not only give to Twin Yucca, but also to himself.
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