Friday, October 30, 2015

Chapter 4, Episode 8 - Life in Oak Springs, the Homeplace

Life in Oak Springs, the Homeplace
January 1999

This series of posts on each Friday, henceforth, moving forward during 2015 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 December 1998. We now move into January of 1999, in novel format…

Chapter 4 - Christopher; Episode 8

[From the end of Episode 7:
He had said his name was Bruce Randolph, and he was calling about the McDonald Conservancy. He would not leave a number to return a call. She said the man seemed anxious, but, still didn’t want to leave any message. Christopher wrote the name down as they talked. He didn’t recognize it either. ]

Christopher realized it was getting late in the afternoon, this Randolph fellow may have simply knew he wouldn’t be at his phone to receive a return call, even minutes later. Perhaps it would be best to just wait until morning, to see if Randolph called again. But, it was frustrating not to recognize a caller. That foreboding feeling was returning, Christopher could feel it, as he slowly hung up the phone on his back credenza, and turned back to his bare desk top. An old saying his mother used to say came back to him, “Bad things come in threes!” There were those in the family who would believe that Beverly returning to Oak Springs was bad. Getting a mysterious call, late in the afternoon of a cold January day certainly might qualify as a bad thing; pending more information. If that turned out to be true, what would the third bad thing be?

He shook his head, trying to get these negative thoughts out of his mind. Christopher stood up, and decided to go ask Don if he recognized the Bruce Randolph name. Don Kirk had done a lot of the early work on the McDonald Conservancy, and Christopher thought he might recognize the name even if he didn’t himself. Down the hall, in his office, Don said it had no meaning to him. He suggested, with a smile, that Christopher ‘call it a day’ and let tomorrow bring the answer, or not. Christopher waved off that suggestion, trying to return the smile, and walked next door to Brian’s office. Brian was packing his brief case to leave for the day.

When Christopher asked Brian if he knew a Bruce Randolph, and told him about the call, Brian just closed his brief case and said, “He’ll call back tomorrow. Don’t worry yourself about it!”

Christopher replied, “Thanks bunches, bother-in-law. You are a big help.”

“Just trying.” Brian replied, “And, it is my night to pick up Ashley from day-care, so I am out of here. That Randolph guy will call back in the morning, you can count on that!” With that, Brian was on his way, leaving Christopher to stew in his own juices.

Christopher walked back to his office and called Paul Gates at the Mill. Paul picked up on the second ring. “Two brief things, Paul,” Christopher said, after their opening greetings. “First, had you heard that Beverly is back in town?”

“No, I had not, but I knew she wouldn’t stay away long with our grand-daughter here.” Christopher could hear the smile in Paul’s voice.

“Second-hand, I also heard that Jaxine said Beverly was back to stay, permanently. Do you know anything about that?”

There was a very brief pause. Then Paul replied, speaking slower, this time, “No, that is news. But, if it came from Jaxine, that is pretty good authority. I’m fairly sure Beverly would have known what she was doing if she said that with Jaxine present. Beverly likes to use people that way. And, of course, it worked. We all are finding out she is in town without her needing to even contact anyone. She hasn’t change at bit, on that one. Thanks for the information. I’ll just wait for the next shoe to drop, so to speak.”

“While you are waiting for that shoe to drop, let me ask you the second thing. Have you ever heard of a Bruce Randolph?”

“No,” Paul answered, “That is not a familiar name, to me. Where did you get it?”

“He called earlier, saying it was about the McDonald Conservancy,” Christopher said, slowly, recalling the situation, “but wouldn’t leave a number for me to call back. The name did not ring a bell with me, or with Don. Just thought you might have heard it. Guess we wait to see if he calls back tomorrow.”

“If it is important, I’m sure he’ll call back. Thanks, again, for the news about Beverly!”

They closed their conversation and Christopher continued to stare at the wall of his office, seeing nothing. “Who is Bruce Randolph?” kept buzzing in his head. He didn’t like unknown situations. He didn’t like not being in control of his situation. Hopefully the answers would come, tomorrow.

[To be continued - next Friday]

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

Dr. Bill  ;-)


  1. Wow, this is keeping me on the edge Bill, Good job!!! I'm for sure looking forward to next Friday :) As always have a great weekend!!

    1. Thanks, Sam... I thought I'd posted a reply, twice, but nothing there! Sorry about that!! Hope you remember to turn back your clock(s)! ;-)