“I doubt Kimi kept him entertained,” Charlie said. “So my question remains the same. What did he do all day?”
“He watched TV in his room.”
Cal shrugged. “I dunno. While Dad didn’t have nothin’ to do I sure did. I worked that section pretty much by myself. Then at night, I spent time with Kimi and the boys. After the twins went to bed if Dad was still up we’d bullshit about stuff. I never heard him say he was bored.”
“I sure as f**k don’t want my retirement to be sittin’ around and watchin’ goddamned TV,” Carson said.
“I’m sure your kids would love to dump some of the two hundred grandkids you have off on you every day,” Cal said.
“Piss off, Cal.”
“Maybe you oughta tell Carolyn you’re worried about bein’ bored. She’ll have you in the kitchen learnin’ to cook in no time,” Charlie added.
“You can piss off too, Charlie.”
Cal and Charlie laughed and knocked their beer bottles together.
Carson’s gaze traveled around the Golden Boot. “Maybe we oughta start a bar. This place needs some competition.”
“It has competition: Ziggy’s, Twin Pines, the Rusty Spur. Though I’ll admit I liked that place better when it was the Silver Spur years ago,” Cal said.
“Place was a fire hazard, which is why it burned to the ground. After the owners rebuilt it and renamed it the Rusty Spur, Carolyn made me take her there for a drink. She figured since the old place and old name was gone, then her lifetime ban oughta be lifted too.”
“Yep. I think the new manager was a little scared of her, to be honest.”
“Any of your kids ever hear the story of their Mama’s bar fight?” Charlie asked.
Carson shook his head. “I can’t be sure someone else didn’t tell them about it.” He leaned back in the booth. “Charlie, you seem all het up about retirement.”
“I am. I never had time for hobbies besides huntin’. Don’t think I’m the sort to take up golf. Don’t wanna be in Vi’s hair all damn day.”
Cal leaned forward. “I know what you can do. Start a senior citizens bull ridin’ circuit. As the father of PBR World Finals contender Chase McKay, I’ll bet you’d get lots of interest and sponsorships.”
“Piss off, Cal,” Charlie said. “I don’t see you offerin’ up any ideas on how you’ll be spendin’ your days.”
“I’ll be bangin’ my wife.”
“That’ll kill three minutes,” Carson said dryly, “then whatcha gonna do the rest of the day?”
“And you can piss off too,” Cal said to Carson.
Another round of beers arrived. Carson looked at Lettie. “You a mind reader?”
“I’d be blushing for sure if I was reading your mind, Carson McKay,” Lettie shot back. “I’ve known you since your brawling days. Not that I ever saw that trait passed on to your sons.” She winked. “They flirt with me just as much as you do.”
Carson snorted. “You’ve been flirtin’ with me for forty-some years.”
“And you love it.” Lettie sighed. “We were hot stuff back in the day, weren’t we?”
“Yes, we were. Hot tempered, hot bodied,” he grinned at her, “hot to trot.”
“Anyway, this round has been paid for. Enjoy.”
They looked at each other and shrugged.
“Did either Kimi or Vi mention the urge to travel?” Carson asked.
“We get to several of Chase’s PBR events during the year. Don’t know if the boy will make it to Vegas this year. But besides that? Not really. Vi mentioned it’d be fun to take a family trip to Disney World with Quinn and Libby and the grandkids.”
“That’d be my idea of hell,” Carson grumbled. “God knows I love the grandkids, but there are so many of ’em we’d have to rent out the whole damn hotel.”
“Kimi is content to stay home,” Cal said. “Says she traveled enough after she graduated from the nunnery.”
“What about Carolyn?” Charlie asked.
“That’s the thing. I don’t know. We’ve never really talked about it. Like Kimi she’d rather stay home. But I wouldn’t mind hittin’ the open road and seeing some sights.”
Carson remembered that was the exact moment he decided to buy a RV. That way he and Carolyn could take off whenever they wanted and they’d still have the comforts of home.
In fact, he remembered thinking it was the most brilliant idea in the history of ideas. And since he was feeling more than a little smug, he decided he’d keep this fantastic idea to himself, lest one of his brothers take it and steal his thunder.
He’d make the purchase a surprise. He had a few months to research the best model. Next summer he’d just drive it on home. He couldn’t wait to see the look on her face.
But five months later, when Carson pulled up in front of the house and honked the horn, he hadn’t expected Carolyn’s expression to border on horror as she walked down the porch steps.
After hopping out the driver’s side door, he bounded up the sidewalk toward her. “Isn’t she a beaut?”
“What in…” She closed her eyes and inhaled slowly. He recognized the posture as Lord give me patience but he’d seen it directed at the kids, not at him.