Thursday, March 17, 2011

Chapter 97

Chapter 97

“Blast! These new fangled pens are completely useless!”

“Not again,” a female voice chuckled.

“Don’t you not again me young lady. Why on earth they have to make these things with razor point tips and so small a person can barely …”

“Mom, I’m married with kids of my own. Don’t you think you should give up calling me ‘young lady’? And besides, I already hear it from Anne every chance she gets. Ford had them shipped in special to prevent any of us having to put up with what they are running into on the coast with those techno pirates. You know why you have to do the financial papers with those special pens; it’s for fraud prevention. If you and Uncle Stro wouldn’t insist on holding them like they were going to bite …”

A voice, older but still strong, called from the kitchen, “Hah! Don’t draw me into this ‘Chelle. I hate those things even worse than your mother does. I don’t care if there is nano techno whosiwhatsits in that ink, anyone that even tries to take the farm by falsifying a deed will wind up down a deep hole just like all of the other idiots that have tried it over the years.”

“Uncle Stro! You can’t say things like that! What if someone heard?!”

“Well if they had any sense it would make them think twice.”


“All right, all right, that’s enough. If the two of you brangling make my cake fall …”

“Me?! I’m not the one who started this!” But rather than be angry ‘Chelle at her mother and uncle she laughed and just reveled in being home for a visit. She missed this. Missed it terribly. All of the kids being under foot until they were sorted out and sent back to who they belonged to at the end of the day. The fresh air, the freedom, the good food … all of the noise and shenanigans everyone seemed to constantly be up to. But when Ford had been offered the job in Roanoke it was something they just couldn’t turn down, not when credits were getting so hard to come by, not even their metal investments seemed to keep up and they promised the kids they’d help them get into a decent school though Tyler seemed changing his mind and thinking about accepting his great uncle’s offer of an apprenticeship. Damascus was still Damascus, little more than a dot on the map and there just weren’t enough jobs to go around for those that needed them.

After her mother left the room ‘Chelle asked her uncle, “How is she doing?”

“She hasn’t said anything to you?”

“You honestly think she would? You know how Mom can be.”

Strother Hefling shook his head, “Of course I do. And you know how hard she’s taking it. It missed so many, and then to have this happen out of the blue …”

The old woman wasn’t near as deaf as they seemed to think she was, she just wasn’t in the mood to talk about it. Besides, she’d promised the grandkids that she would finally get around to writing the story out and they were bound and determined to hold her to it this time. She didn’t know whether to consider it a foolish waste of time or admit that the memories were just hard to dredge up, even after all these years.

She checked the cake and found it ready to come out and once she had put it in the pie keep to cool she quietly went down to the basement and then into the tunnels. The grandkids all goggled every time she told them of how she had helped her father to dig the early tunnels and how most of the concrete that smoothed those walls was left over from that time. They’d installed lights some years back after they had been able to increase the farm’s energy output with a bank of those super efficient solar generators that had been invented during the war. She set the switch to motion detection and slowly made her way from the basement to the barn so that she could avoid the dampness left over from yesterday’s rain. It had taken a while but her body had finally started to call in payment for her years of abuse and lately it seemed it had been adding on late fees as well.

As she walked, the pool of light following her every step, she thought it felt like she was going back in time. The memories weren’t all bad of course but the ones that she was about to get reacquainted with hurt and she’d rather take them out for a look see when no one was around to watch her do it.

Looking down she noted that’s where Lady had lain so hurt and frail. Jimmy Ray had lain there, at the base of the ramp … he’d been gone what seemed like a long time and yesterday at the same time. He never had remarried after Gloria had died from weaponized tuberculosis during the war. All he had cared about ever afterwards were his kids and his dogs; and some days it had been hard to tell them apart as wild as they all were. Going to Jimmy Ray’s place was like trying to wrangle a sack full of puppies, no matter which way you turned it was all paws and tails, snouts and teeth, and all of them in need of a bath.

