[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: After several weeks of resting at home with husband pampering, Olivia Wakeforest’s sister-in-law Tessa Delaney spirited her into town for some shopping and a general girls’s day out. Belatedly finding out that his wife went on an adventure—her her very pregnant seven months delicate condition—with her carrying twins—Olivia’s husband Sam Wakeforest was led on a merry chase to find her. All was well, with a very happy Olivia looking at baby things. And when Sam and Olivia finally went home again later after dinner out, they find that their trip to slumberland is delayed.
“Love in the Great Pine Woods”, Ch. 42 (PG-13): The Mountain Resolution
It is late in the eveing around 9:00pm on the evening of Monday, July 25th, and all Olivia Wakeforest can think about is her comfortable and inviting bed after she and her husband return home after eating dinner out in town at the Towering Pines restaurant. Of course Olivia had also had a full afternoon of girl pampering with her sister-in-law Tessa Delaney. And with Olivia carrying twins at her being seven months preganant, she is bound to be tired.
So her husband Sam kisses her cheek and tells her that he will join her shortly, and she heads toward their first floor master bedroom suite.
However, a thick sheaf of papers on the hall table catches Sam’s eye as he is locking up. Sam was going leave the papers there until the morning. But something about the size of the paper bundle intrigues him. Then he lifts up the envelope. It is rounded, thick and heavy.
Sam delays for only and instant about looking inside. But when he turns the envelope over to the front, he sees the seventh circuit Court of Appeals as a return address.
Sam: “Crap!” Or something more colorful, hisses out of Sam’s mouth. Dreading what he might find there. Sam opens the envelope—quickly perusing the cover sheet to his lawyer’s note and the court brief, the words jump out of him from the page.
Olivia walks back out to the foyer, half out of her clothes with her skirt missing and her lace edged slip showing underneath her blouse. Their housekeeper and groundsman Mrs. Ventura and her husband have long since retired for the night. So in moments such as these, Olivia and Sam often comfortably lounge or walk around their home in less than full attire.
Olivia: “Saaaam? Are you coming to bed, or not?” Olivia asks in fatigued amusement. Then sees her husband’s shocked facial expression and she looks at him quizzically.
Sam: Sam looks up at his wife and mutters with incredulity as he holds out the sheaf of papers. “I don’t believe it!”
Coming closer to him, Olivia is uncertain if her husband shocked happy or shocked not happy.
Olivia: “Sam? Is everything alright?”
Sam: “I hardly know.” Olivia looks at him quizzically. “Here, let’s get ready for bed and I’ll tell you.” Olivia nods.
Once changed into their sleeping attire—which for Olivia is a soft cotton nightgown that is gathered under her breasts supportively. While Sam is just wearing his boxers.
Olivia: “Well” If you don’t tell me soon, I’ll be asleep.” Olivia smiles at him minxishly. But she really wasn’t kidding. Olivia yawns as she sinks into bed. Sam tucks their blanket around her then slides into his side of the bed.
Sam: “There as been a complication to the Carter Family’s civil suit against us and the Mountain. It seems that the Federal Government filed an amicus brief to the Carter Family civil suit. Such a thing is done when there is an interested third party.”
Olivia: “What could the government be interested in?”
Sam: “They want to proclaim the old growth great pine woods forest on the North side of Wakeforest Mountain a National Park. Doing so would place that area under the jurisdiction of the U.S. government—and the government cannot be sued.” His eye brows rise meaningfully.
Olivia: “They can’t be sued?” Sam nods. “But why do they want to help us? If it is help. Are they trying to wrest control of the whole mountain from the Wakeforest Family?”
Sam: “No! The brief states that Wakeforest Mountain would still be under our family’s control. And even the new National Park would be under direct daily control by us—though the Federal government would set up rules and regulations for anyone accessing that area.”
Olivia: “Is this a good thing?
Sam: “I think so. The Federal government could just take the land via imminent domain laws. But happily, they are not trying to invoke that.” Sam looks and feels relieved. For if the Federal government would try to take ownership of one piece of their land, what would stop them from trying to claim other areas?
Olivia: “How will you respond?”
Sam: I have to contact my brothers and sister in the morning to discuss it and put the matter to a vote. This development would eliminate the need to respond to the Carter Family lawsuit.”
Olivia: “How so? What do the Carter Family think about this?”
Sam: “I would imagine that they will feel frustrated—not being able to blame someone for their son’s and brother’s, Aiden Carter’s, death. When his death was solely due to his lack of following proper safety guidelines on the Mountain when there is new snow pack.”
Olivia: “Ohhh! The Carter brother’s death is so sad. I wish we could do something for the Carter family—short of paying them money or giving them our land.” In the seven months Olivia has become a Wakeforest, she feels a kinship with the land and her new found family’s affinity for it.
Sam: “I agree. But from a legal standpoint, we can not even seem to agree with the Carter Family.”
The next day, Sam calls a meeting of his Wakeforest Mountain Trustees—consisting of his brothers Kevin, William and Toddd and their sister Tessa Delaney, as well as, Tessa’s husband Roger Delaney. There are no other spouses present. They meet in the Wakeforest Mountain Lumber Mill office since the four brothers work out of there. Roger sits off to the side as the newest Trustee–after his marriage the the Wakeforest brothers’ sister Tessa over two years ago. Lawrence DeWitt–their attorney guiding their defense in the Carter Family’s civil suit–is also present.
Sam: “Thanks for coming everyone. Now that you have had time to think about the government proposal to make a National Park out of the old growth forest in the great pine woods on the north side of the Mountain, I would like our attorney Mr. DeWitt to explain the ramifications of our choices. Mr. DeWitt.” Sam gestures to the front of the room, then sits down.
Mr. Lawrence DeWitt stands slowly. Partly it is due to his arthritis, but it is due to his flair for the dramatic—him using stillness, rather than histrionics as some attorneys do.
Mr. DeWitt: “Thank you, Mr. Wakeforest.” Mr. DeWitt gives a small nod as a gesture in deference to the Wakeforest Family’s titular head, Sam Wakeforest. There are two issues we must discuss. The first is the civil suit brought by the Carter Family. The second is the matter of the proposed National Park.”
Todd: “But Sam said, if the National Park is created, then we can’t be sued and the Carter Family’s case will be dropped.
Mr. DeWitt: “Normally, that would be the case—were not the National Park yet to be created. Aiden Carter’s death did not occur upon Federal land. So their civil suit would probably proceed.
William: “Probably? What can they gain by suing us? It won’t bring their brother back.”
Todd: “Hell, I was injured on the Mountain, but I’m not going to sue my own flesh and blood. I would have died from the elements if the Perkins rescue search team hadn’t found me after my foot got caught in an old and rusty trap.”
Tessa: “Look, Fellas. The Carter Family lost a loved one on Wakeforest Mountain—on our Mountain. We cannot begin to comprehend such a loss of someone at so young an age. But if it were me, I would want to turn my grief into a more constructive action than a civil suit.”
Sam: “Such as?” Leave it to Tessa to some up with a unique resolution to this problem.
Tessa: “Well some kind of a lasting memorial. Since Aiden Carter had died not paying attention to Mountain safety rules, then perhaps we could expand the education centers at the ranger visitor station and up at the Wakeforest Mountain Ski Lodge.” Tessa smiles very pleased with herself, indeed.
Roger: “The idea of a memorial has merit. Coupled with turning the great pine woods over to Federal government jurisdiction as a new National Park, we would in one swift move, eliminate the Carter Family’s penchant for blaming all of you.”
Roger: Then Roger realizes he spoke up, before the last Wakeforest sibling had weighed in on the matter. “Sorry, just voicing my thoughts.”
Sam: “No no. We want your thoughts, Roger. Thank you. And what about you, Kevin? What do you think?”
Kevin is next eldest brother to Sam. And though he is deferential to his eldest brother, he strikes his own path.
Kevin: “I just don’t think that it will be that easy—placating the Carter family, nor dealing with the Federal Government.” He shakes his head wearily.
Mr. DeWitt: “Well, you’re right, young man. None of this is certain, and anything can happen—whatever choices you make.”
Todd: “That is not comforting.”
Mr. DeWitt: “It wasn’t meant to be. The reality of the situation is that you could gain, but you could also lose. Though you will have a $2.5 million dollar cushion if you opt for the National Park.”
Sam: “People, everything in life is a calculated risk. And forget the dollar figure that the Federal Government is dangling in front of us. We have never been about money—or we would have clear cut the Mountain long ago, and decimated the Mountain as a habitat for generations. The point is, can we live with either outcome of allowing a National Park on our Mountain or not?” Sam looks pointedly around the room.
William: “What choice do we have?” The third oldest Wakeforest brother looks at his siblings. Tessa shrugs at him.
Sam: “We will vote to either accept or reject the Federal Government’s National Park idea for the old growth forest in the great pine woods. And we can either do the vote now, or delay to give everyone time to think about it.”
Todd: “Will there be anything new to consider, which would be aided by a delayed vote?”
Mr. DeWitt: “Not really. Though Dr. Matt Carter now seems to be trying to get his family to rescind their civil suit, his mother and remaining siblings want the case to proceed.”
Roger: “I don’t know if I should vote. I haven’t been involved with Wakeforest Mountain as a Trustee as long as you have.”
Tessa: “Roger, you should vote. You’re as much a part of guiding the fate of Wakeforest Mountain as I am.”
Roger: “But I …” He is interrupted.
Sam: “Roger, you’re voting.”
Mr. DeWitt: “And since this is a decision that might have a monumental change for Wakeforest Mountain, it should be a public voice vote—recording each peron’s vote so that there are no questions later.
So the voice votes are cast with each person’s name in birth order being called as they vote upon the matter: Should the Wakeforest Family Mountain conservatorship allow the Federal government to purchase the old growth forest in the great pine woods for the sum of $2.5 Million for the purposes of turning it into a national park:”
Kevin: “Nay.” Sam whips his head to look at Kevin—and Kevin holds his gaze, not an easy feat.
The vote can go either way—either cementing the “ayes” lead, or leaving them deadlocked at three votes apiece. All eyes turn to Roger Delaney as he reveals his vote. He squirms a little under the attention.
Roger: “I .. that is to say, I vote Aye”!
And thus a compromise position is born. The Wakeforest Family will offer to create an expanded and renamed Aiden Carter Memorial Visitors’ Center– with prominent safety maps and the cautionary tale of Aiden’s death. And they will table the National Park idea, for now.
And yet a more urgent matter will come to the forefront in the coming weeks when babies and bears collide.
To be continued with Chapter 43
References for Ch. 42 by Gratiana Lovelace, June 20, 2016 (Post #929)
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
Previous Blog Ch. 41 Story link with embedded illustrations: