(An original story copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace; all rights reserved) [(1) story cover, left]
[From time to time, I will illustrate my story characters with: Richard Armitage as Sam Wakeforest, Marcia Gay Harden as Sam’s older sister Tessa Wakeforest Shoop Delaney, and Emily Deschanel as Tessa’s sister-in-law Olivia Delaney Wakeforest, Viola Davis as Pauletta Perkins, Cicely Tyson as Nellie Newton, Anna Sophia Robb as Alice Trent, Kevin Spacey as Roger Delaney, Sam Heughan as Todd Wakeforest, Idris Elba as Dominic Perkins, the late Polly Holliday as the Waitress Madge, Donald Sutherland as Aldus Warren, Teri Polo as Lillian Warren, Ewan McGregor as David Warren, Noah Lomax as the 5 yrs old Daniel Wakeforest, Soleil Moon Frye as the 5 yrs old Ellie Wakeforest, a young Tom Cruise as Drew Wakeforest, Alexis Bledel as a 16 yr old Suzie Wakeforest, a 24 yr old Richard Armitage as twenty year old Daniel Wakeforest, and others as noted.]
Author’s Content Note: “Love in the Great Pine Woods” is a mature love story with dramatic themes of love and relationships. It will mostly be at the PG and PG-13 movie levels. Specific chapters or passages may have a further rating of: L for language, D for dramatic emotions, and S for sensual themes. And I will rate the chapters accordingly. If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with the ratings that I provide for a chapter, then please do not read that chapter. This is my disclaimer. And as is my habit, I will summarize the previous chapter’s events at the beginning of the next chapter.
Author’s Recap from the Previous Chapter: With Sam Wakeforest having a pacemaker put in and feeling that his mortality was looming in 1976 at 65 years old, he stated his intentions to turn over the reigns of Wakeforest Mountain conservancy and running the Wakeforest Family Lumber Mill to his eldest son Daniel who at twenty years old still had one year left of college. Daniel was studying forestry and conservation—and then he had a prestigious Fellowship lined up with the U.S. National Park Service in the Northern Midwest states that would allow him to keep an apartment in Wakeforest near home as his base. And other Wakeforest family members—such as Daniel’s little sister Suzie—have career and romantic aspirations.
“Love in the Great Pine Woods”, Ch. 49: Epilogue
Five years and four months later after their Wakeforest Family 4th of July 1976 Bicentennial Celebration, it is November 1981, the week of Thanksgiving. Much has changed and much has stayed the same for the Wakeforest family and the nation.
A former actor has become President of the United States—and though Sam had liked some of the President’s movies, not all, Sam was charistically unmoved by the man’s stirring public speaking abilities. Sam had voted for the peanut farmer physicist again. The Wakeforest Family is still headed by Sam Wakeforest—who finally allowed the National Park’s system to name Wakeforest Mountain’s old growth forest in the Great Pine Woods a National Treasure—a new designation that lets the Wakeforest family maintain ownership of the mountain. Sam Wakeforest is 71 and his wife Olivia is 61; their children are also grown and setting out carving their own lives in the twins Ellie and Daniel are 25, Josh is 23, and Suzie is 21 years old.
Yet, the essence of Wakeforest Mountain is preserved. It is still a thriving ecosystem, recreational destination, and source of carefully culled lumber for the Wakeforest Family Lumber Mill and extended family. And the large and many times extended Wakeforest-Delaney relations are still a large and loving family.
The college grad and new Wakeforest County Orphanage teacher Suzie Wakeforest at twenty-one is now happily being pursued by her unrelated by blood cousin, the now twenty seven year old Bobby Delaney–who is thinking about realigning his 9 year career and marriage plan to a five year plan. Bobbly joined his father Roger Delaney at the Wakeforest County Bank and has risen to the position of Asst. Vice President, under the mentorship of Vice President Dominic Perkins. Dominic’s wife, Mrs. Pauletta Perkins, continues as the Wakeforest County Orphanage Administrator.
