[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 and others as noted.]
Authors 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.
Authors Recap from the Previous Chapter: Sam and Olivia are continuing to enjoy their isolated honeymoon at their Wakeforest Mountain cabin on New Year’s Day, 1956. But the heavy 15inch snowfall does more than closing roads into Wakeforest Mountain on New Year’s day. It also adds to the weight of snow at the higher elevations–whose steepness cannot support much more snow before an avalanche occurs. And newlyweds Sam’s and Olivia’s mountain cabin as night falls on New Year’s Day –though somewhat sheltered by the thick forest trees–will not be immune to the forces of nature with the coming new day.
“Love in the Great Pine Woods”, Ch. 17 (PG-13, D): Blizzard on the Mountain
Rising early on the morning of Saturday, January 2nd, 1956 at his and his wife Olivia’s Wakeforest Mountain cabin [(2) right] honeymoon retreat, Sam Wakeforest looks out the window with concern seeing the snow still coming down heavily. He has been here at his cabin during large snow falls. But with the wind picking up as well, the weather is nearing blizzard white out conditions. And the temperature outside is a frigid -5 degrees Fahrenheit–with a wind chill of a frozen tundra -20 degrees Fahrenheit.
If it were just himself at the cabin, Sam would ride it out like the avid outdoorsman that he is. But now, Sam has his wife Olivia with him. And he is concerned for her safety. And Sam is not being overly anxious. That is not his style. For Sam’s and Olivia’s idyllic mountain honeymoon at the cabin will turn into a struggle for survival as the unexpected blizzard socks them into the cabin with no way to get out–and no way for anyone to get in. And Sam will make a fateful decision that will change the course of their lives.
Having quickly dressed in, Sam sits soberly [(3) right] in the bed side chair by the big bedroom window–where you can see the snow falling outside–and he gently shakes Olivia’s shoulder to awaken her.
Sam: “Olivia, My love.” Sam tenderly calls to her with his deeply resonant voice.
Olivia: “Yes?” She asks sleepily as she smiles up at her husband and he leans over and kisses her on her lips. “Come back to bed, Sam.” Olivia smiles invitingly. But now is not the time for lovemaking.
Not wanting to scare her–but needing to prepare her for the worst–Sam tries to calmly convey the urgency of their situation.
Sam: “I’m sorry to wake you so early, Olivia My Love. But the snow has not let up. So we are staying inside the cabin today, I’m afraid.” He tries to give her a sheepish grin.
Olivia: “Oh well, it’s not like we had any plans we can’t break.” She says groggily, not attuned to the implication of his statement. Olivia had hoped to do a little cross country skiing with Sam.
Sam: Then Sam continues, this time a little less obtusely. “Yes, well. We also have to prepare ourselves–frontier style–in case the generator goes out and such.” And it’s always the and such that you have to worry about.
Becoming more alert, Olivia notices that this third morning of their marriage is different–no lingering in bed for a romantic morning tryst. And her husband, though gentle with her, has an air of urgency about him.
Olivia: “You’re already dressed.” Then Olivia sits up, holding the bed sheet and blankets to cover herself.
Sam: “I’m going to bring more wood inside the cabin. I have to get it from the wood rack by the generator shed. We’re all out on the back porch wood rack.”
The resourceful Sam always has several cords of wood available in the wintertime. But this Winter weather is unusually cold and snowy. And he chastises himself for not thinking to bring more wood over to the cabin yesterday, when the weather wasn’t so bad. But he was rather distracted by his lovely new wife, since it is their honeymoon.
Looking out the window and seeing not only the heavy snowfall, but the extremely windy low visibility conditions, Olivia asks worriedly.
Olivia: “But Sam, should you even go outside in this weather? What if you can’t see and lose your way back to me?” Olivia is becoming increasingly more agitated as she realizes the precarious situation that they are in.
Sam: Clasping her hand in his hand, Sam gazes at her meaningfully. “Olivia, I have to get us more wood for heat. If the generator goes out, burning wood in the fireplace will be our only source of heat. And the generator shed is only fifty feet away. I can still see it because of the daylight. But I’m going to tie a rope between the two buildings–in case the visibility worsens later.”
Olivia: “Are we in danger?” Olivia asks with trepidation.
Sam: “Not … yet.” However Sam’s hesitant response is not at all reassuring to Olivia.
Olivia: “Oh Sam! What if the power goes out and we freeze to death before anyone can help us?” Olivia starts to panic with her breathing becoming shallow and fast. “Hh! Hh! Hh! Hh! Hh!” She is finding it more difficult to breathe.
Olivia hasn’t had one of these attacks since before they married. And Sam was hoping to not scare her so. Moving to sit on the bed and pulling Olivia to him, Sam embraces his wife and rubs her bare back soothingly as he rocks her in his arms. She is the most precious thing in his life. And he will not let any harm come to her.
Sam: “Shh! Shh! Olivia, we are not anywhere near being in danger.” But he is not being wholly truthful. “We just have to be prudent. But you must first be calm. Olivia, you need to focus your breathing now, like you’ve practiced.”
Olivia: “Hhh! Hhhh! Hhhhh!” Olivia tries to focus on Sam’s eyes and she begins to relax a bit.
Sam: “That’s my girl. Are you feeling better?” She nods. “Okay! Keep breathing slowly and deeply.” Then after a few minutes, Olivia is breathing normally again. “So I need you to do some things for me in the cabin. After you get dressed, I need you to tend to our water buckets that I have stacked near the back door. We need it in case the water pump freezes.” Since even in Wintry conditions, they must remain hydrated. “And the cabin only has a forty gallon water heater.” Sam has ten metal buckets, each can hold 2 gallons of water–so that is twenty extra gallons of water.
Olivia: “Should I fill the buckets with cold water or hot water in them?”
Sam: Sam shakes his head. “No! Not with water from the faucet. We will save that water already in the water heater as a back up.” Then he explains. “Before I get the wood from near the generator shed, I’m going to scoop up clean snow from the back porch into each of the buckets and place them just inside the back door by the kitchen. Then I want you to place the buckets on the hearth in front of the fire in the Great Room to melt the snow. I have already stoked up that fire.”
Olivia: She nods. “But when snow melts, it will only fill part of each bucket.”
Sam: “Yes! Then you will pour the water into fewer buckets and bring the empty buckets to the back door for me to refill them with clean snow. And I don’t want you going outside, Olivia.” Sam says sternly. “You’re not used to these weather conditions, and I am.”
Olivia: “Oh Sam! But what more can I do?” Olivia asks worriedly about Sam having to go outside in this weather.
Sam: Sam smiles. “Make us breakfast. I’ll be hungry when I finish hauling the wood.” And he wants to give her a distraction.
Olivia: “Is there anything else I can do?”
Sam: “That will be enough for now.”
Sam and Olivia kiss tenderly. If it were any other morning, they would joyously share their love expressed in more physical ways with each other. But today, they are in a fight for their lives. So Sam goes to fill up the ten buckets with snow while Olivia gets dressed. Then he starts carrying the wood from the generator shed back to and then inside the cabin and so that once he is done, they won’t have to go outside again. And Sam does hang that rope up between the shed and the cabin–just in case.
That same morning down in the valley near the town of Wakeforest, everyone in the extended Wakeforest and Delany family there are also waking up to more snow. But thankfully, weather in the valley has not reached blizzard conditions. And though they are fine, Sam and Olivia are not. But Sam’s and Olivia’s family don’t realize that they went to their Wakeforest Mountain cabin for their honeymoon. Instead, they guessed that they went over to the bigger city of Valley View and then took a train to the really big city to see some theatrical shows and such. So no one is worried about Sam and Olivia–nor are they trying to rescue them. But they should be.
Yet one person does know where Sam and Olivia are for their honeymoon–the Delaney family’s longtime housekeeper Nellie Newton, who is now living with them in her old age retirement. But Nellie Newton, came down with a fever the day after Sam and Olivia married–and she has been ill the past two days. However this morning, Nellie is just now feeling a bit better and more alert as she notices the snow falling outside as Tessa opens her bedroom window’s curtains for her.
Nellie: “Mrs. Tessa! That snow there looks bad.”
Tessa: “I know, Nellie.” Tessa sighs.
Nellie: “How much snow is it?”
Tessa: “Nearly twenty inches so far. And it is still coming down.” Tessa shakes her head. “I’ve had to keep Alice and Bobby cooped up inside. No sledding until the weather clears up.”
Nellie: “That’s prudent. But what about Mr. Sam and My Livvy?”
Tessa: “What about them, Nellie? I’m sure they’re having a lovely honeymoon.” Tessa smiles saucily.
Nellie: “Yes Sweetie, but they’re at Mr. Sam’s cabin on the mountain in all this snow.”
Tessa: “Oh no! How do you know that?” Tessa asks worriedly as her face pales.
Nellie: “I told those younguns when they said goodbye to me after their wedding, that they should let someone know where they are–cause a blizzard was coming. So Mr. Sam whispered to me that he was taking Miss Olivia to the cabin for the weekend.”
Tessa: “Oh Nellie! There really is a blizzard on the mountain. What if they’re in danger? I have to talk to Roger and get a hold of my brother Kevin and see what we can do to help them.”
Nellie: “That’s good.” Nellie nods with her eyes closed. Then she instinctively reaches over an touches the picture of she and Olivia as a child [(4) right]. “Tell My little Livvy that I love her. She has been my joy!” Nellie sleepily nods and replies as Tessa hurries out of Nellie’s bedroom. Old Nellie Newton and Olivia Delaney Wakeforest share a special bond–like a granddaughter and grandmother–that crosses boundaries of age, class, and race.
Tessa: “I will. Thank you, Nellie.” Tessa replies over her shoulder.
But Old Nellie has already fallen asleep again.
After conferring with her husband Roger, he and Tessa share a tense phone call to her brother Kevin Wakeforest–with Tessa and Roger listening into the receiver ear to ear since even in 1956, private homes do not have speaker phones.
Kevin: “Wakeforest Family Tree Farm.” He answers. Since after XMAS, they still have sledding activities and such, it’s just that no one needs to buy a XMAS tree anymore.
Tessa: “Oh Kevin! Thank god you’re there!” The Wakeforest Family XMAS Tree Farm lot and barn building is located at the base of Wakeforest Mountain–only five miles from Sam’s cabin situated on the Little Summit ridge.
Kevin: “Hi Tessa, What’s up?”
Tessa starts to cry and she looks at Roger and he nods and continues.
Roger: “Kevin, it’s Roger. Tessa and I just found out that Sam and Olivia are on the mountain, at the cabin. We’re concerned for their safety in this weather.”
Kevin: “Crap! Oh! Pardon me, Roger.” Kevin always feels like he’s a school boy swearing in front of the principal around his brother-in-law Roger.
Roger: “No no. I said crap, too, when Tessa told me.”
Tessa: Whispering. “You did not!” She pouts out her lower lip. Her husband Roger is a gentleman–who doesn’t swear, at least not around her.
Roger: “Never mind Tessa.” Roger rolls his eyes. So much for him trying to seem like one of the guys to his brother-in-law Kevin. “Anyway Kevin, we’re wondering how we can determine if Sam and Olivia are alright?”
Kevin: “I could try raising him on the short wave radio. But I’ve been inside the building here all morning and I haven’t heard a peep out of it. You would think Sam would contact us just to let us know they’re alright.”
Tessa: “Unless, .. they’re not alright.” She starts to tear up again.
Kevin: “I’ll try calling them on the short wave.” I’ll get back to you.
Their phone call ends. And Tessa and Roger look at each other worriedly as they hang up their phone.
Olivia has dutifully melted snow and consolidated the water in the buckets–making several trips back and forth. And though she was tempted to go outside and scoop some more snow into the empty buckets, Sam always came back with another load of wood and did it for her. Then an hour later, with a cord of wood stacked inside the bedroom and also in Great room–and another cord of wood still stacked outside on the back porch off of the kitchen–Sam is indeed a tired and hungry man. But he is also a sweaty man and he takes the quickest shower on record so as not to use up too much of their water heater water.
Then when they sit down for breakfast of eggs, bacon, and toast and jelly in their cabin kitchen–and Sam barely gets two bites in–Olivia and Sam hear a whirring sound outside–rather like a chainsaw.
Sam: “You have got to be kidding me!” Sam jumps up and rushes to the window. “Damn fool!”
Olivia: “What is it, Sam?”Olivia tries to see out the window.
Sam: “Some idiot is riding one of those Minnesota snow vehicles.”[(5) later to be renamed Polaris snow mobiles] Sam points and Olivia is astonished.
Olivia: “Don’t they know how cold it is?”
Olivia: “Sam! Don’t leave me!” She pleads in desperation [(6) right]. “If he’s stupid enough to be outside in this weather …” But Sam cuts her off.
Sam: “Olivia! I am the Deputized Wakeforest Mountain Ranger. I have to go to warn him!” Sam looks at her sternly. He takes his responsibilities seriously.
Just then, Sam’s cabin’s short wave radio crackles. [(7)]
Kevin on radio: “Breaker Breaker! Sam and Olivia, are you on the mountain? Come back.”
Sam and Olivia startle at hearing Sam’s brother Kevin’s voice over the short wave radio that Sam has at the cabin. Sam drops his coat and boots and lunges for the short wave radio. He had tried to reach Kevin very early this morning but had gotten no response–and Sam was busy since then. They are lucky to still have the radio working since it is powered by the electricity produced by the cabin’s generator.
