Wednesday, April 11, 2007

We Gather Together

Chapter Seventy-Seven
We had the boys with us the whole day Tuesday, giving Tamara and Mark a little alone time. They were even going to stay the night, which they were really excited about. They were going to sleep in Lissa’s room and didn’t complain too much about it being a girls’ room – not after they saw all her softball trophies, that is!

We took them out to an amusement park Tuesday afternoon, where they played more video games. I wondered how you kept a child busy these days; it seemed an impossible task without a TV or a video game.

But we still had a wonderful afternoon with them. Before we went to All Sports, we stopped at one of my favorite fast food places. It had been in Wichita for many years, even, I told the boys, before I was born. That impressed them!

It was called Dog ‘n’ Shake and it had the very best hot dogs imaginable and home-made hand-dipped onion rings. The boys didn’t care about those, but Adam and Ryan ate so many I was sure they would both be sick. But of course I underestimated the endurance of the Richland constitution, and Ryan seemed to hang in there as well. The younger boys adored the hot dogs, though, and had huge milkshakes; Tristan had strawberry and Geoff had chocolate. I had the same one I have had for most of my life, the banana-chocolate one. It was worth flying around the world for, I thought, as it was made with real bananas, not banana flavoring. Scrumptious!

Adam had a large chocolate malt and then when he tasted my banana-chocolate shake drank half of that too. We all enjoyed the trip there. Wichita is growing fast and the large chain restaurants were quickly invading us. Not that they weren’t good, many of them are, but these small little places were dropping out of existence rapidly and I hated to see that, so I supported them whenever I could.

We got home around 6 and Adam fixed us dinner, making spaghetti and meatballs, which was one of the boys’ favorites. They ate like little piggies, and it made me laugh. I was positive that they would pop, but like their father they handled it well. And the good thing was that there were plenty of leftovers for Derek and Pam if they were hungry when they got here. Derek called around 7:30 and said they were driving through Oklahoma City and traffic was snarled with all the construction, so they would probably be a little later than they planned.

The boys begged to be allowed to stay up until they got here and we agreed. I put one of the kids’ old Disney movies in and we watched it. It was one of my favorites, The Swiss Family Robinson, and the boys loved it. They laughed at the animal races in it and rooted for the elephant, but they laughed hardest at the brother trying to ride the ostrich. Before they were halfway through the movie they were both clamoring for popcorn, so Adam fixed some. My stomach groaned in protest, but I got so engrossed in the pirate battle that before I knew it I was dipping my hand into the bowl with the boys.

Both of the boys were dropping off to sleep before the end of the movie, although they tried valiantly to stay awake to see the end. By 9:45 they were both asleep on the floor, and we left them there; we knew that Derek and Pam would be in soon.


Finally the outside door opened and I knew they were here. I jumped up off the couch and ran to the door, throwing it open wide, and in tumbled Pam first, straight into my arms for a hug. I quickly hugged Derek as well, holding them both tightly against me, and tears flooded my eyes; happy tears that they were here safe and sound. Adam hugged them both as well and the boys woke up then, aroused by all the commotion. Both of them whooped with joy and lunged at Derek. He grabbed one under each arm like he had in California and ran around the room with them while they screamed with delight.

Derek and Pam got in around ten that night. It was about a 13 hour drive from El Paso and I wondered why they hadn’t flown. With the price of gas it certainly couldn’t be because it was cheaper to drive and besides, they could have caught a MAC flight into McConnell air base, which is right here in Wichita. It didn’t matter, but I was very happy to see them both. I still couldn’t see any signs that Pam was pregnant, but then she was only 3 months along – what did I expect?

As soon as everyone calmed down a bit and Derek and Pam were introduced to Ryan, the boys went off to bed without too much protest, assured that Derek would be here in the morning. Adam and I tucked them into the bed in Lissa’s room and I swear that before the door was closed they were asleep.

Derek and Ryan hit it off immediately. There are a lot of similarities between military service and police work; discipline and chain of command not being the least of it all. Pam said she had been having some serious bouts of morning sickness, which I found out later was the reason they had driven; she couldn’t stand the thought of being sick on an airplane in front of other people.

Ryan had them both in the kitchen and was heating up some leftover spaghetti. They were chatting like they had known each other for years. Pam sat at the table sipping a 7-Up, and she definitely looked pale and tired. She didn’t want anything to eat but a few crackers, but Derek made up for it.

“Damned morning sickness!” she exclaimed. “Doesn’t it know it’s only supposed to happen in the morning instead of whenever it pleases?”

I squeezed her hand sympathetically; I so understood how she felt. My morning sickness with Derek had been the same way. And it had continued through most of the pregnancy, but I wasn’t going to tell her that – I didn’t want her worrying about it. They were both so tired that as soon as Derek finished eating, they went to bed. Ryan shooed Adam and me off as well, telling us he would finish loading the dishwasher and lock up. So we took him up on that and went to bed ourselves.

Luckily I remembered to put on a nightgown, because at around 4 am I heard Tristan out in the hall calling, “Sarah? Daddy?” and I went to the door and found both him and Geoff. They had both woken up scared because they were in a different place. Or that was their story, anyway, and they wanted to come to bed with us. Adam hadn’t ever awakened so I told them they had to be quiet, and as they crept exaggeratedly into the room and slipped into the bed, I had to muffle my laughter.

I kissed them both and soon we were all sleeping soundly. I woke up later in the morning feeling Adam gently caressing my face. I looked across the boys’ heads at his arm that was stretched across them and we shared a smile. We lay there looking at one another for half an hour or so until Geoff woke up and sat up, which of course woke up Tristan.

Tristan rubbed his eyes and blinked a few times before smiling. “Good morning, Daddy and Sarah!” he said as he clambered over me and looked around the room. Geoff soon joined him and they both ended up on the window seat, looking out the blinds. Adam pulled me over to him and bent to kiss me good morning. I saw Tristan watch, but he didn’t say anything so I felt like maybe he was getting over his jealousy a bit.

