(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 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: The continuous snowfall and then blizzard conditions the first three days of Sam’s and Olivia’s honeymoon at their Wakeforest Mountain cabin leads to life threatening circumstances for they and anyone on the mountain as an avalanche the morning of Saturday, January 2, 1956 obliterated all in its path. And when Sam and Olivia lost power due to the avalanche taking out their generator shed and burying part of the cabin, their urgent short wave radio communication with Sam’s brother Kevin at their Wakeforest Family Tree Farm at the base of the mountain. And a desperate rescue mission to save Sam and Olivia gets underway.
“Love in the Great Pine Woods”, Ch. 18 (PG-13, D): Mountain Rescue or Recovery?
Kevin Wakeforest cannot stop to panic. If his brother Sam’s and sister-in-law Olivia’s cabin was hit by even the smallest amount of the half mile wide avalanche and is buried under snow–or worse, is somehow on fire, given the plume of smoke Kevin saw rising upon the mountain–Kevin and his brothers have to get up the mountain fast to rescue them. So Kevin calls his brothers William and Todd to join him at their Tree Farm at the base of Wakeforest Mountain–bringing supplies for a mountain rescue.
Kevin also calls his sister Tessa and and her huband Roger. And though both of them want to help with the rescue–since Sam is Tessa’s brother and Sam’s new wife Olivia is Roger’s sister–one of them needs to stay at their Delaney Manor home to be with their foster children Alice and baby Bobby. They can’t decide who does what since both of them have a sibling in danger on the mountain–and they draw straws.
So it is Tessa Delaney who also arrives at the Wakeforest Tree Farm at the base of Wakeforest Mountain–with Roger staying home to watch the children. Tessa and her still recovering from his rabbit claw trap injury youngest brother Todd will staff the XMAS Tree Farm barn office and short wave radio and CB [(2) citizen’s band radio] that their brothers Kevin and William will have with them. And while Kevin and William each drive a large commercial snow plow and head up the mountain road–plowing as they go to make it easier for other rescue vehicles to get through.
And after Roger Delaney calls to inform his bank colleague Dominic Perkins about the mountain rescue–because Roger will not be in the bank for a planned year end bank audit meeting–Dominic also rushes to help, with Dominic riding along with Kevin in one snow plow while William’s brother-in-law Hank Pitts rides with him.
The four men have no idea what scene of devastation they will find. Nor do they know if their mission is a rescue of Sam and Olivia who might have injuries that they must tend to? Or if it is a recovery of their bodies, if they are too late?
It is particularly heart breaking to Kevin–only two years younger than his oldest brother Sam–because he and Sam are particularly close. Their jocular way of teasing and pranking each other betokens a deep brotherly bond. And Dominic having served with Sam in WWII, also has a special connection to Sam. And the two men talk as they drive up the mountain, plowing the snow as they go.
But the heavy snow fall that is continuing to come down and the blowing snow drifts will make their progress slow going. The sight before them near the base of Wakeforest Mountain is deceptively serene.
The white pillowing snow on the ground and on the pine fir trees is picture perfect–the heavy snow lowering tree branches to the ground as if bowing them to mother nature’s majestically beautiful Wintry display [(3) right]. The snow that they initially encounter is fluffy and easily plowed away.
However as the two large commercial snow plows driven by Kevin and William Wakeforest progress further into and up the mountain road toward Sam and Olivia Wakeforest’s cabin, the snow becomes harder due to enough moisture that it causes a thawing freeze. It seems counter intuitive, but snow is produced at temperatures above freezing at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. So snow still retains some moisture, such that when the temperature drops, the snow freezes further–since snow is essentially comprised of ice crystals [(4)] –rather like the ice encrusted freezer compartment in your fridge that you have to chip away at with an ice pick to defrost it.
Dominic: “Kevin, Sam and Olivia are alive. I can feel it.” Dominic states with the conviction of a man who has seen his share of disappointments in life. And Dominic Perkins [(5) right] could not have achieved his level of professional success as a bank vice president in 1956 without his fierce determination to excel in all aspects of his life.
