[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: The state capitol court hearings in Largemont for the civil suit of Carter Family versus Wakeforest Family Lumber Mill and Conservatorship in the death of Aiden Carter begins on July 11, 1956 with the plaintiff’s star witness Dr. Matt Carter giving testimony about his brother Aiden Carter’s death on Wakeforest Mountain due to the avalanche January 2, 1956. Even with this strain, Sam Wakeforest is more concerned about his seven months pregnant wife Olivia who was experiencing pains this morning that his sister took Olivia to the doctor for. Though Olivia and Tessa ended up at Wakeforest County Hospital where tests and examinations revealed that she has a blod clot in her left leg that had been injured in the same avalanche—and maybe a blood clot in her lungs. Sam is frantic and though he is due to testify after the lunch break, all Sam wants is to get to Olivia back home in Wakeforest, an hour away.
“Love in the Great Pine Woods”, Ch. 39 (PG-13, D): The Fight for Wakeforest Mountain, Part 2
After Sam uses all of his dimes to make a pay phone call to the Wakeforest County Hospital to find out how his wife Olivia and their unborn child are doing, he reaches Tessa who is called to the nurses’ station to take the call.
Sam on phone: “Tessa!” Sam barks into the phone. “What’s wrong with Olivia? Your note said a blood clot.”
Tessa on phone: “Oh Sam! Yes, the doctor has her on blood thinner medicine, but she is still in a lot of pain. They might have to give her another dose in two more hours and maybe keep her overnight for observation.”
Sam on phone: “I should be there with her!”
Tessa on phone: “How is the trial going?”
Sam on phone: “I can’t tell.” Sam shakes his head. “We’re in recess for lunch, then I’m going to be called to testify when we get back. How is Olivia? Really?”
Tessa on phone: “She’s hanging in there.” Tessa’s voice wavers. She knows that Olivia desperately wants her husband Sam by her side, but Tessa also knows that Sam is legally bound to be in attendance at the civil trial an hour away in the state capital of Largemont.
Sam on phone: “But she would be better if I were there.”
Tessa on phone: “Yes. Can you get the judge to postpone your testimony this afternoon?”
Sam on phone: “I don’t know. But tell Olivia that I love her, and that I will see her in an hour either way.” Sam hangs up the pay phone.
Sam: “Stable, but they have to give her blood thinners to try to dissolve the clot. I should be there with her. And I’m going to be.” Sam stares at their attorney, Mr. DeWitt.
Mr. DeWitt: “Sam, you can’t leave. You have to testify or you’ll be in contempt of court. They could put you in jail.”
Sam: “Let them. But it will take a while for them to find me—maybe days. And I can be by Olivia’s side until then. She and the baby are more important than anything to me.” Sam resolutely declares.
Mr. DeWitt: “I’ll ask the judge for a postponement. He might not grant it. It depends if the Carter Family contests it.”
Dr. Matt Carter—brother of the deceased Aiden Carter– having lingered in the hallway after he heard a mention of Olivia Wakeforest’s health being compromised, steps forward.
Dr. Carter: “We won’t contest the postponement.” Then Dr. Carter’s family’s lawyer tugs on his arm.
Carter Lawyer: “Don’t believe them, Dr. Carter! This is a ploy by them to delay the proceedings.” He states obstreperously.
Mr. DeWitt: “I have never and would never pull such a stunt.” Mr. DeWitt glowers at his legal opponent. “Mr. Wakeforest’s seven months pregnant wife is in the hospital with a life threatening condition—a blood clot originating in her avalanche injured left leg.”
Dr. Carter: “Hhhh!” Dr. Carter gasps. Then he focuses on his professionalism as a medical doctor. “I was Mrs. Wakeforest’s surgeon who repaired her shattered leg when she was injured in the avalanche that claimed my brother’s life.”
Sam: “And we are forever grateful for your care of her. But I have to go to her now!”
Sam turns to leave the Largemont Capitol Courthouse. Dr. Carter puts his hand on Sam’s shoulder, stopping him.
Dr. Carter: “I’m going with you, as her surgeon. If her blood clot is the result of her leg injuries, I may have information about the repair that will help the doctors locate and isolate the clot. I’m going with you.”
Sam: Sam looks at the doctor questioningly [(2) right]. “Why would you help us?”
Dr. Carter: “I took an oath to heal. Mrs. Wakeforest was my patient. We will postpone the court proceedings, I am going with you.”
Sam glares at the doctor, his nemesis in the Carter Family’s civil suit against the Wakeforest Family Lumber Mill and Wakeforest Mountain Conservatorship. But time is of the essence.
Sam: “Let’s go! We’ll take my car.”
Then Sam and Dr. Carter head out of the court house and toward the parking lot—leaving a stunned set of lawyers and Carter and Wakeforest Families members in their wake.
With Dr. Carter agreeing to the postponement in front of witnesses, there was little that his family’s attorney could do but agree to the Wakeforest Family attorney Mr. DeWitt’s motion to postpone—which the judge granted when court resumed after lunch, due to the medical exigency of Mrs. Wakeforest’s life threatening illness. However, the afternoon court session had an amicus brief that was entered into the record by an interested third party, before the civil proceedings were postponed.
Initially, the drive in Sam Wakeforest’s car from Largemont to the Town of Wakeforest is a quiet one. Neither Sam nor Dr. Matt Carter engage in small talk. Each man is consumed with their own thoughts—Sam about his wife Olivia, some part of which is also in Dr. Carter’s thoughts—and Dr. Carter thinking about that day that the avalanche occurred and his brother’s death.
After Sam’s car exits Largement and is on the open highway, Dr. Carter speaks.
Dr. Carter: “Mr. Wakeforest? You knew that my brother Aiden had been killed on the mountain, why didn’t you tell me? I had to find out from a police officer asking me to identify his body.” He scowls.
Sam: “I’m sorry. That was a horrible way to find out.” Sam sighs remorsefully.
Dr. Carter: “And yet, your silence meant that was what happened.”
Sam: “That day, my sole focus was on my wife Olivia and her shattered leg from the avalanche. I worried that if you knew ahead of time about your brother’s death, that you wouldn’t be able to perform her operation—that you shouldn’t perform her operation. And you were her only hope to save her leg—and maybe, to save her life.”
Dr. Carter: “That is not an excuse! If it had been your wife killed and you had yet to learn of it, would you want a faceless stranger to ask you to identify her body?” Dr. Carter asks brutally and Sam winces.
Sam: “No, I wouldn’t.” Sam says regretfully in a hushed voice.
Silence dominates the speeding car for several minutes, serving to reiterate the accusation previously voiced—of Sam’s omission.
Dr. Carter: “Even after I saw you after completing your wife’s surgery, you didn’t even have the decency then to tell me yourself that my brother had died,”
Sam: “I didn’t know what to say to you. Your brother had died, on my mountain, on Wakeforest Mountain.” Sam corrects himself in not making himself complicit in the Carter brother’s death.
Dr. Carter: “No. That’s not it. I think a small part of you thought that my brother got was he deserved, that Aiden had it coming to him for violating your sacred mountain by chopping down a Christmas Tree last December.”
Sam: “You are way off base, Dr. Carter—and completely out of line! As I told you and your brother then, if you obeyed the rules of the Mountain, I would have no further beef with you.” Sam pulls off onto a shoulder on the road and stops his car’s engine. If they are going to have this discussion out, he doesn’t want himself to become so agitated that he loses control of the car. And though every minute he is taking to get to his wife’s side is precious, Sam knows that him being in an accident won’t help Olivia.
Dr. Carter: “And we did obey the rules. But the rules were not sufficient, and my brother died. Aiden was just up there enjoying the fun of being out doors in nature’s beauty. And then it killed him with an avalanche that he had no idea was coming. You should have had warnings out!” He lashes out.
Sam: “How could we? The preceding night’s blizzard had closed all roads leading into and out of the Mountain. My wife Olivia and I were stuck in our cabin—looking at days before we could likely leave.” Then Sam frowns. “Come to think of it. How did your brother get up on the mountain when no one else could?”
Dr. Carter: Dr. Carter pauses, the says morosely. “We believe that he snowmobiled in from the Christmas Tree Farm.”
Sam: “And shouldn’t the snow blocked Mountain roads have been a red flag for your brother not to go up the Mountain that day?”
