Oh for Pete's Sake!


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Evie wiped her hands and walked to the window. Indeed, there was a lady walking up the drive, jerking, weaving, stumbling as she walked more sideways than in a straight line. Evie had no idea in the world who the person was. She looked weak, in poor condition, a small backpack hung loosely over one shoulder and a ratty looking coat bundled under the other arm.

A tramp, Evie thought disgustedly. Just what she didn't need was a probable confrontation with another hungry person.

"I want you kids to stay inside and don't make any noise. I don't know who this might be, so I'm gonna have Inky with me for protection." Five sets of eyes widened and nodded at the same time. Evie almost got a set of the giggles. They looked like a set owls, all lined up on a branch.

She picked up the cabbage stomper and slipped it in her skirt pocket, smoothing her apron on top. No sense in being stupid, she told herself.

The woman drug herself up to the porch. She pushed hair out of her eyes, fixed her stare on Evie and said in a thick, weary voice "Are you Evie. Here I am." The road weary woman swayed on her feet. "I thought I'd never get here. You sure do live in an out of the way place."

Evie stared at the woman. There was nothing remotely familiar in her face, nothing that she could put a name too.

"I'm Sarah," The woman replied, just like that would explain everything to Evie. "You know, Sarah,....Ron's wife. When did Ron and the kids get here. I was so far behind them, I never could catch up."

The first thought to enter Evie's mind was, I've got to stop thinking about people. It seems like when I do, they seem to materialize.

"Your Ron's wife?" Evie repeated stupidly. "I've never met you. And just where is Ron? and why are you here."

"Ron always said to come here if there were problems. He even made us all a map. See here is mine;" she thrust a much folded, dirty creased page of notebook paper toward Evie. "So here I am, arn't you glad to see me." Sarah sat on the porch and fanned herself with the paper. "My feet hurt and I need to take a bath. Have Ron get one ready for me, thank you Evie...isn't it," Sarah started to breeze past her sister in law into the house, but found her way blocked by a thin but very determined woman.

"Far enough," Evie growled with much more bravery than she felt. "I don't know you, so your not going in my house. Sit down right back where you were." Evie put her hand on the cabbage stomper, to boost her confidence. Inky moseyed over to sit in front of the door, he smiled at the intruder with a curled lip that revealed large, strong, sharp teeth. Inky felt he was being down right charitable by not biting the woman.

Sarah sat down with a thump. This turn of events was not what she had anticipated. Ron had always said his sister was a bit different, but this was outrageous. She obviously didn't know whom she was speaking with. Sarah herself was a Westman from San Francisco; she had married Ron and she conceded that it had been an uphill battle to bring him up to her social status. But she was tireless when it came to something she wanted. Very tireless indeed.

"Where did you say Ron was?" she questioned, somewhat annoyed he hadn't come right out to greet her. After all, they had been apart for quite some time. He should be overjoyed to see her.

"Ron is not here," Evie enunciated slowly. "It's been 40 years since I've seen him. Ever since he married you." She added tartly.
"I wonder why that was?" The wedding memories of Ron Hanson and Sarah Westman were as fresh and raw as if they happened yesterday. Sweet young Evie had been treated as a country bumpkin by the sophisticated San Fran women of the wedding party. The memory still stung.

Evie glanced up. There in the window were five faces watching with eager interest at the going's on. Noses pressed against the window. Waving them outside, she had the clan line up behind Inky. Thump, thump went Inky's tail. Wafting the special sent of eau d' skunk towards Sarah.

"Oh gag." she choked and sputtered. "What is that smell?"

"Inky's skunk," five voices happily recounted the story to Sarah. The woman's eyes glazed over as the children laughed and giggled. Sarah was exasperated. She wanted a bath, she wanted Ron in attendance, and she wanted away from that horrible smell.

"It's Ev," Brett yelled in glee. "He's com'in across the pasture and he's got a walloping big sack with him. On boy, I wonder what he's got."

"Mizz Evie," the lanky neighbor spoke his greeting. "hows you'ns be today?"

Sarah made a big show of putting her hands over her ears to block out the offending grammar. Ev looked Sarah over pretty hard, and then smiled a smile that looked startlingly like the one Inky gave the interloper.

Inky, Evie and Ev. looked at each other and broke out laughing. Sarah was highly offended by the joke at her expense. She was sharp enough to tell when she was the butt of a joke. Suddenly she had second thoughts about staying at this place. She was beginning to think this had been a real mistake.

"Everett, I have a problem. This lady says she is my sister in law, but I haven't seen her for over forty years. She claims my brother should be here, but he's not, and I don't think I recognize her as the woman that married my brother. I don't want her staying here," Evie spoke with a finality. "Please take her into town to stay at the ...place." Her meaning was clear to Ev. Evie wanted Sarah taken to the roadhouse.

Ev had to agree. That woman didn't look like one he would want around a tribe of kids. He was glad Evie felt the same way.
Inside Ev was laughing. As a man with a Masters in Economics, he dearly enjoyed putting on the mask of a non educated fool. Most of the time it was worth a few laughs. Cheryl didn't think much of his spoofing, but she let it be.

"I'll go get the pickup," Everett replied. "Do you want Cheryl to come over for a bit" Evie considered and then agreed."That might be best. Thank you Ev."

"Help me, help me," Sarah was begging in terror. Inky had her cornered against the skunk sprayed door not letting her move away from the hot sun warmed stench. "Guard Inky," Ev commanded, and the Newfey smiled in his special way. Teeth gleaming in the sunlight.

Deena in GA

You did a great job painting the picture in words! We can just see this happening and are joining in the laughter!


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"Whatcha got Mr. Wilson? What's in the sack?" the sunbrown farmer grinned and handed a box of chunky white wrapped packages to the ever nosy Brett. "Take those to your Grandma please. She'll know what to do with'em. Benny, com'on over here and take these in also." Ev handed brown paper sacks to Benny. "Grab Clora and the two young squirts, they can lend a hand."

In order to get in the back door, Inky had to nudge the terrified Sarah over to the side. The dog really seemed to be over enjoying his duties. He was very attentive and consciencious to his task. If Sarah so much as wiggled, Inky growled low and mean.
Sarah was scared out of her socks by the dog.

Ev said to Benny "This last sack has bones for Inky. He can't have them until he is off guard duty, OK" he questioned Benny.

Benny snickered and jerked his thumb in Sarah's direction. "Yeah, I don't want him eating those bones for sure."

Ev nodded, trying not to snicker himself.

Evie gathered up the packages of deer burger. The first thing she did was plug in the refridgerator that hadn't run in almost a year. No need to waste electricity on cooling, when there is nothing to put in the cooler. But now. Oh heavens the riches in the fridge.
Cheryl had sent over a cake and Evie had to caress the pan. Sweets had always been her thing, but it had been so long since there had been any in the house. They were sure to have a grand supper tonight.

When Evie found the coffee, she had to sit down. She was just plumb overcome at the Wilson's generosity. The kids found her sitting at the table rocking back and forth, tears slipping down her cheeks. The can of coffee wrapped in her hands.

"Grandma, is something wrong?" the kids crowded close. "Do you feel bad or something?"

"I am so thankful for Ev and Cheryl. My pride has had me bound up so tight kids, that we all suffered for the notions of an old woman. Look at what they sent," and the whole family looked through the treasures of food as Evie opened two packages of burger.

With Benny and Brett's help, Evie wiggled the stove out far enough to lean over the back and plug it in. She hadn't used her oven in more than a year, and held her breath as the old GE came to life. She was a big beliver in stopping ghost electric use, so had unplugged all her appliances for frugality.

Quickly she turned the oven on. She was going to make a walloping big meatloaf with carrots, onions and mashed potatoes. If she shifted into high gear, it would be done just in time for supper.
Clora and Sandra helped clean up the fish mess. Evie wrapped the fish in the unwrapped butcher paper and stuck them in the fridge. Scrubbing with the gift of dish soap, Evie had to stop and wipe her eyes on her sleeve.

Just wait, she was thinking, until I get ahold of Cheryl. I've got a good mind to smother her with a hug.

Everett and Cheryl were back in short time. Cheryl walked in carrying a huge pan, and said to Evie, "fire up that old stove Evie, I've got to keep this cooking. Don't fix anything, I've got this roast that's almost done."

Oh, Evie thought. I can smell that wonderful smelling meat. What a perfume. It's not like any other.
The kitchen crew quickly put the burger back and stashed the veggies in a bowl. That in itself brought the Grandmother to tears. It had been so long since there was the beauty of crops on the counter.

Everett gathered up Sarah and the boys and headed to town. He have her a couple of bills when he let her off in front of the Brew and Shoe. The implied insult in the gesture of pity, had him whistling all the way back to Evie's. Somestimes a little payback felt good.
They had a good laugh as Zander tried to whistle all the way, and Benny found he couldn't either.

Supper was glorious. Evie had Hap to the supper table and he sat quietly, but wouldn't eat unless Evie fed him. Benny and Brett urged choice morsels of meat and vegtables on Hap, but he would only eat what Evie spooned.

Cheryl and Ev exchanged a look, and Ev asked softly about Hap's condition. It was Evie's sad teary expression that had the kids rushing to surround her. "Don't Mr Ev," Benny requested. "Papa Hap has been gettin worse, sometime he won't get outta bed. It sure does make Grandma awful sad and she tries not to cry."

Cheryl's eyebrow went into her hairline at the mention of Grandma, and in one second flat she was telegraphing a 'what the heck' to Ev. His returned eyebrow said 'news to me'.

While the ladies were cleaning up, Ev and the boys brought in several more boxes from the bed of the pickup. They stashed them in the utility room for tomorrow.

Down at the Brew and Shoe the first person Sarah ran into was Betty.


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By the time Evie had the kids ready for bed; Cheryl had the kitchen cleaned, the fish filleted and the dog fed. When Evie tried to thank her, the younger woman said merrily, "We're friends Evie. Friends do for each other."

"Yes, but,..."

"No conditions Evie. Look at the way you helped Ev and me when we first came to this area. Why you and Hap kept us for months. I think you should let us keep our dignity, by allowing us to help you and Hap in return." Cheryl spoke the truth with gentle compassion.

"Cheryl, there are some conditions you need to know about. I have to admit I am going to need help with the children. It's not only Jane that is affected with heart problems. All the Apperton kids have heart valve problems. I'm going tomorrow to get confirmation on the youngest two, and I'm beginning to think I have bigger problems than that." Evie shared everything but the tremendous amount of money under the sink.

When Evie finished explaining all that she suspected, Cheryl leaned back and said, "phew, what a slew of problems. One thing about you Evie, you never do things halfway. How on earth did things get so complicated?"

"I can't believe Pete had such a double life, but the birthmark....just about settles it. On top of all that; I'm guessing both Pete and Hap have the heart problems. Pete's wound is bad; but not to the extent of the trouble he is experiencing. And Hap, well Hap has had memory problems, but this staying in bed and sleeping all day and night doesn't seem natural."

"I haven't seen Pete," Cheryl remarked, "but Hap's sleeping is kinda over the top. Now you have to go to the doctor tomorrow?" she asked thoughtfully. "I want Ev to take you in. Is that OK Ev?" The lanky farmer had been lounging in the background, listening to the tale of woe. He agreed, "If we can go fairly early. I have to work the acres over by the swamp and hopefully can do that tomorrow afternoon."

The night was cool and quiet, good for sleeping and resting the spirit. Evie realized that a burden shared with God was the only way to find a solution. Having good friends helped.

The morning trip into town was started with the usual hustle and bustle. While the youngest two Appertons were being checked over by the doctors, Evie went to the bank. Depositing the check from Kent's estate, she withdrew two hundred. That was going to be her 'cover' money. At the utility company, Evie made a big show of digging deep into her pocket. Out came three hundred dollars to be put on the utility bill. A casual but heartful chat about getting an bequeath in the mail finished the ruse.

The situtation was repeated at the grocers and the hardware store. Evie got back to the hospital in time for lunch, with a smirk lurking at the corners of her mouth. Patting herself on the back for accomplishing a successful morning, she sat in the cafeteria with a cup of coffee and a ham sandwich.

"I heard you were in town," Betty slapped her purse on the table. "What are you doing here?" she sniped.

"Same as you Betty; eating lunch," Evie looked up to see her daughter in law standing with one hand on her hip, tapping her toe. It looked like Betty was irritated with the fact Evie was in town. Humph, Evie didn't give a hoot what Betty thought. Not now, not later.

"Where'd ya get the money for lunch," Betty demanded. "When did you get some. Did you get money from Pete?" she pressed rudely. "If he had money, it's mine. Now you tell me old woman," her voice rose with every word, "Where did you get money, answer me!"

The big security guard appeared at Betty's elbow. "Is there a problem here," he inquired with a deceivingly calm manner. "Mizz Evie, is this lady bothering you?" The lady part was emphasized with a sneer, Hobart had been in the Brew & Shoe the previous night. He had an excellent memory concerning who he had noticed in the pub.

"Hobart, this is my daughter in law Betty. She is irritating, but not bothering me that much." Evie replied.

Betty was fuming, looking daggers at the most obnoxious woman in the world. Old witch.

"There you are, I've been looking for you," Dr. Phillips yelled across the room."You need to sign for the boy. He needs surgery NOW!"


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I just love the way neighbors, friends and plain folks of all stripes step in to help! In a small town, everything people do is seen by someone, and they remember. Evie has her defenders even in the Brew and Shoe! Great story. Stay warm at home, and write when you can. I look forward to your chapters throughout the day.


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Evie stood up in a flash, upsetting the dregs of her coffee on Betty's purse. Betty started screeching at the top of her lungs, and Evie shoved her out of the way. Betty sat down with a thump, barely making it into the chair. The chair protested, slid along the highly polished floor to collide with Hobart. Betty's head snapped back, hitting Hobart in a very delicate area of his anatomy.

Hobart bellowed a proper outrage at his painful condition. The roaring in her ear startled Betty and she leaned forward to get away from the man. Falling out of the chair, Betty shoved the chair backwards once again, to collide with Hobart, to thump him..again. Hobart, with tears in his eyes, held both of his hands out in front of himself and shuffled backwards as fast as he could.

The large man tripped on the chair that snuck up behind him and wound up spralled on the floor. Betty, down on all fours, scrambled on the slick floor tangling with the table that held the pooling coffee. The coffee, cold and with many grounds in the mixture, dripped relentlessly on Betty's new hair do. There was a moment of silence and Betty's purse came sliding off the wet plastic tabletop to land with a plop on the floor.

Doctor Phillips had to close his mouth. There was nothing he could say that would make the situtation better. Evie, without a backward glance, sailed past him to the counter to sign the papers he had requested.

"How is Zander? Is his condition as critical as Jane's, Please may I see her. And my goodness where is Sandra?" Evie shot questions at the nurse. The lady looked at Dr. Phillips for authorization to share the information, and the overworked man nodded. Happy that the nurse would take on the task, the physician fled back into the safety of the ER.

"Zander is a sick young man that needs his surgery right away. Jane is still under heavy sedation to keep her from moving around, no you may not see her. We have to maintain a sterile enviroment to control risk of infection. Sandra is finishing up her tests and will be out soon." The nurse drew herself up to full height and said smartly, "do you have any other questions?"

Evie leaned over the counter, looked 'nurse cratchett' in the eye and said, "no.'

Ev came through the door, looking askance at the collision on the floor. He frowned, and then his eyes found Evie. "Ready to go," he asked, searching for Zander and Sandra.

"Ev, there has been a change of plans. Zander is in for his surgery right now. Could I ask you to please stay long enough to gather up Sandra and take her home with you. And Hap, could Cheryl look after him till I get home." Evie turned to her neighbor, the Hanson's in need once again.

"I'm not going home," Sandra announced as she walked out of the ER. "Grandma, Zander will need me." Evie smiled at the young girl, so old for her age. She drew the child close and said to Ev, "We need to be together."

Everett agreed, and said they would be more than willing to care for Hap. "I'll be back in tomorrow," he promised.

"Doesn't anyone care that I've been hurt?" Betty whined petulently. "I mean I HAVE REALLY BEEN HURT, you people are a bunch of zoo animals."

"You've been hurt," Hobart asked with shocked anger. "what about me, you deliberatly tried to maim me for life. Your a vicious person."

"Me!" Betty shrieked again. "Why you cretin, you attacked me!"

"No I didn't" Hobart maintained stoutly. "You attacked me. I've got a good mind to haul you over to the sheriff."

At the mention of the sheriff, Betty got real quiet, real quick. Her last interaction with the sheriff had not gone well, and she wasn't anxious to repeat it. Betty got up from the floor with as much dignity as a woman who has coffee splashed all over her could muster. In a huff, she grabbed her purse and walked, dripping, from the waiting room.

Hobart was bigger than Evie could help up, but with Ev's assistance they got the man on his feet.

"Thank's folks," he said gratefully. "That's one snooty------. Oh, pardon Mizz Evie." Hobart bit off his tirade at a dark scowl from Ev.

"Grandma, I'm hungry." Sandra broke into the grownup moment. "Oh look, SHE dropped a paper," and Sandra bent down to retrieve a folded paper from under the table.


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I sure hope Evie gets a little help for once!!! Or at least things fall her way at least once!!!!! (HINT, HINT, HINT,
;) ;) ;) !!!!!!)


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Evie took the paper Sandra offered and stuffed it in her pocket. "I'll get it to Betty," she told Hobart. "I can't seem to get rid of her no matter what I do." With a grimace, the senior lady, shrugged her shoulders.

Hobart looked so relieved that Evie just had to pat him on the arm. "How is your mother," she asked, waiting for Hobie to finish wiping his perspiring face. Evie knew precisely how Hobart's mother was. Probably in the sauce by this time of the day. However she felt sorry for Hobie, and wished he would meet some nice girl and get away from his mother.

"Fine, fine; she's had to give up the recipe," he offered in a stage whisper. "couldn't stand up under the heart strain it was causing."

Evie beamed at Hobart. "Why that's just good news. Tell her hello for me," and she patted his arm again.

"Sandra, how about a sandwich, and maybe..." Evie leaned close and whispered conspiratorially..."a soda." Sandra's eyes got big and a huge grin lit up her face. "Could I, I've only had one other," she said breathlessly. A soda was tops on the 'things to want' list and the Apperton kids talked about it constantly.

"Ev, how about lunch," Evie offered the good natured neighbor. "Thanks, but not today," Everett returned. "I need to get home. I'll have Cheryl stay at your place if you want stay here tonight."

Touched beyond words, Evie nodded and grabbed his hand to give it a squeeze. "Thank you and Cheryl, so very much," she whispered.

"See youn tomorrow," Ev said with a laugh. "Stay away from Betty."

Evie made a face at him and shooed him out the door.

Ev and Hobart said so-longs and both left. Evie went to tell the nurse where she and Sandra would be, and soon Sandra was working over a ham and cheese with a cola. Evie thought Sandra must have chewed each bite thirty times, as long as she lingered over lunch. The cola was sipped as dainty as a princess would drink.

Evie made up her mind to try and talk with Pete while she was waiting for the conclusion of Zander's surgery, at least 6 hours in length.

Talking to the nurse, Evie left word where they would be. The woman raised her eyebrow, but said nothing. The walk over to the sheriff's office was a nice stroll on a warm spring afternoon. The deputy was leaning back in his chair talking on the phone, and waved Evie and Sandra towards the back.

Pete was in the same position as she had left him the other day. If a person didn't notice him breathing, they might have been concerned about his life.

"Hi Pete," Evie and Sandra sat down on the opposite bunk. "How are you feeling and do you need anything." Evie asked her son.

Pete made a non commitial noise that could be about anything. "Let me look at your leg," Evie bustled over, pulling the sheet back before he could object. Pursing her lips, Evie could tell the wound was 90% healed. The edges were knitted together nicely, the red line was fading towards pink. There were no red streaks radiating from the crease, the stitches had been removed, and Pete was lying there fakeing his disability. Evie covered his leg, drawing the sheet slowly up to his chest.

"Sandra, would you run over to the store and get a couple of sodas?" Evie fished a couple of dollar bills from her pocket. Out came the folded piece of paper with the money. Smiling, Evie sent the child on her errand. "No running," she cautioned, "walk careful and if you get out of breath, stop and rest." Sandra was excited to be entrusted with a task she could do by herself.

As Sandra was leaving the room, Evie idlely glanced at the paper in her hand. Scribbled in pencil was a set of numbers and letters.
L12-R12-L12. Not grasping any meaning, Evie refolded the paper and into the pocket it went.

"Pete, while Sandra is gone, please talk to me. Your leg appears to be healing nicely, so if you are avoiding coming home because you might need to explain what is going on....relax. Son, we have some major problems; and I need your help. I don't have the coping ability I used to have, so you are going to have to fire up and help. I can't depend on Ev and Cheryl every day, all day long."

Pete stirred, moving his arm down away from his face. Hitching himself up against the wall he stared at his mother. A grimace twisted his lip. "Yeah, well ain't life dandy' he croaked. "I can't stand Betty anymore. We are going to have a divorce, wether she wants it or not. Coughing, Pete cleared his throat. "Will told me Patty got herself in a batch of trouble, and is in juvie hall. She's so much like her mother, I don't have much hope for her. I know I can't talk to her," Pete rubbed his chest unconciously. "Will also said Janey had to have heart surgery. What's the deal on that?"

Evie explained about Jane and Zander. Pete seemed more troubled than ever when he found out about the second child. "Damm," he swore roughly, "that's a hell of a thing." He pounded on the cot with a clenched fist. He was white as a ghost when he found out about all the children. "Brett," he questioned.

"Brett hasn't been checked," Evie admitted. "But I would guess he has been lazy enough that if he does have valve problems, he layed around and outgrew them or they repaired themselves where they wern't stressed."

Pete winced at his mother's plain talk. There wasn't anything that wasn't the truth, but still.

"Pete, if I had to guess, I'd bet you have heart trouble also." Evie said with a big sigh. "I'm also betting your dad has it too. Please will you be checked before you come home. We need to get a handle on this problem. The doctor, aahh Phillips is his name, has been coordinating the whole thing. Please won't you see him?"

Pete wanted to do no such thing; however it was time to man up and do the right thing. "Yeah," he allowed. "I'll see him tomorrow or the next day." He rubbed his chest again. "You know Ma, I love all my kids. All of them," he stressed.

Sandra was leaning against the door, about to come into the room when she heard her dad tell Grandma about loving them. As young as she was, she knew that was a special thing to hear. She rubbed the faint pain that was radiating from her chest. It didn't hurt much unless she tried to run; but she didn't want Grandma to think she couldn't do what was asked.


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# 70

"There she is, Deputy I want you to arrest that woman for stealing," The inner door to the cell block was thrust open violently and slammed into the wall. "She has money and I know she had to steal it! I demand you arrest her."

Betty blew into the jail like a tornado. Pointing at Evie, she raged and screeched. The deputy stood dumbfounded, his hand near his gun for his own protection. Evie and Pete looked up from their own serious discussion, and Sandra edged around the mad woman to fly into Evie's arms for protection.

"I know on good authority she was not to have any money what so ever. So the fact that she has some, is enough to arrest her," Betty flailed the air with her arms. "OH, hi Pete," Betty dropped her voice and looked nervously towards the jail door. "I didn't know you were here. I thought you were in the hospital." she added lamely.

Pete didn't say anything, just stared at Betty until she dropped her gaze.

"So, I'm not supposed to have any money." Evie asked conversationally. "Now why would that be, Betty? Who thinks I should't have the price of a couple of sandwiches and sodas.?"

"Claude said you were completely out of cas........" Betty snapped her mouth shut.

"Humm, now that's right interesting," Evie continued with a false concern. "I'm glad you shared that with us."

The door slammed in the front office as Will stomped his way down the hall. Betty's face lost a touch of color, and she turned to skeedaddle as quickly as possible.

Will took in the situtation in a glance. "Evie," he intoned, "They need you at the hospital. Jane is failing."


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Evie flew to the hospital. Busting in the door, one look at the nurse confirmed her deepest fear. Jane was gone. "Nooo," the grandmother cried from the depth's of her being. Legs betrayed her, dropping her to the floor. Sobs were rent from pure love of a broken heart.

Will assisted Pete; both getting to the hospital in time to see a group of nurses clustered around Evie, her raw cries gasping for air.

Dr. Phillips rushed from the interior of the ER, two interns with a gurney close behind. Barking orders, he slipped a needle in Evie's vein as two of the nurses restrained her arm. Evie gave no resistance, she had nothing left to fight with.

"Get her upstairs," the doctor ordered. "Tie her in bed, if necessary. "Is anyone here B neg. blood type? We have a surgery that needs more blood." he shouted out over the din and activity of the room.

Will, Pete and the nurses all indicated they did not. "Ma is B neg." Pete spoke in a shaky voice.

The doctor cursed under his breath. He had just given the only close donor a large dose of tranquilizer. Sandra eased into the room, hiding behind Pete her face buried in his non injured pants leg. "What about her?" Dr. Phillips indicated Sandra.

"Don't know," Pete admitted. The nurse behind the desk answered the phone, threw it on the counter and rushed over to speak with the angry, frustrated doctor. Dr. Phillips pivoted on his heels and rushed back into the bowels of the hospital.

The noise level in the room dropped instantly. Nurses looked in concern and shock at each other. Will and Pete observing the exchange, understood the reason. Zander was in trouble. The hospital was an old, understaffed country clinic that had been upgraded to medical hospital status. The economic crash had not only broken people, it had broken the services people needed.

The people in the room understood the limitations of medicine without the supplies to support the needs.


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"Grandma, Grandma; wake up Grandma," Sandra shook Evie's shoulder. "Oh Grandma please wake up." Evie came awake, but couldn't shake the elephant of grief sitting on her chest. Sandra was dabbing at her grandmother's tears with a tissue while sniffing and sobbing herself.

"Oh Sandy, come here," Evie folded the thin crying child into her arms and rocked her gently. They cried together and Evie scooted over as far as possible on the narrow bed as to fit Sandy in there with her.

Pete found them there, as he painfully negociated the stairs up to his mother's room. The elevators were for patients only, he had quickly discovered. The old and the young, comforting each other. They were quite a sight. His mother's silver grey hair framing her face, and the child's face tucked into her shoulder.

"Ma, Sandra, how are you doing?" Pete didn't know how to break into their sorrow. He felt awkard and as gauche as a bumbling fool.

"Pete," Evie spoke quietly. "How is Zander?"

"Not good, they don't think he's gonna make it," Pete's voice was husky and low with confusion and hurt.

"Oh Pete, I don't know what to do." Evie sniffed, trying to hold back a fresh round of tears.

"They want you to stay, in case Zander needs blood," Pete felt he had no right to ask his mother to do this, but he wanted her to.

"Oh yes I will, anything at all," Evie replied heartfully.

"There is only one thing I can do, I can pray," Evie spoke to the child in her arms and her son. "I can pray."

Evie put her arms around Sandra and took the youngsters hands with her own. Praying with all her might, Evie asked her Lord for healing and strength. Eventually, Pete scooted his chair near the bed and added his hands to the stack on the bed.

Time passed and the praying continued. Sandra fell asleep; and Pete moved his lips without speaking as he followed his mother's plea for God's grace.

Will had no trouble finding the room Evie was in. Her quiet supplications could be heard in the hallway. The door was open slightly and he pulled the door open and stepped in.

"Pete, Evie," he snagged their attention. "Good news. Zander pulled through his surgery. He's in critical condition, weak and almost low on blood, but he's one tough little trooper,"

"Praise the Lord," Evie said with relief flooding her voice. Pete added an "Amen."

"Evie, I hate to do this at such a time, but you have some accusations leveled against you that need to be addressed." Will was ever the lawman, no matter what the circumstances.

"I've got that looney woman acting hysterical in my office, telling us you have stolen money. What the hell is going on?" he asked.

"Will," Pete said warningly, "This isn't the right time."

"Guys," Evie remonstrated, Sandra was stirring, waking up.

"Grandma, I'm hungry." Sandy slid off the bed, yawning a huge yawn. "Hello Sheriff Will. How is Zander?"

"Holding his own," Will replied with a smile. "He's a tough kid."

"He's a bossy little brother," Sandra shot back, not impressed with anyone admiring the pesky kid.

"How about a sandwich and soda?" Evie tempted the girl." And maybe when your done eating, you would bring sandwiches back for us?"

"Sodas too?" Sandra wanted to know as Evie dug into her famous pocket for the money. "Yes," she said. "here is enough money. Honey, why don't you eat downstairs and give us enough time to do some business."

"OK'" Sandra was happy to oblige, and out the door she went.

The interlude had given Evie a moment to gather her thoughts, and when her head came up, she had fire in her eyes.
"Will, I see no reason I need to constantly explain myself to that woman. Now what is this nonsense about me stealing money." Evie barged right in the moment Sandy left the room.

"That lunatic is pressing charges that you have stolen money, Based on the theory that she knows for a fact you have no money;" Will finished lamely.

"What! You mean she can just accuse me, and you hotfoot it up here for an explanation?" What kind of justice is that. Evie hoped to make him uncomfortable, and it was working.

"Betty and her new sidekick Sarah, have camped out in my office ranting and raving about you spending money all over town."

At the mention of money, Pete went very still and alert. Only his eyes rapidly moved from sheriff to mother and back.

"I'm going to tell this once, and then you better darn well have concrete evidence if you come bringing gossip about my personal finances again," Evie almost yelled. Mad, she was spitting mad.

Quickly, with a long story shortened, she repeated her brother's death, her inheritance put in the bank that very morning, and the paying of bills. I have not stolen money, and I do not want to have to justify myself to that woman ever again." Evie blistered Will's ears with her anger.

Will had the grace to look ashamed. "Your right, I'm sorry Evie. It's just that those two women are out of control looney, this should have never happened. I'm going back to the office and lock those two up for slander."

"Will, take this to Betty please. It fell out of her purse down in the lunchroom when she tipped the table over."
Evie fished the folded paper from her pocket and passed it to Pete, who was the closest. He glanced at the paper and shrugged, handing it to Will.

Will looked at the scribbled writing combination of letters and numbers and his head snapped up. In an instant he changed from friend to sheriff.

"Where did you get this," he demanded, fixing a steely glaze at Evie.

"Like I explained," Evie said patiently. "from Betty. It fell out of her purse. It didn't mean anything to me, and I forgot about it, till now.

"I should hope it doesn't mean anything to you," Will spoke with tightened lips. "that's the combination of the court house safe."
Great story and I'm loving it

What muppet thought that "Left 12-Right 12-Left 12" was a secure combination for anything?...... I wouldn't use that for a bike lock let alone a safe that may have confidential records in it

Hoping that that bit of paper is enough to make the two witches disappear


Has No Life - Lives on TB
THank you was so looking forward to another chpater, now I am ready for the next one :). Hope the doc's dont forget to check Sandra.


Veteran Member
At the mention of money Pete sure got concerned. Loving this story as it unfolds, just hope we don't lose anymore kids. Looks like the Sheriff is going to have Betty for a much longer stay. Poor Sheriff.


Veteran Member
"You can't be serious," Pete laughed. "Why a kid could get into that."

Will shrugged and said fatalistically,"the auditor and treasurer and myself are the only people to have the combination; or at least we were. Now Evie, you tell me how long Ruth Watson and Edith Johnson have been in their jobs?"

Evie was untangling herself from the blanket, she needed to use the bathroom urgently. "Three days short of forever," she tossed over her shoulderas she beat feet for the in room suite. One look in the mirror was enough to convince her she needed to do something with herself. Washing her hands, Evie looked at her watch, 8:30. What a day this has been, she sniffed.

Will was standing in front of the window, both hands in his pockets. "Evie, I've got to go. I want you to keep the combination problem under your hat. I need to get the ladies to come down to the court house tonight; and as a matter of fact, may I use the phone here?"

At her nod, Will made arrangements to meet the elderly keepers of Watson county records to be at the court house in an hour. Putting the receiver back on the base, he shook his head to clear the ringing anger he had occured.

"None to happy, were they," Evie observed. She could hear the protestations across the room.

"The ladies will get over it," he chuckled shortly. Will jumped slightly as the pager on his belt buzzed. "Duty calls," he waved as he strode out the door, headed downstairs.

Sandra walked in slowly, carefully holding the paper form that held 3 sodas and the sack of sandwiches. "You have change Grandma. The lunchroom is closing for the night, and will open at 7:30 tomorrow morning. There will be coffee available in the ER, and visiting hours are over at 8pm," Sandra repeated all she had been told. "Those ladies said it sure was too bad about Jane, and they hoped Zander was allright. It made me sad to think about Jane, and I cried a little. I also spilled one of the drinks, but the lady filled it up again."

Evie helped Sandy put the food on the rolling bed table. "You did fine," she praised the six year old. "That was very grownup of you to do this all by yourself. Do you want to hop up here and have another soda," Evie patted the bed.

"I'm full, but I'm really sleepy. Can I stay or do I have to go home," Sandra looked forlornly at her grandmother. It was clear she wanted to stay. Evie could see Sandy was really concerned about Zander, and in a round about way, herself.

"I'll go," Pete offered. "I need to start moving the leg and there should be enough light to get home. I'll let them know about Jane and Zander, check on Dad and feed the kids."

"Cheryl will be there, we need to give her a break. Thank you Pete, that would be a relief to me to have that taken care of. I would imagine Cheryl and Everett will have fed everyone, so take one of these with you." Evie offered the wrapped meat and cheese and soda to Pete.

"Thanks. See you tomorrow. Bye Mom, bye Sandra."

Sandra didn't recognize that Pete had spoken to her. Pretty stubborn little lady, Evie thought. Sort of like her Grandmother.
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Bitter gun owner.
The story is great. And BTW, when did you meet MY grandma?? :) Evie sounds just like her. This story brings back a lot of memories, thank you.



Veteran Member
Halfway home, Pete was reconsidering his exercise program. His stinkin leg hurt, he felt lousy and night was falling faster with each step. The fine spring evening was darkened with clouds of an oncoming storm. Walking down the center of the road was the clearest path he could find; and that's where he was when the huge black Lincoln came roaring around the sharp corner.

Pete jumped to the side, tripping over his lame leg and falling to the ground. The Lincoln created billows of thick dust as it sped by.
Now what, he mused, was Claude doing out at the house. That guy was behaving strangely, down right supiciously.

Floundering around on the ground, Pete looked for a way to pull himself upright. A set of three stakes driven in the dirt snagged his interest. Each had a different colored ribbon tied on the top, with indecipherable letters and numbers written with heavy black lettering. The way the tall roadside grass had fallen over, the stakes were hidden by the thick thatch.

Pete made a mental note to ask ma who might be surveying in the neighborhood. Cursing Claude by the time he finally got to his feet, Pete limped his way to the driveway. Out of habit he checked the mailbox for mail, before heading to the house. Down the lane, all the lights were on, Inky was barking in a 'let me at him way', and people were running this way and that.

"What the hell," Pete muttered aloud. Now what might be possibly happening.

Inky's bark changed to a 'kill the intruder' sound, as he challenged Pete's right to approach the house.

"Hey the house," Pete yelled. "It's Pete, what's going on down there?"

Ev appeared in the doorway, rifle in hand. "Pete, come on in."

Inky didn't wag his tail as Pete approached, he was alert and cautious. Pete didn't get close to the dog, he cut across a corner of the yard and walked in the house as Ev held the door open.

Hap was at the table banging a hammer on the table top. Brett and Benny were standing behind him. Brett had the cabbage stomper in one hand and Brett had a deadly looking wooden spoon. Cheryl poked her head around the girl's bedroom door and then let Clora rush in the room.

"Grandpa, he's gone," she soothed the highly excited Hap. "It's ok now." Clora seemed to have the same magic touch that Evie had when it came to calming Hap down. Grandpa reluctantly gave up the hammer, but the table had suffered about all it could stand.

Ev cleared his throat, "Claude was here to take Inky to the pound. He claimed to have papers Will signed, that Inky is a dangerous dog and that the sheriff had told Claude to bring him into the office."

"When was this," Pete quizzed Ev.

"I had barely got here, coming from the hospital; when Claude showed up," Ev replied.

"Couldn't have," Pete was positive. "Will has been at the hospital all afternoon. "I really don't think Will would send Claude to do that type of work, especially here." Pete replied, puzzled about the roadhouse owner's motive.

"Inky wouldn't let Claude catch him," Benny bragged.

"Yeah dad, you should have seen it," Brett bounced with excitement at the thought. "Inky got Claude to follow him in the barn. Right into the skunk. He got sprayed," he dissolved into laughter. "We wanted to get the skunk out of the barn, but it was worth it to get that nasty man sprayed."

"Well, your all here. I have bad news. Zander went in for emergency surgery, he's doing ok, but is awful sick. Jane,.....Jane didn't make it." Pete finished.

"Wadda ya mean, didn't make it," Brett was curious, "I don't understand."

"She died, you blockhead, what do you think it means," Benny lashed out at Brett, spinning around he ran outside.