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"Jaay-sonnn!" the shout rolled over the wheat-fields in the fading light. Nothing moved but the wheat stalks as the wind whipped over them. The shout came again. This time, a brown head bobbed suddenly out of the wheat in response to it. "Jason!" A third time the shout came and all broke loose. A tanned, slim boy leapt to his feet and began a mad dash towards the red barn sittinf on the hill above him.
"Coming, Dad!" yelled 11 year old Jason as he reached the end of his mad dash towards the barn.
Brown eyes on the ground before him, Jason was not enjoying his weekend as he had planned. When he came home from school earlier that day he had been looking forward to spending the short weekend working on the fort he had started the beginning of the year, not helping his dad with the farm and doing chores in the house.
Jason followed his dad into the barn and tagged reluctantly along behind him as he walked to the far back where the old horse stalls were. Jason watched him curiously as he stepped into one of the stalls lining the back of the barn.
"What are you doing, Dad?" Jason finally asked when his dad kicked at one of the wooden slats.
"Oh, I just want to get rid of these stalls to make room for what's needed," his dad answered absently.
Opening a side door and letting in the sunshine, his dad cheerfully announced it was time to get started on stall one, nearest the side door of the barn. Jason gaped in amazement at him, then stuttered, "WH-what? You mean, we're going to taking them down this weekend?"
Whistling, his dad nodded and walked out the door to a truck sitting in the yard. Jason stood there angrily, staring at the wooden slats of the stall and wishing he were at his fort.
"I thought we could take one down tonight and take it out to the back field. It will be easier getting started tomorrow. But I think you'll be pretty eager to get at it tomorrow anyway," his dad said as he walked back into the barn.
Jason clenched his jaw and stomped into the stall; Why do I have to do this! He thought angrily. It's not fair!
"Hey Jason!" his dad called out. "You're going to need one of those pry-bars I brought in!"
Angrier now, Jason grabbed one of the pry-bars sittig outside the stall and jammed it into the widest crack between one of the planks. Shoving with all his weight, he pried one of the planks loose and did it again, and again. As he moved down the length of the stall, he soon found he was enjoying himself. And even liked the hard work and focus of what he was doing. Before the sun had set, he had half the stall done and the planks stacked neatly, ready to load in the truck.
"Wow, Jason!" his dad said from the door. "You did a really good job on that. You ready to take them out now?"
"Stretching, Jason grinned readily, gathered up an armload of the planks, and took them out to the truck. With his dad's help, all the planks were loaded in a manner of minutes and they were driving behind the house and out to the back pasture. Staring sadly at the copse of trees ahead of him, Jason half-heartedly sighed, remembering his fort he had wanted to work on today. When the truck came to a stop beside them, Jason sat straight up in his seat and looked at his dad questioningly.
"Well, I knew you wanted to work on that today, Jason," his dad said. "But I also knew you needed some more planks for the first floor. I thought I could help you by you helping me."
Smiling, Jason opened the door of the truck and hopped out, running around to the back to unload the planks as fast as possible. More slowly, his dad came around to help and Jason suddenly stopped him.
"You know what, Dad? I'm sorry I didn't come when you called me. And I'm sorry I had such a bad attitude. Thanks for thinking of this and for helping me out."
Putting his hand on Jason's shoulder and squeezing it, his dad nodded and said, "no problem. Now let's get this done!"