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Heather Gates, Ep. HG 28, Heather Saw More Friends and Family Arrive for Christmas

Updated on September 18, 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.

Travis Inman returned from Bosnia to a family welcome

Welcoming home the troops
Welcoming home the troops

Heather Heard of the Arrival at the Airport Later On

Travis Inman was expected to arrive at the Springfield Airport on Sunday afternoon. Wife Laura, along with children Zach and Kayla, and her parents, Jack and Mona, waited patiently as they saw the plane arrive and taxi toward the terminal. The waiting was excruciating. Travis had shipped out for Bosnia nearly a year earlier, shortly before Kayla was born. When the passengers began to disembark from the plane, the tension became almost unbearable. Jack was responsible for keeping the “Welcome Home” balloons from flying away. Surely Travis would show up soon.


Then, they saw his uniform appear and Laura, Zach and Kayla all ran to meet him as he ran to meet them. Jack and Mona were not far behind. Laura had worked carefully with pictures of Travis so that Kayla was not disappointed in meeting her daddy for the first time. She hugged him as hard as he hugged her. Zach just hung onto the leg of Travis. That was his thing. Laura was so relieved to actually have her husband ‘home’ again that she was nearly speechless. She just watched as the children re-united with their father. That was really satisfying for now.


Following the two hour ride in the Suburban back to Oak Springs, they were greeted by a big “Welcome Home” sign over the outside door of the Evans home. Another greeted them inside, where everyone had gathered to welcome Travis home. His parents, Grover and Hedda Inman were there, of course, along with his great-aunt Virginia Hollingsworth. Nicole and Christopher had just arrived from his mother’s place after church. Mona’s father, Lyle Cunningham, was there along with Jack’s father, Doc Evans. Several other neighbors and friends also joined in the gathering to welcome their soldier home from his duty station. He had fulfilled his obligation. The party was on.

They worked on making their own ornaments for their Christmas Tree

Some handmade wooden ornaments
Some handmade wooden ornaments

Meanwhile, at the Heritage Inn, More Family Arrived

Mark and Erin arrived at the Inn in the middle of the afternoon very much on time. After having been bitterly cold the prior four or five days, the temperature by the time they arrived at the Inn was actually above freezing. It almost felt like fall again to the local residents. For Mark and Erin, it still seemed pretty cold, but the warmth of the reception they got from the rest of the family, who had all assembled to meet them, was nearly overwhelming.


Kevin and Carmen were especially anxious to see Mark and Erin, of course, each being the ‘outlanders.’ Mark was still relatively new to the family and Carmen had just met the rest of family herself. This was why Karen was so anxious for all of her family to return to the Homeplace for this Christmas. Lori was so happy to now be a part of the welcoming home folks. Matt and Susie, along with Tyler and Emily, were also pleased to be able to attend.


Erin was obviously very pregnant. Karen was cautious to see that Erin did not overdue herself after their long, 2-day drive from Austin, Texas. Karen assured that she was comfortable and that people came to her, that she did not have to stand around to meet them. By the time they had greeted everyone she was really feeling the need to rest. Lori and Matt pitched in to get them and their things to their room so that she could get that rest that she needed. When Erin was rested, she could join them all downstairs. And she did that.


A few miles away, on that Sunday afternoon, Jeremy and Peter were working together on creating some handmade wooden Christmas tree ornaments. Some were from scraps of wood Peter had kept after the house construction. Others were made from branches of trees. Some they cut with a saw and were sanded. Some they had carved. Sheila joined them as they began to paint what they had created. They even let her paint a couple that they chose for her to work on. It was a fun Sunday afternoon activity getting ready for the holiday season.

They went shopping for an engagement ring at the Jewelry Store

Possible Engagement Rings
Possible Engagement Rings

Monday was the Day Before Christmas Eve

Brian stopped by Christopher’s office at the Law Firm Monday morning to let him know he was taking an extended lunch hour because he and Jennifer were going to the Jewelry Store to pick out an engagement ring. He had already talked to his father, Don, a little earlier.


“Well, congratulations! I’m very happy for both of you,” Christopher responded to the news. “I felt I could see it coming, but you are both so calm and collected on the outside that it has been hard for those of us around you to judge where you really were in your relationship.”


Brian replied, “We just talked about that ourselves, at some length again, yesterday, as a matter of fact. We each knew we were close to a decision. We sort of agreed that this recent concentrated time together, working at forming a local Society to study family and community history, reminded us that we weren’t getting any younger and that perhaps we should get with the program.” He went on to talk about how they felt Christmas would be a great time to share the news with family.


Christopher was grinning from ear to ear. “You two would need to have a rational reason for an emotional decision, wouldn’t you?”


“You caught us, for sure.” Brian beamed, “It did take her a few more minutes that me, in this case, but we each came to the right decision. We won’t quibble over the little things. We are very happy. Thank you for your blessing.”


Christopher added, “Two of my favorite people in the world. I could not be happier for you, and for our extended families, for that matter. I’ll keep it to myself, except for Nicole, until Wednesday. If I hear it from someplace else, though, I’ll know that the cat is already out of the bag.”


“Sounds good. See you later this afternoon.”

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.’

Read the original story here...a great Christmas gift, by the way!

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Video Book Trailer

Video Book Trailer

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    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      9 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, Dora. Many happy memories wrapped up in a fun episode. I really appreciate your visit and comments!! ;-)

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      9 months ago from The Caribbean

      Christmas, family, addition to family and coming home all combine for a happy theme. Pleasant read!

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