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Heather Gates, Ep. HG 25, Heather Attends Community Meeting as Holidays Approach

Updated on August 28, 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.

The Society got off to a quick start following the Organizational Meeting

One of the projects approved related to historical photos many families maintained
One of the projects approved related to historical photos many families maintained

The Society Held Their Organizational Meeting on a Tuesday Evening

Heather was pleased to have the opportunity to participate in the Organizational meeting of the new Oak Springs Historical and Genealogical Society. She was one of the 29 paid members at the meeting and voting to accept the ByLaws and elect a slate of officers for the coming year. There was discussion from the floor on both issues, but in the end, each vote was unanimous. Brian Kirk was elected as President, with Rhoda Offutt as Vice President and Program Chair. Jennifer Bevins was elected Secretary and Sarah Flanders as Treasurer. Mona Evans was elected as Membership Chair. Sarah reported that in addition to membership dues, the treasury had twelve Patron pledges of one hundred dollars each, with some already collected.


After some discussion, it was decided to hold regular monthly meetings on the third Tuesday evening each month. Rhoda Offutt made a presentation that was the program for the meeting. Along with Mona Evans and Judy Watson, the librarian, they listed and talked about a number of possible volunteer projects that members might be willing to work on. Three additional project ideas were received from the floor during the presentation. Sign-up sheets were passed around for members to volunteer for particular projects. Two further projects were sanctioned by the group with just one person agreeing to work on them, to get them started.


After the formal meeting ended, Heather enjoyed listening to and sharing in a number of different discussions about work that was expected to come out of this meeting. Some of the project groups got together and agreed on individual project meetings to get the projects moving forward. Heather had volunteered to work with a community history group that she thought sounded especially interesting. She wanted to learn who else was interested in learning more about the early days of their community and how they approached that work.

They served turkey and ham at the Heritage Room gathering

Many turkeys were a part of the Christmas Dinner at the Inn
Many turkeys were a part of the Christmas Dinner at the Inn

The Annual Bevins Trust Company Annual Christmas Dinner

From noon to 2 p.m. on Friday, December 20, 1996, was the Annual Dinner in the Heritage Room of the Country Inn. This timing allowed all workers to participate even in their different work shifts. The meal, featuring sliced ham and turkey, was catered. However, members of the Bevins family and the trustees acted as greeters and worked the table with drinks and deserts. Christmas music was playing over the speaker system and the room was decorated for the season. Colorful bags of goodies, filled with fruits, nuts or some candies, sat on all the tables for each person to be taken home to share or to consume at their leisure. A Mill Market gift certificate was included in each bag. This was the one event each year where all persons affiliated with the Bevins Trust in any way got together in one place. Many commented each year on being surprised to see how many different people were involved each year in this one community activity.


For Lori, this was an eye-opening experience to realize that “the family business” reached so far across the community. She quickly realized there were a lot of people she needed to get to know as part of her new responsibilities as Assistant Manager of the Country Inn. She was now a representative of this growing community-wide family business. Matt had taken this opportunity to also do his part. He had gotten permission to invite Steve Ingalls, the instructor at the community college, and his eight students to the dinner. These eight students had been recently certified and would become employees in early January. They would make up two teams of workers dedicated to installing Internet Service connections in the Oak Springs business community during the spring. Residential service would be their next goal. They would be “Bevins ambassadors” as they did their work. He thought this would be a good introduction of them to the community. It also demonstrated that their work was “in progress.”


Heather enjoyed the dinner especially this year as it came the day after school had let out for the Christmas Holiday. Last year it was the prior week, and school was still in session. She was also just beginning to understand herself the impact of the Bevins family business on the community. Paul had said a few words about the Mill and Mill Market. Bart reported generally about the harvest season recently completed. Diane reported on the Trail Ride business for the year. Peter had talked about the new emphasis that the McDonald Conservancy would have on the community. Each of the outside Trustees said a few words about their perspective on the Bevins businesses and the community as well.

They were going to the airport to pick up Travis

He would be back from Europe before Christmas
He would be back from Europe before Christmas

Others Were Coming Home for Christmas As Well

Karen’s youngest son, Kevin, and his ‘friend’ Carmen, arrived at the Homeplace Country Inn a little after 5 in the afternoon in their rental car from the Springfield airport from Tucson, Arizona. They noted how cold it was but said the roads were fine and they had no difficulties with their travels. There were many greetings and introductions to be made. Kevin had only come back a couple of times and this was Carmen’s first visit, of course. Most family members had stayed around after the Annual Dinner both to help out and be available to meet and greet family members who were known to be arriving later in the day. Heather was especially interested to meet Carmen because of their common interest in their family history. She knew this from having talked to Karen about it. Carmen Martinez’s family in Tucson, Arizona, dated back to before that area was a part of the United States. That family took their family history very seriously.


During the early evening, Heather had talked to Nicole who had mentioned that her sister Laura had heard from her husband, Travis. He was scheduled to arrive home from his European military duty tour in the early afternoon on Sunday at the Springfield airport. Nicole said that the plan was for Jack and Mona, Laura and the kids to go pick him up in Jack’s Suburban. The rest of the extended family would await his arrival at the Evans’ house for their return. Arrangements were underway for all interested persons to be at the house for the arrival including a reception at the house. Nicole said that Laura was practically beside herself working through her To Do List to keep herself occupied in anticipation of the return of her husband after nearly a year away.

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

      So true. Personally, I prefer the role of Secretary. You can often control the agenda, and how the meeting is reported, to keep it moving in the positive direction you want. Thanks, from me, for your service as Board President of the farmers market. So important that folks step up and serve the community. ;-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I know how Heather feels. I've been in charge of quite a few meeting this year as Board President of the farmers market.....kind of fun, actually.

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