Kevin: “I hope that you’re right, Dominic. And I hope that Olivia isn’t hurt–for Sam’s sake. They had each waited so long to find each other. It would be cruel if fate took them from us or from each other now.”
Dominic: “Kevin, I know Sam. We served together in WWII. He safely crash landed a transport plane that I was riding in–saving all of our lives. No one else could have done that, but Sam. And he’ll come out of this alright, too. I’m sure of it.”
Kevin: “And afterall, my brother Sam is way too ornery to let a little thing like an avalanche take him down. Two years ago, there was a similar avalanche on the Mountain when Sam was doing his walk around one day. But he made it to shelter–and then dug himself out as we were pulling up to rescue him.”
Dominic: “Yes. Sam is a tough nut to crack.” Dominic nods.
Kevin’s and Dominic’s posturing of positivity is the false bravado of male bluffing when faced with dangerous situations. They will face the worst outcome if it comes to pass. But they will not undermine their sense of hope by giving in to their fears.
Meanwhile, Tessa Delaney at the Wakeforest Family Tree Farm Barn is conversing on the phone with her husband Roger about what they know so far.
Tessa on phone: “Roger, Kevin and William are clearing the mountain road with the plows as they go.”
Roger on phone: “But won’t that slow them down? They need to get up there fast!” Roger gesticulates with his free hand.
Tessa on phone: “It’s the only way. The snow is six feet deep in some places with the drifting snow and now the avalanche. It’s a mess!” She starts to cry. “Why didn’t Sam and Olivia stay in town for their honeymoon like normal people?”
Todd: Grinning, and saying as an aside to Tessa talking to her husband. “Because Sam knew that we would prank their wedding night.”
Roger on phone: “What was that, Tessa?”
Tessa on phone: “Todd just said that they would have ruined Sam and Olivia’s wedding
night with a prank. Grow up, Todd!” She says sternly. And though her eyes are usually kind, they are filled with anger now [(6) right] . And Tessa is tired of her not so little anymore brother’s antics.
Todd: “Hey, Tessa! Don’t get bossy with me, just because Sam’s in a crisis.”
Roger on phone: Trying to distract his tempestuous wife, Rogers veers onto another but related topic. “Alice is asking for you, Tessa. What do I tell her?” Roger is at a complete loss for how to treat a teenager, their foster daughter Alice, in a crisis situation. Though he is learning how to be a parent when his wife Tessa is by his side.
Tessa on phone: “Just tell her the truth–that there was an avalanche on the mountain and that her Uncles Kevin and William and others have gone up to make sure that her Uncle Sam and Aunt Olivia are alright.”
Roger on phone: “Is that wise telling her? Isn’t she a little young to face this?” He is partially so concerned because his own sister Olivia has problems with panic attacks closing down her respiratory system.
Tessa: “Roger, Alice has faced the death of each of her parents and then having to run away to prevent her baby brother from being adopted away from her. The girl has spunk and tenacity. Yes she will be concerned–as we all are.”
Roger on phone: “Okay. If she asks again, I’ll tell her. But …” Then he hesitates.
Tessa on phone: “What’s wrong?”
Roger on phone: “It’s Nellie, Cook found her unconscious a little while ago and she’s been taken by ambulance to Wakeforest County Hospital.”
Tessa on phone: “Nooooo! Nothing can happen to Nellie. It will devastate Olivia if Nellie dies now.”
Roger on phone: “The doctor called just before I called you and said that it is out of his hands. We must prepare ourselves for the inevitable.”
Tessa on phone: “I can’t think about Nellie dying right now. All my worry and concerns are for Sam and Olivia. I will call you as soon as we hear something.”
Roger on phone: “Okay. But I might need to go to the hospital to see Nellie later. Before … Since she was my honorary grandmother, too.”
Tessa on phone: “Of course, Roger Dear. Please just phone me before you leave so I know how to reach you.”
Roger on phone: “I will. I love you.”
Tessa on phone: “I love you, too.”
Both of them hang up their phones.
