Monday, November 11, 2013

Hometown Monday - M is for ...

Hometown Monday - M is for ...

We are continuing this series of posts of excerpts from the novels, novellas, and short stories of "The Homeplace Saga" family story-telling, with a new twist. We have adopted a format from the: "Blogging From A to Z Challenge." Each week we will share a published except related to a person whose name begins with that letter. 

This series of posts is to provide an insight into the story lines that may not be clear from other promotional pieces about "The Homeplace Saga." These will also be coordinated with the content of the developmental Wiki, "Beyond the Books" - to expand the information available there, as well. [Links in the text, below, provide more information on that person or entity]

Today we look at names beginning with the letter M.

For M, we have (with two excerpts, below):

Mark James - husband of Erin Winslow

Matt Winslow - oldest son of Jason and Karen (Bevins) Winslow

Melanie (Ogden) Stone - sister of Christopher Ogden

Mildred (McDonald) Bevins - deceased - left the video will in "Back to the Homeplace"

Mike Gardiner - road construction engineer

Mona (Cunningham) Evans - mother of Laura and Nicole; daughter of Lyle; wife of Jack

Our excerpts today are from the novel, "Christmas at the Homeplace," recently released, now available at… for Christmas purchases:

This excerpt is from "Christmas at the Homeplace" is from Chapter 3,  Thursday, October 24, 1996:

Matt Winslow returned to his Bevins & Winslow Internet Service Provider (ISP) office near City Hall after lunch to find a note asking him to return a telephone call from a familiar name with an Arizona number. Raynor Crimmons was a long time family friend who was now a professor at Central Arizona University. Raynor had been a financial planner with Matt’s father, Jason, first in Springfield, MO, and then again, a few years later, in Tucson, Arizona. 

The two families had been very close and spent much leisure time together, over the years. Raynor still made annual visits to Missouri, in late May or early June, to a few clients he continued to service in the area, and always stopped by to see the Winslow family in Oak Springs on those trips. He had actually been visiting that summer in 1993 when Jason died in the car accident returning from Columbia, and had been a great comfort to Matt’s mother, Karen. Raynor had been in Oaks Springs in late May, earlier this year.

Raynor answered immediately when Matt returned the call. After exchanging pleasantries, Raynor got to the reason for the call. He told Matt that his teaching load at the University was now all graduate business courses, but beginning this fall, they were also all on-line courses, and would continue that way under new school policies. That meant, he continued, that he could live anywhere he chose, so long as he had an adequate, high-speed Internet connection readily available. He wanted to confirm with Matt the current and future status of high-speed Internet service in Oak Springs. He was seriously considering moving back to the Missouri Ozarks if he could be assured of reliable Internet service.
Matt, of course, was pleased to be able to talk with Raynor about progress they were making in providing high-speed Internet service to City Hall and the rest of the down-town portion of Oak Springs this fall. In fact, it was a bit ahead of schedule. He added that they would be extending service into the residential portion of Oak Springs in the spring.

Hearing this, Raynor asked if Matt knew of any office or apartment space available now, or in the next month or so, in that part of the downtown already being provided with high-speed Internet service.
Matt was surprised to hear the excitement in Raynor’s voice at his positive response. His news for Raynor was that there was both an apartment on the level above and an office at the end of the hall in the very building where Matt was sitting – both were vacant and available for immediate occupancy.
Raynor asked if Matt thought “they” would hold both spaces for him to look at in a week, when he could come look at them and make a decision. To Raynor’s surprise, Matt said that he was the “they” and he would be happy to hold it. His company had purchased the entire building, and was subleasing certain areas not currently needed, pending future expansion. He would look forward to Raynor’s visit in a week. As they closed their discussion, Raynor mentioned to Matt that the reason he was thinking of moving back to Missouri was to be closer to his daughter, Randi, who lived in the Washington, D.C., area, and that the only other family he had left still lived in Iowa. Matt knew that Raynor’s wife, Rachel, had been killed in a Tucson, Arizona, auto accident, like Jason, several years earlier. He had not remarried and lived alone.

As soon as he hung up from talking to Raynor, he called his mother. “I just found out that Raynor Crimmons is coming for a short visit from Arizona toward the end of next week, Mom. I thought you would want to know.” They chatted a bit with Matt essentially sharing their whole conversation with Karen.

Karen concluded the call by saying: “It will be nice to see him again. He is always pleasant company.”

This excerpt is from "Christmas at the Homeplace" is from Chapter 5,  Friday, November 1, 1996:

As Mona Evans walked out to their mailbox, like she did nearly every day, she thought about what might be in the box. Her daughter, Laura, wife of Travis Inman, and their two children had lived with them all this calendar year while Travis was overseas in the service. It had been an interesting experience that would soon be coming to an end. She wondered how things would actually change.

Mona, and her husband, Jack Evans were active in Oak Springs community life. Mona had cut back on some of her activities this year to spend more time with her grandchildren. Jack was the local State Farm Insurance Agent, current President of the Chamber of Commerce, and the son of Doc Evans, long-time Oak Springs veterinarian. Mona was a daughter of Lyle Cunningham, operator of the local auction house and sales barn. Lyle was a Trustee of the Bevins Trust, as well. 

Nevertheless, it had been a busy year. Jack and Mona’s other grown daughter, Nicole, had moved back to town, and just married Christopher Ogden, the young attorney. 

Mona knew that Travis’ parents, Grover and Hedda Inman, who owned and operated Oak Springs Realty, were anxious to have him home, as well. Would the news be in today’s mail?

Mona pulled three envelopes out of the mailbox and her heart skipped a beat as she realized that one of them was from overseas. She went back inside, immediately, to find Laura without even looking at the other two, which she recognized as routine bills. Laura was in the laundry room, sorting kids clothes for a load of wash. Laura opened the letter from her husband, Travis, with high anticipation and some trepidation. She read it to her self a first time through. When she got to the part about his return, she read it out loud for Mona to hear, as well.

“He says here, ‘Our unit has received word that we will ship out on schedule so as to be back in Missouri for us to be home by Christmas, unless some unforeseen incident occurs to prevent our return.’ He goes on to mention that other support units, like his, have begun moving out, so it appears likely his will do likewise. Oh, Mom, it will be so nice to have him back home.”

“We all look forward to his return. We’ll keep planning for a Christmas return, but be happy whenever it is. That is for sure. It will be wonderful for the little ones to have a father again.”

“And,” Laura said quietly, “We can get a place of our own and let you and Dad have your house back.”

“You don’t need to be even thinking about that issue. We love having you here. Once he gets back, you can begin to think about what comes later.”

"May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds."

Bill  ;-)

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