Adam and I both sat up in bed, and I looked over at the clock. It was a little after 8:00 am and the house was still quiet. The boys ran back over and jumped into the bed with us and we spent the next half hour tickling them and listening to their giggles, until they turned the tables and started tickling me. They had me screaming and trying to get away in nothing flat, and I do believe Adam enjoyed that even more than the boys did!

Eventually we all got up and got dressed, and by then the boys were clamoring for breakfast. Adam was making breakfast, banana pecan pancakes of course, when Derek came into the kitchen, still looking sleepy but sniffing the air appreciatively.

“Do I finally get to try the infamous banana pecan pancakes?” he asked. “I’ve had to listen to Lissa brag about them for a month now, and even Ryan mentioned them last night!”

“Well then, son, I guess it’s your turn,” I teased as I poured him some coffee. “Where’s Pam? Is she up yet?”

“Yeah, she’s camped out in the bathroom. You’re going to wish you had more than two, I promise you. Mom,” he asked softly, “Is – is it normal? I mean for her to be so sick? I’m so worried about her.”

“Unfortunately, Derek, it is entirely normal. Some pregnancies are just this way. But it may end soon, and she’ll be fine. Just be nice to her and supportive!” I told him as I pointed a finger at him.

“I will, I DO,” he exclaimed loudly. “Sheesh!”

Ryan appeared at that moment and said, “Uh, Sarah, can I use your bathroom? The one in the hall seems to be occupied.” He looked at Derek and said, “She doesn’t sound too good.”

“Of course you can; you don’t have to ask, Ryan.” As Derek started to get up I said, “No, Derek, let me,” and got up to go to see if Pam would talk to me.

There weren’t any sounds coming from the bathroom as I knocked softly on the door. The boys were watching Swiss Family Robinson again, in between quick forays into the kitchen to see if breakfast was ready yet, so it was pretty quiet in this part of the house. “Pam,” I called out to her. “Pam, can I help? Can I come in?” I hoped she would let me. Her own mom had died 3 years ago, and I knew that I often filled that void for her, as much as I could anyway.

“Okay,” a small voice called out from within the bathroom, muffled by the door.

I found her sitting on the floor with her head between her knees. She looked up as I came in and closed the door, and her face was still blotchy and pale from being sick and the hand she reached out to me was shaky.

I sat down next to her and put my arm around her shoulders and hugged her. “It will get better, Pam, I promise you! That doesn’t help much right now though, does it?”

She shook her head miserably and sighed loudly. “I just never thought it would be like this,” she told me. “God, Mom, I puke every day, sometimes all day long. This can’t be good for the baby!” she cried.

I laughed briefly before saying, “Pam, they are amazingly tough little beings! He or she will survive this fine.”

“He, it has to be a he. A girl wouldn’t put another woman through this,” she said determinedly. And then she laughed for a moment and added, “I’m so glad we’re here. I need this.”

“Of course you do, and I’m so happy you’re here too. It’ll be okay, Pam, really it will. Hanging out with family for a few days will be just the thing for you, I’m sure of it.”

“I think so too. I have lots of friends at Ft. Bliss, but they aren’t like family, you know?”

“I do. But you know you can come see us anytime you like, so don’t hesitate!”

She nodded and I noticed her face wasn’t quite so pale. I wondered if the simple bit of conversation helped to take her mind off of it. “Do you think you could eat a bite or two? Adam is making banana pecan pancakes! How about it?”

“Okay, maybe.”

“Pam?” Derek knocked on the door and she told him to come in.

He knelt down and kissed her on the forehead. “How are you, honey? Feeling better?” he asked, and his whole body was rigid with his concern. He stroked his hand through her hair gently and I was so proud of him as I watched. His love for her was evident in everything he did, and I hoped it lasted forever for them.

I got up and told them, “I’m going back to the kitchen. Come on out when you’re ready, okay?”

The both nodded and I watched as Derek helped her to her feet. Her eyes were shining brightly now, and I realized she was feeling much better. I walked back towards the kitchen and saw that the boys weren’t in the living room anymore so they must be in the kitchen, hungrily inquiring after their breakfast. I saw something move on the porch outside and for a moment my heart stopped and then the doorbell rang. I stood there for a moment, my blood singing through my ears. It is stupid to be so scared of the doorbell, I told myself, and I tried to catch my breath.

I heard footsteps behind me and looked around to see Ryan. “Sarah, let me,” he instructed me as he stepped around me and looked out the peep hole. “I have a feeling you’ll want to see this person,” he said as he started punching in the code to turn the alarm off and then opened the door.

Lissa stood there, and I yelled with joy. I hadn’t expected her this early, I thought as I hugged her to me tightly; she must have left Lawrence very early. Pam and Derek came into the room and got hugs as well. I looked at Ryan and asked, “How did you know who it was?”

“Let’s just say there is a bit of a family resemblance,” he laughed. I’d not ever really thought about that but he was right, there certainly was a strong resemblance. “And the uh, photo,” he murmured under his breath to me. I had forgotten about that, at least for a little while.

“Lissa, this is Ryan, our uh, friend from Dallas.” I hadn’t really thought about how to introduce him, so we just kept on introducing him as a friend. And Lissa didn’t yet know all the details of what all had been happening. We had decided to tell them all at the same time, if we could find some time when the boys were occupied, that is.

“I smell someone’s famous pancakes! That’s why I came early and I’m starving,” she called out, heading into the kitchen. “Adam, you had better make another dozen or so of those pancakes because I’m hungry!”

Adam stood by the stove with a spatula in his hand and I couldn’t help but laugh gaily at the image that presented. He looked so totally happy as he saw this huge group of people invading the kitchen, and as soon as he saw Lissa he laid the spatula down and hugged her. “A dozen huh? All right, fair lady, so you shall have a dozen!”

Breakfast was an orchestrated effort from then on; gathering plates and silverware, glasses and cups. I heated up syrup and poured milk for everyone. I spared a quick glance at Pam, and she looked good as she and Lissa chattered non-stop. Ryan pulled the sausage links out of the oven and piled them onto a serving platter. The boys had been banished to the living room and Derek was with them, laughing as hard as they were at the movie.

It was a mad house, complete chaos, and I loved every moment of it. It was made all the more precious, in fact, because of everything that had been happening in our lives. I wanted to take a mental picture of each dear person and never let these moments go.

Breakfast was a complete success, and over 60 pancakes were consumed along with 3 pounds of sausage, and finally everyone sat back, replete and happy. Even Pam managed to eat two pancakes, although she avoided the sausage completely. I sent all the menfolk out of the kitchen and Lissa and I cleaned up. We made Pam stay sitting down and Lissa did the doctor thing and quizzed her about all the morning sickness and in the end declared it nothing more than a virulent form of morning sickness that Pam would hopefully soon get over.

Derek had lots of fun with the boys and spent a good deal of the morning with them, wrestling on the living room carpet when they weren’t playing with the X-box. I sort of regretted getting the darn thing; I didn’t think it was good for them to play it all the time, but they were having a blast. When Tamara and Mark arrived in the afternoon the boys seemed happy to see them but nervous that we were going to make them leave. Adam assured them that wasn’t the case, that their Uncle Aidan was coming in this evening, and they wanted to see him, didn’t they?

Adam, Lissa, and I spent most of the morning and afternoon in the kitchen, starting to work on the feast for tomorrow. My Mom and Aunt Barbara would be bringing most of the desserts, but there were a couple of things that Adam wanted to make and I of course had to make my favorite, a Pumpkin Cake roll. I make it each year only once, and that is at Thanksgiving. It wouldn’t be the holiday without it.

Pam napped a little mid-morning and when she got up she looked much better. She joined us in the kitchen and chatted happily as we worked. Adam had ordered a 30 pound turkey and we needed to pick it up in a while. I had never heard of a turkey that big. I hoped it wouldn’t be stringy or tough, but I trusted him so it probably wouldn’t be. We were going to pick up sandwiches for everyone at lunch from Cinnamon's Deli so we wouldn’t have to worry about making lunch in all the mess of the Thanksgiving preparations.

Adam, Ryan, Derek, and the boys left in Derek’s mini-van (a new purchase, most likely due to the impending arrival) because he wanted to show it off. Things seemed unnaturally quiet with them gone and we ladies went and sat in the living room with our feet up and big glasses of juice to refresh us. Lissa put on some quiet music and we chatted amiably. I got to hear all about Lissa’s doctor and he sounded like a nice guy. I could tell she was crazy about him, and I was looking forward to meeting him.

Tamara and Mark got there while the boys were still gone, and I perceived a sparkle in both sets of eyes. The time had done them quite a bit of good, I thought with a smile. Soon the boys were back, though, and the quiet time was gone and chaos resumed; the day was spent happily.

Adam and I alone went to the airport to meet Aidan and Sylvia. As soon as I saw him my breath caught in my throat – another delightfully charming Richland man. Those genes must run very strongly in that family, that’s all I can say. He was two years younger than Adam but had the same curls and dimples and long, lean, and supple body. Sylvia was short and a bit like me, meaning a bit on the plump side. She had soft red hair and a pretty amazing set of dimples herself along with eyes that were almost turquoise. She and Aidan had only been married for two years and still seemed to be on a perpetual honeymoon. They were fantastic to watch together; their joy was tangible, in fact. We took them by the hotel so they could check in and get their bearings a bit and then went to my house.


The boys were so happy to see Aidan and pounced on him quickly. We spent a very genial evening together. Around 9:00 they left, as did Tamara, Mark, and the boys. Adam and I stood on the porch waving to them as they pulled out of the driveway, and I reflected on what a wonderful day it had been. And I couldn’t wait for tomorrow!




Thanksgiving Day dawned bright and clear, if a bit cold. It was only 39 degrees and the high for the day was only expected to be 44. But that would be good because with the oven going most of the day, the house would become unbearable otherwise. Adam had had the turkey ready to go last night and got up at 4:00 am to put it into the oven. We were going to eat at 1:00, and a 30 pound turkey evidently takes a lot of time.

He came back to bed and slipped his chilly body under the covers next to me. I rolled over and wrapped myself around him and felt his arms pull me to him snugly as he nuzzled my neck. I buried my nose in his neck and nibbled on the sensitive skin I found there, and soon he was inside me as we made love quietly and sweetly before finally falling back asleep.

We woke back up a little before 8:00 and after a quick shower we emerged from the bedroom to find Ryan and Lissa in the kitchen, eating oatmeal and drinking coffee. Lissa had fixed a large pot of real oatmeal and I spooned up big bowls for both Adam and myself as he got us coffee, and then we sat down at the table to join Ryan and Lissa.

After we ate, Adam checked on the turkey, which already smelled wonderful and appeared to be cooking nicely. Pam and Derek got up around 9:00 and both of them had oatmeal, although Pam ate very sparingly. But at least she did eat.

Tamara, Mark, and the boys walked over from the Inn around 10:30 and the boys were very excited about the coming dinner. Since being around all these Richlands I imagined that Thanksgiving was indeed an important day for them; I’m sure they took to it very naturally, in fact! Derek, Ryan, and Mark took the boys out to the park behind the house and played soccer with them when Derek dug out his old soccer ball. We could see them from the kitchen window and occasionally the wind brought a hint of the laughter our way.

Lissa and Tamara got the dining room table set up, putting the table extensions in and gathering up my extra chairs; Mom and Dad were bringing some additional folding chairs. It could easily and comfortably hold a dozen, but we would be 17 so it was going to be a bit tight. But when I stepped in to look at the dining room, it was lovely. Tamara and Lissa had done an excellent job with it.

Pam said she felt pretty good, and I had to admit she looked better today as well. She wanted to help so I put her to work peeling potatoes, and she chattered happily through them as Lissa snapped green beans. Tamara and Adam had gone out to the park to join the game for a little bit as we got the rest of the dinner offerings ready. We were just finishing those preparations when Mom and Dad got here a little after 11:00, when Aidan and Sylvia arrived as well.