It has been thirty minutes since the avalanche hit Sam’s and Olivia’s cabin on Wakeforest Mountain [(7) right] –and much as happened. When Sam and Olivia ducked under the heavy rough-hewn wood dining–that was flush up against the island of kitchen floor cabinets whos top served as a food prep area–the table was only a partial protection for them. When the avalanche snow busted out the kitchen’s back door to the back porch where Sam had piled up some of the cord wood for fuel, snow poured into the kitchen. Glass shards also mixed in with the snow–making it a dangerous combination.
Both Sam and Olivia had hit their heads under the table as they ducked under it and had been temporarily knocked unconscious. Now as Sam awakens next to Olivia, he opens his eyes. Yet Sam has a hard time acclimating to his surroundings visually under the table–because it is dark and all he sees and feels is snow, very cold snow that he and Olivia have to get out of or risk freezing to death.
Putting his hand down at his side on the floor to pivot onto his knees, Sam feels something sticky under his hand. Lifting this hand to his face, Sam smells rather than sees the blood on his hand.
Olivia: “Hhhmmm.” She moans.
Sam: And Sam realizes that he is not in pain, and that the blood belongs to his wife Olivia. “Olivia, you’re hurt!”
Olivia: “It’s my leg.” She croaks, trying to reach for it. But even a small movement on her part sends searing pain shooting up her leg. “Ahhh!” Olivia grimaces in pain.
Sam: “Don’t move! You might injure yourself further.”
Olivia: “It hurts!” She wails.
Sam: “I’m going to carefully push the snow away from you and see where you’re hurt.”
Sam quickly does that and finds a large glass shard sticking out of the back of Olivia’s calf. That is the source of the blood. Sam removes the shard, but he instantly regrets it because even more blood seems to pour out.
Olivia: “Sam, I’m … I’m feeling faint.” The combination of the cold and the blood loss is not a good thing for Olivia.
Sam: “Stay with me, Olivia. We’ll have to tourniquet it.” Sam makes a split decision and he uses the only thing they have at hand as he removes the woven rope belt from Olivia’s corduroy pants and he makes a tourniquet above her wound site. “We’ll have to watch this until Kevin rescues us. We don’t want to completely cut off your circulation, or … well, we don’t want to do that.” Sam had seen a few men lose a limb in WWII when a tourniquet was used too unrelentingly.
Since Olivia is nearer the door under the table–and that snow surrounding them is likely to have more shards–Sam starts to dig out his side of the table. It doesn’t take him long since it was only three feet deep and lightly packed. So Sam drags Olivia out from under the table which leaves a blood trail. He can tell now that she has lost a lot of blood. And he can only pray that Kevin and William get here quickly so that they can get Olivia medical help.
Sam finds that though a third of the kitchen is snow covered, the rest of the room is clear and undamaged–but frigidly cold. So Sam lifts Olivia into his arms and he takes her into their cabin bedroom–gently laying her on the bed spread as he removes her wet clothes so he can get her into dry clothes and then warm her up with a fire in the bedroom fireplace. He fervently hopes that the chimney hasn’t been compromised so that he can have a fire. And Sam adds another log to the dwindling fire there–throwing on some more kindling to help it flame up again.
Sam: “I’m so sorry, Olivia. I’m just trying to stop the bleeding.” He gazes at her worriedly. Sam had put a towel under her leg, but she is still bleeding.
Olivia: “I know. But maybe we can put a compression bandage on it and wrap it tightly, but not so painfully.” [(10)]
Sam: “So you’re a doctor now, Olivia?” He teases to try to lighten the situation.
Olivia: “Girl Scouts first aid badge–with distinction. I’ll tell you how to do it.” She winces–her being in too much pain and too faint to do much but lie back.
After directing Sam to bring her his starched wedding tuxedo shirt that he had worn to the cabin on their honeymoon night, Olivia has him rip each of the long sleeves off of the shirt. They are most likely to be clean because the shirt had been new and worn with its new tuxedo jacket. She then folds each sleeve into a square for a compression bandage–one of which she wincingly presses to her wound, saving the other shirt sleeve square for future use. Then after Sam rips his tuxedo shirt down the back–creating two halves–this fabric folded long ways again then becomes the tight bandage wrap around Olivia’s leg that is secured with her belt again, but not as tightly as a tourniquet.
