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June Visitors on the Farm: The Dale Saga Continues

Updated on January 22, 2016

Thank You for Returning

For those of you who are unenlightened, this series of short stories follows the lives of the Dale family, farmers in Charles City, Iowa. As many of you know by now, this family has made friends with the Hollis family from Olympia, Washington, a family who comes to us from my very first novel, “The 12/59 Shuttle From Yesterday to Today.” It’s a fun writing exercise, joining the two separate stories into one story line. It is also necessary for the sequel I am planning on writing in the next year or so, a sequel I’ve been planning since I finished “The Shuttle” four-and-a-half years ago.

So welcome to Charles City, Iowa. The birth of Heather, the daughter of William Dale and his wife-to-be Sarah (with an “h”), happened in March. Life is busy on the farm in June. Crops are growing, the new agritourism business is flourishing and two visitors have arrived totally unexpected.

Shall we?

Source

June 5th

I was putting plugs in the old John Deere behind the barn when Ma yelled from the house.

“William Dale, stop what you’re doing and come say hello to our visitors.”

It was hotter than Aunt Hazel’s tamales, one-oh-two in the shade, and any excuse to go inside and drink lemonade was a good excuse on that day. I wiped my hands on an old rag, tossed a ball to our old collie (which she totally ignored) and made my way to the ninety-year old farmhouse to see what all the excitement was about. The sky was pale blue, robin-egg blue, as though its brilliant hues were dulled by the shimmering heat. The poplars whispered in the slight breeze and small dust clouds rose with each of my footsteps.

I kicked whatever dirt I could off my boots on the back porch, entered the kitchen and immediately smiled. How could I not? There was my wife-to-be, Sarah, holding our daughter, Heather, flanked by my mother and sister and they, in turn, were smiling at our guests, Astarte Hollis and her daughter Hope from Olympia, Washington. I was stunned silent by the wave of beauty before my eyes. How could one man be so damned lucky?

Astarte Hollis and her daughter Hope were timeless beauties. Astarte stood about five-four, slight of build with flowing, raven hair and delicate features. She wore a flowered sundress and was, as always, barefoot. Her daughter Hope was a foot shorter than her mother, ten years of age, also slim, also barefoot and she glowed golden as sunlight from the window washed over her long, blonde hair. They both appeared dainty at first glance, but there was an inner strength to them that radiated outward.

“What a fantastic surprise,” I said as I hugged them both. “To what do we owe this unexpected visit?”

Astarte, who is a minister of sorts back in Olympia, with her own church and adoring followers, kissed me on the cheek then held me at arm’s length. Her eyes latched onto mine and held me tightly.

“Hope wanted to spend time with your daughter and I agreed it was important she do so. She and Heather have important work to do in the future, and the sooner they bond the better, William. I wasn’t needed back home, and my church will survive without me for a month or so, and, well, here we are. I hope you don’t mind. I can help you on the farm while Hope and Heather get to know each other. We developed new irrigation techniques for the fields back home and I think you’ll find them helpful. So I’m afraid you’re stuck with us for a few weeks.”

Sarah stepped forward with our daughter, held her out and handed her to Hope.

“Then that’s settled. Hope, why don’t you begin bonding with Heather, and I’ll show your mother to your rooms?”

Source

Later That Day

The women worked on indoor chores while I tackled the endless list of outdoor jobs. A farm does not rest. It does not take a day off for visitors. There are always fences to mend, animals to feed, cows to milk and crops to tend to. About three that afternoon, my sister Jeannie’s boyfriend, Frank Olsen, stopped by after his workday, and he helped me split firewood from an oak that had been felled by lightning early in the spring. Any day now, I thought, Frank was going to pop the big question to my sister, and I was pretty sure what her answer would be.

We shut it all down at six. Clouds moved in from the west and brought a respite from the heat. Ma decided we would have dinner outside under the giant elm, as long as the mosquitoes were accommodating, which they were. Fried chicken, potato salad and iced tea were carried to the picnic table and we all sat, held hands and listened to Ma say grace.

“Thank you, God,” she said. “We are all so grateful for the bounty you have given us, and for bringing our special visitors to us, safe and sound. May you continue to bless the Dale and Hollis families. Amen!”

Hope continued to hold our three-month old daughter, Heather, who smiled happily and looked as content as a child can be. I smiled because, well, why wouldn’t I?

Sarah took a bite of the potato salad and turned her attention to Astarte.

“Astarte, I’m hoping, and I say this with all the love that is in me, that you aren’t quite as secretive or enigmatic as your mother. Could you please give us some idea what is going on? What is it that you see happening in the future, and what part will Hope and our daughter play in it all?”

Astarte put down her fork and smiled. The fading sunlight framed her from behind, giving her the appearance of having a halo, her onyx hair flowing in the soft breeze. She was the personification of tranquility. One could not be in her presence without feeling at peace.

“A fair question, Sarah. Do any of you know what my name means? No? My mother named me after the ancient goddess Astarte, who was the Phoenician goddess of love and fertility. My church is based upon the principle of love and specifically upon the belief that love alters reality. It comes as no surprise to you all, I’m sure, that the world is in trouble. There is a dominance of fear and an absence of love. I wish to switch those two. I wish to make this world fertile so that love will grow strong.

“I am laying the foundation. My daughter, Hope, will continue in my footsteps and your daughter, Heather, will help her. Together they will accomplish great things in the years to come.”

None of us spoke. Crickets and frogs could be heard in the distance. Somewhere a dog barked. One of the calves bawled from the barn.

Source

A Revelation of Sorts

Finally Sarah found her voice.

“Astarte, you speak with such conviction. How do you know these things? Our daughter is only three-months old. Your daughter is ten? How is it possible to know what they will do when they grow older? I mean Sugar, I don’t even know what I’m doing tomorrow, let alone years in the future. What makes you so certain?”

Astarte again smiled and nodded her head.

“Sarah, William, friends, when I say ‘love alters reality,’ I’m not being trite. I mean those words in every sense of the way. How do I know these things? My mother, Sheila, has seen them happen.”

“I’m sorry, dear,” Ma said. “What do you mean she has seen them happen? The future? Your mother has seen the future? Is that what you are saying?”

“Yes! That’s exactly what I am saying. Now, it’s been a busy day, and Hope and I are tired from the trip, so if you don’t mind, we are going to our room to relax. We’ll talk more about this tomorrow. Love to you all and good night.”

Source

In Bed That Night

I held Sarah in bed that night as the room cooled and the curtains blew softly. I buried my face in her hair and inhaled her, my Cajun gal from New Iberia, Louisiana, my best friend and the mother of our child.

“What do you make of it all, Sarah?”

“Sugar, it’s hard to grow up on the Bayou and not open your mind to possibilities. My Maw Maw was a believer in Jesus, voodoo and gris-gris, so I most definitely do not reject this as ridiculous. Can Sheila and Astarte see the future? I don’t know, darling’, but I do know that love alters reality. It already has for me and it has for you. Will our daughter become some cult or religious leader? Hell if I know, but I can think of a lot worse things for her.

“All I know for certain, William Dale, is I want you to make love to me. I want to feel you inside me. I want to share in your strength, and on this night, in this room, I want our union to light up the sky and alter reality. Can we do that, William Dale? Tomorrow we will deal with tomorrow. For now, this woman requests love.”

And That’s Where We’ll Leave Them

For now…but I’ll be back with another chapter in the near future.

As I’ve mentioned before, this series of short stories was inspired by my first novel, The 12/59 Shuttle From Yesterday to Today,” written over four years ago. At the time I had planned on writing a sequel, but time has a way of altering plans, so it was all delayed until now. I’m working on some things with these short stories, jockeying into position for when the sequel is ready to tell. Call this foreshadowing of a sort.

Anyway, I hope you are enjoying the Hollis and Dale families. Until next time, remember, always, love alters reality.

2016 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

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    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 18 months ago from New York, New York

      Wow, definitely leaves so much unanswered still and cannot wait to see where the story goes on next. Have a great weekend now, Bill and we are hunkering down for the first real snow here now ourselves, but still thankful that the weekend is almost upon us still :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Stay safe and warm, Janine. It looks like that storm carries a serious punch. Thank you and Happy Weekend, my friend.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 18 months ago from The Caribbean

      I'm liking life on the farm, visitors and all with the message that love alters reality. Family love and togetherness always make a good plot, and in the hands of a good writer like you, it's wonderful.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 18 months ago from london

      You are foreshadowing and I couldn't resist the resemblance to the foretelling of the future by Astarte and co. Your story is moving along very nicely. I will again remind you of your poetic touch. Well, I'm mean like that. How cool is this:

      "The sky was pale blue, robin-egg blue, as though its brilliant hues were dulled by the shimmering heat. The poplars whispered in the slight breeze and small dust clouds rose with each of my footsteps." - William Dale.

      'A dominance of fear and an absence of Love." - William Dale. Worth pondering.

      Thanks for another great, gentlier, charming story, standing rightfully on its own merits. Nice!

    • Seafarer Mama profile image

      Karen Szklany Gault 18 months ago from New England

      Enjoying the Hollis and Dale families very much! Love your message about Love altering reality. ~:0)

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 18 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I surely do like this series, but the love just comes through and so it takes a while to read through watery eyes.

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 18 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Foreshadowing is a very useful as well as frustrating challenge. I'm enjoying following yours, as I deal with my own. Thank you for sharing!! ;-)

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 18 months ago from Southern Illinois

      I love your story and am anxious to see where you take it with your imaginational skill. You ended this episode with a love scene done beautifully.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 18 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill I'm loving this story. It's a calming piece filled with love--something we all need in this crazy mixed-up world of ours. Thank you for sharing these folks with us--and I look forward to seeing it bound and in print one of these days.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Dora, thank you for following along. I love the central theme of "love alters reality." It's something we all should consider.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Manatita, you are bound and determined to lay the "poet" mantel on me. Thank you....I still resist that label, but I'm proud with the label of "creative writer." :) Blessings my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Mama! It's a message I believe in completely.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Damn those watery eyes, Eric! Well, you've got a week to rest up, my friend. Thank you and Happy Weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, thank you! Foreshadowing is something I'm always trying to improve upon...glad you noticed it.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Ruby! I do have a gentler side to me, you know. :)

    • whonunuwho profile image

      whonunuwho 18 months ago from United States

      Bill, you are a talented writer and always show the "Down home" side. I enjoy your work. whonu

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 18 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Love alters reality - what a powerful and inspirational thought! It will be very interesting to see how the plot progresses in this story.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 18 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Glad to be introduced to Hope again Bill. This series continues to be an uplifting and enjoyable read.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 18 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Great story and told by a good writer.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 18 months ago

      I am enjoying the tale of these two families. I hope the children grow up to make a difference.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, thank you....it is a calming piece filled with love, and I'm happy it resonates with so many people. Have a great, soggy weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, whonu....I appreciate you stopping by.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Alicia. That's one of the first phrases I coined way back when I first started writing....so glad you like it.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      That's what I "hoped" for, John! Thank you my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, DDE!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      So do I, Pop...so do I. We could use them in the future. :)

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 18 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. Very much looking forward to the next chapter. Your stories always leave me looking forward to what happens next. Have a great weekend.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 18 months ago from Oklahoma

      Very well written:-)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I appreciate that, Bill. Thank you! Have a safe and warm Sunday.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Larry!

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 18 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      Convictions have always moved reality around a bit. If someone holds strength, they send it out in their own vibes, and can change the world.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I couldn't agree more, Deb. Hopefully the good guys are filled with conviction. ;) Thank you!

    • Eldon Arsenaux profile image

      Eldon Arsenaux 18 months ago from Cooley, Texas

      Love certainly does alter reality. A great notion! Sarah's take on the intersection of multiple 'realities', or religions, was something my grandmother (from New Orleans), has oft taught. This is a well detailed realist piece Mr. Holland. Scenes are painted with slight brushstrokes that breath beyond the canvas you've created.

      -E.G.A.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Eldon, that comment, coming from an artist such as yourself, is well-received and I am grateful. Thank you, sir!

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 18 months ago from Dubai

      Great write, wonder what is going to happen in the next chapter. Wish I could see the future.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      All will be revealed soon, Vellur. Thank you so much for following along.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 18 months ago from United Kingdom

      I'm really enjoying this series. I want to see how Hope and Heather bring new wonderful things to the world. Waiting patiently for next instalment. Joking. :D I'm not patient.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Zulma, I love an honest person. I like to think I'm patient but the reality is....NOT! :) I'll try not to disappoint you on Friday. Thank you my friend.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 18 months ago from SW England

      Beautiful! You capture the colour perfectly in 'robin-egg blue, as though its brilliant hues were dulled by the shimmering heat'; that's exactly how it is!

      I love where this story is going and, as I've said before, I find the gentleness and calm of this story bewitching and soothing - just what I like in a story.

      I've been away and then a funeral yesterday, so catching up again.

      Have a great week, bill!

      Ann

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 18 months ago from USA

      Things sure do get frisky down on that farm if you know what I mean. You need to write romance novels.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, I'm sorry about the funeral and loss...thanks for thinking of me during busy, sad times. I'm so happy you enjoy this story. It is kind of nice just writing something pleasant without killing and misery. :)

      Enjoy the remainder of your week, my friend

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Flourish, it has something to do with the fertile soil, I'm sure. :) Thanks for being here.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 18 months ago from Shelton

      Billybuc, you really know your craft this saga always leaves me with a taste for more.. awesome my friend :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Very kind words, Frank! Thank you so much.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 18 months ago from Central Florida

      You keep talking about love altering reality and I really didn't know what that means. Then you spoke these lines: " I want to share in your strength, and on this night, in this room, I want our union to light up the sky and alter reality."

      I get where Sarah is going with that. It kind of relates to my always looking for love in the past. I thought love (or what I perceived as love) would change life. But that's not what love is about. Love enhances life, it doesn't necessarily change it. I'm still not there. Had too many wanna-be love situations, some of which altered my life but not in a good way. Hopefully, there's still time to find that life-altering love.

      So, here I go again, getting off on a tangent.

      Love the story, Bill. I'm thinking Heather will be Hope's understudy until she's old enough to venture out on her own, then they'll take opposite sides of the U.S, then the planet, and "touch" We, The People.

      You wrote a series of shorts about Hope where she spoke her piece and exuded her magical spirit upon the people (much like Toby did when he toured the country reading his poetry), so I'm thinking the two girls will spread the soulful wealth and perhaps bring in more "guides" along the way.

      I love watching this story evolve, Bill!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      All interesting observations, Sha. The story is evolving. I write these short stories in order to get a feel for the characters and the story. It's like an off-Broadway play. I'm working out the kinks before I write an entire novel.....practice, in this case, hopefully makes perfect.

      Thanks for reading along. I'm glad you're enjoying it.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 18 months ago from Riga, Latvia

      Thank you for the visit to the farm and meeting the interesting visitors. Looking forward to more.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Rasma!

    • Mr Archer profile image

      Mr Archer 18 months ago from Missouri

      Bill, you write so effortlessly and create such a picture! It is easy to get lost in your storyline and just drift away. I am so jealous!!!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Mike! I am humbled with that kind of praise.

      Have a super weekend, buddy!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 17 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      The enigma engages me. I am really curious about what Astarte sees. You are right that fear dominates many lives and I include myself. So, here's to love.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks again Aesta! I began this journey with Astarte and her mother over four years ago...and yes, it is a spiritual journey fueled by love.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 17 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      I nearly missed this one! So glad I double checked everything, I think love does alter reality because it causes action in the one loving and that action changes the future! There's no doubt this story has done the same because it caused us to stop and think!

      Can't wait to see what their 'reality' will look like!

      Lawrence

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Lawrence, you and I share the same thoughts on love. Thank you for coming back...one more episode and it will be done.

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