Archive | December, 2012

In honor of the only 12/12/12 I will ever see…

12 Dec
  • In honor of December 12, 2012 I am posting Chapter 12 of The Runaway today.

    Chapter 12

    I could not remember a time in my life when I’d been so happy.  I loved living here in what was truly God’s country.  The mountains spoke to me on a daily basis.  The riot of Pansies and Petunias, glories of God’s creation, which bloomed in the flower boxes along the deck, were not only beautiful, they gave off the most heavenly aromas.   The long stem roses had finally stopped coming, and the remaining ones were slowly fading.  It made me sad to look at the faded ones because it reminded me how people grow old and fade, or even worse, how love fades as a flower that has gone uncared for.  But I did not have time to bemoan faded flowers or lost love—my family was coming—my daughters and grandchildren and that was all the happiness I needed.

    I had visited Grandmother Luly a few times since our initial meeting and had come away each time refreshed by her energy and her caring.  She was teaching me ways to live on a spiritual level—ways that I had never dreamed possible.  Luly’s insights were so amazing to me.  Our interviews had progressed nicely and I was learning so much about the Ute people that my heart ached for the hardships that they and other tribes had had to endure.  As I thought more about the book I wanted to write, I knew I wanted it filled with both stories of early times and modern times. Those stories needed to be factual and interesting with the human element intertwined in it.

    Wolf accompanied me each time I went to visit Grandmother and Wolf and Luly greeted each other with love and caring.  Wolf was my protector, but for Grandmother there was a silent bond of kindred spirits.  Wolves were one of the animal spirit guides across Native American beliefs and it was a special person who had a wolf as their protector and friend in this life, or so Grandmother taught me.  Knowing that I had both of them in my life, made me feel special.  After our last visit, Grandmother made me promise that I would bring my family to see her when they came to visit me. I was honored and thrilled by her request. 

    Both girls and their families would be driving up to Colorado, but not at the same time.  Anne, Colby and their five-year-old twin sons, Will and Wes, would arrive this week, the last week of July, because their school in Texas started early.  Liz and her two, Cooper and Gracie would come the following week, but they had planned to have a day or two when all would be here together.  With Jan’s help I learned about events in and around town where we could keep my grandchildren entertained.  There were many activities for all ages and I would be able to offer them choices.  Of course I wanted Jan to be included in the activities, as much as her job would allow.  Jan and I had become dear friends in a short period of time.  I knew when I left Estes Park I’d miss our daily contact very much. 

    With my children grown and me on my own, I knew I wanted to be involved in something I could call my own. I never regretted being a housewife, mother, community volunteer and charity organizer when my children were growing up. But I wanted something more. It was Jan who gave me the idea that maybe I’d enjoy working in real estate. She had different clients and projects from apartment rentals to ranch sales that she was never bored or chained to her desk. I knew I would enjoy that kind of variety. My cell phone rang; it was Jan’s office number. One of her agents was looking for her and Jan wasn’t picking up; she hoped Jan was with me.  Anita was excited because she had received a call from a man looking for a high fenced river ranch and he had cash.  If she could find it, he would buy it.  I smiled as I heard the excitement in her voice, “OK, calm down now,” I told her.  I know Jan trusts you to make good decisions.”

    “I know of several ranches that would fit his requirements,” she said.

    “Go ahead and set the appointments to show him.  You’re just overwhelmed because Jan’s not there, but you’ll do fine.  Now go make your boss some money, I know you can make this sale,” I said, encouraging the young woman as if she was my own daughter. 

    I was not worried about Jan. I knew it was her habit to turn off her cell phone when she was with a client. She gave whoever she was with her full attention and promptly returned calls when the business in front of her was completed. Jan was a consummate professional and I admired how she had worked hard to become a success in a male-driven business.  It was profitable, but very demanding.  She had an all female office and she had personally trained each of her agents in the art of being a business professional.  It had worked very well.  Would I want all those demands? I wondered. The interaction with people and helping them find their perfect home appealed to me, but I really wanted to have the time to write. Jan called me later that day to thank me for giving Anita such sound advice. “Motherly advice beats corporate speech any day of the week,” Jan said.

    A few days later I learned she had got a full-price contract on a game and river ranch.  The buyer represented some big corporation and wanted to use it as a retreat for its owner and employees.  It would close quickly so Jan and Anita would be getting a nice chunk of change.  “Anita feels very blessed because those kinds of deals don’t happen every day,” Jan told me.  I was glad for Anita because she really needed the ego boost as well as the financial gain. 

    Anne, Colby and my grandsons finally arrived and we were immediately sucked into a whirlwind of activities for the children as well as the adults.  One special treat was sleeping out of doors on the deck.  Colby and the twins had brought their bedrolls so that they could “rough it” in the mountains.  Wolf seemed to be taking all of it in stride with the appearance of the children since they were not a part of his normal lifestyle.  Wolf had started traveling with the family when we left the cabin to go on our adventures.  He liked being with me and I was very careful to warn everyone about him and his protective nature of me.  But after the introduction ritual was carried out, he seemed to be fine with my family.  Actually, he was not very friendly with my son-in-law, Colby, but over all he did not bother him.  I observed that each night, as the children and Colby bedded down in their sleeping bags out on the deck, Wolf would ease between the boys to sleep and keep watch over them.  I smiled, knowing that he would protect them with his life if he had too. 

