Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

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Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by Ranger52899 on Wed Dec 19, 2018 4:02 pm

“Gone how?” Banks demanded. “Are you all right?”

Dale felt Flynn turn him by the shoulders and felt the warmth of Flynn’s hand near his face. Nothing appeared in the blur at all.

“It’s blurred. I can’t see much at all, just colours. The knock on the head this morning may have been harder than I realised.” His voice sounded ridiculously conversational in his own ears. “I could do most of this from memory if you operate the presentation-”

“We’re finding a hospital, right now.” Flynn interrupted him levelly, just ahead of Banks’ explosive,

“For God’s sake, you’re not doing anything but getting checked out! I’ll get you a car. What do you need?”

“We’ll be fine, thanks. The car would be appreciated.” Flynn’s arm gripped around Dale’s waist and held them hip to hip, strongly enough that as Flynn moved around chairs and towards the door it was possible to sense direction and walk with him.

“I’ll tell the hotel to hold your room here.” There was a click as Banks picked up the phone. “And to find you a hospital with a decent neurology unit. Dale, go. Forget the bloody meeting, you’ve done more than enough. Keep me posted.”

And they were in the hallway. There was the hum of an elevator being summoned and the slide of the doors, and as soon as they shut, Flynn’s arms closed around him.

“Listen to me. Any headache? Nauseous?”

“Nothing.” Against Flynn’s chest Dale pulled himself together, running through the information he had. “It hasn’t felt like concussion. I don’t think I’m confused or incoherent. Although since that was all in French, it seems a bit unfair to ask you to judge; I could have been reciting the French National Anthem for all either of us know-”

“Breathe.”

Aware that he was sounding increasingly frivolous and that it really wasn’t good, Dale felt Flynn put him back and Flynn’s forehead rested lightly against his, Flynn’s hands on his hips and Flynn’s breath on his face. That helped. That really helped. Almost automatically he found himself letting go, letting his shoulders drop and breathing in time with Flynn.

“Banks said you were straight to the point.” Flynn said quietly against him. “You were fine in the shower and you’re making sense now. Your balance is normal. I don’t think there’s been anything we’ve missed. You’re ok.” Flynn’s head tipped against his to kiss him, gently but firmly. “You are going to be ok. Nothing is going to happen that we can’t handle.”

His conviction was as deeply comforting as his arms. Flynn’s hand cupped the back of his head, stroking there. It distracted from the faint throb of the graze on his forehead. A very minor graze, it had been barely visible once he’d showered. Whatever had struck him there obviously hadn’t struck that hard. And yet a light tap in the right place could cause remarkable amounts of damage to various neurological functions.

Dale’s brain would have helpfully lined up and trotted out all the information he had on the subject, save for Flynn going on talking steadily and definitely in ways that required answers as he steered them out through the front door to a waiting car. He kept it up all through the very bizarre experience of travelling through a city without seeing any of it. Questions about the safety records of the shipyard. The history of the ship yard. Where the root of such safety procedures came from and how they related to the equipment. It was, damnit, stuff Dale was slightly obsessively interested in; the history and how stuff worked was something he hoovered up and had done all his life, and sitting hand in hand with Flynn he couldn’t resist letting the information flow. The driver must have been somewhat surprised by the discussion on the evolution of modern steel production. Since Flynn didn’t let him get a word in edgewise, it was hard to tell.

He had never in his life walked into any ER as a patient. It was an experience he could have lived without.

They were taken somewhere almost immediately where he was requested to lay down in a tone that suggested professional disapproval of someone with a probable head injury wandering about. Flynn kept hold of him all the time he was reeling off personal data to someone registering him onto a form, and someone else shone lights near his face and asked a lot of questions about this morning’s explosion with at least two additional people in the vicinity who seemed to be involved. There was a brief suggestion from someone that Flynn might like to wait outside. Dale sternly suppressed the swell of panic a second before he heard Flynn’s reply; it was a perfectly friendly no thank you, and yet said in a tone that meant it would take someone very stupid to argue with him. Frankly it was the kind of no they could have used this morning around the French delegates.

With a paddle.

I may be slightly hysterical at this point.

Help was offered to undress. Dale would have selected freely from comments such as: thank you, that will be happening over my cold, dead body and did I mention the issue was my head, so there is no need whatsoever to take any clothes off. However Flynn asked them politely for a moment of privacy, and thank God, they all went away. Holding on to the chill metal side of whatever it was they’d sat him on, Dale felt Flynn put both hands heavily on his shoulders, leaning there for a moment with weight that squashed out some of the tension. Then he pulled Dale’s tie loose and stood him up to help him out of the jacket in a way that said he would be getting undressed now and it wasn’t up for discussion.

“This is a side room, about twelve feet square. Mostly enclosed by glass. I think we’re going to find you’re seen quickly, they’ll want to keep you still and take all the precautions. Any headache now?”

“Nothing at all, just the blur.”

“Any better? Any worse?”

Dale moved, somewhat unwillingly, to let Flynn take his shirt off. “Exactly the same.”

“It’s ok.” Flynn sounded quiet and focused. “I want you to think about what Jas would say. This place is full of people and clutter. You’ve been around hyped up people all day. Ground and centre yourself, shield yourself. You don’t need to be carrying anyone else’s stuff around.”

“You were quite a sensible scientist when I met you.” Dale pointed out. Flynn stood him up to help him out of his pants.

“Breathe, and do it now.”

Flynn was right; public places like this were always full of people’s leftover stress and distress. The stale energy lingering could feel like trying to swim through glue, and it built up slowly and subconsciously. Dale often didn’t realise until he stopped and thought about it, what was his own feelings and what was energy attracted and carried around like particularly heavy bits of lint. He was aware of feeling distinctly less heavy and jangled when it was done, and more acutely aware of a feeling of really, seriously not wanting to be here, which was very much all his own.

The giggle somewhere on the far side of the room startled him.

He recognised it almost immediately, not least because he knew it well. Sarah seemed to be finding an ER room as amusing as she appeared to enjoy the banks of the lake. It was distracting to consider what on earth a pioneer child was making of a modern hospital, and actually rather comforting to know she was still around.   

There was some kind of cotton garment, which was supposedly clothing but covered nothing of any purpose, and without which apparently American hospitals failed to feel they could function. A brief evaluation of its structure, which he had to do with his hands, confirmed a rather grim suspicion that its main purpose was the speed with which it could be removed in a crisis. There were more people; considerably more poking and prodding; and questions which were exasperatingly repetitive until the urge became nearly over powering to suggest that he wrote down and signed a declaration to the effect that he was well aware of his date of birth, the year, the current president and was experiencing no issues with his memory or orientation. That was followed by a CT scan which was the one time that Flynn physically let him go. He was there all the time. Every second Dale knew exactly where he was, and the man radiated calm. From his reactions, what was happening was normal, routine and exactly as he expected, and nothing worth being concerned about.

The scan was possibly the worst part of the day so far. The isolation should have come as a welcome break. In the humming of the machine, seeing nothing but a haze of white and grey, Dale lay on the hard table and felt the shaking in his hands again. It was pathetic. Flynn was merely feet away from him on the other side of the door.

“The mine was scarier.”

David’s familiar voice never exactly came externally, and he’d never welcomed it more. Dale shut his eyes, smothering the grim laugh that burst out before he moved more than the scan technicians appreciated.

