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Bill W

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  1. Bill W

    Looking Forward to a Fresh Start

    Yes, some things can't be wrapped up quickly.
  2. Bill W

    Looking Forward to a Fresh Start

    Your request will be answered early next week.
  3. Brandon and I were among the first ones up on New Year’s Day, along with Dad, Pop, and Brandon’s parents. Brandon and Dad made breakfast for the rest of us, and we had just begun eating when Dion, Trey, Pat, and Tori came out of their bedrooms and joined us. “I’ll fix your breakfast as soon as I finish mine,” Dad told them. “No, that’s ok,” Trey responded. “Dion and I will take care of that. Pat and Tori what would you like for breakfast?” As soon as Trey began fixing their meals, Pat and Tori took a seat at the dining room table and chatted with the rest of us while they waited for their food. “I had a great time last night,” Tori stated, “and I think Pat has a really wonderful family.” “Thank you and we like you too,” Dad countered. “I’m also glad that Pat found someone as nice as you.” We’d actually finished our breakfast before the boys started waking up and Dad and Pop fixed their meals as they sporadically sauntered down to join us. While they were doing that, the rest of us went into the living room to watch the New Year’s Day parade. “I love watching the Rose Parade,” Tori stated during a commercial break. “The floats are simply amazing.” “They are,” Pat agreed, “especially seeing they’re mostly made up of flowers.” As soon as the parade ended, some of the men and boys moved to the family room so they could watch the first of the college bowl games. While they were doing that, the others found something else to watch on the TV in the living room. A couple of hours later, after the football game ended, Pat and Tori announced they had to leave, since they had a long drive back to Pittsburgh. “I’m really glad I got to meet all of you and I had a wonderful time,” Tori said as she prepared to head out to the car. “We enjoyed meeting you too,” Pop stated for all of us, so we merely nodded in agreement. “And I’ll see you all again, but I’m not exactly sure when,” Pat added. “We understand. Just keep us posted about your plans,” Dad stated in return. “And please call me later so I know you got home safely.” “Just like when we were younger,” Pat quipped. “We still have to call home once we reached our destination to let you know we didn’t get in an accident on the way there.” “That’s because you’ll always be my son and I’ll never stop worrying about you, so get used to it,” Dad playfully countered. “I know, and it’s just another way you let us know how much you love us.” “You’ve got that right,” Dad agreed. After they left, the rest of us did our own thing, which meant some of us watched another football game, while others enjoyed a movie or played games in the rec room. There were a few who didn’t get to do any of those things, because they were busy preparing the next meal. Following dinner we went back to doing those other things, although a few of us started getting ready for the week ahead instead, because it was going to be another busy one. Pop, Brandon, and I had to work the following day, but the lucky ones would have a little more time to relax and enjoy themselves. Dion, Trey, and the boys had one more day off before school started again, and Elliot wouldn’t be returning to college for another week. On the other hand, Patrick and Brenda would be busy spending a few more hours with their grandsons before packing for their return flight home on Wednesday. Even though Brandon and I would be returning to work on Tuesday, we’d asked our staffs to keep our appointment schedules open for the first hour on Wednesday. We did this so we would have time to take Tristan to the elementary school and enroll him, because we had to do it in person. Dad and Elliot would be the only ones at home during the day for most of the week, but that would end on Thursday when the medium came to the house so he could get rid of Hubbard and Abernathy. Dad said the man told him that he’d be there early, but none of us were exactly sure how long the process was going to take. The good thing was that Graham’s prediction of no further incidents occurring in the interim had come true. This led us to conclude that the spirits of our loved ones had either stuck around in order to keep Hubbard and Abernathy in check, or those two had already grown frustrated and left on their own. If that was the case, then the medium would merely have to prevent them from returning later. However, if they hadn’t left yet, the medium would surely have a battle on his hands when he attempted to expel them. When it came time to go to bed, we said goodnight to the rest of the family before tucking the boys in, and then Brandon and I headed to our bedroom as well. We wanted to be well rested for the next day, since we knew it was going to be a busy one. The next morning we had breakfast with Dad, Pop, and Brandon’s parents before we left for the health center, while Dion, Trey, and the boys slept in. Before we left we told the others to have a good day, and they wished us the same as we headed out to the car. As I suspected, my waiting room was packed the entire time I was there. A large number of parents had made appointments for their offspring to get shots and checkups today, seeing they knew their kids wouldn’t have to go to school. In addition to that group, there was a large influx of sick kids as well, and throughout the day I treated various individuals for colds, sinus or ear infections, and a couple cases of the flu. Brandon told me later that he had a lot of appointments scheduled as well, along with a few emergency cases that had called in, so we ended up cutting our lunch hour short. We only took enough time to put a little something in our stomachs to prevent them from growling as we were treating our patients. We were both exhausted when we arrived home that evening, but there was still quite a bit left to do in order to be ready for the next day. While Brandon was making sure the boys had something to wear to school, I made a quick phone call. “Hi Aunt Sally. Do you know if Tristan’s school records made it to the elementary school?” “Yes, I checked with the office before the school let out for Christmas break and his records were already there.” “Great. I just wanted to make sure, because having them will make the enrollment process go a lot smoother tomorrow. Thanks for taking care of that.” “Anything I can do to help, since you guys do so much for me.” After we said goodbye, I went to find Dad. “Is there anything that you need us to do in order to help you get ready for your meeting with the medium on Thursday?” “No, I’m all set. I asked the medium the same question and he told me that he’d bring everything he’d require, although we might have to get more of those same items later, if this doesn’t have an immediate effect.” “Ok, but just let us know if you need anything, seeing Elliot, Brandon, and I seem to be the main focus of Hubbard and Abernathy’s attacks and antics.” “I noticed that as well, and I’ll let you know if I require your help with anything.” A short time later as we were sitting down to eat; I decided to mention a few things to the others. “Dion and Trey, don’t forget that you’ll be taking the SUV in the morning. I’m not sure how much gas is in the tank, seeing others have been using it lately, so after I’m done eating I’ll drive to the gas station and fill it up for you.” “No, we’ll take care of that,” Dion replied. “Since you’re letting us use it, the least we can do is pay for the gas and take care of the oil changes. “Are you sure?” “Yes, we insist,” Trey confirmed. “Tristan, you’ll be riding with Brandon and me tomorrow, because we’ll have to enroll you. We’ll be leaving before everyone else because we’ll have to go to work once we’re done, so we want to get to the school before the buses arrive and the confusion starts.” “Ok. I’ll take my shower tonight and then get dressed before I come down for breakfast in the mornin’. That way all I’ll have to do is put on my coat and hat to go with you.” “That sounds like a plan.” “While we’re at it,” Brandon interjected, “I want to get with each of you boys after we’re done here so I can find out what clothes you plan on wearing for the next three days. That way I can make sure they’re clean, because we fell a little behind on doing the laundry over the holiday. If I have to, I can do a load or two later if you need anything in particular before the weekend.” The boys agreed to do this for him and went to check their closets and dressers. Although Elliot hadn’t been included in this discussion, he had something he wanted to say as well. “I told Grandpa Josh that I wanted to help when the medium came here on Thursday, but I’ve got enough clean clothes left to choose from. I’ll have to do some laundry over the weekend, though, so everything will be clean before I head back to campus next week.” “I can help you with that,” Brandon agreed, “and I’m glad you reminded me about it. Seeing you’ve been away since August, I sometimes forget that you might need my help too.” “I probably could do it by myself, but I’d appreciate any help you want to give me.” “I’d be happy to do that,” Brandon agreed, and then he turned his attention to his parents. “So what time are you two planning to leave tomorrow?” “Our flight isn’t until 4:00, so we won’t have to leave too early,” his dad answered. “We’ll probably take off sometime before lunch and then stop to eat along the way to break up the long drive to the airport.” “Ok, then I’ll spend some time with you later, after I take care of the boys.” “That would be nice,” Brenda concurred, “because we probably won’t be seeing you again until next Christmas. I’m sure your father has already put in his request to take some vacation time then, because that way we get to celebrate both Christmas and the New Year with you and our grandsons.” “You don’t have to explain,” I stated. “We understand it’s a long trip and not easy for you to get here, and I’m sure we’ll be in touch in the meantime.” “Yes, we’ll call every other weekend, as well as contacting each of you on your birthday,” she agreed. “And I want you to know that we’ve really enjoyed spending time with you and our grandsons over the past few days.” “Yes, we certainly have,” Patrick chimed in, “but I’m going to sign up for a fitness class in August or September so I’ll be ready for these boys when we get together again. I’m hoping if I do that it will make it a little easier for me to keep up with them while we’re here.” The rest of us chuckled after he said this, since we understood what he was talking about. He had looked more than a little frazzled at times because the boys didn’t cut him any slack. It’s not that they were being mean or doing it intentionally, but they’re just instinctively competitive, no matter who they’re up against. The next hour was a flurry of activity as we got everything done, and then we all sat down with Brenda and Patrick to watch TV for a while before we turned in. Once again they joined us as we tucked the boys in and said goodnight, because it might be the last time they got to see them before they left. Since they had such a long day ahead of them, we weren’t sure if they’d be getting up before the rest of us left in the morning. I was a little surprised when Brenda and Patrick emerged from their bedroom as we were eating breakfast. They said they’d set their alarm so they could say goodbye to all of us before we headed out, but Dad told me later that they went back to sleep for a couple more hours after we left. When Brandon, Tristan, and I got to the elementary school, we went directly to the office to check in. “Don’t tell me we have a new member of the Currie clan?” the secretary joked. “Yes, we do,” I confirmed. “I was told you’re already in possession of his records as well.” “Then this must be Tristan Schneider,” she responded. “Sally Swarthout called before Christmas to make sure those documents had arrived.” “Yes, Aunt Sally takes good care of us,” I agreed. We then filled out the necessary paperwork, and when we finished Brandon asked a question. “Do you know which classroom he’ll be in?” “Yes, his teacher will be Mrs. Argentine.” Brandon and I breathed a sigh of relief because she was the same teacher Benny had when he first arrived. She was a great educator and knew our family well, so we were confident she would take good care of Tristan. “Would you like us to take him to her classroom?” Brandon followed. “I’ll have to call her room first and see if that’s ok,” she countered. “We’ll take our time getting him there, because we want to show him around a bit, so he’s familiar with the school,” Brandon informed her. “In that case, I’m sure it will be fine,” she confirmed. “Thanks for all of your help,” I added. “You always make this process very easy for us.” “That’s because I’ve done it so many times, first with your dad and now with the two of you.” “Yes, I guess our family has had more than its share of late entrants into the school system,” I conceded. After we showed Tristan around so he knew where the cafeteria, the gymnasium, and the boy’s rooms were located, we led him to his classroom. We knocked on the door first, and Mrs. Argentine waved us in. “I’ve been expecting you, because the secretary said you were on the way,” she stated after greeting us. “Yes, we wanted to show Tristan around first and help familiarize him with the school,” I explained. “Tristan, this is Mrs. Argentine. She’ll be your teacher and this is her classroom. Benny and Joshie had her when they were in fourth grade too.” “Really? They had the same teacher?” Tristan gasped. “They certainly did,” Mrs. Argentine concurred, “and I’m sure we’ll get along just as well as I did with them.” That little piece of information quickly helped to put Tristan at ease, but we stuck around for a little while longer as she showed him which desk was his and explained a few other items. When the rest of the students started entering the classroom, Brandon and I said goodbye to Tristan and Mrs. Argentine, and then we went back to the main office. There was something else I wanted to do before I left. “Do you know which building Mrs. Kurtsman will be working in today?” I asked the secretary. Mrs. Kurtsman was the school psychologist and I’d worked with her before concerning one of my patients. “It just happens that she’s working here today. She just checked in and is currently in the nurse’s office. That’s where she works when she’s here, since we don’t have a full-time nurse.” “Do you think it would be possible for us to speak with her?” “Let me call and check.” She made a quick phone call and then spoke to us again. “She said she’d be happy to meet with you and asked me to direct you there. After you go into the hallway, just turn left and it’s the next doorway on the left.” “Thank you,” I said as Brandon and I headed there. After entering the nurse’s office, I said hello to Mrs. Kurtsman and introduced her to Brandon. Then I filled her in about Tristan’s situation. “He had a rough time in the beginning, but he seems to be doing better now, but we’re concerned that he hasn’t fully dealt with the issue of losing his parents. Would you be willing to meet with him and discuss the situation with him?” “Of course. Since he’s a new student, I’ll request to meet with him today, and then I’ll schedule an appointment with him once a week until I feel he has dealt with the issue and no longer needs my help.” “Thank you very much for doing this for us. It will be a great help.” After we said goodbye to her, Brandon and I headed out to the car and drove to work. “I think he’ll be fine,” Brandon stated before we reached the health center. “I agree. She’s a fine teacher and I’m sure Tristan will like her.” “And I hope he gets along with the other students too,” Brandon shot back. “I’m sure he will. He’s better off than Benny was when he was in her class, and I’m positive she’ll help him handle any problems that arise.” Our workday wasn’t quite as hectic as the previous one, but I treated quite a few more sick kids over the course of the day. Their problems were basically the same as the day before, but there were also a few routine checkups as well, but those were mostly for kids too young to attend school. When I met up with Brandon for lunch, he told me about his morning and said he’d mostly dealt with high school and college kids so far. He said the college kids, who he’d been treating for many years, were there to get their teeth cleaned or various problems taken care of before they returned to campus. The high school kids, on the other hand, were trying to squeeze in a visit before they had to buckle down with their schoolwork. Seeing it was more or less a typical workday, neither of us were as tired when we got home, which was a good thing. When we saw Tristan, we asked him how his first day went. “It was good. I like Mrs. Argentine and I made some friends. I told Benny and Joshie that I had the same teacher as them when they were my age, and they told me she was really nice.” “I’m glad the day went well for you,” Brandon said with a smile. “Did you have any problems like getting lost?” I followed. “Nope, cuz I had to do most things with the rest of my class, ‘cept when I had to pee.” “Well I’m glad everything went well.” Brandon and I then went to change, and when we finished Brandon went to help Trey with dinner. I chose to go speak with Dion and see how things went with the SUV. “It was great and the boys are a lot more comfortable than they were being squeezed into our car. I just had to get used to driving a much larger vehicle. Oh, and we stopped to fill up the gas tank on the way home, so that’s taken care of too.” “I’m glad we thought about letting you use it.” While we were eating dinner, I asked the boys another question. “Do any of you have homework?” “I have a little,” Noah replied. “I do too,” Ryan agreed. “We did ours already,” Joshie answered for Benny and Tristan as well. “We did it before you guys got home.” “And I don’t got none,” Wyatt chimed in. “You don’t HAVE ANY,” Trey corrected him. Wyatt merely shrugged in response and nodded to let his English teacher father that he understood but was mildly irked about being corrected in front of the others. “I’m glad you younger boys are all set,” I responded, “and I want you two to get your assignments done right after you finish eating.” “Yeah, we know,” Ryan replied as Noah nodded that he understood as well. Brandon and I checked the boys’ assignments later, and spent some time chatting with them about various other topics as well. We also watched a couple of TV programs with them before sending them upstairs to shower and get ready for bed. When they’d had sufficient time to do those things, we went up to say goodnight and tuck them in. In the morning I asked Dad a question before we left for work. “Do you want me to call you at noon to see how things are going with the medium?” “You can if you want, but it really isn’t necessary. I can fill both of you in when you get home later.” “Ok, but call and leave a message if there are any problems or if you need us to pick anything up on the way home.” “Ok, but I’m sure we’ve got enough drivers and cars available if I need anything, seeing Elliot is still here and Dion and Trey will be home before you.” “Yes, I guess I forgot he was going to be with you and could help out too. In that case, we’ll merely check with you when we get home to see how everything went.” Brandon and I talked about this briefly on the way to work, and for the most part we were merely looking forward to Hubbard and Abernathy being gone, so there would be nothing more to worry about.
  4. Bill W

    Chapter 26 - A Few More Daytrips

    Oh, ok. Thanks for clarifying that for me.
  5. Bill W

    Chapter 26 - A Few More Daytrips

    I'm not exactly sure what you mean by this, but thanks for the feedback.
  6. Bill W

    Bringing In the New Year

    Thanks, tor.
  7. Bill W

    A Currie Christmas

    Thanks for the feedback, flesco, and I'm glad you enjoy the Currie Christmases. I have to confess that I pull some of their traditions for my family throughout the years, since we were one of those throwback families that always came together for the holidays. It was a very happy and enjoyable time.
  8. Bill W

    Bringing In the New Year

    Thanks for the feedback, Stix, and we'll see what the next chapter brings.
  9. Bill W

    Bringing In the New Year

    Thanks for the feedback, James. Yes, there were various incidents that could have turned out badly, but they made it through them all unscathed. Now, we just have to see what happens with the unwanted visitors.
  10. Bill W

    Bringing In the New Year

    Wesley, I'm glad you enjoyed this, and you'll soon see if your prediction is correct.
  11. A couple of days later, Dad contacted the medium who was willing to come to the house to remove Hubbard and Abernathy. The medium started out by asking Dad several questions about the house and the history between the family and Hubbard and Abernathy before they were killed by police. He also wanted to know about our religious affiliations, most likely so he wouldn’t do anything that might offend our beliefs. After all of his questions had been answered, he told Dad he would arrive on Thursday, January 4th. With the appointment scheduled, we turned our attention to New Year’s Eve. We’d already reserved the small banquet room at our favorite restaurant for the evening, so now all that was remaining was to focus on what we were going to do after we returned home. The festivities at the restaurant and the house would only include those living in the area, because the others had chosen not to attend. They’d just been here and didn’t want to make another round trip just for a one night celebration, which we understood. Dad, Pop, the O’Haras, Dion, Trey, Brandon, and I sat down to discuss how we were going to celebrate at the house and quickly came to an agreement. Dad, Dion, and Trey volunteered to procure the items required to pull it off, since they weren’t working over the holiday. With that settled, we all began looking forward to bringing in the New Year. It snowed again overnight, so after Dad snowblowed the sidewalk and driveway he asked Elliot to go to Ace Hardware and pick up a few bags of Halite (rock salt). He felt it would be needed seeing more snow was being forecast before the weekend and he wanted to make sure that no one fell and got hurt when they came to the house. As soon as Elliot agreed to do this, Dad told them to take the SUV, since it handled better on the wintry roads. Before he ran the errand, though, Elliot asked Noah to go with him and help carry the bags. While picking up the Halite, Elliot noticed that Ace had an old fashion wooden toboggan for sale. After thinking about it briefly, he felt his younger brothers would have a lot of fun with it, so he purchased it as well. If you’re not familiar with this item, it’s a long wooden sled that will seat several individuals at the same time, so he and the boys would be able to fit on it together. After they got back to the house, Elliot and Noah carried the bags of Halite inside, and then they told the younger boys to put on their winter gear because they were going sledding. Needless to say, the younger group was thrilled and eagerly put on warm clothing and winter jackets, as did Elliot and Noah. The boys became even more excited once they saw Elliot and Noah taking the toboggan out of the SUV, with the exception of Tristan. He had never seen anything like the toboggan before and wasn’t quite sure how it was going to work. “So we’re gonna use that to go sledding?” he asked as he looked skeptically at Elliot and waited for an answer. “Yes, because we’ll be able to sit one behind the other and ride down the hill at the same time.” Seeing Tristan was satisfied with Elliot’s answer, Ryan helped Noah carry the toboggan to a nearby hill that had enough snow for what they intended to do. Elliot sat down at the front of the toboggan, just behind the curved nose, and Noah took his place at the rear with the rest of the boys squeezed in between them. Since most of the boys were small, they all fit on it quite nicely, and then they had a wild and swift ride to the bottom of the hill. Seeing they had so much fun they did it several more times and switched places so they weren’t sitting in the same spot on every run. After they grew too cold to continue, they returned to the house, and they were laughing, joking around, and covered in snow as they went inside. “That was a blast,” Tristan told Dad as soon as they walked through the door. “Yeah, it was, and we wiped out once when Benny was in the front,” Joshie teased. “That wasn’t my fault,” Benny objected. “We just hit a rough spot and the toboggan went sideways.” “Yeah, and we all went flying,” Ryan quipped. “Yep, but it was really fun,” Wyatt countered, letting the others know that he didn’t think the incident had been a bad thing. “And I’m glad it happened,” Elliot concurred. “Doing those types of things aren’t as much fun unless you wipeout once or twice.” After thinking about it quickly, the others agreed that wiping out had made the remaining trips down the hill more exciting, because it had added an element of danger. “I’ve got to admit that it almost happened when I was in the front too,” Noah admitted, “but somehow the toboggan straightened out again and we only got jerked around a bit.” “Yeah, I remember that,” Tristan confirmed. “I’m glad you had fun,” Dad stated, “but now you’d all better go change out of those wet clothes. The snow you brought inside with you is starting to melt and leaving behind a mess on the floors, and you shouldn’t continue wearing those wet clothes because it might cause you to get sick.” The boys did as he requested and headed to their rooms, and as soon as they put on different garments they came downstairs again. Some of the boys opted to go to the family room and challenge one another on the PlayStation, while the remaining boys went out to the rec room so they could shoot pool, play air hockey, or take turns at table tennis. Brenda and Patrick eventually went out to join the group in the rec room and were soon engaged in heated competitions with their grandsons. Dad said they continued doing those things all afternoon. “Damn, I didn’t feel old until I spent time keeping up with those boys,” Patrick wheezed when he came up to us on his way back from the rec room. “Yes, they’re quite a handful, with lots of energy,” Brandon agreed. “I just hope your mother is holding up better than I am, because she’s still back there.” “In that case, we’ll go check on her.” Brandon stated, and then he and I headed to the rec room. We found Grandma Brenda playing air hockey against Tristan. “How are you doing, Mom?” Brandon asked as soon as she scored and there was a slight break in the action. “I’m doing fine, but you’d better go see how your father is doing. He didn’t look very good when I saw him last.” “Yes, we know. We just left him. So how come you’re doing so much better than he is?” “Because I’m using my brain and choosing activities that aren’t quite as demanding. For example, when we went outside with the boys yesterday I made snow angels with them, which didn’t take a great deal of effort. Your father, on the other hand, made snowballs and threw 20 or 30 of them at a tree with the boys before chasing them around the yard.” “Ok, I can see why that would tire him out, but there’s nothing in this room that’s quite as demanding.” “Normally I’d agree with you, but he chose to play ping pong against Ryan and Noah and they’re pretty good. They had their grandfather running from side to side chasing shots, and he’s not used to that much physical activity. I merely played pool and air hockey against the boys, which was much easier.” “Ok, now I understand. I’ll go check on Dad to make sure he’s all right. I’ll take Danny with me, just in case he needs CPR.” Brenda giggled. “Good idea but let me know before you call the undertaker.” “Will do.” Patrick appeared to have recuperated after getting a drink and then sitting down to chat with Dad while dinner was being prepared. After we finished eating, we agreed to watch a movie with the boys, and when it ended Brandon’s parents joined us as we tucked the boys in and said goodnight. When we got home from work on Thursday, we were told that the boys had talked Brandon’s parents into going tobogganing with them. Brenda and Patrick had taken turns switching places with Noah and Elliot, but they never did it at the same time. They also didn’t change places with the same boy every time to ensure that they got to ride down the hill with all of their grandsons, which included Joshie and Wyatt. Brenda and Patrick didn’t get to ride down as often with Elliot and Noah, but that didn’t seem to bother their oldest grandsons, and we were told that everyone had a good time. After changing quickly, we found Brandon’s parents sitting in the family room and noticed that Patrick looked beat, while Brenda appeared to be fine. We assumed that she’d found an easier way to do things again, so we decided to ask how she had managed it this time. “Ok, so what did Dad do today that you didn’t?” Brandon wanted to know. “We went tobogganing with the boys, but when your dad rode down the hill he would pull the toboggan back to the top again afterward, while I talked the boys into doing it for me. It was hard enough just walking up the hill without lugging something behind me, but your dad apparently never figured it out. Either that or he just wanted to prove how macho he was, but he did it at his own expense.” Brandon and I couldn’t help but laugh at how his mother had handled the various situations over the past few days. The rest of the night was just like the previous one, because we took pity on Brandon’s father and chose to do something that would be a little easier on him. We all watched another movie with the boys and then we put them to bed, but not before the boys got a few extra hugs from their grandparents and kisses from their grandmother. To our surprise, we learned the boys had talked Brandon’s parents into going tobogganing with them again on Friday, but Patrick didn’t look as bad when we saw him after we returned home. “You know, if I stayed here a little longer I might actually get back into shape, because the boys have put me through one hell of a workout routine,” he joked as we were sitting down to dinner. “What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger,” his wife quipped before rolling her eyes and shaking her head at her husband. After we finished the meal, we decided to go to the cinema complex this evening. Everyone agreed to join us, including Dad and Pop, so we ended up taking three vehicles. It was the only way we could get everyone there without renting a bus. When going inside, we quickly discussed our current choices, and after some give and take we ended up choosing Star Wars: the Last Jedi. I would have preferred seeing The Shape of Water, but it was rated R, so that was out of the question. Personally, I felt I’d already seen more than enough Star Wars movies, but I gave in since it was what the boys wanted to see. They all seemed to enjoy it too, and in the end that’s all that really mattered. We stopped and picked up a couple dozen doughnuts on the way home, and then Dad and Brandon made hot chocolate to go with it. After we finished our little snack, we sent the boys upstairs to get ready for bed, and then we went up to tuck them in and say goodnight. Around midmorning on Saturday, after we’d all eaten breakfast together, Brandon’s parents asked to use the SUV so they could take the boys to the local ice skating rink. Fortunately, the place had rental skates available, because the boys didn’t have their own pair, and then the O’Hara’s did their best to teach them how to skate. Some of the boys had either skated or rollerbladed before and took to it like a duck to water, but Tristan, Benny, and Wyatt weren’t as lucky as the others. I was told the trio fell down more than a few times, but they still seemed to have enjoyed the experience. That point was driven home when those three told us about what they’d done after we got home from work. “My butt’s still bruised from fallin’ down on the ice so many times,” Tristan told us while rubbing his behind. “Do you have anything I can put on it?” “Of course. I’ll give you an ice pack.” “But ice is what gave me the bruises,” Tristan objected looking confused. “That may be, but it will numb the pain and keep your butt from swelling,” I countered, although Tristan didn’t appear convinced. “It was like tapin’ knives to the bottom of my shoes and then tryin’ to run,” Benny explained. “I didn’t do very good and fell a lot too, but I mostly bruised my knees and arms.” “An ice pack will work on those as well,” I assured him. “I held Grandma Brenda’s hand and she didn’t let me fall as much as they did,” Wyatt offered. If you hadn’t noticed, the O’Haras treated Joshie and Wyatt as if they were their grandsons as well, and that pair called them grandma and grandpa the same as the others. “Then I guess you’re the only one who won’t need an ice pack,” I joked, as the older pair made faces at me. Brandon and I were looking forward to having a couple of days off from work and being able to relax for a while, but after lunch our sons announced they had other plans for us. They wanted Dion, Trey, Brandon, and I to go tobogganing with them, since they’d spent the morning with their grandparents. “But I’m sure Grandma Brenda and Grandpa Pat still want to spend more time with you,” Brandon countered hoping to wiggle out of doing this. “No, the boys want to spend time with their dads,” Patrick chimed in looking relieved. “You go ahead, because we’ve spent plenty of time with them already.” Brenda merely smiled, but that was enough to tell us that it was our turn in the barrel. After talking it over with Dion and Trey we agreed, and then we all went to change into warmer clothing. We followed the boys as they carried the toboggan to the same hill they’d used before, but it was obvious that we weren’t going to all fit on the toboggan at the same time. After talking it over, we finally agreed to ride down as a family unit, but since Brandon and I had more sons than Dion and Trey, we were going to be more than a little crowded. That’s when Ryan offered a solution, “I’ll go down with Uncle Dion, Uncle Trey, Joshie, and Wyatt.” “Are you sure?” Brandon asked. “Yeah, it’s not a big deal since we’re all really close. Joshie and Wyatt are like my brothers too, and Uncle Dion and Uncle Trey are like two more dads to us.” “And I’ll switch with Ryan so he can go with you guys as well,” Noah offered. “In that case, I think we’re all set,” I agreed. During the first ride with four of our sons, it was a straight shot to the bottom of the hill. Unfortunately, we hit a fairly big bump along the way and the toboggan momentarily went airborne. When it landed, Brandon fell off the back as the rest of us continued to the bottom of the hill. He was still sitting in the snow and laughing as we pulled the toboggan back to the top, so I helped him up. “Hey, I thought I was the diver in this family,” Elliot teased when we reached Brandon, “but that wasn’t a bad half-gainer.” “Indeed, complete with a mouthful of snow,” Brandon agreed. “I’m surprised I didn’t chip a tooth, or possibly worse in the process.” After we handed the toboggan off to the next group, they took their turn flying down the hill. I’m not sure if Ryan did it on purpose, but his weight suddenly shifted to one side and caused the toboggan to flip, sending the others flying in all directions. No one was hurt, but they were all covered in snow as they walked up the hill to join us. “What happened?” Tristan wanted to know. “I caused it, but it wasn’t my fault,” Ryan admitted. “Joshie stuck his cold glove under my jacket and shirt and touched my bare shin. It shocked me because it was so cold and I tried to pull away, and that’s what caused the toboggan to roll over and sent us sprawling.” “I wondered what caused that to happen,” Dion stated as he finished brushing the snow off his clothing. “Seeing Joshie was the culprit behind what happened we’ll have him sit at the very front next time, so he can’t do the same thing to someone else.” “Awww, Dad. You’re no fun,” Joshie whined with a huge grin on his face. Each group got to take several trips down the hill, and then they’d make the long walk to the top again, except for the last trip down. We let Tristan and Benny pull the toboggan up the hill this time, and then they got to ride down the hill again with the other group, so they got one more ride than anyone else. We all had a great time doing this and got quite a work out from walking up the hill multiple times. When we got back to the house, we changed quickly and did whatever we could to warm up again, which included holding steaming cups of hot chocolate between our hands while sipping it slowly. Dad and Pop had everything set up to make the hot chocolate as soon as we returned, so we only had to pour the hot water into the mugs when we came back to join them. “Well it doesn’t look like there are any broken bones or missing teeth,” Dad joked as he surveyed the mob standing in front of him. “Which is a miracle,” Trey responded, “because we had a couple of close calls.” The boys then filled in both sets of grandparents about the various things that had happened, exaggerating as boys tend to do. Their recounting of events was quite humorous, though, and gave all of us a few good belly laughs. The rest of Saturday was fairly calm as the boys entertained each other and the adults made sure everything was set for the following evening. There were dress shirts to iron, desserts to be made, and party favors and other items to be organized before the boys showered and we tucked them in bed. Sunday morning we got up and headed to church en mass, and after attending Sunday school and then listening to the sermon, we went out for brunch. “I really like that you do this after church,” Tristan stated as we waited for our food to be delivered. “I never got to do anything like this with my mom, but I really like doin’ it now.” “And we do too,” Dad agreed. “It gives us something to look forward to after sitting in church for so long,” Pop quipped. “And then we only have to fix dinner on Sunday, because this takes care of the other two meals,” Trey added. “But I still had cereal before I got dressed,” Tristan countered. “Yes, we all usually grab a little something first, but no one has to spend time cooking a large breakfast for everyone,” Brandon pointed out. “Ok, I see now,” Tristan agreed. “And today you don’t have to fix dinner either, seeing we’re going out to eat later,” I chimed in. “That’s true, so I hope this tides everyone over until then,” Dion stated. We didn’t do much for the rest of the day, and even had the younger boys take a nap so they wouldn’t be as likely to fall asleep before midnight. We had a lot planned for the night and were fairly certain that no one would want to miss any of it. We let the boys have a snack when they woke up, and then we had them start getting dressed at 7:00, since our reservation was for 8:00. They all wore their suits again, since this was a fancy establishment and a major event. As soon as everyone was ready, we drove three vehicles to the restaurant. After entering and announcing who we were, we were led back to the small banquet room. “You mean we got this all to ourselves?” Tristan gasped when we walked into the empty room. “We sure do,” Brandon agreed. “There will be others joining us too, including many of the same people you met at Christmas, so we’ll fill this place up by ourselves.” Before long the others began to arrive too. Over the next twenty minutes we greeted Aunt Sally, the Shays, Vinnie and Kevin, Jessie, Richard (Little Ricky), Dustin and Katie, Cole and Beth, and our brother Pat and his girlfriend, Tori. The last pair had driven here from Pittsburgh earlier in the day and would drive back tomorrow after lunch, but Pat was willing to do this so we could meet Tori. We hadn’t met her yet, because she wasn’t able to come with Pat for Christmas. She was celebrating with her family instead, but promised to come with him for New Year’s Eve, seeing it was important to Pat that she met the family. She was quite attractive and very easy going, which made it fairly obvious why Pat was smitten with her. He also had something to tell us, and it seemed quite important that he did it right away. “I wanted all of you to meet each other, because when I got home after Christmas I asked Tori to marry me and she agreed. We haven’t set a date yet, but the wedding will be in Pittsburgh and I’ll let you know when as soon as we’ve ironed out the details.” We all congratulated them, and then we chatted with everyone both before and during the meal. Dad also made sure everybody knew we’d be going to the house after leaving the restaurant, because he had much more planned. Even though he never explained what those other things were, everyone eagerly agreed that they’d be there. After we finished our meals we asked the waiters to leave the door to the room open so we could hear the quartet that was playing in the main dining area. It allowed those who wanted to get up and dance a chance to do so, and most did, and I was pleased to see that Richard had asked Aunt Sally to dance with him during this time. When we finally agreed that we were ready to leave, a small caravan followed us back to the house. As soon as we got inside and had taken off our coats, Dad announced he would make coffee and hot chocolate to go along with the desserts. We got to choose between pumpkin pie, cheesecake, and chocolate cake, so everyone found something they liked. The boys devoured the chocolate cake, but the adults were fine with one of the other selections. Dion and Trey also passed out the party hats and noise makers to everyone, and Brandon turned on the TV so we could watch the various New Year’s Eve celebrations. The sound of horns and noise makers filled the air as the boys prepared for the big event, and as it got closer to midnight Dad had all of us put our coats on and go outside for a special treat. Pennsylvania had just passed a law that made the sale of fireworks legal, so Dad picked up a few special items for tonight. Those combined with the box full that Nick and Shannon had brought with them when they drove up from Atlanta for Christmas would give us quite a show. Dad stared at his watch as he led the countdown to midnight, and then the rest of us watched as Dad and Pop set off a variety of aerial rockets. The sound of the booms and popping noises brought some of the neighbors outside to enjoy the displays with us, and once the last of the fireworks had faded into the night air, we went inside again. After wishing each other a Happy New Year and exchanging kisses with our mates, as well as with the various ladies in attendance, things began to wind down. Over the next half hour those living nearby returned to their homes, and once they were gone the rest of us turned in for the night. It had been a long and wonderful day, but now it was time to get some rest.
  12. Bill W

