After school on a Tuesday afternoon, the extended family of Cindy Furlong piles into the car, headed home. Once out of the car, the kids race to the back yard of their Sturgeon home, clamoring onto the trampoline, wild with the energy that has built over the school day.
Andrew, 5, spars with his older brother, Steven Lawrence, 12, and cousin Dacota, 7, practicing the karate kicks that have earned him the nickname Bruce Lee.
Cindy, the caretaker of this tribe, is happy to see everyone outside enjoying one of the last warm days of autumn. Cindy watches Dacota and her four children in the mornings and after school. In the evenings, Dacota goes home with his parents, Stacey, Cindy’s adoptive sister, and Robert, who both work in Columbia.
There are quiet moments amidst the chaos, when Andrea, 8, reads a chapter in the latest book on her list, “Carnival at Candlelight.” She admits that it’s hard to read with all the activity going on around her, but she tries anyway.
The promise of hamburgers for dinner motivates the kids to get their shoes on and pile in the car, on their way to karate class in Centralia.
Tomorrow afternoon, the scene will likely be the same, and the trampoline will be in use into the winter.