[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, and Ewan McGregor as David Warren, 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: A man named Mr. Quimby is trying to track down Sam Wakeforest on Saturday June 11, 1956—him having first gone to Sam’s and Olivia’s home and was turned away by the home’s caretakers the Ventura’s—and then tried the closed for today Wakeforest Family Lumber Mill. Tessa informed by the Venturas of the ominous visitor and she raced to the Wakeforest County Festival and Flower Festival. Sam Wakeforest doesn’t know what this man Quimby wants, but Sam’s years as a full time practicing attorney before the war give him an inkling. But what puzzles Sam is that he can’t figure out what it could be about. And a chilly breeze catches Sam and he shivers, then looks up at Wakeforest Mountain. It is his home, his livelihood, his family’s legacy. Next to Olivia and their coming child, Wakeforest Mountain means everything to Sam.
However, Mr. Quimby will soon present himself to Sam Wakeforest with tidings that will not be good for the Wakeforest Family—nor for their legacy on Wakeforest Mountain.
“Love in the Great Pine Woods”, Ch. 37 (PG-13, D): Festival & Fate, Part 2
Fate has a way of favoring some people and not others. And, when good fortune has gone your way for so long, it is bound to turn in the opposite direction—as if an invisible balance scale must account for others needing to have their turn at good fortune. But just as two wrongs don’t make a right, sometimes one cannot escape being held accountable for devastating events—even if it was not directly your fault.
And as Sam and Olivia enjoy this weekend’s Wakeforest Summer Family and Flower Festival on Saturday June 11th, they will be reminded once again that Wakeforest Mountain has been under Wakeforest Family conservator/ownership for a mere 100 years, since the 1850’s—when the Wakeforests settled this untamed Northern region of the United States and were granted ownership of Wakeforest Mountain and developed their lumber mill business.
Wakeforest Mountain belonged to itself and the creatures that inhabited it long before the Wakeforest Family claimed it and became its owners and conservators. And yet, the Wakeforests—especially Sam Wakeforest—feel almost wedded to the Mountain. The Mountain belongs to them and they belong to the Mountain. Sam feels that he belongs to the Mountain. But what if the Mountain no longer belonged to the Wakeforest Family? Or to Sam?
But those worries had yet to surface as Sam and Olivia Wakeforest proudly walked hand in hand throughout the Wakeforest Summer Family and Flower Festival held at the Wakeforest County fairgrounds just outside of town this bright and sunny June 11th, 1956. There are carnival rides, booths by Wakeforest County businesses and locals with homemade crafts, food, and furniture to sell, the flower show—as well as, various fundraising booths for local charities such as the Wakeforest County Hospital, the Wakeforest County Orphanage, etc.
However, their Wakeforest Mountain, the life force of their Wakeforest Family Lumber Mill business—and Sam’s life’s work as the mountain’s chief conservator—will receive unwanted and malicious attention.
When Roger Delaney returned to the Flower Show Tent from calling the Ventura’s at the bank about coming to the Wakeforest Festival Flower Show, he nods at Sam to let him know that they are coming. The Ventura’s loyalty in protecting Sam’s and Olivia’s Wakeforest Family home on the outskirts of town is commendable. Roger and Sam do not say more in order to prevent the very pregnant Olivia from being under any stress. So they try to maintain a lighthearted feel as they walk around the flower exhibits being judged before the award ceremony will begin in 15 minutes.
Olivia: “Although the other flowers are very pretty, too, I think Mr. Ventura’s entry of our
pink peonies is very special.” She smiles hopefully as she touches a lovely bloom [(2) right]. The riot of blushing pink and hot pink petals in each large bloom mesmirzing her with their beauty and soft feel.
Sam: “Of course they are special, Olivia Darling. Afterall, they are the Olivia Pink Peonies.” Sam kisses his wife’s temple while standing behind her and places his hands on her pregnant belly. Junior—as they have begun calling their yet to be born child—is doing flip flops. And Junior starts its movements within her womb.
Olivia: “Whhhhh! Whhhhh!” Olivia breathes in and out several times, clutching her pregnant belly.
Tessa: “Are you feeling alright, Olivia Sweetie?” Tessa and Olivia as best friends—as well as being sisters-in-laws twice over with them marrying each other’s sibling—and Tessa enjoys fussing over Olivia. Whether or not Olivia enjoys the fussing is another matter.
