“Sorry I am late girls, but I had a few things that needed to be taken care of. Well don't just stand there looking stupefied and gocking at me with your mouths open, Yu’ll catch files that way, so close your mouths and listen up. My grandson is hurt bad,” Betty said. Her sisters looked back and forth from her to the bike still bewildered...
“Sorry Betty what did you say about your grandson?” Lizy asked. Lizy Dragren; Betty Stuart’s younger sister still a young woman at heart, married young, too a sailor who died in the Korea war years back, never remarried nor had any children. She was known at one time a red head now her hair was more auburn grey than red. Blue eyed Barbie doll figure. Average height at five-feet seven inches, had the back bone of a mule when comes to getting her way like her older sister Mary.
Smart as a whip when comes to books or movies and has always had soft heart when comes towards children even thou she had none of her own due to a hard miscarriage. It had always saddened her when she found out that it would be a magical occurrence if she ever bared a child. So for now she had given up hope and lives a lone, teaching middle school.
“As I was trying to say he’s is hurt bad, Lizy... Before you interrupted me.”
“Sorry, do you know how it happened?” Mary asked. Mary Fillmore likes too think she’s the wiser woman of her two sisters Lizy and Betty. Despite her hair has turned gray and dyed to the color of blue silver. She considered a high society woman of here age. With her lengthy built as she towered over her two sisters gaining the advantage from her fathers’ second wife. Whom she regards as hideous witch of a woman as she had hope growing up waited and hoped a house would fall on her. Yes, you could say she was spoiled because she always got her way one way or the other and forbid her two sisters beat her two it.
She never got along with her younger sister Lizy when they still played house and with their dolls, her green eyes sparkled as they set off her long aristocratic nose and drawn down chin into a petit triangle. She had never married or likely will as she considered the possible candidates of today or will ever likely fall in love, heaven forbid. never saw the point when she was younger. Again using the phrase: ‘It would be a magical occurrence.’ Yet now she has regrets now that she is alone in a small apartment built for two. Her livelihood a librarian going on thirty years, until this day she never believed in true romance. That somewhere out there is a man of her dreams and all she had to do is wait for him. No dark haired, blue eye man or chiseled body for me.
“Yes, I do, well I am not exactly positive, but I do have my suspicions. Mary, that's why I am here at Judge Parkers place, I need to do some paper work and get it filled out too make what I am about to do legal.” Betty said her fingers tightened into fist as she thinks of all things Jim and Linda have done to her grandchildren. She unclenched her fists when Mary wiped an escaped tear with her handkerchief trying not to ruin Betty mascara.
“Betty you didn't bring us all the way out here to file some paper work and you simply did not get all gussied up in that to do it either. You are up to something, now sit, spill the beans and tell us both what you have in mind. Or we are going to hog tie you to that bench until you do. So start talking sister.” Mary said, placing her arm around her, walked them towards the bench sitting under the tree near the courthouse.
Betty filled them in on what has taken place down at the Downing Farm while she watched their mouths drop and eyes pop nearly out of their sockets. “Oh my, that poor child and those poor children… what do think is happening to them right now?” Mary gasped her hand reaching up to capture the quick release breath.
“I have no idea, but we are going to find out Lizy and Mary, that's why I need you two here. I figured that I could take care of his brother Danny, but if you girls would take care of his two sisters. Then maybe we might have a chance to save this family.” Betty felt the anger and release of guilt of not doing anything sooner and sighed heavily.
“What about EJ?” Mary asked regaining her composer. With her hands sitting neatly in her lap, but her leg and foot tapped the ground giving her away. She was on pins and needles thinking how she could mange a nine year old or better still her sister, and the problems that came with it. Her thoughts of unruly children in a library could not compare.
“I am going to leave him with the Downing's for now. He is hurt to bad to be moved and I have a really good feeling about them. Now let's get those papers filed, the Judge is an old friend of mine,” she said. Slowly getting up clutching her purse as she takes two steps to the door, almost afraid of what’s inside. Her last thought was going to a spring dance with the boy now a man inside those doors.
“Betty?” Mary asked.