But easing toward retirement, Mrs. Perkins has stepped down as the K-8th grade Wakeforest County Orphanage School Principal in favor of the twenty nine year old Brooke Elaine Carter, Ph.D. [(2) right] —yes of that Carter Family–who began her term as Principal last Summer. Over the years, Brooke had continued her family tradition of December Holidays on Wakeforest Mountain. So when the Principal position opened up at Wakeforest County Orphanage School, Brooke applied, interviewed and was hired as its new Principal. Olivia Wakeforest and her sister-in-law Tessa Wakeforest Shoop Delaney were two of several members of the Search Committee that hired Brooke Carter. With the Search Committee being very pleased to hire the up and coming school administrator with five years experience as a grade school teacher, followed by a three year stint as Assistant Principal at Valley View Grade School, while also teaching special needs reading classes to keep her hand in teaching.
Ellie Wakeforest married her beau Brad Billingsley three years ago and they live out of town, one hour away in Valley View—they are expecting their first child any minute, what will be Sam’s and Olivia’s first grandchild. While awaiting her child’s birth—her having a delicate pregnancy—Ellie has been writing children’s books. Her first one is for toddlers and is an experiential learning book titled “The Birds and the Trees of Wakeforest Mountain”. Ellie is a natural naturalist, and with her book containing differently textured and patterned fabric swatches to match trees and leaves, and bird markings. Her book will proudly be displayed in the Aidan Carter Wakeforest Mountain visitor center gift shop—along with other bookstores when it comes out in the Spring.
Joshua Wakeforest is still happily single at twenty-five and sowing his wild oats romantically in Minneapolis. And he has a career as a Radio Broadcaster for the local flagship NPR (National Public Radio) radio station KTWN. Josh inherited his father Sam’s deep and smooth speaking voice, and he is also occasionally called upon to narrate documentaries and such on the side.
Meanwhile, Daniel Wakeforest has been back working on Wakeforest Mountain for two years as the Senior Conservationist and Principal Owner/Manager of the Wakeforest Family Lumber Mill, when his father Sam retired. Though Sam sometimes has a strange way of acting retired in his wife Olivia’s mind—what with Sam still taking limited walkabouts on or drives through the Mountain to her protestations, but always with his son Daniel by his side for safety should Sam have angina.
Yet Sam and Olivia continue to enjoy a loving and harmonious union after nearly twenty-six years of marriage—especially now that Olivia has stopped fining her husband for swearing. And surprisingly, Sam doesn’t feel the need to swear so often. His life is calm and comfortable, and he dotes upon his beloved wife by surprising her with flowers, candlelit suppers for two, or whisking her off to weekend getaways that don’t always involve their Wakeforest Mountain retreats. And personality wise, they have both mellowed into a neutral common ground—Sam is not as arrogant as he used to be and Olivia is no shrinking violet, her panic attacks are a thing of the past. Love has healed them both. And both Sam and Olivia feel blessed with love and family that they continue to share their good fortune with good works and philanthropy in the Town of Wakeforest.
However one nagging concern that doting parents Sam and Olivia have is that their son Daniel is girlfriendless, again. Though Daniel was never a Casanova—two long term girlfriends in high school and in college with whom he broke up amicably—he does feel that something or someone is missing from his life. His post college traveling as a National Parks Fellow and then as Assistant Park Manager for Big Sky National Park the year after that was not conducive to him finding and nurturing a relationship.
Ladies want commitment and a man to stay put, which he wasn’t able to give then. Daniel was too nice a guy to lead on the few ladies he met reviewing the various National Parks with his Fellowship as a Regional Parks Ranger after college. And since then, with the last two years as Wakeforest Mountain’s Conservationist and Wakeforest Family Lumber Mills Manager, he hasn’t had time for love. But Daniel will bump into a lady who might just match his heart’s yearnings.
It is the day after Thanksgiving, 1981, a Friday. And the Wakeforest Family XMAS Tree Farm is open for business as usual in its 150 year existence. Sam and Olivia are inside the nice warm barn doing a morning stint in the kitchen serving donuts and coffee or hot mulled cider. The still not quite shoulder length but longer haired Daniel [(3) right] than his father Sam would like, and various of his his Wakeforest cousins—including his cousin Drew’s fifteen year old son Wyatt–are out on the XMAS tree lot helping customers with their pre cut and cut your own XMAS tree purchases. Then shepherding their customers inside the tree barn to get warm and have some refreshments as they look over the other wreaths and greens for sale.
Daniel is affably helping a customer with a tree, when he spots a small car, racing up the Mountain rode. Wakeforest Mountain is not open today.
Daniel: “Damn!” He mutters under his breath. His customer’s eyes widen. Well, Daniel is his father’s son. “Sorry.” Daniel winces apologetically. Then he briskly calls over to his young cousin. “Wyatt! Come over here and help this gentleman.”
Wyatt: “Yes, Sir!” Wyatt rushes over and is all business. Drew and Alice have a fine son.
Daniel: “Wyatt, no need to lay it on thick with the formality. We’re cousins! Call me Daniel.”
Wyatt: “I know. But when I’m working on the Mountain, you’re my boss.” Wyatt says earnestly.
Daniel: “Alright. Whatever.” Daniel rolls his eyes and leaves Wyatt to finish up the customer’s order. “There’s an idiot heading up the mountain that I have to stop.”
That’s the thing about being the head guy on the Mountain that Daniel still hasn’t quite gotten used to—the deference paid to him in his stewardship role as Wakeforest Mountain Conservator and Owner/Manager of the Wakeforest Family Lumber Mill. Though Daniel is in his element on the Mountain, Wakeforest Mountain, his family’s ancestral home. Oh, he is his father Sam’s son alright—except for Daniel’s shoulder length hair. But Daniel is also his calm and tempered mother Olivia’s son, too. He is a blending of their temperaments
Daniel jumps into his jeep—with his bull horn in the back to sound the alarm if he needs backup, since discharging a rifle is illegal on Wakeforest Mountain under Daniel’s watch, a fact lamented by his father Sam—and he races up the Wakeforest Mountain road a good five minutes behind the unknown driver and vehicle. Daniel mutters under his breath to himself that people need to read the safety warning signs clearly posted at all entrances to Mountain roads. Safety on Wakeforest Mountain is a serious business for Daniel and all of the Wakeforest family. They know all too well that death or injury could befall a person without proper care being taken—and even when it is.
Daniel follows the dark slushy tire tracks in the new fallen snow, and relievedly finds them ending at the Wakeforest Mountain visitor center. Daniel sees the back of a person of petite height encased in a heavy down parka and standing in front of the Visitor Center sign. Actually, he wonders if a child got hold of his parents’ car since the person is so small at barely above five feet tall. Well small to Daniel, since Daniel is six foot four inches in height. Daniel exits his jeep and strides over to the person.
Daniel: “What kind of idiot are you to ignore the sign saying that the Mountain was not open today?”
The person whips around to face Daniel and drops a XMAS wreath they had been holding. As of yet, Daniel can’t ascertain if the idiot is a small man, child, or a woman since their face is encased in a ski mask, too. But she soon rectifies that and pulls down her fake fur lined hood and removes her ski mask, causing her shoulder length burnished auburn locks to tousle wavily upon her shoulders.
Brooke: “Who in the heck are you to call me an idiot?” She bristles. “I have just as much right to be here as anyone does?”
Daniel flips up the lapel of his heavy shearling jacket to reveal his park ranger badge shield.
Daniel: “Miss! Sorry for the idiot comment. But I am Wakeforest Mountain Ranger Daniel Wakeforest and you are trespassing on My Mountain! This is my land!” Daniel glowers forcefully.
Brooke: “Your land? I thought this was a national park?” She had heard some scuttle butt about that in the family.
Daniel: “No! Only the old growth forest of the Great Pine Woods is listed as a National Treasure.”
Brooke: “Really?” She sneers sarcastically. “National Treasure? That’s sounds so … precious.”
Daniel narrows his eyes. She is a pretty woman, he’ll grant her that. But she has no sense if she is up here on the Mountain trespassing and unescorted.
Daniel: “Look, Miss. This can go one of two ways. You can precede me down the Mountain in your car and I write you a ticket in our nice and warm XMAS Tree Barn …”
Brooke: “Or?” Brook shivers petulantly.
Daniel: “Or, I cuff you and throw you in the back of my jeep and take you to jail.” Daniel crosses his arms—looking very much like his father. He is bluffing, of course. But she doesn’t know that.
Brooke: “You wouldn’t dare!” Her eyes widen in alarm.
Daniel: “Try me! No trespassing when the mountain is closed is a safety rule. And you don’t have anyone with you.” He adds sputteringly.
