[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, Ewan McGregor as David Warren, Noah Lomax as the 5 yrs old Daniel Wakeforest, Soleil Moon Frye as the 5 yrs old Ellie Wakeforest, a young Tom Cruise as Drew Wakeforest, Alexis Bledel as a 16 yr old Suzie Wakeforest, a 24 yr old Richard Armitage as twenty year old Daniel Wakeforest, 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: Unrelated by blood due to Alice being adopted, cousins Alice Delaney and Drew Wakeforest marry. But due to Drew’s Air Force pilot training, they are separated for the first four months of their marriage—but for short weekend furloughs when Alice is able to visit him—and then he is shipped out, first to an air base in Illinois and then overseas. Drew is injured in an explosion while in Viet Nam and his lower left leg must be amputated. Alice is devastated for Drew, but grateful that he is alive. And she and her father-in-law Kevin Wakeforest bring Drew back home from a California military hospital that he had been airlifted to. Though worried that he has lost sexual function, Alice and Drew share a creatively loving romantic tryst when they return home to convalesce at their Uncle Sam’s and Aunt Olivia’s home’s first floor master suite.
“Love in the Great Pine Woods”, Ch. 48 End (PG-13, D):
Life Lessons and Legacy
In the months following his homecoming due to his military injury and honorable discharge in the Spring of 1962, Andrew Drew Wakeforest—son of Sam Wakeforest’s next older brother Kevin–spends many hours each morning on grueling physical therapy and rehabilitation as he accustoms himself to walking with a wooden prosthetic lower left leg. Though his afternoons were his reward as he and his wife Alice spent time together—especially enjoying looking forward to and planning for the birth of their first child. And this child will be Alice’s and Drew’s respective parents’ first grandchild. So there is much anticipating and pampering going on.
Of course, their little Wakeforest cousins are delighted—the then six year old twins Daniel and Ellie, four year old Joshua, and two years old Suzie, the children of Sam and Olivia Wakeforest. The twins especially remember their Mama Olivia’s growing tummy when she was pregnant with their younger sister Suzie. And Alice’s growing belly is a source of wonder to them. And that following Christmas with Drew walking on crutches as he gets used to walking with his prosthetic lower left leg, he and Alice welcomed their first child, a daughter they named Jacqueline—after the nation’s First Lady, Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy.
Drew’s physical challenges mean that the active life of a lumber man is not feasible for him. Drew jumping between logs that had been floated down the river to the lumber mill—in order to link them together in preparation for their being brought into the lumber mill and prepared into planks—is now a task handled by his brothers and cousins. Yet, though Drew was uncertain at first, he does discover with satisfaction that he can climb trees a little ways up—if they have dense branches—mostly using his arms and his uninjured leg to do the climbing and the reverse. Climbing tall trees to cut off top outer branches before felling it in two sections is something that Drew also used to be able to do. But this is now not an entirely safe activity for Drew with his missing lower left leg.
So Drew sets himself the task of learning a new occupation—but something still related to the Mountain. And under his Uncle Sam’s tutelage, Drew becomes the Assistant Sales Manager of the Wakeforest Family Lumber Mills. It turns out that Drew has a facility for numbers and an excellent memory for details. Both skills are helpful in talking with clients on site or via the phone for their larger Eastcoast orders. And Drew’s salary, coupled with his military pension and a sizeable gift from Alice’s parents Roger and Tessa Delaney, allows he and Alice in the Spring of 1963 to build a modest but spacious four bedroom ranch style home for their growing family just outside of the Town of Wakeforest and in sight of the Mountain that is so much a part of the Wakeforest Family’s lives.
The extended Wakeforest and Delaney families grow and develop over the next several years. Sam and Olivia are happy with just their four kids—who are quite a handful. But they are good kids. The kids especially like to watch their Father Sam march in the annual Memorial Day parades at the end of May walking with other veterans and waving miniature American flags at him and the other Veterans—including their cousin Drew, who uses crutches since the parade route is a mile long and taxes his strength and endurance were he to merely use a cane. Though elsewhere, unrest about the Viet Nam War and its human toll in lives lost results in protests, the sleepy little out of the way Town of Wakeforest has not experienced that. Instead, the Town of Wakeforest civilians focus on the service that these veterans rendered.
It is only when the extended Wakeforest and Delaney families picnic up at Sam’s and Olivia’s Hidden Lake Cottage near the base of Wakeforest Mountain after the 1966 Memorial Day parade that the younger children ask questions of their cousin Drew about his war injury.
It is a beautiful end of May day with the sun shining and the lake sparkling. Sam roasts hot dogs and hamburgers over the out door coal fired barbecue while the ladies finish the side dish preparations inside—in between cooing over the youngest member of the family, little Wyatt Andrew Wakeforest born three months ago to Drew and Alice, their second child. After three years of trying for a second child, they had almost given up hope, but then their wishes were answered, and their little boy was born.
The older unmarried teenaged Wakeforest cousins are on a mountain hike supervised with their Wakeforest Uncle William. While Kevin’s oldest son Drew is overseeing the children swimming in the lake inlet’s shallower roped off swimming area near the boat dock. His four year old daughter Jacqui wearing her blowup water wings on her arms rides on his back as they play Marco Polo in the water with the cousins. Drew eschews wearing his prosthetic leg while swimming and merely hops around in the buoyant water like the rest of his cousins—albeit, Drew having one leg, not two. Twelve year old Bobby Delaney—Jacqui’s Mama Alice’s brother, so he is technically her uncle– is it for their Marco Polo game, and he is very good at it. Though his Wakeforest cousins Daniel, Ellie, Joshua, and Suzie tease him cutely as they say Polo to his Marco and then splash away from him.
But after a while, all the kids are tired, waterlogged and hungry. So they walk out of the lake and onto the sandy beach. However exiting the lake for their older twenty five year old cousin Drew is a more difficult proposition. The shifting sand doesn’t work well with crutches—and when he has tried to hop in the past, he usually fell down. And climbing up onto the dock is also not an option in low tide. So to prevent Drew from breaking anything else—and to preserve his dignity–over the years the family has rigged up a water wheel barrow device that he sits in at the shallows, while his cousins pull him ashore. This has become a fun activity for the cousins—since after they get Drew ashore on solid ground and hand him his crutches, they then take turns being hauled from the water while Drew watches them amusingly.
As Drew sits on a nearby bench where he had laid his artificial wooden leg before he went into the lake, he shakes his hair of excess water and dries himself off. Then he proceeds to don his prosthetic wooden leg–that fits below his preserved knee–and attaches it above his knee, with a harness having soft shearling cushions under his knee and at the thigh strap to prevent chafing.
Drew: “Jacqui Dear, let me finish toweling you dry so you don’t get too cold.” He motions his four year old daughter to come to him.
Jacqui: Sashaying away, wrapped in her towel, four year old Jacqui shakes her head. “No, Papa. I want to buckle you up!” She claps her hands with glee. Her Mama and Papa are teaching her closures—tying her shoes, buttoning her coats, zippers, and buckles. So she practices buckles on her Papa’s artificial leg.
Drew: “Ha ha ha! Alright. Here you go.” After Drew slides the strap through the buckle to the proper tightness, all that remains is for Jacqui to slide the strap into its looped holder.
After doing this, Jacqui smiles with pride. Then her six year old cousin Suzie Wakeforest—Sam’s and Olivia’s youngest– walks over to them. Suzie and Jacqui are close playmates. The Wakeforest and Delaney extended families children are accustomed to seeing their cousin Drew without his leg on, but they are still curious.
Suzie: “Do you feel all better now with your leg back on, Drew?” She pats her older cousin Drew’s lower arm, smiling in a caring six year old way.
Drew: Smiling, he replies. “Well, it is certainly easier to walk with my aritificial leg, than without it. But no, it doesn’t hurt.”
Though there is some residual soreness, it is not enough for Drew to mention and worry the little ones. Then Suzie’s eight year old brother Joshua walks over.
Joshua: “It doesn’t hurt?” Drew shakes his head. “I would think that it would hurt not to have your leg.”
Bless the little ones and their uncensored comments. Drew senses a teachable moment as the remaining younger cousins gather round him.
Drew: “Well, it did hurt when the accident happened. And it hurt for a long time. But then my leg healed and I worked to gain my strength back through physical therapy. And I learned how to walk with my artificial leg.” He taps his leg.
Jacqui: “My Papa’s a war hero!” She states proudly after having seen him march in his air force uniform in today’s Memorial Day Parade of Veterans. Though her Papa winces at such praise.
Drew: “Well, I didn’t do anything heroic. I was wounded overseas during war time—but it was a preventable accident. If the idiot hadn’t dropped the land mine in our tent, then I would still have my leg.” Drew frowns. He is still irked that someone’s irresponsible actions have affected him for life. The kids nod, they have all heard about what happened to Drew before—and they understand it as best as their little minds will allow. “So the point of my story is, don’t pick up anything that you don’t know what it is. And don’t pick it up even if you do know what it is, but it is dangerous. Because you could hurt yourself, or someone else. Safety first.” The kids nod solemnly again. The 4th of July will come upon them soon, and he doesn’t want the kids to have any fireworks accidents.
Daniel: “May I touch your wooden leg?” At ten years old, Daniel he is curious—and brash.
Drew: “Go ahead.” He smiles. Then he sees all of his little cousins reach out their hands toward his artificial leg and he holds up his hand. “Wait! One at a time.”
Jacqui: “Me first! He’s my Papa!” She smiles gleefully to have a Papa whom her cousins find interesting. She thinks that the other papas are nice—but they don’t have something special about them like her Papa does.
So the little kids line up and one by one, they touch their cousin Drew’s articifical leg. Some pat it, some stroke in, and Daniel knocks it—trying to ascertain how thick it is. Drew graciously allows their inquisitiveness in order to deepen their understanding of people with a disability, like himself. Then the children—their curiosity satisfied–all begin to chatter like magpies about playing games in and out of the water after lunch.
Having finished his barbecuing, a smiling fifty five year old Sam lopes over to the scene of the children and Drew, then says facetiously.
Sam: “Ha ha ha! If the floor show is over, I suggest that you hungry children head up to the cottage’s picnic tables and eat your hot dogs and hamburgers while they’re hot.”
The dozen or so kid cousins race up the hill like the hungry little munchins they are. And it seems that the adults are also hungry.
Drew: “I’m ravenous! Supervising the kids swimming in the lake wears me out.”
Sam: “Oh? Playing with the children wears you out?” Sam teases. “Fine, then next year, I’ll play with the kids in the lake and you can do the barbecuing!”
Drew: “Ha ha ha! You’re on!” Though Drew does get fatigued now and again, he just presses forward and lives his life—making adaptations as needed, like the lake wheelbarrow, walking with his artificial leg, and possibly sitting down while barbecuing, etc.
And ten years later, it is 1976—the nation’s 200th birthday, the Bicentennial. And the Town of Wakeforest hosts a 4th of July Bi-Centennial extravaganza with a parade, carnival with rides, speeches, songs, contests, and the like. Sam and Olivia had quietly celebrated their twentieth wedding anniversary last December. And with all of their kids but their sixteen year old Suzie, in college or graduated and pursuing careers and living in their own homes, Sam’s and Olivia’s home had become more quiet.
Yet everyone is back for the 4th of July for the Town of Wakeforest Festivities in the morning and the requisite extended family lunch picnic and afternoon up at Sam’s and Olivia’s Hidden Lake Cottage retreat. And Olivia has mellowed in that she will even deign to stay with Sam on the mountain at their cabin nestled 200 yards back of the Little Summit Ridge—though only at the start and at the end of snow season, so no possibilities of them getting caught in an avalanche again. But the Hidden Lake Cottage is Sam’s and Olivia’s main Wakeforest Mountain Retreat.
Sam and Olivia and the now sixteen year old Suzie Wakeforest arrive at their Hidden Lake Cottage ahead of the rest of the family with some extra food stuffs and other supplies. Everyone contributes to the feast bringing meats and side dishes, drinks, and desserts—but Sam and Olivia make certain that there is enough necessary supplies for thirty people.
Olivia: “Now where is your father with that toilet paper?”
Suzie: “Oh Mommy! Must you always talk about us bringing enough toilet paper?” Is Suzie’s constant embarrassed refrain.
Olivia: Fixing her bemused fifty five year old smile at her sixteen year old daughter, Olivia replies. “Let’s revisit that issue the next time you need to use the bathroom after ten of your cousins have run through the toilet paper rolls.”
And Sam’s daughter Suzie rolls her eyes yet again, this time at her father—as the now sixty five year old Sam walks into the cottage from the car, while carrying three large packages of toilet paper—giving them twenty four rolls.
Sam: “Where do you want the TP, Olivia?”
Olivia: Olivia smiles bemusedly. “Let’s not make it a scavenger hunt, shall we, Sam Dear? Just put them in the bathroom cabinet.” Then Olivia goes to check on ice production in their newer refrigerater that makes its own ice. With thirty people expected, they need a lot of toilet paper and a lot of ice.
Sam: “Right!” Sam tries to put all of the toilet paper in the bathroom cabinet, but it won’t fit. So he just stacks the other two large packages in the tub and closes the shower curtain. He figures that if people get desperate enough, they’ll check in the tub.
Suzie: “Daddy? Are you going to start the barbecue soon?” Suzie smiles sweetly [(2) right].
Sam: “I will when Daniel and Joshua get here? Where are your brothers?” Perturbed to be kept waiting, Sam looks around.
Olivia: “Now don’t pester them when they arrive, Sam Dear. The boys are with their girlfriends at the carnival. They and Ellie with her beau will be here soon.”
Sam: “Better be, or no one will get fed if they don’t.” Sam frowns. Though Sam is not really upset with his sons. It’s just that Sam’s natural prickliness has come out more as he has gotten older. And the thought of his twenty year old daughter Ellie having a beau, just sickens Sam’s stomach. Sam is glad that at least Suzie hasn’t started dating yet.
Suzie: “Bobby and I can help, Daddy!” Suzie offers brightly. “He’s coming with Aunt Tessa and Uncle Roger.”
Olivia: “Is he? That’s nice. Since he’s been away at college, I know that Tessa and Roger have been missing him. But now that he’s graduated, Roger hopes that he’ll be around more.” Olivia shares a tad cryptically, since Bobby’s after graduation plans have not been firmed up yet.
Suzie: “Bobby wants to be a banker, like his Daddy.” Suzie nods approvingly. Of course, any career that Bobby wants to pursue that will keep him in the Town of Wakeforest’s vicinity is alright with her.
Sam: “Just what the world needs—another banker.” Sam growls in mock sarcasm.
Olivia: “Now now, Sam. Bobby is a nice young man.” Olivia makes a face at her husband and she tilts her head toward her daughter—for her husband’s benefit– after seeing the pouting look of their daughter Suzie.
Sam: “What?” Sam quizzically looks at Olivia. Then Suzie looks over at her mother, and Olivia masks her facial expressions to a benign smile.
Olivia: “Oh nothing.” Olivia sings. Whenever Olivia’s voice sounds more musical, she is usually hiding something.
Suzie: “Please be nice to Bobby, Daddy. We don’t get to see him that often since he’s been away at school.”
Suzie pleads with her father, because she has a little crush on her six years older cousin Bobby—that she hasn’t told Bobby about. And since Bobby was adopted and not related to Suzie by blood, she reasons that her crush isn’t taboo. Afterall, Alice and Drew were unrelated cousins and married—and even her parents Sam and Olivia married their siblings’ siblings. So Suzie has had several models of family marriages that promoted preexisting family ties.
In a half hour, the extended Wakeforest and Delaney families start arriving at the Hidden Lake Cottage on Wakeforest Mountain. Bobby and his parents are first—with Roger and Tessa going straigt inside to avail themselves of the cooling window air conditioning units. So Bobby goes to help his Uncle Sam set up the coals and light them in the outdoor barbecue grill—with Suzie tagging along.
Sam: “Bobby? Just set the bags of charcoal over there. I want to make sure no critters have invaded the grill since I cleaned it out last weekend.” Then after inspecting said barbecue—and suitably assured that the grill is free of animals, their nests, and such–Sam motions to his nephew Bobby. “Okay! Pour the coals in and spread them around.”
Bobby opens the two charcoal bags and pours the coals evenly in the large two foot by the three foot grill.
Bobby: “Uncle Sam? I think we’re going to need another bag of charcoal.”
Suzie: “Oh? Won’t they burn hot enough?” Suzie asks peeking into the yet to be lighted barbecue while leaning close to Bobby. Her father Sam frowns and crosses his arms.
Bobby: “Well …” Turning, he almost collides with his younger cousin Suzie. “Oh, Sorry Suzie. You shouldn’t stand so close.”
Sam: “Damn straight!”
Suzie: Suzie gasps. “Daddy! Mommy will make you pay a dollar for using that word.”
Olivia has taken to charging her husband Sam for swearing in front of others. The fine used to be a quarter, but with inflation and Sam’s propensity to let fly with a coarse word now and again, Olivia increased the fine to a dollar. The fines don’t really deter Sam, but they do make a nice little monthly contribution to the Wakeforest County Orphanage—on top of their usual family donation.
Sam: “Never you mind, Suzie. Bobby, the extra charcoal is in back of my jeep.”
Sam points his thumb at his jeep and Bobby heads toward it—followed closely by Suzie. Olivia comes out and stands by her husband.
Olivia: “Pay up!” She holds out the palm of her hand.
Olivia: “I heard you say the D word. Now pay up!”
Sam: Sam mutters. “Damn nuisance.”
Olivia: “What was that?”
Sam: “Darn nuisance.”
Olivia: “That will still be two dollars.”
Then trying to butter his wife up, Sam leans in and kisses her neck–while the kids are busy with the barbecue—and he whispers.
Sam: “I could pay you back tonight, when everyone has left.”
Olivia: “That will be lovely, Sam Dear.” Olivia smiles as Sam put his arms around her waist. “But until then, pay up.” She reiterates with her palm facing up again.
Sam: “Dag nabbit! I’m not perfect! A man’s got to swear now and again.” He blusters as he pulls two dollars out of his pants pocket.
Olivia: “Well then, if you feel so strongly about it, then you won’t mind paying.” She smiles minxiously at him.
Sam: “Hmm! Why can’t I win an argument in my own home?”
Olivia: “Because you love me, and you know that I am right?”
Sam: “No.” Sam states with a scowl and Olivia pouts. “Now now. You know that I love you. I would just like to win an argument now and again—and swear when I think it is called for.”
Olivia: “If I didn’t love you so much, I would wash your mouth out with soap!” She says primly.
Sam: “I have a better use for that soap.” And Sam whispers a promise into his wife’s ear that causes her to blush crimson as she playfully swats at his arm. But Sam has the upper hand and he draws his wife Olivia to him and kisses her with loving abandon, until she surrenders to his kiss.
Suzie and Bobby having gotten the barbecue grill properly coal stocked and the fire started, they look away from Sam and Olivia in youthful embarrassment.
Bobby: “Sheesh! And I thought my parents were the only ones who were lovey dovey all the time.”
Suzie: “Oh no. Mommy and Daddy are very lovey dovey.” Suzie smiles. After all, she is their fourth child.
Bobby: “You don’t mind?”
Suzie: “I think its romantic.” Suzie smiles wistfully. “I hope that when I’m as old as they are, that I am still loved.”
Bobby: “Well, they did get married late in life. So I suppose, they’re still trying to catch up.”
Suzie: “Daddy was forty five when he married Mommy. And she was thirty five.” Suzie nods. Stories about her parents’ courtship and early marriage are the stuff of family legend.
Bobby: “Forty five is a bit long to wait to get married.” Alice smiles. “But thirty sounds like a good age for me to settle down, that gives me nine years to work my way up at the bank so I can support my wife in the style that she deserves.”
A nine year delay on Bobby getting married doesn’t sit well with Suzie—especially since she was hoping to marry him after she finishes college in five years. But she has to get Bobby to at least ask her out on a date, first.
Suzie: “You can’t always plan life, Bobby. You never know who might come along.” Suzie gazes at him coquettishly.
Bobby: “True, but planning is one of my strengths—that’s what my Dad says.” Bobby puffs up with pride.
As yet, Bobby still isn’t recognizing that his cousin Suzie is sweet on him. So Suzie feels a bit annoyed with him for being so obtuse. Perhaps Bobby is more like his somewhat stodgy father Roger Delaney than he thinks.
After a wonderful midday meal, various parts of the family break into groups for their fun activities of swimming hiking, Sam commandeers his eldest son Daniel for a man to man talk. First they hop in Sam’s jeep and drive up Wakeforest Mountain. It is their family’s ancestral home and their family is the Mountain’s conservator.
Sam stops his jeep at Tremont Ridge, where the Wakeforest Mountain forest and its higher elevations can be seen in an unobstructed view for miles and miles [(3) below]. It is one of the most breathtaking views on the Mountain.
Sam stands on the crest of the ridge with his son Daniel for several moments, just breathing in the clean pristine air of the Great Pine Woods and admiring the view. As he gets older, Sam appreciates everything more. And apart from his loving wife and family, Sam’s next allegiance is to Wakeforest Mountan. Sam turns to look at his tall and strapping son Daniel—who is the image of Sam as a young man [(4) right], except for Daniel’s rebellious shoulder length hair—and Sam puts his hand on his son’s shoulder.
Sam: “Daniel, I feel that it’s time that we have a man-to-man talk.”
Daniel: “Whoa, Dad! We already had the birds and bees talk six years ago.” Daniel puts up his arms playfully. “I respect women, and I’m responsible–I know to cover my rig.” Daniel blushes sheepishly—especially because he and his current girlfriend haven’t gotten that far.
Sam: “Yes, those are important considerations.” Then Sam gets side tracked as he looks scowlingly at his son’s longish hair. “And the ladies like your long hair?”
Daniel: “Oh yeah, Dad.” Daniel smiles impishly. “Like Samson! Get it? Sam’s son? Ha ha ha ha ha!” Daniel cracks up with his own pun.
Sam: Shaking his head, Sam refocuses. “Well, never mind that. Back to my purpose in bringing you here today.”
Daniel: “Which is? We better make it quick! I still haven’t had Mom’s 4th of July Bicentennial cake yet!” Daniel jokes.
Sam: “Daniel, this is serious.” With a solemn expression upon his face, Sam grips his son’s shoulder more firmly, but not enough to cause pain. Sam does it mostly to steady himself since his balance has been off of late—and Sam is too stubborn to use a cane.
Instantly changing his demeanor, Daniel realizes that his father has something heavy to relate to him, and Daniel quietens down.
Daniel: “Okay, Dad. What is it?” Daniel notices belatedly that age has started to take its toll on his sixty five year old father, with the wrinkles that streak across his father’s face, the gray that peppers his father’s black hair, and the weariness behind his father’s eyes [(5) right].
Sam: “Your mother and I were very pleased that you chose to major in Forestry and Conservation at university.”
Daniel: “Well, I’m all about ecology and protecting our environment! We have to take care of this planet if we want it to be our home for thousands of years to come.”
Sam: “Daniel?” Sam looks at his eldest son with his best stern father look that he perfected when they were little scamps.
Daniel: “Okay, I’m listening, Dad.”
Sam: “I won’t always be here.” Sam starts with his main point without sugar coating it.
Instantly concerned, Daniel clasps his Dad’s upper arm and looks soulfully into his eyes.
Daniel: “Dad? You’re not ill, are you?”
Sam: “No. Not anymore, anyway.”
Daniel: “What kind of an answer is that?” Daniel gazes searchingly into his father’s eyes.
Sam: But Sam responds to his son’s question, indirectly. “Most of my life has been spent on this mountain. It is a part of me, and I am a part of it. It took me ten years to understand than when I was an attorney in upstate New York before the war—and then I came home to the Mountain after the war.” Sam is speaking of WWII. “And when I die …”
Daniel: Daniel starts to protest. “Dad!”
Sam: “No, no. We have to talk about this. I will die someday. It is inevitable. And I want to leave the Mountain and the Lumber Mill in good hands … in your hands, Daniel.” Daniel is speechless. “You have proven yourself with your work on the Mountain in high school and your college Summers. And you will have your siblings and cousins to help you—as I have had with my siblings and then their children who chose to make the Mountain their career. But it will be up to you to preserve and to conserve our legacy of stewardship. I understand that you might want to strike out on your own a bit before returning to take the helm of Wakeforest Mountain. But I don’t think I have ten years left to allow you to do that. My father didn’t when I left for the war and he died at sixty—five years younger than I am now. He didn’t know that I returned to the Mountain to take up his work. I will always regret that. So I want to see you established and to know that you will carry on my conservation work on the Mountain, and that you will also bring your knowledge and experience in ecology and stewardship to benefit Wakeforest Mountain conservation in new ways that I might not have ever thought of.”
Daniel: Worried about his father’s morbid tone, Daniel asks softly. “Dad, have you talked to Mom about your health? Have you seen a doctor?”
Sam: “Doctors! Bah! What do they know?” Sam waves his hand in annoyance. “I’ll out live them all.” God willing, Sam thinks.
But by Sam dismissing his doctor’s diagnosis, his son Daniel realizes that his father has a diagnosis.
Daniel: “Dad, I want to return to Wakeforest Mountain sometime after my college graduation next year, I really do.”
Sam: “But? There is a but in there.” Sam narrows his eyes.
Daniel: “Dad, I was planning to tell you and everyone in the family my news at the party today. Hhhhh!” Daniel runs his hand through his long hair. “You see, I’ve been invited to do a Fellowship with the National Park System in Washington , D.C. the year after I graduate. But I won’t be sitting behind a desk all the time. At least three weeks out of each month, I’ll be a Regional Ranger visiting the National Parks in the Northern Midwest and charged with auditing their health—suggesting ways that their staff can improve park operations and conservation. So I was thinking that I could still base myself out of home in the Town of Wakeforest when I’m on field assignments. Though, I do hope to get my own apartment in town—since my comings and goings will be rather disruptive. But I plan to check in with you and Mom when I’m home.” Of course, a young man should have his own place.
Sam: “I see.” Sam considers what his son has said for a moment. “And will the Government pay you? This isn’t one of those pay your own way fellowships where they work you to death for the supposed prestige of having it, is it?”
Daniel: “Ha ha ha! No, Dad. They will pay me—rather well, actually. I will receive $1,500 a month in salary, plus a $300 per month housing allowance, a truck for my traveling with a gas card, and …” Daniel pauses portentously.
Sam: “And?” Sam prods his son to continue.
Daniel: “… and, the possibility of applying for an Assistant Park Director position at a National Park job opening of my choice.” Daniel winces, worried about his father’s reaction.
Sam: “Well! It looks like our little Mountain has competition for your services.” Sam bristles.
Daniel: “Please don’t be angry, Dad.”
Sam: “I’m not angry.” He scowls as he usually does.
Daniel: “You know, it’s rather hard to tell.” Daniel winces. A lifetime with his Dad and Daniel still finds him to be an enigma.
Sam: I’m happy for you—proud of you, son.” Sam relents.
Daniel: “Really?” Sam nods. “That’s great!” Father and son embrace. “And just you wait, you’ll see that I’ll get all kinds of great ideas that we can use on our Mountain when I come back.”
Sam: “But you will come back?” He checks to be sure.
Daniel: “Yes, Dad. I will always come back. It’s like you said about yourself, the Mountain is a part of me, and I am a part of it. And I am honored that you want to entrust Wakeforest Mountain and the Lumber Mill to me. I will make you proud.”
Sam: “I already am–proud of you, that is.” Sam pats his son’s back. “Daniel, promise me one thing.”
Daniel: “Anything, Dad.”
Sam: “When I die, I want to be buried up here on Wakeforest Mountain, at this very spot. Where everywhere you look, all you see is the Mountain.”
Daniel: “Oh Dad.” Daniel’s eyes tear up. Thinking of life without his father or mother is truly unthinkable for him. “Let Mom and I take you to Mayo’s, maybe they can do something.”
Sam: “No need. I’ve already been. They put a pacemaker in me for my ticker.” Sam points his index finger just below his left shoulder. “I asked for a Timex brand pacemaker, like the watches—since they take a licking and keep on ticking as their ad goes. Ha ha ha! But they didn’t make them in pacemakers, so I had to settle for the pacemakers they had.” Sam downplays his recent surgery so as not to upset his son on this festive day. But it was major surgery and Sam needs to take it easier.
Daniel: “Dad! You never said anything! I could have joined you and Mom, helped out.” Daniel pouts to have been kept in the dark about something so important as his father’s health.
Sam: “No. No fussing needed. You had your studies. And your Mother fussing over me is bad enough—changing my diet to red meat only once a week, and no alcohol.” Sam rolls his eyes. “Olivia also made me swear to give up my med flight volunteer flying. I had to even if she hadn’t wanted me to. They won’t let me fly med flight planes with a pace maker. Hhhh!”
Daniel: “So you have to take it easy now?”
Sam: “I suppose. But they gave me a pace maker to keep me going, and I’ll be hanged if I just sit around with it! So your Mother and I are going to take a two week belated 20th Anniversary trip to Hawaii next month. She’s going to learn to hula–and I’m going to watch. Ha ha ha!” Sam smiles for the first time while thinking about his wife Olivia wearing a coconut bra and a grass skirt–even though that will never happen with the still outwardly prim, yet lusciously seductive in private Olivia Delaney Wakeforest. “Oh, and I might learn some new barbecue secrets from the Islanders.”
Daniel: “Okay, well, I guess you know what you’re doing, Dad.” Daniel is a bit nonplussed with his rather stay at home parents doing something as exciting as a vacation to Hawaii.
Sam: “I do! I’m going to take my first real vacation away from the Mountain in more than forty years. But I will still be itching to get back to My Mountain, all the same.” Sam smiles. He feels such a sense of peace on Wakeforest Mountain.
Daniel: “That’s great, Dad!” Daniel exclaims a bit more enthusiastically. When he thinks about it, his Dad is a great role model of being a steward of the Mountain, being a businessman with the Wakeforest Family Lumber Mill, being a philanthropist with Wakeforest County Orphanage and Hospital, and of being a really great husband and Dad.
Father and Son hug again—in the manly way with much back patting–and then they head back down the Mountain for the rest of their extended families’ Bicentennial 4th of July gathering at Sam’s and Olivia’s Hidden Lake Cottage.
To be continued with Ch. 49, the Epilogue
References for Ch. 48 by Gratiana Lovelace, August 08, 2016 (Post #949)
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) Suzie Wakeforest at 16 yrs is Alexis Bledel found at graspingforobjectivity at http://lh5.ggpht.com/_PT-EBJOR-EI/SxG6T74IlyI/AAAAAAAANxw/J9cWSGjSXHA/Alexis%20Bledel3_thumb%5B1%5D.jpg?imgmax=800
3) 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
4) Daniel Wakeforest at 20 years old in 1976 is Richard Armitage at 24 years old in 1995 (denoised) as found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Richard/Promos/Miscellaneous/slides/Cats-1995-London-Programme-2.html
5) Sam at 65 yrs is a gray haired manip by Grati of Richard Armitage at 42 yrs; original image found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Richard/Promos/2012Promo/album/slides/BenRayner-09.html
Previous Blog Ch. 47 Story link with embedded illustrations: