Having Jo for a little brother could be a pain sometimes, Ro thought, but not today. Today Jo was her hero!
When it got hot outside, he knew just what to do with his powers: with a wave of his arms and wiggle of his fingers he changed the Team RoJo fort into a pool with a slide!!
They'd been in the middle of their fourth side to side race when Gramps Blaze simply appeared in the middle of the water, sort of bouncing up and down like a cork on Ro and Jo's waves. After winning the race, Jo swam over to Gramps Blaze and splashed him, which turned the pool into a giant splashfest, of course. Nana Terri, cane and all, came slowly down the steps into the refreshing water and laughed at the splashers until she got a butt-load of water in the face and said, "if you can't avoid them, join them," and started hand-plowing the water, sending great sprays of it toward her grandchildren.
"You should have seen them racing," Gramps Blaze said, laughing after the kids started playing a game of water basketball with the little floating net Mom and Dad had gotten them.
"Yeah? Great! We can give them their swimming scales," Nana Terri said.
"No reason why they can't get their diving scales too," Gramps Blaze said, "they were diving into the deep end of the pool earlier, and doing a darn fine job of it, too! But now that the serious scale business if over, I'm thinking it's time for more fun! And besides, I'm getting thirsty!" Suddenly, with a wave of his hand, the wonderful in-ground pool that Jo had whipped up turned into something even more spectacular.
"Wow!" Ro and Jo said, looking around them.
"What the…" Jo gasped. "What happened?"
"Try the slide now!" Gramps Blaze said. "It's a root beer float!"
Ro swam up to a giant scoop of ice cream, bigger than her, and licked it while treading root beer. "This is awesome!"
The kids swam around, the bubbles from the root beer tickling them all over, and took little sips as they swam, then licked the ice cream blobs when they ran into them. Gradually the root beer got creamy with the melted ice-cream – Ro loved that.
Nana Terri laughed and shook her head at Gramps Blaze who took a big mouthful of root beer and sprayed it up into the air like a whale spouts water. "You are crazy, my love!" she giggled.
"But fun!" Gramps Blaze said, and dove beneath the surface of the sweet brown liquid and tickled Nana Terri's toes. Then he came up behind her and reached around to tickle her tummy.
And got splashed with root beer, just like he'd planned – opening his mouth to catch as much as he could. Never let root beer go to waste! Especially creamy root beer!
As Ro, Jo, Nana Terri, and Gramps Blaze bobbed around in the sticky, sweet, creamy soda, Mom sat in the living room with her friend Connie the Couch Potato. When Mom heard everyone in the yard splashing around and having so much fun, she thought she knew what was going on – a pool. She urged Connie to come outside and see what her magical family was capable of – but mostly she just wanted to get her friend up off of the sofa and outside in the fresh air and sunshine, for Connie was not very healthy – very much overweight because she never moved around much. Just getting her to walk outside took effort.
But when she finally did haul herself up off the sofa and out the kitchen door, her mouth dropped open in complete surprise.
Before her in the yard was a giant glass mug, taller than she was, filled with root beer and ice-cream – and people were swimming it in!!
"Oh my goodness, Cait! What on earth?!"
"Come join us!" Ro & Jo said. "There's a slide!!"
Sure enough on the far side of the giant mug was a shiny blue sliding board that landed sliders right into the root beer with its little ice-cream bergs.
"I don't have a bathing suit," Connie called up to Ro.
"No problem!" Jo said, and holding on to the rim of the giant mug with one arm, waved the other.
Suddenly Connie's capri pants and tank top turned into a red bathing suit.
She gasped, looking down at herself.
"You're all set!" Jo said, giggling.
Connie looked over at Mom and smiled. "I can never find bathing suits that fit me very well, but this is perfect. How on earth did Jo do that?"
"Uh, well, magic?" Mom said. "But you have to keep it a secret, okay?"
"I get it. Your secret is safe with me!" Connie said, and couldn't resist trying out the root beer float pool. Up and up she climbed to the very top of the ladder, and plopped herself down at the tippy top of the slide.
WHOOSH! Down she flew, into the sweet, creamy root beer below.
KERSPLASH!! She landed, spraying root beer everywhere, even over the rim of the mug onto Mom, still standing below, who laughed and shrugged and climbed up the ladder. She couldn't resist; it looked like so much fun. Who would want to resist?
Connie said, laughing, "That was awesome! I want to slide again!"
With that, she swam over to the edge of the mug and swung her leg over, holding the rail of the ladder steps, and climbed up them to the top of the slide again.
"That slide is brilliant, Gramps Blaze," Mom said. "She really loves it. Climbing the steps a lot is good exercise for my friend Connie."
"Yes. And even if she drinks the root beer and licks the ice cream, climbing the steps and swimming will work it off."
"Very good! Very sneaky! I like it," Mom laughed as Connie's splash landing drenched her in sweetness.
Up the steps, down the slide, and swimming over to the edge of the mug to climb back up over and over again burned off about a million calories all afternoon for Connie – not to mention she used her muscles all day, and breathed fresh air and got a lot of sun.
But most important, Connie realized how much nicer it was to be off the sofa.
As it began to get dark, Jo changed the giant root beer float mug into a regular swimming pool with water again, and the gooey, sticky, creamy, root beer float they'd all been coated with washed off. They dried off with towels Jo had wiggled and waved his hands to glide out to them from the linen closet.
Then Gramps Blaze took over and waved his hand and a warm breeze blew, drying swimsuits and hair. As soon as everyone was completely dry, Jo waved his hands and changed swimsuits to shorts and tops and flip-flops.
Mom invited Connie to come swimming every day if she wanted, and Connie promised she would.
By the middle of summer, she'd lost 50 pounds, and her muscles were firm and strong. She not only climbed up the slide's ladder a whole bunch of times every day, but she swam in Ro and Jo's races too.
But it was right after Connie went home that first time, that Gramps Blaze, Nana Terri, and Mom met in the fort with Ro and Jo. Jo waved his hands and his vest and Ro's himation, already glistening with several scales each, floated toward them, and then down over their heads to settle on them, ready for their new scales.
"Okay," Mom said. "You get Swimming Scales, Diving Scales, and Healthy Exercise Coaching Scales." She pressed each scale on Ro and Jo's chests, in a row with the others they'd already earned. They of course stuck there magically, and Ro and Jo beamed with pride. Earning these scales had been too much fun to consider work.
Mom smiled, knowing what was going through Ro's mind, because she hadn't shielded it, and said, "After all that root beer and ice cream, do you have room for cheesy mashed potatoes and salad?"
"Sure! Yay!" Ro and Jo jumped up and down, but before they hurried into the house from the fort, they turned to Nana Terri and Gramps Blaze. "Want to have dinner with us?"
"Well, sweetie, we would love to, but we have to get back home and feed the squirrels and raccoons and birds in our yard," Nana Terri said, hugging her beloved grandchildren.
"Thank you for making the pool into a root beer float!" Jo said to Gramps Blaze, giving him the whopper of all hugs.
"You're welcome! It was a blast!" Gramps Blaze said, hugging Jo and his sister tight, and then they were off – Ro and Jo into the house for dinner, and Nana Terri and Gramps Blaze back home to Knight Island and their animal friends.
Later Ro wrote in the family journal that she would never have believed earning scales and training could be so much fun.
She could hardly wait for the next Team RoJo adventure!
TD – 6/25/2016