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Des Moines to Charles City: The Dale Saga Continues

Updated on January 15, 2016

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!


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.

Renovations needed
Renovations needed | Source

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.

A new generation and the future of the Dale family
A new generation and the future of the Dale family

March 16th

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.”

April 1st

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.


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)


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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Very cool, Deb! Now it is a special day for sure. :)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You are very kind, Marlene. It's one of the best things I've ever coined...three simple words that mean so much.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I love it. The baby shares my birthday.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 2 years ago from USA

      Oh, what a joy it is to read this story with the underlining tone, "Love alters reality."

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      That means a great deal to me, Larry. Thank you so much.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Rasma!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so very much, Dora! I'll try not to let you down.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Drbj, I think Sheila is one heck of a lady. She's been one of my favorites for years now.

      Thank you and William Dale says howdy from the farm.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Just love your writing.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 2 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      This was delightful and congrats on the baby girl!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      This is my kind of story, but I'll read any type of story you write. I like the surprise entrance of the Hollis family and the confidence concerning the time of the baby's baby. Good read!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 2 years ago from south Florida

      Lovely 'feel-good' chapter, Bill. I'm beginning to suspect that Sheila has the power to change lotsa stuff - even folks like Billy the Kid.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, this is all part of a plan that goes back to the original writing of Shuttle....I had planned on tying another family into it, but time and other projects kept getting in the way. I knew when I started this short story that the Dale family was my it when things finally come to fruition. :) Thanks for the support.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Zulma! I am on a creative roll of late. I might as well ride that horse as long as its willing to carry me.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      I'm so happy your muse took to my suggestion that the Hollis' be a part of this story. Once I heard Sarah's vision for the farm, I immediately drew the characters I'd grown to love dearly in The 12/59 Shuttle from my heart and could clearly see them in this scenario. It fits. The two (three) families fit. This story will end up being the perfect segue (can you say "marketing tool"?) to your upcoming sequel, Bill.

      P.S. I love the name Heather. I have a second cousin by that name. She was born on my birthday, March 3rd. I love that your Heather is also a March baby. Very cool.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad to hear that, Alicia. Sheila is my favorite character and my oldest. She never disappoints.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It does, doesn't it, Jackie, and I suppose that was my whole point. Why not love? What better way to spend a lifetime?

      Thank you my friend.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Genna, I need you for my publicist. :) Thank you so much. Poetry my friend...that's the one genre you'll never see me try again.

      Thank you and Happy Weekend to you!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Brian, if you have seen those things then you are prepared for this story. Love is the whole point, my friend.

      Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Manatita, Sheila is my oldest character...she has been with me for over four years now, and she demanded that she be in this story. Who am I to refuse a lady? :)

      blessings my friend


    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      I should be surprised at the Hollis family turning up, but I'm not. I have a feeling this is not their first visit to the farm. I'm enjoying this turn of events and am looking forward to the next instalment. You're on a roll, Bill.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I'm enjoying the psychic aspect to this story, Bill. It will be interesting to see how it develops.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Really enjoying it and looking forward to see how it will grow with each new story! Makes one have faith something like this could be done, and successfully.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Regardless of the genre -- whether events are characterized with blood and dark shadows, or home and family -- you know how to tell a story, Bill. There is beautiful texture in these words. We can see the farm...sense the sun and the heat and the smells of earth, as we feel the love and hope that fills the lives of these characters. :-)

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      I have not met people who have extra-sensory perception or who can predict the future from the stars, but I have known people who give family, friends, neighbors, and strangers the sort of love your story describes, and I have seen the good it does over time.

    • profile image

      manatita44 2 years ago

      Sheila seems to be very much a part of that fantasy, and a psychic as well. How uncanny she is with her telling of things to come. Awesome! This loving husband is packing the hospital bag so late! Chuckle.

      A very charming story indeed! And yes, very different from Billy The Kid. Wasn't there a movie or two with families moving West and finally settling. Was Bonanza one of them? I think James Steward did a couple.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I know you do, Bill. Thank you and I'll be by to visit your new installment very shortly.

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you for this contribution to the 'feel-good' literature! And Agri-tourism exposure, as well!! You know I like this direction! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Clive! Greatly appreciated.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much M Abdullah Javed. Have a blessed weekend, my friend.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so very much, Ruby! I love having your support.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Coming soon, Ruchira. In the meantime, have a wonderful weekend and thank you!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, DDE!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I really appreciate that, Eric. That's what I hope this series does for people. Your affirmation makes me smile. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, I don't know how you do it, but I smile whenever I read a comment by you. Thank you and most definitely, you need some land for veggies and chickens. I'll be disappointed if you settle for less. :)

      Happy Weekend to you, my friend.


    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Swalia. I am waiting for my muse to write the next chapter, but I'm sure she will not disappoint us.

    • clivewilliams profile image

      Clive Williams 2 years ago from Jamaica

      good write billy

    • m abdullah javed profile image

      muhammad abdullah javed 2 years ago

      The hope gets reflected here in its true spirit and that gives me a feel good feeling. Looking forward to a more intense feel. Thanks Bill Sir.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I loved this story and the psyche aspect of Hope and I have a feeling the same for Heather. It is a feel-good story. Your writing is beautiful!

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 2 years ago from United States

      You have so many emotions flowing in this small yet big tale, Bill

      Will wait up for more:)

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      A well-told story and you share great talent here.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      A special talent to write and help the reader feel the love. This story touches me far more than it should. Somehow your love of life and things natural flow through the words to spark a special something in me. Muchas Gracias mi amigo.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Great, great story, bill! I like the inclusion of Hope from your other stories too - I enjoyed those tremendously.

      Your talk about the outdoors and so forth has reminded me how much I love having space and fresh air - it's made me think very carefully about the choice of our next house! There has to be room for some veg and a few chickens for my partner.

      A feel-good story is just what we need right now, in this world of disasters and evil doings. Hanging on to the good is easier when one reads this series so thank you, bill.

      Have a fiery Friday, you and yours!

      Ann :)

    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 2 years ago from India

      As per prediction, happiness and prosperity will follow. I am intrigued to find out the twist in the tale. Can't wait for the next installment!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Janine. I love writing "feel good" stories and the response to this one has been wonderful. Have a superb weekend, my friend. I hope the weather is mild for you.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 2 years ago from New York, New York

      What a beautiful continuation and honestly am captivated by this tale you have been telling here with this installment only being that much more special with the birth of Heather. Can't wait for more now and have a great weekend, Bill! :)


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