Brooke: “I don’t need anyone! I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself!” She sniffs and thrusts her nose in the air.
Softening and trying to make her see reason, Daniel appeals.
Daniel: “Look, Miss. A man died twenty five years ago because he ignored Mountain safety rules about when not to be on the Mountain. And he died in an avalanche. We just don’t want that to happen to anyone else.”
Brooke: Also losing her fury, she says in a hushed voice and points to the Visitor Center sign’s portrait on it. “I know, it was my Uncle Aidan–whom I don’t remember, because he died when I was little.”
Daniel: “Oh!” Daniel winces. Now he feels like the idiot. Daniel knows the story well of Aidan Carter ignoring the warning sign about not going on the Mountain after heavy snowfall because of the threat of avalanche—only to have his snowmobile he was riding pushed off the cliff of the Little Summitt Ridge by an avalanche and he fell to his death—with the snowmobile landing on top of him.
Brooke: She picks up the XMAS wreath at her feet. “I brought this wreath to … well, to honor him. But there doesn’t seem to be a good place to put it.”
Relenting, Daniel hauls out his multitude of keys and opens the Aidan Carter Wakeforest Mountain Visitor Center door. They both walk in silently. Daniel takes the wreath from her and walks over to the display about Aidan Carter’s life and death—a young man who took a few too many risks serving as a cautionary tale for others—and Daniel hangs up the wreath on a nearby wall hook. The Carter family had long ago provided pictures and bios to share about Aidan for this display.
Daniel: “There. We weren’t expecting you. Usually Dr. Matthew Carter comes closer to the XMAS Holidays to place a wreath.” Aidan had died the day after New Year’s 1956.
Brooke: “Uncle Matt was concerned that he might not get up here this year before the snow was too heavy. So he asked me to do it.” She explains simply.
Recognizing that the wreath she brought with her was one of their XMAS Tree Farm wreaths, he admonishes her.
Daniel: “You know, you could have said something to us down at the XMAS Tree Farm and we would have put it up for you, or escorted you for your safety.”
Brooke: “I didn’t want to bother anyone. You looked busy.”
Daniel: “And yet, I had to leave our busy XMAS Tree Farm to follow you up here—to insure your safety.” Daniel verbally jabs at her, him still feeling put out for her disregard for safety, when that is what got her uncle killed.
Brooke: “Sorry!” She snaps defensively. “Are you still going to give me a ticket, or whatever?”
Daniel: “Yes I will. The fines aren’t to punish people, they’re to make them realize that they need to change their behavior.” Brooke glares at him. “But it’s too cold up here. Let’s go back down to the XMAS Tree Farm Barn and I’ll write out your ticket there.”
Brooke: “Fine!” She hisses.
Daniel: “Fine!” He retorts.
After they lock up the Visitor Center, they drive back down the mountain in their respective cars to the Wakeforest Family XMAS Tree Lot. Then they stomp into the XMAS Tree Barn. But a very different reception greets them than either expected.
Sam: “Daniel? What’s this?” Sam looks down at the petite lady—who is obviously hopping mad.
Daniel: “She was trespassing at the Visitor Center.”
Brooke: “Was not!” Brooke pouts out her lower lip.
Daniel: “Was, too!” Daniel stands over her glowering.
Sam: “Children, please!” Sam puts his hand out and Daniel and Brooke stop arguing. Then Sam looks over his shoulder at his wife Olivia pouring Hot Mulled cider.
Olivia: Then Olivia looks up and sees her husband, son, and a lady conversing–and she squeals in delight. “Brooke!”
Olivia quickly dashes out from behind the kitchen counter and rushes over to Brooke to greet her. The two ladies hug like old pals—leaving Sam and his son Daniel speechless, with mouths gaping open, and looking quite perplexed.
Daniel: Finding his voices, he asks. “Mama? You know this lady?”
Olivia: “Do I know her? This is Brooke Carter, Ph.D. We hired her as the Wakeforest County Orphanage School’s new Principal last Summer! And she is a dream!”
Brooke: “Now Mrs. Wakeforest, …” Brooke blushes.
Olivia: “Now, none of that Mrs. Wakeforest stuff. I’m just Olivia.”
Brooke: “Olivia, thank you.” She smiles shyly.
Though how this woman could be shy now is astounding to Daniel. He thinks that she was a little hellion when he first met her on the Mountain. Daniel flips open his ticket pad and writes Brooke Carter, Ph.D., a ticket with a $100 fine for trespassing on the Mountain.
Olivia: “What are you doing?”
Daniel: “I’m writing Dr. Carter a ticket with a $100 fine that she can pay at the Wakeforest County Courthouse.”
Olivia: “Oh but …”
Daniel: “Mother, I have to write her a ticket. I can’t not fine her just because she knows you. We have to treat everyone equally.”
Brooke: “Please, Olivia.” Brooke holds out her hands in protest. “I have to receive and pay for the ticket like anyone else.” She holds out her hand to Daniel. And Daniel places the ticket there.
Daniel: “Thanks for understanding.”
Brooke: “I do.” She nods her assent but eyes him suspiciously–and thinks that he is too handsome for his own good, and that he is probably younger than she. Brooke is right on both counts.
Sam: “Well, if you’re from the Wakeforest County Orphanage School, may I show you some trees for the school. We donate them every year.”
Olivia: “No Sam, Dear. Let Daniel show her.” She widens her eyes at her husband, but he still can’t guess at her poor attempt at telepathy. “You must rest, Sam Dear.”
Sam nods and acquiesces. Then he waves away his son and the Principal Lady as they walk toward the stash of precut XMAS trees inside the barn.
Sam: “Get on with it.” Then Sam walks back to the kitchen with his wife.
Olivia: “What do you think?
Sam: “About what?”
Olivia: “Hhh! What do you mean about what! About Daniel and Brooke?” Olivis says in a hushed but frustrated tone. She thinks that either her husband Sam is being obtuse, or he is having a little fun with her.
Sam: “Well, …” Sam rubs his chin. “He patronized her and she chastised him. They’re perfect for each other.” Sam replies sarcastically.
Olivia gently swats at her husband’s arm.
Olivia: “Oh you! But just think of the possibilities.” Olivia blinks and bats her eyes several times at her husband.
Sam: Looking skyward, Sam exclaims. “Lord!”
Well, as it turns out over the next six months, true love does grow between Daniel and Brooke. It is a relationship of equals, and of opposites. But in the end, as with Daniel’s parents Sam and Olivia Wakeforest, what will bind Daniel and Brooke together will be a deep and abiding love, in the Great Pine Woods.
Thank you so much for going with me on Sam’s and Olivia’s and their family’s journey in my original romance “Love in the Great Pine Woods”! I usually have an inkling where I want my stories to go, but the twists and turns I come up with often surprise me. Ha! And I enjoyed sharing my story here with you. I’m glad that many of you enjoyed reading it on my blog here or on my Wattpad site. Thanks for all of your votes/stars and comments! I appreciate them!
I will be taking a breather from serializing my stories for a few weeks as I continue to write them and as I also ponder which story I will share next with you. I’ve been in a regency mode of late—writing and reading them. I do so love historical fiction and the strict social mores and etiquette—that I like to see turned on its ear now and again. Ha! also have other contemporary stories, and a fan fic or two to share. But we’ll see.
Thanks and Cheers! Gratiana Lovelace ;->
References for Ch. 49 Epilogue by Gratiana Lovelace, August 15, 2016 (Post #953)
1) The “Love in the Great Pine Woods” story cover is a composite of two images manipped by Grati:
a) the Richard Armitage portrait is from the 2011 Project Magazine photo shoot and article interview, that was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Richard/Promos/ProjectMagJuly2011/album/slides/ProjectMag-05.html;
b) the snowy Pine forest vertical image was found on Pinterest at https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/62/fa/ff/62faff1253d55f571eb3659cc7661e73.jpg
2) Brooke Carter is represented by Holiday Grainger found at http://dodoodad.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Holliday-Grainger-2.jpg
3) Daniel Wakeforest at 25 years old in 1981 is Richard Armitage at 27 years old in 1998 (denoised, and sepia toned by Grati), original image was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Richard/Promos/Miscellaneous/slides/Richard-1998%20Hamlet%20programme.html
Previous Blog Ch. 48 Story link with embedded illustrations: