Friday, April 29, 2016

Episode 29 - February 4, 1999 - Life in Oak Springs, the Homeplace


Life in Oak Springs, the Homeplace
February 1999


This series of posts on each Friday, moving forward during 2016 will continue the stories of “The Homeplace Saga” series of family saga, historical fiction families in the area of Oak Springs following the novel “Christmas at the Homeplace,” which ended as 1997 began.

Earlier, we have seen the community move from January 1997 through January 1999. We now continue our story on February 4th of 1999, continuing in episodic serial format…





Episode 29 - Thursday, Feb. 4th - Lori, at the Homeplace Country Inn - late evening

[From Episode 28:

As they turned to do that, a Deputy Sheriff pulled into the driveway…]

Deputy: You folks need any help here?

Gary: I think we have it under control here… some serious roof damage on the far side, but no injuries.

Lori: Was it a tornado? We saw the Hollingsworth place…

Deputy: We are assessing that now. So far, the worst damage is at the Hollingsworth farm. All the buildings are gone there. Thankfully, no one was living there right now.

Lori: How about Bart Bevins’ place, the Stables?

Deputy: Just came from there. They’re ok. Just tree limbs down, and such.

Lori: Any word on electricity?

Deputy: Crews are out. Outage is fairly localized, we think. If so, they should be able to repair it fairly quickly. Let us know if you need anything. Otherwise, I’ll be on down the road, to check on others.

Lori: Thank you!


Lori joined Maria inside, while Gary took the first ladder around to the far side. In about a half hour, Gary came back in to see Lori.


Gary: Let’s go walk upstairs, together, now that I’ve looked at the damage from the outside.


Gary had his large flashlight, so Lori went with him, to the stairs to the second floor. Once they had assured that the stairway was clear, they went on up, cautiously, Gary leading the way. As they arrived at the second floor landing, in the beam of Gary’s light, they could see the collapsed ceiling about half way down the hall, and even open air, in places. Gary called out to Trace, who responded and they carefully moved ahead, to further assess the damage. The four rooms at the end of the hall were completely demolished with the roof gone. It was hard to tell how much damage there was to the walls and ceilings ‘this side of’ those rooms.


Gary: We’ll work toward getting some tarp up here to minimize any further water damage to the balance of the second floor. There was not a lot of rain after the damage was done, so that is good, so far. It is possible there will be more rain, tonight, however, so that will be our first job. There does not appear to be damage to the floor on this level, nor the ceiling of the first floor. We want to minimize the water damage. You were lucky there.

Lori: For as bad as it is, it could have been so much worse.

Gary: Yes, my thoughts exactly.

Lori: Well, let’s get about doing what we must do. How can I help?


They talked about that as they returned to the main floor, and got to work. Lori decided to wait until morning to call Karen, after she had seen the damage in the daylight. It might look much different then.




[To be continued, next Friday]



"May everyone have a homeplace, if only in your mind."

Dr. Bill  ;-)


Friday, April 22, 2016

Episode 28 - February 4, 1999 - Life in Oak Springs, the Homeplace


Life in Oak Springs, the Homeplace
February 1999


This series of posts on each Friday, moving forward during 2016 will continue the stories of “The Homeplace Saga” series of family saga, historical fiction families in the area of Oak Springs following the novel “Christmas at the Homeplace,” which ended as 1997 began.

Earlier, we have seen the community move from January 1997 through January 1999. We now pick up our story on February 4th of 1999, continuing in episodic serial format…




Episode 28 - Thursday, Feb. 4th - Lori, at the Construction Co offices - late evening

[From Episode 27:

Immediately after the next thunderclap, the phone rings…]

Gary picked up the phone and listened: It’s for you, Lori.

Lori [After listening a few moments]: Stay where you are, I’ll be right there.
[To the men] That was Maria, at the Inn. She said there was a very loud roar, then it sounded like the roof blew off. She is afraid to look. I told her we’d be right over.

Gary: Trace, you take the Ram. Those floodlights are still on it. I’ll take the half-ton, with the ladders. Lori, watch out for debris on the roads… that wind has been pretty vicious. We’re right behind you.


Approaching the turn onto Highway 24, Lori cannot believe her eyes, as she slows nearly to a stop. The familiar scene of Virginia’s farmhouse on the far right corner is now a pile of twisted lumber, it appears. Lori slowly makes the turn, avoiding some tree branches in the road, and proceeds cautiously toward the Homeplace County Inn, just a half-mile further down the road.

Turning in the drive, as the car lights sweep across the Inn, everything looks reasonably normal, except for tree branches strewn across the yard. She parks, notices there are no lights on, and starts to go inside to talk to Maria. The lights of the two trucks following her, with her friends, approach the yard as she approaches the front door.


There are no lights on in the Inn, but Maria approaches her, holding the battery-powered lantern they always keep within arms reach behind the main desk.


Maria: It seemed to end as fast as it started. After I called you, it has been deathly quiet. I am so happy to see you. Thanks for coming quickly.

Lori: Thank goodness you are all right. The construction guys are right behind me. They’ll be able to tell us what happened. [Lori could see their powerful flashlights flashing back and forth, outside] It may have been a tornado. Virginia Hollingsworth’s farmhouse down the road was destroyed. We’re really lucky you are alive.

Maria: I’m fine. Just scared. Nothing really happened down here. But the noise up above was awful. You said to call, so I just called you, and waited to see what happened next. Nothing did. That was almost more scary!

Lori: Oh, you poor thing. Thank you for calling, and being brave. Let’s walk out front, and see if they have found anything yet. [They slowly make their way back out front]


Gary [on his way back to his truck to get the first ladder]: The far corner of the roof on the second floor is gone. Blown away. Looks perhaps like you just caught the edge of a twister. Did you see Virginia’s place?

Lori: I sure did. It made me really scared to come over here.

Gary: You have some severe damage, but in a fairly confined area, it appears, on first inspection. Trace is setting up the floodlights, back there, and we’ll get the ladders out and do a closer look. You may just be very lucky, if you know what I mean.

Lori: Oh my, yes. The whole place could look like Virginia’s, with Maria trapped inside.

Gary: Fortunately, that didn’t happen. Go back inside, and relax, as much as you can. Stay out of this drizzle. Try calling about the electricity… it is probably out all over. I’ll go help Trace.


As they turned to do that, a Deputy Sheriff's car pulled into the driveway…


[To be continued, next Friday]



"May everyone have a homeplace, if only in your mind."

Dr. Bill  ;-)


Friday, April 15, 2016

Episode 27 - February 4, 1999 - Life in Oak Springs, the Homeplace


Life in Oak Springs, the Homeplace
February 1999


This series of posts on each Friday, moving forward during 2016 will continue the stories of “The Homeplace Saga” series of family saga, historical fiction families in the area of Oak Springs following the novel “Christmas at the Homeplace,” which ended as 1997 began.

Earlier, we have seen the community move from January 1997 through January 1999. We now pick up our story on February 4th of 1999, continuing in episodic serial format…




Episode 27 - Thursday, Feb. 4th: Lori, at the Homeplace Country Inn - late afternoon

Lori (speaking to Maria, the evening desk clerk at the Inn): I just got off the phone with Karen. She is nicely settled in down in Austin for her granddaughter’s birthday on Saturday.

Maria: That is nice to hear. I know she has been looking forward to this trip.

Lori: She is really going to enjoy her time there. It should be very quiet here, tonight, too, Maria. No guests tonight, only one couple coming in tomorrow afternoon. Stay close to the phone, in case we get another reservation, but otherwise, you can read or do as you wish this evening. We may get some thunder and lightning, I hear, but we could use the rain.

Maria: I kind of like a rainy night. I brought a good book to read, if it really is quiet. Thanks!  You have good evening, yourself.

Lori: I plan to. You have the number of the office where I’ll be. Don’t hesitate to call me, if anything unusual comes up. I don’t mind being called.

Maria: Thanks. We’ll see how the evening goes.


Later, Lori is having a meeting with Trace and Gary to go over the final plans for the Homeplace Estates housing development. As usual, the men had hot pizza ready when she arrived at the Construction Company office…


Lori: I’ll stick to Diet Coke, tonight, thank you!

