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Heather Gates, Ep. HG 23, Heather Realized Another Week of December Had Passed

Updated on August 14, 2018
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Dr. Bill's first passion is family history. His second is a passion for creating family saga, historical fiction stories that share it.

Paul met with those seeking to expand the canoe and kayak activity on Oak Creek

A canoe like those on Oak Creek
A canoe like those on Oak Creek

At the Mill Paul Returned from a Meeting at the Big Thunder Lodge

Sheila now worked a schedule at the Mill that had her dropping Jeremy off at school and going straight to the Mill. On most days, she left there to pick him up in the afternoon, as well. She was still at the Mill on Wednesday, December 11, 1996, when Paul returned from his latest meeting at Big Thunder on the proposed Oak Creek activity changes. She noticed that her father was not quite his normal, happy, positive self as he arrived and went straight to this office. Giving him a few minutes to settle in, she then approached the office, herself, and stuck her head in, saying, “Are you ok, Dad?”


He looked up at her, from his desk, smiled and replied, “Yes, of course. But, I will admit to a bit of frustration. This Big Thunder project is taking far more of my time and energy than I really expected.”


“Do you want to talk about it? I’m all ears.”


“Well, there is not a lot to talk about, actually. For as quick as they wanted to get into this project, it seems like all they are doing now is spending a lot of time talking about details that should not be that hard to decide. It appears they still have some internal management issues in the decision chain of command that they may not have worked out properly. And, I’m not convinced that they even know they have a problem.”


Sheila smiled, and replied, “Maybe you are trying just a bit too much. You are a small business owner, now. Even though you work under the umbrella of the Bevins Trust, there is a very short ‘line of command.’ I remember you talking like this when you were an engineer back in Jackson, sometimes, when you had to work on corporate projects. I think that situation may have even fed into your desire and your decision to come here.”


“Very perceptive, young lady! I’m sure you are right, now that you remind me. I need to return to a focus on what I can do here, and give them the time they need to do their part. Thanks!”


“Any time.” Sheila replied, “That is part of what I’m here for, to remember to remind you of some of our earlier discussions.”


“That is for sure. I’m really happy you are here. Please stick around.”

Peter and Lyle worked on possible internships for the Conservancy

The Conservancy had mixed land
The Conservancy had mixed land

Peter and Lyle were at the Community College for a Meeting

Peter and Lyle met with three instructors at the community college that they had identified as possible resource persons with whom to discuss the ‘internship’ ideas they were developing for the McDonald Conservancy. Each of the three instructors thought the internship concept was workable and very interesting but they each shared a number of concerns about how to make it work within the constraints of the community college requirements and the needs of the Conservancy.


Timing was always an issue with the semester system, of course, with students coming and leaving on the college schedule. Courses were already in place and this would be a new approach that was fairly common at universities but nearly foreign to the local community college curriculums. Research projects were not normally a part of community college courses.


As they talked, Lyle suggested that the term they were using, internships, was not being restricted to college credit activities, at least not in his mind. He was thinking only of the useful activities he saw that were needed by the Conservancy and could be done by and would be useful to the career growth of certain students.


Peter agreed and added that as he listened to their discussions, it came to his mind that any student that might be selected as good for their program might not just be science or natural resources students, as he first was thinking. Journalism or business students might work very well also, perhaps others.


The five of them agreed to meet again, after the new semester had gotten under way after the first of the year, and after each of them had a chance to follow up on the various issues they had discussed.

Amy and Mike were married before Christmas

They hoped to be home for Christmas
They hoped to be home for Christmas

This was their Wedding Day for Amy Hollingsworth and Mike Gardiner

Heather was happy that she was able to attend the wedding on this Wednesday evening even though it was on a school night. The wedding and reception at the United Methodist Church and the Fellowship Hall afterwords would not run late, so she could take it all in. This was a very nice, simple but complete wedding at the Church for close family and friends. Everyone was very pleased with the way it was carried through.


One of the first surprises to Heather, shortly after she arrived, was seeing that Karen was accompanied by her oldest daughter, Lori, who lived in California. At the reception, she took the first opportunity to talk them, to see why Lori was here. It was nice to see her cousin, of course, but she knew something unusual must be happening. Heather soon learned that Lori had ‘retired’ from her position with the airline under an unexpected ‘early buy out’ program. And, it turned out, she and Karen had decided that Lori would become Assistant Manager at the Inn, replacing Amy, now that Amy would be leaving town. Lori had made the decision to make her home in Oak Springs. Heather knew that would make Karen very happy.


Amy and Mike had made plans for a brief honeymoon at the Big Thunder Lodge for a couple of days before returning to town to prepare for their departure for Texas. She would be around to help with the Annual Bevins Trust Christmas Dinner to be held in the Homeplace Country Inn Heritage Room on Friday, December 20th. Mike and Amy would be living in Waco, near Mike’s work headquarters and nearby where most of his family lived. Amy had learned from her parents that in the next couple of years, as their service time was up, they would be returning to Waco for their retirement home, as well. And, they would be close enough that they could visit Virginia regularly.

See the novel that is background for this story

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 

      11 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, Dora, for your very thoughtful comments. These are the things that keep me sharing my insights into the lives of my characters. I appreciate it so much. ;-)

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      11 months ago from The Caribbean

      The dialogue between Sheila and Paul give us a peep into their mutually-supportive relationship. The issues in your character's lives are so relatable, for example, internships and early buy out. You keep us interested.

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