Our party was happy and hungry by the time Aunt Barbara, Bobby, and Wendy got here a few minutes later. Wendy blushed as she looked at me, and I just hugged her. I didn’t want her fretting about the first time we had met. And things had to be difficult with Aunt Barbara, who was in no way happy about Bobby bringing her. But to his credit, he stood his ground with her, and I was very proud of him.

Adam came back in to check the turkey and Bobby and Wendy went outside to watch the game. Adam was extremely charming and had Aunt Barbara in a better mood very quickly. I’d never seen anything like it. Too bad we can’t bottle it, whatever it was.

At 11:55 Adam checked the turkey with the instant read thermometer (a new purchase) and pronounced the turkey done and pulled it out of the oven, which was good because mom needed to get the dressing and sweet potatoes in. The turkey looked and smelled magnificent, if huge. Mom and Aunt Barbara both remarked that they had never seen such a big turkey. Sylvia laughed and said she hoped it would be enough. Frankly, I was with Sylvia on this one.

Before we knew it we were calling the boys in from outside to wash up for dinner. They all came back inside, their faces rosy from the fresh air and their eyes sparkling brightly. Adam sliced the turkey as I mashed the potatoes and Mom, Aunt Barbara, Lissa, and Tamara carried food into the dining room. The table was almost overflowing with food by the time we got the huge platter of turkey settled on it and we all sat down. My father led the blessing, and I know that I at least sincerely thanked God for the many blessings this year had brought us. There was also a small voice in the back of my head that asked that God keep Adam safe.

We made a toast before dinner with whatever beverages we had, and when that was done Mark stood up for a moment. The room grew quiet as everyone noticed him and he stood there looking at Tamara with an incredibly happy look on his face. “I’d like to make an announcement. Tamara has agreed to marry me, and I’m the luckiest guy in the world right now!” He took a drink of his wine and then kissed Tamara and placed a fabulous engagement ring on her finger. She seemed surprised by it and as she wiped away tears, I realized that the ring had been a surprise to her. The rest of us applauded loudly and the rounds of congratulations continued for most of the meal.

Everyone ate more than their fill and surprisingly enough, there was turkey left over. They boys were decidedly happy about that, and before the meal was even over were talking about turkey sandwiches later. Even Pam ate well and while she did take a nap in the afternoon, she looked very well.

After the mess was cleaned up and the leftovers stored away, it was time to relax a bit. The boys wanted to go back out to the park so Ryan, Derek, Bobby, and Wendy took them out there, hopefully to wear them out! The rest of us sat in different parts of the house chatting and enjoying the beautiful day. Cassie, Georgio, and her parents came around 4:00 and my day was complete; all the people I loved the most were here, sharing this lovely day with us.

I introduced Tamara and Cassie and hoped they would like one another. Georgio seemed a bit shy with all the family around, but Adam and Dad had him chatting pretty quickly and he soon seemed at ease. Cassie’s mom, Alice, and my mom sat down together as they always did. They were never best friends but due to Cassie’s and my strange and sometimes exuberant alliance over the years they were very friendly and took pleasure in one another’s company. Earl (her dad) fit in with all the other guys and was watching the football game on TV with them, while we ladies tended to hang out in the dining room. Lissa and Pam went in from time to time to check on the menfolk, but I was perfectly happy to stay and chat. They were loud at best and often very loud as they watched the game and protested the referee calls. It was a tableau that was happening all over America, I was sure.

There had been a very brief spell when I wondered if I would ever see Cassie sitting in my dining room at Thanksgiving Day again; and yet here she was, and I must say she was glowing. Sylvia fit right in with us and she said that she and Aidan were trying to get pregnant. She and Pam became firm friends at that point, talking a mile a minute about the struggle to become pregnant. Sylvia avowed that it just wasn’t quite as easy as they tell you in high school. Lissa reminded her that it really did only take once!

At one point I went and got a glass of iced tea (Mom had made it and it didn’t seem like Thanksgiving Day without it) and I peeked at the men, spread out across my living room. They were all engrossed in the game and never saw me there or when I turned and headed back into the dining room. I looked around here as well, at Lissa and Wendy talking (Lissa had found she actually liked Wendy), at Pam and Sylvia, Mom and Alice, and at Tamara, who was just getting her own glass of tea. She looked at me as we sat down again and I thought how very lucky I was. Two families, well, three if you counted Cassie’s, and they all got along so well, so smoothly. Tamara was chatting with Cassie and I definitely heard the beginning of a childhood story that of course was going to be told to Cassie’s advantage, and I knew I had to interrupt.

Cassie told her version, insisting it was correct, and then I told mine, insisting the same thing. And then unfortunately Cassie and I had forgotten our mothers who told what was, well, probably a more accurate version of it. We were screaming with laughter when the boys came in asking for dessert because it was half time.

So desserts were laid out and everyone chose what they wanted; some people chose more than one at a time and went back for seconds and occasionally thirds; but I’m not naming any names! But needless to say we all indulged to a certain degree and enjoyed every bite.

Cassie, Georgio, and her parents left shortly after that. She was looking a little tired, but so very happy. Georgio and her parents all seemed very comfortable together, and I realized that Cass and I needed to have a very long private chat; there was more than met the eye here.

Around 7:00 leftovers were pulled out of the fridge and the boys had their turkey sandwiches. Okay, not just the boys, and I have to admit I couldn’t believe that I was hungry again as well, but I did some damage to the left overs myself.

Mom and Dad, Aunt Barbara, Bobby, and Wendy left around 8:00, and Aidan and Sylvia left soon after that, as did Mark and Tamara and the boys. I took her aside and hugged her, telling her how happy I was for her. She asked me if I would be a bridesmaid for her along with her sister, and I laughingly said yes. And I asked her if maybe the boys should stay with us tonight, to give her and Mark a little private time, and she giggled and said no, they had already talked about that. They wanted it to be a family night so that if the boys had any questions they could answer them. I nodded in understanding. They would leave Saturday morning and I felt sad about that because we probably wouldn’t see them until Christmas. I also told her that Adam and I needed to tell the family some things and I saw a hopeful light in her eyes for a moment and realized she was wondering if we were getting married. I shook my head no and told her not yet; one bride in a family at a time was enough.

The house was finally quiet and we all drifted towards our beds after Ryan made sure everything was secure. Adam and I had showered and were sitting in bed talking about the day when there was a knock on the door. It was Lissa, asking if she could come in. Again I had a nightgown on thankfully and Adam still had his robe on when I told her to come in.

“Mom, uh, I was just wondering about Ryan? He’s more than a friend, isn’t he?”

My astute daughter had noticed much, and I decided to tell her the basics and that tomorrow we were going to have a family talk about it all. She seemed to be okay with that and finally left us, closing the door behind her quietly.

Adam and I scooted down in the bed and held each other for a little while. I felt his lovely mouth seek mine for a tender kiss, and I sighed happily as we both drifted off to sleep in one another’s arms.




On Friday we had the family chat. The boys were in the living room playing with the X-box and we sat in the dining room and chatted over coffee. Tamara was appalled at what had happened in Dallas before we came here. Lissa surprisingly didn’t seem all too concerned about it. Adam asked her if she wanted some kind of protection, and she snorted her disdain about that.

“C’mon Adam, how could I hide ‘em? No, look, I’m in classes most of the time or working shifts at the hospital; I’ll be fine, and I agree with mom, it wasn’t about hurting me. You have a daughter, Adam, I believe that.”

Tamara concurred with Lissa. “It’s the only thing that makes sense, Adam.”

Adam took a deep breath and nodded. “It’s just hard for me to know that I have a child out there that I know nothing about, haven’t supported or loved. It’s very hard.”

My mom, ever the logical one, stated, “Well, now you know and you’ll find her, I’m sure.”

That seemed to end the conversation. The rest of the day passed peacefully and when Tamara, Mark, the boys, Aidan, and Sylvia left, we hugged them all tightly. They were all flying out in the morning and we wouldn’t see them again. Derek and Pam were leaving very early as well for the drive home. She had had plenty of morning sickness while here, but she had eaten more than Derek had seen her eat in weeks, so he was very happy.

In the morning I hugged them tightly as they left and sighed as the van pulled out of the drive in the pale dawn light. Lissa was making coffee and Ryan was helping her by getting cups out. Krista would be here late this morning, and Ryan was going to go get her on his own. He had talked to Detective Arnold several times and I found out she is Little Elk’s daughter. Ryan is crazy about her, but certainly not in a romantic way. She had stopped by Friday evening for a few minutes and they spent most of the time talking about the case. Cops! I thought with a laugh.

We waited while Ryan went to get Krista and Adam made lunch for us all, and it was ready when Ryan and Krista got home. We greeted her and I saw Lissa briefly had a very strange look on her face but she shook it off quickly enough that I’m not sure if anyone else noticed. But Ryan had.

Krista seemed happy to be here; she was going to stay the night and would fly back with us tomorrow afternoon. We all laughed and chatted the afternoon away and Adam and I and then Lissa all opted to take a nap since we had been up since 6:00 am to get Derek and Pam off. Of course it didn’t hurt that it would give Krista and Ryan some private time together, which they seemed to appreciate.

As soon as Adam and I were in our room Lissa came in after knocking briefly on the door.

“All right,” she stated looking at me directly. “You know, don’t you, Mom, about …” and she tossed her head in the direction of the living room.

“Lissa,” I began, a look of panic on my face because I hadn’t talked about it with Adam. “This isn’t the time.”

Adam looked back and forth between us and I knew he wouldn’t let it go. I was upset with Lissa, very angry in fact. And she obviously thought Adam knew.

“Look, love,” he said to me quietly. “I know that I was more focused on what was happening on the set than on other things, but I’m not stupid. I know you think that Krista is my daughter.”


Anonymous said...


As usual a great post, I didn't think they could get much better than you have done in the past but they do! You are the best!! I had to start reading from the first one again becasue you are about to wrap it up and I just can't stand that thought. Really looking forward to your new web site though.

L and Catrine I hope and pray all is well with your family.

Happy hump day to all and I hope it is a great one for everyone!


Anonymous said...

Hello everybody,

now that I finally know what it is, I can also with you a Happy Hump Day!

Fabulous post, Hope, you sure know how to bring in those cliffhangers! I can't wait to see who did it all. But nevertheless it's hard to know that a week from now the story will be over... *sigh*

Ooops, I nearly forgot: Happy belated birthday, Tigger! I wasn't around for a while, so I hope you had a great party!

Positive thoughts and hugs to all of you who have to face problems! Be strong, you are not alone!


Jaime said...

As everyone has already said, another great post! They just keep getting better and better.
I can't wait until next week to read the ending! It will also be my last week at work, wow, what an exciting week!
I dread the end coming, but every good book must end and we will continue with your new site soon!
Hope everyone has a wonderful day, L and Catrina still keeping you in my thoughts and prayers!
Happy hump day!


andrea said...

wow. i loved it. it was very clam and family like. my favorite.

that adam is a smart man. isnt.

great post hope.
im sad thatits almost coming to an end

love andreaa

Mehreen said...

Omg I am SO hungry after reading that! So I wonder what Adam's take is on the whole Krista being his daughter thing!

Anonymous said...

Great post- can't wait to see the website when it is up and running! I can't believe the story is wrapping up!

Have a great hump day,

Shayneele said...

WOW! Great post. I will miss this when its over. I have mostly been a lurker but you are a great writer. Keep up the wonderful writing.

Anonymous said...

Great post as usual. I'm very hungry now and I'm dieting so this was very hard to read. I could sure use some banana pancakes too. I'll take a dozen.

Only one week left. Then what will I do.


Hope said...

Happy Hump Day indeed!

Hey, we are actually seeing some sun here today, so things are looking up! The morning started out as totally crazy and has now slowed to a mere trickle.

Shayneele - Welcome and I hope you visit more often; lurking isn't nearly as much fun!

I can't believe that there are only three more entries. G and I are working on the site still. We are currently trying to get the message boards up and running. He has made himself a moderator and dubbed himself "Supreme Exalted Ruler" or in other words - the bouncer! He is a lot of fun and while I can't quite see him posting much, you will all have to tease him a bit because it is so much fun. Oh, and he is using a happy face emoticon with devil ears on it. So fitting, but then again, you know he would have to be ornery to be in my life!

The message boards are a bit more complicated than we had thought, but they will hopefully be ready early next week. For any of you who have ever posted on message boards, they will be old hat to you I'm sure. Since I'm not all that familiar with that concept, it is taking me some time. And Gary is about to pull out his hair trying to teach me. He told me the other night to just decide what I want on the page and let him do the technical stuff! I think he might have been a bit frustrated with me, not sure... lol

catrina said...

What a wonderful post! Even with what's going on at work, I get a feeling of...contentment...yeah, that's the word...when I read this blog. The description of the family together? I get the feeling that Sarah had every blessed I am.
As for hubby, I've made an appointment with a specialist. Now I just have to tell him when he gets back tomorrow! Thanks to all the Hopie's and your thoughts and prayers!

becky said...

Hope, I loved the family dynamics. It was so great that everyone got along! I had everyone here for Thanksgiving (around 20)and I can really identify with that gathering!


Jennifer said...

Hope, There are only three more entries until the end of the story? How can that be, there just seems like so much more to tell! The week on the set in Texas, then Italy again, plus Christmas and New Years. It can't be ending already! I love this blog and story!

kmorales4 said...

He's sweet, he's generous, he's hot, great in bed, he cooks, has a great job that he loves and to put the cherry on top he's also smart. That Adam is one of a kind. Let's come up with some sort of genetic clone formula to create an Adam for all of us hopies.

Anonymous said...

great post hope! after next week i'm going to have to find something to occupy my time with. do you have any idea when you are going to release the book? i'm going to have to be one of the first people to buy it! this is a book i could read a few times! so adam has known everybody thinks krista is his daughter but hasnt said anything about it til now? hmmmm.... cant wait til friday. L and catrine and well everyone else, be strong. i hope everything is going well for you. and may all of us have a peaceful week. you will be in my prayers.

tita said...

Hello Hopies!!

I'm really really sad because there are just 3 posts left and I still think about my MWF without Adam and Sarah; but well everything has an end.
Hope I love the way both families get along....and I also hate the idea of Krista being one of the bad people....anyway although I can hardly wait to know the truth I cannot accept that the end is so soon....
God bless you all guys...have a nice day!!!

Anonymous said...

I wish it was thanksgiving now. I miss having all the family and food around.

My tummy is definitely growling now.

Hope, amazing, as per usual, you just keep astounding me with your writing. Can't wait to read the book!!!

Anyways, I think there's a lot I've missed on the message boards not having been around so I will be sure to check them out.

I'm almost done finals, but must get back to studying now. Sending out lots of love.


Anonymous said...

Day before Turkey day - preparations - it reads that Tamara & Mark arrive twice... just a note.

Hope said...

Hello my lovely Hopies!

I'm feeling like a turkey sandwich for lunch and some sangria! Anyone want to join me?

We're getting even closer on the message board. We're trying to set up Lynne as we speak! We may be chatting on it before too long. Do any of you out there have an experience with message boards? If so, speak up and share with us how these things work exactly, please!

And I forgot to mention, I've had a letter from Adam and he will be catching you all up on what has been going on in he and Sarah's life after the story ended!

Lisha said...

Hey! What a great way to start out my bday! I LOVE this blog! Like everyone else, I don't want it to end! I can't believe that there are only 3 left! I almost wish it was Thanksgiving now! I am hungry for turkey and stuffing! MMM! Hope, you are really good at those cliffhangers! I can't wait to find out what Adam thinks about Krista being his daughter! I wonder if they are gonna say anything to Krista about it while they are there...

It is snowing here today...I can't believe that it is April! I looked at the new site and it was looking pretty good! I can't wait til it is done!


Kristin said...

Hey there fellow Hopies!!!

Absolutely awesome post, Hope! Only 3 posts to go though, and Kristin is so very blue.... :(

Turkey sandwich, sangria and a nap (in that order) sounds like a lovely way to spend the afternoon!

L and Catrina good thoughts your way always!!!!!

Gotta work up a patient, so have to run! Have an awesome day, all!


Val said...

Hey HOPE and fellow Hopies!

Happy Hump Day! Things are finally settling down for me and my family, although it will be a long time before anyone feels normal.

THREE MORE?!?! Wow... I'm stunned.

I'm very experienced with message boards, so whatever questions you have, feel free!


Cynthia said...

Hi Cynthia,

Can you refresh me as to why the posts are ending? I know, I'm being a lazy butt by not going through the previous comments from you, hee. I just love your writing and this story so saying I'm a little sad is an understatement...

You're loyal reader,

D said...

Happy Birthday Lisha!

Mmmm sangria! What a perfect thought for today. Wow, I might not be able to settle for a turkey sandwich!! I might have to go buy a little turkey and make some potatoes and stuffing!! (I didn't get any over Easter weekend - my family eats lamb instead).

Great post today Hope. That Adam, so intuitive! How he knows exactly what Sarah is thinking amazes me! I only wish my boyfriend could do that. It would make the comunication part of our relationship so much easier!!

Cheers everyone!


Hope said...

Cynthia - The story is ending because we have reached the end. It is not a continuing blog. And hopefully, I will be able to sell it as a book. But the new web site will be up soon and Adam and Sarah's story will continue on, in a fashion anyway.

I think I drank too many glasses of sangria at lunch!

Beth said...


Just wondering, since it was mentioned again in today's post, if you saw my comment on this past Friday's post. It's probably not a big deal; it's just something that probably no one but me would notice.

Lisha, where do you live? I'm in MN, and it's snowing here too. I've only been here for almost 6 years, and I'm still not used to snow in April. I'm definitely ready for spring!

Hope said...

Beth - Sorry, I've slept since then. Yes, KU Med is in KC, but some of the classes are still in Lawrence, so it's not uncommon for students to live in either place or somewhere in between.

Anonymous said...

I lovr it ~ love it ~ love it!

I love reading this sooooo much that I read some and walk away, read some more and walk away! I made it last cause I don't want it to end!


kmorales4 said...

Whatever a sangria is I want to know. It sounds yummy. Is it a fruity drink? Those are my fave.

Hope said...

Karen - Sarah's recipe for sangria is as follows:

1 bottle red wine such as barola or something hearty
2 cups unsweetened pineapple juice
2 cups orange juice
4 oz. Grand Marnier
thinly sliced oranges, limes or lemons

Mix all ingredients together and chill until icy cold!

kmorales4 said...

What kind of OJ? Tropicana?
Will the flavor change if I use sweetend pineapple juice?

The thing is that I want to try it today and I only keep sweetend pineapple juice around. You know like for Piña Coladas. Yum that sounds good too. It's hot here.

kmorales4 said...

sweetened, DUH!
I need spellcheck.

Anonymous said...

What has me crying the most is that there is only 3 more post. What am I to do at work now....WORK!! I have said it before and I will say it again, Hope, you are wonderful. I am so glad you didn't waste your God given talent!

As I said earlier, I started re-reading from the start and I have found a few more forgotten clues in doing so. I forgot all about Krista saying that she wasn't the only one from the movie set there when she dropped off Adams new script and the next day the break lines were messed with. And the smell that Sarah has smelled a couple of times, that one has me stumped because she hasn't smelled it again. The lady that Adam lived with that just up and left when he was 25 has to be the mother of his child he never got to know. As much as I don't want it to be Sunni I think that is who I will have to go with. For some reason I am thinking that she is the lady from long ago!! Don't know why but that is my thought for the day. Of course with as good as you are Hope, I know I am wrong but that's my story and I'm stickin to it!!


Hope said...

Karen - I don't think sweetened pineapple juice would change it much, only make it a bit sweeter. And I use whatever kind of OJ I have.

Anonymous said...

Here is another drink concoction that you can make. It doesn't really have a name, but I call it Faye's Drink. It is sort of like a rum punch. Anyways, here it is:

4 Cups Pineapple Juice
1 Cup Orange Juice
1 Cup Malibu Coconut Rum
1/2 Cup Vodka
1/4 Cup Grenadine

It is sweet and very good. Have a wonderful day, and Hope, I love love love your story!

Hope said...

Carrie - Hi! Have you posted before? I don't think I remember your name. And the drink sounds wonderful!

Anonymous said...

Hi Hope. I have posted a couple of times. Sometimes I just use my initial C or I forget to put my name. The drink is good. It is one of those that you can just keep on drinking and you don't feel it....but once it hits, look out!

Jo said...

OK, finally had time today to read the post! Wow! Love the whole big family holiday theme! :-)

I haven't had time to do more than skim through the comments, however. I hope all my fellow Hopies are doing well.

And, though I'm sad this blog will be ending, I can't wait to see how it all comes out. I think Krista may be Adam's long lost daughter but I don't think she knows it. No, there's got to be someone else, more sinister, behind this.

Guess we'll find out soon....

Tigger said...

Wow, I'm really late today, but I had to go to the libray and gets some books to study, finals are coming up!

Hope, I had to laugh at the comment in the story about the construction around OK City. I don't remember a time for years and years that there hasn't been any!

Lynds said...

:( the story is almost over :(

i vote sequel!!

great post, as usual hope!

Becky said...

Great, Recipes! I had a few I wanted to share and had planned to do it today. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LISHA. I hope you have had an incredible day. I had a great turkey & provolone sandwich for lunch (and I had to share turkey with my kitties).MMMM, but I had a diet coke instead of Sangria, guess I need to catch up. Well, here are the recipes. First is a really easy but really good casserole called Mexican Chicken and the second is the most delicious, moist, rich carrot cake - the secret is the hot buttermilk glaze.


1 large chicken, cooked *
5 can cream of chicken soup
1 large package Doritos, crushed
1 8 oz pkg sliced Swiss cheese
1 small can diced chilies
1 cup chicken broth
1 medium onion, sautéed
* I substitute 2 cans cooked chicken breast

Bone chicken; mix w3ith onion, soup, broth and chilies. Place crushed Doritos in large flat baking dish (8 x 15 inches) or 2 (2 x 8 inches) dishes. Pour chicken mixture over chips. Place cheese slices on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or brown and bubbly.


This is a super moist cake – be sure to save a piece for yourself because it goes quickly!

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
3 eggs
¾ c vegetable oil
¾ c buttermilk
2 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 8 oz can crushed pineapple, drained
2 c grated carrots
1 heaping cup coconut
1 heaping cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 “ pan (or angel food pan). Sift flour, soda, salt and cinnamon together. Set aside. In a large bowl beat eggs. Add oil, buttermilk, sugar and vanilla. Mix well. Add flour mixture, pineapple, carrots, coconut and walnuts. Stir well. Pour into pan and bake for 1 hour or until cake tester comes out clean.

While cake is baking prepare the Buttermilk Glaze. Remove cake from oven and slowly pour glaze over the hot cake. Cool 15 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool completely, and then frost.


1 c sugar 1/4 lb butter (1 cube)
½ tsp baking soda 1 T light corn syrup
½ c buttermilk 1 tsp vanilla

In a small saucepan combine sugar, soda, buttermilk, butter and corn syrup. Bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour over

¼ lb butter, room temperature
1 ½ 8 oz pkgs cream cheese, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
2 c powdered sugar (or more, if needed)

Cream butter and cream cheese together. Add vanilla and powdered sugar. Mix until smooth.

There's never any left-overs when this cake is served so be sure to get a piece right away!


Donna said...

Wow I just got here and it's already ending. That's sad! I may not be shy but I sure am slow...
Great post Hope! I look forward to the new site.
Happy Hump Day Hopies!!!

Linda said...


Seems like maybe two months ago, I found this blog by reading comments on other blogs. Now, after all caught up, am sooooo
sad will be ending. My gosh, you are a very talented writer!!

I learn to write as part of my job years ago and grammar is very critical. As I go into retirement (no not that old 52 lol)I am thinking abot dabbling in writing again.

Wishing you all hopies all the best!!!!

Hope said...

Lisha - I took note of your birthday but yesterday really got away from me. I am so sorry. I hope you had a wonderful day and since we missed it, we'll just have a catch up day for you!

kmorales4 said...

How cool is that Becky. A recipe that includes Doritos is the recipe for me. I like this girl. I'll be making that Mexican casserole this weekend. Got any more of those?


Jaime said...

Hey Gals!
I need your help if at all possible. I am going to be making a ham this weekend, and guess what? I've never made one before!! If you have any suggestions/recipes for how I should do this please let me know!
Thanks a bunch!!


Engbunny said...

Oh My Gosh!

Becky - The mexican chicken casserole sounds wonderful! I am going to make it this weekend. I am done with ham. *LOL* My husband will be thrilled about the Carrot Cake recipe because this is his favorite dessert and I have never made one! Since we are supposed to get a buttload of snow tonight into tomorrow, this will be a good day to try it out.

Jaime - doing a ham is pretty simple - Wrap it in foil, put a little water inside the foil so it doesn't dry out, seal it all the way around, cook it in the oven at 325 degrees for 15 minutes per pound. It turns out great every time. I know a lot of people do honey glaze or brown sugar glaze but personally, I think it is too sweet this way. Also, if anyone who is attending your meal is diabetic, they will unable to eat it.

Daquiri time?

Anonymous said...

Baked ham sounds so good. May have to make a trip to the Honey Baked Ham store. I love their ham. Daiquiris sound great! It is never too early for one...

Jaime said...

Thanks so much for that tip, I hadn't even thought about the diabetic part, and my father-in-law is a diabetic, so I would have to pay attention to that.
So you don't put any glaze on yours and it turns out fine?
That sounds like what I need to do.

catrina said...

Answered Prayers! I just spoke with an oral surgeon, who read my husband's xray report, and he thinks it's NOT osteomyelitis! I'm thrilled! It seems to be something much less ominous, and easily treatable. Thanks to all for their prayers and good thoughts (with a special hug to Lynne for EVERYTHING!). Enjoy your Thursday, folks...I know I will!

Jaime said...

That is wonderfully good news! I am so happy for you! I hope your day continues on this wonderful note!

Jo said...

Catrina, great news! :-)

Thanks to all for the food and drink recipes. I'm pretty useless in the kitchen but I can pass them on to DBF, my private chef.

Came in here today to say hello and to see if maybe our Ms. Hope decided to start giving us extra posts. *hint hint hint* I just can't stand to see this story end.

But I can't wait for the new site to be up.

tita said...

I'm so happy for you and your husban....You'll se that he'll recover soon and everything will be alright.
God bless you.

Hope said...

Whew, what a morning! G-man and I have been working like crazy on the site. I just got the Colin photo gallery done and tomorrow I will post the information so you can subscribe to the message boards. We and a couple of test guinea pigs have been playing with them for the past day or so. G-man has went from the title of 'High Exalted Ruler' to 'The New Marshal in Town' or in other words, what he laughingly calls 'the bouncer'!

Tomorrow will be a big day, I promise you! In several different ways...

Catrina - so happy to hear about your husband!

Jo - Sorry, no extra posts!

Becky - the recipes look wonderful and the casserole is one i will definitely try soon. I have no sense with Carrot cake - I'll eat it all!

LENA said...


Hope said...

Lena - The rest of the story (3 chapters) will be right here on this site. The new site will come up after that. The story will be moving to that site, so you will still be able to read it again if you like.

Anonymous said...

Not Yo' Mama's Banana Pudding
2 bags Pepperidge Farm Chessmen cookies
6 to 8 bananas, sliced
2 cups milk
1 (5-ounce) box instant French vanilla pudding
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12-ounce) container frozen whipped topping thawed, or equal amount sweetened whipped cream

Line the bottom of a 13 by 9 by 2-inch dish with 1 bag of cookies and layer bananas on top.
In a bowl, combine the milk and pudding mix and blend well using a handheld electric mixer. Using another bowl, combine the cream cheese and condensed milk together and mix until smooth. Fold the whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture. Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding mixture and stir until well blended. Pour the mixture over the cookies and bananas and cover with the remaining cookies. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
This is soooo yummy If you have a crowd I promise you won't have any leftovers.

Kristin said...

Happy Thursday, Hopies!!!

So a big day on Friday, hmmm Hope?
Can't wait, can't wait!!!

Catrina - Great news for you and your hubby!

Ladies - Can't wait to try several of the recipies posted this time. We got away from our recipies for awhile, and sort've adopted the liquid lunch (thanks to the under the table crowd)! LOL

Pretty busy on this end, but wanted to say hello to all!!!! See you on Friday!

Lena said...

oh ok thanks for explaining that, cause i dont know what i would do w/o my adam and sarah and reading their story, thts what i look forward to the most everyweek. Thanks hope for writing such a wonderful story and sharing it w. all of us

Engbunny said...

Jaime - Yes, that is all I do. Make sure that the ham is TOTALLY sealed in the foil. Retaining the moisture within the foil (and the extra approx. 1/3 cup that you add before sealing the foil) keeps it from getting dry and yucky.

Catrina - Thank God! I was praying you would have good news!!!

Hope - I will be here bright and early tomorrow!

Kristi said...

Wow, Hope. I can't wait until the website is finished. I'm also dying to finish the story of Adam and Sarah. For all it's romance, Hollywood glitter, fame, mystery, and drama, it is amazing real. I love your writing. Don't ever give up.