Dr. Carter: “I don’t know what Aiden was thinking. I had gone into the Wakeforest County Hospital earlier that morning for my volunteer stint. He had wanted me to go with him onto the mountain, but I had promised to volunteer at the hospital. Aiden wasn’t happy about it, since this trip was supposed to be a brother bonding trip. So rather than wait until the afternoon–like he told me that he would–Aiden went up the Mountain without me in the morning. Oh god! If he had only waited for me, Aiden would still be alive!” Dr. Carter’s voice chokes with emotion as he covers his mouth with his hand in despair.
Sam: “Dr. Carter, Matt, your brother chose to go up the mountain. Any other time, he would have been fine. But an unforeseen and unpredictable avalanche barreled down the mountain that morning—destroying nearly everything in its path. Nothing was spared.”
Dr. Carter: “Including my brother.” Dr. Carter adds mournfully.
Sam: “And Olivia and I almost died in it as well–but for our concrete block above ground generator shed that thankfully slowed down the avalanche a bit and maybe deflected the avalanche’s path before it hit Olivia and I in our cabin.”
Dr. Carter: “The Mountain—as you refer to it—murdered my brother!” Dr. Carter balls his hands into fists and pounds his thigh.
Sam: “No, you’re wrong. It is we who trespass onto the mountain–and then we wonder at nature’s fury–who are not realizing the depth of danger and power in the Mountain wilderness. Wakeforest Mountain is in my blood, it is apart of me and my family stretching back generations. But for what Olivia and I experienced with the avalanche, she and I can never experience the Mountain together again. My wife will not step foot past the lower elevations around the base. Her fear and panic of the avalanche and what other unknown calamaties that might befall us has rooted it in her mind. And no amount of assurances on my part will sway her. She doesn’t even want me to go onto the Mountain for my weekly rotation stint at patrolling the Mountain’s recreational and its conservation areas in the Great Pine Woods. Olivia is worried for my safety on the Mountain—to the point of her sometimes having severe panic attacks where she stops breathing when she knows that I am up there.” Sam shakes his head in concern.
Dr. Carter: “I’m sorry. I didn’t know that your wife was afflicted in that way.” As a doctor, he has seen patients with anxiety [(3)], and knows how devastating that it can be. “Maybe Wakeforest Mountain is cursed?” Dr. Carter muses.
Sam: “No! I don’t believe that! Your civil suit might try to take the Mountain from me and my family—as a form of misguided retribution for your brother’s death–but that will not bring your brother back to life, nor help you make sense of his death.”
Dr. Carter: “No it won’t, but we needed to do something.” Dr. Carter admits the futility of their civil suit—and the reason for it.
Sam: “I understand your motivation—though I do not agree with it. And what happened to Olivia and I with the avalanche, has already made my tenure on the Mountain … difficult—and maybe impossible if Olivia can’t get past her fears. The Mountain is my life’s work. But I can’t risk Olivia’s health and well-being by continuing to work on the Mountain when it gives her so much distress. Because she is my life.”
Sam shakes his head in despair. Sam feels that he and the Mountain are joined together spiritually. And he knows that a piece of him will die if he cannot continue as the Wakeforest Mountain Conservator. Yet Sam doesn’t know who he will be, if he is not the Conservator. He had always thought that it would be the legacy that he would leave for the next generation—a preserved and conserved Wakeforest Mountain.
Dr. Carter: “You have given me much to think about, Mr. Wakeforest. We should probably get going to your wife.”
And five minutes after Sam Wakeforest and Dr. Matt Carter parked on the highway shoulder to thrash out their differences about Wakeforest Mountain–nothing is resolved, but much is now out in the open. Sam turns on his car again and eases it back onto the Highway to the Town of Wakeforest, where Sam’s wife Olivia is under observation with a blood clot in her leg. The twenty minutes remaining in their trip is silent, each man thinking upon what the other has said—and about Olivia Wakeforest’s health condition.
To be continued with Chapter 40
References for Ch. 39 by Gratiana Lovelace, June 06, 2016 (Post #921)
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) Sam Wakeforest face closeup image is from the 2014 DaMan magazine photoshoot Richard Armitage foundMay1016viaTheoniGriva
3) For more about anxiety, please visit https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/anxiety
Previous Blog Ch. 38 Story link with embedded illustrations: