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Heather Gates, Ep. HG 17, Heather Saw a First Cousin Marry; Gained a New First Cousin

Updated on July 3, 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.

They hoped he would be able to be home for Christmas this year

A soldier's homecoming at Christmas
A soldier's homecoming at Christmas

Christopher Ogden married Nicole Evans the evening of Monday, October 14, 1996

Christopher and Nicole had chosen a 7:30 p.m. on a Monday evening so that the farmers could get the chores done, but the ceremony with small reception wouldn’t run too late into the night. They mostly wanted to get it done while his father, Carter Ogden, could attend. He had been resting well following his last hospital stay, but could only be out in public for about an hour or so before he tired too much. Rev. Clarice McCauley, minister at the United Methodist Church, had been most cooperative in assisting with all the arrangements. Brian Kirk served Christopher as his Best Man. Laura (Evans) Inman, sister of the bride, served Nicole as Matron of Honor. Carter was able to witness the ceremony. After the service, the church ladies hosted the reception for family and friends in the Fellowship Hall.


It was only a little over a week after the wedding that Laura learned her husband, Travis Inman, expected to be home from Bosnia before Christmas. Travis was with the U.S. Army Reserve contingent of the U.N. peacekeeping forces in Bosnia. He had not yet seen his daughter, Kayla, born shortly after he shipped out in mid-January. They also had a son, Zach, now a two-year-old. Laura and the children were living with her parents, Jack and Mona Evans, during his absence. They all had hoped that Travis would be home for the holidays, and had been waiting word. They knew, of course, that even with this latest ‘planning’ information from Europe, that it would not be certain until he actually arrived.


At the wedding reception, Karen Winslow’s favorite topic of conversation had been that she hoped that all four of her children would be able to visit this Christmas holiday for the first time in several years. She was especially anxious to hear confirmation from her youngest son, Kevin, who still lived in Arizona. His work on a research project had kept him away on a number of occasions when she hoped he would be available to come.

They were considering the woods and pasture in the valley for conservation

Woods and pasture in the valley
Woods and pasture in the valley

At the Mill, late afternoon, Wednesday, October 24, 1996

Peter and Christopher had asked to meet for a few minutes with Paul at the Mill on some Bevins Trust business. Since Heather was also there, Paul asked if it would be alright for her to sit in on the meeting, so he wouldn’t need to tell it to her again, later. Peter said that would be a fine idea, since it really dealt with future thinking that she should be aware of anyway. Using an approach begun by Carter Ogden and Jason Winslow in the very early days of the Trust, between monthly meetings, issues were always discussed in small groups of three or four, never five or more. Peter and Christopher had already met with Karen, Bart and Jennifer, in separate meetings, sometimes along with Don Kirk (non-Trustee lawyer, who had been doing conservation practices research), earlier.


A new concept was being developed along with other structural changes being considered for the Bevins Trust that was gaining traction with the group. Study of conservation activities and practices around the region and the nation had developed some new possibilities that seemed to apply well to the Bevins properties, tax situations, and conservation interests. Essentially this plan would involve splitting up the physical assets, land and property, between two new entities within the Trust. One would be the for-profit business enterprises and the second would be a not-for-profit conservation entity. Creating the not-for profit conservation entity, over time, would have serious positive tax implications for the Trust and the family as well as make the conservation entity eligible for available outside grants, loans and voluntary contributions. This would also help assure the long-term viability of preservation of the land desires that set up the Trust in the first place. Peter added that Jennifer had suggested, and others seemed to approve, calling the conservation entity the “McDonald Conservancy” (the McDonald name went back to 1833 on the land) and naming the for-profit entity the “Bevins Corporation.” They all discussed their thoughts on these ideas until Peter and Christopher needed to leave.


After they left, Paul and Heather continued their discussion. Paul added that Julie Barnes, the Activities Director at the Big Thunder Lodge, had been down for a visit. He said it appeared to him that some of her ideas might also fit in well with what Peter and Christopher were talking about. It was surely something to give a lot of thought to - and they certainly would in the coming months.

The Homeplace Country Inn was decorated for Halloween

Pumpkins on a Porch
Pumpkins on a Porch

Halloween at the Heritage Room of the Homeplace Country Inn was Special

Thursday, October 31, 1996, was celebrated as Halloween with the Homeplace Country Inn tastefully decorated for the annual observance. Pumpkins lined the porch that was now the entrance to the Inn. A scarecrow sat prominently on the rocking chair near the entrance. The Heritage Room was decorated with colored leaves, with corn shocks, with black cats and half moons on the walls. Some of the staff members were dressed as witches, others as ghosts.


Especially since the renovations were completed, the Inn had become a popular venue for families to bring their children for Tricks and Treats in the evening with two or three simple game events available and safe and reliable treats for all. Heather liked to stop by each year, just to see any new decorations and see if any of her school friends were there in costume. When she saw Karen for just a minute, she asked if she had heard from any of her children from out of town about Christmas. Karen replied that Lori was the only one, so far, and she was definitely planning to be there. She was still waiting to hear from Erin and Kevin. Heather wished her good luck. Just as Heather was leaving, she saw Karen welcome an old friend, Raynor Crimmons, apparently in town for a visit. Heather didn’t know him well, but knew he usually came in May or June, not October. He had been a close friend of Jason and Karen from Tucson, and before that, Springfield. He and Jason had apparently been in business together. She made a note to ask her dad about this visit. Heather liked to be home on Thursday nights, if she could. This was one of those nights.


ER and Seinfeld were Thursday night television favorites on NBC this fall of 1996.


[Continued in Episode HG 18]

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. This episode begins just after the end of the timeline of “The Homeplace Revisited” novel in this series and the start of “Christmas at the Homeplace.” The theme of the latter novel is ‘coming home for Christmas.’

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Video Book Trailer

Video Book Trailer

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    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      12 months ago from Hollister, MO

      What a fine comment, Dora. I am pleased that you can identify. It does bring her world alive, it seems. Thank you!! ;-)

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      12 months ago from The Caribbean

      What a pleasant surprise to discover that Heather and I were watching the same television sitcom. Makes me more interested in her world.

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      12 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you for your visit and your support, Bill! I'll do my best to keep them coming, for sure!! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      There is a just a general feeling of comfort to these stories, Bill. Keep them coming, please!

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