Friday, October 14, 2011

Brian Ottomas Ch. 10 Three Lakes Pt. 3

This post will be a little longer than the first two parts of Chapter 10. Hope you like it just the same!--Lorelei

The next morning Meadow fixed delicious Western omelets. They were going to the Smooth Rock Spa.

Brian did a little fishing at the stream there and the kids were anxious to sample the mineral springs. Meadow led them over there and then Willow wrinkled her nose and said loudly,

"P.U. Momma! Something stinks around here."

Heath and Brook looked at each other and immediately burst into giggles.

"Well, it does!" Willow stressed.

"Shh, honey, it's the minerals that do that."

"Okay," Willow was somewhat mollified, but then she asked, "What's minerals?"

Meadow looked at her for a moment,

"You know what, honey? You should ask your daddy to tell you all about minerals tonight at the cabin."

Heath snickered and elbowed Brook, 

"Daddy probably doesn't know what minerals are either."

"Brian, I would really like to get a deep tissue massage, will you keep an eye on the kids while I do that?" Meadow asked after a while.

The stream meandered all through the spa and he could easily see the children while he fished,

"Not a problem. In fact, I'll take them over to the lunch bar in a little while."

When he and the kids went to eat, Heath and Willow had thought the chicken pot pie Brook got last night looked and sounded so good that they ordered that while this time around Brook ordered the flapjacks with boysenberry syrup.

When her massage was over Meadow paid to get a lesson in giving the massage. After their lunch the kids went right back to the mineral spring.

"C'mon, Daddy, you haven't even been in here yet. It's fun--but it's kinda stinky," Willow called him into the spring. 

Meadow joined them finally and told Brian to go get his massage. It was getting dark when Brian thought to ask another tourist to take their picture as a family. The photo turned out good but would have been so much better taken in full daylight.

Once home Meadow supervised baths and bedtime while Brian took the chance to check out the high power telescope in the side yard. It had been another unseasonably warm day for fall, but now it was getting chillier.

What a clear, starry night it is, Brian thought. He could hear Meadow softly singing a lullaby to the girls--after all, Willow was barely over being rocked to sleep at night.

He went indoors and lit a fire in the fireplace, it was crackling nicely when Meadow came in the room.

"Kids all set?" he asked, sitting down on the love seat in front of the fire.

"For the night, anyway," she smiled and plopped down next to him, putting her hands out to feel the heat, "Mm, that's nice."

"Glad we came?"

"Oh, yes, I think the kids are having the time of their lives."

"How about you?" he put his arm around her.

"I'm having the time of my life, too."

They sat a long while in companionable silence, enjoying the fire and each other's company and the absolute quiet.

"I should go take my bath," Meadow finally spoke as she got to her feet.

"Don't go yet," Brian asked.

She looked down at him and smiled as she sat back down,

"All right."

"I know I'm a big boy now, but...I'd sure like to have you sing me a lullaby," he teased. And stroking her pale, silky hair he kissed her--and then kissed her again, this time it lasted longer.

"You'd like a lullaby?" she whispered after several moments.

"Yeah," he had a boyish smile playing about his lips, "Or just something to make me sleep like a baby."

Meadow leaned back in the love seat and crooked her finger at him,

"Well, let's see what we can do about that..."

After a bit Brian spoke softly,

"I bet the view from our balcony is magnificent tonight."

"I bet it is, too, and very romantic. Let's go check it out, handsome."

The children always woke up early at home and even more so on this vacation. Meadow could hear them outside as she was deciding what outfit to wear; the family had no plans to chase around Three Lakes today. She went to the window to check on them and started laughing.

"Brian, come here and look," she called and he came over, wrapped his arms around her waist and gazed out the window.

"I was packing the kids clothes and then thought maybe I'd better bring their sports outfits. Good thing I did because Heath and Brook are out there now doing calisthenics. But look at Willow--she must have sneaked in her tutu, tights and leotard while I had her suitcase open. I think I remember that the phone rang while I was in the middle of it."

It was true. One of the things that had captured Willow's fancy when she had her birthday was the ballet outfit that Brook had outgrown. She'd worn it all the time for the last two days before they left. Now she was out in the front yard, jogging in place in a pink leotard with a filmy little skirt.

Brian headed for the stairs, chuckling,

"She's a trip, our Willow."

When the children finished exercising the came in and got dressed they went out to the pond to fish.

Brian startled Meadow when she came down to the kitchen and he started pounding his chest and making noises like Tim Allen in Home Improvement.

"Pretty good, huh?" he said as he finished.

"Enchanting. What was that?"

"It's the gesture they use to greet someone up here in the mountains--you know--like the "hang loose' one on Twikkii?" Brian explained.

Meadow laughed,

"Possibly you should warn people before you do it."

It had been a restful day and now was another pleasant evening. The slight nip in the air made the mineral spring especially enjoyable. Heath and Brook were still fishing, they had stopped occasionally during the day to eat or get in the natural jacuzzi, but right at the moment Brian and Meadow had it to themselves. Willow had been playing in the hammock earlier and then fallen asleep in it.

The next morning it was wet outside--a light misty rain was falling softly. Before breakfast Brian taught Willow the 'gesture'. She was a good student and nothing if not enthusiastic.

Meadow made pancakes, but this time she scattered small bits of breakfast sausage through the batter. Brian loved it when she made the sausage-pancakes. They needed to finish up as much of the perishable food as they could, very little was thrown out and wasted when they left. All three of the children voted to go back to the Lumber Mill Range.

They took a taxi down to the town and walked the rest of the way since the rain was petering out. But first Brian took them by the campground which was on the way to the range.

"You know, I stayed here a couple of nights with some of my buddies years and years ago," he mentioned. The campground had a pond a little smaller than the one by their cabin and a couple of log roll pools. Small tents dotted the property with grills nearby and comfy hammocks and camp chairs.

"You did?" Meadow sounded surprised.

"Yeah, back in high school, Nicky Ferguson, Adam Brecht and I--didn't I ever mention it?"

"Not that I recall."

"I'll tell you about it some time, but not now. Remind me when we get back home."

"I will," she raised one eyebrow and grinned.

It was a little cooler this day, but the kids could not be dissuaded from playing on the log roll.

"Why don't we try our luck at axe throwing again, Sunshine? I'll let you beat me this time," Brian told Meadow.

"Gee, thanks."

After they begged him, Brian eventually did join the kids on the logs. Meadow sat that one out. He told her later that night that the kids loved falling off into the pool so much that they practically threw themselves in, not trying very hard anymore to balance on the log.

"All three are water babies, all right. They'd absolutely love Twikkii Island," she replied.

"Well, maybe next year we can pull off that trick."

It was time to head back to the cabin; they would be leaving for home late that night.

"It's hot dogs for supper, my pets," said Meadow, "But we did manage to use up most of the food. We ran out of milk last night and I used the last of the eggs in the pancakes."

After their meal the kids spent a while playing and watching TV.

"I hate to leave," Heath said sadly as he picked up his suitcase. They could hear the shuttle driver beeping the horn.

"It's always that way when you go on vacation, son," Brian told him, "But we'll be back. Or maybe next time we'll go to another place that will be just as much fun, if not more."

"No place could be more fun than here," Brook mourned.

"Ah, but we have each other and anywhere we are all together is fun," Meadow said, smiling as she turned out the lights.

When they got back home they expected the snow to be gone since it had been so warm up in the mountains. There were amazed, therefore, to see there was plenty of snow on the ground. Winter had come unusually early to Pleasantview and was evidently there for the duration.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Brian Ottomas Ch. 10 Three Lakes Pt. 2

Meadow had been watching her youngest daughter, Willow, push back her mop of blonde hair ever since her recent birthday. She was so active and her hair was so thick and curly that it became tangled and wild every day by noon. Her older sister, Brook, had straight, fine hair and she liked to wear it down, but she preferred the front brushed back from her face and held with a barrette.

"We need to help you keep your hair out of your eyes, honey. Would you like to wear your hair like Brook?" Meadow asked Willow that first morning at the cabin.

"Well, I don't want to look just like her," Willow replied, "I want something else, Momma."

"You wouldn't look just like her since your hair is curly, but that's fine; we can find a different hairstyle for you. How about a pony tail--or braids? Or we could give you two ponytails; one on each side of your head."

Willow liked that idea,

"Yes, I want to have two of them. Two ponytails instead of one."

So she had a whole new look when the family headed after lunch. When they had loaded up on local trinkets and apparel, they toured the town and Meadow made a list of the places they would like to go over the next few days as they walked past each tourist attraction. First on the list would be the Lumber Mill Range.

On the way back to the cabin they stopped at the supermarket to get some fresh milk and extra groceries. 

"And paper plates and plastic cups!" Meadow said, "I don't want to spend all my time washing dishes."

Meadow would be doing the cooking but, happily, part of the rental agreement was that a maid would come each day to clean the cabin. For supper Meadow made spaghetti and meatballs.

"Spaghetti tonight," she teased, "But after this I expect some people around here to catch enough fresh fish to eat every day!"

It seemed to get dark suddenly up there in the mountains, but there were still things for the kids to do inside. However they were all three getting a little tired and cranky due to the long drive that morning and all they'd done that day. So bedtime came earlier than usual.

The next morning the family was up early; All members freshly scrubbed and ready to enjoy the day. They were anxious to find out if the fishing was any good in the pond at the cabin. Brian and Meadow caught the most fish that morning, but the kids were learning fast, especially Heath. 

They headed to the Lumber Mill Range in the afternoon where there was ax-throwing for the adults and log-rolling for all. The day had gotten increasingly warm--almost hot--so falling into the water was quite refreshing. Heath competed against Brian while Brook and Willow took turns trying to best Meadow.

Willow was fascinated by the huge slice of tree trunk where she could read about what was going on in Three Lakes during specific time periods. Brook was interested in doing more fishing at the pond there. She had caught the least fish of all that morning and she wanted to see if she could catch up.

The day went fast and when it grew dark Meadow herded the children over to the canteen for supper. Heath and Willow wanted to try the famous flapjacks of Three Lakes, but Brook ordered chicken pot pie. She loved chicken, whether it be grilled, roasted, baked, or fried, but she did not get to have it very often. For some reason it was hard to find chicken for sale in Pleasantview and no one knew why.

By the time Brian came over from the axe throwing range, all four seats at the canteen were already taken by Meadow and this children.

"I'll just eat at this little table here," he told them, but Brook hopped down and said,

"I'm done; Daddy can have my seat."

When Meadow saw Brook look toward the pond and start walking that way she called, 

"Where do you think you are going, Brook Elizabeth?"

She looked surprised and pointed,

"I was going to go fish in the pond."

"No, I don't think so," Meadow shook her head, "You need to stay right here in our line of vision until we're ready to go."

Brook opened her mouth to protest, but Brian admonished her gently as he sat down on the stool she'd vacated,

"Kitten, you can't just go off by yourself, especially at night, you should know that. There will be plenty of time over the next couple of days for you to fish."

Brook had become "Kitten" and Willow was "Punkin'" or "Punky". Brian was definitely a nickname man, he always came up with some pet name for anyone he loved. His brother, Dylan, was the same way. "Little Buddy" was what Brian had called Heath when he was small, but he knew Heath thought he was too old for that now.

"Here, you can play with the bubbles I bought yesterday, they're in my bag," Meadow suggested. Brook had forgotten about those so she was happily distracted.

Heath and Willow were still finishing their supper and Brian ordered grilled catfish.

"I think from now on maybe we should eat our suppers at home, I mean at the cabin, that is," Meadow told him, "I mean, we can have our lunch wherever it's convenient while we're out and about, but I don't mind cooking our suppers and we have plenty of food there now."

Brian shrugged,

"It's up to you, Sunshine---if you're really sure you don't mind having to do it on your vacation."

"Well, that was the idea of renting the cabin, to make it more like home for all of us, so I don't mind."

Soon, Willow joined Brook under the yard light to play rock-paper-scissors.

They caught a taxi back to their cabin where the children nearly fell into bed. What new adventures would tomorrow bring?