“In your opinion.”

“Less deep pits. Less dark. In and out the same way.”

“Less snakes.”

David snorted. “This is Wisconsin, don’t bet on it.” There was a loud click from the machine and the humming went up a notch. Dale felt the pressure of a hand wrapped briefly around his own.

“I’m not enjoying this.” Dale admitted to him. The hand on his squeezed.

“You’re not badly hurt, this seems worse than it is. You’ve got it.”

The machine clicked off, the door opened and the sensation of David’s hand faded, but knowing he was there made it considerably more bearable.

Whoever it was that came to speak to them after the scan was male, slightly more than five foot eleven, wore an aftershave that was marketed on the third unit, shelf number four, six spaces to the left in the toiletries aisle of the drugstore Paul preferred to shop in, and had a Maine accent.

“The scans are clear,” was the most relevant part of what they said. “No bleeds, everything looking exactly as it should. The blurred vision is most likely a concussion.”

“We’re about twelve hundred miles from home and we had a flight standing by for tomorrow or the day after,” Flynn said. He’d done most of the talking and asked all the questions, and the assertiveness of it was as unmistakable as the tone; Dale had known enough Tops now to recognise it. He is mine, and this will be done right. This was probably neither the time nor the place to be appreciating his possessiveness quite this much. The medic’s answer was prompt and unhelpfully cheerful.

“No, sorry. I don’t recommend you fly for at least a week. A concussion is still a brain injury, you don’t need the air pressure making it worse.”

That is ridiculous.

The medic patted his arm, which was probably well intentioned.

“The best thing you can do is rest. Do as little as possible and wait. I’m going to admit you, we’ll keep you under observation overnight and see how you’re doing in the morning.” 

“You cannot stay in this city for a week, waiting for me to be able to fly.” Dale said flatly as soon as the medic removed himself. Flynn stooped over him and Dale felt Flynn’s mouth close briefly and very gently on his.    

“Flynn, you are not spending Christmas in a hotel.”

“I’ll let you know what we are going to do.” Flynn said with finality. “Whatever I decide, we will manage and we’ll be doing it together.”

It was his most blunt, chauvinistic, I have spoken tone of voice. Which helped. Dale shut his eyes, aware that it was not done to cling to one’s bloody minded partner in a public place. Flynn put an arm around him, pulled him over and hugged him anyway, bone crushingly hard, his head heavy against Dale’s. He could transmit so much comfort.

“The harder job will be preventing half the household coming out here to join us. We need to call home and let them know what’s going on.”

Dale felt him pull out the phone, heard him dial with his stomach twisting even harder. Paul’s voice answered, so normal in this ridiculous place that it made his throat clench painfully.

“Falls Chance Ranch.”

“It’s me. We’ve got a bit of a problem. The steelworks we were at this morning had a meltdown and a pipe blew. Dale caught a bit of the shrapnel in the forehead. He’s only grazed, it’s minor but his vision’s blurred.”

“What?” Paul sounded sharply interrogative more than horrified. “Where are you?”

“At the hospital. He’s been scanned, there’s no bleed or damage, he’s fine.”

“Is he ok? Is he there?”  

Dale felt for the phone, taking it from Flynn.

“Hi.”

“Don’t you hi me, are you all right darling?” Paul’s voice was warm and demanding and so very normal. “What are you doing standing around exploding pipes?”

“The rod and bar mill blew up. I’m fine, the world’s just a little blurry right now.”

“How blurry? Can you see objects? Is it near? Far?”

“It’s…. pretty much everything.” Dale admitted, somewhat unwillingly. “I can’t make out anything much, there’s just a mess of colour. There’s barely a scratch, whatever it was hardly touched me.”

“Ok, that happens.” Paul sounded reassuringly normal about it, and Paul was the one of them who had seen fishermen with appalling head injuries and any amount of neighbours kicked by stock, fallen off roofs and ladders and rolled in farm equipment; he knew. “Are they keeping you in overnight?”

“Observation. Apparently.” Dale swallowed, not sure how to explain. Flynn took the phone back from him.

“He’s upset that they’ve advised we don’t fly. They think for at least a week.”

I am not upset. Thank you.

“Honey, I won’t let you fly, I don’t care what they say.” Paul sounded emphatic on that. “That’s the last thing we’re going to risk with a head injury. Planning to get home isn’t something we worry about tonight, let’s take this one step at a time. I can get a flight out and be with you by tomorrow morning-”

“No.” Dale said as calmly as he could. “I’m not dragging you out of the house too, this does not need to disorganise everyone’s plans. We will be home as soon as I can arrange it and it will be fine”

“You’re not arranging anything, and you’re not bossing me or anyone else. Put the universe down and step away.” Paul said firmly. “Sweetheart, it’s ok. Luath and Darcy arrived this morning. They and Jas and Riley can handle the stock, operate the stove and find the pantry, they’re all perfectly competent and if you’re dealing with this then I need to be with you.”

No. I mean it-”

“We’re fine for now.” Flynn interrupted. “Paul, I’ll give you a call later. Right now they want him to rest and stay as quiet as possible.”

“So having a fight with the brat is probably not a great idea?” Dale demanded, losing all patience. “Is that what you’re telling him? The brat is perfectly competent to get a grip. Thank you. So very kindly.”

“The brat needs to remember his place before I put him there. Starting with across my knee.” Flynn said bluntly. Dale snorted.

“With a concussion. Come off it. You won’t, and I know you won’t.”

“How much do you want to find out?” Flynn’s voice went deeper, in a way that went directly to and gripped some of the most sensitive places in him at gut level.

Line, here. I am still me, you are still you. I have still got you.

“Oh sweetie, let me get that for you.” Paul said with way too much compassion. “Paul, I can’t see a thing, I’m frustrated out of my mind, I cannot get my head out of the meeting I walked out of in the middle which I hate, I don’t know what’s going to happen and if I let myself stop long enough to think I’m going to be scared. So all I want is for all this mucking about to stop and to come home.”

They were a lethal team. Throat clenching, Dale felt Flynn’s hand cup around his head and the very hard kiss Flynn pressed into his hair.

“When I decide what we’re going to do, you’ll be the first to know. Settle down.”

“Hold that thought, get some rest and call me when you can.” Paul said firmly. “I love you, both of you. Dale, if you make any hospital staff cry, you’ll be in trouble. Behave.”

“I am not that bad.”

“I can hear the glaring from here.” Paul retorted. “Behave yourself sweetheart, it’s going to be ok. I’m here and I’ll talk to you later.”

Flynn took the phone. Dale heard the click of the call terminated and Flynn reaching to his pocket.

“There’s a text on your phone from Banks asking how you’re doing.”

“I need to let him know I won’t be back to the meeting.” Still curled against Flynn, Dale drew up his knees and ran his hands over his face. It didn’t clear his vision any and his hands weren’t steady. Flynn tapped his hip where his fingers rested.

“Listen. If we agree you finish the meeting by conference call, you promise me you do it laying still, without letting Argeles get out of hand, and you keep it as short as possible. Deal?”

Dale dropped his hands, startled. “Are you serious?”

“Deal?” Flynn repeated. Staggered, Dale made a sign of the cross over his heart.

“Yes sir.”

“Give me the number.”

Banks answered within a couple of rings. “Any news? How are you doing?”

Irrelevant. Dale leaned an elbow on his knees, listening behind Banks for whatever was going on in the conference room.

“I’m fine, just concussed. Apparently. Jerry I’m stuck here overnight, but if there’s anything left I can do then put me on conference call.”

“Are you fit to do it?”

“If we can do it fast and without bickering I’d appreciate it, but yes.”

Without hesitation Banks hit the switch, Dale heard the line change and heard Banks’ voice, short and sharp.

“Aden’s on conference call. The man’s talking from a hospital bed so I’m calling time on this. Let’s hear a position from each team, right now.”

Very good place to start. Metaphorically speaking, Dale clicked down his visor, pulled on his gauntlets and walked with some relief back into battle.

Since he couldn’t see anything he could make sense of, and being moved around the building when you had no idea where you were, where you were going or what it looked like anyway was a tedious business, he took very little notice of the next hour and focused entirely on the phone. He was vaguely aware of being helped across to what felt like a bed, which was slightly more comfortable than whatever had been laying on, and aware at one point of a glass of water arriving in his hand which he drank. Nothing much else was relevant, and it wasn’t until the meeting was successfully wrapped up, he was filled with the satisfaction of a complex problem properly solved and he finally ended the call that he realised the room was still and quiet, and Flynn was sitting on the bed beside him.

Flynn took the phone. “Happy with that?”

Guilty that he’d lost all sense of time and place including Flynn as anything more than background while he jousted with other multi-national, behaviourally challenged game players, Dale pulled his head together.

“Sorry, you must be so bored. It’s tied up, I’m relatively happy. They’ve all signed, they’re headed home, it hasn’t caused a diplomatic incident and I’m convinced that it won’t come apart by new year.” He put his hands down to the covers that had been put over him. Stiff sheets and blankets. Flynn’s leg was warm against his on the other side of the covers, a solid and immoveable weight, and it had been there a long time. This was such a stupid situation to be in.

“The call button’s here.” Flynn guided his hand to the switch on his left. “It’s a single room. Third floor, bathroom on the far right corner of the back wall, window on your left side. Can you see any of it?”

Not even a change in the light to suggest the direction. Just one blurred mess of colour.

“Nothing.” Dale admitted. “No edges to anything.”

He heard the shut-down signal as Flynn turned his phone off, Flynn’s arm came around his shoulders to lean him forward and put the pillows flat, and he heard the thump of Flynn punching them back to shape.

“Lay back, get comfortable.”

In a strange place, in the middle of nowhere, when they ought at this moment to be getting on a flight that would mean being home in a few hours.

“What time is it?”

“About four.” Flynn shook the covers over him and Dale felt Flynn’s palm run over his cheek.

James and Niall were planning to arrive the day after tomorrow. Their room wasn’t yet ready, it had been on Dale’s list to do when they got home. The shower head needed replacing in the attic where Theo and Bear best liked to sleep, and while Bear tended to focus in on and fix any plumbing, electric, carpentry or any other basic repair job that needed doing on the ranch any time he was around it was a matter of pride to Dale that as much as possible faults were fixed and managed before Bear found them. Riley had wanted to tar the back of the winter shelter, the last chance they would have before it got pressed into emergency use as the weather got really heavy, and the oil needed checking and changing in both tractors. He and Jasper were half way through putting up a new shelving rack in the garage, something they were doing in odds and ends through the evenings.

“It’s approximately nineteen hours by car home,” Dale said out loud. “Depending on the route we take and whether there’s snow on the roads. I can organise a relay of drivers, we’d be home by early-”

The bed creaked as Flynn lay down beside him, and Dale turned thankfully over into Flynn’s arms. One of Flynn’s legs hooked over his, heavily pinning him down, and Flynn’s hand found its way under the covers and past the ridiculously inadequate gown to rub slowly and deeply over his back. Body to body with him, his face against the familiar plane of Flynn’s chest, Dale took a long breath and felt his head start to slow down. With the meeting concluded he felt – done. It was never easy to leave anything unfinished without it eating at him like acid. Which Flynn understood, the way he always understood, the way he and Paul and Jasper always got this delicate tightrope balance of power when he worked, wholly unencumbered by it. Telling them just how much he appreciated it was always more than he had the words for.

“The best way,” Flynn said in his ear, “to repair this, is to let your brain rest. So I want you to clear your mind now. It’s ok, kid. I’ve got you. I’ll handle whatever needs handling. Stop for a while.”

Dale shut his eyes, forehead against Flynn’s chest.

“I am so sorry about this.”

“Stop.”

“Please don’t worry.”

Flynn made the deep, quiet sound he made when a horse was getting restless. “Stop.”

 

 

*

 

 

Banks arrived around half past seven that evening. Flynn hadn’t turned the light on. The nurse coming regularly to check on Dale didn’t need it and from her first smile and signal to him not to get up she had been more interested in Dale resting than in propriety. When Banks tapped at the door Flynn slid away from Dale, clicked the side rail softly up on the bed and went into the hallway to meet him. Banks looked anxious at the sight of the dark room.

“He sounded fine earlier, is it that bad?”

“No, he’s just asleep. The scans are clear and we’ll probably be free to go in the morning.”

Still in his suit from this morning’s meeting, Banks took another grim glance through the door. “I heard from his PA when she stood your flight home down. What are you two going to do stuck out here if he can’t fly? I’ll stay, of course, and the hotel has your rooms held for as long as you need them,”

Flynn shook his head, appreciating the gesture. “No. That’s kind, but there’s no need for you to stay, Jerry. As soon as they clear him to travel we’ll make our plans.”

Banks gave him a wry look. They’d known each other for a few years, from Banks’ own nephew visiting the ranch in the days before Dale, and Banks eventually clapped a hand on Flynn’s shoulder, sighing.

“I know. I know. You like us to get the hell out of your way when you’ve got a man down. All right. I’ll take my flight out, but his PA is on stand by and she’s a bloody marvel, and so is mine, and both of them can always get hold of me. Any time, anything you need, you let me know.”

“Thanks.” Flynn shook the hand Banks offered, Banks cast a quick look again through the door, and left. Flynn closed the door to Dale’s room softly behind him and leaned on the bed rail, watching Dale’s face. He was half curled on his side, laying too still, a little too pale. Dale didn’t stir when Flynn pulled the covers straight over him or smoothed back dark hair that had slipped down over his forehead. Flynn pulled out his phone and sat on the windowsill.

It was answered within two rings by Jasper’s voice, calm and even.

“Falls Chance Ranch.”

“Hey.”

From the change in sound, Jasper was moving rapidly somewhere quieter.

“Hey. How are you doing?”

“We’re on calmer water.” Flynn leaned back against the window frame, eyes on Dale. “He’s asleep. They gave him something heavy enough to knock him out about an hour ago. They’re hoping he’ll sleep off whatever’s going on.”

“How was he feeling?”

“Other than the blurred vision, physically fine. He’s never been disoriented or unsteady, no headache, no dizziness, his attention’s fine, there’s nothing else showing up at all. The ophthalmology department cleared him for any eye injuries and the head and neck scans are clear. No fractures, no bleeds, no swelling, nothing. They ran the scans past several people, including the head of their department to be sure, and they’re talking about repeating the tests in the morning to check that nothing’s in the process of developing, but right now they can’t find anything to worry about.”

“How worried are you?”

Jasper knew him well. Flynn sighed, since this was a man he never needed to edit for and always knew when he was lying anyway. 

“I understood a lot of what the neurologist was looking for in the physical exam. His muscle control, reflexes, everything was as it should be. They’re checking him every hour and his eyes are reacting as they should. I think he’s ok. Eye control is spread all through the brain, chaotic processing comes with it trying to deal with being shaken around from a blow. The concussion cascade, excessive transmitter release, impaired neurotransmission, imbalance of chemistry across cell membranes-” Aware that he was now somewhat blurredly reciting what he could of the textbooks and papers he’d been pulling to mind for the last few hours, and that it was mostly for his own comfort, Flynn made himself stop. “It’s known everything goes temporarily screwy and then gradually settles again. I think he got hit harder than he realised. He was high on adrenaline at the time.”

“So it’s just a case of how long it takes to settle.” Jasper finished for him. “Do you want one of us out there with you? Or, Riley’s plan, if you’re going to be stuck in a hotel out there, we all come join you.”

“No. Riley would be like a cat on hot bricks in here.” Flynn said shortly. “I’ve got one brat doing the ‘I’m fine let’s get out of here’ act; I don’t need two of them at it.”

“Paul or I can get out there by morning.”

“You’re offering to fly?”

“If you need it.”

Yes. Dale was one of the very few people Jasper might be willing to take his first step onto a plane for. Flynn shook his head.

“No. Dale doesn’t need the guilt that he’s made you get on a plane or Paul leave the house at a bad time either.”

“We never let him get away with that, and if Paul or I just turn up then there isn’t much left for him to worry about.” Jasper pointed out. “So tell me what you’re planning.”

“As soon as they clear him as fit to drive, and I mean slowly, in stages, not the nineteen hour marathon Dale has in mind, then I’m going to drive him back. He’ll be calmer if we’re travelling rather than stuck in a hotel. And I don’t want him away from the house and family over Christmas, Jas. Not if there’s any way around it.”

“Going to hire a car?” Jasper said quietly. Flynn got up, pacing slowly by the window.

“Yes. If anyone’s driving him in the weather we’re going to run into in Wyoming and probably on the way, it’s going to be me, with no one else in the car I need to worry about. And I need to be concentrating on him and keeping him calm. A decent four by four, comfortable, and we’ll go no more than a couple of hours at a stretch. I’ll talk to the medics in the morning and see what they advise.”

“Give me a minute, I’ll open up a map.” Jasper was climbing the stairs, Flynn could hear his footfall.

“Where are Paul and Ri?”

“Ri took the tractor down to the home pastures to top up the hay bales there, he needed the distraction. It’s looking like heavy snow tonight, but the roads are well gritted. Paul’s here.”

“Flynn, call Caroline.” Paul took the phone and Flynn heard the whine of the computer powering up in the background. “Put your pride down, and if you won’t let us help than at least let her. I mean it. You’ve got enough to do looking after Dale. She’s already called us to say she’s waiting for instructions as soon as we know what we need, and I know her; she’ll have thought of a whole lot of things we haven’t.”

“Banks said much the same thing.”

“He’s right. It’s her job, we know she’s good at it, and she has the ANZ travel contracts that don’t stop for the holidays. If you call around locally you won’t find many places ready to loan out cars to travel across five states this week.”

“Ok, ok.” Flynn thought for a moment, leaning on the end of the bed to watch Dale. “Ok. I have no idea whether they’ll let him go tomorrow, but I’ll talk to her about getting plans in place.”

“Good. Do that now while Jas finds you routes.”

“Ok.” Flynn paused for a moment, listening to the edge in Paul’s tone. “Paul. He’s sleeping, he looks and sounds just the way he always does. I’ve seen the scans. We are ok. I am going to get him back to you in one piece.”

“Sweetheart, I’ve never had any doubts about that.” Paul said crisply. “Not ever. Now call Caroline.”

 

 

To be continued tomorrow in part 2.
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by Rorie on Wed Dec 19, 2018 4:05 pm

Thank you Ranger. Off to do my evening reading...

Best day of the week so far!

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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by ocelotspots00 on Wed Dec 19, 2018 4:50 pm

"Metaphorically speaking, Dale clicked down his visor, pulled on his gauntlets and walked with some relief back into battle."

Gah! Love it!  So, so Dale....
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by Dells on Wed Dec 19, 2018 4:59 pm

Let me first just say that I am eternally grateful you didn’t leave me at the end of part 1a like that... that would have been crueler than the MEC roof-hanger! So, thank you for not doing that to me! Hysterics  thank you

I’m loving it so far and can’t wait for the next parts. I can’t shake this feeling that there’s more to Dale’s vision problem than the head injury... What-related maybe? Hmm....... very intrigued for more! bounceVery Happy
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by MizbehavinOne on Wed Dec 19, 2018 5:21 pm

I always look forward to the yearly Xmas story. And, a usual, you blow me away with it. Soooo wonderful!

And now I get to drum my fingers on the desk for 24 hours while I wait for the next installment Very Happy

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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by Dizzy on Wed Dec 19, 2018 5:22 pm

I’d be more than happy, thrilled actually, to help Dale out!  It wouldn’t take anytime at all to get to Wisconsin!  I could help Dale while he is temporarily visually impaired and I could take a turn at driving, giving Flynn a break now and then!


Off to pack a bag and head out to Wisconsin!


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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by knox0606 on Wed Dec 19, 2018 5:35 pm

Rolf and Ranger,

This is amazing! I am getting ready to start a second read! What a gift!

Knox

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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by Hawklady on Wed Dec 19, 2018 5:58 pm

Um.... Oh my God Dale is BLIND!!!!

I know it'll only be temporary but wow, I did not see that coming even a little bit but can't wait to see him in that situation back at the ranch house. How he manages and how everyone in the whole family responds to the situation. It's hard to imagine a more horrible/perfect situation for Dale whose photographic memory depends on vision and who cannot "not do".

You guys are marvelous about figuring out just what temporary handicaps you can put your characters into that force the most interesting growth of character.

Either I missed a huge plot point or we are being introduced to Sarah in quite a mischievous way. I mean, come on! I know at the end of this story I'm still gonna have to wait to find out how and why he has a little girl what following him around!?! *Stamps foot* Not fair!
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by DeeDee on Wed Dec 19, 2018 6:27 pm

Too funny:  

"Dale, if you make any hospital staff cry, you’ll be in trouble. Behave.”

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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by ewr on Wed Dec 19, 2018 6:32 pm

Loving it so far!  Thanks so much, R&R!.

Research that must have been necessary for this story:  ship yard engine room; effects of explosion thereon; concussion, potential visual effects thereof; and, as we know from Ranger's earlier question to the forum, German comfort food, preparation and presentation thereof.  (My guess is that relates to a random stop on the road trip home.) . And that's just with chapter one.  I assume you already had the interpersonal group dynamics under control, without need for fresh investigation.  How many other areas did you need to research to give us this gift?  I can't wait to see!  The preparation you put into the backdrop of these stories never fails to astonish me.

And all of this is overlaid with H/C and further development for my favorite character and second favorite relationship (most days, the Dale/Paul relationship is my first, by a miniscule margin.)  And more development of the Whats.

It doesn't get much better than this.  Thank you both so much.

Lise

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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by DeeDee on Wed Dec 19, 2018 6:40 pm

@ewr wrote: and, as we know from Ranger's earlier question to the forum, German comfort food, preparation and presentation thereof.  (My guess is that relates to a random stop on the road trip home.) . 

Lise
That's a really good observation!  I wonder if somehow it will be family of Sarah? 

Dee
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by knox0606 on Wed Dec 19, 2018 6:57 pm

Before reading the story, I expected to be immersed in Germany based on Ranger's queries. I imagined we would see Niall, James in the country after WWII and perhaps the injured German man they later brought to the ranch.

On my second read-through, I began to wonder if there might be a connection between Dale's injuries and the war experiences of James and Niall.

I also am very excited to see Sarah's presence revealed!

The first two parts are treasure troves of ideas and possibilities!

Can't wait until tomorrow!

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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by ewr on Wed Dec 19, 2018 7:14 pm

@DeeDee wrote:
@ewr wrote: and, as we know from Ranger's earlier question to the forum, German comfort food, preparation and presentation thereof.  (My guess is that relates to a random stop on the road trip home.) . 

Lise
That's a really good observation!  I wonder if somehow it will be family of Sarah? 

Dee
Oh, Dee, you're probably right about the Sarah connection.  I hadn't thought of that, but R&R are VERY good at tying together loose ends; not much is left for "random".

Lise

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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by knox0606 on Wed Dec 19, 2018 7:29 pm

One other thought...with the title THE OREGON WAY, perhaps the route Flynn and Dale will take is along the Oregon Trail route? Was it also the route taken by Sarah and her family before their arrival at the land that became FCR?

So many possible threads......

Knox

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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by Dizzy on Wed Dec 19, 2018 7:37 pm

@knox0606 wrote:One other thought...with the title THE OREGON WAY, perhaps the route Flynn and Dale will take is along the Oregon Trail route? Was it also the route taken by Sarah and her family before their arrival at the land that became FCR?

So many possible threads......

Knox

That was my thought too, @knox0606. The wagon trains fascinated me as a kid.  Actually they still do!


I really love the idea of Flynn and Dale taking a driving trip together. 


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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by DeeDee on Wed Dec 19, 2018 7:37 pm

Until this story, I never felt Jeremy Banks was a forceful character.  I always felt him leaning on Dale's abilities to lead and guide.  But when the explosion happened, you see the real strength of him come out and he is very Dale-esque.  You really see his ability to command a situation, whether a high pressure negotiation, or a real crisis.  I guess I just assumed his lack of ability because he always used those strengths in Dale to move something forward, as though he was unable to.  Anyway, it just gave me a different view of this character.  

I honestly can't believe we won't get to have any Christmas mall shopping excitement - it honestly is the highlight of the Christmas season for me.  I seriously doubt Riley acted up on the excursion because he had no backup in Flynn's grumping!  lol - poor thing!  But I do hope that Paul enjoyed the trip - it was, after all, what I wanted him to have - but for me, I LOVE the good laugh that Flynn ensures with every trip to the store!  

While I hope that whatever is affecting Dale clears up quickly - like overnight would be good for me - I'm left wondering if more is at work here.  I've come to be highly suspicious of your writing now because rarely is anything as it seems, so I'm very much looking forward to seeing how this story goes on!  

I know this will sound horrible, but we always see these stories from Dale's pov and never is there any 'distress' in any of the tops when something happens, so it's rather nice to see them feel the same things any of us would feel when someone they love is injured.  And yes, I do understand they feel it, but we never really 'see' it.  Flynn's conversation with Jasper gave a hint into a bit of that distress, until he pulled himself together.  When you don't 'KNOW' what is happening it can be alarming (at a minimum), and even having minimal knowledge doesn't really help all that much.  The 'how serious is it, really' factor is what most of us run to first, and when you just don't know, it's hard not to be alarmed and scared.  Flynn will always put the "I'm here, it's alright" face forward for both Ri and Dale, but even he feels that fear.  This was one of those story lines that I 'hate' to see and 'love' to see at the same time.  It shows all sides of this man - that we rarely get to see - and is a great reminder that even he needs a bit of support.  

Your stories have me running in so many directions and I love it!  The joy that you create on this list when sharing a story with us can actually be felt.  You keep so true to your characters and teach us so much while allowing us into a lifestyle many of us will never live but yearn for.  Relationships so strong you are jealous of them (or I am).  Bits of humor strung into serious situations to alleviate fear, characters real enough to believe they must live somewhere in Wyoming, if we could only find them - it's all a gift every time you share, but at Christmas it's like a special present 'just for me'.  

You will never know how very much your writing means because I can't share back with you in the same way. I can only say THANK YOU both so very much!  And I look forward to the finish of this story as the days to Christmas creep up on us!  

Dee
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by dragonquest1313 on Wed Dec 19, 2018 7:39 pm

Thank you, so excited to read this, loved how Flynn confiscated his second cup of coffee at the hotel. Looking forward to how the family will pull together over this as well as how much if any "trouble" Dale gets into.
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by knox0606 on Wed Dec 19, 2018 7:40 pm

You would be an excellent chauffeur Dizzy. Are you packed? Waiting for Carolina's call?

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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by Dizzy on Wed Dec 19, 2018 7:42 pm

@knox0606 wrote:You would be an excellent chauffeur Dizzy. Are you packed? Waiting for Carolina's call?

Knox


Packed and ready to go!!  I’m always up for a trip and adventure!  Would you like me to swing by and pick you up?  Oh the fun to be had!!


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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by DeeDee on Wed Dec 19, 2018 7:46 pm

@knox0606 wrote:One other thought...with the title THE OREGON WAY, perhaps the route Flynn and Dale will take is along the Oregon Trail route? Was it also the route taken by Sarah and her family before their arrival at the land that became FCR?

So many possible threads......

Knox
So when the story had NOTHING to do with Oregon, my next thought was that it might be the Oregon Trail. So I did a smidge of research and Wisconsin was not listed among the present day states the trail went through.  However, Wyoming is, so maybe that is the connection??  You are right though - so many possible threads and authors that never take the easy or obvious route to a story!

Dee


Last edited by DeeDee on Wed Dec 19, 2018 7:47 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spelling)
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by knox0606 on Wed Dec 19, 2018 7:58 pm

@Dizzy wrote:
@knox0606 wrote:You would be an excellent chauffeur Dizzy. Are you packed? Waiting for Carolina's call?

Knox


Packed and ready to go!!  I’m always up for a trip and adventure!  Would you like me to swing by and pick you up?  Oh the fun to be had!!


Dizzy
Since I am in NC, not too terribly far from McAdenville btw, it would be a long detour. I will create a road trip play list for your ipod.  I would begin with "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) " by Darlene Love.

Safe travels @Dizzy!

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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by DeeDee on Wed Dec 19, 2018 8:31 pm

@ewr wrote:
@DeeDee wrote:
@ewr wrote: and, as we know from Ranger's earlier question to the forum, German comfort food, preparation and presentation thereof.  (My guess is that relates to a random stop on the road trip home.) . 

Lise
That's a really good observation!  I wonder if somehow it will be family of Sarah? 

Dee
Oh, Dee, you're probably right about the Sarah connection.  I hadn't thought of that, but R&R are VERY good at tying together loose ends; not much is left for "random".

Lise
I rather hope it has something to do with her - she's featured a lot in this first chapter!  

So I'm curious what YOU think of the title.  I mentioned it to others, but no comments so far - your insight in catching the 'Ranger comments' makes me curious if you have other thoughts on the title and trip home?

Dee
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by Hayjude on Wed Dec 19, 2018 9:37 pm

Grrr....now you’ve made me late for work - couldn’t wait!
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by iam on Wed Dec 19, 2018 10:53 pm

Oh wow, that was intense! Great start of the story, I'm really looking forward to the rest of it. Thank you so much Rolf and Ranger! 

It was interesting to see more of Jerry Banks. I wonder if he knows Dale and Flynn are married? He did find out Dale married someone at the ranch after all, it was in The Pumpkin Patch I believe. Maybe Jerry kept his eyes open for rings...

I really feel for Dale Sad He's handling it extremely well, though, considering he just lost his vision. Last year I had a few... Incidents where parts of my vision just vanished for a while. Completely out of the blue I could no longer see words while reading, it was like having a huge blind spot in my field of view. It turned out to be most likely migraine related, but it was so scary in the moment, especially since I had some other unpleasant symptoms along with it (half my body fell numb, I couldn't form words in written or spoken form... Not fun.)
Luckily Dale had Flynn with him, Paul on the line, Sarah and David at his side and Jerry there who cares about his health too! Having someone close with you when these things happen is incredibly valuable, I shudder just thinking about how Dale might have handled this pre-ranch.

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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by Denicemarcell on Wed Dec 19, 2018 11:01 pm

Because of the setup of forum mobile interface I read part b first not knowing it was part b. And it made sense, flowed well and only lacked some background context. Now I have read part a. Tonight I will read them again in order.
Sarah is a dear, pleased she is able to make Dale smile and David’s comments are direct and on topic therefore Dale’s energy must be in sync with theirs which shows us his progress. And Dale is helping Jasper convert the scientist. Good for him/them.

Poor Paul, I can feel him worrying...are there enough people in the house to help Jasper and Riley distract him.?

I need to get to our atlas stand and count states both for Sarah and for Flynn and Dale.
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by Dizzy on Wed Dec 19, 2018 11:03 pm

@iam wrote:Oh wow, that was intense! Great start of the story, I'm really looking forward to the rest of it. Thank you so much Rolf and Ranger! 

It was interesting to see more of Jerry Banks. I wonder if he knows Dale and Flynn are married? He did find out Dale married someone at the ranch after all, it was in The Pumpkin Patch I believe. Maybe Jerry kept his eyes open for rings...

I really feel for Dale Sad He's handling it extremely well, though, considering he just lost his vision. Last year I had a few... Incidents where parts of my vision just vanished for a while. Completely out of the blue I could no longer see words while reading, it was like having a huge blind spot in my field of view. It turned out to be most likely migraine related, but it was so scary in the moment, especially since I had some other unpleasant symptoms along with it (half my body fell numb, I couldn't form words in written or spoken form... Not fun.)
Luckily Dale had Flynn with him, Paul on the line, Sarah and David at his side and Jerry there who cares about his health too! Having someone close with you when these things happen is incredibly valuable, I shudder just thinking about how Dale might have handled this pre-ranch.


I have those kind of migraines, @iam.  I’ve had them since I was a teenager.  They are very, very scary.  They mimic a stroke with the numbness and the slurred or garbled speech.   I go almost completely blind as well.   The headache part seems to come later.   


I’m sending you tons of good vibes as they are scary and just so awful to have.


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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by Houndnhorse1 on Wed Dec 19, 2018 11:29 pm

Wait until Paul finds out that Dale just kept on going with his presentation when his sight failed.......Paul will not like that, I predict.
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by curious1_53 on Thu Dec 20, 2018 12:28 am

This story is off to a great start, I'm loving it! 

I did some slight research and found:

1.) The Oregon Trail started at Independence, MO, to take it from Wisconsin would require a considerable southerly detour from a direct route. (sources: Wikipedia, (US) National Park Service)

2.) Depending on where one starts in Wisconsin, the most direct route would be Interstate 80 or Interstate 90. (source: Google maps) There are also some older, slower roads (US 20) through Dubuque and Sioux City, joining I-25 in Wyoming to go through Casper. 

3.) The old route of the Oregon trail parallels I-80 starting from Lincoln NE, then follows US-26 and I-25 to Casper. 

I always enjoy hearing about Caroline getting involved. She's my favorite minor character and I hope to see more of her in this story. 

I can't believe Jasper is using paper maps instead of Google Maps on the Internet. (Well, it's Jasper, so on second thought I suppose I can believe.)

Like others, I thought about the German food, and my first thought was about getting stuck in a snowstorm, and taking refuge and hospitality in a farmhouse owned by a family of German heritage, but someone's point that there may be a parallel flashback story line about James and Niall's war experience would be just the sort of thing I see as a standard part of R&R's writing style for short stories.
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by kinneydu on Thu Dec 20, 2018 12:42 am

What a wonderful start to a story.  I love Dale/Finn focussed stories, and it is great how the other ranch people are there with them even though they are physicallly back at the ranch.  And the inclusion of Sarah is a beautiful addition (as well as David of course).  It makes it seem as though the whole ranch is rallying round Dale while he is away from home.  Looking forward to the next chapters.

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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by Mell Eight on Thu Dec 20, 2018 12:58 am

@Dells wrote:I’m loving it so far and can’t wait for the next parts. I can’t shake this feeling that there’s more to Dale’s vision problem than the head injury... What-related maybe? Hmm....... very intrigued for more! bounceVery Happy


I had the exact same thought!  Given David in the engine room seemed to to think the danger was over (although I want to reread his reaction and Dale's interpretation to be sure), and given how minor the cut was, I'm leaning towards Sarah being the culprit.  Perhaps she was blind?  That could be how she died? 

Out of curiosity, do you think Sarah might be the little girl Dale first saw skipping near the hot springs, right before he meets the guy who had a heart attack?  He speaks to her in German, I believe.  From reading Little House on the Prairie, I know travelers heading west often stopped for a while to recuperate before moving along again.  Maybe Sarah's family lived in that little house for a while before continuing on and that was when the wagon accident Dale mentioned happened?

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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by abouttime2stop on Thu Dec 20, 2018 1:00 am

who else googled the car trip? I am getting 20 hours as of tonight. Stopping every few hours makes me wonder...stopping for what? Meals, stretch your legs, overnight. Early start - 3 hours driving, stop for a breakfast, 3 hours, stop for lunch, 3 hours, stop for dinner, 3 hours, stop for the night. That trip could take 2 days and they would be home. Stop for museums, see the sights, snow storm, it could be longer but with Dale not able to see there is no reason to dawdle.

Vehicle - no question they would buy one. https://cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/rankings/luxury-large-suvs

Flynn will want Dale to rest and relax in comfort. My bet is on a Lincoln Navigator.
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by ewr on Thu Dec 20, 2018 1:22 am

Dee and Iam, I get ophthalmic migraines, too.  No headache usually, no numbness, but sudden onset of loss of half my visual field and jagged lines like horizontal lightning thru the rest of it.  It doesn't happen very often, but terrified me the first time--I thought i was having a stroke.  Luckily, the first time it happened I was in the office and was able to walk up a flight of stairs and see my friendly neurologist within 15 minutes and get the reassuring diagnosis.

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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by Houndnhorse1 on Thu Dec 20, 2018 1:24 am

Oh, I just realized...Flynn and Dale (and Sarah) are going to travel the wagon train path back home. Love this story. 
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by abouttime2stop on Thu Dec 20, 2018 1:34 am

I have also had visual loss suddenly, but it was a halo or narrowing of my visual field - like looking through a tunnel. I thought I had worn my contact lenses too long but it has happened a few times and it is not related. I think mine is a form of migraine, but not sure if that matches Dales' experience.
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by ewr on Thu Dec 20, 2018 1:57 am

And Dee, my thoughts about the title:  Sarah and her family were on the Oregon Trail with their wagon when they had their accident and she died on the ranch, weren't they?  They would only have had to go a little south from Wisconsin to get to where the Trail starts in Missouri. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Route_of_the_Oregon_Trail#/media/File:Oregontrail_1907.jpg    

I suspect Dale and Flynn basically follow the same route home, and Sarah accompanies them off and on.

On the other hand, the title is "The Oregon Way", not "The Oregon Trail", and R&R tend to be precise.  When I duck-duck-go the former, I get a lot of addresses, and the rather worrisome  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/oct/13/usa-healthandwellbeing   Google gives a more political slant, eg:  "The Oregon Way is a political decision-making process that aims to overcome political barriers and achieve positive results." 


So basically, I dunno ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by Parkq on Thu Dec 20, 2018 2:28 am

I’m so glad I didn’t read 1a yesterday because it would have been agony waiting for 1b! I loooove Dale and Flynn together so I’m in heaven reading this. Thanks Rolf and Ranger for another great Christmas story.

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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by huhchuh on Thu Dec 20, 2018 2:33 am

Banks says:
“I know. I know. You like us to get the hell out of your way when you’ve got a man down. All right. I’ll take my flight out, but his PA is on stand by and she’s a bloody marvel, and so is mine, and both of them can always get hold of me. Any time, anything you need, you let me know.”

This makes me suspect that it bothers Banks that he wasn't able to protect Dale. If I were in Banks shoes I would wonder what I missed, what I could have done differently. I imagine that he feels regret over Dale's needing to leave, Dale's illness, and Dale's choice not to return.

There is a distinct lack of resolution from Banks perspective. Will he try to understand more? Overhear or oversee something that helps him understand better?

Or did he see enough of the Top/brat dynamic a few years ago to understand?

And maybe, I'm asking underneath all these wondetings, if there might be a bit of world melding at some point for Dale. Will Banks be a friend or an acquaintance?

Thank you!

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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by Hayjude on Thu Dec 20, 2018 3:09 am

@iam wrote:Last year I had a few... Incidents where parts of my vision just vanished for a while. Completely out of the blue I could no longer see words while reading, it was like having a huge blind spot in my field of view. It turned out to be most likely migraine related, but it was so scary in the moment, especially since I had some other unpleasant symptoms along with it (half my body fell numb, I couldn't form words in written or spoken form... Not fun.)
I’m concerned, iam. That sounds very much like a mini-stroke. Did you get a CAT scan done to rule out a cerebral vascular accident?
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by Zicat on Thu Dec 20, 2018 5:50 am

@iam wrote:Oh wow, that was intense! Great start of the story, I'm really looking forward to the rest of it. Thank you so much Rolf and Ranger! 

It was interesting to see more of Jerry Banks. I wonder if he knows Dale and Flynn are married? He did find out Dale married someone at the ranch after all, it was in The Pumpkin Patch I believe. Maybe Jerry kept his eyes open for rings...

I really feel for Dale Sad He's handling it extremely well, though, considering he just lost his vision. Last year I had a few... Incidents where parts of my vision just vanished for a while. Completely out of the blue I could no longer see words while reading, it was like having a huge blind spot in my field of view. It turned out to be most likely migraine related, but it was so scary in the moment, especially since I had some other unpleasant symptoms along with it (half my body fell numb, I couldn't form words in written or spoken form... Not fun.)
Luckily Dale had Flynn with him, Paul on the line, Sarah and David at his side and Jerry there who cares about his health too! Having someone close with you when these things happen is incredibly valuable, I shudder just thinking about how Dale might have handled this pre-ranch.
My husband suffers migraines caused by whiplash from a car accident many years ago, they mimic the signs of having a stroke, which sounds similar to yours. There is no cure, though surgery was discussed, but he finds massage helpful.
I hope you find something to help ward off yours as they can be quite debilitating.
But, please see a doctor for a thorough check-up.
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by Hayjude on Thu Dec 20, 2018 7:42 am

Dee, glad you saw Banks as he really is. It’s been said before that he can out roar and out table thump everyone else with his rugby field bellow - I think In Madison’s Hall as well as here. 
Off work for 2 weeks now, enjoying my second read through and SO looking forward to what tomorrow brings. 
Thank you, Rolf and Ranger.... Bravo thank you
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by iam on Thu Dec 20, 2018 10:00 am

@Dizzy wrote:
@iam wrote:I really feel for Dale Sad He's handling it extremely well, though, considering he just lost his vision. Last year I had a few... Incidents where parts of my vision just vanished for a while. Completely out of the blue I could no longer see words while reading, it was like having a huge blind spot in my field of view. It turned out to be most likely migraine related, but it was so scary in the moment, especially since I had some other unpleasant symptoms along with it (half my body fell numb, I couldn't form words in written or spoken form... Not fun.)
I have those kind of migraines, @iam.  I’ve had them since I was a teenager.  They are very, very scary.  They mimic a stroke with the numbness and the slurred or garbled speech.   I go almost completely blind as well.   The headache part seems to come later.   

I’m sending you tons of good vibes as they are scary and just so awful to have.

Dizzy
Thank you, Dizzy. The scare factor lessened a bit now that I know it's not a stroke or something serious, but it's very unsettling. I can imagine it's even worse when it happenes first as a teenager! I hope you have lots of support and they don't happen too often for you.

@ewr wrote:Dee and Iam, I get ophthalmic migraines, too.  No headache usually, no numbness, but sudden onset of loss of half my visual field and jagged lines like horizontal lightning thru the rest of it.  It doesn't happen very often, but terrified me the first time--I thought i was having a stroke.  Luckily, the first time it happened I was in the office and was able to walk up a flight of stairs and see my friendly neurologist within 15 minutes and get the reassuring diagnosis.
Oh yes, I tend to get those jagged lines too! They are so confusing and make me feel... almost floaty? I can't concentrae on anything anymore. Most recently they happened when I was in the cinema, luckily I already knew the movie or I would have completely lost sight of the plot. And yes, they are absolutely terrifying at first :/ You're so lucky to have a friendly office neurologist nearby!


@Hayjude wrote:
@iam wrote:Last year I had a few... Incidents where parts of my vision just vanished for a while. Completely out of the blue I could no longer see words while reading, it was like having a huge blind spot in my field of view. It turned out to be most likely migraine related, but it was so scary in the moment, especially since I had some other unpleasant symptoms along with it (half my body fell numb, I couldn't form words in written or spoken form... Not fun.)
I’m concerned, iam. That sounds very much like a mini-stroke. Did you get a CAT scan done to rule out a cerebral vascular accident?
Thank you for your concern! Yes, I immediately went to the hospital when it first happened and got a CT scan. Everything's fine up there, and now I have a scan of my brain on a CD Very Happy  I happen to work a lot with CT scans and brain aneurysms in particular, so while I had all the facts about those and how they can cause all the symptoms I was having in my mind, part of me was also really curious and almost morbidly excited.

@Zicat wrote:
@iam wrote:I really feel for Dale Sad He's handling it extremely well, though, considering he just lost his vision. Last year I had a few... Incidents where parts of my vision just vanished for a while. Completely out of the blue I could no longer see words while reading, it was like having a huge blind spot in my field of view. It turned out to be most likely migraine related, but it was so scary in the moment, especially since I had some other unpleasant symptoms along with it (half my body fell numb, I couldn't form words in written or spoken form... Not fun.)
My husband suffers migraines caused by whiplash from a car accident many years ago, they mimic the signs of having a stroke, which sounds similar to yours. There is no cure, though surgery was discussed, but he finds massage helpful.
I hope you find something to help ward off yours as they can be quite debilitating.
But, please see a doctor for a thorough check-up.
The massages are a great idea! Somehow I never considered them before. My shoulders and neck tend to get very tense from sitting at a desk all day, which is a huge risk factor for these kind if migraine symptoms apparently, along with staring at computer screens a lot (Dale wasn't far off with his first assessment of the situation.)
And thank you for your concern, I did go to the hospital when it first happened. In hindsight, the worst about the whole experience was how rude the person at the emergency dispatch was (when I tried to tell them what was happening, they just replied with "so what?" and treated me like an inconvenience) and that it happened in the middle of the night, so when I left the out-of-the-city hospital I had no idea where exactly I was or how I was supposed to get home.

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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by iam on Thu Dec 20, 2018 10:13 am

@Denicemarcell wrote:Because of the setup of forum mobile interface I read part b first not knowing it was part b. And it made sense, flowed well and only lacked some background context.  Now I have read part a. Tonight I will read them again in order.
The mobile layout is terribly inconvenient. I always switch to desktop layout when I access the forum from my phone, maybe that works better for you too?

@abouttime2stop wrote:Vehicle - no question they would buy one. https://cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/rankings/luxury-large-suvs

Flynn will want Dale to rest and relax in comfort. My bet is on a Lincoln Navigator.
Oh I love the idea of them cruising about in one of these battleships! (not sure if you use that term in English, in Germany we call all sorts of massive or oversized vehicles "Schlachtschiff", meaning battleship)

I love all the discussions about Banks, Sarah's involvement, the title and a possible roadtrip! So many things didn't even occur to me. I'm very excited for the next part.

@Hayjude wrote:Dee, glad you saw Banks as he really is. It’s been said before that he can out roar and out table thump everyone else with his rugby field bellow - I think In Madison’s Hall as well as here. 
I remember that scene, it immediately came to mind when Banks started yelling. I also thought it  says a lot about how much Dale trusts him that Dale let's Banks take the reins here. Sure, he did his part too, but it felt like Dale deliberately took more of a supporting role in the evacuation while letting Banks take point.

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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by Hayjude on Thu Dec 20, 2018 10:43 am

Well, Banks IS the boss, after all! ( or so he thinks!)
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by scareDcat on Thu Dec 20, 2018 10:54 am

I remember when Dale first came to the ranch he was described as a good team player.
He seems to assess a situation and immediately fill the role that's needed either leader, support or team player

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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by iam on Thu Dec 20, 2018 11:09 am

True, though Dale seems to forget the team dynamics when his family is involved... like in Madison Hall, where he very much didn't just stay in a supporting role. Then again, he was not in a business setting there, and a whole lot more personal emotions were involved.

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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by Maaliem on Thu Dec 20, 2018 4:16 pm

What a great start to this Christmas story! I never saw any of this coming. Looking forward to a Flynn/Dale road trip. Loved how Jasper offered to fly out and how Flynn reassured Paul. Also the vision of Flynn holding Dale in bed so he would know he was safe and could rest. Thank you!

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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by Nonni on Thu Dec 20, 2018 5:54 pm

@curious1_53 wrote:This story is off to a great start, I'm loving it! 

I did some slight research and found:

1.) The Oregon Trail started at Independence, MO, to take it from Wisconsin would require a considerable southerly detour from a direct route. (sources: Wikipedia, (US) National Park Service)

2.) Depending on where one starts in Wisconsin, the most direct route would be Interstate 80 or Interstate 90. (source: Google maps) There are also some older, slower roads (US 20) through Dubuque and Sioux City, joining I-25 in Wyoming to go through Casper. 

3.) The old route of the Oregon trail parallels I-80 starting from Lincoln NE, then follows US-26 and I-25 to Casper. 

I always enjoy hearing about Caroline getting involved. She's my favorite minor character and I hope to see more of her in this story. 

I can't believe Jasper is using paper maps instead of Google Maps on the Internet. (Well, it's Jasper, so on second thought I suppose I can believe.)

Like others, I thought about the German food, and my first thought was about getting stuck in a snowstorm, and taking refuge and hospitality in a farmhouse owned by a family of German heritage, but someone's point that there may be a parallel flashback story line about James and Niall's war experience would be just the sort of thing I see as a standard part of R&R's writing style for short stories.

If I remember correctly, Council Bluffs Iowa is on the Northern section of the Oregon Trail. If they were in southern Wisconsin, they could have traveled across Iowa and picked up the train in Council Bluffs, perhaps.

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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by Nonni on Thu Dec 20, 2018 6:23 pm

@knox0606 wrote:
@Dizzy wrote:
@knox0606 wrote:You would be an excellent chauffeur Dizzy. Are you packed? Waiting for Carolina's call?

Knox


Packed and ready to go!!  I’m always up for a trip and adventure!  Would you like me to swing by and pick you up?  Oh the fun to be had!!


Dizzy
Since I am in NC, not too terribly far from McAdenville btw, it would be a long detour. I will create a road trip play list for your ipod.  I would begin with "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) " by Darlene Love.


Safe travels @Dizzy!

Knox

I love a good road trip! I guess I ought to leave now, though. It will take me 15 hours to meet you in Wisconsin, but probably best for Dale to take a little extra time to recover anyway, right? And, when the play list runs out, I'm happy to sing Stan Rogers songs or any number of various ancient wassailing songs.

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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by Nonni on Thu Dec 20, 2018 6:43 pm

So so many things I love about this.
When Flynn says, "Nothing is going to happen that we can’t handle.” it just seems so comforting and honest.
I'm still giggling over, “You were quite a sensible scientist when I met you.”
Paul's responses are so Paul!! And I absolutely love it when he speaks Dale's thoughts and feelings for him.
Jasper and Paul supporting Flynn really is a reminder how much these folks work as a team and how strong that makes them as a whole.
And David and Sarah being there is such a comfort. I'm thrilled to get more time with little Sarah especially. I liked her right from the start when Dale spoke with her in German (at least I'm supposing that is the same child as I don't recall names.)
So happy to have these lovely stories!

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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

Post by Ranger52899 on Thu Dec 20, 2018 8:32 pm

Thank you! What a lovely response to the first part Smile Smile We're delighted people are having fun with it. 

We're not giving away clues. At all. Neither confirming nor denying a thing, although we're enjoying the speculation Wink You'll just have to wait and see! 

Multiple  group hug  to the people with such awful migraines! They sound very nasty! 


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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 1b

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