The bandaging takes Sam and Olivia about fifteen minutes to do. Then Sam helps Olivia remove her wet clothes and put on dry ones, then he packs her warmly into their bed with extra blankets until the fireplace fully heats up the bed room–but leaving her bandaged lower leg a bit uncovered from the blanket around where the bandage is so they can monitor the bleeding, which is lessening, thankfully. Sam makes some hot tea for Olivia with a pail of water that he hangs over the fireplace.
Then Sam quickly changes into dry clothes and assesses the damage to the cabin’s kitchen. He needs to not only get the snow back outside, but he must close up the broken window hole so that they can properly warm up the cabin from the fireplaces. With frequent checks on Olivia to make sure she isn’t bleeding more and that she is still conscious, Sam clears as much of the snow out of the kitchen as he can. The wet floor will have to dry out on its own after he mops it as dry as he can. Sam also stokes up the fire in the Great room and puts more logs on the fire there. Happily, both chimneys are intact enough for their flues to safely vent the wood smoke to the outside.
Then Sam goes to check on Olivia again. She looks pale–undoubtedly from the previous blood loss—but she is warming up. Sam is concerned both about whether she will need a transfusion and also about her staving off infection from her leg wound.
When Sam’s brother’s Kevin’s and William’s Plows approach the Wakeforest Mountain path below the Little Summit ridge 400 feet above where Sam’s and Olivia’s cabin is, they find a scene of devastation that they had not expected. And they find the source of the smoke plume that Kevin had seen just an hour before. They find a dead body crushed under one of the large new fangled snow vehicles, and under two feet of snow. They surmise that the avalanche swept the drive and his vehicle off of the Little Summit ridge above and they plunged to the ground 400 feet below. The fall from such a height was a death sentence even if the vehicle hadn’t landed on top of him. Kevin finds the man’s wallet–it is Aiden Carter, one of the idiot rich boy brothers who had been cited for cutting down a tree in the old growth forest. But they will have to come back for the man’s body later.
Kevin and William and Hank and Dominic have to hopefully rescue Sam and Olivia. So Kevin’s snow plow leads the way up the winding and steep road to the Little Summit plateau where Sam’s and Olivia’s cabin is. It takes them another thirty minutes of concerted snow plowing to reach the cabin–where Sam’s new car is snowed under, with only its radio antenna sticking out.
And blessedly, it looks like the avalanche skirted one side of the cabin, rather then a full on direct hit. Though when they see Sam, he might have something to say about that.
The guys park the snow plows and they clamber their way over the snow drifts as they make their way up to the Sam’s and Olivia’s cabin’s front door. At first, they try the front door to just walk in, but it is locked. Leave it to Sam to go on his honeymoon in an isolated mountain cabin–and he still locked the doors as a deterrent should his brothers stop by unannounced. Then they pound on the cabin’s front door. They are out in a freezing cold blizzard afterall.
Hearing the pounding on the cabin’s front door, Sam quickly kisses a wanly smiling in relief Olivia. And then he races to the front door. He quickly turns the deadbolt and thrusts the door open. Kevin is the first to greet Sam.
Kevin: “Well, big brother, surviving an avalanche seems to agree with you.” He grins–glad to see that his brother is alright. Then Sam verbally wipes the grin off of his brother Kevin’s face.
Sam: “Don’t joke! Olivia is hurt! She has lost a lot of blood. We have to get her to the hospital now!” Sam runs back to the cabin’s bedroom without waiting for his brothers, Dominic, and Hank to follow him.
Sam: “Olivia! It’s my brothers! They’re here to take us back down the mountain.” Sam smiles relievedly. Then he stares in horror at their bed.
Olivia does not respond to him. She is in a faint again from the loss of blood. And she looks so ethereally pale.
Reaching the bedroom door first, Sam’s brother Kevin sees the pale and motionless Olivia on the bed–her injured leg bandaged, but with blood seeping through–and Sam’s stricken expression on his face. Kevin fears the worst.
Kevin: “Oh Sam!”
But Sam counters the sympathy that Kevin was about to impart with such vehemence that their would be rescuers are stunned.
