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Name: Keeping Up with the Jones'
Characters: Jefferson, Marsha, James, Cyrus
Rating: PG – One passing adult reference
Summary:  Cyrus is very excited about his graduation present.
Notes: Canon.  May or may not appear in the next chapter (23), so can be considered a spoiler.
Word Count: 832
My Card
Cyrus turned his brand new Ford Model A sedan onto the bumpy country roads of Simsfield.  He had done it, graduating from SimHarvard with honors, and the car was his.  Jefferson, true to his word, had handed Cyrus the keys when Marsha wasn’t looking at the graduation ceremony.
Cyrus has managed to resist the urge to tinker under the hood.  Instead, he’d taken Georgianna on many rides throughout the city.  They’d even had the chance to christen the back seat.  But Georgie’d gone to get their new house set up for when they got married, and he’d stayed in Portsimouth, working at his architecture firm.  This was the first time he’d taken the car home, and he was wondering how the rest of the family would react to seeing it.
He pulled up in front of the old farmhouse and honked the horn, a silly grin on his face.
James was the first one out the front door.  He met his brother’s eye and matched his grin.  “She’s a beauty, Cyrus.  How much that set you back?”
“Zilch.  Ask Papa.  It’s my graduation present.”
“Does Mama know?”
“Do I know what?” Marsha asked as she joined her eldest on the front stoop.  “Oh, Cyrus you’re back.  Is that yours?”
“Yes, Mama.  And thank you.”
“For what, dear?”
“My graduation present,” the young man replied, patting the hood of the car.
Marsha’s eyes narrowed.  “Jefferson!”
“Oh, boy,” James said under his breath.  “I think I hear the baby crying – I’d better go check.”  And James hurried into the house. 
“Chicken,” muttered Cyrus.
“What is it, dear?  Oh, Cyrus, you’re home.  Do you need help unloading the car?”
“Jefferson, darling,” Marsha said in an eerily sweet voice, “Our son has informed me that we purchased him this car as a graduation present.  Why wasn’t I informed about this?”
Jefferson shot his son a look that clearly said they would be having a conversation later.  “Because I knew you’d fuss about how dangerous it was.  But it’s not.  The salesman at the Ford dealership showed me all the improvements that the Model A has over the Model T.  And it’s a closed-carriage sedan, perfect for a family.  And it’s much cheaper than Cyrus having to take the train to the city for work all the time.”
“How much?”
“I beg your pardon?”
“How much did our son’s graduation present cost?”
“Well, I did splurge a little and get him a nicer model.  After all, it should last him for…”
“Jefferson.  How much did the car cost?”
Jefferson sighed.  “Five hundred.”
“Five hundred DOLLARS!  Jefferson, are you out of your mind?”
“We can certainly afford it.  And Cyrus is kind of getting the short end of the stick here, with James getting the house and all.”
Marsha opened her moth, fully prepared to launch into a tirade about how, not too long ago, they had been rather short on cash when Cyrus spoke.
“How about a ride, Mama?”
She turned and looked at him, puzzled.  “What?”
“A ride.  You know, you sit, I drive.  Come on, it’ll be fun.  You too, Papa.”
“That sounds like an excellent idea, my boy.  Come on, Marsha.”
Marsha protested softly as Jefferson took her by the arm and gently steered her toward the car.  He opened the passenger side door and helped her inside.  He shut the door, moved around the car, and climbed into the backseat through the driver’s door.
Cyrus got in, shut the door, and started the car.  Marsha jumped as the engine roared to life.  He put the car in gear, and put his foot on the gas.
“How do you know which one to push?” Marsha asked, looking at the floor pedals.
“Easy.  One to the left is the clutch, one in the middle’s the brake, the one on the right’s the gas.  Shift, stop, go.”
They drove down the road to the train station, and Cyrus turned left onto Main Street.
“Oh, look.  There’s Lila Gavigan,” Marsha commented as she saw the older woman walking down the street.  “Hello, Lila,” she called through the open window.  “Nice day, isn’t it?  Do you like the automobile we got Cyrus for graduating from college?  With honors.”
Marsha laughed as they drove past Lila, leaving the other woman with a  bewildered look on her face. 
“What was that all about, Mama?”
“Oh, nothing really.  It’s just, Lila’s always going on at our Ladies’ Aide meeting about all the nice things she buys for her children.  It’s nice to be able to one-up her for once.  All she got Harris for his college graduation was a new watch.  This is much better.”
Cyrus suppressed a smug grin.  He had a feeling he wouldn’t hear any more about the price of the car.
“It is comfortable,” Marsha admitted.  “And it is perfect for a family.  If you take good care of it, it should last you a long time.”
“Thank you, Mama.  Now, how about a turn driving it?”
- - - -
To put the price of the car in context, the average cost of a gallon of milk was $0.56.  A loaf of bread cost $0.09.  You could by an average family home for $2,500.00.
Want to see what the car looks like?  Go here.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 5th, 2011 02:34 am (UTC)
I love how quickly Marsha came around. I bet Lila Gavigan mouth was open down to the road as they drove past. :D
Oct. 5th, 2011 03:57 pm (UTC)
Funny how seeing a friendly rival can put things in perspective, huh? Considering that's only the second car owned by someone in Simsfield, I bet there were a lot of open mouths as they drove around.
Oct. 5th, 2011 03:46 am (UTC)
LOL, I love how Marsha got over the price as soon as she saw Lilah.

*sigh* I wish things were still that cheap these days. Five hundred bucks for a brand new car would be pretty sweet.
Oct. 5th, 2011 03:59 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Funny how being able to one-up someone changes things.

It might be cheap in today's terms, but as I said, you could buy a house for $2500, so wages were a lot less too. And don't forget the Great Depression is looming for my family, so I'm letting them have some fun with money while the can.
Oct. 5th, 2011 04:58 am (UTC)
I just love the whole family dynamic :)
Oct. 5th, 2011 04:00 pm (UTC)
I really love this bunch and how they interact too. Such a diference from the prior generation. They bicker, but they stick together.
Oct. 5th, 2011 05:24 pm (UTC)
Love that Cyrus got his car, and Marsha finally comes around! At least they can afford it, right? And Jefferson is right about James getting the house and all. :D
Oct. 5th, 2011 06:38 pm (UTC)
Yup, both of them kept up their ends of the deal. Practical Jefferson was squirling money away for the car since he made Cyrus the promise. And yeah, they can afford it. Jefferson is a lot more frugal than Matthew, so the famly is fine. For the moment.

And yes, it is very much Jefferson trying to make sure his younger son doesn't feel left out.
Oct. 8th, 2011 05:51 am (UTC)
this is really cute. i love how Marsha got over her snit fast enough to brag about the car to her neighbor :)
Oct. 8th, 2011 02:36 pm (UTC)
Funny how being the first family with a car is worth the price, huh? Thanks.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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