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Heather Gates, Ep. HG 19, Heather Prepared to Enter the Holiday Season

Updated on July 18, 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.

Peter, Sheila and Jeremy rode the ATV through the forest to the Mill

An ATV similar to the one Peter drove
An ATV similar to the one Peter drove

Jeremy Visited the Mill for the First Time with Peter and Sheila

Heather was working at the Mill on Saturday morning, November 23, 1996, when Peter, Sheila and Jeremy arrived on the Kawasaki Mule 4-seater ATV for a visit. They said that they had first driven around the pasture and through the forest near their house where Peter hoped to have a small herd of Buffalo, one day. Jeremy had said he had visited the zoo and parks in Oregon, but he had never been in an actual forest before. He really enjoyed having Peter and Sheila explain about the different kinds of trees and plants there, as they made their way through the forest over to the Mill. Paul and Heather were anxious to show Jeremy all the things there were to do around the Mill.

They started with the small fishing ponds that had been built on the north side of Mill, on the ridge. Children could go fishing in the larger of the small ponds. Jeremy liked seeing the big water wheel on the the east side of the Mill from the north side, up above the falls. They could see the big pond below the falls, but would see it better a little later on, from below. They played some of the family-based fun and educational games around and in the Mill. Sheila, of course, mentioned that this was where she worked, as well. They looked over the souvenirs that were available in the Mill Market for the tourists to buy to remind them of their visit. There were also the foodstuffs and crafts by local vendors that were on sale, as well. Jeremy asked if it was lunchtime yet, and they all agreed that it was.

Heather invited Jeremy, and Peter and Sheila, to come by the stables one day soon to see the horses and dog and other animals that were down there, as well. Perhaps they would even like to ride the horses, sometime, when they were ready. She talked a little about her horse, Sunshine. She also mentioned Christopher’s horse, Shadow, and his dog, Chase, since she knew that Jeremy now knew Christopher. With lunch finished, Jeremy, Peter and Sheila loaded back onto the ATV for the ride back through the forest to their home. They saved the tour below the Mill ‘for another day.’

Qualified employees received a turkey

A turkey after being prepared and cooked
A turkey after being prepared and cooked

The Holiday Season Began with Sunday “Turkey Day” with the Bevins Trust

The Heritage Room of the Homeplace Country Inn had filled up quickly as the 3 p.m. hour approached. Employees of the Bevins Trust and affiliates along with their family members enjoyed the refreshments celebrating another successful year. Each qualified employee also received a Butterball Turkey packed in an insulated bag with the Bevins Trust logo at the designated stations. At about 3:15, Karen Winslow greeted all the gathered guests to thank them for their contributions during the prior year. In her announcement, Karen introduced employees with five and ten years of service to the company. She also announced that the Bevins Trust Annual Year-End Company Dinner would be served Noon to 2 p.m. on Friday, December 20, here in the Heritage Room. She provided information for registering to attend the dinner for all those who qualified and additional related information.

Peter and Sheila had agreed that this would be a good opportunity for Jeremy to meet some more of the extended family as well as other friends and neighbors. He would also likely see a few new friends from school. Actually, Christopher was the first person they saw. He was with Jennifer and Brian. Jennifer enjoyed telling Jeremy they were first cousins because they had common grandparents. She also mentioned briefly to Peter and Sheila about the Society she and Brian were working on, inviting them to participate, if they were interested.

Soon they saw Matt and Susan, with Tyler and Emily. Although Jeremy was only three years older than Tyler, it was actually Matt and Jeremy who were the first cousins. They had fun talking about how that worked in a family with older and younger siblings. Jeremy seemed to find that interesting to think about. His mother had taught him to appreciate new things and ideas.

They were considering expanding the float opportunities on Oak Creek

Some folks floating on a creek
Some folks floating on a creek

Tuesday, November 26, 1996 was Bevins Trust Meeting Day

Paul filled Heather and Scott in on the discussions and decisions from the Trust Meeting earlier in the day. Scott was especially interested to hear that the proposal to split the trust activities between the for-profit Bevins Corporation and a non-for-profit McDonald Conservancy was approved. He assumed he would mostly be involved with the Corporation going forward, but they talked about that a bit. Heather wondered if the McDonald Conservancy would eventually lead to more horse trails. Paul said he was sure it would, in the long run, but it might be a few years.

The proposal by Big Thunder Lodge for a new float activity beginning at the Lodge and running through the National Forest to the Mill was new to both Heather and Scott. Paul said he’d be working on pieces of it, but the presentation today was the first full proposal. The Trustees had approved continuing the discussion, so he would be continuing to work on it. It would involve some changes and additions at the Mill if they moved forward as discussed at the meeting. He added that since Jonathan Offutt and his Oak Creek Outfitters operated a similar business, for the last couple of years, below the Mill. Paul would be meeting with Jonathan to see if he had interest in expanding northward to the Lodge and being the concessionaire for the full length of the proposed operation. There were many details to work out, he said, but it appeared to be positive for everyone if they could make it succeed.

Paul said that Matt’s report on the Internet Service was very positive. They expected to have the downtown businesses all online in the next 30 days. They had students at the college being trained to work on crews to extent service to the residential portions of Oak Springs during the upcoming spring. He said that since this was the business year-end meeting, they had also gotten reports from Diane on the Stables and Trail Rides and from Bart on the Agricultural Operations which were all positive. Bart had reported that a couple of adjacent farm properties might be coming available this year, as well, and he was following those closely.

[Continued in Episode HG 20]

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 runs in parallel with the timeline of the “Christmas at the Homeplace” novel. The theme of this novel is ‘coming home for Christmas.’


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    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      12 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, Dora. Nice to have you back. Hope you are doing well!! ;-)

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      12 months ago from The Caribbean

      Been away from the computer due to illness, but Heather is like my home girl. Glad to see how she thrives.

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      12 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Thanks, again, Bill, for making the effort! Happy that you could identify with the story! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Dreadfully late but here at last. Two of my favorite things...riding an ATV and kayaking....I would fit in well with this chapter.


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