Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

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Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

Post by Ranger52899 on Sat Dec 22, 2018 12:54 pm



 

22nd December

 

 

            On Flynn’s insistence they laid in bed much later than they usually would on the ranch, and since Stefan and Jorg also got up late due to their late evening at the fair, they shared breakfast together after nine in the dining room. The coffee and cakes were hot and good, and the chat, mostly about the fair and the local politics around it, was comfortable. After several days preventing a diplomatic incident with table thumping and threats, hearing about who snubbed who on the planning committee and who had then defriended who on Facebook was really quite soothing. They exchanged phone numbers and postal addresses when they left an hour later, with an invitation for Stefan and Jorg to stay at the ranch any time they were passing through Wyoming. Dale thought these two would be likely to take them up on it.

On the road out of Kearney, they almost immediately had to cross the Platte river. Sarah and her family’s wagons would have forded it somewhere near here, having carefully chosen their spot. As soon as Dale thought about it, Sarah showed him. The grownups had waded the river, leading the oxen, and the children had ridden the wagons across, relying on the carefully caulked wagon beds to float and protect the dry goods from the water. The tar barrel hung beneath the wagon and Papa checked and filled the gaps before he led the team down into the water. She sat on the driving board, clinging on with both hands, and watched their little cavalcade make its way across. The occasional wagon got stuck and had to be dug out and dragged free, but they sounded the river as being only four-foot-deep in the middle, and while it was a long, slow process they crossed without difficulty. Flynn described the land for Dale as the road crossed the bridge: he saw a wide, quiet, brown river with lush green banks and trees.

 

From there, they drove the long road through the green desert which Sarah knew grew rockier as sage brush took over from grass. At Ogallala, two hours and a hundred and forty nine miles down the road, they crossed the river again, and this time from Flynn’s description the banks were rocky and dry, the river less clear and considerably less peaceful. It had taken the average wagon a minimum of eight days to travel the distance that just rolled away beneath the wheels of the four by four. Ogallala had not existed in Sarah’s day, but the river here had been thick, muddy and full of flies. She showed Dale her image of it with disgust. Even boiled hard and full of coffee and sugar it was still disgusting to drink. Mrs Armstrong died near the river. Since Aunt May drove her wagon and the baby had been with Mama so long, the children didn’t much notice. But it was here that Mama no longer noticed when Sarah didn’t put on her boots, and she ran barefoot on the sage brush like the others, with little feet toughened like leather. To her that was a triumph. By Dale’s reckoning, the children who walked out of Council Bluffs had now walked over three hundred miles.

Near to Ash Hollow by Flynn’s description the ground got rockier and hillier with steep bluffs rising out of the desert, and there was very little in the way of houses or settlements around here. It took a while to find the track in Caroline’s directions that led to the small farmhouse bed and breakfast. Snow was lightly dusting the track and the windscreen as they pulled into the yard, and Flynn turned off the engine.

“Someone coming to meet us. This must be the owner.”

They appeared to mostly be wearing pale pink, head to foot despite the weather. Dale watched the outline of Flynn getting out of the car to shake hands.

“Hello. Flynn O’Sullivan and Dale Aden, we’re booked in with you for tonight.”

“Namaste.” The pink figure had a happy, woman’s voice and appeared to bow before shaking hands. “We’re so pleased you’re visiting us. I’m Angel, and Yokurte is in the garden, he’ll be along to say hello in a while.”

Flynn came around the car, holding the door for Dale to get out. Dale offered a hand in the general direction of the pink.

“Good afternoon. I’m sorry, my vision isn’t great, I’m having to feel my way around the-”

He broke off as his hand touched hers, and both of them drew breath. Then her voice warmed and radically changed tone.

Well. Don’t you have an aura and a half? My goodness. You’re not clouded at all, are you?” Dale felt her hand pass lightly in front of his face. “You’re as clear as a bell, what happened to your vision?”

“A head injury a couple of days ago.” The sense of energy coming off her was strong, and it was a bright energy, a warm and relaxed one that she was using quite intentionally in the way of someone who knew about energy. She took his hand again, and the strength of the sensation was fascinating. She reminded Dale of Valerie, in Jackson. Or Jasper.

“Your heart chakra is blazing though. And your third eye is….. Do you work as a healer? But it isn’t just that. There are other things aren’t there? I can feel it.”

“It’s a bit more complicated than that, yes.” This was a somewhat odd question to be having with a total stranger in a front yard, but the people who saw and got this, and who spoke the language, were rare enough that Dale knew from Valerie, when they met they valued each other for that understanding. It was much the same as a middle aged gay couple who valued the time with another adult couple in a small town, something that reached over the normal barrier between strangers, and he didn’t hesitate to respond just as warmly. “It’s pretty much specific to the land we live on.”

“You work from there?”

“In a manner of speaking, yes. What do you do?”

“Mostly I help people with relaxation and clearing their energy.”

“That he could use.” Flynn said a little pointedly. Angel laughed.

“Ah I see. A stressful few days was it? I’m delighted to meet you both.” Angel put a hand through his arm to guide him. “So Flynn, that must mean you’re the business man from ANZ?”

Dale heard Flynn’s very soft sound of amusement. “No, that’s him too.”

“You’d be surprised at how much the two things go together,” Dale said apologetically. “Although it isn’t something I tell everyone about.”

“I quite understand.” Angel said with sympathy, “One of the things Yokurte and I wanted when we moved out here was to be able to live this way all day every day. I’m very glad you were called to stay with us, and I’m even gladder now we did decide to put you out in the pod. You’ll appreciate the clarity out there, and it might help you with whatever your third eye is so busy with. It’s through this way, do you have any bags to bring? You’re our only guests, you’re going to have the whole garden to yourselves.”

From what Dale could make out, they walked around the side of the long, low house along paths between the sage brush and bushes. Trees and evergreen bushes grew thickly at the back, screening out the wind, and Dale saw the shine on a reflective surface on the ground, that after a moment he recognised as water.

“This is the pod.” Angel said, leading him up a turn in the path. There was a clearing in amongst the bushes and – Dale blinked, unable to make it out.

“It’s inflated.” Angel said happily. “It has its own turbine working all the time, so the air and humidity are very pure and soothing. Completely clear all around, so you can see the stars- oh I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be tactless Dale. You’ll be surprised how snug it is, although there’s hot water bottles under the bed if you want them. There’s a bathroom block just down the path, and a fire pit to the side of your pod here, Yokurte put out logs for you this morning, and your PA requested an evening meal so we put a basket of provisions inside. We have a meditation meeting with some friends in Ogallala this evening but there should be plenty in the basket to keep you both going. Do you plan to do any walking today?”

It was an inflatable pod. Quite glad he couldn’t see Flynn’s face since not laughing would be difficult, Dale kept quiet and let Flynn answer that one.

“We’re interested in the pioneer history of the area.” Flynn said, very steadily considering the circumstances. “Particularly the wagon trains.”

“Well there’s California Hill, and Windlass Hill over this way.” Angel said helpfully. “California Hill is a little way back towards Ogallala, the view is spectacular up there and the wagon ruts are visible. And you’ll find Windlass Hill about a mile further on up the road, that’s the Ash Hollow park – that was the valley by the river wagon trains used to rest and camp. There’s a car park there and a visitors centre with a small museum, that’s nice to look around. They have some of the Neolithic finds they’ve made in the cave, this area was occupied a very long time back.”

There were Neolithic tribes here? Having known the geology of the area but not the palaeontology, Dale reflected on that with interest.

“It’s quite a climb if you want to go up the hill,” Angel went on, “but it’s pretty and the energy there is lovely. It was one of the biggest reasons we chose this farmstead to be on the doorstep of it.” She patted Dale’s arm. “I’ll let you get settled in. Just knock at the back door if you need anything.”

“What is the house?” Dale asked when she’d left. “Is it a farm? A smallholding?”

He heard something being unzipped and felt Flynn’s hand cup over the top of his head, guarding it and guiding him to duck as they went through a low doorway and a walkway, and then on to a surface that crunched slightly underfoot.

“According to the sign by the house, it’s a yoga and spiritual retreat. And this is an inflatable transparent bubble with a bed in it. In a garden. On the prairie. In December. Is there any normal B&B anywhere in Nebraska?” Flynn sounded irate. “If I ever get my hands on your PA….”

“You can’t put ANZ staff over your knee, HR would get really snotty.” Dale pointed out. Flynn snorted.

“When they put you with a head injury in a camping pod in mid winter…”

“Caroline would have gone for whatever there was that was quiet, still open and situated at the right spaces on the route you gave her, we’re lucky to find anywhere open at all. How big is this bubble?”

“About ten feet in circumference. Astro turf ‘carpet’, that’s what you can feel. Double bed here – it’s very low, be careful. Complete with beaded cushions. No curtains of any kind. Small night stand either side of the bed and a lamp, and a basket here which I’ll guess is the food.”

Dale felt cautiously to find the bed surface. It was about knee height, but the mattress felt soft and deep, and there were plenty of covers, including apparently several extremely fluffy blankets. Across the room Flynn said explosively,

“Golden rice with nettles………bunny chow? What the hell is….this box is labelled ‘bunny chow’. Is there some rabbit around here that we’re supposed to feed? Hashbrown and kale casserole…. And fruit. And bread. And jam. And water. I swear these people don’t keep guests, they keep bloody pets!”

“Well at least there isn’t room for an exercise wheel.” Dale sat down with caution on the bed. “Since we’re out in the middle of nowhere and it’s not going to be easy to fish, it looks like we’ll have to manage for tonight.”

“Are you hungry?”

For nettles and kale casserole? Admittedly, not very. Dale shrugged.

“Possibly there’s a vending machine at the visitors centre?”

 

 

 

There was a vending machine at the visitors’ centre. The curator, who appeared thoroughly glad to see anyone at all for company on a day like this, further offered them coffee from the kettle in his office. Flynn, having muttered about the vending machine largely containing junk, brought over several packets of peanuts and trail mix which they ate with the coffee while they chatted with the curator. If his vision had been intact Dale would have spent some time absorbing the displays in the museum. As it was, Flynn read him the notices and described the items which was, Dale appreciated, quite an extreme gesture on his part since Flynn and Riley’s patience for museums was always fleeting, but Flynn seemed to be taking this particular one quite seriously and in the book shop section he paused for a while, leafing through several of the books.

It was as they rounded the corner of one of the displays that Dale saw Reid’s bright head looking closely at something in front of him, his eyes and mouth wide. He was on tip toes, the only clear thing in the blur. Sarah appeared beside him, looking equally shocked.

So now Reid was here, a hundred and fifty miles from the fort at Kearney. And Clay had been at the fort last night with Sarah. They were travelling with her.

Gently and with care, his eyes on the children, Dale grounded and shielded himself. And then as he had last night in the fort, he relaxed those shields and let his body go into the state that let energy flow most freely; both his own and his awareness of any energy touching his. Relaxed, calm, open minded without focusing on anything in particular, without the emotions such as curiosity or frustration or anything else that pulled his attention and blocked connection. It meant forcibly having to let go of any preoccupations like time and place and personal plans or anything else. It meant being here, in the moment, not seeking any outcomes or any control, just doing nothing but being here.

Pretty much as Jasper had very firmly told him in the hospital a couple of days ago. There will be a reason you’ve been slowed down. There is something you need to give your attention to. It was a disciplined state of mind in a very relaxed, calm way, and it wasn’t the first firm conversation he and Jasper had had about getting overly attached to plans and outcomes instead of letting things come in their own time.

Like any form of discipline in Dale’s experience; no matter how much you agreed and fully appreciated the benefits of it, in the heat of the moment it was often not easy to settle yourself to.

Sarah, I’d like to take this opportunity to apologise for the… about thirty two hours of numbing out and footstomping. I’m listening. Would you like to tell me what it is we’re doing?

Sarah glanced up and smiled at him. It was the same kind of sparkling, mischievous smile Riley had when he was doing something he knew was stepping rather close to a line and was enjoying it. And then she went back to looking at whatever she was fascinated by.

“The children are there.” Dale murmured to Flynn. “By the red display cabinet. What are they looking so shocked about?”

Flynn led him over. His presence didn’t seem to bother the children in the slightest, neither child moved or even looked up.

“Photographs of the wagon trains. When were photographs invented?”

“The earliest surviving photograph is 1826.” Dale said automatically. “The Daguerreotype process was made public in 1830,”

“But if Sarah’s family had heard of them, the chances of anyone in a small Wisconsin fishing village seeing one….?” Flynn finished for him. “It was a fishing village, wasn’t it? She’s one of ours in that way too.”

Yes, Paul and David were both fishing town children, and Jasper had fished from rivers all his life. The Chance river running through the ranch was the life blood of it to the stock, and fed them year round. It was Flynn’s voice that warmed him most.

She’s one of ours.

“I didn’t know you saw it like that too.”

“I’m not sure I realised I did.” Flynn said thoughtfully. “I knew that’s what it’s like to you and to Jas, I understand why. But driving this road, seeing the distances and the terrain first hand, realising what she saw and what her family had to do, and some of what it must have been like…. She’s a person in her own right now. Not just a name I know.” 

David was standing by one of the cases, looking at the pictures inside. He glanced across to Dale and smiled.

 

 

*

 

 

 

The way Dale explained it and the museum boards described it, Windlass Hill had been where the wagons had to make their way down off the steep hills to the river road below. There were several choices as to where they did it; more than one hill here bore wagon wheel track scars deep in the rock. Around the visitors’ centre were neat grey sidewalks, one that led down to an example of a sod house, a low rock bungalow with a prairie grass roof for warmth, reflecting the lack of wood around the desert for building homes with. Another path led down the hill to the once inhabited cave where some of the finds in the museum had laid until a few years after Sarah’s time. They walked slowly in the light, dusting snow down into the protective shelter built around the rock cave, where through glass the red cave walls and floor were low and smooth. Giving Dale time to adjust to the low light in there, Flynn described it as best he could, a place where eight thousand years of human history lived. Another sidewalk led into a path through the woodland, where as snow drifted lightly down through the trees, a fresh water spring still bubbled up in the stream, its splashing loud enough that Dale turned towards it. Flynn held on to his hand, steadying him as Dale crouched and reached out his other hand to find it, dipping his fingers into what must have been icy water.

“The energy coming off this is remarkable.” he said after a minute, shaking water off his fingers. “Very clear.”

He’d talked before about the feel of energy coming off bodies of fresh water; it was something Jasper was always aware of too. “Different to the lake at Wisconsin?”

“Very.” Dale gripped him for support as he got up. “This feels like the river does at home. Angel is right, the energy here is … very pleasant.”

The fresh air, the quiet and the gentle walking was good for him. He was as relaxed now as he had been last night at the fort, focused and interested, and with nowhere else to go today and wanting him to have the down time, Flynn kept their pace slow but let them explore all over the site. The snow was settling on the grass as they walked along the smooth hiking path up Windlass Hill, and Flynn kept strong hold of Dale as they reached the gully. The museum had explained the mechanics: wagons were lowered down the gully with people walking on ropes, hauling to act as human brakes. Wagons regularly ran away and crashed. There were three smashed wagons on the ranch that Flynn knew of, where they had run off paths. At home Flynn had often hitched up the shires to the big wagon and taken it through the crossing place and the trail through the woods where two of those fallen wagons lay. He knew the feel of reins in his hands from heavy beasts pulling a rolling weight over rough ground, and it was all too easy to imagine being faced with driving them head first down this gully. And these people didn’t just have their beasts to think of. The wagons were all they had, the animals the only means of travel, and their families depended on both.

“How did Sarah’s family get down here?” he asked Dale. Dale stopped, face to the wind, then he crouched down on the grass to duck under it.

“I don’t know.” He said eventually and somewhat ruefully. “She’s not interested in this bit, and it doesn’t matter that we are. I think if something doesn’t spark interest or some kind of high energy in feelings then it doesn’t create the energy needed to share it, the light just doesn’t come on. Getting down here was an adult’s problem, not hers.”

“Is she here?”

“Yes.” Dale looked down into the green valley that lay at the bottom. “All four of them are. But they’re heading for the trees, where the springs are. That’s where they want to be. This was the first fresh water they’d seen in days. Flowers, thick grass, the ash trees after days of desert – her mother called this place the Promised Land. It was a beautiful spot.”

Flynn crouched beside him on the grass, looking at the ground ahead of them. The marks of the wagon wheels were cut several feet into the rock.

“If I had to get a cart down here, I’d be tempted to take the team off, put ropes around a tree or rock, and winch it.”

“There’s another child.” Dale said it softly, watching something down in the valley.

“Another one?”

“A girl. David’s down there with Sarah. I don’t know what they’re doing, it’s as if they’re bringing them here.” He sounded mildly exasperated; not knowing was not something he ever found easy to accept, but from his expression – Flynn ran a hand down his back, watching his face.

“You look as if you’re enjoying watching.”

“It’s hard not to.” Dale said a little ruefully. “Sarah’s so pleased to see her.”

“Sarah’s age?”

“Younger. She’s quite small.” Dale paused again, then shook his head, the amusement growing stronger. “This one does want to think about the gully. There was an ox in her team. He was called Blue. The biggest ox in their whole train. Her father called him the animal with the most sense on the trail. Didn’t mind lightning. Never got tired. Kept the whole team calm. No one else dared try it on this hill, but her father trusted Blue enough to take him to the back of their wagon, rope him on and Blue walked the wagon down backwards with him, step by step, braking it with the adults.”

There were animals Flynn knew and had known that could be trusted like that, who understood instinctively and worked with you in ways you couldn’t train them to if they didn’t have the insight for themselves. Bandit was one. Leo was one. Boris, one of their shires and Flynn’s companion with many fallen trees and the occasional broken-down vehicle, was another. There was little greater in satisfaction than that kind of a relationship with an exceptional animal like that. Dale was still listening to whatever it was he was making out from the land, the air, the wind and the snow blowing lightly around them.

“Her name’s Anna.”

They walked on down the gully and across the grass to the woods. Even in winter, the lushness of the hollow was very different to the desert up on the hill and the prairie beyond it. It was a picnic spot now.

Dale walked through the wood holding his arm, but moving with a purposefulness that Flynn realised was him following someone among the ash trees. Flynn kept him from walking into any obstacles, saying nothing and waiting. Eventually Dale paused by a bank. The white, jagged, layered rocky outcroppings were everywhere here, there was nothing to make this one any different, but this one made a little shelter set into the bank. Low enough for someone very small to get underneath, partially hidden. Dale crouched slowly. Then he put his hand out and softly brushed away snow, dirt and leaves.

“I can’t see straight. Is this what I think it is?”  

The scratching on the underside of the rock was worn and faded, but as Flynn crouched with him to look, he saw the letters H and n and h, still distinct.

“Yes. There’s letters scratched there.”

“Hannah.” Dale said quietly. “Not Anna, Hannah. She found the knife in the woods here. Her brothers had them but she was never usually allowed to touch one, never mind play with it. She had to keep it hidden so nobody saw it, but she carried it with her.”

Her proud handiwork was still visible. Flynn watched Dale brush the earth softly back to protect the markings. Such a tiny thing, but no casual graffiti. This was a small, hidden message of I was here. This was me. From a small person on the trail.  

“Did they have toys?” he said to Dale, thinking about it. “What kind of possessions did they have?”

“Almost nothing. There wasn’t room.” Dale said regretfully, getting up. “Not for books, furniture, clothes – things were abandoned on the trail all the time from people who overpacked their wagons. It was pretty much what they stood up in and food. So this, to Hannah, was something that belonged to her. This was something wonderful, and it was all hers.”

As they climbed back up the hill, the snow got slowly stronger. Flynn kept tight hold of Dale’s hand, keeping him close until they reached the edge of the car lot. Dale glanced down into the valley again.

“Hannah?” Flynn asked him. Dale’s expression was quizzical and more than slightly amused. 

“Yes. There’s five of them now. Five of them together.”

 

 

 

 

            “You’ve got five of them running around? Who’s the fifth?” Riley sounded delighted by the thought. The bubble tent was surprisingly warm. Flynn had gotten Dale out of his shoes and jacket and sent him to lie on the bed and call home, and at this hour of the day people at home were gathered around the fire together as daylight was going and it was getting too cold to work. Regular trips out to check on the stock would happen, but mostly they would be around the fire, drinking tea, talking, playing games, the other ways that they spent time together at this time of year when so many of them came home. The room was sounding considerably busier and full with voices, almost everyone who would come for Christmas had now arrived. A day ago, Dale would have been preoccupied with the fact that they were not there, where they should be. Tonight – tonight he lay on a bed in a bubble in Nebraska and told Riley in detail about Ash Hollow park with the energy in his voice that meant it was occupying all of his attention.

Listening to Dale sharing Hannah’s story to the family listening on the other end of the phone, and it was evident Dale was talking to quite a crowd who were listening with interest, Flynn was struck by how right this was in some odd way. He could hear in Dale’s voice that he recognised it too. The stories of people and places were something that Dale deeply valued, and that made sense to Flynn. A person knew themselves by their story. He’d spent his working life helping people unpack and listen to their own stories, consider the words they chose, consider which of the stories that held most power for them. People were stories. Listening, sharing, retelling, hearing someone in their story, those were things Jasper valued too. The very act of a group sharing in a story together was something powerful, it was something people did together that went back to the beginning of time, particularly around the fire on the dark nights of the year. They remembered their histories, reaffirmed what drew them together, what they shared in. It was something that would have taken place in the cave not far from here, eight thousand years ago, in very much the same way. Listening to Dale talk, Flynn found himself thinking suddenly of Philip reading A Christmas Carol in the family room at Christmas to a large group of the family who would collect together and listen: something he’d witnessed many times. It was a story beloved to Bear and Gerry and Roger in particular, and Philip had had this same gift of pulling a room full of people together with his voice, whether that was in a board room or in front of the fire at home.  

There would be no record anywhere of Sarah on the trail, or of the other children with her. They had been the least important of those who travelled, just the baggage of the adult travellers, like Blue: a remarkable animal whose name no one remembered. But Blue’s story mattered to Hannah and to Sarah. Enough for them to find Dale and tell it to him. And now Dale was retelling it. These children and their names and their stories were something strong in Flynn’s mind, and they were being listened to with real interest in the family room at home with the others who had lived on the ranch, who knew of Sarah and the wagon ruts on their pastures, who shared in that history.

Riley was handing the phone over to someone else; Flynn heard a familiar voice take over, with a British accent and an always deceptively cynical tone.

“So what did you do to yourself this time?”

“Tom?” Dale demanded. Tom snorted.

“We arrived this afternoon.”

“They brought me.” Wade’s voice said with deep satisfaction. “I had a personal escort. Two very dishy and very tall body guards. Half the heads in the place turned to look. And no one wittered about me boozing on the plane either.”

“He didn’t booze, he had a small whisky and that was his choice, we’d have got him a bottle and a straw if he’d wanted one.” Tom said to Dale. From the sound of it, something was thrown in Tom’s direction, Flynn heard Luath’s voice remonstrating with them in the background.

“Are you all right?” Tom said brusquely. “How bad’s the vision?”

“It’s gradually clearing. Things are more distinct now than they were this morning.” Dale said, and he was always honest with Tom; this was a brat he didn’t feel the need to shelter, which made it a relationship Flynn deeply appreciated him having. “It’s been – interesting? – but day by day it’s getting better. I’m glad you and Jake are home.”

“We were invited. It’s good to be here.” Tom’s tone was offhand but Flynn heard the sincerity under it. The written invitation to Tom was something he’d sent himself well over a month ago, knowing the pleasure it gave Dale and Riley to have this man at home, and the importance of this particular brat knowing he was wanted. And Tom was someone who appreciated the formal recognition. Being seen mattered to everyone.

“I’m not letting anyone crowd him.” Riley said cheerfully in the background. “I’ve got it covered.”

“Where did you arrive from?” Dale asked.

“Columbia. We picked up Wade on our way. Is this inflatable bubble thing warm enough?”

“Yes, despite the snow. It’s amazingly warm considering how thin it is.”

“If it’s true at all, your PA is doing this to Flynn on purpose, and I want to know who bribed her to do it, and a set of pictures!” Miguel’s voice called from somewhere in the background. “But I think you’re in a holiday inn and somewhere totally normal, and you’re just winding us up.”

“Trust me, it’s really a bubble.” Flynn said dryly. Several people laughed. Paul’s voice called something in the background.

“Paul wants to know,” Tom repeated, “What they’re feeding you tonight?”

“They did not feed us. They’re feeding the animals bunny chow, it says so on the box they gave us.” Flynn said under his breath.

“Brace yourselves for this,” Dale advised, and handed Flynn the phone.

 

 

 

 

             Flynn lit the fire in the small cast iron fire pit as dusk arrived, and they sat outside well bundled up by its warmth and the jumping flames for a while, heating the kettle for tea and warming the food through. The snow was falling gently but steadily, and building up on the trees and bushes in the dark. Flynn saw Dale watching it fall, his eyes focused and teaming. The image might be blurred but he was tracking now. They ate where they sat, the food steaming in their hands. The ‘bunny chow’ turned out to be curried chick peas in bread roll cups, it was far more the kind of thing that Tom and Jake would have preferred, but Dale ate it quite willingly. Flynn tried a few bits before sticking discreetly to the bread and jam, not to put him off. It was hard not to think of those five children who’d eaten by campfires so near to here, who were living on eked out dry supplies and had counted themselves lucky to have enough to eat at all. There were several other isolated camping units of different kinds in the garden, Flynn followed a few of the paths to take a look, and the bathroom block, while freezing, was immaculately clean. This was obviously a well used place in high season.

Once they’d eaten, Flynn settled them to bed and put out the light, taking no notice of the clock standing at slightly past seven pm. It was warm under the covers, and one of the more peculiar experiences of his life to be laying with Dale on his chest, both of them looking up through the transparent bubble shell into the falling snow and the dark sky above, with a winter garden all around them. The flakes were hypnotic. It was a long while before Dale said absently, in the same tone of voice he might have murmured that it was snowing harder now, “Jas.”

Flynn looked down at him. This happened too often to doubt it. Dale blinked, then sat up, his voice getting a lot more surprised.

Jas.”

“Where?”

“Out there!” Dale fumbled, trying to find his way out of the bed. Flynn held on to him, rolling to his feet.

“Stop. Now, before you fall.”

Not particularly surprised at all after decades of knowing Jasper, he went to the – whatever the heck the skin of this clear bubble was, and saw the long figure in a coat with a rucksack, walking down the path through the snow towards him.

“You’re right.” Flynn said to Dale, who had frozen on the edge of the bed with some effort not to follow him. Flynn went to the zipped entrance, waiting until the man approaching them reached the door, unslung his rucksack and met his eyes with a smile that held a whole lot of warmth. Flynn unzipped the door to let him in. Jasper shook snow off his hair, pulled his coat off to contain more snow and hooked an arm around his neck to give him a strong hug, kissing his cheek. He was cool, not cold. Jasper never seemed to feel the cold much.

“Well this is an interesting place.”

“Caroline has an evil sense of humour.” Flynn said dryly. Jasper pulled him a little closer for a moment, his forehead against Flynn’s. Then he passed him to sit down on the bed and gather Dale into his arms, returning Dale’s hug.

“I thought you might like a hand with the driving. How are you?” he took Dale’s head gently between his hands, turning up his face to look less at him than into him. Dale’s face was alight, he was gripping Jasper’s arms as if he was trying to make sure Jasper was real.

“I’m fine, it’s slow but every few hours I notice it’s clearer.”

“Good.” Jasper held his head to kiss him, briefly and gently. He was making each movement a little slower than usual, giving Dale time to sense and prepare for them with the sensitivity that was so typical of this man. “Room for three in that bed?”

“You’d better hope.” Flynn put Jasper’s coat out in the vestibule section and zipped it closed. “Not sure what the host is going to think when she finds we’ve acquired a friend overnight.”

“She was very sweet on the phone.” Jasper said calmly, getting up to undress. “She said you were out hiking, and that she was out this evening, but she gave me directions and told me where to find the pod in the garden.”

“Are you hungry?” Flynn got out of his way to cede him the small amount of floor space available. “There’s a fire pit out there and a kettle, food – of a sort. Edible anyway,”

“I ate a couple of hours back in Scott’s Bluff with the truck driver who gave me a ride down from Casper.”

“You hitched all the way from home?” Dale demanded. Jasper smiled.

“I hitched and walked all the way over these roads for years before I came to the ranch. It’s been slow, the roads are passable but under heavy snow from the ranch down to Douglas, and the weather’s drifting this way. Caroline gave me your list of stops so I’d know where to find you.”

“I’m planning on a slow run to Casper tomorrow.” Flynn shifted over on the bed, drawing Dale with him to make space for Jasper to climb under the covers. The three of them fit without difficulty, the two of them enclosing Dale between them. “One day there, then one more day home. In daylight, after the ploughs have been through.”

 
continued tomorrow in part 5
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

Post by Trisha Louise on Sat Dec 22, 2018 1:15 pm

This must be how Dale felt listening to Paul read some of the stories he'd loved and wanted Dale to experience. I'm on an unexpected journey across several states and through time and I'm as thrilled as I ever was holding a new book given to me at Christmas time. Ranger and Rolf, your storytelling can take me anywhere and I'm so enjoying each part, the history you deftly weave into Flynn and Dale's travels, the people they meet and the connection and pull of Home. I've got to kip so part 4 will have to wait, though it's a hard thing to set aside such a good book.

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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

Post by Blue Stocking on Sat Dec 22, 2018 1:30 pm

I love this!  Poor Flynn!  So excited Jasper has arrived to share this time with them.
 This is such a lovely story!
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

Post by loyalpainter88 on Sat Dec 22, 2018 3:07 pm

Wow you guys are really the best !! 

First - Tom and Jake have come home  for christmas celebrations !! Yaaayyy !!! 

Second - Jasper is here .... Omg ... I love this ! Now its going to  be more intresting!! 

Third - Hannah ... That was beautiful .. the story of blue ...and her carving her name ...

Fourth - i love Caroline . Definitely should send her a basket for christmas ... What quirky and placesthese b&bs
 are  ...would definitely want pictures now .. 

Fifth - Angel . What an intresting personality ! They sure meet some fascinating people on the way ! . Is she going to instruct him in clearing his energy and in relaxing??? 
Does she have different techniques??? 

Sixth - 

I’m not sure I realised I did.” Flynn said thoughtfully. “I knew that’s what it’s like to you and to Jas, I understand why. But driving this road, seeing the distances and the terrain first hand, realising what she saw and what her family had to do, and some of what it must have been like…. She’s a person in her own right now. Not just a name I know 

Some how that was exactly how i felt , its its amazing how connected you get to this story. That he could connect with her in a way he dint think of before that realisation he had so beautiful ... 



Seventh-    A person knew themselves by their story. He’d spent his working life helping people unpack and listen to their own stories, consider the words they chose, consider which of the stories that held most power for them. People were stories[size=54].[/size] 
People were stories . 
A person knew themselves by their story .. 
What a touching revelation ! 



Eighth - i dint realise it till now ... Sarah s part is always in her voice ...  shes is the one saying mama and papa.  she is a person person  .. thats why flynn saying she is one of ours is so poignant . 


Ninth - oooh more of the ranch gang are coming ...so excited ! 


Tenth - you guys rock!!! 
Love love love you guys 
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

Post by Erinido on Sat Dec 22, 2018 4:03 pm

I've loved all your Christmas stories before, but I think this one will be my favourite from now on. I read the first two chapters on my way to very chaotic pre-Christmas work days and they helped a lot in staying cheerful and happy. I think this story is full of good energy, something we all can need for Christmas. Thank you!!
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

Post by DeeDee on Sat Dec 22, 2018 4:58 pm

Rolf and Ranger, 

You forced me to look up an inflatable bubble tent and may I just say, I LOVE Caroline!  Not sure if she knew about the food that would have been served, but that was just a bonus.  I think, even though I'm laughing and enjoying Flynn's agitation, that I'm also really beginning to feel sorry for him.  This is a man who is a bit of a homebody.  He likes his comforts of the familiar and 'usual' (bed, 4 non-see through walls, steak) and really - who doesn't.  I suspect the next ANZ trip will see Flynn forcing Paul to go!  LOL!  

And those aren't the only surprises Flynn is getting.  It's seeming to me that although he's always appreciated the stories shared by the family or the clients, it's only just now occurring to him the true value of it.  Like his eyes are being opened to what it means to be Dale or Jasper as they share in the whats that appear to them.  This part in particular, of course:  

“I’m not sure I realised I did.” Flynn said thoughtfully. “I knew that’s what it’s like to you and to Jas, I understand why. But driving this road, seeing the distances and the terrain first hand, realising what she saw and what her family had to do, and some of what it must have been like…. She’s a person in her own right now. Not just a name I know.” 

But also this part:  
Listening to Dale sharing Hannah’s story to the family listening on the other end of the phone, and it was evident Dale was talking to quite a crowd who were listening with interest, Flynn was struck by how right this was in some odd way. He could hear in Dale’s voice that he recognised it too. The stories of people and places were something that Dale deeply valued, and that made sense to Flynn. A person knew themselves by their story. He’d spent his working life helping people unpack and listen to their own stories, consider the words they chose, consider which of the stories that held most power for them. People were stories. Listening, sharing, retelling, hearing someone in their story, those were things Jasper valued too. The very act of a group sharing in a story together was something powerful, it was something people did together that went back to the beginning of time, particularly around the fire on the dark nights of the year. They remembered their histories, reaffirmed what drew them together, what they shared in. It was something that would have taken place in the cave not far from here, eight thousand years ago, in very much the same way. Listening to Dale talk, Flynn found himself thinking suddenly of Philip reading A Christmas Carol in the family room at Christmas to a large group of the family who would collect together and listen: something he’d witnessed many times. It was a story beloved to Bear and Gerry and Roger in particular, and Philip had had this same gift of pulling a room full of people together with his voice, whether that was in a board room or in front of the fire at home.  

There would be no record anywhere of Sarah on the trail, or of the other children with her. They had been the least important of those who travelled, just the baggage of the adult travellers, like Blue: a remarkable animal whose name no one remembered. But Blue’s story mattered to Hannah and to Sarah. Enough for them to find Dale and tell it to him. And now Dale was retelling it. These children and their names and their stories were something strong in Flynn’s mind, and they were being listened to with real interest in the family room at home with the others who had lived on the ranch, who knew of Sarah and the wagon ruts on their pastures, who shared in that history.


Flynn thinks here of how it was 'being listened to with real interest in the family room', but also by him.  He's also listening and it's finally coming together for him.  They aren't just 'whats' - they're real people with a real life and a story.  And now he's part of that story.  

I'm so happy to see Tom (and of course Jake) have made it for Christmas!  Another wonderful chance for Tom to experience and become part of the family rituals.  These are times that I think he'll very much value.  And Riley saying "I'm not letting anyone crowd him", is perfect.  They are spending quite a bit of time together in MEC so Riley clearly understands Tom well and would do anything he could, much like he does for Dale, to make sure he's comfortable with all the family around.  This will hopefully be fun time for him to be part of a family Christmas.     

And Jasper!  Yay!  I wonder if he'll get to meet Angel before they leave?  And maybe between them they can help Dale.  

Thank you for the story!  

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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

Post by Dells on Sat Dec 22, 2018 5:28 pm

I did a happy dance when Tom picked up the phone, realizing he and Jake were at the ranch. I did another happy dance when Dale realized Jasper was there! Aww! I love it. Is it tomorrow yet? Wink bounce
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

Post by Guest on Sat Dec 22, 2018 5:35 pm

I love these two phrases ,’People were stories.’ & ‘consider which of the stories that held most power for them’....loved the ideas in that paragraph. And the bunny chow made me laugh, took me back to my days in South Africa where bunny chow was often a cheap takewawy meal of curried mince in a hollowed out loaf of government white bread.
Thank you Rolf and Ranger, the history of the oregan trail is particularly interesting and your storytelling as always is a lovely gift.

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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

Post by Dizzy on Sat Dec 22, 2018 6:02 pm

My mind movie tonight is going to star Angel with Flynn, Dale, and Jasper!  I just bet she’d serve them flowering tea!  And I can picture Flynn with the most outrageous face and Dale with indulgent humor.


Wade saying “they brought me” just melted my heart.  He’s so pleased that it was Tom and Jake that brought him.  He’s so loved.


I wonder if Dale is helping all the What children home.   That way they have an anchor, a place that is home, and other children and Whats to be with.   I’m getting a feeling of home for Christmas throughout this story.


So very touching!  Thank you!


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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

Post by dragonquest1313 on Sat Dec 22, 2018 6:46 pm

Well congratulations  Bravo to those who predicted that Jasper would show up to help drive. I am really enjoying the gathering of children and all that they are imparting to Dale. I am also thrilled that Jake and Tom are in the story, I keep rooting for a story on them from their day one till present, and yes I did put it on the wish list. Smile I am looking forward to tomorrow and the next twist, child and destination in this story. Thank you guys so much for such a wonderful and long story, it helps make my long work day just a little brighter.
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

Post by Trisha Louise on Sat Dec 22, 2018 7:24 pm

Welcome to the forum, Marchand. Smile

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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

Post by DeeDee on Sat Dec 22, 2018 7:38 pm

Welcome Marchand!

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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

Post by DeeDee on Sat Dec 22, 2018 7:54 pm

So I looked up the meaning of Namaste.  It's generally a greeting of respect or courtesy - meaning I bow to you.   

However, the longer version seem to vary - some much longer and slightly different to others.  But in general all share the same words at some point.  

What were you intending in that greeting, if I may ask?  

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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

Post by DeeDee on Sat Dec 22, 2018 8:02 pm

In rereading I'm seeing things that are very interesting.  For instance I now noticed Angel mentions Dale's third eye.  So on reading on that I see that a lot of her beliefs and practices are based in Hinduism.  

But in reading what the third eye is - this doesn't seem right to Dale's sight.  Would you be interested in explaining it a bit further?

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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

Post by DeeDee on Sat Dec 22, 2018 8:11 pm

And then there is this - more insights for Flynn.  Understandings that perhaps he appreciated but also took for granted until now.  There is no doubt in my mind that Flynn loves the animals on this ranch, even those being raised for food.  

But this part shows a deeper appreciation, now, for those who work hard for the ranch.  An understanding that there is a bit of intelligence and (can I say) personality.  He's always known it, but I think the story of Blue is making him understand it???  

There were animals Flynn knew and had known that could be trusted like that, who understood instinctively and worked with you in ways you couldn’t train them to if they didn’t have the insight for themselves. Bandit was one. Leo was one. Boris, one of their shires and Flynn’s companion with many fallen trees and the occasional broken-down vehicle, was another. There was little greater in satisfaction than that kind of a relationship with an exceptional animal like that. Dale was still listening to whatever it was he was making out from the land, the air, the wind and the snow blowing lightly around them.

Not sure if my speculation is anywhere near right, but I'm sure having fun now!

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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

Post by Ranger52899 on Sat Dec 22, 2018 8:15 pm

Angel will be what you might call an energy worker or energy healer, there are many fields of it from Reiki practitioners, crystal therapies, yoga therapists, all kinds of variations. Many of them work with chakras, a belief in body energy centres. The third eye is usually thought to be indigo blue and located between the eyes/just above them on the forehead. People who work in this way look at the balance of those energy centres, whether some are over active or under active, and help a body to get that balance back. They often notice where a particular centre is working hard or particularly active, so with Dale in the way she works she noticed his heart chakra and third eye seemed particularly active. The third eye is often associated with perception beyond every day sight/touch/taste/smell/sound. 

Many people who closely follow yoga and other therapies or beliefs that originated in or are strongly connected with India, including Buddhism, will use Namaste as a peaceful greeting. Smile


Welcome Marchand! 
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

Post by DeeDee on Sat Dec 22, 2018 8:43 pm

Thank you, Ranger!  

Balance seems to be what all of Dale's acquaintances are trying to instill in him, thus the need grounding - I think.  

This is just another level for Dale as he moves towards being a healer, maybe.  He has the skills and the ability, now he just needs to learn control.  It's still not 'natural' for him to ground himself, and equally he still must work at 'seeing' through the needs of his whats.  I hate to think more is coming his way if he doesn't have full understanding of why it's happening.  

I don't know the time period between this story and MEC - so not sure how they relate to what he will learn (if anything) from Valerie.  It's interesting, though, to see a need for him to develop those skills further. 

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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

Post by ewr on Sat Dec 22, 2018 9:19 pm

For those who haven't yet googled bubble pods, I assume theirs looked something like this:

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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

Post by KateM on Sat Dec 22, 2018 9:25 pm

Dee..
In the first part it says..
It reminded Flynn of watching Dale lean on the table in the kitchen a couple of Christmasses back, the first time he’d informed the other brats with the same intensity he had here that it was time to stop fighting, get it together and sort things out, except at home with them he did it from the heart, with all of him and without his safety catch on

Which I think refers to Handbags at Dawn.. which is the Christmas after MEC ... so by my best guesstimate this is set in Dales 4th Christmas some 2 years after MEC (also after the other longer stories like The Bear Pit)
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

Post by JL on Sat Dec 22, 2018 9:33 pm

Yes, this is Dale's fourth ranch Christmas if I'm managing to keep my timeline accurate:

Christmas 1: Shenanigan's Overlook and Cobble Hill fall in this time frame.
Christmas 2: Handbags At Dawn and Taverner's Inn happen this year.
Christmas 3: Cathedral Close
Christmas 4: Oregon Way
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

Post by DeeDee on Sat Dec 22, 2018 9:34 pm

@KateM wrote:Dee..
In the first part it says..
It reminded Flynn of watching Dale lean on the table in the kitchen a couple of Christmasses back, the first time he’d informed the other brats with the same intensity he had here that it was time to stop fighting, get it together and sort things out, except at home with them he did it from the heart, with all of him and without his safety catch on

Which I think refers to Handbags at Dawn.. which is the Christmas after MEC ... so by my best guesstimate this is set in Dales 4th Christmas some 2 years after MEC (also after the other longer stories like The Bear Pit)
Thanks Kate!

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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

Post by curious1_53 on Sat Dec 22, 2018 10:08 pm

I knew I had seen Namaste before, from the earliest part of SBE (page 4 of the PDF edition):



They passed locals on the path carrying enormous loads on their backs to and from Namche, including boys of just twelve or thirteen, all with the familiar white bandage strap that ran around their foreheads and tied down under the base of their packs, bracing the weight. They nodded in return to a smile with the local greeting: Namaste.

PS: Time to 'fess up: am I the only one tracking their progress on Google Maps or some similar service?


Last edited by curious1_53 on Sat Dec 22, 2018 10:11 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

Post by Ranger52899 on Sat Dec 22, 2018 10:09 pm

That's it ewr! Also this one, although yours in the snow is perfect!:
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

Post by Trisha Louise on Sat Dec 22, 2018 10:25 pm

I am enjoying Caroline's humour in these choices and the way every single one can be rationalised based on facilities, hosts, availability. That woman can dance up and down the line between the black and white keys. Very Happy

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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

Post by HHK on Sat Dec 22, 2018 10:44 pm

Hysterics on a bed in a bubble in Nebraska  Hysterics Hysterics and Bunny Chow - I'm with Flynn on this one!

I'm having so much fun - I cannot tell you how grateful I am for this Christmas present. Thank you R&R
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

Post by Hayjude on Sat Dec 22, 2018 11:44 pm

Just finished and so enjoying it. 
YESSSSS.....my men have arrived! (Jake and Tom, for those who don’t realize that I love them!) From Columbia...does that mean they’re back to leading scientists through the jungle to see lost ruins - must put in a request for one of those stories on the Wish List.
Any significance to there being FIVE children now? Just wondering.
Thank you so much, Rolf and Ranger. This story and everyone discussing it has been endlessly interesting.
Merry Christmas all.
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

Post by Denicemarcell on Sun Dec 23, 2018 12:47 am

Can you imagine the puzzlement of B&B hosts when hordes of us show up wanting to stay where Dale and Flynn and now Jasper stayed?
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

Post by ktjl on Sun Dec 23, 2018 12:49 am

Loving this story so far...and thrilled by the appearance of Jas on the road and Tom & Jake at the ranch! It figures they'd pick up Wade as Tom and Wade had some moments together in - I wanna say Three Traders...

Flynn's reflection on story-telling draws to mind the intro to a night-time show at Epcot which begins with this intro:

We're gathered here tonight around the fire as people of all lands have gathered for thousands and thousands of years before us... to share the light... and to share a story. An amazing story as old as time itself, but still being written. And though each of us has our own individual stories to tell, a true adventure emerges when we bring them all together as one. 


Can't wait for the story to continue...

santa study
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

Post by Hayjude on Sun Dec 23, 2018 1:11 am

Also brings to mind those videos of The Storyteller, where the best seat by the fire was saved for....The Storyteller....! Pretty creepy stories, though!
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

Post by loyalpainter88 on Sun Dec 23, 2018 1:59 am

@JL wrote:Yes, this is Dale's fourth ranch Christmas if I'm managing to keep my timeline accurate:

Christmas 1: Shenanigan's Overlook and Cobble Hill fall in this time frame.
Christmas 2: Handbags At Dawn and Taverner's Inn happen this year.
Christmas 3: Cathedral Close
Christmas 4: Oregon Way

Time line issues ... 

If oregon way is happening on the fourth christmas at the ranch , and we can be sure its all after MEC , then Tom and Jake are there for only this christmas ? So they miss two christmases  at the ranch ? 

So the invitation was extended only now ? Because Flynn  says that it was important to Tom as he was old fashioned and needed an invitation , and that Dale and tom were  best friends ... 


Or were they busy in Columbia ??? 
Wait , did they appear in the other stories and i forgot ?

Confused .
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

Post by JL on Sun Dec 23, 2018 2:15 am

It's my guess that they were probably present during those Christmases if possible, but were not mentioned in those stories because they weren't the main focus.  I wouldn't be surprised if they consistently invite Tom to special events.  Maybe he'll show up for Dale's birthday one of these years.
   Oh, and Freeman's Field would also be part of Christmas 2.
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

Post by Hayjude on Sun Dec 23, 2018 2:20 am

And the family, Paul especially, has always been careful to give Tom space and not put any pressure on him. If they turned up, great, but it was left totally up to them. That changes after MEC, but Flynn did think in CC that he was going to send him a formal invitation for the next year - this one - which we find he did. And it worked!
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

Post by Zicat on Sun Dec 23, 2018 3:46 am

First of all, Welcome, @Marchand! I am also finding the history of the Oregan Trail interesting, and agree that Rolf & Ranger's "storytelling as always is a lovely gift."

Thanks for the laugh, Trisha (still loyal to Clara)

Those "Bubble Pods" look amazing, but I think I'll pass. I've fallen in love with the Gypsy Suite. http://www.thevick.com/suites.htm

I'm sorry Bear, Roger and Gerry, I know you loved listening to Philip read A Christmas Carol, but so far this is the best Christmas story I've ever read.

Thank you Rolf and Ranger.
Hugs, Cat
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

Post by loyalpainter88 on Sun Dec 23, 2018 4:00 am

@JL wrote:It's my guess that they were probably present during those Christmases if possible, but were not mentioned in those stories because they weren't the main focus.  I wouldn't be surprised if they consistently invite Tom to special events.  Maybe he'll show up for Dale's birthday one of these years.
   Oh, and Freeman's Field would also be part of Christmas 2.

Thanks JL , that makes sense .
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

Post by loyalpainter88 on Sun Dec 23, 2018 4:09 am

@Hayjude wrote:And the family, Paul especially, has always been careful to give Tom space and not put any pressure on him. If they turned up, great, but it was left totally up to them. That changes after MEC, but Flynn did think in CC that he was going to send him a formal invitation for the next year - this one - which we find he did. And it worked!

Ok confusion cleared ... 
But also the invitation business ... In the early stories Flynn always says any brat has a place in the ranch and can call the ranch their home irrespective of them being attached to a Top . 
Paul always says to everyone"  this is your home " . 
Gerry had once said there is no brat in law . 
So how come its different for Tom ? 
Why does he need a invitation ? Do all of them then get a invitation ? Or is it some Toppish ideas to call it invitation to the ranch for Christmas ,to get Tom to come for the holidays ?......similar to hugging or laying on his lap ...like jake calling it a discipline issue ???
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

Post by loyalpainter88 on Sun Dec 23, 2018 4:14 am

@ewr wrote:For those who haven't yet googled bubble pods, I assume theirs looked something like this:


I googled them too ... They sound amazing ... You have a beautiful view but you are comfortable too ... I hate being cold but love winter , this way you can enjoy both !! 


So sad flynn is not enjoying himself ...
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

Post by loyalpainter88 on Sun Dec 23, 2018 4:23 am

@Ranger52899 wrote:Angel will be what you might call an energy worker or energy healer, there are many fields of it from Reiki practitioners, crystal therapies, yoga therapists, all kinds of variations. Many of them work with chakras, a belief in body energy centres. The third eye is usually thought to be indigo blue and located between the eyes/just above them on the forehead. People who work in this way look at the balance of those energy centres, whether some are over active or under active, and help a body to get that balance back. They often notice where a particular centre is working hard or particularly active, so with Dale in the way she works she noticed his heart chakra and third eye seemed particularly active. The third eye is often associated with perception beyond every day sight/touch/taste/smell/sound. 

Many people who closely follow yoga and other therapies or beliefs that originated in or are strongly connected with India, including Buddhism, will use Namaste as a peaceful greeting. Smile


Welcome Marchand!
In my excitement to comment and let you know how much i loved the story so far , i completely side stepped this ! 

Namaste to everyone !
That was awesome , especially for an Indian to read a bit about their culture in their favourite authors storyline . 
Namaste is our verion of hello and welcome at the same time ! There is a version of this in different languages in india ! But the base is the same ... 

And the chakras !!! Even when we are tjought meditation we are thought about the different chakras and hiw they help maintianing balance in the body and to recieve positive energy . 

Reiki medicine ! Am just so excited to read about all of it . 

Thank you rolf and ranger ! 
From India with love
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

Post by Hayjude on Sun Dec 23, 2018 4:26 am

Loyal, I think it’s different for Tom, but only from TOM’S point of view. Before MEC he only attended family gatherings under duress and only when he couldn’t avoid it. He said that Jake only got to see his family once or twice a year because of Tom not being comfortable there. Flynn and Paul do say the ranch is everyone’s home and all are welcome but Tom had never seen himself as deserving to be welcome anywhere, much less at a boisterous family gathering. To send him the invitation is to reinforce the message of....yes, we want you here.
That’s my take on it, anyway.
Hope this helps.
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

Post by Hayjude on Sun Dec 23, 2018 5:19 am

Is it the last part tomorrow? I’m wishing it was longer - yes, always greedy....sorry!
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

Post by abouttime2stop on Sun Dec 23, 2018 5:56 am

No! We get tomorrow and December 24 - Christmas Eve
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

Post by Zicat on Sun Dec 23, 2018 6:28 am

If you remember Judy, Australia is ahead of most Countries. 11 hours ahead of London, and 19 hours ahead of the West Coast of the US & Canada. Folks in N.Z. have to add an extra 2 hours to those times.
This Christmas Story is turning into a book, or as it's been mentioned, a novella. Very Happy
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

Post by Guest on Sun Dec 23, 2018 8:20 am

Thanks for all the welcomes and hello everyone. Also having looked at the pics of the bubble pods above I’m with Flynn, I’m don’t think I could sleep in one of those, I like curtains and blinds to much, definitely would sleep in the beer barrel room though.

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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

Post by jkfan on Sun Dec 23, 2018 8:48 am

I just caught your post @Marchand.   Welcome to the forum.     .  I hope you continue to join in the discussions.  The more, the merrier!!
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

Post by loyalpainter88 on Sun Dec 23, 2018 9:22 am

@Hayjude wrote:Loyal, I think it’s different for Tom, but only from TOM’S point of view. Before MEC he only attended family gatherings under duress and only when he couldn’t avoid it. He said that Jake only got to see his family once or twice a year because of Tom not being comfortable there. Flynn and Paul do say the ranch is everyone’s home and all are welcome but Tom had never seen himself as deserving to be welcome anywhere, much less at a boisterous family gathering. To send him the invitation is to reinforce the message of....yes, we want you here.
That’s my take on it, anyway.
Hope this helps.

Oh . Oh kay. Yes i remember Tom saying so. 
So the invitation is just reinforce the message . Yes that helps ...
Thanks judy .
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

Post by zevale on Sun Dec 23, 2018 10:43 am

I'm so happy jasper arrives !!! And I love his way, so matter of fact “I thought you might like a hand with the driving" as if he had come to the ranch gate.



I would like to know what Paul had slip for Dale in Jasper's rucksack...


Can't wait for the next chapter... thanks a lot
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

Post by Nonni on Mon Dec 24, 2018 5:08 am

Thanks for another beautiful chapter. I finally got to read it after 2 days of being overly busy. Now it is past my bedtime so chapter 5 will have to wait!!!

I think I will go dream about little Sarah.

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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

Post by Kittykat on Mon Dec 24, 2018 9:21 am

I just...wow. R&R you guys are amazing, seriously. This is a rotten time of year for me since my mom passed last year in November, and this story is helping tremendously. Thank you.
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

Post by Hayjude on Mon Dec 24, 2018 9:59 am

Hard to get through bad associations like that. Stay strong - good that you’re enjoying the story.
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Re: Christmas Story - Oregon Way part 4

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