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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

To Denver and Back - Part 3

Livy shook her head slowly when Martha finished telling her Ray’s plan to go to Denver and bring her and Daniel back home. A wry smile crossed her lips as she thought of the irony of them both planning a surprise for the other and literally getting crossed.

Hank sat at the kitchen table with them. “Why I bet your trains probably crossed each other right on the tracks!” he said in amazement.

They all smiled and their heads turned at the sound of Daniel’s cooing, no doubt signaling satisfaction as Martha cradled him in her arms. “He’s so beautiful, Livy – such a little angel,” said Martha. “I’ve always loved everything about babies – how they sound, feel, smell – they are such a gift from God,” she said.

Livy nodded her head in agreement wondering what she should do next. She was so pleased and relieved that Ray still cared for her – a part of her had feared that he might have resented her leaving so much that it would eat away at him and change his feelings. Not every man would be so patient. She smiled to think him so heroic to go to Denver to get her, but she was disappointed that he wasn’t here and she would have to continue to wait to see him. Once she had decided to come back, the waiting had become almost unbearable and she’d hoped by now they’d be back home in the kitchen – their kitchen – admiring their new son together. She sighed softly, which prompted Martha.

“You must be tired, Livy – why don’t you go upstairs and lie down for a nap?” she suggested.

“I’m not so tired, Martha. I’m just still missing Ray – I know it’s my own fault that we were separated in the first place, but I needed to be away for a bit to sort out my feelings. I know now that this is where I want my home to be – right here with all of you and as Ray’s wife,” she said.

Martha reached out her hand and covered Livy’s. “We all missed you, Livy and we are so glad to have you back. I can tell you that no one missed you more than my brother.”


Ray hung up the phone and turned to Abby.

“Livy is at Martha’s – they picked her up at the train station and took her back to their place,” he said.

“I’m glad she arrived safely – what did she say?” asked Abby.

He shook his head, “I talked to Martha; Livy had fallen asleep and we didn’t want to wake her.”
Abby busied herself with the coffee and handed Ray a cup. He thanked her and followed her to the table and sat across from her.

“You won’t be able to get a train back today, Ray. Tomorrow is the earliest you’d be able to head back by train,” she said.

Ray nodded slowly and said he’d told Martha as much on the phone.

Abby could read the disappointment in his face. “These two really love each other,” she thought to herself. The ironic end to Father’s banishment of his unwed, pregnant daughter was that he had sent her to a good and decent man – a beet farmer – who had brought Livy a happiness she never could have imagined.

“Ray,” Abby started. Ray looked up at her, eyebrows raised as he anticipated Abby’s next comment.

“Ray,” she repeated. “This might sound crazy, but I’m an idle housewife these days with an automobile that doesn’t run just on a schedule. Why, if she’d have let me I would have driven Livy back, but she had it in her mind that she would show up on her own, with the baby, of course. Anyway, if you are up to it, we could drive back to Wilson.”

Ray’s eyebrows knitted into a brief frown as he considered Abby’s offer. He’d just been calculating how long it would be if he stayed overnight in Denver and endured the train ride and then truck ride back to Martha’s. It would be another 24 hours. If he and Abby left soon, they’d be at Martha’s that night – it would be late, but they’d be there and he’d see Livy and the baby.

“The baby,” he said to Abby. “Nobody said what his name is.”

Abby was caught off guard by his response to her suggestion that they drive to Wilson so she hesitated before saying, “Livy told me she wanted to tell you herself, Ray. I don’t want to interfere.” She hesitated again. “So, what do you think about driving back or are you politely trying to avoid being in the car with me behind the wheel?” she finally asked.

Ray smiled at her comment. “If it wouldn’t be putting you out too much, I’d much rather get home tonight than let another 24 hours go by,” he said.

Abby grinned and said, “Great, I’ll go pack a bag and we’ll be on our way!”


Hank had gotten a bassinet out of the attic and moved it into the room where Livy would sleep. Livy thought at first that she should go back to their house, but the Stewarts wouldn’t hear of it. “Livy,” Martha had scolded, “There’s no way you are going to spend your first night back in that house all by yourself with the baby. I won’t allow it and I know Ray’d never forgive me if I let you do that. You’ll stay right here and we’ll talk about what to do next tomorrow.”

Livy didn’t really mind as she was so happy to be back in the hustle and bustle of this house with its cozy warm fires and wonderful kitchen smells. Despite her afternoon nap, she grew sleepy after dinner and didn’t resist when Martha insisted that she head off to bed.

Before drifting off to sleep she wondered what Ray was doing right now. Would he stay with Abby or would he try to find another place to stay? She wondered how early a train he’d catch tomorrow. Although she knew he still loved her, she was a bit nervous about seeing him, but so eager to see him at the same time. She needed to tell him her feelings – he’d waited so long for her to figure out what was going on in her heart. She recalled his question to her that morning after the awful fight, “Is there anything you like about me, Livy?” he’d asked. Her heart ached and she groaned aloud for about the 100th time after thinking about how she’d made him feel. There was so much to make up to him and she needed to start. “Hurry home, Ray so I can tell you that you are the best man I’ve ever known and that I want to spend the rest of my life telling you everything I like about you. Hurry home,” was her last thought as she drifted off to sleep.