Olivia: “It’s just Junior kicking me again.” She sighs in a small discomfort.
Sam: “Kicking? He’s somersaulting!” Sam exclaims with no small amout of pride to have such an active child—even before it is born.
Tessa: “May I?” Tessa hesitantly asks Olivia as she holds out her hands hoping to touch Olivia’s pregnant tummy and feel the baby’s movements.
Olivia: “Sure! Why not! Let’s sell tickets!” Olivia intones far more sarcastically than she intends. And she sees the hurt look in her sister-in-law’s face. “I’m sorry Tessa, I’m just kidding. My sense of humor is off these days. I’m blaming it on the pregnancy hormones. Come here and feel.”
Olivia reaches out and places Tessa’s hands on her belly. And Junior complies with a big kick.
Tessa: “Oh my! That is amazing!” Since the 50 year old Tessa has never been pregnant—nor is she like to be at her age—she marvels in Olivia’s pregnancy experiences. “Roger! You have to feel this.” Then Tessa startles and looks to Olivia for permission.
Olivia: “It’s alright, Roger. You can feel my tummy.”
Roger: Raising a stodgy eyebrow, Olivia’s brother Roger declines. “I think not!”
Sam: “What’s the matter, Roger? Are you too uptight to feel the baby kicking in Olivia’s womb.”
There he did it. Sam mentioned womb—and Roger goes all shades of splotchy red in embarrassment.
Tessa: “Oooh! I think he’s going to faint.”
Olivia: “Roger! Don’t be a ninny. I’m carrying your niece or nephew in here.” Olivia points to her five and a half months pregnant belly and she pouts at her elder brother Roger.
Roger: “I know, I know. Don’t remind me.” Roger rolls his eyes. He is still not fond of thinking about how his little sister Olivia became pregnant—even if she is 35 years old and married. “And what if the baby is a girl. You’re calling it Junior all the time will confuse it.”
Sam: “Babies in the womb can’t hear things.”
Tessa: “No no! I read something somewhere that says they can. So Roger has a point.” Three sets of eyes turn to Tessa spouting baby and pregnancy facts [(3)]. “What? I’ve been reading up on pregnancy. So I can help Olivia better.” Their family stares at Tessa. And Tessa rolls her eyes in a huffy manner at their disbelief in her knowing about pregnancy.
Then as the two couples take their seats with the other Flower Show Award Ceremony guests, the Ventura’s arrive and take seats at the back of the row of folding chairs in the Flower Show tent.
Sam: Leaning in and kissing Olivia’s temple, Sam says before standing up again. “I just want a word with Mr. Ventura. I’ll be right back.”
Olivia: “Sam?” Olivia looks at her husband quizzically, but he moves too quickly for her to get his attention. For a tall and broadly muscular guy, Olivia thinks that he certainly has the speed and agility of a much smaller man.
Sam looks directly at Mr. Ventura and points to the back of the tent. Wordlessly, Mr. Ventura pats his wife’s hand, stands up, and then follows Sam Wakeforest to the back of the tent.
Sam: “Mr. Ventura, what have you to tell me about the unexpected visitor to our home this morning?” Sam asks directly, no beating about the bush. Sam’s steely gaze [(4) right] confirms for Mr. Ventura the concern that his employer has about the incident.
Mr. Ventura: “He said his name was Quimby, but he didn’t give his first name. I have never seen him before. He is not from around here.”
Sam: “Hmmmm. What did he look like? How was he dressed?” Sam wonders if it is someone he might have known in the past.
Mr. Ventura: “He was about 5’10” tall, in a dark suit and tie—and he wore a brimmed hat and glasses.”
Sam: “Hair color?”
Mr. Ventura: “Dark. Well, his eyebrows were dark. But he kept his hat on the whole time, so I presume his hair was short.”
Sam: “Did he state how he knew me?”
Mr. Ventura: “No. But I actually had the impression that he didn’t know you. And he seemed very high handed.”
Sam: “How So?”
Mr. Ventura: “Well, he sneered when I told him if he didn’t leave, that I would call the police to say he was trespassing. He said that he had a legal right to be at your house. What can that mean Mr. Sam?”
Sam: “I don’t know, Mr. Ventura. This will take some looking into. But let’s put a good face on it for now for the ladies. And I especially don’t want to upset my wife Olivia in her delicate condition.”
Mr. Ventura: “Of course! But if you need us in any way, just ask.”
Sam: Placing his hand on the older and shorter Mr. Ventura’s shoulder, Sam smiles in relief. “Thank you!” And Sam resolves to contact his brother Kevin who also serves as a Bailiff and Justice of the Peace at the Wakeforest County Courthouse.
Then the two men return to sitting with their wives. As it turns out, the Olivia Peonies earn 2nd Place in the Flower Show for best overall blooms—after winning their individual category of peonies. A rose won Best of Show. Typical, thinks Olivia. Roses are eveyone’s favorite. But she prefers the softer pink shade and abundantly haphazard petals of the stalwart peony flower. So in her heart, their peonies are Best in Show.
After meandering about the other Wakeforest Summer Family and Flower Show Festival booths this sunny and breezy Saturday afternoon, Sam and Olivia and Roger and Tessa elect to have dinner out at Hannah’s Dinner in the Town of Wakeforest. Alice and Bobby have also joined them after spending the day at the festival with their Wakeforest cousins. In fact, it is Sam’s brother Kevin Wakeforest who delivers the the children to Roger and Tessa. Then Sam stands up and takes his brother Kevin to a quiet corner of the nearly deserted diner. It seems that many folks are still enjoying the festival’s lit up rides and such.
Sam: “Did you find out anything about this Quimby guy?”
Kevin: “No! I called a few other counties this afternoon, in my capacity as Bailiff, and they have never heard of him. I wonder what he could want.”
Sam: “That is the $64,000 question!” Sam nods. Then while standing in the corner of the room, the oscillating fan turns in Sam’s direction and he feels a chill come over him again as the cool air from the fan hits him. He can’t explain it, but Sam has a sense of foreboding.d
About ten minutes ago, a stranger to their area had given up attending to business for the day and decided to stop for a bite to eat at Hannah’s Diner on his way out of town. As he sits on a stool at the counter, the man peruses the only half filled restaurant. He surmises rightly that many people are still at the fair. Then two men talking in the corner catch his eye. It seems unusual for the two men not to be seated with the large family group table that is about 10 feet away. Then the man reaches into his coat pocket and pulls out the picture of a soldier, an air force captain, and then looks up at the two men talking. The man snaps his fingers, his luck is turning today. He has a delivery to make and he’ll get $50 for doing it. The man stands up and turns to the waitress, asking her to make his sandwich, chips and soda order to go. Then he walks over to the two men talking in the corner.
At first, Sam and Kevin Wakeforest do not notice the stranger approaching them. But Roger Delaney does, and he excuses himself from their family table at the diner and he joins Sam and Kevin, alerting them to the stranger. Sam standing in between his brother Kevin and brother-in-law Roger, scowls up at the approaching stranger.
Sam: Feeling unease and sensing that something isn’t right, Sam asks gruffly. “What do you want?”
Mr. Quimby: “I am Bernard Quimby. Am I speaking to Sam Wakeforest, President and Owner of the Wakeforest Mountain and Wakeforest Family Lumber Mill?”
The three men glare at the man, ready to pounce if violence or mischief is Quimby’s purpose.
Roger: Sounding officious as usual, Roger asks. “What is your business here, Sir?”
Mr. Quimby: “I have business with a Mr. Sam Wakeforest.” Quimby reaches into front coat pocket, which makes Sam, Kevin, and Roger lean back—in case he has a gun. Quimby removes a thick sheaf of papers from his coat and stares at the three men. “Now which of you gentleman is the man whom I seek?” With the faded picture he has, Quimby thinks that it could be either of the two similarly tall and dark hair color of the three men.
Sam: “I am Sam Wakeforest.” Sam states boldly and unflinchingly.
Mr. Quimby: “Then consider yourself served, Sir.” He hands the sheaf of papers to Sam Wakeforest, who silently takes them in his hands while continuing to glare at Quimby. “Sign here.” Quimby passes another paper and pen to Sam, Sam signs the form and returns it to Quimby.
Sam: “Alright, you’ve served the papers. “ Says the still a practicing lawyer Sam. “Now be gone with you.”
Mr. Quimby: “My intentions precisely. You lead me on a merry chase today, Mr. Wakeforest. But I always find my man. And now I can finally go home to my own family. Good Day, gentleman.” Quimby nods his head and leaves.
Kevin: “Is that what I think it is?” Asks Kevin Wakeforest, the Wakeforest County Bailiff and Justice of the Peace.
Sam: “Yup!” Sam rolls his eyes.
Roger: Impatient, Roger blusters. “Well, open it up and see what it says, Sam!”
Sam: Sam breaks the seal on the sheaf of papers and opens them to reveal that a civil suit has been filed. “Carter Family vs Wakeforest Mountain Family Conservatorship.” Then Sam tonelessly reads the first few sentences that detail the nature of the complaint. “In the matter of the death by misadventure of Aiden Carter on January 2, 1956 on Wakeforest Mountain, this civil suit claims negligence and lack of due diligence on the part of the Wakeforest Family Wakeforest Mountain Conservatorship toward individual safety and the plaintiffs seek compensation in the amount of 2 million dollars—or the deed to Wakeforest Mountain.”
Stunned, Sam and Kevin and Roger look at each other in bewilderment. The death inquest last February had not found the Wakeforest Family culpable in Aiden Carter’s death on Wakeforest Mountain—since the idiot had been racing his snow mobile near a cliff during an avalanche, when the avalanche pushed him off the cliff and he fell to his death, crushed by his own snow mobile. It was a tragic accident, pure and simple.
But civil suits have a much lower burden of proof, and practically anyone can file them—if they have the court filing fee And it seems that the very rich Carter Family seeks revenge for the loss of their beloved son. Sam can understand the Carter Family’s heartache. But he cannot understand why they would seek to take the mountain away from them—especially since their other son Dr. Matt Carter had been the one to operate on Olivia and save her leg after she and Sam had also been hit by the avalanche while honeymooning in their Wakeforest Mountain cabin. To Sam, the Carter Family’s actions to file a civil suit makes no sense whatsoever. It will not bring back their son.
But as a former fulltime lawyer–and still part time practicing attorney—Sam knows how matters such as civil suits are handled. The side with the deepest pockets, buying the best and the most lawyers, often wins—regardless if they should win. And though the Wakeforest Family collectively are well-to-do, their wealth is tied up in Wakeforest Mountain. Their Wakeforest Mountain forestry conservatorship philosophy has always meant that they take from the Mountain only that which they can replace—so as to maintain the mountain’s great pine woods natural splendor. They have never clear cut [(5)] the Mountain as some lumber businesses do—that would kill the mountain in their eyes.
Sam numbly walks past his wife and family eating their food in Hannah’s diner, and he
comes to stand at the large window that faces Wakeforest Mountain [(6) right]]—his mountain, for now. And Sam has feels a growing sense of dread. Not only might they lose Wakeforest Mountain, but in other hands, the mountain might not be conserved and preserved as it is with the Wakeforest Family. Sam cannot let that happen.
Olivia stands and walks over to her seemingly distracted husband Sam because she senses that he needs her—with Olivia yet to find out about the civil suit. And Sam places his arm about his wife Olivia’s back in a gentle embrace–and he looks down at her with a sad smile. Sam wonders how he can tell her that all that he is, or ever hoped to be—the conservator of Wakeforest Mountain—is a future that might end soon? He feels that he is a part of the mountain, and the that the mountain is a part of him.
Olivia caresses her husband Sam’s cheek and embraces him closer with a gentle squeeze—as if to convey, whatever is wrong, it will be alright. Olivia’s loyal and unwavering faith in her husband Sam gives him added strength in the face of almost insurmountable odds with the civil suit facing them. And Sam resolves not to fail Olivia and their unborn child, not to fail their extended Wakeforest family, and not to fail Wakeforest Mountain.
To be continued with Chapter 38
References for Ch. 37 by Gratiana Lovelace, May 23, 2016 (Post #914)
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 flowering peony bush image (by Tania Midgley/Corbis ) is from Kids.Brittanica.com found at http://media.web.britannica.com/eb-media/34/82534-004-D8BE7B75.jpg; for more on Peony flowers, please visit http://kids.britannica.com/elementary/art-87589/Peony-flowers-range-in-color-from-white-to-pink-to and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peony
3) Thories about a baby’s hearing in the womb are found at http://www.webmd.com/baby/news/20130102/babies-learn-womb
4) The Sam Wakeforest image is of a Richard Armitage portrait from the 2011 Project Magazine photo shoot and article interview, that was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Richard/Promos/ProjectMagJuly2011/album/MattHolyoak-14.jpg
5) The tree cutting deforestation method known as Clear Cutting is found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clearcutting
6) 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
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