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Heather Gates, Ep. HG 13, Heather’s FFA Project Took A Big Step Forward

Updated on June 5, 2018
Homeplace Series profile image

Dr. Bill's first passion is family history. His second is a passion for creating family saga, historical fiction stories that share it.

Sunshine was bred to produce a Palomino foal

A Palomino mare with foal
A Palomino mare with foal

Early afternoon Tuesday, Heather was at the stables following school

Each day as a part of Heather’s regular routine at the stables she did tests on her horse, Sunshine, to see if she was ‘in heat’ - that is, was ready for breeding. Jennifer, the veterinarian, had instructed Heather on what to do, how to do it, and what to look for as part of her FFA Project in particular. Since Sunshine was a four-year-old mare, and being bred for the first time, the tests to be done and indicators to look for were more straight-forward than if she had already born prior foals. On Tuesday, September 17th, 1996, for the first time, the indicators were positive. Heather went to tell Jennifer immediately.

In her nearby clinic office, Jennifer set in motion the pre-arranged chilled semen delivery process from their agreed supplier. The delivery would arrive the following day assuming all went as expected. After assuring that the desired semen was available, and would be shipped as planned, Jennifer went to examine Sunshine, herself, to double-check that everything was in order. Finding that it was, Jennifer and Heather set about preparing for the artificial insemination process that would be followed the next day. Jennifer talked through the process with Heather, as Heather documented it for her school project as well as prepared herself to assist Jennifer on Wednesday.

The semen delivery arrived at Jennifer’s clinic in the early afternoon on Wednesday as expected. Jennifer went to the stables to verify that Sunshine was ready to breed. When Heather arrived following school, they went about following the procedures they had reviewed on Tuesday. Everything went as planned. Now they could only wait to see if conception would occur on this first procedure. Chances were much better than 50-50 with a young healthy mare, and a quality stallion semen packet, Jennifer predicted for Heather. Jennifer added that they would know in 14-16 days if the procedure was successful or not. If not, they would try again in the next cycle. Heather continued to document each step of the process that they followed. They each agreed it had been an interesting and useful process they had followed. They thanked each other for an apparently successful job done.

Threshold Construction Company was building a motel in Oak Springs

A motel wing under construction
A motel wing under construction

Paul, Scott and Heather got some interesting news from Karen

At supper Wednesday evening, Paul shared the ‘news of the day’ with Scott and Heather, at their cottage. Karen had gotten a call in the middle of the afternoon from Beverly. Beverly said that she and Winnie would be in the neighborhood ‘next week.’ Beverly, Paul’s ex and Scott and Heather’s mother, had not been by for quite awhile. She lived in Jackson, Mississippi, with her new, older, husband, Winston T. Threshold, III, also known as Winnie. They had been married for a couple of years, but he had not yet been to Missouri to meet her family. The last time Beverly had been up was for Scott’s High School graduation a little over a year earlier, and Winnie had not come. Now, Paul had learned from Karen, not only was the rich, elderly gentleman coming, they learned he was a major stockholder in the Big Thunder Lodge, north of the county line. The Threshold Construction Company was also building the new motel out west of town near the Community College campus. He was coming for a quarterly Director’s meeting at the Lodge, and they would be staying up there.

Winnie was also planning to ‘look in on’ the motel construction project, though he had a manager running the project. Karen had learned that their visitors would not be arriving in the area until Wednesday, so they were not coming for the monthly Bevins Trust meeting. This was a relief to several members of the family. Beverly had been a real nuisance in that arena in years past. Apparently those feeling had been left in the past. Karen had arranged for a Thursday afternoon reception, 5:30 to 7:00, at the Heritage Room at the Inn for everyone to meet Winnie and welcome the couple to town for their visit.

Karen had also shared the news that Matt and Susie had actually already found a house to buy on the east edge of Oak Springs. They hadn’t expected to find something so quickly, but it was what they were looking for, and available. It was only a little over a mile from the Inn, so Karen was very pleased about that, Paul said.

They attended the Friday Night Football game in Oak Springs

A typical Friday Night Football scene
A typical Friday Night Football scene

The girls went to the home Friday night Football Game at the High School

Friday night was a home game for the Oak Springs High School Football Tigers. This week they were hosting their long-time rivals, the Ramblers of Orange Junction. The two schools had each maintained nearly equal size over the past 10-20 years, were in the same conference, and competed in football, basketball and baseball every year. Neither team had gotten an advantage over the other for more than two or three years at a time, at most, over that time period. Each year was like a whole new rivalry and each side fought hard to gain an advantage.

Heather, Kari and Karla tried to attend each home game, but rarely went to away games. None of the three were athletes, but they enjoyed just being fans of athletes in their classes at the high school who did compete in athletics. Friday night home football games were also a prime social event for the whole community, as well as the school. Many of the dads of current football players, of course, had competed in these games, themselves, when they were in high school here. The same was true for the visiting fans from Orange Junction as well. It was a very spirited, small town, rivalry.

When Junior quarterback, Trevor Inman, entered the game in the fourth quarter, and threw what turned out to be the winning touchdown, the crowd went crazy. The Tigers had beaten the Ramblers by 21 to 18. Heather and Kari noticed that Karla seemed to be especially emotional about the outcome, not taking her eyes off the young quarterback for a second the rest of the game and even after the game as the fans greeted the players. Karla never said a thing, but her entire attention went to Trevor Inman, rather than the girls she had been sitting with.

[Continued in Episode HG 14]

Author’s Note

This series of stories in the life of Heather Gates, a fictional character in The Homeplace Saga series of family saga, historical fiction stories (home blog found at thehomeplaceseries dot blogspot dot com), is being created as a way to use a minor character in the early writings to expand those stories and share details omitted in those earlier writings within the original overarching themes. These newly included details may have been left out of the earlier stories through editing or they may have seemed unrelated to central themes at the time. With the expansion of the entire Saga, over the years, it has become obvious that filling in some of the gaps in the story for overall better understanding of the individuals, their families, and their interactions would be useful to The Homeplace Saga body of work in total. These episodes parallel the timeline of “The Homeplace Revisited” novel in this series.

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    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      13 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Keeping it real, Dora. Always pleased to stimulate the brain of a reader. And, have to involve football in small town middle America!! Love to receive your comments. Thank you, so much!! ;-)

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      13 months ago from The Caribbean

      I also liked Heather from the start. Artificial insemination for Sunshine is a new idea for my brain to handle. I like how you keep the community alive with events like the football game.

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      13 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, Bill. Your comments always keep my flying. Much appreciated.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      13 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm a big fan of Heather's. I think we are kindred spirits. It's good writing when we can relate to a character, by the way.


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