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Pride Goeth Before A Fall
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  1. #161
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  2. #162
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    Oh, Cliff is saying he shot the deer.

  3. #163
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    Oh, deer....... (sorry, someone had to say it!! )

    1Pe 4:7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore of sound mind, and be sober unto prayer

    Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
    Joh 3:17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him.


  4. #164
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    Oh my, please don't let some scavanger take the Hanson/Apperton's deer.

  5. #165
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    There is so often a fly in the ointment and this one has a harsh growl! Hope Ev makes a good choice so the young-men-in-the-making will see how they should properly react.

  6. #166
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    #43
    "Excuse me," Ev straightened up to face a short, stocky, dark bearded man holding a rifle not quite pointed at them.

    "I said, get your lousy hands off my deer!, what part of that didn't you understand?" the man growled again.

    "If you would care to look, you can see my shot right behind the shoulder." Ev pointed out in a reasonable tone of voice.

    The man eased around the hind quarters and peered harshly in the fading light. "Yeah, I see your shot. Turn the buck over and you'll see my shot right behind shoulder." he kicked at the buck's direction.

    Ev grabbed the buck by the hooves and twisted it over. There was no second entry, only the exit hole from Ev's shot.

    The man looked like he had been kicked in the stomach. He opened his mouth to say something, closed it with a grimace and started to walk away, defeat and dejection in his shuffling steps.

    "Ahh neighbor, hold on there. It's almost dark and I need help processing this old boy. How about you give me a hand for..say half." Ev offered.

    The man halted, turned around and growled in that deep bass, "I don't need no charity, thank you."

    "No charity," Ev returned smoothly, "I just thought you might lend a hand, that's all."

    The man hesitated, the war going on inside him was evident in his face. His hungry family couldn't eat his pride however, and they were starving.

    "Thank you neighbor, I accept. Name's Tom." The man held his hand out to shake with Ev.

    Ev shook hands with Tom. "I'm Ev, this is Brett and Benny. OK boys, here's what we need to do..." and Brett handed Ev the tools he needed while Benny held the flashlight.

    With the other experienced adult helping gut, cape and quarter the deer, it took an hour to accomplish the job. "I would like the horns," Ev said when they were done.

    "By all means," Tom wiped his hands on a fistful of snow, and offered his hand again to Ev. "Much obliged, the family really needs this, I appreciate it."

    " 'preciate the help," Ev shook with the man."this was the boy's first trip." he explained. "See ya around."

    "Yeah, see ya," the man picked up his rifle and the rope he had tied to the two bags of venison quarters.

    Benny couldn't see how the man could see where he was going as he drug the sacks behind him; it was pitch black, dark; and that Tom guy didn't have a flashlight.

    "Mr. Ev," Benny started to say.

    "Wait till we are in the pickup," Ev interrupted. "Please," he finished firmly.

    The boys were freezing and the heater in the pickup started warming them slowly. Ev stowed the meat quarters in the back, emptied his gun and flipped the safety on. As the windows defrosted, Ev opened the conversation he knew Benny and Brett were intensely curious about.

    "This was a lesson in giving, in charity, and in how not to piss off a man that has a gun drawn on you," Ev started with a small laugh. Both boys grinned. They had been scared to death, and had been real impressed with the way Ev had changed the situation from bad to good.

    "First off, that man was scared. More desperate for that meat than we were, and he would have caused us problems , 'effen we hadn't shared with him." Ev explained.

    "OK," Benny replied. "But why didn't you just give it to him."

    "Because of pride." Ev continued. "A man has his pride, and it really hurts when he can't provide for his family, or has to watch them go hungry. It's a way," he turned to look soberly any Brett and Benny, "that one man deals with another. It's the way you would want to be treated, in the same situation."

    "I heard his shot," Ev flipped his hand over his head to indicate the shot had been way high; "he's either a bad shot, or has a poor rifle sight. However, at close range he probably wouldn't have missed," he finished grimly. "So you see, even if you are right; you need to read the situation. In other words, stay smart my friends, and you may live a long life." this was delivered with a strong play accent.

    Brett and Benny giggled at the awful rendition, but the words went to their hearts. They had a valuable life lesson for free. And when said lesson doesn't cost them personally, free is appreciated.

    At the Hanson household, the cold, tired and hungry hunters were treated like returning hero's. Ev laughed as he recounted the near miss with the agitated hunter; during the tale Inga became more and more angry.

    Evie exclaimed over the bags of meat Ev had dumped in the sink. She sent the boys to wash up for supper and profusely thanked Ev for his help and generosity She was as excited about the meat, as the boy's were about bringing it home. Working quickly, she was able to diffuse most of Inga's brewing explosion.

    Winking at Evie, he walked out telling the girls their turn for clothes and shoes was tomorrow; and could they be ready.

  7. #167
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    Three days before Christmas, dare we hope for more? Please.

  8. #168
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    Thank you for this quick end to the cliff .

  9. #169
    thanks for the new chapter and the lesson in manship

  10. #170
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    This is truly a lesson in sportsmanship that I pray the boys will carry with them throughout their life. Thank you so much and I do pray you and your husband have a blessed and merry Christmas.

