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Heather Gates, Ep. HG 24, Heather Considered the Past, the Present, and the Future

Updated on August 21, 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.

Each of the four rooms had photo images and stories of the family heritage

Family Heritage Photo Images
Family Heritage Photo Images

Lori Learned More About the Heritage Inn

Karen worked with Lori going through the same orientation she had done with Amy as Assistant Manager. Lori was a bit surprised how much she didn’t know about the Heritage Inn. While she knew all the general stuff from her several visits in recent years, there were many, many details that were new to her. She let Karen know this so that Karen would not skip anything assuming that Lori would know that. Lori was most familiar with the Heritage Hall, because that was usually where they gathered on weekend visits. She was familiar with the six rooms above the Heritage Hall, because she would stay in one on her visits. However, for example, she did not realize they were each named after a local nature or wildlife species native to the area: Armadillo, Bluebird, Cardinal, Lady’s Slipper, Red Fox, and Softleaf Pine.


Lori realized she had not taken the opportunity to examine the four upstairs rooms in the original farmhouse, either. They told a large part of the history of the family. For example, one room featured Karen’s parents, Lori’s grandparents, Frank and Mildred (McDonald) Bevins. This had been their bedroom. Pictures on the wall’s were from their lives, of course. Another room featured Mildred’s parents, Lori’s great-grandparents, Joe and Beth (Young) McDonald. Each room had one or more interpretive placards with information about that family, or a short illustrative story. Joe and Beth had built the basic house as their first and only home. A third room featured Joe’s parents, Lori’s great-great-grandparents, William and Charlotte (Crane) McDonald. The fourth room featured Karen, Beverly, Bart and Peter as youngsters growing up in the house. The original living room was now the entrance to the Inn and a well-stocked but small gift shop. Many of the items available in the gift shop were crafts and food products from local entrepreneurs.


Talking to Lori later about this part of her tour, Heather was reminded that she needed to visit those four rooms of the original house herself, to learn more about her own family history. Lori was interested to hear that Heather had become interested in family history. Heather said that Jennifer and Karen had piqued her interest. They continued to talk about that a bit.

Carter Ogden was a long time attorney in this rural valley

Clouds over a rural corn field
Clouds over a rural corn field

Carter Ogden Passed Away From His Cancer December 14, 1996

The funeral on Tuesday morning demonstrated the overwhelming sense of loss the whole community felt. It was a very cold day, with snow flurries the entire day, including at the gravesite, with family only, there. Linda had invited several community members to speak about Carter at the funeral service but they had dispensed with the normal luncheon - Carter would have wanted it simple, she said, urging folks to get on about their business during this busy holiday season.


Talking to Christopher briefly, Heather learned that Carter had gone downhill quickly in recent days and weeks, very much as the doctors had predicted. It had become simply a matter of how long it would take for the cancer to literally eat up the inside of his body. He had been on large amounts of pain killer right at the end, so it was a blessing when he finally found his peace.


Before she left the funeral, Heather also talked to Matt who was with Raynor Crimmons, the long-time Winslow family friend. She discovered that Raynor had permanently moved from Arizona to Oak Springs in recent days. He had taken an office and apartment downtown in the Bevins Trust building where Matt had his Internet Service Provider business. Raynor would continue his work as a professor with Central Arizona University, where he taught all of his graduate school course online now anyway. He could do that from anywhere with Internet access. Heather also learned that Raynor’s daughter, Randi, would be visiting from Washington, D.C., for the holidays.

They were creating a float operation for Oak Creek

Floating down a creek
Floating down a creek

Paul Brought Heather and Scott Up-to-Date on the Bevins Trustee’s Meeting

Paul shared that the last meeting of the calendar year was a somber one as they remembered the many contributions of the late Carter Ogden to their existence and success. They gave final approval to the creation of both the McDonald Conservancy and Bevins Corporation as planned. Each would operate on a December 31 year-end. Bart Bevins was assigned primary guidance responsibility for the Bevins Corporation creation and Peter Bevins was assigned primary guidance responsibility for the McDonald Conservancy creation on behalf of the Board of Trustees.


He went on to share that perhaps the biggest news of the day was from the Reorganization Committee. They reported on the proposal to consolidate all the Bevins Trust supporting services into a Central Administrative Office. The committee introduced Susan Winslow for a preliminary report on her progress in this direction. She summarized the extensive work she had begun in identifying where and what was being done across the various Bevins Trust activities, whether internally or using outside contractors. She also reported on several additional processes she had identified that should be considered for inclusion in a new central office that were perhaps not being adequately addressed currently. She discussed criteria to be used to determine which services should continue to use an outside contractor. In saying that she would be back to the Board in January with specific recommendations, she added that it should be expected this would be a transition measured in months, not days or weeks. Being very methodical and precise was the most important approach. The Board had concurred.


Paul then reviewed his part of the meeting where the Board approved the float project with the Big Thunder Lodge. They had agreed in principle on a contract with Jonathan Offutt of Oak Creek Outfitters to be the concessionaire for the entire operation. Final language of the several agreements were being worked out, he added, but all involved expected to move forward with completion of the project in the coming months. Paul shared with Heather and Scott, as he had with Shiela earlier, some of the frustrations he had felt, earlier in the process. But, he realized in the end that for such a big project, and so many parties involved, it had actually moved along quite well. He looked forward to moving ahead with the project. It would likely benefit the Mill and Mill Market with more traffic once all the pieces were in place and operating normally.

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 

      10 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, Dora. Carter's cancer experience is a replication of my memory of my mother, at age 80, full of life, 1999, taken in just a few months. Full of life, then, totally deteriorated in a very few months. Carter's life will live on, as did Jason's, in the way he taught the Bevins family and friend to conduct themselves... ;-)

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      10 months ago from The Caribbean

      I would love Heritage Hall just to recall the family history through pictures. I don't remember a death being dealt with is such detail; Careter's contributions would be missed.

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      10 months ago from Hollister, MO

      For sure! Enjoy your weekend, hope all is well! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Heather and I are kindred spirits, always contemplating the past, present, and future. It can, though, be exhausting. :)

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