Livy awoke to the sounds of voices. Once again, she wasn’t sure just where she was – the noise made her first think that she was in Denver where it was always noisy when she first woke up. She looked around and realized that she wasn’t in Denver, she was in the guest room at Hank and Martha’s house. She heard more voices as she turned on the light and looked at the clock. “Why it’s midnight!” she said to herself as she climbed out of bed. She looked over at the bassinet where Danny lay sound asleep. Should she go downstairs? More voices and some laughter were heard. She grabbed her robe and tied it tightly around her waist. She ran her fingers through her mass of long curly hair and tried to make it behave as she headed down the stairs.

Livy slowed as she turned into the door leading to the kitchen. She heard Abby’s voice and saw her talking animatedly as she stepped in. In amazement she cried, “Abby? Abby?”
“Abby, what are you doing here? And where is Ray?”

Suddenly the kitchen door swung open and Ray stepped in carrying a couple of suitcases. He looked up at the faces that had all turned to him and in the dim light he scanned those faces until he found the one that he’d seen every night before he fell asleep and every morning when he woke over the past several weeks.

His eyes locked on Livy’s and she blushed as their eyes met. Martha and Abby looked back and forth almost as if watching a tennis match and time stood still.

“Ray,” Livy said softly. “Oh, Ray!” she said again as the tears filled her eyes and she moved toward him with her arms extending. Ray dropped the suitcases and put his arms about her waist as her arms went round his neck. He pulled her close as he closed his eyes and simply said, “Livy.” Livy clung to his neck as he smiled and kissed her hair.

They pulled back and looked into each other’s eyes. Livy smiled through her tears and then laughed. Ray laughed as well and the others moved in to share in the hugs and the laughter.

“Ray,” Livy said as the noisy chatter began to subside. “There’s someone I’d like you to meet. Would you come with me upstairs?”

Ray smiled knowingly and followed Livy out of the kitchen and up the stairs to the room where Danny slept.

Livy gently lifted the sleeping infant from the bassinet and handed him to Ray. Ray’s eyebrows went up in surprise, but he reached out to take the baby from Livy.

“Ray Singleton, I’d like you to meet your son, Daniel Stephen Singleton,” she said with a smile in her voice and on her face.

Ray looked down at the baby and then at Livy his mouth nearly agape with amazement.

“Daniel?” he finally managed to say.

She nodded and said, “I’ve already taken to calling him Danny if that’s okay. It seems to suit him. And Stephen is my father’s name. Ever the optimist I am that some day he’ll come around to us.”

Ray looked back down at the stirring baby and said, “Hey Danny, it’s nice to meet you.” He looked back at Livy and leaned over to kiss her – she leaned toward him and kissed him back. They smiled at one another and then back at the baby. When Ray started to sing the Singleton lullaby to Danny, Livy thought she’d melt and any last semblances of doubt that might have existed in her mind disappeared.


In the morning, Abby was ready to go back to Denver about the same time Livy and Ray were ready to head back to their own house. They said their good-byes and Ray took a moment to be alone with Abby to thank her again for taking such good care of Livy and for driving all the way back with him. Abby hugged Ray and simply said, “You’re welcome. I suppose I could tell you to take good care of her, but something tells me that I don’t need to do that.”

“No,” he agreed. “That’s something I intend to do every day of my life.”

They all said their good byes and Ray and Livy drove the 8 miles to their house, both unable to keep the smiles from their faces. Livy had heard all about the Christmas pageant from Ruth that morning Ray concurred on the ride home that it had been great fun.

Livy said, “You know, Ray - Abby took me to the symphony’s Christmas concert and all I could think about was missing that pageant.”

Ray’s eyebrows raised and then frowned skeptically.

“It’s true!” Livy defended. “It’s when I knew for certain that this was home for me, Ray, not Denver. I love the symphony, but nothing can compare to seeing a show with people you care about actually in it.”

He smiled at her and nodded as they pulled up to the house.

Livy noticed a wreath on the door as Ray opened the door and stepped back to let her through. “Livy,” he said. She turned to him and he said, “Welcome home” as he leaned down to kiss her and she kissed him back.

“Thank you, Ray,” she said. “It’s so good to be home.”

As she entered the house, she saw some of the things that she’d collected from the dugout had been arranged on the porch. Inside she saw that several more items had been hung on the walls or placed on table tops.

She looked around in amazement and said to Ray, “You’ve been busy! It looks wonderful.”

He smiled proudly and said, “You can arrange things anyway you want, Livy. This is your home and it needs to reflect that. You can make any changes you want and you can make any rules that you want. You are the lady of the house and can make any decisions you want.”

Livy laughed. “Oh, I’d be careful before giving me that much free range, Mr. Singleton.”

He put his arms around her and pulled her close. “You can have as much free range as you want Mrs. Singleton, as long as you promise to never go away again.”

She looked up at him and said, “I’ll never go away again, Ray. I promise. I love you.”
A small smile formed on Ray's lips as he said, "I love you, too."

As they kissed, Danny began to cry and Ray took him. Livy said, “Shall I make us some lunch?”

Ray looked at her teasingly and said, “Don’t tell me you took some cooking lessons in Denver!”

She swatted him playfully as they went into the kitchen, making the sounds of a happy family happy to be at home.

The End


To Denver and Back - Part 2

Ray fished through some of the items in the shed. “That tire ratchet should be here somewhere,” he thought. When he lifted a tarp he discovered a burlap bag – the burlap bag that he’d carelessly tossed in the fire some time ago, not realizing that Livy’s artifacts had been in it. He had thought she’d been angry that day, but had come to realize that she had been hurt. Livy was trying to find a way to fit in here, to keep some of what she loved – in this case, discovering artifacts – a part of her life and he’d tossed them in the fire.

Over the past several days, Ray had asked himself a million times “Why isn’t she here?” He wondered if on some level he already knew the answer to that question.

The day she left, he had told Livy what he truly believed, that she was a fine and talented woman. Yet he didn’t always treat her that way. Sure he had made some efforts and he knew she’d appreciated those. He read a book about the lost city of Troy and he knew she was grateful at his efforts. Was that enough?

He thought back to Livy’s asking him if she could help on the farm. He had said, “I doubt it.” She had wanted to help, to be a part of the farm and he had turned her down and suggested she take care of the house instead. Why hadn’t he suggested some of the things she might do to help with the harvest? Why had he decided that she should take care of the house, the house that she’d never even seen before those first few days?

And then the night of that awful fight, he had implied that his mother’s rules were still the rules of the house. How could he expect a woman to feel at home in a house where another woman’s rules had to be followed?

Ray closed his eyes. “Livy, if you come home, you can make all the rules you want and you can help on the farm all you want. Just come home, Livy,” he said as he headed out of the shed with the ratchet in his hand. “Please come home.”


Livy opened her eyes and once again wondered where she was. Her mind was very fuzzy and it was several minutes before she realized that she was in the hospital. A nurse came in and smiled at her as she checked Livy’s pulse and blood pressure. Livy’s mind slowly allowed her to focus a bit more clearly at her surroundings.

“Mrs. Singleton, how are you feeling?” the nurse asked.

Livy let a puff of air out her nose as she said, “Kind of like I’ve been run over by a truck,” Livy answered.

The nurse smiled again and plumped Livy’s pillow a bit. “Your sister is down the hall, I’ll tell her you’re awake,” said the nurse. “She may be trying to arrange for a telegram to your husband; I imagine he’s off fighting the war?” she asked.

Livy didn’t know how to respond. After a hesitation, she just said, “No. No, he couldn’t be here,” she answered softly. Livy winced at the look the nurse gave her; the nurse finally just nodded and said, “I’ll get your sister,” as she left. Livy called out to the nurse as the door closed, but it was too late.

“Where’s my baby?” she wondered and felt a pang of guilt as she admitted to herself that Ray’s absence wasn’t because he couldn’t be there. He wasn’t there because Livy hadn’t asked him. She’d left him behind to come and have the baby in this clean and sterile place where at this moment she was by herself and surrounded by strangers who were quick to judge. “I’ve had my baby and here I sit by myself and I don’t even know if it’s a boy or a girl,” she thought on the verge of tears.

Just then Abby burst into the room. “Livy!” she beamed. “Sweetheart, you did it! You have a beautiful son!”

Livy smiled. “I do?” she asked incredulously. “He’s okay?”

“He’s perfect, Liv, just perfect. The nurse is bringing around a wheelchair and then we can go down to the nursery to see him. Oh, Livy! I’m an aunt!”

Livy couldn’t help but smile at Abby’s excitement. “I can barely wait to see him, is she coming right away?” Livy asked.

Abby turned toward the door. “She said she was, let me check.”

Just then the door opened and a nurse wheeled the chair in.

“Are you ready to see your son, Mrs. Singleton?” she asked.


Ray poured the last of his coffee and walked back into the living room to listen to the news on the radio. As he lowered himself onto the couch, the phone rang. He still wasn’t quite used to hearing it ring and he waited to count the rings – one ring, two rings, three rings – that was him.

“Hello,” he said as he lifted the receiver. There was a buzz at the other end of the line and a pause before he heard a woman calling his name.

“Ray? Is that you, Ray?” He recognized Livy’s voice immediately.

"Livy? Is that you, Livy?"
"Yes,” he heard her laugh. “Yes, it’s me Ray.”

“Where are you?” he asked. “Is everything okay?”

“Oh yes, Ray. I had the baby. He was born last night. I wanted to call you then, but I didn’t want to wake you.”

Ray smiled. “A boy? You had a boy? How is he?”

“He’s perfect. He weighed a little over seven pounds and is 19 inches long.”

Ray continued to smile and leaned his forehead on the wall. “That’s great, Livy. I’m so relieved. How are you?” he asked.

“Oh I’m fine, Ray. Tired, but exhilarated. I wish you could see him,” she blurted out without thinking.

Ray hesitated. He tried not to let any resentment seep into this moment, but he couldn’t bite back the thought that she was the one who went to Denver to give birth. He bit his tongue and “Yeah, me too,” was all he said.

An awkward silence loomed and then Livy said, “I’ve got to go, Ray, the nurse said I could have two minutes.”

“Okay, thanks for calling and giving me the news, Livy.”

Another pause and then Livy said, “Good bye, Ray. I miss you.”

Ray smiled sadly. “I miss you, too Livy,” he started, but the call had ended before he finished and he slowly hung up the phone. He walked back into the living room and looked around at the few things that he’d managed to get hung at Livy’s request. He thought of the artifacts that still remained in the shed. He grabbed his coat and headed out to the shed. “C’mon Franklin,” he said to the dog asleep by the fire. Franklin jumped to his feet and followed Ray out the door.


Nearly a week later, Livy sat in Abby’s living room and cradled the baby. “I haven’t told Ray that I’ve named the baby Daniel,” she said to Abby as Abby poured her some coffee. “I’m going to wait until I see Ray,” she finished.

Abby put the coffee pot down and sat across from Livy. Eventually she said, “When are you planning to see Ray?” Abby asked.

“I’m not sure,” said Livy. “You know I came here to have Daniel in a hospital and to think – to decide what to do and I haven’t been able to think of anything but Ray and the life we’d started to build together there in Wilson.” After a pause she said, “I miss him, Abby; I miss him so very much.”

Abby smiled. “You haven’t seemed the same, Livy. It’s as if only a part of you came back to Denver. It makes me angry that Father sent you out there and left you there long enough to put down some roots. I wonder if we’ll ever really get you back.”

“Oh Abby – the part of me that loves you came back. If it weren’t for you, I’d might have never have come back. You are practically the only one who continued to love me after I became pregnant. I’ll always love you – no matter what.”

Abby smiled at Livy through her tears. “You’re going back to Ray aren’t you?” she said.
Livy nodded slowly. “I think when the doctor says it’s okay for us to travel, I’d like to go back. It doesn’t seem to be worth waiting for Father to come see his grandson. He sent the gift, but can’t seem to face us.”

“Oh, Livy,” said Abby. “I’ll miss you so much; but, I continue to think how much you deserve to be happy and I do want you to be happy.”

“You know Abby, when Ray gave me this ring, I hesitated and told him I didn’t know if I deserved him. A part of me still wonders that, but Ray deserves to be happy and if I can go back and try to make him happy, he deserves that after all he’s done for me and for Danny.
Abby got up and gave Livy a hug. “Let me hold my nephew while I still have a chance,” she said.


Ray finished winding the watch and slid it into his pocket. “Just for luck,” he thought as he headed out the door. While he drove to the train station, he recalled his conversation with Hank and Martha.

“You’re sure we can’t drive you to the train?” Hank had asked for the third time.

Ray had told him, “No, I want to have the beet box there so when we get back, we can head right on home. Or if I come back by myself, I don’t think I’ll want to face anyone right away, that’s for sure.”

He immediately regretted saying that when he saw Martha bite her lip. “I’m sorry, Martha,” he said. “That wasn’t fair.”

“Take care, honey,” she’d said as she kissed him good bye.

“Take care, Ray,” he said to himself as he pulled in to the train station.


The phone rang as Chester scurried to answer it. Martha, still surprised to hear their new phone ringing in the house, heard Chester pause and then he called to her. “Mom, it’s Aunt Livy!”

Martha herself paused in surprise and then hurried to the phone.

“Livy?” she asked as she took the receiver from Chester.

“Hi Martha!” she heard Livy say excitedly.

“How are you, Livy? How’s the baby? Ray said you’d had a boy,” Martha said.

“Yes, yes I did, Martha. Just wait until you see him,” Livy answered.

Martha hesitated a bit awkwardly, wondering when that would be.

“Martha? I know this is short notice, but I wanted to surprise Ray. I’m at the train station in La Junta and wondered if you or Hank could come and get me. I know it’s a terrible imposition, but I didn’t know what else to do without calling Ray.”

“Well of course, we can come get you, Livy, but I have to tell you that Ray isn’t here.”

“Oh,” Livy said. She was disappointed to hear the news. “Will he be back soon?”

Martha hesitated again and wasn’t sure how much to say. “How about we get you here and then we can talk all about it,” was all she said.


Ray rang the doorbell to Abby’s house. He glanced around as he waited. The door opened slowly and he saw Abby’s face appear.

“Ray?” she said, unable to hide her surprise.

Ray removed his hat. “Hello Abby. I’ve come to see Livy and the baby.”

Abby hesitated. “Well, Livy’s not here, Ray,” was all she could get out at first.

Ray couldn’t hide his disappointment. “Will she be back soon?” he asked.

Abby opened the door wider and said, “You’d better come in and we can talk all about it.”


Sunday, January 29, 2006

To Denver and Back

The approach of the first anniversary of TV’s airing of TMOOD inspired me in a new bit of Ray and Livy fiction. I am grateful to pbright, for the idea to think “outside the box” with our fiction and to consider the question “What if?”

This story is a response to “What if Livy didn’t stay when Ray gave her the ring?” It’s written in three parts and I’m posting Part 1 today and will post Parts 2 and 3 tomorrow and the next day. I hope you like it -- consider it my gift to all of you! ......P&P5

To Denver and Back

Ray sat quietly in the room, his elbows resting on his knees and his head down. The room was warm from the fires he had built there in the parlor and across the hall in the dining room – keeping busy while he waited for Livy to come downstairs.

Livy entered the room from the hallway and softly called, “Ray?”

Ray raised his head and stood as she entered.

Livy continued, “I have to go say good bye to the girls.”

Ray nodded as Franklin whimpered from his spot in front of the fire. Ray and Livy both looked at Franklin as Ray noted, “It’s all right, he can stay if he wants. It’s awful cold.”

Livy gave a very slight smile as they both paused before Ray began, “When you come out here, I know you saw this as an agreement between your daddy and Reverend Case; marrying wasn’t your idea.”

Ray paused again and then continued, “I know you may have your mind set on leaving but I can't let you go without telling you how I feel.” He paused, struggling to get the words out. “I've fallen in love with you.....and I love that baby. For me you're the best thing that's ever happened. Livy, you are a fine and talented woman. You're a pitiful cook, but that doesn't matter, I can do the cooking. I know you had your heart set on going to faraway places, but there's a good bit of history right here in Otero County. If you like Indian canyons and dugouts, I'll help you find them. You can dig around all you want.” He paused as he lowered his head and then said, “I sound like I’m trying to sell you something.”

Ray pulled something small from his pocket. Livy stared at it as he slowly moved toward her and stopped when he stood before her. She realized that it was a ring.

Ray hesitated and wiped his upper lip before he was able to continue.

“That day when the preacher married us I forgot the ring.” He swallowed as he held the ring toward her and continued, “I have one now.”

Livy held her fingers to her lips and then touched her forehead as she struggled to hold back tears. “Ray, the truth is I don’t know if I deserve you. How do you know this could work?”

Ray hesitated as he looked Livy in the eye. “I know because someday you're gonna forgive yourself,” he answered.

Livy looked into Ray’s eyes as her mind was a whirlwind of conflicting thoughts. The events of the past year raced before her as she stood before this man who had been such a part of her life for the past several months. He was the man who had brought her much comfort during a painful time and who had patiently loved her and her baby, without judgement. Even now he waited patiently for her to collect her thoughts.

Livy’s eyes filled with tears as her mind continued its tumultuous journey back and forth between staying there with Ray and returning to Denver. Her hand went to her mouth as she began to cry. Ray reached out and put his hands on her shoulders; at his touch she began to cry harder and she raised her eyes to his as she slowly shook her head.

“Ray,” she started. “I need more time, this is too much – I don’t know what to do, I don’t know what to think. I’ve hurt you already and don’t want to hurt you anymore.”

Ray’s hands dropped to his sides and he lowered his head nodding slowly.

“Oh Ray, as it gets closer, the thought of giving birth outside a hospital is terrifying to me. Where I was raised, everyone delivers at the hospital and I’m scared to do otherwise - I think I need to go back to Denver and have this baby and have some time to think.”

Ray slowly started to return the ring to his pocket. Livy’s hand reached out and stopped his.
“If I wear your ring, a part of you will be with me – with the baby and me,” she said softly.

Ray looked at her for a long moment. “And what does that mean, Livy?”

“I don’t know, Ray. My feelings for you are so complicated and I am so confused about what to do. I just know I can’t make a decision about the rest of my life – your life – right here on the spot. Please, please just give me a little more time.”

Ray swallowed as Livy noted the deflated look on his face. He raised her left hand and slowly slid the ring on her finger as he said softly, “I’d do anything to have you come back home after the baby is born.” He raised her hand slowly to his lips and kissed it gently.

“I know that, Ray; walking out that door is going to be very hard for me, but I can’t have any lingering doubts before we go forward; you deserve so much more than that.”

He again slowly nodded and moved past her to the stairs. “I’ll get your bags and take you to the train. We can stop and see the girls on the way.”


Two days later Livy awoke to the sound of noise and wondered for a moment where she was. She realized she was in Denver, in Abby’s guest room and the sounds were the sounds of the city. She lay in bed for a while and wondered about Ruth. Her school play was that night – the Christmas pageant -- and Ruth was to play the part of Mary. Livy’s heart ached as she thought of Ruth’s disappointment that Aunt Livy wouldn’t be there. Livy felt no small amount of guilt about disappointing Ruth and felt disappointed for herself that she wouldn’t be there among the people of Wilson who would no doubt turn out to celebrate the Christmas season. There would be a happy commotion no doubt.

She thought of Martha and Hank and how they would beam with pride as they held hands in the audience. Chester and Hank, Jr. would pretend not to be interested but would no doubt pay close attention.

Ray would be there. Livy thought about the smiles they might have exchanged throughout the play and the pride they both would have shared in Ruth. She looked at the ring on her finger. “What am I doing here?” she asked herself as she sighed and slowly heaved herself from the bed. She put on her robe and slippers and walked to the window. She looked out over the city streets, covered with dirty snow and ice. Her mind went to the soft, white blankets of snow that covered the fields of Ray’s farm and the remarkable quiet as she would step out on the porch in the morning. The honking of a car horn and a distant siren brought her back to the urban scene below. “What am I doing here?” she asked again and went down to find Abby.


As it grew dark, Ray drove toward the school in Wilson, trying to listen to the latest war news on the radio, but not able to pay much attention. He looked over at the empty seat and imagined that Livy was sitting there beside him. He imagined that they would both smile as they looked at the ring on her finger. He supposed that Abby had gotten tickets to a concert or a play in Denver, one with real musicians and actors. She’d have a lot better time there than going to the children’s play at the school, there is no way they could compete with that. He hoped that Abby would know enough know enough to not let Livy get over tired. Dr. McCutcheon had reminded them both of that at Livy’s last appointment in town.

“Why isn’t she here?” Ray asked himself as he slid the beet box into a parking place and headed into the school.


Livy’s water broke the next morning just after she got out of bed. She called down the stairs to Abby who came to the bottom of the stairs and looked up with panic in her eyes.
“Should I call the doctor?” she shouted.

“Yes!” Livy called back as she clutched her abdomen and leaned over to handle a strong contraction. “Hurry, Abby,” she whimpered, but Abby had already run back to the kitchen to grab the phone. Livy walked bent over to the bed and lay down on her side. She moaned and breathed a huge sigh as the contraction subsided. “Oh, my gosh,” she thought to herself. “It’s happening; it’s happening.”

A few minutes later, Abby dashed into the room and looked down with alarm at Livy moaning on the bed and at the puddle in the middle of the floor. “Oh!” she cried. “Oh, dear!”
Livy looked over at Abby. “Did you call the doctor?” she asked.

“Yes. We’re to head directly to the hospital Livy. We should get you dressed,” said Abby haltingly.

As Abby grabbed a dress from Livy’s closet she then started to pull nylons from the drawer and some heels that were next to the dresser. Livy looked at Abby’s selection. “Oh Abby, just some slacks, please!” she managed to get out before another contraction started.

“Oh, okay,” said Abby. Her hands shook as she got the slacks for Livy.

Livy thought of her mother and wished that she were with them now. She thought then of Martha and what Martha would be doing for her if she were with them now. She probably would not be picking out hose and heels. Livy knew Abby was doing her best, but Livy so wished she had someone with experience here.

Abby brushed Livy’s hair and they headed down the stairs and out to Abby’s car, which would take them to Denver Hospital.

To Be Continued...


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Chapter 4: Livy's Plan

Fall, 1943

Livy was hard at work. Back to something that was familiar to her. Livy loved her new job. She loved the students. Livy had not been sure how the town of Wilson embraced education, but most parents seemed to see the need in it and supported Livy in her teachings. Livy tried to encourage the students to look beyond the textbook, to see what kind of legacy they could leave behind for the future generations of Wilson.

It had been a few weeks since Livy had been introduced to Mr. Singleton and Livy didn't know him any better than before. Livy decided to talk to Aunt Betty about Ray Singleton. Livy knew she could trust Aunt Betty. One night after supper when they were washing dishes, Livy found her opportunity to begin asking Aunt Betty about Mr. Singleton. She hoped she came across as not so forward.

"Mr. Singleton, Hank Stewart's brother-in-law, I have noticed is always alone." Livy said holding her breath.

"Yes, he is. It is a really sad story there. He is very much like you, Livy. Only he lost three people he loved more than anything." Mrs. Case said solemnly.
Livy thought for a second and asked "How did he lose his wife and children?" Aunt Betty looked quickly at Livy. "He didn't lose his wife and children, he lost his parents and brother. Not at the same time, but he lost them close enough. Raymond has never been the same since Danny's death, that's his brother. He raised Danny from the time he was thirteen until he left for bootcamp."

"I am so sorry to hear that." Livy said understandingly.

"Raymond's parents died during the same winter, from influenza. Raymond was sad and all, but he couldn't be for long because he had Danny to raise. Everyone around here knows what Raymond gave up in order to raise Danny. That's how we know how hard it was when Danny was killed at Pearl Harbor. Raymond was not seen in town for months afterwards. The community went to see him, but he never came to town. Not even to church."

Livy knew exactly how Mr. Singleton felt, how you just want to die when you lose your last hope.

Livy finally spoke, "I had no idea how great his loss was, I only know how lonely he looks."

Mrs. Case said with a smile, "Raymond is doing better, he at least attends church each week and the monthly socials that the church has. But he is always alone or with his sister, Martha and her family."

Livy said no more. She thought. She thought about Raymond and his great loss and how he must feel everyday. She hoped that Martha and her family was some comfort to him. Livy knows, because the Rev. and Mrs. Case are her comfort and her students are as well.

The next afternoon at school, Livy worked in her classroom grading her student's work. Livy began planning her next unit of study. She needed a map of the world as it seemed in the 1400's. Mr. Timmons, the school principal, told Livy on the first day of school that the school library had many resources that she could use. They were very fortunate to have such an exemplary library.

Livy placed the last grade in the gradebook and cleaned off her desk. She packed her bag with one more class' of ungraded work. Livy then headed to the library. Livy browsed through, looking at many books of interest to her. She thought she needed to come and check out some books, just for her to read. Mr. Timmons was right, the library was stocked with a wealth of books. Livy was startled by a voice.

"Hi, Miss Dunne, how are you?" asked Ruth.

"Fine, Ruth. What are you doing here at this time of day? Shouldn't you be home already?" Livy surprisingly asked.

"On Tuesday, I help Miss Rutledge reshelve books. That way, I get to see all the books in here......and it is the only day I have a ride home." Ruth said.

"Oh, I see." Livy replied. "I'll have to remember that if I need some help with the filing of papers in the classroom."

Ruth smiled big. "I would love to help you, Miss Dunne, anytime."

"Will have to see then." Livy added.

Ruth looked down at her watch, "Oh no, I'm late. My uncle Ray will be outside waiting on me."

With that, Ruth walked quickly to put away the cart. Livy whispered to her, "Nice to see you, Ruth."

"Nice to see you Miss Dunne." Ruth said hurriedly.

Livy kept the book she was looking at and headed towards the teacher section, when Ray Singleton walked through the library door. He stopped close inside the door and moved over as to not be in the way of the door. Livy was going to have to walk right by him to get to the resources that she needed. Livy thumbed through the book as to not seem as though she had seen Mr. Singleton. She looked up when she got to the door of the room that she needed. Mr. Singleton had moved over and was right beside the door. Their eyes met.

"Hello, Mr. Singleton. How are you?" Livy tried to ask unnervously.

"Fine......(cleared throat) thank you." Ray answered.

"We've been missing you at potluck lunch at church." Livy could've have crawled under the door at that statement.

Mr. Singleton just smiled slightly and nodded his head. He cleared his throat...
"I've got a lot of things to do around the farm to get ready for harvest." They smiled at one another. Ruth walked up, and they all seem to be lost for words. Ruth immediately apologized for losing track of time. Uncle Ray nodded.

"Good bye, Miss Dunne. See you tomorrow." Ruth said quietly.

"Bye, Ruth. Study your notes for the test tomorrow." Livy tried to think of something to say.

"Good afternoon, Miss Dunne." Ray said as he put his hat back on his head.

"Will we see you at Sunday's potluck?" Livy asked wishfully

Nodding his head yes, Ray replied, "Yes, ma'am." He and Ruth headed out the library door.

Livy closed her eyes and thought of the brief conversation. Livy thought to herself again how awkward she is around men. On Livy's walk home, she cringed at the thought of what she said. Was she too forward? Maybe Mr. Singleton was not interested in her, not that he was too shy.

That Sunday, Mr. Singleton stayed for potluck. Mrs. Stewart asked Livy if she would like to sit with them. Livy did. Going through the line of the potluck, Livy and Mr. Singleton kept catching each other's glances.

Livy sat down at the table near Mrs. Stewart. Ray sat at the end with Hank and some other men. Livy was disappointed. She had been too forward with Mr. Singleton the other day. Livy felt as if she was going to cry. She tried to keep her composure.

Livy sat at the potluck as long as she could, she had to get home to see about the next weeks lessons for school. Livy thanked Mrs. Stewart for inviting her to sit. Livy turned to Mr. Singleton and Mr. Stewart and bidded them a fair afternoon.

Livy walked sadly out the church. She hoped not to show her disappointment to anyone.

As the week started, Livy was thinking of Mr. Singleton. In the morning she thought of him, alone sitting at the breakfast table. During the day when her students were not with her she thought of him. Out riding a tractor or plowing.....or whatever farmers do this time of year. At night, when Livy laid in her bed, she thought of Mr. Singleton laying in his bed......alone.

At church that next Sunday, Mr. Singleton stayed for potluck. Livy ate with the Stewarts. Mr. Singleton sat with them. Livy tried to make conversation with Mr. Singleton. It was difficult. Livy soon realized that Mr. Singleton is a man of few words.


Sunday, January 22, 2006

Test your Skeet knowledge

Some brain exercise for the Skeet deprived.

How well do you know him?

Check it yourself and see. All clues are SU related, so think Skeet all the time. The answers will be posted later. I wish it would be interactive but this will do for now.



Friday, January 20, 2006

Birthday Gifts

Who better than Skeetrfan to select screencaps of our guy!

An immense thank you to her for choosing the perfect pics and a lovely font for this post.

The following words are taken from Charlene Costanza’s book “The Twelve Gifts of Birth.”


Happy Birthday Wishes


Thursday, January 19, 2006

12 days

We are counting down (or in this case, counting up) to Skeet's 36th birthday.

I've asked Kay to help me and have shamefully kept her wide awake in the most ungodly hour of the morning just to finish the entire song in time for today's post. To our chagrin, it was too late when we realized that it's going to be more effective if we post this one section at a time. So the idea was to eventually complete this by Skeet's birthday.

This is a song dedicated to Skeet sung to the tune of the 12 Days of Christmas....

On the first day of Skeet-ness
my true love sent to me
a Raymond in our favorite movie.....

On the second day of Skeet-ness
my true love sent to me
Two eggs and oatmeal
and a Raymond in our favorite movie

On the third day of Skeet-ness
my true love sent to me
Three HOFKs
Two eggs and oatmeal
and a Raymond in our favorite movie

On the fourth day of Skeet-ness
my true love sent to me
Four co'colas
Three HOFKs
Two eggs and oatmeal
and a Raymond in our favorite movie

On the fifth day of Skeet-ness
my true love sent to me
Five Farm Credit hats
Four co'colas
Three HOFKs
Two eggs and oatmeal
and a Raymond in our favorite movie

On the sixth day of Skeet-ness
my true love sent to me
Six gorgeous smiles
Five Farm Credit hats
Four co'colas
Three HOFKs
Two eggs and oatmeal
and a Raymond in our favorite movie

On the seventh day of Skeet-ness
my true love sent to me
Seven classic Tshirts
Six gorgeous smiles
Five Farm Credit hats
Four co'colas
Three HOFKs
Two eggs and oatmeal
and a Raymond in our favorite movie

On the eighth day of Skeet-ness
my true love sent to me
Eight miles to Martha's
Seven classic Tshirts
Six gorgeous smiles
Five Farm Credit hats
Four co'colas
Three HOFKs
Two eggs and oatmeal
and a Raymond in our favorite movie

On the ninth day of Skeet-ness
my true love sent to me
Nine pairs of Levis
Eight miles to Martha's
Seven classic Tshirts
Six gorgeous smiles
Five Farm Credit hats
Four co'colas
Three HOFKs
Two eggs and oatmeal
and a Raymond in our favorite movie

On the tenth day of Skeet-ness
my true love sent to me
Ten shots of Tequila
Nine pairs of Levis
Eight miles to Martha's
Seven classic Tshirts
Six gorgeous smiles
Five Farm Credit hats
Four co'colas
Three HOFKs
Two eggs and oatmeal
and a Raymond in our favorite movie

On the eleventh day of Skeet-ness
my true love sent to me
Eleven family treasures
Ten shots of tequila
Nine pairs of Levis
Eight miles to Martha's
Seven classic Tshirts
Six gorgeous smiles
Five Farm Credit hats
Four co'colas
Three HOFKs
Two eggs and oatmeal
and a Raymond in our favorite movie

On the twelfth day of Skeet-ness
my true love sent to me
Twelve John Deere tractors
Eleven family treasures
Ten shots of tequila
Nine pairs of Levis
Eight miles to Martha's
Seven classic Tshirts
Six gorgeous smiles
Five Farm Credit hats
Four co'colas
Three HOFKs
Two eggs and oatmeal
and a Raymond in our favorite movie

We've got the entire song nailed down but who knows, tomorrow might bring us to a realization of what an idea-crammed night might have reduced us into. Still, many thanks to Kay for her invaluable help and patience on this impromptu project.


Sunday, January 15, 2006

Just Passin' the Time Waitin' for the GG

Sensational, sensuous, sensitive smileS

Kindle our thoughts; knees become weaK

Extraordinary stares seem to mesmerizE

Expressions and gestures; stories of romancE

Talent is always abounding; fills us with delighT

United admirers; devotion is trU

Love your portrayals; all are so reaL

Ravenous for news of you to uncoveR

Interest in your work is our major alibI

Charm just radiates; bright and hypnotiC

Humble, hopeful, hunk, hands, hot, higH


Wednesday, January 11, 2006

One more CCA

Yet another sexy photo.....I think the photographers are finally getting the hint! I just hope the magazines catch up soon.


Tuesday, January 10, 2006

More CCA

Congratulations to ITW for winning Best Picture made for TV. May this be just the beginning of more awards.

Here are some screen shots and a short clip for those who weren't able to see the award show last night.

I think he's just really nervous to be in front of all these people. You can see all the Ray mannerisms here. It's been a while folks, but I hope he's going to start liking being in the limelight again.