  11. #171
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    #44
    Betty sat thinking. There had to be a logical way out of her dilemma, a way to get a message to.......her friend. There was business that needed to be finished at the roadhouse; a little matter of a lot of money that didn't exactly belong to her, but needed a hand to care for it. No money should be left orphaned and without a caretaker. Why, hard telling what might happen to lost, lonely money without a friend to properly care for it.

    That hick sheriff had been scarce as hen's teeth. Three times a day he shoved some kind of hideous sandwich through the door to her cell and was gone before she could complain. Well, she would have him know that he had the choice of either charging her with some crime; or turning her loose.

    Will had the misfortune of bringing lunch to Betty at the inopportune time. True, she was correct, she either needed to be charged or turned loose. Opening the cell door, he invited Betty into the office. "So, tell me what are your plans if I turn you loose. Where will you go? You will not go back to Evie's. I have an order of protection against you in her name. I will," The Sheriff strongly emphasized, "send you in for the maximum amount, if you violate that order. It also includes Patty. You may not go to the cafe, her school, or within 800 feet of any of your children, or the Apperton children. Any questions?

    Inwardly, Betty was seething.
    But that was alright. She would think of something. She was busy formulating, when she realized that Will was waiting for her reply.

    "I will go to the roadhouse," Betty announced with a fake smile. "I can't move around well, and I can recuperate there. Would you give me a lift, I thank you in advance." she dripped false concern.

    "Alright, you may go there. I want you to keep your nose clean, no funny business, you hear?" Will supposed she wouldn't be so happy when she discovered all the money they could find had been removed. But that was for Betty to discover, not his problem.

    Will drove Betty to the roadhouse. The latest snowstorm had covered the parking lot, leaving the place looking untouched. That little ruse suited Will to a T. Betty fished in her pocket and pulled out a ring of keys. She hobbled over to the front door and unlocked the bright red double doors. Betty waved goodbye to Will, several of her fingers slipping, the universal one figured salute not excaping his notice.

    That's strike one, Will mumbled under his breath.

  12. #172
    I am LOVING this story!

  13. #173
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    Ohhhhh, she is slick but you ain't seen the female dog come out in her yet. When she finds that money missing she will come completely unglued. LOL

  14. #174
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    Ah, Betty's plans foiled again, and with that big ole key ring too. Thanks PNW

  15. #175
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    #45
    Ev knocked on the door, sticking his head in and shouting. "Are ya READY." The two girls squealed and rushed for their coats and the door. Ev stood back and let the cyclone wind blow by him. Evie came in from the living room and greeted him warmly. Inga walked in, pointedly ignoring him, as she went to the sink.

    Inga gripped the edge of the sink, she was still furious at that arrogant lout from next door. He had no regard for those boys, why they could have been hurt. And that meat. It actually had some dirt and hair on one of the bags. Gross at the least! Her mom was talking to that illiterate like he was the greatest thing since sliced bread. Huh!

    Evie was questioning Ev, asking what day it was, and the date. "I got fuzzed up when I was sick and lost track of the days, we should be getting close to Thanksgiving, arn't we?"

    "Day after tomorrow," Ev replied. "Cheryl is baking and hiding things from me, and she wants to know if you want a turkey?"

    "Oh, we couldn't take anything as grand as that," Evie protested. "Cheryl babied those birds all spring and summer."

    "If I were you, I'd just take what she sent and not cross her. You know how she can get," he smirked. "Here, let me get the bird, it needs to be defrosted, and do you need anything from town?"

    "Oh, thank you and Cheryl. Ev, this is so kind of you. I feel ashamed that we can't ever hope to repay you for your generosity. We wouldn't have made it, if not for you kids. Not at all." Evie got kinda teary and patted Ev on the arm.

    "Mizz Evie, Cheryl and I enjoy being your neighbors and sure do appreciate the hard work you are doing to raise those kids. We get a real kick out of having them around. Mizz Inga, Cheryl asked me to tell you to come over for tea, she'd enjoy getting to know you," Ev invited with a casual smile. "Ahh, you wouldn't consider coming to town with us, would ya. There are some girl things that I sure would think it would be better that you help the girls with." he almost blushed, and acted a bit nervous broaching the subject.

    Going to town with Ev was just about the last thing on earth Inga wanted to do. She gave a deep sigh and nodded her agreement.
    Turning around, she went to get her coat. Inga felt about as reluctant as walking the plank in shark infested waters.

    On the way to town, Ev explained what they would be buying. 2 sets of underclothes, shoes, jeans and a coat, and a skirt and blouse or a dress. This was from a benefactor to all the children in town, and they were one of the last kids to be gifted.

    Inga took over when they got to the department store; and under her direction the girls were outfitted in record time. Sturdy and practical clothes that were good for growing children. There was a small pile of white things that Ev didn't question and the girls kept shoved under their other clothes as they checked out.

    While the girls were waiting in line, Inga caught Ev's eye and pointed to a package of hair barrettes and two girly looking scarves. Ev nodded, and Inga added the packages to the modest pile of clothes. Clora's eyes got big, and she stared at Ev. He winked at her and sent the youngster into a fit of giggles. Sandra twirled around to see what was happening, and got a big smile when Clora pointed to the hair clips.

    Ev took them to eat at Leta's while they were in town. Inga felt like all eyes were boring into her when she walked into the cafe.

    "This might be gossip fodder," she muttered low, as they slid into chairs. Leta ambled over and slapped menus on the table.

    "Water, coffee, tea?" the cook inquired, flipping the pages of her order pad to a empty space.

    "Coffee for me," he pointed at Inga who said "tea," and then asked the girls if they would like sodas. Oh they certainly did. "Root beer," said Sandra, and Clora hopefully asked, "Orange?"

    "OK, I'll be right back," Leta turned to walk behind the counter and keeled over on the floor. There was a moment of stunned silence, and then everyone rushed over to help. The resulting confusion was smothering the old woman, as she struggled weakly to get up.

    Inga took in the scene and then put her fingers to her lips and blew the shrillest whistle Ev had ever heard. "Com'on folks, let her get up. She's not gonna lay on the floor no matter what you want her to do." Inga gave orders like she meant it. "Sit down," she told Leta, and pulled out a chair and pushed the old cook into it.

    Leta bristled and went to sputtering. Inga looked at her and said "give it a rest. What's on the grill?" she questioned as she went behind the half wall to the cook top. Inga went into the cook's dance, flipping the burgers, toasting buns, checking orders and dishing up soup. She plated what was ready, and stacked them on her arm, asking in a loud voice who got what. The locals shouted out what they had ordered, and the diner got quiet as people started eating.

    Leta took a breath, and them slumped over clutching at her heart. Ev shouted at Eddie to run to the hospital for the ambulance as he carefully laid Leta on the floor and covered her with his coat.

    Inga asked who needed menu's and proceeded to serve the waiting customers. She checked the menu for the prices, made out bills, made change and kept the pie and cake plates filled. She sold out of the donuts, mainly because she kept the coffee cups full of scalding hot coffee and both disappeared at an alarming rate.

    Inga plated up the last special for Ev, and toasted cheese sandwiches and small soups for the girls. The lunch crowd ate, paid and went back to their work. The ambulance crew showed up and carted Leta off to the hospital. Inga sat down with a small cup of the last of the chili, and slumped into the chair. Her hip hurt and she had grease on her shirt.

    "Auntie Inga, where did you learn to do that?" Clora was impressed with Inga's performance. Ev was too, but he decided not to say anything.

    "I spent a lot of time hashing," Auntie Inga explained. "That's how I earned money in the off season."

    "What did you do when you weren't waitressing?" Ev asked, interested.

    "I rode the Grand Prix," Inga had a hard time saying the words. The loss of her heart's desire was still difficult to believe. It had to be a bad dream, instead of the harsh truth.

    "You were a jumper then," Ev finished his lunch and pushed his plate aside. He drained his coffee and slid it next to the plate.

    "Yes," Inga said sadly. "But no more. That's in the past."

    Patty came running in the door, "Oh God, where's Leta, is she OK, where is she," the teen was practically crying. Darting around the tables, Patty went tearing into the kitchen.

    Ev got up and went to the counter, "Patty, I'll take you to the hospital, come on, let's go."

    Inga looked at Clora and Sandra. "Well kiddos, come with me. We've got a mountain of dishes to do."

  16. #176
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    Love, love, love this story! Life's been so crazy lately that I haven't made it as often as I'd like, but enjoy catching up on the story when I am here.
    Visit my Etsy shop at www.etsy.com/shop/TheCrochetFarm

    If we aren't showing love, His love, then what are we doing calling ourselves Christians?

    Psalm 73: 25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
    26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.

  17. #177
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    I got to read 2 chapters when i got home NICE.

  18. #178
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    Community................neighbors helping neighbors.............God how I long for that special time again! Thank you!

  19. #179
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    #46
    Evie had a few things she needed to accomplish while most of the children were gone. Then a most devious Grandmotherly idea came to her. "Brett, Benny, if you kids want to play today, you had better get your outside clothes on and play this morning. We have cleaning to do this afternoon." Quicker than a flash, the young men were dressed and out playing in the snow.

    Self satisfied, Evie hunted up the stool so she could access her secret money stash. Standing on the top step, she wobbled a bit as she moved the hidden panel. This was getting harder to do, she wasn't as young as she once was, so Evie grabbed a big handful of the hundred dollar bills and stuffed them in her apron pocket. Carefully replacing the above the door panel, she straightened out the evidence of her work and put the stool away.

    Debating whether Pete would be back anytime soon, Evie reactivated her under the kickboard hidey hole and split the money three ways. One handful going under the sink, another handful carefully rolled tight and secured with two heavy duty rubber bands. That wad was hidden in an empty electric receptacle and the faceplate carefully replaced. The rest of the money, save three one hundred bills, was placed in an envelope and taped to the underside of the old desk. The top drawer went in and out just fine, but if you pulled it out the correct amount, then you could reach your hand up to secure the envelope with tape.

    After her strenuous workout, Evie sat down to rest a bit. She still tired easy after her bout with the flu, not 100% yet, she told herself. Need to be careful and pace myself. With a cup of tea and her recipe book, Evie sat down at the table with a pencil and paper.

    Starting with Cheryl's turkey, she listed what they had, and what they needed for a grand Thanksgiving meal. She made another column on what they might substitute, if they couldn't get to town, and another on what they absolutely had to have.

    The food reserves they were building gave Evie a real sense of security. For the first time since Betty had absconded with their money, Evie felt like they had a chance of making it through the depression. It was hard not to have Hap to share the good fortune, Lordy Evie missed him.

    The children loved her, as did Inga; but she just plain missed her husband. It wasn't hard to remember how young and handsome Hap had been on the day they first met. My, but he had been something, his black Frisco's cut off at his boot tops. Strong muscles rippled in his striped logger's shirt, and the red felt hat tilted at a jaunty angle. Hap had been laughing at something a fellow logger had said as they walked down the main street of her small town. The other man had nudged Hap and he had turned around to see the pretty girl; it was when their eyes locked that she knew.

    Evie had felt as electrified as if she had stuck her finger in a light socket. Much later, after a proper courtship and marriage, they compared that day, only to find out, they both had felt the startling connection to each other.

    Well, if she wished in one hand and spit in the other; Evie knew which one would fill the fastest. The boys trudged in, cold, wet and played out. She had them hang their clothes by the stove to dry out, as she made a chili type soup for lunch.



    Betty walked into the cold and damp feeling roadhouse. She walked over to raise the thermostat, and turn on a couple of lights.
    The way she left the roadhouse screaming in pain from being shot; Betty hadn't remembered how it looked. The pizza boxes looked recent, as did the drink residues in the bottom of the glasses, but she must be mistaken. It didn't appear like the night shift had cleaned before they left. That problem would be swiftly dealt with; Betty wouldn't tolerate any slackers as long as she was going to manage the roadhouse.

    Betty walked into the office; she no longer thought of it as Claude's. Out of sight, out of mind had always worked well for her.
    Betty flipped the switches that summoned the up stairs guard, never giving a second thought that the woman wouldn't be at her post.

    Using one of the keys on the key ring, Betty flipped a cap off one of the electrical control box knobs and unlocked the cylinder that was exposed. Four tight rolls of money were still hidden in the fire and burglary proof safe. Betty smiled and removed one of the rolls. Flipping through the bills, she had the money she needed to ensure the roadhouse continued it's very profitable operation.

    Sitting in Claude's chair, she picked up the phone and dialed a carefully memorized number. Betty fidgeted restlessly as she waited for the call to be answered. The caller on the other end of the line answered in a smooth masculine manner. Betty purred her greeting, and spoke low as she quivered in pleasure at the attentions that stroked her ego.


    Inga, Clora and Sandra had just sat down when Ev and Patty returned form the hospital. The dishes were done, the supper special heating and tomorrows meals set out to thaw. Inga made fresh coffee, cut herself and the girls a small slice of cake as a snack, and had started to eat. Patty stomped in scowling like thunder. Dropping into a chair, she folded her arms tightly across her chest and glared at Inga.

    Ev came in, closing the makeshift door behind him. Inga got up for another mug, plates and forks. Ev looked favorabley at the cake, and Inga cut him a nice slice. Patty shook her head no, when Inga inquired if she wanted some.

    "How's Leta," Inga asked Ev, and he answered around a mouthful.

    "Heart attack. Be in the hospital for more than a week. She almost hysterical about the diner and Thanksgiving. Wants to talk to you before the supper rush. I told her you'd be over soon." Ev took a mouthful of hot coffee.

    "OK, I'll go now." Inga gathered up her coat and left by the back door.

  20. #180
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    Me thinks Patty is afriad she has lost her place at the Diner. Thank you.

  21. #181
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    Oh thank you so much for giving us yet another chapter during your holiday weekend. It is greatly appreciated. I guess Patty has a little bit of her mother's nacsisism in her and wanted to "run the joint" all by herself.

  22. #182
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    Yes, thank you for the new chapter this Christmas weekend. Eveytime I find a new chapter it is like a present. Merry Christmas PNW.

  23. #183
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    Thank you for sharing your precious time with all of us. I don't know if you realize how important you have become to us. You give each of us a lift during these hectic days. I do hope you have something to give you a lift as well. We sincerely thank you for your delightful writing style and these wonderful stories.

  24. #184
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    Thank you all for the kind wishes and Mr. Pac and I wish you all a Merry Christmas.
    If this story does anything;....I would ask that every one reading this, would step up
    and help a neighbor. One you know, or one you don't. Just give a kindness in some small way.
    Consider it a payback for all the stories and writers that have posted here.
    I purposely put my story on the open thread, as I want to reach those people that read here
    and urge them to find a strong sense of community. There is strength in numbers.

  25. #185
    thanks for the new chapter

  26. #186
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    Quote Originally Posted by kua View Post
    Thank you for sharing your precious time with all of us. I don't know if you realize how important you have become to us. You give each of us a lift during these hectic days. I do hope you have something to give you a lift as well. We sincerely thank you for your delightful writing style and these wonderful stories.
    I couldn't have said it better. Merry Christmas and thank you!!!
    Visit my Etsy shop at www.etsy.com/shop/TheCrochetFarm

    If we aren't showing love, His love, then what are we doing calling ourselves Christians?

    Psalm 73: 25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
    26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.

  27. #187
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    #47
    Doc Phillips grabbed Inga by the arm and practically dragged her into the ER. "Talk to her," he bellowed as he ran his frustrated hands through his unruly hair. "She is fretting so much, she's going to have another attack." Leta sat in a chair, daring Phillips to touch her, looking daggers at the ER doc.

    Inga had trouble breathing; the smells and sights of the hospital had her heart racing and pounding, threatening to seize her ability to function. Slowly she advanced into the room, looking like a cornered cat, ready to claw her way out at a moments notice.

    Phillips noticed her reticence and moved close to give her comfort. Inga reacted by jumping about a foot toward Leta; the wrinkled crusty old cook taking in the scene with bright eyed amusement. "Get paper and a pencil. I want to tell you how to cook my Thanksgiving dinner for the community." she ordered.

    "Oh no you don't," Inga finally found her voice. "I'm not capable of putting on something big enough for the whole town. I can't work like that anymore."

    "Horse pucky," Leta snapped. "Don't be a pansy ass, young lady. You have the knowledge and the ability. You just have to find the gumption. Now here is what needs to be done," Leta dialed Inga in on the timetable and where the food was located in the cooler, and how much was still at the grocery.

    "Now, I want to tell you about that young lady, and we got to help her get through this little set back of mine. She's a right fragile little filly, what with her mother being such a no account B---- and all. Where does your ma stand on that youngin and her so called mother?" Leta was dead serious and expected the answers she wanted to hear, and nothing else.

    Inga looked at the dried up old woman and said,"Ma should be here talking for herself."

    "Cut the crap," Leta struggled for breath and had a small coughing fit. "I ain't got the time or git up to sit here and jaw at ya, so what's the scoop."

    Inga pursed her lips, "Betty is not welcome at the house, we never want to see her sorry hide again. Patty has been some better, but she makes it near impossible to like or deal with her. Mom would dance with the devil if she thought she could do good for Patty."

    "She's a real porcupine kid, alright" Leta allowed thoughtfully.

    Leta closed her eyes and Doc Phillips fingured her pulse. "No more talking and that's it for tonight. You get in bed," he ordered as she looked like she would protest. Leta nodded weakly. The starch gone from her backbone.

    Inga walked from the room, unhappy with the pressure and the box canyon that Leta had backed her into. She kicked at the snow as she walked back to the diner.


    Will stood gazing out the window of the sheriff's office, watching that pint sized woman pick her way through the slush back towards the cafe. She sure was a strange little bundle, he thought. His phone rang. The Capt. on the line was full of praise for the drug takedown. He had news on the strange woman shot in the roadhouse control room. She was a minor league industrial spy that had been run out of any place she ever worked. According to her previous arrest records, her name was Sue Apperton.

  28. #188
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    ThAnksfor the new chapters Merry Christmas to you and yours !!! This is a great story !! God Bless
    I've got my duck taped now what???
    God Bless
    MawMaw

  29. #189
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    So now we know what happened to the kids mother...did not even think it could have been her. Thank you and wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas.

  30. #190
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    Just think Sue was that close to her kids and ddnt care one bit.
    Merry Christmas.

  31. #191
    nice twist!!! thank you so much!!

  32. #192
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    #48
    Inga sat down at the cafe and poured out her tale of woe to Ev and the kids. The idea of serving a holiday dinner to most of the town was frightening, but to do it in a day and a half, was a staggering thought. Especially when Leta's idea of pumpkin pie, started with -select a nice, ripe, firm pumpkin, then cook.

    Ev, in his usual forthright manner thought feeding the town shouldn't be a problem. "Think about the little red hen," he challenged the kids. Brett and Patty knew of the parable, but the Apperton kids had never been read too, and had no idea of what he was talking about. "OK, let's put it this way, those that want to eat, shall help." He declared with finality. Reaching for Leta's ancient black, table model phone, Ev called the president of the garden club. Boy Howdy, talk about community zeal. By the time the supper crowd started straggling in, every one in town had a piece of the action, set to deliver the meal at 2pm. tomorrow.

    Inga re-connected with many of her high school class mates during the high speed blurr of the next two days. Cheryl, Evie, Patty and the kids practically lived at the cafe. The boys were dubbed 'runners' and along with young men their own age, they 'ran' plates loaded to the top with turkey dinner to all the shut-in's, and those that had to work. Leta and those in the hospital thought it was a grand scheme.

    The 'girls' were hostesses. Patty asked her friends to come help, and they showed up with so many attractive young ladies that the 'customers' were treated royally, waited on hand and foot. None of the community wanted to stay at home and be considered a slacker; so there was a helper for almost every person eating. Every shred of food had been parceled out and sent home. Evie and Cheryl had set aside the bones, and considered themselves the most fortunate of all. Tomorrow there would be soup!.

