Des Moines to Charles City: The Dale Saga Continues
A Quick Note About This Series
I have no idea how long this series of short stories will continue. I just know I like the characters, and I’m having fun weaving this story into the storyline of my first novel, The 12/59 Shuttle from Yesterday to Today, so I’ll continue to write and hopefully you’ll continue to be entertained.
There are no killings in this story, no horrific happenings and no dark shadows. This is just a story about a normal family, farmers by trade, and the normal events of their lives….until they meet the Hollis family in Oregon…and now things get a bit interesting.
But still, no blood….just feel-good!
The previous chapter
- The 12:15 United Flight from Seattle to Des Moines: The Story Continues
William Dale and Sarah with an "h" are learning some new farming techniques from a rather interesting group of people....let's look in and find out what they are learning
Back Home Again
We had only been gone for ten days, but the Iowa landscape had changed noticeably in that time, and it was good to be home. We is my bride-to-be, Sarah with an “h,” our unborn but soon to be star-of-the-family, Heather, and me, Wiliam Dale of Charles City, Iowa. We had spent time out west, in Oregon to be exact, learning new ways of making money on a farm from the Hollis family. Interesting people, the Hollises…very interesting.
My mother and sister picked us up at the airport in Des Moines and then drove us the three-hundred miles back home to Charles City. The ride home was filled with questions, of course, as our fate, and the fate of our farm, hinged on our fact-finding trip. Sarah and I tried our best to answer the questions my mother and sister fired at us.
“What do you think, William,” my mother asked. “Can we make it work here?”
My mother is a proud woman but I could hear the desperation in her voice and question.
“I don’t know why not, Ma. Everything they do in Oregon we can do here. It’s going to take a lot of damn work, I’ll tell ya true, and what savings we have are going to be stretched thin, but we should be able to make some supplementary income which will help us with other expenses. I can do some alterations to the barn and make it ready for visitors, and we can have the house turned into a bed and breakfast right quick. If we can start making money in the next month or so from those sources, we just might pull this off.”
Sarah weighed in.
“And besides, Mrs. D, Sheila Hollis said it was predestined and we were going to do well.”
Ma was as skeptical as I expected her to be.
“Tell me more about the Hollis family. What do you mean it’s predestined? You said they acted like they knew us already. How is that possible?”
I shook my head as I answered. “Ma, it wasn’t an act. They knew Heather’s name, and you and Jeannie. Hell, they made comments about our farm in detail, like they’d been here before and seen it. It was freaky to tell the truth, but those people were so damned nice I never once felt threatened and I honestly believed them when they said everything was going to be okay. I don’t know how the hell they knew what they knew about us. Why don’t you ask them yourself? Sheila, Bill and their granddaughter Hope are coming out to visit when Sarah gives birth. In the meantime, the four of us have one hell of a lot of work to do.
Three Months of Preparations
Turns out there were five of us working the farm from January through March. Jeannie did, in fact, have a new boyfriend, one Frank Olsen, and he turned out to not only be likeable and a good man, but one fine worker. He knew more about carpentry than I ever would, so he did the bulk of the barn transformation. Ma and Jeannie worked on the house, first beautifying it a bit and then marketing the Dale property as a B&B. We had our first customers in mid-February, a lovely couple from New Jersey who sang our praises when their stay came to an end.
I worked the farm, running our old John Deere to and fro, keeping it running with baling wire and duct tape. I set up some new fence and some corrals and made a half-assed petting zoo. I also built a fruit and vegetable stand on the main road at the end of our driveway. The fields were ready for planting by March and on March 5th we had our first-ever Iowa Writer’s Studio group visit for a week, living in the refurbished barn and conducting writing workshops, all to the tune of three-thousand bucks in our pockets.
On March 15th a brand new Nissan Maxima came slowly up our driveway as we were all enjoying a lemonade on the front porch on an unseasonably warm evening. The car doors opened and out stepped Sheila and Bill Hollis, their friends Tweetie and Pauline, and their granddaughter Hope. Sheila waved as she approached us.
“I hope you don’t mind the visit,” she said as she hugged Sarah. “I know we said our visit would occur next year but honestly, we just couldn’t wait. We wanted to be here for the birth of your child and, well, we just made it in time, didn’t we? Sarah, tomorrow is the day, isn’t it? Are you excited?”
Sarah looked at me and her question didn’t need to be spoken. The doctor had said Sarah would give birth on the 22nd. What made Sheila so sure the birth would happen on the 16th?
We introduced everyone to Ma, Jeannie and Frank. Of course, the Dale family instantly fell in love with the Hollis family, and vice versa. Extra chairs were grabbed from inside the house and our guests joined us on the porch. Sarah finally asked the question.
“Sheila, what makes you think I’ll give birth tomorrow? The doctors think it will be on the 22nd.”
“Oh, my dear, what do doctors really know? If they all would pay more attention to the natural order of things and the rhythm of life, they would know without doubt that tomorrow is the day. As you surely know, Neptune is the ruling planet right now, and the stars are perfectly aligned for the birth of a special child. That special child is Heather. And it was vitally important that our grandchild Hope be here for the birth and so, well, here we are. Now, if you could show us to our rooms, we all need to get some sleep. Tomorrow is going to be a busy, exciting and momentous day for us all.” And with that Sheila rose and entered the house, fully confident that we would follow.
And we did.
And it happened just as she said it would.
At five a.m. Sarah’s water broke. I immediately flew into action, waking people up, telling them we needed to get to the hospital, packing a bag and generally acting like the scared-shitless father-to-be that I was. Sheila put an end to my frantic activities by placing her hand on my arm.
“William Dale, relax now. There is no need to go to the hospital. Natural childbirth is so much healthier and I can take care of your Sarah and Heather. Now take a deep breath and go feed the cows. Heather won’t be making her arrival for ten hours and when she does she will be perfectly fine.
And so it was. At three-oh-three that afternoon Heather Jasmine Dale made her first appearance with the assistance of Sheila and her granddaughter Hope. It all happened without a hitch and our child was, without a doubt, the most beautiful child ever born. She was wrapped in a blanket and handed to Sheila who immediately smothered her in kisses.
“Oh Sugar, isn’t she just perfect?” Sarah said to me.
My tears of joy answered her question.
Hope then stepped to the side of the bed and asked if she could hold our child. Sarah handed her our precious daughter and Hope cradled her in her arms. I was again struck by the sheer beauty of Hope. She radiated inner peacefulness and her delicate porcelain features somehow hinted of strength.
“From this child the Dale family will find strength,” Hope said to us all. “She will grow strong and true from the love you all give to her, and in return she will be your beacon. Follow this child to your future.”
My book on writing
On a sunny, perfect spring day, the Hollis family, and friends, said goodbye and began their journey back home. Sheila promised they would return in September after the harvest.
“All is as it should be,” she told us. “Remember, love alters reality, and so it shall always. The first chapter of your new life has been written. Happiness and prosperity will follow.”
As it turned out, she knew exactly what she was saying.
TO BE CONTINUED
Thanks for sticking with me. I hope you’re enjoying the journey as much as I am. See you in a week or so with another installment of my feel-good fantasy.
2016 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)