    During the family overlap visits I was able to tell my daughters about meeting Luly Elkheart and my plans for writing a book.  They were very supportive and expressed their confidence that I would be successful.

    The cabin was crowded with both families, but I didn’t mind. It had been a long time since the whole family had been together, although everyone was trying to talk at the same time.  The grandchildren were stimulated by the surroundings and ran in and out, and up and down the stairs shouting to each other to come and see what they had discovered. 

    One evening after dinner everyone was talking loudly, trying to be heard above the din, when a loud knock sounded at the front door.  As all eyes turned to the glass door, a wolf howled at the same time, causing shivers to run up and down everyone’s spines.  There standing at my front door was a tall Indian Chief dressed in his war bonnet, painted face, ornately beaded buckskin shirt, fringed pants and beaded moccasins on his feet.  Wolf sat by his side and howled again.  The sound had stopped everyone in their tracks and they continued to stare at the door. I recognized John’s face and moved toward the door to let him in.

    “John, how nice of you to come by, I would like for you to meet my family,” I said, opening the door as if an Indian chief came by every day.  My family remained frozen, which amused both John and me. We burst out laughing.

    “Everyone, this is Grandmother Elkheart’s grandson, John Elkheart.  He is a tribal chief and a Shaman of the Southern Ute Nation Tribe that is located in this area.  And he is my friend and part owner of Wolf,” I explained.

    Cooper was the first to advance to John. “I’ve been interested in Native Americans and their customs my whole life.  Why are you in full dress and here at my grandmother’s house?”

    When John smiled his white teeth gleamed from his handsome dark face. “Well, I had to go to tribal council today because we have been working on dances and rituals for an upcoming Pow Wow.  Our local tribe and families like to have a smaller one before we go to the big meeting of Nations in September.  We have many contests to see who is the best dancer, drummer, or singer so my family takes time to practice our arts before the big Pow Wow comes.  My grandmother insisted that I come up here in full dress and invite all of you to our family Pow Wow Friday and Saturday.  You can come either day or both days.” He watched the changing expressions on all their faces.  The children had moved closer to him after Cooper had been so bold to ask questions, but the adults were still confused about how he fit in with me.  He flashed me an endearing smile, and I was also confused how he fit into my life.

    I introduced John to my daughters and their spouses. He was gracious and shook each of their hands as if they were the most important person he’d met. I blushed as he praised me to my family.  By the time he left, he’d become a bigger than life hero to my grandchildren and an even bigger question mark to my children. I’m sure they were thinking, Just how many men is our mother seeing? but we made plans to go to the Pow Wow with him.  He agreed to come by at 9:00 a.m. so that we could follow him in our cars to the meeting place. I invited him to stay for supper, but John graciously declined, and left.

    My grandchildren kept asking me all kinds of questions about how I met him and what they would see and do tomorrow. I answered them as honestly as I could, but since I’d never been to a Pow Wow, I was just as uncertain as they were. I asked Cooper to get my laptop, and we looked up Ute Pow Wows on the Internet.  That got them out of the kitchen and busy with other things so that I could continue to prepare supper. I noticed my daughters had gone upstairs, whispering.  They finally came down wanting to talk.

     “Mother, we would like to know if John is married?” quizzed Anne.

    “No, he has been widowed for about five or six years.  Why do you ask?”

    “Well, he seems to be very interested in you and wanting to meet your family.  We were wondering how you feel about him?” Anne continued her questioning.  Liz just stood there silently listening and watching me.

     “John has been very kind to me since I arrived.  However, I don’t think there is that kind of interest on either of our parts. Jan told me he had a great love for his wife and misses her terribly.  I don’t think he’s ever gotten over his loss.” 

    “But Mother, what about you?  Have you gotten over your grief or is it still too fresh?  We never talk about your feelings so we just don’t know.  Would you tell us something?” pleaded Anne. 

    “I’m much better since I came up here.  And yes, I am slowly recovering from my loss, but not to the extent that I am looking for someone new.  OK?”

    I turned to check on the roast I’d placed in the oven when I noticed the UPS truck coming up the lane. The UPS man came to the door with a large package in his hands. I took it and signed his electronic pad. I placed it on the counter, wondering who it could be from.  “Did one of you send this?” I asked, thinking it might be an early birthday present.

     “No, Mom, we don’t know anything about it,” Liz said.  Then they laughed, making me more suspicious of the package. The package had the logo and lettering of Saks Fifth Avenue of New York City. Everyone was watching as I removed the lid, pulled the tissue paper back, and lifted a beautiful slinky black silk nightgown with black pearls and sequins encircling the neckline, a matching robe and a pair of black mink bedroom slippers.  It seemed that everyone was holding their breaths including me as I held up the most beautiful nightgown I’d ever seen in my life.  The material was the smoothest and softest I’d ever felt.  Who was this from? I was shocked; this could not be for me.

    Shocked, Anne asked, “Mother, who would send you something like this?”

    “Well, is there a card?” Liz asked as she stepped forward and began to search the box, finding a small card in the bottom.  “Just who is Jack, Mother?”

    “Let me see that card,” I demanded. My anger and embarrassment began to show.  The card read: Thinking of You, Jack.  “I’m going to kill him!” I whispered as I stared at the card. I saw shocked eyes staring at me from my family.  My grandchildren were uncertain at what was unfolding and my daughters were so shocked at the implications they were unable to speak. 

    “OK, Mother, bring your sexy nightie upstairs, we need to have a conference with you,” commanded Anne. 

    Anne turned to her husband and said, “Do you think you could find something for the children to do outside for a while before we serve supper?”

    “Sure, Honey, I’ll take care of them,” he assured her as he motioned for all to follow as he held the glass door open. 

    As six-year-old Gracie walked by Colby, she asked, concerned voice, “Is Grand in big trouble?”  They could hear Colby laughing as the door closed.

    Upstairs my daughters watched me as they waited for answers to their questions.  “If you would both please sit down and quit pacing, I’ll try to answer your questions with what I know,” I said and patted the bed on either side of me.

    “Mother, we were very concerned about your mental state when you did your “little” disappearing act back in May.  After we came up, we both were relieved that you had found a place where you could recover.  But both of us have been surprised at the “strange men” who keep popping up.   We want to make sure they are not after your money.  All we want to know is who are they and are you interested in any of them?” Anne pleaded.

    “Mom, you talk to us on the phone but we just feel we’re not getting a clear picture about what is going on in your personal life,” added Liz.

    “My personal life—you mean my sex life, don’t you?” I sniped. 

    “Mother, we just want to know what is going on with this wild Indian for one, and this guy sending you a sexy night gown.  We want you to think about disease like STD’s or worse. We just want to make sure we will not be surprised with a new stepfather that comes out of the blue,” Anne finished with a high note to her voice. 

    Liz had tears in her as she said, “Mom, we know you loved Dad, but there were problems.  We just do not want you to make a mistake with some guy that is why we are concerned.  We want to be a part of your decision making regarding a new love in your life.”

    I had many responses circling in my mind, but I finally controlled my exasperation and said, “Girls, I know you are very concerned about what you think your mother is doing.  And yes, I am aware of STD’s or worse and I want to assure you that I am not having unprotected sex or in fact, I am having no sex.  I have been very “chaste” since I have been here. 

    “Besides, if a new stepfather was in your future, you can rest assured that you would be the first to know.  But that is certainly a scenario that I do not ever plan having.  I am free, and plan to remain such.  Now regarding these “strange men” as you so colorfully put it.  John is Grandmother’s grandson as I told you.  But I met him earlier in the summer before I even knew Grandmother.   It was actually through him that I met her and was granted an interview.  As it turns out, Jack and John are cousins in some way.  Although, Jack does have some Native American features, he is very handsome in his own way.   He also works for the Tribal Council and is a game warden of sorts for the Ute Nation.  He’s been very mysterious about his activities.  He says he travels a lot for the Tribal Council.  He was here for the Fourth of July picnic and we went to the street dance together.  We had plans to go the next night to the rodeo, but he disappeared without so much as fair thee well to me.”

    I heard the tinge of anger in my voice as I talked about Jack. I took a breath and continued my story, “Then out of the blue, he starts sending all these roses every day.  I finally had to threaten him with harassment charges if he did not stop.  Then today I get this sexy nightgown.”

    Anne wanted to say something, but I continued, “You will be surprised to know that I have been asked out repeatedly by him, and others, but I have graciously declined because I just did not want to have to deal with a man again. Now you know all my dirty little secrets,” I said as the tears began to flow.

    “Mom, I think he could be an assassin.  They are very secretive like that, you know, and will not let anyone get close,” teased Liz. She hugged me, and her lighthearted response made me laugh.

    Anne chimed in, “That could explain a lot of the travel and staying away from mom.” We hugged, cried and laughed together for several minutes. 

    “Ok, let’s go finish supper and make our plans with the children about tomorrow.  The trip tomorrow to meet your Indian friends is really beginning to sound like it will be educational and very entertaining,” said Anne as she led the way downstairs to the kitchen.



4 Dec

The Runaway Cover
The Runaway was definitely a dream of mine that had been waiting for many years to come out.

I am dedicating The Runaway to all of my fellow Dreamers Out There!

You may need a push or the encouragement from someone to dream your dreams—seek out that encouragement. Do not let your dreams remain only as dreams. You can make them come true if you only believe in yourself and make it happen.