[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 Federal Government’s offer to turn into a National Park the old growth forest in the Great Pine Woods on Wakeforest Mountain surprised all of them. And though the family’s response to that is divided evenly, they are agreed upon one matter regarding the resolution to the Carter Family Civil.
“Love in the Great Pine Woods”,
Ch. 43 (PG-13, D): When Babies and Bears Collide
With the Wakeforest Family’s vote regarding the old growth forest in the Great Pine Woods on Wakeforest Mountain being a tie as to whether they would allow the Federal Government to purchase it from them and turn it into a National Park, their attentions turned back to the Carter Family civil suit brought against them in the death of their son and brother, Aiden Carter.
The Carter Family sensing that the Federal Government’s involvement was imminent in creating a National Park—thus conferring upon the Mountain protected status from civil suits–the Carter famly backed down from their civil suit and met with the Wakeforest Family to reach an agreeable settlement for all. Ultimately, it came down to Sam Wakeforest and Dr. Matt Carter having a man to man talk about the death of Aiden Carter—the dead man’s culpability in his death by his reckless and unsafe behavior on the mountain after a blizzard of fresh snow left the snowpack high up loose and prone to an avalanche. Sam wisely refrained from referring to the deceased as an idiot for ignoring Wakeforest Mountain safety rules—let alone Aiden Carter ignoring common sense safety guidelines that every seasoned skier like himself would have known.
Sam also mentioned how personally sorry that his family was for Dr. Carter and his family’s pain in losing their loved one—and that they hoped to increase Wakeforest Mountain’s already well signed warnings by creating an expanded Visitor’s Center to be renamed the Aiden Carter Memorial Wakeforest Mountain Visitor Center. Overcome with such a gesture, and pledging his family’s support with the Visitor Center Memorial—in terms of an exhibit with pictures telling about the short life of Aiden Carter and his death from not following Mountain safety rules, in the hope of saving future lives—Dr. Carter agreed for his family to drop their civil suit as the two men shook hands. They also agreed that neither party would seek further redress—the Wakeforest and Carter families having to bear their own attorneys and court fees, is enough of a penance for each of them.
So it is one month later, on Saturday, August 27, 1956 that a much bigger and heavier, nearly fully eight months pregnant Olivia Wakeforest sits within her Wakeforest Family home’s backyard open sided gazebo crocheting cute baby hats—now that her hats are now more baby sized, rather than tea cozy size. She and Sam will need lots of clothes with twins on the way. Her husband walks out to greet her lovingly and to take her back inside for lunch. Leaning down and kisses his wife adoringly, he compliments her.
Olivia: “Hi Sam. Thanks!” Olivia radiates expectant motherly beauty inside and out [(2) right] —despite the challenges of carrying twins. Then she surveys her crocheting handiwork. “I think this lot will do for hats.”
Sam: “Oh? And what will you make for our babies next?”
Olivia: Smiling impishly, Olivia replies. “Whatever gifts I receive at this afternoon’s surprise baby shower for me. Ha ha ha!”
Sam: “You know about the baby shower?” Sam asks disappointedly. Olivia nods. “How?”
Olivia: “Husbands must be alike. Tessa says Roger talks in his sleep—and so do you, Mister.” Olivia gently pokes his chest.”
Sam: “Noted. Good thing I’m not a spy. Ha ha ha ha ha!”
Olivia: “Ha ha ha ha ha!” Olivia giggles, then she winces in pain. “Oooh!”
Sam: “What’s wrong?” Sam panics.
Olivia: “It’s just the babies moving around. They’re rather athletic.” She rolls her eyes. But she has felt lower back pain all morning.
Sam: “Should you really be going to this baby shower so close to your due date?” Sam asks in concern as he wraps his arm around her.
Olivia: “Saaaam? I’m five weeks away from my October 2nd due date! Besides, we need the baby supplies.” Olivia smiles while shrugging her shoulders.
Sam: “I just wish ….”
Olivia: “Sam please don’t become overprotective of me. Well, anymore than you already are. I promise that I would not go to this baby shower if I truly felt unwell. And besides, the doctor said that I was good to go.” Olivia whines a little. She has been all cooped up at her home awaiting the babies’ births and she needs a little outing.
Sam: “Alright. I guess.” Sam gives in begrudgingly. “But at the first sign of your feeling unwell, I want you to call me and bring you home.” Olivia nods. “Where is this blasted baby shower being held, anyway?” Sam the curmudgeon returns [(3) right] as his loving concern for his wife Olivia supercedes any other consideration.
Olivia: Olivia throws up her arms in an impish shrug. “That is still a secret. But I do hope that it is out of doors to enjoy the nice weather we’re having today—but with a nearby indoor bathroom.” Olivia smiles sheepishly. Pregnant ladies need frequent bathroom breaks. And Olivia is not an outdoor camping girl—she likes her indoor plumbing.
Sam: “Well Tessa better make the location not a secret when she arrives. Because I need to know where to find you to pick you up after the baby shower.”
Olivia: Patting her husband’s chest, Olivia soothes. “Patience, Dear Husband. All will be revealed.” Of course, Olivia does not mean that as literally as it will occur.
Like clockwork, as planned between Tessa and her brother Sam, Tessa arrives at Sam and Olivia’s home at one o’clock to collect her for some pregnant lady pampering—supposedly a manicure and a pedicure. And Sam does extract from Tessa their proposed secret baby shower location—especially since Tessa asked for the keys to it.
And being a rather tired eight months pregnant lady, Olivia naps whilst Tessa drives them there. When the car jolts to a stop, Olivia wakes up and looks around. They are at Sam’s and Olivia’s Wakeforest Mountain Hidden Lake cottage home [(4) right] .
Olivia: Feigning surprise as they exit the car, Olivia smiles sweetly at her sister-in-law. “Tessa? Is there something you forgot to tell me about our day of beauty?”
Though she knew it was a ruse, Olivia is still really hoping for a manicure and pedicure at some point before she gives birth. She hasn’t seen her feet for months now–and can only guess at how sorry they look, despite her husband Sam lovingly helping her with her bathing and showering, including shaving her legs for her. Sam seems to enjoy gently shaving his wife’s legs so much as Olivia soaks in her tub bath—him propping her outstretched leg on him with her ankle upon his shoulder for full access to her leg, as he kneels next to the tub, him kissing each leg after he finishes–that she thinks they might continue that little ritual even after the babies are born.
Tessa: “Sorry Olivia Sweetie. Change of plans. This is your surprise baby shower!”
Tessa gestures to the crepe paper ribbon festooned lake cottage porch and a picnic table to the side of the cottage porch with a pretty table cloth and presents and a cake on it, surrounded by about ten shower guests. There are Pauletta Perkins and Olivia’s teacher helper Janice from the Wakeforest Orphanage, her niece Alice Delaney, her three Wakeforest Brother sisters-in-laws and two older nieces Wakeforest nieces, Olivia’s housekeeper Mrs. Ventura, and a lady whom Olivia doesn’t know.
Tessa and the ladies: “Surprise!!!”
Olivia: “Oh! This is so lovely! Thank you!” Olivia and Tessa hug joyfully as sisters and sisters-in-laws do.
Then Tessa helps Olivia—first to go inside Olivia’s and Sam’s lake home to visit the bathroom, and then for the ladies to stow their purses and sweaters away. It is such a lovely sunny but comfortably breezy day that they will enjoy the baby shower out of doors as planned.
And to her surprise and delight, Olivia discovers that the tenth baby shower guest—Suzy Comstock—is also one of her gifts. Suzy is a trained Midwife [(5)] and is present to provide a bit of Olivia Pampering. Olivia hopes that she might get her pedicure yet.
After Tessa makes ice cold lemonade to go with their baby shower cake—alternating white and chocolate cakes with white frosting with the design of a baby in a sling and carried by a stork—the ladies begin their baby shower festivities sitting around on lawn chairs near the gift and cake table. Olivia oohs and ahs over the handmade as well as story bought baby items. And Tessa duly notes the giver of each gift to aid in Olivia’s thank you notes later. Tessa also writes down Olivia’s verbal reactions to each gift—for amusingly sharing later.
Though Olivia and her baby shower guests are at the base of Wakeforest Mountain at her and Sam’s Hidden Lake Cottage, they are still on a Mountain with forests and animals in those forests. And though it hasn’t happened for many years, if bears can’t find enough food foraging in the forest—in preparation for hibernation [(6)] —they will invade people’s camp grounds and have even been spotted near the Wakeforest Family Lumber Mill.
So it is across the lake, that a fight for life is taking place. A mother bear is defending her cub from a male that wants to mate with her. That is the way of it in nature sometimes. The male bear wants to eliminate his competition’s offspring to solidify his standing in the pack—and also to insure that his mother mate will focus her attentions on seeing that their baby bear cub survives. Even though after mating, the mother and father bears no longer have contact with each other, there is still a sense of territoriality present in the male bears for their chosen female bear [(7)] .
But a mother bear will fight to the death to defend her baby bear cub [(8) right] —the maternal bond is just as strong in animals as it is in humans. And after she is able to snatch her baby bear cub from the male bear, before more harm can be done to it, she takes off at a lumbering run with her baby bear cub hanging underneath her, clutching her chest hair. She stays close to the shore in case she needs to dash into the lake to keep her baby bear cub safe.
For some reason, male bears before hibernation, do not like to go into the water—or at least, not very deep. Perhaps it is because they have been eating to story up fat and nutrients for their hibernation and their larger more cumbersome sized makes it difficult for them to swim.
The mother bear smells something like food that is up ahead as she looks over her shoulder, still seeing the incensed male bear [(9) right] following them—though at a slower pace due to its girth. Food is always an enticement to bears—and the mother bear hopes to distract him with the food and then run far away. Bears foraging for food is why anyone who lives or camps near a forest is wise to not leave their garbage or food outside wear bears can reach it.
As the Mama bear gets closer and the food smells are stronger, she can also hear other sounds—human sounds. She knows to be wary about those sounds. She has seen some of her bear pack members fall to the ground still when the humans are around—with the bears never to be seen again. What the mother bear does not know is that bears on Wakeforest Mountain are routinely tagged for studying their movements, and then set free. Althought in some instances—when the Mountain’s bear population rises to more than the habitat can support, selected bears are tranquilized, tagged, and then transported to another county or state’s forest habitat that is trying to replenish its natural bear population.
Having exhausted his patience in waiting at home for Olivia to return, Sam Wakeforest drives to their Wakeforest Lumber Mill and heads to his office. Once inside, Sam continues his pacing back and forth like a caged animal. For some reason, Sam has a foreboding about today on the Mountain—and it doesn’t like it one bit.
Sam likes to be in control of what happens in his life. And that surety left him with he met and married his wife Olivia—and now that they are expecting twins. Everyday is surprising and new—sometimes in a good way, sometimes not.
Then Sam hears the Mountain short wave radio crackle and his brother Kevin’s voice speaking over his walkie talkie. It was Kevin’s day to walk the Mountain. It is now half past two o’clock in the after noon of Saturday, August 27th, 29156
Kevin on radio: “Breaker breaker! Foraging and mating bears on the attack, heading for Hidden Lake! Alert all campers.”
Sam on radio: “My God! Olivia!” Sam seizes the short wave microphone. “Kevin! Sam here. Tessa is having Olivia’s baby shower at our Hidden Lake Cottage Cabin. Meet me there in ten minutes!”
Kevin on radio: “Will do! Bring tranquilizer guns and shotguns.” If the former doesn’t work, then the latter will do.
And Sam races to his Hidden Lake Cabin, praying that he will be in time.
The Mother Bear lunges at the male bear—fighting him with all of her might–her claws and teeth, sink into anything on the male bear to distract it from her baby bear cub skittering away, trying to get to safety. But the problem is that even if the adult bears couldn’t see where the baby bear cub is going following the lake shore edge, the bear cub is bleeding from a nasty scratch from the male bear and the baby bear cub leaves its scent trail.
The male bear turns away from the sight of the little baby bear cub running and turns its attention to the mother bear. He might not choose to mate with her after all—more trouble than she is worth. But the male bear will be certain to kill the mother bear’s baby bear cub.
With the male bear bigger and stronger than the mother bear, the male bear quickly knocks the mother bear off its feet. Then it savagely bites the mother bear’s leg—causing agonizing waves of pain to shoot through her as she cries out.
Mother bear: “Grrrrrrhhhhhhhhhh!”
The Mother bear’s howl is a deafening sound of primal and feral terror and pain. And the little baby bear cub turns toward his mother’s sound only for an instant. For the baby bear fears that is a death wail, and instinctively the baby bear cub knows that it must get away from the male bear or the baby bear cub will be dead, too. But the baby bear cub is no match for the male bear, and there is no place to hide.
The ladies enjoying Olivia’s baby shower all stop to hear the piercing animal cry, seemingly nearby to them. They still instantly and dart frightened glances at each other.
Tessa: “Bears! Inside! Everyone!”
There is panic and pandemonium as ladies screech in fear. “Eeeeee! No! Ahhhh!”
The shower guests grab the babies shower gifts and hurry inside Olivia’s lake cottage cabin. Olivia rather feels twirled around in their haste to kindly gather up her babies gifts for her—leaving the cake behind, a sure magnet for the forest critters, especially bears. They cower inside Olivia’s lake cottage cabin, not knowing what to do.
Then just as Olivia starts walking up the lake cottage’s front porch steps, she takes one more look back and sees the silver baby rattle that Tessa gave her as a Wakeforest Family heirloom still sitting on the picnic table. And Olivia turns and starts back toward the picnic table to retrieve the precious gift. Olivia then clutches the silver baby rattle in her hands—even as Tessa races to her to urge her to come back to the safety of the lake cottage.
And Olivia could not have worse timing, because she and Tessa look out to the lake 100 yards away, just as a baby bear cub scrambles up from the lake shore–with a large male bear running behind it, still dozens of yards away, but gaining ground. Still, the baby bear heads straight for the two women.
Tessa: “Olivia, freeze!” Tessa hisses and also follows her own orders.
Both ladies stare resolutely at the bears—trying not to show fear. But unless a miracle happens, they will be attacked by the male bear—or one of them will be attacked first, perhaps allowing the other to get away. And Tessa resolves that if she has to lay down her life to save her sister-in-law Olivia and her unborn nieces or nephews, then by God she will do so.
For a moment, time seems to stand still. Tessa and Olivia are standing like stone statues between the picnic table and the lake cottage. The baby bear cub and the male bear are within a few torturous minutes of reaching them.
Then suddenly, out of the woods, Sam’s brother Kevin Wakeforest starts yelling and making noises to attract the male bear. Initially, the male bear isn’t interested. Then Kevin affects a wounded animal howl.
Kevin: “Ahhh oooooh! Ahhh ooooh!” Kevin repeats the howl several times as he closes the distance to the male bear. His shotgun is cocked and loaded—even though he knows that he would not be able to fell a bear this size with even two bullets. And the male bear turns toward Kevin investigate.
Tessa: “Kevin!” Tessa whispers worriedly.
Kevin: Shouting without taking his eyes from the male bear, Kevin relays to his sister and sister-in-law. “Sam is on his way! Get into the cottage now!” Then Kevin returns to howling to attract and distract the male bear. “Ahhh oooooh! Ahhh oooooh!” The two males—bear and human–circle each other warily.
Olivia: “No!” Olivia also whispers.
Then the baby bear cub runs up to Olivia and clings to her legs. Perhaps Olivia is emitting maternal pheromones—and at this point, even a non furry mother will do for the baby bear cub. But now Olivia can’t move with the baby bear cub latched on to her legs. So Tessa scoops up the baby bear cub into her arms and grabs Olivia by the hand.
Tessa: “Run!” And Tessa hampered with a baby bear cub in her arms, and the slow moving very eight months pregnant Olivia dash the few feet to the lake cabin’s front porch and safely slip inside the lake cottage, praying that Kevin can hold his own until Sam comes.
However once Tessa and Olivia get through the front door shut and deadbolt it—as if dead bolts and hinges were any match for a hulking angry 400 pound black bear—Olivia remembers something.
Olivia: “Tessa, we have to go back to the front porch and release the safety curtain.”
Tessa nonchallantly shifts the quivering baby bear cub to her other hip—resigning herself that her silk dress is quite ruined as the baby bear cub nuzzles in and gently paws at the fabric creating tears and thread runs—and she looks at Olivia in stupefaction.
Tessa: “I’m sorry, Olivia Honey. But there is no curtain in the world that will keep out a bear.”
Olivia: “It will if it is made of barbed wire!” Tessa thinks a moment, then nods. “It will take four of us releasing the ropes.”
Olivia looks hopefully at the fearful and crying baby shower guests. She cannot ask it of them—to put themselves in danger. They must volunteer. Happily, Pauletta Perkins and Mrs. Ventura do just that—so with Olivia and Tessa they make four. Tessa hands off the baby cub to her 16 year old daughter Alice. Alice instantly goes into baby sitter mode and tightly holds the baby bear cub to her side. And then Alice takes one of baby shower mother’s milk bottles from the fridge–that they had pumped to feed to their baby later—and she plops the milk bottle nipple into the baby bear cub’s mouth and happy sucking ensues. One small crisis averted.
Then Tessa, Olivia, Pauletta, and Mrs. Ventura, go back out to the front porch—worried what they will find. However Kevin Wakeforest is still standing a few dozen yards from the male bear—still circling each other. But what the ladies will do in releaseing the safety curtain, will not help him—and he knows it, and is okay with it. Kevin had helped Sam install the barbed wire curtain for just such a desperate circumstance. Kevin’s only hope is if his elder brother Sam arrives to fell this angry hairy beast in front of him.
As the four women quickly take their positions at the four porch posts—each post with ropes snaked around a metal cleat—they take a deep calming breath as they slowly unravel the ropes until they are just one loop away from being completely unloosened. They can feel the tension on the rope as the weight of the barbed wire is now transferred to the ropes.
Olivia: “Ladies? We will do this on three. And then stand back so that the barbed wire curtain doesn’t snap at you as it drops into place.” They all nod. Then Tessa counts slowly and deliberately. “One, two, three.”
The ladies quickly release their ropes and then step back from the edge of the porch as the barbed wire curtain descends and flaps against the front of the porch—with their knotted rope ends knocking loudly at the porch roof grommet hole that prevents the rope from being completely lost.
The only way in or out of the lake cabin is now the back door from the kitchen. Yet the other baby shower guests are locked in a huddle in the sitting area, watching fearfully through the open front door as Kevin Wakeforest fends off the big male bear.
Tessa: “Lord? If there was ever a time we needed you, its now.” Tessa prays.
And then, the unthinkable happens.
Olivia: “Oh my god!” Olivia shudders as her water breaks onto the porch’s wooden deck. She is pregnant, with twins, who seem to want to come a month early.
Tessa: “Let’s get her back inside.” And the ladies do that, now closing the front door again—cutting off their view of what is transpiring with the bear.
Then in that moment as Sam Wakeforest screeches his truck to stop between his brother Kevin and the big male bear as a barrier, Kevin spies another smaller adult bear heading in his direction.
And Kevin Wakeforest cannot know it, but this second bear is the baby bear cub’s mother bear—bruised, battered, bloodied, and barely able to walk—she is trying with all her might to find her baby bear cub, and to keep it safe. But the mother bear collapses in sight of the enraged male bear—who upon seeing the mother bear, heads toward her to finish her off.
And Wakeforest brothers Sam and Kevin exchange looks, knowing what they must do as they reach for their guns. And the ladies inside the lake cabin hear gunshots exploding in the air—even as they try to make the in labor Olivia Wakeforest comfortable.
To be continued with Chapter 44
References for Ch. 43 by Gratiana Lovelace, July 05, 2016 (Post #933)
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) Olivia Delaney Wakeforest smiling beatifically is Emily Deschanel found at https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/43/1b/64/431b64bf394ac604c69aea631c3375a0.jpg
3) Sam Wakeforest image is that of Richard Armitage in red cap in a tweeted image by cyn @dainty Jul1415
4) The image for Sam and Olivia Wakeforest’s Hidden Lake Cabin is from the film “On Golden Pond” and was found at http://hookedonhouses.net/2014/03/10/the-cabin-from-on-golden-pond/
5) Information about a history of Midwifing may be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midwifery
6) Information about bear hibernation is found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hibernation and http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/nature/bear-essentials-of-hibernation.html
7) Some information about bear mating behaviors is found at http://www.bear.org/website/bear-pages/black-bear/reproduction/15-courtship-and-mating.html
8) Image of a mama bear with her baby bear cub was found at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/nature/bear-essentials-of-hibernation.html
9) Image for a male bear (closeup) was found at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/nature/bear-essentials-of-hibernation.html
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