Sam on radio: “Kevin! We’re here! At the cabin!”
Kevin on radio: “So Tessa was right! Well how the hell are you?” He says in brother vernacular.
Olivia’s eye brows raise at her brother-in-laws’ swear word.
Sam on radio: “We’re great. But please remember that Olivia is listening in and temper your language.”
Kevin on radio: “Sorry, Bro. I said crap when Tessa phoned to tell me that you were up there.” Olivia blanches.
Sam on radio: “Kevin!” Sam blows up chastisingly.
Kevin on radio: “Sorry. Need anything?” Kevin asks facetiously.
Sam on radio: “Spring would be nice. But barring that, how many inches of snow have we had?”
Kevin on radio: “Twenty-two and counting. It’s a blizzard.”
Sam on radio: Rolling his eyes at Olivia, he responds sarcastically. “No kidding! Say, there’s a yahoo up here on a snow vehicle tearing up the Little Summit shelf ridge. I was just going to go out to warn him about where the ridge cliff is in this snow.”
Kevin on radio: “Stay put, Sam! Don’t risk yourself.”
Olivia on radio: “That’s what I said, Kevin.” She nods her head.
Sam: “Olivia, Kevin can’t hear you unless you press this button.” He points to the talk button on the base of the short wave microphone.
Olivia on radio: “Oh! Okay.” She presses the shortwave button. “That’s what I said, Kevin.” She repeats.
Kevin on radio: “Good, we’re in agreement. Now …” And Kevin looks out the barn window and up at the mountain. “Holy god!” He exclaims as he sees a high shelf of snow above the tree line start to avalanche down the mountain–right toward the Little Summit where Sam’s and Olivia’s cabin is.
Sam on radio: “What? What is it, Kevin! Come back.” Sam asks warily.
Kevin on radio: “Avalanche! Sit tight, Bro. Your cabin is sheltered among the trees, which should help.” But Kevin is very worried.
Sam on radio: Sam thinks about the guy on the snow vehicle. “But what about the guy …?”
Sam and Olivia jolt at hearing a thundering rumble sound outside that is getting louder. Then they hear a series of deafeningly loud bangs as the avalanche fells large pine trees in its path. And then the large pine trees hit other objects–such as Sam’s and Olivia’s cabin’s generator shed–covering it with snow, and knocking down the power line from the shed to the cabin. And the cabin lights go out and the shortwave radio goes dead.
Then a wall of snow and trees skirt the bricked east side of Sam’s and Olivia’s cabin. Racing to the kitchen in horror of what is happening, Sam and Olivia duck for cover under the sturdy wood table as the glass window in the back door is broken out by the avalanche and snow pours through the hole and into the cabin’s kitchen–even as the avalanche partially covers the cabin in snow and continues past to the ridge of the Little Summit.
Kevin on radio: “Breaker breaker! Sam! Come back!” But there is nothing. Kevin tries to reach Sam for several minutes. But still there is nothing. Then Kevin looks up at the large barn window and he sees a thin plume of smoke rising on Wakeforest Mountain near where the Little Summit ridge is–near where Sam’s and Olivia’s cabin is. And a chill goes up Kevin’s spine. “No!”
To be continued with Chapter 18
References for Ch. 17 by Gratiana Lovelace, January 17, 2016 (Post #861)
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) The Wakeforest’s mountain pine woods log cabin is :a weekend home interior with bed and fireplace is a snowy cabin in Telluride, Colorado that was found at https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/8e/ca/42/8eca4242200f04fc4698aafb89266f8d.jpg ;
3) Sam with snowy background image is a lovely wallpaper by Ann Boudreau Richard Armitage in Fault Magazine by Paula Parrish; here is the wallpaper link https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10153530191643025&set=pb.576413024.-2207520000.1453010393.&type=3&theater
4) Picture representing Nellie Newton and Olivia Delaney as a child is Cicely Tyson as Sipsey in the 1991 film Fried Green Tomatoes found on Pinterest at https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/e0/2c/e9/e02ce97f070a0681bd4707df26f09966.jpg; for more about the film, visit: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0101921/fullcredits?ref_=tt_ov_st_sm
5) Modern snow mobiles were reinvented in 1955-56by a Minnesota company that later came to be called Polaris, as found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snowmobile
6) Olivia in a sweater refuting an accusation image is Emily Deschanel as Dr. Temperance Brennan on the tv show Bones that was found at https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/1f/f2/33/1ff2333bd61ba1ebd0576ccf89950796.jpg
7) For information about short wave radio, please visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shortwave_radio
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