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    Summary

    It's the Wednesday after the fourth, and John almost has the musical stylings of Lee Greenwood worked out of his head, and Finn's store of candy thrown from the floats in the local parade is dwindling rapidly. Martha's resting in Jim Brenneman's barn, tired – John insists, as if she's flesh and blood – from the two dozen paying customers who celebrated independence in her care, and Rodney's almost calm after his annual festival of obstinate Canadianness in the face of America's celebration. There are five solid weeks before Finn goes to pre-school, and two houses waiting for John to paint, and between times there's the continuing need to re-master the art of sleep deprivation, helped along by Merrie's healthy lungs.

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