Friday, July 22, 2011

Shep Ferguson Ch. 7 The Rest of the Clan Pt. 6

Shep's Brother Scott & Family

Scotti Lynn Ferguson was finding high school a very enjoyable experience, thank you very much. One of the new friends she brought over was Brooks Generica, a newcomer to town. She liked him a lot, but not romantically, at least not now. 

She was still very close to both her parents, but especially to Scott and, being an only child, they were especially indulgent with her while still trying to keep her fairly unspoiled.

Later the same week Brooks’ brother, Brand, came home with her on the bus. They played video games and he stayed to supper. Afterward they listened to music and played RPS. Again, she really got along well with Brand, but so far she felt no special attraction to him. To Scotti Lynn he was just a very nice boy, like his brother.

A couple days later Scotti Lynn looked through the front window and saw Damon Ottomas walking slowly by the house. He hesitated at the gate and looked up at the house. That was enough for Scotti Lynn—she’d had a crush on him for a while. She hurried out and invited him in for grilled cheese sandwiches and some SSX3. She got up to get drinks for both of them but before she even got ice in the glasses he called to her from the living room. Taking her hands when she walked in, Damon smiled shyly (but with a slightly wicked curve to one side of his mouth).

They forgot they were thirsty and sat on the love seat. When Damon put his arm around her, Scotti Lynn’s eyes got big. Would he kiss her? Not his time, evidently. Good thing, she supposed as she closed the door behind him, since her parents were both upstairs in bed reading and the house was very quiet. Next time (oh, there had to be a next time!) she’d put on loud music well before her parents retired to their bedroom. If it was still summer they could have sneaked out to the patio, but not tonight. 

Recently there had been a spate of break-ins where the perpetrators had  done nothing but vandalize paintings, especially the ones painted by one or more family members. These were priceless to the home owners since they were mostly of family and home. Harvey and Lori Ferguson had wakened one morning to find two of their portraits that they had brought with them from the Lassiter and Ferguson homes had turned to some sort of pop art version of sunrise. Evidently the originals had been spray painted over, although so neatly that no paint even got on the frames. The same thing occurred to several other residents of Pleasantview, and nearly all instances were of paintings that had been moved from one house to another.  After hearing that, Heather and Scott decided to start taking a photo inventory of their current paintings, to at least have them on record.

Scott was finishing up an earlier painting of Scotti Lynn he’d started just before her birthday and Heather was starting a current portrait of her. It took several "sittings".

Waiting for the school bus Scotti Lynn often played her hand-held game. Like most teens she was a voracious gamer. 

On one of her first out of town excursions since being allowed to use the car she went shopping in Bluewater at Amelia’s Closet. While there she ran into her Aunt Madeleine and saw another boy from school. She didn’t know Vic Severino Jr very well, but as they talked she thought him kind of cute and wondered if he might be fun to go out with sometime. When she left the store she decided she might as well be adventurous and go to the Galaxy Arcade. On her way out of the store there was a sneaky looking man skulking around the building. She walked fast and he didn’t follow her to her car.

When she got to the Arcade she had only been there a little while when in came her cousin, Harvey Ferguson. She really liked Harvey, but still it occurred to Scotti Lynn that if she ever did decide to sneak out of the house some night it seemed there would always be some family member around to squeal on her. She didn’t count Harvey’s kid sister, Debbie, of course, since Debbie would probably be the one she sneaked out with--if she ever did.

One Saturday Scotti Lynn woke up especially excited for the day to begin. Her Uncle Shep, Aunt Madeleine and cousin Debbie were coming over for the day. Shep was Scott’s big brother. Debbie and Scotti Lynn went to school together but were especially tight because of the family connection.

While Scotti Lynn and Debbie hung out in Scotti Lynn’s room, Scott and Shep played chess downstairs and Heather and Madeleine talked turkey. Literally. They both liked to cook and it was fall, not that long before Thanksgiving Day. Scott was the prize-winning chef in the family having gone to culinary school after retiring from the police force, but Heather had long been known in Pleasantview as an excellent home cook along with her sister-in-law Madeleine Ferguson, Melora Lassiter, Gillian Blackford and Yvette Wilson. Melora, of course, had even had her own cooking show on The Food Channel years ago.

When Scotti Lynn had once asked why Uncle Shep looked so much older than her father, Heather replied that he was, indeed, quite a bit older than Scott, who’d been the baby of their family. Scotti Lynn already knew that her mother was somewhat older than her father, but it didn’t seem to make any difference. He appeared to be crazy about her and, it was true, she looked much younger than she actually was.

Upstairs the girls talked about the Generica boys only to discover Debbie had a crush on Brooks. Luckily Scotti Lynn was not “that way” about either boy—she was more into Damon Ottomas who seemed to consider her just a nice girl from his Physics class. They decided they would never try to lure away any boy from each other, and sealed the deal with a pillow fight. They hadn’t had one of those since they were children.

Shep’s family stayed through supper and while the girls did the dishes, Scott and Shep sparred and joked the way men do. Sort of like little boys, as a matter of fact, Madeleine commented to Heather. By around 9 pm the guests were on their way back home.

Sunday the family would be visiting Scotti Lynn’s half-sister, Jenna, and her husband and twin daughters. Technically Janice and Jessamyn were Scotti Lynn’s nieces even though they were the same age. Jenna and Scotti Lynn had the same mother, Heather, but not the same father. Scott, of course, was Scotti Lynn’s dad, but no one knew who Jenna’s father was. Scotti Lynn knew that Heather obviously had that information, so probably Scott did, too, but she wondered if, after all this time, even Jenna knew who her father was. Possibly she did, but no one ever talked about him; Jenna's unknown father was the elephant in the room that they all ignored. Scotti Lynn didn’t even know whether her mother had been widowed, divorced or never married when she married Scott. Sometimes it did trouble her...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Shep Ferguson Ch. 7 The Rest of the Clan Pt. 5

Nicky and Allyn Ferguson – Mountain Vacation

Early the next morning Nicky and Allyn were on their way to Three Lakes, about a ninety minute drive away. They’d had no breakfast before they left so, first things first, they had to sample the flapjacks as soon as they’d checked in at the Sky Vista Hotel.  

The hotel, surprisingly, furnished no restaurant, but Nicky told Allyn no worries, he knew the place to go: Three Lakes Market. It had the best flapjacks in town (outside of Axe Wood Campground). They also sold mountain gear and hiking clothing, souvenirs, furnished customers with pinball machines and there would be lots of atmosphere for Allyn to soak up.

“And the market is probably the best place for us to see people making with the local “gesture”, Nicky remarked to Allyn, “In all the years I’ve been coming up here I’ve never taken the time to learn it or the slap dance.”

“Their local what?”

“You’ll see,” he chuckled.

As for Sky Vista, it truly was in the sky, morning mist obscured the view from below of the rest of the resort town. The amenities included an indoor pool, a room just to play the Llama game, a mineral spring to soak in, and an exercise room off by itself nestled even higher up the mountain than the hotel. The room boasted gorgeous views of the lakes.

When Allyn saw Nicky talking with a local and then repeatedly pounding his chest and howling like Tarzan she realized that he must have been "taking lessons" for the Three Lakes gesture. So she made Nicky teach her it when he had learned it.  

After shopping and a little fishing at the Plaza, they were surprisingly tired and headed back to the resort for a little rest and relaxation, using the highly expensive room service for convenience.

The next day around 11 am they headed to the Lumber Mill Range. The mountain air seemed to affect their appetites, making them quite robust. They hungrily ate a lunch of grilled catfish. It was caught from the pond right there on the premises and as fresh as any catfish could be, considering it was catfish.

After lunch Allyn wanted to try her luck throwing an axe. She’d been rather a tomboy as a child and still liked fairly rugged physical activity. Nicky was such a tease that he continually tried to distract her. She picked the skill up quite quickly, so Nicky decided to challenge her. Allyn won.

When it came to log-rolling though, Allyn couldn’t catch a break; Nicky bested her every time. They broke for fishing when the weather just got too cold to be in the water.

The fishing here at the Lumber Range was phenomenal and Nicky was pleased with Allyn’s progress.

After fishing all afternoon they stopped to order an early supper of chicken pot pie, although for some reason, even though she ordered pot pie, what Allyn got was some sort of Asian noodle dish served with chopsticks. Odd. Nicky got his pot pie just fine, no problem.

They left the range to go to the Smooth Rock Spa where Allyn wanted to learn the deep tissue massage while Nicky sampled the springs and the sauna. 


Returning to Sky Vista at last, they went out to their balcony to look at the view in the moonlight. It was spectacular and, even though they were dead tired, they didn’t want to go in just yet, so they played chess for a bit before heading off to dreamland.

It was midnight before they’d fallen asleep, but they both slept hard and felt refreshed by 6 am the next day. So they headed up to the exercise room while it was still dark. Getting in shape cleared what cobwebs leftover from their deep slumber. 

They also wanted to sample the rustic looking indoor pool at least once before they checked out. They loved Sky Vista, but Allyn wanted to try Blue Hills Resort and compare to see which they preferred “for next time”. Her remark was dear to Nicky’s heart; it sounded to him like she might be falling as much in love with Three Lakes as he had years ago.

Fortunately for them, there was a cancellation at Blue Hills if they could get over there right away. They checked out of the lovely Sky Vista hoping they would not be disappointed.

Blue Hills Resort was farther down the mountain than Sky Vista, but higher than the valley and lake. The amenities included an outdoor pool, a baby grand piano in the lounge area, a hot tub for those chilly autumn and winter nights and a pinball machine and other games. Their room had a view of the pool, a soaking tub in the bathroom and a very comfortable queen-size bed.

They beat it back to the Lumber Mill Range for lunch and met some locals and other vacationers. New friendships led to them learn the slap dance that was a custom only in Three Lakes. 

Allyn stopped to read the information on the huge tree trunk slab and was fascinated by the story of the tree’s life through hundreds of years of local history…

Finally they decided to go back to the resort for supper in their cozy room. Nicky called room service and they ate their meal watching other guests enjoying the pool.

“Want to put on our swimsuits and join them?” Nicky asked her; a speculative look in his eyes.

“No,” Allyn sighed with contented pleasure, pushing her plate back. 

"I’d just like to stay where we are; it’s our only night here and we can cuddle up and watch the TV.”

“Mmm, sounds good to me," Nicky agreed with relief. He really wanted to stay in, too, the better to have a little romance--or even a lot of romance.

Early next morning they went by the Axe Wood Campground. It was raining; a misty light rain that did not drench them but left their flannel shirts wet even as their thermal shirts stayed dry. Allyn could suddenly picture winter coming to this place and, how isolated Three Lakes might seem by then.

“I thought you should see firsthand how fairly primitive the place is. Not by camping standards, of course, but as seen by someone who has never slept outdoors,” Nicky told her.

“I’d still like to try it next time—I bet the fishing is really good.”

“True, I’ve done my best fishing at this particular pond. And it is really fairly well equipped for a campground.”

She looked at him hopefully and he smiled,

“Well, we’ll think about trying it next time, but with backup hotel reservations.”

Because of the rain, they took a shuttle back instead of walking.

Back at the resort the sun came back out and they went for a quick dip in the pool before lunch. Then Nicky checked them out of the hotel and in no time they were heading toward home. Allyn looked back as as they drove away down the winding road. It was hard to say goodbye to the lake and the mountains. Nicky reached over and took her hand for a moment.

“We’ll be back, baby. I promise.”

Next update on the Shep Ferguson family HERE