Mae Mulberry was singing a soothing lullaby while folding some freshly washed laundry. She just loves the smell of freshly laundered linen. Besides the great smells that she was surrounded with she also felt extremely content.
She is expecting her third child. A little girl, who she has hoped for and wished for, for so long. The new baby is due any day now and Mae knows that she should be taking things slow, but she is not one for sitting at home, waiting. The baby will be named Mae Elma Mulberry, but is already called Pumpkin by her parents and siblings, so Mae has a sneaky suspicion it will stay that way.
More reason for her contentedness is that her little laundromat business will have its 10 year anniversary tomorrow. She can't believe that it has been 10 years since she opened the doors. She and the business has grown so much. She remembers the days when she only had one bundle a day to wash. She did it with her hands. If it wasn't for the fact that her grandfather owned the small building and she inherited it from him, when he passed away, she would have never made it, but today her little one man business is doing very well. So well actually that she is considering buying a new state of the art machine, one that can washes and dry. Mainly to celebrate her decade of business but also because she really needs it.
She is aware of the fact that she does the laundry for most of the homes in Sugarbush Valley. Of course many of the women will deny this, when asked. The only woman she has never done any work for is Betty Blackberry, Roxy Renard, Pansy Chestnut, Heidi Mcburrows and Daisy Buttercup. She also knows that the Commune has its own washing machine, but that is about it. The rest of the villagers are clients and regular ones too. Her biggest client being Katrina Whiskers. Katrina is just to much of a perfectionist to have any dirty washing lying around in her house.
Mae is however unsure if she should take the leap. With the new baby on the way one never knows what one will need. Her train of thought was interrupted by a knock on the door. When she looked up, Mayor Trunk was standing in the doorway. "Oh my", she thought, "what is this all about." Savannah usually delivers the dirty washing. She really hope there wasn't any complaints. It was probably Nelson Puddleford, who complained about the hole in his trousers. She quickly gathered her thoughts, and only then noticed that Mayor trunk was accompanied by her husband, Elmar, Slick Slydale and Spencer Maces. What on earth could this be about.
Mae ( looking flustered): Hello Mayor Trunk and the rest of you. To what do I owe this surprise.
Hugo: No need to be so formal Mae, we have a little surprise for you.
Mae: A surprise for me? Elmar what is going on.
Elmar (with a twinkle in his eye): Relax Blossompot. Spencer will you explain?
Spencer (smiling): Sure thing. Well, Mae a while ago Elmar visited my shop and placed a very special order for you, or rather for the Laundromat's 10th anniversary. Though I tried my best, I couldn't fulfill his wishes.
Mae: What are you talking about? What special order?
Elmar: Mae, stop interrupting and just listen.
Slick: I overheard the conversation between Elmar and Spencer and decided to take action. According to me or rather to my wife you and Roxy Renard offers the most indispensable services to the villagers of Sugarbush Valley. I'm sure Velvette will get very depressed if you ever, for whatsoever reason has to close this establishment. So when I overheard that you will soon celebrate the business' 10th anniversary, I went to Hugo to make a proposition. Luckily, as it has always been with me and Hugo, we were on the same page immediately and without much time wasting, the special order was made and delivered to Beechwood Hall.
Mae: Ok now you are just being mean, what are you talking about Slick?
Hugo (formally): Mae, therefore with any further ado the town council of Sugarbush Valley would like to donate a brand new state of the art washer/dryer combo machine to your business, as a small token of our gratefulness for the wonderful service you have delivered to the residents of Sugarbush Valley, the past decade.
Mae (flushing scarlet red): What? Oh my, really! Wow, this is truly unexpected. What can I say?
Elmar: Blossompot, where is your manners, a 'thank you' will be in order.
Mae (even redder): Oh, yes, sorry, of course! Thank you, thank you, thank you. It is just that my shop is so simple and small in the bigger picture that I never in a thousand years expected this.
Spencer: Well may, as Slick pointed out to some of the women in the village your service is indispensable and my Arvey will totally agree.
After unwrapping the washing machine and everyone oohing and aahing about it, the men left, leaving only Elmar behind, who immediately got busy setting up the machine for Mae.
After deciding where to put it in the shop he started to connect the pipes. Mae was so grateful that her husband was a plumber, and knew that she will be able to start using this machine in no time. For the second time that day Mae's train of thought was interrupted, however this time it was not by an adult but rather by a very small person who decided to make its appearance.
Mae (calmly): Uhm Elmar, it is time.
Elmar (laughing): Patience Blossompot, it will soon be time to use this new machine, but I must admit it is a bit trickier to fit this.
Mae (less calm): No Elmar, you misunderstood... IT IS TIME!
Elmar looked up and when he saw his wife's facial expression he immediately understood.
Elmar (anxiously): Oh ... uhm... oops ... aah, really. Uhm, ok good. Lets go, luckily Dr Fisher is just next door.
Mae: Elmar you don't understand, I can't walk. She is coming NOW! Go and call Schroeder!
Within seconds Elmar was out the door. Mae was on the verge of panicking, as she realised that she is alone, and what if Elmar doesn't return in time. Luckily at that precise moment her daughter Candy, came into the shop.
Candy: Hi Mommy, how are things ... uhm ... Mommy are you ok?
Mae: Yes dear I'm fine, but listen, I need your help and I don't need you to panic! Can you do that for me?
Candy: I guess, what is going on?
Mae: Little Pumpkin is coming.
Candy: Oh really, joy! Lets go then!
Mae: No my dear, I'm not able to walk, Daddy has already gone to call Dr Fisher.
Candy: Should I be worried? What can I do, tell me Mommy!
Mae: No need to worry. Firstly fill a few buckets with extremely hot water, let the tap run until the water is very hot! Then on the shelf over there is clean linen, put a few on the floor, and then just a towel or two to support my head and back.
Candy: Done and done.
Mae: Thanks Candy.
At that moment Elmar and Schroeder came through the door. Without asking to many question, Schroeder kneeled next to Mae and within what felt like seconds Mae Elma Mulberry, aka Pumpkin, came into the world. Mae felt a calmness she has never experienced before and she realised just how blessed she is. After a thorough inspection and with a feeling of true satisfaction that mother and baby were fine, Schroeder left.
Elmar, Mae and Candy couldn't stop looking at little Pumpkin and made remarks about just how small and cute all her body parts were. Mae looked up form her baby and was glad to see that Ike finally managed to find his way to the shop.
Mae: Ike, come in and meet your new baby sister.
Ike: What do you mean? Did I miss her grand entrance into the world?
Mae: Unfortunately yes, but she doesn't mind, look how cute she is!
Ike: I got lost again, I followed a blue bird from school into the forest to find out where they like to nest, for my school project, but when I looked up again I wasn't sure where I was. Luckily Mr Digger Mcburrows was nearby and he showed me the way.
Elmar: Don't worry Ike, one day everything will fall into place we are just glad that you are here now and could join in our happiness.
Ike (blushing): I guess thanks dad!
Mae looked at her family, then her eye caught her new machine and finally she looked at little Pumpkin in her arms. And she thought, "How lucky am I!" And for the third time that day her train of thought was interrupted, but this time by a tiredness she could no longer fight off.