Sam: “She’s still alive! Olivia is alive! But we have to get her to the hospital so she can have a transfusion to replace the blood she has lost, and they can operate on her leg!” Sam wraps the comforter around Olivia for warmth and he quickly scoops her up into his arms–being careful about her injured lower leg. And he turns to the men, barking orders as he walks through the kitchen to the Great Room. “Call Roger via Tessa on the CB to have the hospital send the helicopter to the tree farm. An ambulance would take too long to get back to the hospital. And Olivia needs to get to the hospital fast!”
Kevin: “Sam, the plows will take at least 30 minutes to get us back down the mountain. We need to have the hospital helicopter fly directly to the Little Summit ridge near the cabin and pick up you and Olivia here. It will cut the travel time in half.”
And Sam sits down on the leather couch facing the fireplace with Olivia cradled in his arms. He gently rocks her back and forth in his arms, kissing her forehead, stroking her hair, and speaking to his unconscious wife in a hushed and a deeply loving voice [(11) right] .
Sam: “It won’t be long now, Olivia My Love. You’re going to take a helicopter ride. I know you don’t like heights, but just don’t look down. I’ll distract you with kisses.” Sam smiles lovingly at his wife, his bride of not quite three days, as tears fall down his cheeks. Sam is not a man of great emotion, nor a man who cries–except where his Olivia is concerned. He remembers how happy Olivia [(12) right] was in being courted and married by him–she blossomed before his eyes–and her radiance shone like a beacon of hope in Sam’s previously dismal existence. And it is Olivia’s radiantly smiling face that Sam hopes to see again soon.
Then Sam kisses Olivia softly upon her lips. And miraculously, Sam feels her shallow but steady breath against his lips. She is still alive! But Sam knows that her situation is precarious. They must get Olivia to the hospital quickly. Sam continues his whispered loving words and caring caresses with Olivia while they wait for news of the helicopter–with Sam seeking to comfort his beloved Olivia, and finding some measure of comfort in doing so.
It is as if only they two–Sam and Olivia–are alone in the room as Sam’s other brother William, and their friends Hank and Dominic stand respectfully and quietly to the side. Not quite three days ago, these men and their wives were all together at Sam’s and Olivia’s joyous wedding. But joy has left them this day.
And now? Time is running out for Olivia. And though Sam is not a deeply religious man–he is not religious at all, actually–he prays. Sam prays that Olivia’s life is spared, that they live a long and happy life together–with children and with grandchildren. And Sam also prays that if their life together is not to be, that he is taken, too. For Sam who until so recently was an independent loner, is now a man for whom love has claimed him in the Great Pine Woods of Wakeforest Mountain. And Sam needs his Olivia to make life worth living.
To be continued with Chapter 19
References for Ch. 18 by Gratiana Lovelace, January 20, 2016 (Post #862)
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) For information about Citizen’s Band (CB) radio, please visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_band_radio
3) The after blizzard and avalanche Wakeforest Mountain scene is a composite of:
a) The Snowy Pine forest image was found on pinterest at https://secure.static.tumblr.com/1af9bbf5599c47838a7d2fec429580a5/5hdpepv/P9rntjwg7/tumblr_static_tumblr_static_110u5ivvbgu80cwk84884088s_640.jpg ; and
4) For information about snow, visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow
5) Dominic Perkins in snow is Idris Elba found at http://rollingout.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/idris.jpg?a5de54
6) Tessa Wakeforest Shoop Delaney is Marcia Gay Harden image that was found at http://topnews.in/files/images/Marcia-Gay-Harden_1.jpg
7) 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 ;
8) Sam Wakeforest image is Richard Armitage in 2011 Project Magazine-BlkJkt664917000Oct0111RARU-pix-sized-brt
9) Olivia Delaney Wakeforest crying is Emily Deschanel found at https://pmctvline2.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/emily-deschanel-bones.jpg
10) For more information about bleeding wounds, and first aid, please visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergency_bleeding_control ; and
12) Olivia Delaney Wakeforest smiling radiantly is Emily Deschanel found at https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/43/1b/64/431b64bf394ac604c69aea631c3375a0.jpg
Previous Blog Ch. 17 Story link: