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  • (* Update and mini-synopsis at the bottom of page. *)


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    “We begged and pleaded and groveled," Garrett said. "We wanted Mom. We got an extra hour on Sundays. Linda wasn't happy. We didn't care. Because of what she did with Dad and how it affected Mom, we never gave Linda a chance.

    "Dad thought we’d accept Linda because we’d accepted him so quickly. But we’d given Dad a chance after Papa died, because we knew Papa was gone. Dad didn’t show up right after Papa died. We had time to grieve and feel bad about Papa. When he did come, we were ready.

    “Mom, however, wasn’t gone, and Linda stood between Mom and us. Looking back, I think we were pretty mean to Linda. I remember one time her making spaghetti, our refusing to eat it and her crying. Dad yelled at us, but Linda's spaghetti could not taste like Mom's spaghetti. Linda got it out of a bottle, and Mom made it from scratch.

    "I actually don't even know if it was good. I decided it was bad without tasting it. I sealed my lips and refused to eat. We all cried and begged for Mom and Linda cried too, and Dad sent us all to our rooms. I found out later that Dad took that uneaten spaghetti in a wide-mouthed thermos bottle to lunch every day for a week.


    story continued next page -->

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    Mini-synopsis and update: Two accidental deaths, those of Billy Owens and Yvonya Dennison, and an injury to Willie Dennison seem suspicious to Dana, but when she starts asking questions, bad things begin happening to her. She leaves her original campsite in Maine and moves farther north and east. She is now studying terns on a fairly remote island when Garrett shows up. Dana has just asked Garrett: "Tell me, if you think it's safe to do so, how your Mom and Stepdad got back together. I would never have taken him back."

  • "We were all hungry, and Mary sneaked down and got a box of fig Newton’s from the cupboard while Dad and Linda were watching TV--seems like it was reruns of Gunsmoke with a lot of yelling, ki-yi-ing and shooting which helped cover the noise of her opening the cupboard and filching out the cookies. Mary was my bravest sister, when we were little. I also think we ate so many of them that we all got the runs. We ate the whole box in one sitting between the four of us, and it was a super large economy size box. Store brand, I think. Mom always got the real kind, but Linda insisted the store brand was just as good. It wasn’t, but we were hungry.

    "Anyway, with constant badgering, we further expanded family day to include church on Sunday. We'd have breakfast with Linda and get all dressed up in our Sunday best, go get Mom and Jimmy and go to church in Brunswick, which wasn't our regular church. We always argued about who'd get to sit next to Mom in church. She held Jimmy on her lap and the rest of us took turns in a rotating system.

    "Then we'd go to the Church breakfast, a pancake breakfast that always included eggs too, and sausage and bacon and ham. Sometimes we'd go instead to brunch at the Brunswick Holiday Inn or at the Ramada.
  • "Then, finally, we made the evenings longer. After dinner, we'd go to an early movie. Linda was always cross with us and with Dad Sunday night and Monday morning. But we only had Mom one day and Linda for six days. And did I mention that we didn't like Linda?

    "We badgered Dad for Wednesday nights, because we all missed Mom. I remember Mary insisting, speaking for the rest of us, that 7 days was too long to go without our Mom.

    Linda said Mom could come and get us, but Mary stood right up and said we need family days, and Dad was part of the family. We needed two parents.

    Dad said we had two parents, him and Linda, and we said Linda wasn't old enough to be our Mom. We said other things, too. Not nice things. We were angry and sad.

    Eventually, we got Wednesday night dinner with both Dad and Mom. Jimmy was growing and changing so fast that every time we saw him, he was different. Dad was missing his first steps, his teeth, his first words. Mary said, "He's your baby. Don't you want to see him grow?
  • "It took a year, and I'm not sure what happened exactly, all that stuff got kind of blurred together after a while, but Linda left and Dad and Mom got together again. Mom was angry at Dad for his affair with Linda, and although she hadn't shown it at all during the family dinners, when she came back home, she would sometimes slam pans around and slam doors and do other things none of us remembered her doing before Linda.

    For a while, we were so frightened that Mom or Dad would leave again. We came to understand the expression 'walking on eggs.' We'd tiptoe around. We'd hug Mom, we'd hug Dad, we'd give them long pleading looks. We didn't know what to do.

    "But one day, Mom made death by chocolate, Dad's favorite dessert, and the same day, Dad brought Mom flowers and I think we smiled for the first time since they split up."

    "Wow! Garrett, that must have been terrible for all of you."

    "It was. I feel like I am scarred for life. When I was with Rheta, I always wore my wedding band. I never took it off, even when I was fishing, like the other guys did." He held up his hand and studied it. "I never looked at another woman. I never pleasured myself, so there would be more for her, and I was careful never to let any other woman near enough to me to be tempted by them. Working on a boat with an all-male crew helped."

    "What about your parents? Did they stay together after Linda left?"

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  • Image, painted by me yesterday, pencils and acrylics.

    This story made me cry when I reread it after all this time in order to post it. Although it is fiction in this fictional novel, it was partly based on a true story that was happening at the same time my second husband and I were breaking up. "Mom" and "Dad" made it back together, but my husband and I did not.

    I know the novel seems to wander (it does), but what is happening here is that Dana is questioning Garrett in order to learn as much as she can about him so that she will know his character and be able to make judgements about his possible role in the deaths of Billy Owens and Yvonja (and WIllies injuries.) Also, of course, for the reader to know what Dana knows and to make his or her own judgements about the characters and their possible involvement in the deaths. Dana would talk people like this anyway, but here she is using her gift of gab to gather information as well as to converse.


    *

    Links to the COWBIRD installments of my serial novel hopeful, Discovery at Little Hog Island. (These are only links to cowbird stories, nothing else.)

    To start at the beginning of this serial novel, go here: first installment

    *

    Previous installment: 75 & 76Chapter 13, part 6, sections 75 and 76


    *

    1: section 1: The Warning
    2: section 2: Footlockers
    53: Chapter 9, parts ^ & 7, section 53.
    54: Chapter 10, part one, section 54.
    55: Chapter 10, part 2, section 55.
    56: Chapter 10, part 3, section 56
    57: Chapter 10, part 4, section 57
    58: Chapter 10, part 5 section 58
    59: Chapter 11, part 1, section 59
    60: Chapter 11, part 2, section 60
    61: Chapter 11, part 3, section 61
    62: Chapter 11, part 4, section 62
    63: Chapter 11, part 5, section 63
    64: Chapter 11, part 6. section 64
    65: Chapter 12, part 1, section 65
    66: Chapter 12, part 2, section 66
    67: Chapter 12, part 3, section 67
    68: Chapter 12, part 4, section 68
    69: Chapter 12, part 5, section 69
    70: Chapter 13, part 1, section 70
    71: Garrett's Fear, Chapter 13, part 2, section 71
    72: Death Sentences, Discovery at Little Hog Island, Chapter 13, part 3 section 72
    73: Apniac, Discovery at Little Hog Island, Chapter 13, part 4 section 73
    74: Swallowing a Laugh, Discovery at Little Hog Island, Chapter 13, part 5 section 74

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