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"The Annual Fear" (8) © Rolly A. Chabot
Well back into the old groove again and catching up on the odd jobs I have been putting aside all summer. Fall is arriving and want to get them completed before the snow flies. Holidays are always good to take. This year has been an interesting one as I have had several. Short ones but have certainly seen a fair bit of country. It is exciting to get away but there is always something nice about coming home to the old and the familiar.
The last few days at the cabin Quigley was starting to droop her head like she was saying. "What is this my new life?... Cute to watch when she arrived back at home. Running all over smelling and sniffing at all her toys she had left behind. Today was exciting she got to go for a truck ride with Dad. You know to the hardware store, Post Office and the grocery store. Just the usual but she sits up and growls at everything.
Well time to take a peek again at what Sheriff Dan Sidon and his close friends are up to in Cedar Rapids again. This is Chapter 8. I do hope those are following are enjoying it. Gather around some treat, coffee and goodies are spread out. The fire will be started shortly. Of all you find here I do hope you find that you are loved... Hugs to all.
Chapter 8 "The Call"
Dan took another drive through town, several others had come back, businesses were opening again on Center Street and the bridge had been lifted and set back on new footings. The crew was just wrapping up the last of the clean up. He reached over turned on the siren for a few short blasts and the entire crew waved back at him, yes the town was coming alive again.
He turned towards home driving slowly through the back roads. Spring was making home in the valleys again; new leaves were starting to form. He stopped at a favorite spot Beth used to visit this time of year. He pulled over reached into his pocket, pulled out his Old Timer knife his Dad had been sure to pass along to him.
Dan slowly cut several of the twigs on a Pussy Willow tree. He studied his bundle and again thought of Beth. She would be dancing with this beauty in her hands. She had a way of making everything so important. He loved bringing her home small gifts like this. Once it had been a colourful rock he had found along the road. To her it was a gift and she had kept all he had ever given her. The house window sills were lined with many small treasures.
Jake came running when he drove up, stick in his mouth and waiting. Dan bent and made a big fuss of the stick blowing on it and faking a few throws. Jake was no fool, as they had played this game before. He just stood crouched and at the ready should it really fly through the air. Dan reached back and threw the stick as far as he could, with a leap Jake picked it out of the air without effort. Running back in hopes of another toss.
All Dan could do was praise the dog for the wonderful catch. Man and his dog, inseparable they were, yes Jake had been with him through many a long lonely night.
He smiled at Jake as he dropped the stick in anticipation, could he be so lucky as get another toss out of his friend. Dan reached back again tossed the stick and as Jake ran a rabbit popped out of nowhere and started running. It was the distraction Jake needed as the stick fell to the ground and the chase was on.
Dan smiled at the sight before him. One thing for certain that rabbit would be looking around corners after this and not being out in the open. The rabbit had made it under and old dead tree and the dirt was flying as Jake attempted to dig his way in. The game was on and Jake would be tired before long.
There were a few messages on the answering machine, nothing important, except for one from Windstar, her words were “Just have a feeling I need to be praying for you, maybe call and tell me of what you are facing, Love you brother.”
He would call later he needed to sit and think about the day and all that had taken place. He wanted to check out the sports scores so he switched on the computer while he made coffee. Upon his return there was a pop up that said “You have mail”. He never got mail because he never sent any out.
He opened the screen and it asked for a password, right like he should remember, he typed in a few and they all failed. He typed in Sarah’s Hill and the screen opened. The mail was from Jennifer.
“Hate to sound forward Sheriff Dan, arrest me if you need too but could you call me tonight at 702-555-1515 it is my personal home number. I would like to talk to you about what I need to bring too come fly-fishing.
Dan leaned back in his chair thinking about the email for a few minutes. He stood looked out the window, Jake was still busy digging. He reached under the sink collected and old sealer jar filled it with water and a little sugar and placed the willows inside.
He started towards the door, stopped turned off the computer, picked up the Bible and headed out towards the only thing he was sure of and that was the family who knew him well and the God who was calling. He needed to spend sometime alone with God not worrying about what some woman needed. He had been distancing himself from the female population for so long it was like he had shut that part of himself off.
The last few hours of sunlight had felt good on his back, he really aught to be thinking of bringing and old wooden chair out here for support on his back. He had injured it many years ago playing football and tonight it was aching. It happened whenever he found himself bound up in stress and it was all around him it seemed.
He had been reading and praying and had come across a verse in the book of Jeremiah, which had really struck a chord in his spirit. It was in Jeremiah 29: 11 “ For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
There was a solid Scripture he could sink his teeth into that made some sense but it was followed by another he needed to question about himself.
Jeremiah 29:12-14 “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me with all your heart. You will find me, declares the Lord.
If there was any question about his faith this past few years it was he had backsliding from his belief after Beth had passed away. To begin with he was angry with God for taking her so young and full of life. After awhile the anger faded and he became hard towards God. He had drifted.