“You can't go in there dressed like that; he'll think that you lost your marbles.” She said stopping her in her tracks trying to keep it together. Me alone a child to raise, I have never…taking a hard swallow felt something stuck in her throat.
“I suppose you are right,” Betty said laughing. “I am a sight ain’t I? But I left all my clothes down at the Downing Farm.” She implied gazing back at the Harley sitting there its silver chrome tailpipe gleaming in the sun, begging to ride off into the sunset.
“Well not exactly, we stopped by your house after speaking with Richard and grabbed some extra clothes; he wasn't sure what you took so I picked some for you,” Lizy said getting up from the bench. And opened the car door too rifle through the outfits and deciding on the green squirt and light blue blouse with white ruffles along the front. She picked up the black heels handing them and handing them over to her sister Betty
“That's my sister’s, always thinking for me. I'll go change, but I am not taking off the jacket,” she said and tossing the heels. Her biker boots seemed right even though they did not go with the outfit, but she was not in the mood to play dress up.
The girls laughed at her stubbornness. “Glad to see the fire's back! We kinda missed it! But did you have to bring Old Harley?” Mary asked.
“Oh Lizy, Mary you know the grandkids love it, besides I get such a kick out hearing them squeal with delight and you are only young once. So let me have my fun.” With that Betty left to change her clothes.
“You know Mary,” Lizy said.
“What's that Lizy?”
“Betty sure knows how to kick up a storm that's for sure. Imagine that?”
“Imagine what Mary?” as she leaned against the front of the building.
“Oh I was thinking how EJ parents manage to hide this from her all this time,” Lizy said joining her on the other side while they waited for Betty.
“Well they’re certainly in for a surprise and I don't want to be in their shoes. Isn't that…? No it couldn't be.” Mary said watching a man she once knew and dated if she recalls, placing another check mark in the not possible or her type of man she was looking for.
Doctor Hatfield known as Doctor Richard Hatfield, He was elderly gentleman perhaps in early sixties the last of his breed known too make house calls in Santaquin county. His office stood at 113 main street, three stores down from Stringum Goods & Hardware and right next too the Santaquin Pharmacy. If you ever been in Santaquin you’d blink and you’d miss it, but Doc didn’t mind. He loved small towns where everyone one knew everyone and their business. He loved the gossip and had been known to spread some himself. He lived alone now going on twenty years when his wife died in the early sixties of hermetic fever.
Heck he’s birthed and raised half the county for going on sixty years. Some would say back in the days he was a ladies man. With his dark brown hair now white as snow right down to his handlebar mustache and bushy eye brows holding up his green bluish eyes. Most people would think he could be an imposter to Kernel Sanders if wasn’t for his height just below four feet and seven inches. He served in Second World War taking and trained the best nursing staff a hospital could fiend
He may be old fashion, but no doctor could beat his bedside manor, and his temper. Known to toss gurney and or the nurse on it through the door, but all said and done; he did his job and he did it well. Better than most Doctors today. He always looked his best with a smart bowtie with different colored spots to get the attention of his cliental. Man or beast paid him sometimes in coin or sometimes in whatever they got or made. All he cared about was their welfare not his own. When comes to riches or well being of his patents, patents always came first.
It was still warm as Mary and Lizy fanned themselves as they waited for Betty to return. It wasn’t long before Doctor Hatfield slowly made his way towards them as they sat on the near by bench.
“Couldn't be who Lizy?” Mary asked.
“Old Doctor Hatfield, what's he doing here?”
“Who’s Doctor Hatfield?” her hand waving the cooler air to her face and dabbing the sweat with her white handkerchief along the back of her neck.
“He was the Doctor she served with when she was a nurse. Hello Doctor Hatfield fancy meeting you here.” Lizy said, putting out her right hand to shake.
“Well I'll be. Is that Lizy? It is. I didn't think I'd be running into you. So what brings you down to these parts?” He asked releasing his hand.
“Oh my sister Betty has got business to attend to down here. Oh look her she comes.” Lizy said seeing Betty coming around the corner fixing her hair.
“Well, I'll be a cooked bird on Sunday dinner, if that's not Betty Stuart. I thought you were in town. You nearly ran me over back there with that contraption of yours,” he said eyeing the Harley on the side of the road.
“Sorry Doc, but I was in a hurry? Did you have a look at my grandson?” Giving him quick glance over as she ran her eyes over him. Thinking how he has aged over the years, but so has she come to think about as her lips tighten. Is he shorter or is just me?
“Yes I did,” shaking his head. “Tsk, tsk. What a mess my dear, what a mess. Actually that's why I am here. It's my professional duty and obligation to make sure that boy stays in that home to recover. Unless of course Betty, you think he shouldn't be, but I've known the Downing's a long time. I can't think of a better place at this very moment, but I don't know his parents like you do. For right now looking at those wounds, I have a pretty good idea that's not such a good idea.”
“Doctor Hatfield, I am not as dumb as most people think.” She said taking him all in from age’s pasted it seemed. “I agree... That's why I'm here as well, but there are three more children in that home and I have no idea what's going on without my knowledge,” she said the worry lines shown on her face.
“Three more you say? Tsk, tsk.” Shaking his head trying to remember them, but can’t” she seems taller than I remember.
“Yes, so you see my job is only part done. EJ my grandson maybe safe for the moment and out of harms way, but what about the others? That's why I am here, to see if I can help them too. My sisters and I that is, could use all the help we can get, that is if you are willing?” she said seeing that extra sparkle in his eye and mischievous smile remembering days gone by.
“Well, it looks I'll be a dog going on a coon hunt. Let’s see if we can get Judge Parker to get that boy of yours a peace of safe heaven and those other grandchildren of yours to higher ground. It sounds like too me you are planning on paying someone a visit. Well then batten down the hatches because Betty's in town and she's about to blow.”
“Yes, we would like too see Judge Parker please, he's expecting me. Just tell him it’s an old friend and she’s bringing the wind with her. He'll know what that means,” Betty replied at reception desk.
“Judge Parker there’s a woman out here that clam's that you know her,” the reception said. Judge Parker aka Brad T. Parker: Judge and Mayor of Santaquin county. A fair man and considered to be an honorable man in his late sixties. Graduated the top his class at Harvard University at the age of 26, Married Mildred F Swanson soon after. Raised ten children, seven boy’s three girls; his youngest child off seeing the world and studying to be a lawyer for defenseless children, and married a congress man. A Republican running for mayor somewhere out north last he heard.
“Yes, yes tell her. Tell her I am busy please. Please have her come back later,” he said going over a mound of paper work... running his fingers through his sandy brown hair or what’s left of it and mostly gray towards the ends. His clear blue eyes peeping through his wired rim reading glasses as he works on case file after case file, with the paper work never ending even in a small town like this. Shaking at the outbox and the high pile in his inbox.
“She says she brings with her the wind and Doc…”
“The Wind!” You say, I haven't heard that in... Tell me is she wearing a leather jacket?” he asked slipping the glass of and folding them in front of him.
“Why yes.” She said with a confused look, standing in the open doorway.
“Oh dear, you better send her right in then.”
“What about Doctor Hatfield, I believe he is with her?” getting ready to leave.
“Send them all in, don't just stand there,” he replied as he pushed aside his work for the moment and rubbed his tired broad shoulders and straightened his bowtie and crosses uncrossed his short legs that allow him stand just under six feet.
“But…?” She tries to ask.
“But nothing, you don't keep the wind waiting. Trust me, send her in,” he said with urgency pushing his brown leather chair way from his desk.
“You can go right in now.” The reception said as she opened the door and stepped aside and closed it when they were all through the door.
“Well thanks to be my lucky stars. Betty, Betty Stuart it has been along time, how have you been?” He asked getting up and offering her and her companions a chair. She still looks good after all these years.
“Brad, I would love to catch you up on old times, but this isn't a social call,” she said setting her purse to the side and taking the offered chair and introduced her two sisters as they take the coach on the side and Doc taking the seat next to her.
“I didn't think so. Not when you dress like that Betty and drop by announcing yourself at the door as the wind... You have something on your mind, let’s hear it. Plus; I see you have Doctor Hatfield with you as well. I am not going to like it am I?” He asked.
Shaking their heads, “no, I am afraid not,” she said eyeing Doc from the corner of her eye.
“Humm,” as he sighed. “Then have a seat and some tea then tell me what's on your minds.” Moving over to table near the door and begins to pours.
Betty sits down her foot taps the floor as she tries not let anger boil and stay calm as she tells him all that she knows which is not a lot. But enough for her to get what she’s after for now any way. Taking the teacup and sipping it. Cringes at the biter taste of too much lemon then she likes sets down and holds it in her lap.
“That's down right shocking to say the least, but Doc I'll need some kind of evidence. Pictures or something Doctor Hatfield.” The mayor said after hearing the news. Setting sown the try and returned to his seat listening to it creek. I need to oil that making a mental note.
“Well I thought of that and I took some. If you need more, you can see the boy down at the Downing Farm for yourself,” Doc said. Opening the green olive folder with EJ’s name on it and shoving closer to Judge to read.
“Brad I am on my way to his parent's house to ask a few questions of my own, I feel a full investigation is order,” Betty said.
“Do you agree Doc?” Brad asked placing glass on his angler nose and adjusting them to see better as he reads and seen the pictures, grimacing thinking Ouch that poor boy.
“Yes, something smells bad, very bad. I'll know more when things settle down I am sure, but right now that's boys safety is my concern. Not to mention his brother and sisters as well I might add.”
“Well Betty as much as I don't like breaking up a home I see we have no choice. I hereby give him to you and full custody of the boy after seeing the pain inflected by his parents. I also give you permission to remove the other children from the home. You and your sister's will be their legal guardians until this matter is completely resolved. The parent’s visitation rights I leave up to you, as I know they are young children and may not completely understand what is happening. Though I would advise that you keep your son and his wife as far away from these children as possible....” He said writing up the document and making a copy. “Now I have work to do and you have grandchildren who need their grandmother right now. Do what you came to do Betty, Betty blow,” he said, laughing, as they parted.
Betty turned around. “So Brad, do you think this is a little too much? My jacket I mean. For kicking in a few doors!”
“Oh no, not all... I just wish I could see their faces when you pull up at the front door with old Harley. It’s going to be a gas for sure,” as he leaned back on his chair as it groaned. “By the way. Sorry about your grandson. I am sure he'll be ok. Good family the Downing's. Nice bunch of kid’s too.” He said fingering the fine oak desk that Wayne Downing and his boys made him for wining the last election.
“Now blow, I have work too do,” he said. watching the door close behind them.
“Hey Doc…?” Betty asked taking him by the arm as they walked.
“Thanks for all your help?”
“It was my pleasure, you where always my best nurse you know,” he said. Turning around and patting her hand on his arm.
“Doc, do mind taking a look at the rest of my grandchildren? I am not sure what kind of shape their in. I haven't seen them yet. I'll have my sister’s drop the girls by at the office, but his brother will be with me. I'll be with EJ for a little while until he wakes up and until I get him settled in.”
“Oh that will be fine. I was planning on stopping by in a day or two to check on him so I'll look at him then unless... I hate to even think about it. If anyone is like that or close to it, you call me you hear?” As they parted company and Doc walked back to his office for his bag and a few more files.
“You can count on it, thanks again,” she said.
“Well girls, everything is in order. I have the papers. Let’s start this little showdown. I got some hell to raise,” Betty said climbing on the bike and starting the engine as she primed the gas. She has always loved the power of a machine like this between her legs and the wind blowing through her hair. Oh how she missed her husband, but this was a closes second.
“Oh my Lizy, look at her go, she’s going to kill someone on that thing, but you do have to admit?” Mary said watching the dust and smoke clear while she stood by the car door before going inside her blue 1970 Toyota know as Marilee.
“Admit what Mary?” Lizy asked. getting in and rolling down the window before turning the key.
“She got style,” she said as she climbed into the car Green 1965 Chevy know as the bomb listening to it as it backfired with black smoke and followed her down the street towards EJ's parent's house. Man I need a new car…
* * *
“Mama what's that noise?” Peggy said as she looked out the window.
“What noise Peggy?” Her mother asked. fumbling with her Tri-Chem. paints as sge changed colors for a red robin for the roses as she was painted a new print tablecloth.
“That noise?” Peggy said hearing a motorcycle enter the driveway.
“MAMA! MAMA!” Dona screamed seeing a strange woman that looks like grandma and two cars pulling up right beside her.
“What Now! Dona?” Her mother asked frustrated about being interrupted. “Can I get any piece, Why Jim did we have kids instead of a nice quite life?”
“Somebody's here?” She said.
“Who's here?” Her mother asked. “Stop yelling! I just got your brother down for a nap.”
“They’re coming to the door, three woman one looks a lot like Grandma and I don't recognize the other two,” Peggy said closing the curtain and going to the door.
“What on earth would your grandmother be doing here? She never leaves the house and she would call first. Where's your father?” She asked feeling angry and annoyed to put up with her crap. Especially because EJ’s run off again and has been gone for four days, which is not unusual for him he always running to who knows where, but to have her come here and rub it in my face she got nerve. “After all I…we did nothing wrooong. No. she tries to shake the echo out of her head she must get control. “Damn to hell kids I never want any.”.
“He's not back yet mama,” Peggy replied.
Grandma knocked on the door, Peggy opens the door...“Hello sweet heart,” she said.
“Grandma what are doing here? How? Where? When did you? What are you wearing?” Peggy said her eyes glued to her.
“Surprised too see you to my dear. Well are you going to give your Grandma a kiss and squeeze? She doses unsure of herself. “Now then may I come in? Me and your mother and father have some business to discuss... I see your mother, but where’s your father Peggy?” She asked trying very hard to stay calm.
“Oh he's not home right now, but should be real soon.” She said standing aside to let grandma in the two people she remembers seeing at family reunion ages ago as tries to smile at them.
“Fine dear, would you mind going with your Aunt Lizy for awhile down to the store for some Ice cream?” As she gently handed Peggy to Lizy. “Where's your sister Dona?” She asked.
“Here I am Grandma,” Dona replied coming in from behind Peggy.
“How have you been dear? Come give your Grandma a squeeze. Would like some Ice cream too?” she asked.
“Yes Grandma,” she said after giving grandma a hug.
“Then go with Lizy dear,” as she gently handed her to Lizy. “Now then,” she said as she watched the girls leave. “Linda why don't you and I have a seat while we wait for that son of mine to return home… Linda where's Danny?” She asked.
“He’s taking a nap,” Linda said trying to over come her shock noticing grandmas outfit and her two sisters bedside her. Her head hurts just thinking about all the possibilities why they are all here in the same room. “Why me? Why Now?”
“In which room my dear? I thought maybe he might like some Ice cream too? That way we can talk without being disturbed. Don't worry, the children will be fine. Their aunts will take real good care of them and give them a chance to get too know each other.” She said keeping her voice polite as she could as the storm of anger builds inside.
“Mary if you wouldn't mind? Would you please wake him and take them down for some Ice cream? Don't worry, I'll be nice,” she said. Mary turned to look at Betty before walking down the hall to where Danny was sleeping.
“Now then I would like to take EJ down for some Ice cream too, Oh yes where is EJ Linda? Is he still sleeping over at friend's house or was it a Scout Camp. That's right you told me that a few days ago didn't you? Now I remember. It’s such a shame too. I really wanted to see him. What a shame that I missed him, my memory not as good as used to be.” She said trying to be the fool that they think she is.
“Grandma, Grandma is that you?” Danny said as he ran down the hall towards her.
“Yes my boy it’s me, oh how I missed you.” She said as she picked him up and gave him kiss on the cheek and a big squeeze. “I've got big surprise for my dear boy, but for now I need you to go with your Aunt Mary down to the store and she'll buy you the biggest Ice cream you can eat, can you do that?” she asked.