    Darkness had fallen on a most successful Thanksgiving Day. Inga was so exhausted she could hardly squeak, pain radiated from her hip from being on it so much and her arm felt like it should belong to someone else. Will had joined the festivities late in the day, and he observed the diminutive woman as she finally sat down.

    Will looked up to see Ev observing him with a knowing smile. Shaking his head in a negate way, the sheriff dismissed Ev's unspoken, fanciful notion that the lawman should be interested in Inga.

    Patty looked dead on her feet, but wanted to visit Leta, Inga nodded acting as Patty's de facto mother. "Here, take this piece of pumpkin pie," Inga offered. "Does Leta like whip cream?" she turned around to offer the pie slice to Patty, only to have the teen burst into heart sobbing tears. Inga took Patty's hand and they walked to the back of the kitchen.

    Much later Inga came back to the group; Evie raised her eyebrow in an unspoken question and Inga in her pain, kinda ripped her mother as she retorted. "Mom, she's a teen, have you forgotten?

    A lot of eyes swiveled towards Inga, as most of them had missed the silent communication between mother and daughter. Unsure of what was happening, most averted their glances as the silence grew.

    Cheryl was the first to break the tension. "I don't know about the rest of you, but I have chores to do. Ev, did you get enough to eat." Everyone laughed; Ev had run around the kitchen snitching bites all day long, where he put the food no one knew; but later at mealtime, he showed up with a huge plate of food. Ev complained that he needed sideboards on that tiny little plate for a man to get a decent helping of food.

    Ev and Cheryl bundled the Hanson/Apperton group and stuffed them in the pickup for the ride home. The Hanson house was cool, the fire was almost out. The effort of stoking the fire was as much work as anyone had the energy to do. It was bedtime.

  33. #193
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    #49
    Brett was a runner paired with Wayne, as they delivered plates of food to those too elderly or ill to make it to the diner. At first Brett felt a little shy with stocky boy, he was so accustomed to working with Benny, but it didn't take long for the two of them to trade stories. Wayne was living with his aunt and Uncle, and didn't like it much. Brett allowed that his grandma was old and cooked the same thing day after day, but overall it was OK.

    Delivering to the roadhouse was the last stop. Shyly, Brett asked Wayne if he would do the delivery. "I'll tell you later," he promised the dark haired boy. "It's really a long story."

    Brett hid around the corner of the building as Wayne knocked on the roadhouse door. He had to bang three times real loud before Betty hobbled over and flung the red door open. She wasn't nice, or gracious as she snatched the plate from the youngster's hand and abruptly slammed the door in his face.

    Brett had desperately wanted to see his mother. He was having a hard time believing she could go and leave him and Patty. Just pretend like they didn't belong to her and dad, and never ask about them or, or anything. He offered an abbreviated version of the truth to Wayne, he was so ashamed of his mother and her behavior.

    "That's OK," Wayne assured his forlorn friend as they walked back to town. "My uncle is such a mean old man, he threatened a man a couple of day's ago when the guy shot a deer. My uncle wanted to claim it as his own, and I heard him tell my aunt he would have shot the guy but there were a couple of boys with the hunter. He didn't think he could shoot all three of them and make it look like an accident."

    "Yeah, I know, we were there. That was Mr Ev and me and Benny," Brett explained.

    "Holy cow," Wayne breathed, "was it scary?"

    "Yeah," Brett replied. I was shaking like a dog s------ peach seeds. Your uncle is kinda a mean dude."

    "I shouldn't tell you this," Wayne turned around to scan the area they were in, "sometimes he hits me. He gets so freaking mad, he can't help himself."

    "That ain't right, if you been doing no wrong," Brett said slowly. He thought he had it bad, but Wayne had a worse situation than Brett had. "Hey, if you ever need to...you know...go somewhere, we live out at the Hanson place. That's my Grandma. Mr Ev and Mizz Cheryl live the next place over. They are really nice."

    "Thanks man." was all Wayne would say. They were back to the cafe, when Wayne said, "There's my aunt. I gotta go. See ya."

    "See ya," Brett returned, he looked at Wayne's aunt. She looked like a little gray mouse. All her clothes were gray and she had a gray scarf on her head. Brett thought of her as Mrs. Mouse.


    Will finished his dinner and looked over the crowd that remained. He had a real satisfied feeling about his town, they way they had come together to help Leta and themselves was good for survival. His survival; he wasn't too sure about. Cassy had been at the dinner and he had quite a shock seeing her. She was with her parents as they worked the dessert table. When he finally spotted her, it was hard not to stare, he really missed her.

    Will debated whether he should go get a piece of pie, he sure would like one, but he was feeling a bit stubborn or reluctant, he didn't know which. The quandary was settled when Cassy spotted him and walked over with a piece of mincemeat pie and a smile.
    They sat talking quietly for quite a while.

    The town cut them some slack, after all, they knew what had happened between their sheriff and his girl. Will knew nothing escaped the gossips, and his life would never be private. Cassy had not reconciled herself to this interruption, she was not ready to share him with the danger of his job and the world that owned them.