It had only been the last few months God had slowly been reaching into his life with others and helping realize maybe God had other plans. He missed Beth as he looked at her headstone, the freshly cut stems of pussy willows and tears welled up inside and they kept coming as the river flowed by this peaceful place that had become a solitude for the men in the family over the years. The tall cedars were a canopy overhead and afforded some shade from the hot days which would be coming soon.
Jake came over and placed his head in his lap, the two sat for several minutes before he started towards the house, again it was Jake with a stick, a toss, then a chase, another toss and the chase was on again. His day ended at the slamming of the screen door, he was exhausted and again went to bed without eating. He needed rest and rest he would get this night as he had prayed for peace.
The weekend had come around again and he was looking forward to getting a few things done around the place. After his morning coffee Dan put on his work clothes and today was the day he would begin fixing the broken railings on the driveway fence. It was the first thing he built for Beth after they were married. She had hung baskets of flowers all along its length. It was always special to come home, see her standing out watering the flowers with her big sun hat on.
They would walk for hours on end through the property discussing what they would do here and there. It was exciting to have her as part of the plans. His dad would have so approved of Beth, all people who met her fell in love with her.
He called Windstar the following morning. In the background babies were crying at different octaves. She had several and it was always a tease he like to dwell on. "Do you have any idea how many you have now, gad's sister you just keep poppin them out."
“Dan it is good to hear your voice, you stop that teasing brother. Children are a gift you know. Anyway we want to keep the world population going. Guys like you are to old now so its up to us younger ones. Just wanted to let you know that we have been in prayer for you. Have the feeling you are facing the enemy and wanted to tell you we stand with you.”
“Thanks Sis, sounds like a day care in that place, how many kids you guys have now a dozen or better. Last time I counted I lost track. He laughed.
“Same number, just they are all wanting everything this morning at the same time. Tell me about what is so heavy Dan, so we can be more specific in our prayers.”
“Well the cat is still in the bag on something’s but I can trust you with them.” He filled her in on all the happenings and she drew in her breath.
“Sounds dangerous Dan, please do be careful, satan has his ways of taking out anyone in his way.”
“I know Sis but I have a God who has power over all things and he is standing close at hand again. Just want you to know that I have turned it all over to Him again. Been sorting through all the anger issues and doing better."
“Blessed to hear that as well praise the Lord for that testimony as we have been praying for you a great deal of late.”
“There is more Windstar, now this stays with you and I know Ben will keep it silent for the time being. They have asked me to step in as interim Mayor once they run Wanda off. Now that is a tall order to be Sheriff and Mayor at the same time.”
“I just had a jump in my Spirit Dan, but I think you should take it, you would be awesome at the job, or shall I say jobs.” “We will be in prayer if you have heard nothing from us take it as confirmation from God that you are the chosen one for the work at hand.”
Dan worked for a few hours in the morning sun, eventually taking his shirt off and his body glistened from the hard work. It felt wonderful to be doing something physical again after doing so little for the past few years. He would again see this as it once was. It may mean he would have to hire out the flower care and the watering but he had so loved the way it used to look.
He thought of the morning visit with the Judge and the prodding to pick up some plants and start planting. He had forgotten the things he had learned from his mother and them Beth on planting. Plants were just like all of God’s children, they all had a purpose and again that purpose for him came to mind. Maybe he should be doing it all himself, it would be a great stress reliever.
Just then his phone rang and he expected to hear there was some trouble in town or something. The caller was quiet after he answered “Chief Sidon here”, after the silence he said “Hello” again. He looked at the caller display that revealed only Las Vegas. Then came the same voice, which had shaken him earlier in the week. The voice had not changed, it was sweet and pure and he immediately knew whom it belonged to.
“Dan, ah! This is Jennifer from the police office, you called the other day and I have sent some information over." This was followed by a long pause. “Did you get my email?
“Yes I did, sorry I have not had a chance to answer it, not a great fan of the computer world, matter of fact I hate the things. Maybe that’s the country boy in me, like the face to face contact better.”
“Well just wanted to know if you had gotten it, sometimes they get lost in cyberspace.”
“What the heck is Cyberspace?” Sounds like it is close to the moon or something.” He laughed as she did.
"Its a term we use for the place where all the Internet travels. You know like the microwaves and radio signals and all that sort of thing, just that things get lost out there in the world of emails, the reason I was concerned is I attached a picture of myself, just so you would know who you are talking with. I hate the thought of a picture of myself out there. I guess I am a bit personal that way. A little protective of my anonymity you know. A girl needs to be careful these days with all the weirdos out there.”
“Attaching a picture no less to an email, what in blazes is this world coming to anyway. Wait a minute you are pulling my leg aren't you?
“Are you anywhere near the computer, I can help you open the picture so you can see what your fishing partner will look like should the offer still be open to come this year.”
“Just down the lane, I need a drink of water anyway, fencing day here and the sun is hot.” He started walking, that familiar stirring welled up again, curiosity was getting the better of him.
They talked a little about fishing and she surprised him with her knowledge of flies and the best time of the year to use which ones. he was beginning to like the sound of her voice a great deal.The screen door slammed shut and she said, “What on earth was that.”
“My next project, been listening to that fool door slam for years, time I fixed it, today will be a good day. Here I better write that down on the list.”
“I Just turned on the computer, it will take a few minutes to get started, it is an archaic old thing, never been one to follow all the latest and greatest. Was just thinking the other day maybe I should be taking some courses as it looks like this may be the thing of the future.”
"Sheriff, hate to tell you but the future is already here and they are a part of us. I agree it is good that you are thinking about taking courses.”
He got a glass of cold water from the fridge and took another and sat at the computer as it flashed on and off before it finally lit up.
“Ok the thing is coming on, now what, he sat waiting for the next instructions. Just take a few more minutes.”
“I can tell it must be very old as it should have been on a long while ago. Maybe have a look around at some of the new ones they have out. They are something else. Do you have the email account open, there should be an icon somewhere on the screen that says email.”
He looked and there were a dozen things on the screen, he knew nothing about this thing. “I cannot see anything that says email. The one you sent the other day just popped up by itself.”
“Here in that case let me send you another and see what happens. He could hear the keys rattling away on her end, then she said should be popping up there soon. I have attached the picture again as well.”
There came the sound of a bell tone and the sign saying, “You have mail”. Would you look at that it has arrived, that is something else Jennifer. How did you do that so fast? Maybe I should hire you to teach me all this new stuff?
“Well if the invite is still open to come fishing I can teach you, but you need to teach me some tricks on the river, do we have a deal?
She instructed him how to open this thing called an attachment, his computer was very slow and the picture opened a little at the time.
“I can see that you are blond, and you have a forehead,” she laughed, then he was out of words as her face started to appear.
“Are you there Chief” she said, he was still quiet as he looked at the face of the girl on the other end. The picture had only opened to her nose so far and he was looking into the deepest blue eyes he had ever seen.
“Uh yes I’m here, just the computer is really slow, hold tight as it is still working.”
Dan Sidon was a smitten man, Jennifer was absolutely gorgeous, and she could pass as a model in any magazine. He was lost for words; it was no wonder that Ronny had protected her. He had no idea why a girl this beautiful was single but he needed to know more about her.
”There you are Jennifer, you would make a welcome addition on the river here in Cedar Ridge. It would be my personal pleasure to escort you to the most coveted runs on the river. Consider yourself as just hiring your own personal guide.”
“Good, normally I would not be so bold as to call and send pictures but both Ronny and his wife have spoken so highly of you. Well to be honest with you I know that I can trust you Dan.”
“Men of the Law should be trusted, I should hope in the world you come from as well?
“No not really Dan, these men here are like many all over, it is the final ending they seek and that has been so hurtful in the past. I belong to God and God alone and from what I understand you are a man who desires to follow Him as well.”
He did not want to get into anything too heavy in the conversation but shared with her a little of his drifting the past few years. It came as no real surprise to her as it sounded like Ronny or his wife had been keeping her abreast of his life all along.
“Well it has been a struggle but I have had many praying for me, actually heading back to church tomorrow for the first time in a long while. Seems as though the Church has created this family fun day after service with games, horseshoes and lots of food, I guess I have been assigned the head of the horseshoe kings. Been years since I tossed a shoe."
“My granddad in South Carolina was the best there was at the game, I can still hear the ring of the shoe as it circles the peg. You have brought back a great memory with the mention of horseshoes. Strange as I have not thought about them for years.”
Must admit Dan that Ronny has shared some pictures of you with me and I would be safe with you on the river. You look like a man I could depend on if I got into trouble.”
“Well Jennifer I would be honored to have you come for a visit, we have many nice places to stay here and a few great restaurant’s as well, give me a weeks heads-up and I will let you know the best dates to arrive. Plan on a week or so if possible as the fish are skittish, one day they are all over and the next nothing.”
“Thank you Dan for taking my call, I do look forward to a visit, do you still have Jake, the kids talk about him all the time.”
“Yes he is still around, always busy looking for something to chase and he is great company out here. Jake has been through the good and the bad times with me.”
“Blessings to you, anything we can do to help on this end with what ever you have happening there just shout as you have a force of two on your side.”
“Actually a force of three, God, Ronny and now you, thanks again for everything. Talk to you soon, say hello to Ronny for me please.”
“To you as well my new guide” she said as she hung up, Dan stood there in wonder of this new person that had appeared in his life. He left her picture up on the screen. Maybe this entire time he had been standing firm on not dating anyone had been all wrong. The face to was on the screen had captured his attention. Yes indeed he would enjoy being a guide for this lady. One of the many who came to fish in the area.
“What would you say Beth” he spoke aloud, “would you agree that I should maybe move on with life. I know that I made you a promise years ago. I am so lonely Beth honey. I miss you so much." Tears welled up in his eyes again as he walked back out to the fence. "I miss you Beth."
He finished the fence late into the evening, he took out a casserole from the freezer popped it into the oven. Claire Daniels was the name on the dish; he would have to remember to thank Claire tomorrow at Church. Yes the people of this good town deserved to be recognized and taken care of.
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