    A Close Call

    What it came down to was whether they wanted to gain the parents admiration and keep the trust of the two kids. They felt they had learned their lesson and they would keep tabs on them in the future. Even though they might not be at the same place, Adam can still use his ability to get the truth from them over the phone, and if necessary report their concern to the parents later.
  13. Bill W

    A Currie Christmas

    Thank you. That was very sweet of you to say. I'm glad you enjoy my humble offerings.
  14. Bill W

    A Currie Christmas

    Christmas with the Curries is always a fun time, and I'm glad you enjoyed it with them.
  15. Bill W

    A Currie Christmas

    It's one holiday the Curries seem to be very fond of. Thanks, Wesley.
  16. About half of those who lived out of town arrived on Saturday, including Brandon’s parents, Patrick and Brenda O’Hara. Patrick had taken two weeks of vacation time so they could meet their newest grandson and spend some time with all of their son’s family. And then later the family members who lived locally joined us as well. Since we knew there wouldn’t be enough room for everyone to stay at the house, we asked those living nearby, including the Shays, to let some of the others stay with them over the holiday. We made room for the O’Hara’s and Dad’s biological children and their families, so all the grandchildren would be at the house. However, the other family members would be staying at the homes of those who’d volunteered to put them up. After I spoke with Graham, I told Brandon, Dad, Pop, Dion, Trey, Elliot, and Noah that I’d like to meet with them in the dining room after everyone else had gone to bed. They wanted to know what it was about, and I merely responded that I’d explain later. They weren’t exactly happy that I was keeping the purpose of this meeting a secret, but since they were curious about the topic, each one agreed to do what I’d asked. In the meantime we enjoyed being with those we hadn’t seen in a while, and as soon as we put the boys to bed, those not spending the night departed. Shortly after they’d left, those staying at the house called it a night as well, and once they were all in their rooms, the rest of us met so I could fill them in about what Graham had told me. We sat around the dining room table and everyone else stared at me intently as I began to speak. “First of all, two nights ago I experienced another scary episode. I woke up in the middle of the night unable to breathe and Brandon had to help me sit up so he could pound on my back until I caught my breath again.” “What was wrong?” Dad asked looking worried. “I’m not sure, but it felt as if someone was either pushing down on my chest or something heavy had been placed on it so I was unable to fill my lungs with air.” “Thank God you’re all right,” Pop commented, “but why didn’t you tell us this sooner?” “Thank you for your concern, and I didn’t mention it sooner because I didn’t want to say anything about it in front of the boys. I felt they were already unnerved by what’s been going on and didn’t want to make matters worse. And then the next night Elliot came home and we focused all of our attention on him.” “Ok, but next time let us know sooner,” Dad urged. “I will, but now I have something else to tell you. I think I have an answer for not only the most recent episode, but for all of the other things that have been happening over the past week as well.” The others were all waiting breathlessly for me to fill them in. “Earlier today, Graham pulled me aside and explained that we had some new spirits in the house this year. One is Tristan’s mom, and she isn’t a problem, but the other two are troublemakers who shouldn’t be here.” “Who are they?” Noah immediately demanded, acting like an impatient teen. “I was just getting to that. It’s David Hubbard and Sam Abernathy.” “Abernathy was one of the guys who beat up Ian and vandalized my car,” Elliot spat out in disgust. “And Hubbard has caused our family numerous problems over many years,” Trey added. “Yes, and it definitely explains what’s been behind the strange events that we’ve been experiencing recently,” Dad offered. “True, but I doubt they’ve been doing those things together,” I suggested. “Although I may be wrong, it’s my belief that Hubbard is responsible for the attacks, while Abernathy is behind the lesser incidents. “What attacks? What other incidents?” Elliot demanded. “Ok, let me explain. Many things have been happening recently, and I believe Hubbard was the one who was responsible for the scratches on my back and the bruises on Brandon’s wrists. I also think he was behind the reason I couldn’t breathe the other night and the push Elliot felt when he nearly fell down the stairs.” “He did all that?” Elliot asked rhetorically. “Yes, but other things have been happening as well,” Brandon responded. “And I feel Abernathy was behind the remaining mysterious occurrences, such as hiding the car keys and turning on Brandon’s lamp in the middle of the night. I also think he’s the one Elliot heard walking around in his bedroom last night and I heard moving about the house.” “So you were right. It wasn’t one of the other boys,” Elliot whispered absentmindedly. “And it’s the reason you didn’t catch anyone,” I agreed. “Damn. Do you think Hubbard and Abernathy are also going to bother the others while they’re here?” Pop wondered. “Graham said he didn’t think anything like that was going to happen.” “Why not?” Noah challenged. “Graham said Elliot’s father, Sammy and Andrew’s grandfather, Mr. Becker, Mr. Spencer, and Brent are preventing them from doing anything else, at least for now. Graham thinks our helpers will stick around as long as Hubbard and Abernathy are still here, seeing they don’t usually remain here all the time, except for Brent. If Hubbard and Abernathy get discouraged because they aren’t able to do anything, then they might eventually depart on their own. If they do, I just hope they don’t return after the spirits of those protecting us leave.” “So the other spirits weren’t here to stop Hubbard and Abernathy when they did those other things?” Elliot wondered. “Obviously not, except for Brent and Cody. Graham says those two are always here, but the others only show up on the holidays and for the birthdays of those they’re closest to. I think it also means that Brent wasn’t capable of stopping them alone and Cody was too small to help him.” “That makes sense,” Trey agreed. “Do you think we’ll have to get an exorcist to get rid of them?” Noah asked looking hopeful. “I think an exorcist only works on demons, so I doubt it would help in this case,” Brandon answered. “I’ll do some research and see if there’s anything else we can do to get rid of them, hopefully for good,” Dad offered. “I won’t be able to do it while the others are here, but if Graham is correct and nothing more will happen throughout the holiday, I’ll investigate our options next week, after the others have returned home.” “Sounds like a plan,” I agreed. “I just wanted you guys to know what was going on.” “Thanks for the information,” Pop stated. “We’re lucky Graham was here and could see who was causing the problems.” The rest of us agreed with his observation, and then we turned in for the night. We intended on getting as much sleep as possible so we wouldn’t be overly tired while entertaining those who’d showed up to celebrate Christmas with us. Sunday was fairly hectic as well. It started out with everyone going to church together, and Tristan got to hear Dion and Joshie sing a duet with an excellent rendition of “Oh Holy Night”. They took turns singing the melody and harmony, with Joshie going first on the melody, and they did a terrific job. I know it sent chills up and down my spine as I listened to them, and I’m certain the entire family was very proud of them as well. We could tell the congregation had also thoroughly enjoyed their duet, because we could see it on their faces, since no one claps for the choir or soloists at church. “Man, you guys are really good,” Tristan enthused after the service ended. “Thank you and I really like singing with my dad,” Joshie replied. “And I love to sing with my very talented son,” Dion confirmed. “Did you have to practice a lot?” Tristan followed. “Yeah, and we did it after school the last couple of weeks,” Joshie explained. “Dad had to teach me how to sing the harmony when it was his turn to sing the melody.” Once we got back to the house, nothing unusual happened. Those who had been here the previous day returned and the remaining family members showed up throughout the afternoon and early evening. As soon as everyone was at the house there was barely enough room to move around in the main areas. For the most part, however, we split into smaller groups, although those groups were constantly changing. The youngsters hung out in the rec room and played games, and the other family members moved between the family room, living room, and dinning room as they caught up with everyone else. Meals were also fairly chaotic as different people took turns working in the kitchen fixing an assortment of dishes to serve. We even had to eat in shifts, seeing there were so many people that we couldn’t all fit around the dining room table. We had additional tables that we were going to use for Christmas dinner, but we didn’t want to keep setting them up and taking them down, because they’d take up most of the space in the living room and foyer. It all worked out, though, and everyone got fed. Later that evening, Dad asked each of the grandchildren to join him in the family room, along with the O’Haras, because this involved their grandchildren as well. However, there wouldn’t be enough room for everyone else to fit in there, but Dad made one other exception as well and allowed Ricky and Tiffany to join them. During the drive to the house Ricky had told Tiffany about some of the family’s traditions, and Tiffany wanted to witness this for herself, and Dad was happy to oblige her. As they entered the family room, Dad asked Elliot to play the piano, because he wanted to start out by singing Christmas carols. Once they’d finished a couple of songs, they watched the George C. Scott version of A Christmas Carol next, before Dad did what he was most noted for at Christmas. As soon as the movie ended, Dad pulled out his copy of A Visit From St. Nicholas by Clement Moore, or as most people refer to it, Twas the Night Before Christmas. Just as he finished reading the final words, “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!” he closed the book and Wyatt screeched out almost simultaneously. “Santa is looking in the window.” Most of the other kids were prepared for this ritual, since the same thing happened every year. Pop would dress up in the Santa suit and go outside to wait for Dad to finish reading the poem. He would peer through the window but keep out of site until he saw Dad close the book, and that was his cue to let the kids see him. They did this so the youngsters wouldn’t argue when they were told it was time to go to bed. Even though Wyatt had seen this before, he still got excited when he spotted Santa, but it was Tristan’s first time and he was totally amazed. “Wow, I’ve never seen Santa lookin’ in the window at us before.” “I think he’s checking to see if you’re sleeping, so he’ll know when he can leave the presents,” Dad explained. “Then we better get to bed,” Tristan urged. “Come on you guys, we got to go to sleep.” The kids all raced off to their bedrooms and changed into their PJs. “Oh, that was so cute to watch,” Tiffany stated after the kids had left the family room. “I think I’m going to do something like that when I have children too.” Ricky merely rolled his eyes when she said this, which Dad interpreted to mean that they hadn’t talked about having children yet. After we’d tucked the kids in bed and felt they’d had time to fall asleep, the rest of us started retrieving the presents and placing them under the tree. Some of our visitors had to go out to their cars in order to get their gifts, while the rest of us pulled them out of the various hiding places in the house. We could only put the presents for the grandchildren under the tree in the family room, because they took up so much space that there wasn’t room for anything else. Once that had been taken care of, we stacked the gifts for the rest of us in the living room, but we wouldn’t open our presents until after we’d watched the youngsters open their gifts first. It was quite late by the time those staying somewhere else were finally able to leave, and we told them we’d call in the morning to let them know what time to return. The rest of us were all well aware that we wouldn’t be getting much sleep tonight, but seeing the excited kids opening their presents was going to be well worth the loss of a few ZZZs. Wyatt woke up first, around 6:00, and then he woke Tristan, Benny, Joshie, and the two youngest biological grandchildren, Lucas and Kylie. Joshie and Benny talked the others into going downstairs to see how many presents were under the tree first, before they woke up the adults. They silently crept down to the family room and saw all the presents there, and then Joshie noticed there were even more packages in the living room. “Man, there’s enough stuff here that we could open our own store,” he remarked before the others raced up the stairs to wake their parents. Joshie didn’t go with them, because he’d told Wyatt to wake up their daddy and poppy while he woke up Grandpa Josh, Grandpa Jake, Grandpa Pat, and Grandma Brenda. The O’Haras were staying in Vinnie’s old bedroom off the rec room, so all the grandparents were on the first floor. Shortly after we’d been rudely accosted and roused from our slumber, we groggily followed our human alarm clocks to the family room. Once we were all assembled, Brandon and Trey started passing out the presents to the kids. There was a flurry of activity as wrapping paper was torn off the packages and the various recipients commented about their gifts. Unbelievably, they even took time to show the rest of us what they’d received, and that continued until all of their presents had been opened. As the kids began to check out the various items they’d received and started playing with a few of them, the rest of us moved to the living room so we could exchange gifts with each other. We would repeat this process with the others when they arrived, until there was nothing left to open. Once the last of the presents had been exchanged with those staying at the house, Dad, Pop, Trey, and Brandon headed into the kitchen and started making breakfast for the mob. When the preparations were well underway, Brandon and I called the youngsters to the dining room and made sure they were fed first. Once they had filled their bellies, the rest of us sat down to enjoy our breakfast. After everyone had eaten, we washed the dishes and cleaned up the kitchen quickly, because we’d have to use most of those same items for Christmas dinner. After that had been accomplished, Dad, Pop, Trey, and Brandon began getting things ready for the next meal, and I asked Elliot to call the other houses and let them know they could start showing up at any time. While they were taking care of those things, I took charge of directing some of the others as they helped to set up the two banquet tables and assorted card tables that we would use for this purpose. Some of us would eat in the dining room, others at the tables set up in the living room, and the kids tables would be arranged in the foyer. It was a cluttered scene and a tight squeeze to move around, but it was worth it to have the family together on this special day. When everyone else began arriving, we’d exchange gifts with them first, and those working in the kitchen would take turns doing this as well. As soon as the remaining family members had all arrived and the last of the presents had been opened, we sat down to enjoy Christmas dinner. Dad, Pop, the O’Haras, the Shays, Aunt Sally, and the oldest children sat at the dining room table, while the rest of the adults ate in the living room and the kids in the foyer. Several of us helped to bring the various dishes out to the different tables, because the kids were all old enough to help themselves this year, including Wyatt. In fact, he made sure to let his poppy know that he could do it himself, much to Trey’s chagrin. The conversations were lively and the food delicious. We were busily engaged in these pursuits when Pop shouted out for all of us to hear. “Look outside, it’s snowing,” he declared as he pointed out the window. “It may be a little late, but it looks like we’ll have a white Christmas after all,” Dad followed. He was right. Leading up to today the weather had been cool, but not cold, so we weren’t sure if this would happen. I was convinced the snow would make the kids happy, although those having to drive might not find it quite as wonderful. After dinner we chatted for a while longer, and that’s when some of our guests got a chance to corner those they hadn’t seen for a while and ask a few questions. “Elliot, you’re graduating this year, right?” Judge Shay asked. “Yes, Uncle Steve, I graduate in May.” “And what are your plans after that?” “I’ve already been accepted to attend Yale Law School in the fall.” “I’m glad to hear that, and please let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.” “I will.” “How about you, Noah?” Shannon followed. “Don’t you graduate this year too?” “Yes, but I’m just graduating from high school.” “And what are you going to do after that?” “I’ve been accepted to attend Penn State.” “That’s great. Do you know what you’re going to major in?” “Yes. I want to pursue a degree in biochemistry and molecular biology.” “Wow that sounds hard. What do you want to do after you graduate with a degree in that?” “I want to get a job doing cancer research. You might remember that my dad died of prostate cancer and my mom died from breast cancer, so I’m hoping I can do something to prevent others from dying from the various forms of cancer.” “Man, that’s terrific and I wish you well. You’re gong to have to study really hard to reach your goal.” “I know, but I want to do this.” A short time later the first groups began to leave. We said goodbye to those who were returning home either tonight or driving back in the morning, since some of them had taken an extra day off from work. It was sad to see the holiday come to an end, because it had been wonderful being with all of them again. When we went up to tuck the boys in later the O’Haras joined us, and Tristan had something he wanted to tell us. “I had a really great time this weekend and I liked meeting my new grandma and grandpa. I got to meet Elliot, Grandpa Pat, Grandma Brenda, and a whole bunch of aunts, uncles, and cousins too. And I got lots of neat presents.” “And we were thrilled to meet you too,” Brenda confirmed. “Yes, we were,” Patrick agreed. “We’re glad you enjoyed yourself and like your presents,” Brandon told him. “We were hoping it wouldn’t be too hard on you after everything else.” “Yeah, I know, and I miss my mom a lot and thought about her at different times, but there was so much goin’ on and so many people talkin’ to me that I didn’t have much time to think about her.” “That was probably a good thing, and I’m sure your mom would be happy to know you were enjoying yourself,” I told him. “Yeah, she always wanted me to be happy.” “And we want you to be happy too,” Brenda quickly added, with Patrick concurring. “And I hope you have really good dreams tonight,” I added as I kissed him on the forehead. Brandon and his parents did the same, and then we tucked him in and said goodnight before turning off the light and shutting the bedroom door. We then made our rounds to say goodnight to the other boys as well, before calling it a night and turning in too. In the morning, Dad’s biological children and grandchildren left after joining us for breakfast, and then Pop, Brandon and I had to go to work. Dad filled us in later about what happened next and said the rest of them chose to relax for a bit after we left, except for the boys. They were eager to go outside and play in the snow, and Patrick and Brenda agreed to join them. Dad loaned Patrick some winter gear and helped Brenda find something that would fit her as well. Living in Texas they didn’t have clothing suitable for the winter weather, but they were quickly dressed and went outside with the boys. Once they were out of the house, Dad and the others sat around the dining room table and talked. “Graham was right,” Dion pointed out. “Nothing happened while everyone else was here.” “I’m glad, because I’m not sure how we would have explained it to them,” Dad followed. “I can’t remember,” Trey said next. “Does everyone else know about Graham’s ability?” “They all know Graham has the unique skill of being able to predict certain future events,” Dad answered, “but I’m not sure if they realize he can also see ghosts.” “Then I’m glad nothing happened,” Dion offered, “or it might have led to some awkward discussions.” “I don’t think anyone would have reacted badly to the news,” Dad reasoned. “Some of them might have had trouble believing in ghosts or that they could do the things that have been occurring around here, but that’s it.” “It isn’t easy to accept that ghosts are able to do all of those things,” Elliot agreed. He and Noah hadn’t gone with their younger brothers, since their grandparents had offered to do it instead, but they promised to go outside with them later. “You still have trouble believing ghosts can do those things, even after they did some of it to you?” Noah challenged. “Even though I felt someone push me from behind and couldn’t see anyone else around, my first thought wasn’t that it was a ghost. I’m still finding it difficult to believe a ghost could have done that to me. If a ghost can pass through walls, then wouldn’t its ghostly arms and body just pass through anything when they came into contact with it, rather than interacting with it?” “Obviously that’s not how it works,” Noah countered, which caused Elliot to scowl at him. “I just hope Graham was correct when he suggested that those helping to keep Hubbard and Abernathy under control will stick around as long as the other two are still here,” Dad reasoned. “Yes, I hope so too,” Trey agreed. Dad said the rest of the day was fairly low key. He said Brenda and Patrick were half-frozen and worn out when they came inside to eat at noon, and then Elliot and Noah went out with the boys after lunch. They had a snowball fight before helping the boys build a couple of snowmen.” “Yes, we spotted them the second we got here,” Brandon stated. “And I told them I didn’t want to find a snowman in any of the cars later,” Dad added. “Smart move,” Brandon and I concurred. When the boys came inside shortly after our discussion ended, they were very excited. “Did you see our snowmen?” Tristan wanted to know. “Yes, so which snowman is Frosty?” I teased. “They both are,” he answered. “Then judging from the size difference they must be Frosty Sr. and Frosty Jr.” The boys thought about this briefly and then began to giggle. “Yep, Frosty the father and Frosty the son,” Benny clarified. “I like havin’ a lot of brothers cuz I get to do all sorts of stuff with them,” Tristan enthused. “And I got to do stuff with Grandma Brenda and Grandpa Pat too. Grandma Brenda taught us how to make snow angels, and Grandpa Pat taught us how to make a really good snowball and helped us practice throwing them at a tree.” “And we were glad he did that, cuz we had a snowball fight with Elliot and Noah later,” Wyatt added. “That doesn’t sound fair, seeing they’re so much bigger,” I observed. “But there was more of us,” Benny pointed out. “And we beat ‘em,” Wyatt stated gleefully. “Yeah, we creamed them,” Joshie agreed. “We hit them with four or five snowballs every time they hit one of us with a snowball.” “Hmmm, another victory for David over Goliath,” Brandon mused. “Hey, I learned about them in church,” Tristan said after recognizing the names. “Yes, they’re a common lesson for Sunday school classes,” I agreed. Now that they’d filled us in about their day, we sent the boys up to their rooms to change out of the clothes they’d been wearing outside and to wash up for dinner. As soon as they left, I turned to Dad so I could ask a question. “Did you find out anything about our unwanted visitors?” “Yes, I did. After the boys went outside, I got online and found some sites dedicated to paranormal occurrences. A couple had phone numbers listed, so I called and told them what we were facing and asked what we could do to stop it.” “And what did they say?” Brandon asked. “I was told we would need the services of a physically large, very intimidating, and extremely forceful male medium to help us get rid of Hubbard and Abernathy.” “So not just any medium would be able to do it?” I followed. “No, after I told them about Hubbard and the things he’d done in the past, the person I spoke with felt Hubbard would probably be very resistant to leaving, so we’d need a medium that could scare him into going.” “Hubbard doesn’t scare easily. He’s too dumb for that,” Pop added. “That may be, but it’s what the person suggested we do. He also said the medium would be able to advise us about the other things we should do in order to keep them away afterward as well.” “So how are we going to find a medium that fits the bill?” “The person I spoke with said he would call some people he knew to see if they could refer an appropriate medium that lived in our area and might be available. He said he’d call back and let me know.” “And the medium will be able to tell if Hubbard and Abernathy are truly gone?” Brandon wanted to know. “He should, but I will also ask Graham to drop by again so he can check it out as well.” “Yes, it would probably be a good idea to do that too,” I agreed. “So how soon do you think we can get this done?” “As soon as the guy gives me the name of a medium I’ll call and set up a time for him to come and do this. I was told that if everything goes according to plan it could be done in one day, but we won’t know for sure until the medium is here and does what he has to do.” “Then hopefully this will be over soon. I just pray that our loved ones can keep Hubbard and Abernathy in check until then, otherwise I’m afraid those two are going to seriously injure or kill one of us.” “Let’s pray that doesn’t happen,” Pop added. “And I’m going to pray that we find a medium soon,” Brandon chipped in. “I think we should all do that,” I agreed. After dinner Dad received a phone call, and once he hung up he called the rest of us together while the O’Haras were with the boys. “The guy I spoke with earlier gave me the name of a medium who said he’d be willing to do the job, but he won’t be available until after New Year’s Day.” “Then I hope our helpers can keep Hubbard and Abernathy in check until he gets here,” Dion offered. “I do too,” Dad agreed. “I’ll call him tomorrow and set up a specific date to do this, and then I’ll call Graham and ask him to come here the weekend after the medium does his thing.” “That works for me,” Brandon responded. “We’ll just have to stay on high alert until then.” We all concurred with his comment and went to sleep that night knowing a resolution for this problem might be at hand.
  17. Bill W

    Story

    Thanks for the feedback and I'm glad you enjoyed this story.
  18. Bill W

    Chapter 21 - We All Take A Stand

    True, but they took a very homophobic stance during this time.
  19. Bill W

    Chapter 20 - Saving Shannon

    I agree, but with Josh being an employee of the school district he is hesitant to sue over an accident.
  20. Bill W

    Chapter 19 - Parties And Problems

    Yes, Kevin's had more than his share of bad luck.
  21. Bill W

    Chapter 13 - The Prognosis

    Thanks for the offer.
  22. Bill W

    Chapter 13 - The Prognosis

    Thanks for the feedback, and you are probably correct, but sometimes an author has to take certain liberties to make the story interesting.
  23. Bill W

    Strange Things Are Happening

    Thanks, flesco, and Tristan is starting to fit in nicely. The other situation is an unusual, and it's good that Graham could explain the cause and that the family spirits are keeping Hubbard and Abernathy in check, but what will happen next? Will more attacks take place or will they be able to get rid of these unwanted visitors. Stay tuned, because it may take a few chapters to iron this out.
  24. Thank you. I'm glad that helped out.
  25. I didn't realize it was missing for Book 2, but it's added now. You'll find it listed before Chapter 1.
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