    They talked long after the dinner ended and the dishes done. Under the cover of the table, they held hands. Ev and Cheryl acted like guardians, keeping the curious public away.
    There were a couple of minor scuffles that Ev lent a hand to settle. One was a fracas with that unpleasant fellow he had encountered during the hunt the day before. Ev watched him cuff a short, stocky boy. The boy shook off the rebuke and went to stand neat Brett. Ev could see them talking, but couldn't hear what was being said.

    The second upset happened when Patty grandstanded by crying; causing Inga to snap at her mother. That outburst caused Will to raise his head to stare at Inga. What a strange little miss, he thought. Real different.

    Cheryl walked over to put her arm through Ev's. "She's a teenager," she whispered in his ear. "A teenager that has been left out of the clothing giveaway. You and Will did a good job, but you did miss Patty." she winked at her husband, forgiving him for the oversight.

    Cheryl heard her husband say "oh crap," under his breath. "Jeeze, I didn't mean to do that. How are we gonna fix that mess."

    "What do you mean...we," Cheryl shook Ev's arm. "How did I get roped into this 'we' business."

    "Well, for one thing, your better at dealing with female type children," he deadpanned, grinning at his unsmiling wife trying to jolly her into better behavior.

    "Inga and I will take care of it," she promised as she arched her eyebrow at Ev.

    He recoiled in pretend fear, trembling and 'shaking in his boots," then he pinched her on the bottom. Cheryl swatted at his hand and broke into a laugh. It was impossible to stay mad at Ev, and he knew it.

    The shindig eventually wound down and Inga shooed all the Thanksgiving participants out the door, locking the makeshift contraption behind the confusion of the day. She left the back door unlocked for Patty and went in to crash on the couch.

  34. #194
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    Jun 2004
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    State WA
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    Thank you for 2 more great chapters. It was nice to sit and relaz with yor story after a longggggggggggggg day.

  35. #195
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    Merry Christmas and thank you once again.

  36. #196
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    W. Georgia
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    7,095
    Thank you. Hope you had a Merry Christmas.

  37. #197
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    #50
    Will was in the process of closing up the Sheriff's office for the night, when the lights went out all over town. There was a loud boom towards the east, then the brilliant red gold arc of fire. Will hopped in the SUV and headed for the problem. There was a car fire in the intersection of the county road and the main road out of town. The vehicle was fully involved, when Will arrived.

    Tom Thompson stood off to the side of the burning vehicles. Will skidded to a stop and went running over to the huddled group.
    Tom indicated there was no one in the car, that his old Dodge backfired and then burst into flames. The short, stocky, bearded man seemed a bit nervous, but Will put it down too the close approximately of a law man.

    Tom's family stood off to the side, his wife and nephew not speaking, but looking in horror at the burning car.
    Will didn't particularly care for Tom, and he didn't know the wife or nephew at all; but he couldn't leave them out in the snowy cold so he offered them a ride home.

    The driveway into Tom's home was deeply rutted and slippery. It appeared that Tom had gunned his car, fishtailing the old, wreck all the way out to the highway. Tom's place was a clutter palace in rusty galvanized tin and mangey looking board and batten siding. A couple of hound type dogs set to baying as soon as the strange vehicle pulled up to the porch, and a skinny, half starved looking cat dashed across the headlight beams. Will let the family out, relieved to be done with his duty. Tom got out and shut the door, never saying a thank you, kiss my boots or see ya.

    Will backed around, and slowly drove out to the now blackened smoldering hulk. Using a chain, he pulled the car carcass out of the road over to the side. There was no danger of fire, with the amount of snow on the ground so Will left it there. There was the faint smell of gas around the car, but it was a gas rig so Will filed that information away in his mind.

    While he was out in the Eastern side of the county, Will made a quick patrol around the area. He observed the electric poles and didn't encounter any problems, and all the outlying farms and ranches were locked down for the night. Driving the perimeter of the county, Will was an hour before he made it back to town. As hard as he looked, he couldn't find the cause of the power outage that had the town in total darkness.

    Will made his rounds through town and was on the last leg of his patrol when he tried the back door of the courthouse and didn't meet the resistance of a locked handle. The sheriff drew his weapon and scouted the area, he walked back to his rig and made a phone call to Ev.

    Ev and Cheryl were asleep, and the phone had to ring a long time before the sleepy farmer answered. Ev listened and then jumped in his clothes, he shouted to Cheryl that he had to go help Will.

    Ev shut his pickup light's off as he pulled into town. The electric was off everywhere, and it was to darn dark to drive without some kind of illumination. He almost walked into Will, as he felt his way towards the courthouse.

    "Hey," Will said quietly, "Got your gun?"

    "I brought the shotty," Ev replied low. "I've also got my pistol."

    "The back door of the courthouse is open. I want you to stand guard at the door while I go in and have a look around." Will deployed his deputy as he slipped inside the unlocked door.

    The time Will was inside, was the longest drag on time Ev had ever experienced. Will pushed on the door slowly, to let Ev know he was coming out.

    Stepping outside Will let his breath out slowly. "Somebody tried to get into the safe. Banged the old monster up pretty good, but she held tight." Then in the back of his mind, a little zingle buzzed. The Betty lost and Sandra and Evie recovered, scrap of paper that had the old combination for the safe written on it.

    "That's one thing about crooks, they don't take a holiday," Ev observed dryly.

    "This crook may have also caused our power outage," Will started compiling the list of irregular clues. "Take a ride with me," he requested of Ev. " We need to pay a little visit to the roadhouse, pronto."

    There were no vehicle tracks into the roadhouse parking lot, two sets of walking tracks in and out. Will was a little stumped; he had expected to see tracks of recent activity. He banged the door until he could hear Betty coming toward the door, cursing and stumping with her crutches.

    When the interview was over, Will was more thankful than ever that he didn't have to wake up every morning looking at that female. He had never met anyone so disagreeable on a consistent basis.

  38. #198
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    Jun 2004
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    State WA
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    Yep I bet they took out the ele so they couls get in the court house. Thank you.

  39. #199
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    #51
    Evie woke the next morning to a mighty cool house. The fire was so far out than the coals were only faintly warm. She shivered as she build a fire. The flame greedily licked at the dry kindling, climbing higher and sending small curls of warmth out toward the cold room.

    Evie went to draw water, and discovered the electric was out. There was always water in the pantry, bottles that were set back for times such as this. She lugged a jug back to the sink and filled the coffee pot. Setting the old granite ware percolator on the insert, Evie reflected back on yesterday. It had been a grand time. A fine and proper, fitting day for a Thanks giving for the heaping of blessings they had as a family.

    Feeding the fire more wood, Evie build up a warming blaze and then shut the insert down to start the business of cooking. This was the time of day she needed and enjoyed the most. It was easy to hear God speaking, when a person could concentrate on listening. Evie asked for forgiveness for her sins, as she had quite a few going on all at the same time. Actually, she couldn't remember when she had been so disobedient.

    Her source of all the problems was Pete. Every single one of the troubles had started or were escalated by him. Evie hadn't heard from Pete since the government had whisked him away; so there was always the possibility he could show up at any time. Not a happy prospect, in her estimation. Then and when, he would of course want his money and she had no claim to keep him from it.

    Truth, he had told her to use the money as she saw fit, but he wouldn't live broke; so....

    The top drawer had paper and a pencil, and she used it to write out a budget. She projected all the family expenses for a full year, and then times it by 15 years. That was the number of years she figured it would take to grow Pete's kids up enough to have a skill and a job to support themselves. The total amount was staggering. Evie was so engrossed in her financial projections that she let the coffee boil over and spatter on the stove. Pouring herself a cup, she sat back down.

    She figured it would take 50,000.00 just for living expenses, then if there were education expenses on top of that, why the amount could double. The money she had spent on Betty's first year of schooling was a waste. Betty had dropped out of school and Evie chalked up that expense to her being Pete's wife.

    "Grandma," Brett was standing close by her chair. "Can I talk to you a minute." Tousled haired and sleepy looking, the youngster stood on one foot and then the other.

    "Sure," Evie assured her grandson. "Sit down, do you want some coffee."

    The thought of being grownup enough to sit and drink coffee with Grandma, thrilled Brett.

    "Yeah," he breathed in awe. "I would."

    "Evie fixed a coffee/milk for Brett and stirred in a little sugar. She set it on the table and warmed her own cup with more of the aromatic smelling liquid.

    "Yesterday I went with Wayne to take a plate of food to the roadhouse. Grandma, I wanted to see Mom. Was that bad of me?
    I miss her, Grandma."

    "Of course you miss her. She is your mother. Brett it was not wrong or bad of you to want to see her. Did you talk to her?" Evie wanted to know.

    "No." Brett drug out his answer. "Grandma, she was talking awful to Wayne. She was so mean and nasty I was ashamed she was my mother. I hid around the corner of the building and just looked at her." Brett was trying hard not to tear up.

    Evie got up and put her arms around her young man that was a little boy. "Brett, we can't make people do what we want. It's a sad fact. I want your Dad and Mom to do different. I want them to be good parents, and they are not. I have things I can do to counteract the absolute neglect they are showing." she explained.

    "I am taking legal steps to become a guardian to you and Patty. The same with Benny, Clora and Sandra. I love all of you kids so very much, I want to keep you safe and healthy and happy. I know I can't take the place of your folks, but I'm gonna try." Evie hugged Brett a little tighter. "Together, you, me, Benny, Clora and Sandra are going to be the best family we can be."

    Brett didn't look totally convinced, but he hugged back. "What are we gonna do with Auntie Inga," he wanted to know. "She don't seem very happy."

    "Inga was in a terrible accident," Evie told Brett; "then the gentleman she was in love with sent her a letter. I don't know what the letter said, but I don't think it was very good. We need to give her time, we need to give all of us time."

    Six little ears in the living room listened without saying a word. Benny, Clora and Sandra looking at each other in the old way they had of communicating. Both girls looked at Benny to be the leader, and he had just heard some good news.

  40. #200
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    SW Louisiana
    Posts
    5,086
    Sadly, no matter how aweful a parent is, the love a child feels for that parent is unconditional. Evie is such an incredible woman but she knows that she can't do it alone. Money doesn't buy everything and she is so blessed to have terrific neighbors to help see her through this.

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