A black and white cat met her at the top of the ramp, a descendent of ol’ Boots, the terror of every dog in the tri-county area. While not quite as ferocious as his ancestor, this one was a darn good mouser which was why she didn’t shoo him out of the barn and away from the area she kept the incubators in. She had more orders than she could fill now that they’d finally used some sense and relaxed the ordinances in the cities and allowed small livestock again and mice in the chick feed was the last thing she needed. The little business was bringing in some much needed credits, something rare after the sickness had made a hash out of things. Her family hadn’t done as well as some had after the war, being uninterested in building a salvaging business. To really make those pay you had to either live in the urban jungle or be willing to travel a lot and neither one was appealing as it would take them too far from the farm.

She finally got the door laid back down without dropping the flaming thing and Rocky sat down on a milking stool to rest and think. She still kept several cows. With better refrigeration she didn’t have to ration it the way she had in those early years. And unless the grandkids were over she even managed to have enough to make cheese with. Annie would bring her students out to the orchard during harvest time for a class picnic and the kids were always fascinated at how everything was done “the old fashioned way.” Every year it seemed she’d get at least one smart aleck that would want to know why they were so poor they couldn’t buy stuff at the store “like normal people did.” That’s all the opening Rocky needed and she’d take the kids back to what most everyone called the Twelvers War … a time when terror was more abundant than clean drinking water.

Those years had been lean and hard beyond what most people had the ability to describe; beyond what most of the folks of her generation even wanted to describe much less remember. Even as somewhat insulated as they had been here in the mountains they still felt the terrible toll that the war had taken on the whole country, on the world. The radio was a window open on what was going on that was sometimes difficult to look through. Things were better now … at least in some ways … but the shadows were still there, especially in the bigger cities where they seemed to lay in wait to suck the life force out of the people that had too soon forgotten the lessons of the past; or those that were trying to escape the past only to wind up repeating it.

The cat darted out a gap in the door drawing her attention. The big doors on the barn weren’t new but they weren’t the originals either. They’d been forced to make do and repair the ones that had been battered down that dark day for almost a full year before there was enough wherewithal to fashion new ones. Truth be told the barn was made up of parts from so many different time periods that it was a wonder it still stood at all. The roof was the newest, made out of panels that Stro had leftover from a big construction job on the newest incarnation of the Damascus consolidated school system. They’d finally enrolled enough kids to need to separate the younger ones from the older and Stro’s company had been tapped to do the work.

But none of the primary beams were less than a hundred years old and some of them were so old and dark that they could have passed for something from a petrified forest. She walked over to one beam in particular. There, right there. She ignored it when she could but sometimes it still drew her unwilling eye. You could barely see it these days but that dark streak was where the nearly red hot barrel of the Bushmaster had charcoaled a gouge in the wood.

Rocky bent down and remembered. That night had ended leaving her at a point so far from where she had started that she never did quite make her way all the way back. Oh, she’d acted like she had but in reality something had shattered and she’d never managed to find all the pieces and glue them back together. She had been beyond fear or terror. Beyond anger. Even beyond revenge although that had come back to her eventually.

Rocky closed her eyes and it was all too easy to picture how it had been, to step back in time.


The air that night had been crisp with a nasty little bite to it. I heard the cruel jibes of the captors, smelled the odor of pain and terror, and the sharp metallic scent of blood.

Johnson stripped and strapped down and for all he’d already endured in torture his eyes rolled in their swollen sockets and I sensed he was feeling the panic only a young man could at what they had promised to do to him. Thor tied to the hitching rail; beaten, tortured, and shorn. No sound came from him. He made absolutely no movement. I lost what hope I had that he still drew breath. They’d cut him viciously and even in the dark I could see the ground beneath him was wet with coagulating blood.

Finally I saw Stro, thrown to the side like a broken toy. His arm bent in a place arms weren’t meant to bend. His back was shredded just like Thor’s. But he hadn’t gone quietly any more than Thor had. His big hands were torn and bloody from what must have truly been a battle. Two of the enemy lay near him their faces unrecognizable masks of gore, a testament to how hard our side had fought. There was no sign of Mr. Dink and I could only pray that my father’s old friend had somehow escaped with Lawson and gone for help.

The three men – my husband and the brothers of my heart – were bent and subjugated; their captors making comments unfit to wipe dog poop off your boots with. The man I had dubbed The Torturer picked up the emasculator from the brazier of red hot coals and started to make his move which was what I took as the signal to make a move of my own.

His head didn’t exactly disintegrate as two bullets from the bushmaster impacted his face but it wasn’t exactly in the same shape it had been the moment before either. His arms flew up and back and he released the tool he’d intended for Johnson. The force subsequently propelled the tool directly into Cliff’s eye. But Cliff wasn’t dead. He shrieked and stumbled around and knocked the brazier over and into one of the other captors that hadn’t quite figure out what was going on. I didn’t give him, or the other men, the chance.

I could have been more controlled but I wasn’t; my shots became a little wild. About all I can claim is that I managed to keep them high enough that none of them hit the bodies of my people. Cliff had finally managed to get the emasculator out of his eye socket but he was still stumbling around screaming when I stepped out of the barn. With his one remaining eye he spotted me and then shrieked like he’d seen a nightmare … and maybe he had.

My steel was starting to leak cold fire from where I kept it tucked and hidden, so much of it in fact it must have shown on my face. Cliff back pedaled and then turned and ran into the woods. The woods I knew as well as I knew my own hands.

“Rocky! Rocky girl!”

I looked and what I saw made me smile … but it was a terrible smile, the smile of a mountain banshee that had sighted the one she was to wail her unspeakable lament to. Mr. Dink though wasn’t as afraid as he should have been. He took the bushmaster gently from me and then placed in my hand Thor’s FN SCAR-IAR battle rifle. I stroked it the way I would have my lover if he’d still been with me. I turned and headed into the forest leaving Mr. Dink to tend to the survivors and greet the cavalry.

I could hear Cliff quietly blundering through the forest trying to escape the predator I had become, maybe had always been. He had once been a good woodsmen; not great, but certainly better than average. Dad had regularly used him as an example to follow and he’d shown a lot of promise; but his skills must have atrophied when he quit our crew. Or maybe my own skills had simply improved beyond what his had ever been. I had no trouble following him.

I should have needed a light in the forest but didn’t because God had provided one for me. The moon shown down turning everything silver and gray. The cold, dry night air aided me as every sound seemed to carry for miles. Every few feet I saw an inky blackness painted on a leaf, a tree trunk, in some lichen. Cliff was bleeding … but then again so was I. I felt the dampness that told me I’d left my own care too long. If Cliff was being drained of his life, so was I. As much as my heart hurt this was no suicide mission for me. I had a daughter that needed me and I intended to be there to raise her. I told myself it was time to end things and tend to the living as much as the dead.

I picked up my pace and tried to ignore the various discomforts in the various places that I was feeling them. Then it came to me. I knew where he was going. A place in some of the oldest of the old growth forest that had been used as a camp site for so many decades there were places in the ground where grass would never grow and smooth indentions in a few of the boulders where buttocks had sat so many times – even before this country was a country – that they were more like chairs than rocks.

Now in addition to sound the wind brought me the smell of campfires, too smoky for good sense or stealth. I slowed down and then turned off the path to a hidden place that Dad and I had used as a hunting stand. It gave me the perfect view of the camp in the hollow below.

I watched Cliff stumble up to a guard and nearly get shot for his troubles. His hysterical tone was so shrill it almost hurt the fillings in my teeth to hear it, even from that distance. I watched as several men came up to him and then one who bore himself with a real competence, a leader among men that they all obviously listened to. The men all parted before the man who was walked like a leader as he approached Cliff and I could see the calming affect he had on them all. I had found my first target.

I took a breath. Aimed. The leader turned and I saw his face; a man of power, of control, one who reminded me for a fleeting moment of Thor when the battle was on. And then I pulled the trigger and the face was obliterated and the sound in the wake of my shot told me Cliff was no longer the only hysterical one.

“Control Hon. That’s what you need the most. You have to turn loose of any idea you have of judging your target. It’s nothing but an unnecessary distraction. Once a person becomes your target the time of judgment is over with and what you are dealing them is fate.” Thor had tried to explain to me every time I asked how he could do what he did for pay and live with himself but it was this last explanation that had stuck with me the most. The time for judging these men was over with. I had already judged them and found them guilty. They had chosen their fate and I was here to deliver it.

My shots were Spartan; there was no need to waste ammo, no need to simply burn the clip off with one pull of the trigger. I didn’t shoot unless I had a good target. The thing was I had a lot of good targets; there were too many men in too small an area. It was quite literally like picking cherries out of a bowl. The men and women would run this way and that but I kept them pinned in. I also gave off enough random shots that it kept them running around in the middle as well. The clearing was only so big and up against a face of pure granite that there was just no place for them to escape to. Maybe that leader hadn’t been as smart as he appeared at first glance.

I sunk to a lower position and then lay prone. They’d finally gotten themselves together enough to start shooting back; however, the idiots shot their own more than they ever came close to shooting me. Through it all I kept my eye on Cliff as he ran to and fro and finally collapsed in a heap.

When the shooting stopped bodies were strewn everywhere below me. Only a very few were left alive to escape. I let them go knowing they wouldn’t escape for long. Someone had the dogs out; they bayed at the moon like hell hounds and I watched the fear kindle in the eyes of those that finally dug up enough courage to run.

Cliff stayed where he was, a pathetic mess. I had almost given up, thinking that maybe he had died from shock, when he lifted his ruined face and shouted as he started to crawl into the shadows, “I know it’s you! I’ll get you for this! I’ll give you to them that want you and then sell that brat of yours to the scientists! It’ll live in a cage for the rest of its unnatural life!! It …”

The battle rifle in my hand barked only once. Just a squeeze, that’s all it took. And Cliff was no more.

I was forced to use the trunk of a hickory nut tree to help me stand. With my part of the battle over with I was dizzy but whether from blood loss or the last of the adrenaline seeping away I couldn’t tell. I don’t really remember that fumbling march back to the farm, all I am sure of is that it took a lot longer to get back than it had to hunt Cliff down. After the gun cooled down I was able to sling it over my shoulders but that meant I was without a crutch.

I stumbled from tree to tree, from boulder to boulder. A brief wade through a cold stream woke me up enough that I realized I needed to adjust my course and then finally I was within sight of the homestead. There was a cacophony of sound rolling towards me but I was hearing it through ears suffering in the aftermath of heavy rifle fire.

I was spent but unreasonably I felt like roaring with laughter at the irony at realizing my milk had started to come in. My chest was straining at the buttons of the gown I had never changed out of. When I realized the yard was full of strange people there was no way I was going to go out amongst them. I wasn’t fit to be seen and I really had not interest in making even more of a spectacle of myself than I already had. And if any of them were my friends the stains on the gown and the rest of me would give them cardiac arrest.

Through the rows of corn, behind the wagon, and then as I tried to cut through the horses that seemed to be milling everywhere they shouldn’t be I heard the baying of a hound. It wasn’t loud. It was pretty pathetic actually. But the roar that followed the bay wasn’t. I told myself I couldn’t be hearing what I thought I was hearing.


“Ro-chelle … you having a staring contest with that post or what?” I was yanked back to the present with such ferocity I nearly fell over.

“Thor! What are you doing out of your bed?! You know what the doctor said.”

“Yeah, yeah,” he said and I could hear the wheeze beneath his words. “No one knew where you were at. Wound up having to get Brunhilda to find you.”

I put my hands on my hips, more ample than they used to be despite a still very active life, and told him, “That dog’s name is Daisy, not Brunhilda.”

“She doesn’t answer to Daisy,” he said with a wicked twinkle still bright despite the passing of the years.

Getting irritated at his refusal to go back in the house despite me trying to turn him that direction, “That’s because you’ve confused her. Whoever heard of a hound being called Brunhilda? Honestly you and your strange starts.” To the dog I said, “Yes, you found me you great big goof. Now if you could find the rabbits that keep getting into my cabbage you’d have something to be proud of.”

Thor wrapped his arms around me and I let him for all that the grandkids would probably start making their silly gagging noises and run off and tell their parents that Ra Ra and Grandpa were doing it again. But as he did so I noticed his arms were thinner, too thin no matter if he’d finally put some weight back on since they’d let me bring him home from the hospital in Abingdon. He saw me noticing and said, “I’m fine. Give me a little bit more time and your good cooking …”

I was in no mood for play. “I nearly lost you. Again.”

“Maybe. But since it didn’t turn out that way though, maybe not. Looks like God isn’t quite through with me yet.” We leaned into each other, thanking God yet again neither one of us had been forced to learn what it was going to be like to live without the other. We knew that time was coming, given our age perhaps sooner rather than later, but that time hadn’t come yet and I was praising and thanking Him for it. “Now you going to tell me what’s got you looking like you do?” Thor asked with a hint of concern in his voice.

I thought about lying but I still couldn’t pull it off with a straight face even after nearly four decades of marriage. “I got tired of the kids pestering the daylights out of me to write down the family history. I’d gotten so far … I just seemed to get stuck and couldn’t get passed …”

I shrugged and that was all. I didn’t even have to finish explaining. That night was one neither of us has ever been able to talk about often or with equanimity. It took both of us months to heal up from our ordeal. Thor still limps if his foot gets too cold for too long. While my constitution was sorely tested I suffered no permanent damage though it took much longer than it should have for me to fully recover from the birth of our first child. I got a cold that came and went that whole winter but was blessed that it never went into my lungs.

We named our baby Anna Joy though for the most part she went by Annie or Anne. She was tall, actually ending up an inch taller than me, but where as I grew up thick and muscular she was willowy taking after Thor’s side of the family. There was a little over two years between Anna Joy and her brother Erik. Erik grew to be a carbon copy of his father in nearly every way including his wanderlust as a young man. He did settle down, he just didn’t do it early like the rest of his siblings. After Erik came Evans then Ethan and then Everley all in quick succession. Those four boys were holy terrors and I loved every minute of it. Thor and Annie would sit and watch us and just shake their heads while I rough housed with the four boys. Stro and I took great delight in teaching them to play football.

After Everley we lost a couple and we thought there wouldn’t be any more but once God surprised us with Dovie it seemed to pave the way for Lydie, Corder, Brooks, and Malissa. We were for sure that Malissa was the last. I’d had so much trouble with that pregnancy towards the end that it didn’t surprise us when three years passed with not so much as a nibble.

Then I got a chest cold that turned into pneumonia. The war was over with but things were still very hard to come by, especially antibiotics and professional medical care. I was over six months along before we realized that one of the reasons it was taking me so long to get my health back was because I was going to have a baby. I fought and cried and really cut up a fuss but in the end I didn’t have any choice but to be admitted to the hospital.

It caused a stir and a bunch of the old stuff was brought up when my identity was leaked by a self serving orderly looking to make a buck. The results of the tests I went through also caused me palpitations. Someone … several someones … from the government showed up and tried to talk Thor and I into being some kind of spokespeople for the anti-environmental movement that was a popular fad at the time but there was no way I was having anything to do with it.

The stress of it all put me into labor early which strangely enough turned out to be a blessing, one that may have saved my life; one or both of the twins, and possibly me, would have died in the trying. I was pretty blasted for over a week, nearing meltdown stage. I’d had to endure the Roman cut and all had agreed that it was simply safer for me to have my tubes tied at the same time. I was at peace with the decision, it was everything else that was turning my brain inside out. I had thought all of the GWB stuff was behind me, behind the family. I had been wrong.

When they were born the little girl weighed almost thirteen pounds even though she was over a month premature. The little boy was half a pound smaller but half an inch longer. I suppose it doesn’t speak well of me but I just couldn’t get my head around things. The doctors wanted Thor to leave the twins and I in the hospital indefinitely but I begged him to get us out of there. Thor called on some old friends and we were whisked home and I didn’t leave the property for months, afraid that history was going to repeat itself.

Slowly the night terrors and dreams stopped and I could appreciate what Thor had chosen to name the babies when I wasn’t in any shape to do much more than gibber. The girl he named Rochelle though we call her ‘Chelle, and the boy he named Jonathon.

We weren’t the only ones left with lasting effects from that night. Stro was left with some heavy scaring including some in his left ear canal that caused some loss of hearing. When his business became successful he had something done about it letting us know that it had always bothered him more than he had ever let on. He and Tina remained married though several rough patches; it seemed to take them a few years before they were truly and completely easy in each other’s company. They had a houseful of big noisy boys, best friends of our older boys, and Tina finally laughed one day and told me that it used to be that she didn’t know how to cope with all of the noise and ruckus but that now she didn’t know what to do without it.

Lawson, who brought the cavalry … literally since it had been a military convoy he’d run into first … turned serious and enlisted. He lost half a foot in the war and was sent home where he went to work for Stro, eventually meeting a girl that he settled down with. We see them at church nearly every week.

Jimmy Ray seemed to be the least traumatized of the group. He just got up, went home to Gloria, and carried on with his life as if nothing had ever happened. They had four stair steps and then out of the blue, the war was brought home to all of us. Gloria was still acting as an intermediary between the military and our local militia. Somehow she was exposed to a biological weapon. Our entire area received mass inoculations and tight quarantining, stopping the TB in its tracks but for Gloria it was too late. Jimmy Ray nursed her to the horrible end. And when she passed she seemed to take a good chunk of the old Jimmy Ray with her. He saw his children raised, grew his business, and then one day his youngest heard all of the dogs howling. She ran out and found Jimmy Ray; he’d had some kind of stroke or aneurism, we never did find out which. Two of his kids continued the dog breeding and training business their father had built and those animals are some of the most prized on the market for search and rescue workers.

If Jimmy Ray was the least affected, Johnson was the most. He suffered from nightmares and night sweats for months afterwards. He tried to build a normal life but he could never quite pull it off. The girl he married gave him two children, a boy and a girl, but no matter how he tried he couldn’t ever quite find peace. Two years after Lawson enlisted Johnson left to do the same. He never came home. Sandford, at his brother’s memorial said, “Sometimes you fight the good fight and die quickly anyway. There’s no shame in it and such people are often called heroes. But I think it’s just as true to call those men heroes that die slowly, bits at a time, from battles long forgotten by everyone else. They get up every day and try. They never completely surrender even though it would be so much easier to do so. They fight the same war every day, sometimes winning, sometimes losing. Which one of us can say that we could be so strong even knowing that eventually the scars that no one can see may kill us one day anyway?”

Sand and Tina only had their one child. For whatever reason Tina never could get pregnant again but they raised Johnson’s two as if they were their own when their mother, too young to deal with a husband that was so damaged that he’d all but abandoned her, had left to start a new job in Richmond. She had promised to come back but never had and eventually stopped leaving forwarding addresses.

Mr. Hefling is still around. Watching Johnson fight his demons revealed something to him. I’m not sure what it was but he met a young woman and then married her. She had two children by her first husband who had died in the early days of the Green terrorist attacks then she and Mr. Hefling had a child together. I thought Stro and Thor were going to give themselves hernias at the look on Mr. Hefling’s face as he tried to explain that he was going to be a father again after he’d already become a grandfather.

Granny C passed away in her sleep right before Everley was born. It was a blessing. Her arthritis had crippled her up so badly that even breathing had become a misery by the end. I’ve never spoken of it but I saw a cup of tea by her bedside that Miz Louise had given her. The leaves I had seen steeping had been from an herb known for its strong narcotic affect. Or maybe it hadn’t been Miz Louise but Granny herself; her mind had still been sharp for all it was locked up in a body wracked with pain. She would have known what she was doing. I’ll let God sort that one out.

Miz Louise and Mr. Dink outlived Granny by nearly five years though we finally convinced them to move into the cabin near the house. They died within a week of each other and it was like the end of an age for those of us that had grown up knowing them.

All through the years Thor and I have had our ups and downs, but praise God mostly ups. His recent illness scared me badly. We still don’t know where he picked it up at but I suspect it was on the trip to Kentucky. I was still fat with Erik when out of the blue a young man rides up and shouts a halloooo at our gate. I don’t know which of us was more stunned, him seeing me pregnant or me realizing I was looking at David Chuckri.

“Dad! Dad!!”

Thor had just come from the barn and started running towards me when he saw I was in distress, “Is it the baby?”

“No … I mean I don’t think … Thor, I’m … I’m losing my mind. I could swear I just saw …”

At that time several riders thundered down the road, Sand leading the way in front of familiar faces I hadn’t thought to ever see again. That night was amazing. The whole crew was reunited except for Evans. The men were on a trading expedition and had taken the chance following up a lead they’d heard through the military grapevine, had gotten turned around and then run into Sand and the rest as they say is history.

We still see them occasionally though we write much more often; David even came to live with us for a season before returning home a little older and wiser than he had arrived. Ludvig is now the patriarch of the family. The Chuckri’s are one of the larger land holders where they are but it hasn’t been easy. During the Twelver War many people suspected them of being spies just because of their complexion. When the old crew started helping the military things eased up but the occasional flare up still happens. Just like us they’ve seen sadness and tragedy but Uncle Bedros taught them well and they haven’t let any of it break them.

So many things have happened over the years of our lives that I’ll probably be the rest of mine trying to record it. I keep searching for some great bit of wisdom that I can impart to the kids so that they won’t make the mistakes we have but really, none of it is original. All the good wisdom comes from the Good Book. But if I did have to come up with something I would say to live life regardless of the circumstances you find yourself in. Search for the light in the dark. And sometimes there are fights worth fighting.

And now I am putting down this pen for a while. Thor is going to be asking for his dinner before I know it and I still have that cake to frost. Think I’ll split it and add a layer of filling of apple butter to it; the boys have always been partial to my apple butter. Maybe after dinner I’ll see if any of the boys want to toss the football around before the bugs come out. After all I may be getting older but I’ve still got a few plays left in me. And after we get all the young uns to sleep tonight I think I’ll take some time and remind Thor of that too.



  1. What a great story! thank you so much for posting here so I could finish it! I look forward to reading all the rest of your stories! :D

  2. Thank you for posting on your blog. I took me a while to find it since I got banned from you know where for not increasing peoples knowledge.

  3. Thank you,Kathy.......great story!

  4. Wonderful, loved reading it again.

  5. Lol I just reread it again. To me it is a heart felt great story.

  6. I finally got to finish this story. Great-Great-Great as always. I am so glad I found you again. I am looking forward to reading your new stories also. Thanks so much for writing.

  7. Wonderful writing. Thanks for the gift of your story.

  8. Touching, descriptive story that I couldn't wait to read every chance I could and because it was so thorough, it allowed me to savor its sweetness for longer! You are a gifted story teller and I appreciate the spiritual nuances so much! Thank you!

  9. Thank you for sharing this story with us. I had read it a long while ago and it had stayed with me so much that I had to search it out so I could read it again :)


  10. thank you, I have a 3 letter comment W O W


  11. This is the third time I have read this one. It is still as good as the first time. Thank you!!!