Trace: Well, that’s easy to handle. Still quiet at the Inn?

Lori: This week, yes. Winter season finished last week, it seems. Next week it looks like the spring season is starting early this year - more folks coming than we had expected. But, of course, that is always good news.

Trace: Great! Let’s eat, while the pizza is hot. We just took it out. [He handed Lori her plate] Gary has the plans spread out over on the table, when we are ready to look at them.


A bit later, as the three of them have been going over the plans, step by step, detail by detail, to see if they have included everything they planned.


Lori: These look very good, guys. I think they’re ready to present to the Trustee Meeting. Agreed? [A lightning flash filled the room, followed immediately by a huge thunderclap]

Gary: I was simply going to reply ‘Yes’ but that lightning and thunder gave a much more pointed reply.

Trace: That was very close by… [another similar combination] Wow, there it goes, again. [Heavy rain could be heard on the roof and on the windows] I didn’t realize this storm tonight would be this strong.

Lori: The wind seems to be blowing hard, as well.


Immediately after the next thunderclap, the phone rings…




[To be continued, next Friday]



"May everyone have a homeplace, if only in your mind."


Dr. Bill  ;-)


Friday, April 8, 2016

Episode 26 - February 1st, 1999 - Life in Oak Springs, the Homeplace


Life in Oak Springs, the Homeplace
February 1999


This series of posts on each Friday, moving forward during 2016 will continue the stories of “The Homeplace Saga” series of family saga, historical fiction families in the area of Oak Springs following the novel “Christmas at the Homeplace,” which ended as 1997 began.

Earlier, we have seen the community move from January 1997 through January 1999. We now pick up our story on February 1st of 1999, continuing in episodic serial format…


Virginia's Farm house


Episode 26 - Monday, Feb. 1st, late afternoon - Karen visited Virginia again


Karen visited Virginia at the nursing home. Virginia seemed to be in good spirits.

Karen: I wanted to share some news with you about a person we met recently who turned out to be a relative.

Virginia: That is usually a pleasant thing to learn.

Karen: Yes, that was especially true, in this case. His name is Bruce Randolph. He lives in New York City and is about my age, a couple of years younger, actually.

Virginia: New York. Did you know you had any family in New York?

Karen: Not until I talked to you last time. He is Ethel’s son.

Virginia: Well, isn’t that something. I suppose it makes sense, but it has been a very long time. [Karen could see Virginia’s mind wander off into the distance for a few moments. Karen waited a bit to reply.]

Karen: We learned a little more about the story. [She paused] But we also learned there is much of the story of Ethel we will never know. She died shortly after giving birth to Bruce, in 1939. It was within a few days of when Grandpa William died.

Virginia: Did William know?

Karen: We cannot know for sure. It appears he may have had a letter from Ethel that she was having a baby… but then, they each passed away without further contact.

Virginia [Taking that all in, and reflecting]: Then, he and Ethel did keep in contact?

Karen: That does appear to be the case. We did find evidence that he did support her move, financially. However, we did not find any letters between them, just a few brief notes in the journal he kept, that mentioned her, almost in coded words. He was keeping it a secret from the rest of the family, it appears.

Virginia: He did become quite a self-centered man, lived alone, after his wife died. I’m not surprised to hear that.

Karen (turning the conversation back to the positive): Bruce is a very nice man. We are happy to have a new cousin. He met everyone, and I’m sure he will visit, again.

Virginia: That’s nice. That is as it should be.

Karen (changing the subject completely): Is anyone living on your farm now?

Virginia: No, the house is empty right now. The cropland is rented out, of course, but no one is living there. I thought for a long time that I would move back out, but I know now that I won’t. I’m very happy here. I should probably sell it to some nice young family, but just haven’t, yet.

Karen: Well, there is plenty of time to do that, when you are ready.




[To be continued, next Friday]



"May everyone have a homeplace, if only in your mind."


Dr. Bill  ;-)


Friday, April 1, 2016

Episode 25 - February 1, 1999 - Life in Oak Springs, the Homeplace


Life in Oak Springs, the Homeplace
February 1999


This series of posts on each Friday, moving forward during 2016 will continue the stories of “The Homeplace Saga” series of family saga, historical fiction families in the area of Oak Springs following the novel “Christmas at the Homeplace,” which ended as 1997 began.

Earlier, we have seen the community move from January 1997 through January 1999. We now pick up our story on February 1st of 1999, continuing in episodic serial format…




Episode 25 - Monday, Feb. 1st - Lori and Karen at the Homeplace Country Inn

Lori [setting a cup of coffee in front of Karen and taking her own around to the other side of the kitchen table]: After a week or so, now, how are you feeling about learning you have a first cousin you didn’t know you had, this Bruce Randolph?

Karen: Well, now that it has played out the way it did, I guess I am just fine with it. It certainly was unsettling for a while though. We had a few scary days there, but then things fell into place, and it all worked out for the best, I suppose.

Lori: He seemed to be a really decent guy after we all got to meet him, and we could all relax a little bit.

Karen: Yes, that certainly is true. It was great for us all to be able to get together here in Heritage Hall, and just relax, and get to know him a bit more. He grew up with such a different background than all the rest of us; it really is amazing we got along as well as we did. I honestly think he was ready to got back to New York City, after meeting all of us, though, don’t you?

Lori: I got that impression, yes. I think he was perhaps as relieved to have the ordeal over with as we were.

Karen: He really didn’t realize what he was getting himself into, for sure. Christopher set him in his proper place much more than he was expecting, I do know that. Bruce found out quickly he was not dealing with some ‘country bumpkin,’ that is for sure.

Lori: Have you talked to Virginia about Bruce?

Karen: No. I suppose I must do that. I don’t look forward to it, but it is only fair that I share what I know with her, soon, otherwise she is liable to hear about it from someone else.

Lori: If she hasn’t already. Word seems to travel around the community very quickly.

Karen: I know. I’ve got later today, and tomorrow, before I leave to drive down to Austin. I really must do that. Thank you for reminding me.

Lori: It is your call, of course, but I do think that is a good idea. You’re leaving first thing Wednesday morning?

Karen: Yes, and I should be back Monday night. The birthday party for Jessica is on Saturday. She’ll be a good ‘party girl,’ I’m sure, this year for her 2nd birthday. Erin says a couple of others in the daycare have already had theirs, so she is following their pattern.

Lori: Did I have a 2-year-old birthday party, Mom? [A bit of a chuckle]

Karen [with a big smile]: Certainly not. Those were very different times. You did have a cake, and a couple of presents, as I recall. But that was about the extent of it. Doing any more than that for a 2-year-old never crossed my mind, and certainly not your father’s!

Lori: Dad would have liked a party.

Karen: Yes, he would have. And we had many of them, over the years, but not that young, not for any of you.

Lori: Well, on that happy thought, I’ve got work to do. There is a work schedule to finalize for here, and some prep work I need to do before my next meeting with Trace and Gary on Thursday evening.

Karen: Me, too. I need to start packing for my trip, and, think about what to say to Virginia… and then go do it.

[To be continued, next Friday]



"May everyone have a homeplace, if only in your mind."


Dr. Bill  ;-)


Friday, March 25, 2016

Does your book have a Video Book Trailer?


Does your book have a Video Book Trailer? 


Here are two examples to consider... have you viewed them?

This one is for my first novel in this series, "Back to the Homeplace."

http://youtu.be/77uQ8qGG8jY - if you haven't seen it, please take a look, and leave a comment.


The second example is for the latest novel in the series, "Christmas at the Homeplace."

http://youtu.be/pnilAflMESg - I've used this one on a lot of my Hubpages...

If you haven't taken the time to view it, this is a great opportunity... it is short, too!

I appreciate comments on either or both. Will you try one? Are they useful, in your opinion?


See you next Friday! ;-)



http://www.amazon.com/Back-Homeplace-William-Leverne-Smith/dp/1451560400/


www.amazon.com/Christmas-Homeplace-William-Leverne-Smith/dp/1493510401/