♣ THE HONEYMOONERS ♣
**a sequel to All in the Family**
By Paulette Keister
Jenny was busy in the kitchen preparing an extra special lunch
for her favorite men, Harry, Lee and Chip. Being at sea most of the time didn’t leave
many opportunities to cook. A gentle sea breeze, floating in through the patio
door, caught her attention. She stopped and looked out the window to see a single
fluffy cloud lazily drift across the bright blue sky. As she waited for her pan
of water to boil, her thoughts drifted back to the day they came home from
The journey back to the Institute in
It was 1700 hours when they arrived at the Institute. Even though this was Lee’s first cruise, he effortlessly guided Seaview into her hidden sub pen. All stations were made secure in preparation for the crew’s departure. Many of them were going home to their wives and children, some stopping off at the local watering hole for a few drinks with friends. Lee, Chip and the newlyweds’ were the last to leave.
With Seaview safely tucked in her berth, they started to climb the many steps to the upper level. Harry asked, “Ready to go home Jenny?”
She put her arm through his and gave a little squeeze. “Yes. I’ve waited a long time to hear you say that to me.”
Harry smiled and patted her hand. “I talked to Angie a little while ago and we must stop by the office first. She needs my approval on some important documents that have to be signed today. It will only take a few minutes. I didn’t tell her about our wedding. I thought we would do that together.
Smiling, she thought to herself. “I don’t think she’ll be that surprised.”
Harry decided to have a little fun with his new brother-in-law. “You know Jenny, what she really wants is an introduction to Lee. She won’t be happy until she meets him.” Giving her a wink he said, “Let’s hope she doesn’t give him the thumbs down…because you know what that means,” and he took his finger and drew it across his throat. “We might have to start searching for another new captain.”
Overhearing their conversation, Chip looked at Lee and saw a peculiar look cross his face. He couldn’t pass up the chance to watch his friend squirm so he poked his elbow into Lee’s arm.
With his best poker face he said, “You better make a good impression on Angie. The Admiral highly values her opinion …if she gives you the thumbs down,” shaking his head, “you’ll be out the door before you know what hit you.”
Lee came to a screeching halt and said, “You’re joking right?” He saw a faint smirk appear on Chip’s face. He knew he’d been had by his XO. “Funny, Mr. Morton, very funny.” He replied with a scowl on his face. Now it was his turn. He hesitated for a moment and said, “Oh, by the way, did I mention I want you to run a thorough diagnostic check of Seaview’s navigational system tomorrow. It shouldn’t take long. Ten hours tops.”
“Tomorrow? I can’t! I made a date with a gorgeous blonde two weeks ago and if I break one more date with her I’m done for. Can’t it wait?” He pleaded. It only took him a second to realize Lee had turned the tables on him. He sighed and shook his head.
“Never kid a kidder, Chip.”
“I bow to the master.” Chip said as they started to ascend the steps again.
A car and driver were waiting for them by the time they
reached the upper level. They all climbed in and then headed for the
Lee smiled and straightened his uniform. “I’m ready, Admiral.” They entered and headed for Angie’s office.
As he opened her door, he said, “Now what’s so important that it can’t wait until tomorrow?” The office was empty. “Now where in blazes did she go?” He saw a note on her desk, picked it up and read it out loud.
I need you to come to the conference room. It’s very important.
“What in heaven’s name has happened now? With a sigh he said, “Well, let’s go see what the problem is.”
Harry flung open the conference room door and a loud “SURPRISE” came pouring out. There stood Angie, department heads, the crew and Edith. The room was decorated with streamers. The fragrance of flowers filled the room. Hanging from the ceiling was a banner, “CONGRATULATIONS AND BEST WISHES.” A table sat in the middle of the room, covered with a lavender linen tablecloth and a white lace runner. A beautifully decorated 3-tiered wedding cake sat in the middle. On each end of the table sat a crystal vase holding bouquets of red roses. Along the wall, another table held a buffet fit for a king. Harry and Jenny looked at each other in shock. A grinning Angie walked up to them and gave the Admiral a hug. “I’m so happy for you both.”
He smiled and said, “Thank you, Angie.” Then she hugged Jenny and whispered, “It’s about time!”
Puzzled, Harry asked, “How did you find out? We were going to wait a couple of days before informing everyone.”
Angie glanced over at Chip. “News travels fast, even across the ocean.”
The Admiral, crossing his arms, turned to Chip. “Do you know how that could have happened, Mr. Morton?
Chip swallowed hard. “Well, I might have mentioned it in passing when I contacted Angie to check on the status of…”
Harry held up his left hand, interrupting him in mid
sentence. “If you expect me to believe that one Mr. Morton, I have some
oceanfront property in
With a sheepish look he replied, “OK I admit it. I called Angie
while were still at
Jenny smiled and patted his arm. “It’s alright Chip.” Lee walked up and stood beside them.
“See Sis, I’m not the only one who can’t keep a secret.”
Harry decided now was a good time to introduce Angie to Seaview’s new captain. He took her by the arm and said, “Angie, I want you to meet Commander Lee Crane. Lee, this is Angela O’Leary, my secretary and all around Girl Friday.”
Smiling he took her hand. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Miss O’Leary.”
“It’s nice to finally meet you, Commander Crane…and everyone calls me Angie.”
“Angie it is… and please, call me Lee.”
“I can show you around the Institute whenever you have time Commander… I mean Lee.”
“It’s a date….How about tomorrow?”
In awe, Chip watched his smooth talking friend. He whispered to Jenny, “He doesn’t waste any time, does he?”
“Chip, have you ever known him not to? You better watch out.”
“He just may ask her out before you get up enough nerve to do it yourself.
Don’t wait too long... I speak from experience.” She gave him a wink and walked over to her husband.
“Now how’d she know…. Hey Lee, wait up a minute.”
Putting her hand in his she murmured, “Harry, we better go talk to Edith. We’ve got some explaining to do.”
“You’re right. I hope she’s not too upset with us.”
Edith was patiently waiting to get a moment alone with her
big brother. She wasn’t surprised when Angie called and told her that Harry and
Jenny eloped in
As Edith approached him, he desperately tried to think of something to say to her. There was a close bond between them. They had always shared everything that went on in their lives. He wouldn’t blame her if she never talked to him again. She stood there in front of him trying to look upset. He reached out, embraced her and blurted, “I’m sorry Edith. I should’ve called you.”
He released his embrace and waited for the explosion. Smiling, she took his hands, kissed him on the cheek and looked him in the eyes. “Harry, it’s alright. I understand. I’m very happy for you.”
Edith went to Jenny, hugged her and softly said, “Jennifer, thank you for giving Harry the happiness he deserves. It’s been a long time coming. I’m proud to call you my sister-in-law.”
Tears welled in Jenny’s eyes. “Thank you, Edith. That means a lot to me.”
Harry knew what was coming next. “Please ladies, don’t get all weepy on me.”
“We can’t help it. We’re just....”
“Yes, I know… you’re both so happy.”
“Oh hush!” Edith answered as she dried her eyes. She noticed a small crowd had gathered near the buffet.
“Harry, there are a lot of hungry looking individuals standing over there.” Harry scanned the room. “You might have a mutiny on your hands if you don’t hurry and start the line.”
“We can’t have that, can we?” He held out each arm to his favorite girls and led them to the table.
“Lunch ready yet, sweetheart?” Hearing Harry’s voice brought her back from her daydream.
The three of them were sitting on the deck around the patio table in deep discussion regarding the much-needed repairs to their Lady.
“Yea Sis, I’m starving.”
Chip chimed in. “Me too!”
“It’s almost ready. Do you realize how long it’s been since I fixed any kind of a meal? A person could forget how to cook in that length of time.”
“Well, maybe we can talk ‘Cookie’ into letting you fix the meals next time we’re at sea.” Harry said winking at Lee.
“You are such a comedian today.” She said sarcastically. “That remark just earned you kitchen duty. Come get the dishes and set the table for me.” Harry winced and stood up from his chair. Lee elbowed Chip and whispered, “Harry’s busted.” Giving them a quick glare he turned and headed for the door. “Coming, dear.”
Hearing the two of them snicker, she shouted from the kitchen, “By the way Lee, you and Chip have the privilege of doing the dishes when lunch is finished.”
Their mouths dropped open as they looked at each other. “How’d she hear us?” Chip asked. “We were only whispering.”
“Well, what do you expect? She was manning the hydrophone for most of the cruise. Now she can hear a fish swishing its tail fifty yards away.”
“I heard that last remark…Benjie.”
Lee closed his eyes and shook his head. Chip looked at Lee and cringed. “Ooh, she called you Benjie. I think you better quit while you’re ahead old buddy…”
Harry, chuckling as he walked back out onto the patio, sat the plates and silverware down in the middle of the table. “You two will never learn, will you? Here Martin and Lewis, set the table.” He turned and headed back to the kitchen.
Dressed in a pair of jean shorts and tank top, she stood barefoot at the sink with her back to him. He stood there for a moment, gazing at his lovely wife, thinking how blessed he was to have her in his life. He couldn’t imagine what he would do without her. Walking up behind her he put his arms around her waist, drawing her close. He moved her hair off the nape of her neck and began softly kissing it.
Startled, she dropped the pasta in the sink. “Harry! Don’t sneak up on me like that. He continued to kiss her neck.
“Harriman quit. That tickles.” She turned around and put her fingers over his lips and gazed into his piercing blue eyes. “Now stop, you don’t want to start something you can’t finish. You know Lee and Chip are out on the deck waiting for lunch.”
“They can wait a few more minutes,” and kissed her passionately.
Lee could hear her giggling. “Hey Sis, how long are you two gonna play kissy face? You have two starving men out here!”
With a sigh she said, “Don’t get excited, we’re coming.” Harry reluctantly let go of her. She picked up the salad bowl off the countertop and handed it to him. Grinning she said, “Here, take the salad out and see if you can settle down our two little boys out there on the deck. I’ll be out shortly with the pasta.”
Giving her one last kiss he said, “Yes dear,” turned and went out the door onto the deck.
As she finished up, her thoughts turned to their first
anniversary, which had come and gone. How quickly the months have passed. This
last mission had been a hard one. Nerves were frayed. Tempers flared. In the
end, everyone pulled together, and brought an ailing Seaview home to her berth
for some much needed repairs. Since she
was in dry-dock, it was a perfect time to go on their honeymoon. He told her they
would go anywhere her heart desired...
After putting the linguine with sautéed shrimp onto the large serving platter, she picked it up and headed for the deck.
Handing the dish to Harry, she then sat down in her chair and said, “I’d swear, by the look on your faces, you three haven’t eaten anything in days.” Smiling, she took the platter from him. “Here Chip,” as she handed it to him. “Would you start this around the table?”
His eyes were gleaming in anticipation. “It would be my pleasure.”
A moan escaped from Lee’s lips. “Ah man, am I stuffed. Don’t think I can move out of this chair. That was a great lunch, Sis.”
“I second that, Jenny,” groaned Chip. “Thanks for inviting me over.”
Harry took her hand and kissed it. “That was absolutely delicious, sweetheart.”
Jenny smiled. “I’m happy you enjoyed it. Is anyone ready for dessert?”
An echo of grunts and “no thanks, not now” escaped the lips of everyone at the table.
Even though Chip was stuffed to the gills, he never was one to turn down dessert. “Just what did you make for dessert, Jenny?” Harry and Lee rolled their eyes.
Smiling she replied, “It’s a raspberry truffle cheesecake.” Chip’s mouth started to water. “Tell you what, when you and Lee are finished washing the dishes you can have a great big piece.”
Jenny knew that look on Lee’s face. “Before you start objecting Benjie, Harry and I are going to take a walk along the beach.
“Yes, we are. You promised me a honeymoon and I’ve made a decision.”
“So where is it you want to go?” Harry asked.
Jenny stood up and took his hand. “Come with me and I’ll tell you. You’ll be surprised.
She looked at Lee and Chip. “We’ll be back shortly. Do a good job cleaning up and you just might get two pieces of cheesecake.”
“Come on Harry, let’s go walk off our lunch.” They descended the deck steps and headed for the beach.
They had been walking hand-in-hand for about 10 minutes, picking up seashells along the way. Abruptly, Harry stopped, stepped in front of her and looked into her eyes.
“OK, out with it. I can’t stand the suspense. Where is it you want to go?”
Just then, a wave crashed loudly on the rocks and he didn’t hear what she said. So he asked her again.
She caressed his face and said, “It’s right here with you.”
Harry looked down at his sleeping wife. Her feet were curled up on the seat and her head rested in his lap. He stroked her hair as he stared out the window at a few stray clouds that dotted the lucid blue sky. He glanced at his watch as he felt the jet start her descent. They were right on schedule.
Kevin’s voice came over the intercom. “Admiral, we’re approaching Port Columbus International. Please fasten your seatbelts. I’ll let you know when we have clearance to land. Oh, and there’s a call for you.”
Harry picked up the cabin phone. “A call?” Strict instructions had been left not to contact him unless it was extremely urgent. “Who is it?”
“It’s Admiral Starke, Sir. He’s very adamant on speaking to you.”
Sighing, he said, “Very well, put him through.”
Jenny, groggy from her nap, sat up in her seat as he began to talk. She looked at him and whispered, “Who is it? Did something happen back home?” Harry covered the phone with his hand and said, “Everything is fine. It’s just Jiggs.”
She sat back in her seat, buckled up and sighed. “I should’ve known. What does he want?”
Harry pulled the receiver away from his ear so she could listen to the ranting man at the other end.
“Harriman, I called your office to get your recommendation on the briefs I sent you. Your man Crane told me you were unavailable and commenced to tell me that your findings are pending.”
“Yes, Jiggs, that’s right.”
“Well, you better have a damn good reason. The Brass is getting impatient.”
“It’s a very good one and I’ll give you my recommendations
when we get back in ten days.” He decided to taunt him like he used to when
they were at
What do you mean ‘when we get back’? Just where in the blazes are you?”
“Oh, heading east. Jenny and I are taking our long overdue honeymoon.”
“Honeymoon? Well, it’s about time you took the little woman someplace. So where in the east are you headed?”
Jiggs was caught off guard. “
“That’s where she wants to go.”
“Sounds like she sweet talked you good, Harriman. Well, how about making a small detour and stop in at the Pentagon and...”
Jenny grabbed the phone from Harry. “Listen here, Jiggs Starke. We are NOT making any unscheduled stops anywhere or for anybody. I don’t care if you were the President himself begging and pleading. We are on our honeymoon. No stops, no phone calls, no nothing. For ten wonderful days, we are just two civilians. Do I make myself perfectly clear?” There was only silence. “Good. Here’s Harry.” Then she handed the receiver back to him. She had left the mighty Admiral Jiggs Starke speechless.
Jiggs had his second wind by the time Harry put the receiver to his ear. “Harriman, did you hear what your wife just said to me? She can’t talk to me that way. Are you going to let her get away with that? Why...why that’s insubordination! Harry, do you hear me?”
He had to stifle the snicker that was building inside
him. “Yes, and probably the whole state
“Now listen here, Harry....”
“I’ll call you first thing when we get back. Say goodbye Jiggs.”
“But, but Har....”
“Good bye, Jiggs.” She yelled as Harry hung up the phone. They looked at each other as fits of laughter overcame them.
Kevin came over the intercom. “We have clearance to land, Admiral. We’ll be on the ground in a few minutes.”
He took her hand and gave it a squeeze. “Are you ready?”
“You bet I am.”
It was a flawless landing.
Kevin pulled the plane up to the gate.
As a crew unloaded the luggage, Harry informed him the day he would need
to fly into
They departed the plane and walked through the concourse. Kevin headed for the baggage claim area to retrieve the luggage while they went to the car rental counter to pick up the keys to their car.
With the last suitcase stowed in the trunk and good-byes exchanged, the honeymooners were on their way. After a couple wrong turns and a few curses under the breath, they were finally heading north up Route 3. Their destination was a small town called Loudonville and their secluded honeymoon chalet.
An hour later, they pulled up to the office and went inside to check in. The clerk handed Harry the keys and told him how to find the cabin. "Enjoy your stay.” He said as they went out the door.
Within minutes they pulled up to the cabin and got out of the car. Neither one spoke for a few seconds as they stood gazing at their hide-a-way. “Well Harry, what do you think?”
“Sweetheart, I’m impressed. I must admit that I was a little skeptical at first...”
Her eyes widened. “A little? I thought it was going to take a direct order from the President to get you to agree. Come on, let’s go inside.” Harry unlocked the door and they walked into the Great Room. It was more than she hoped for. Before her were a modern kitchen and a spacious bedroom. Nestled in the corner of the bathroom was a whirlpool tub. A potbelly stove added a ‘days gone by’ touch to the room. “This is fantastic. Let’s go check out the loft.” Another bedroom graced the second floor. Patio doors led out onto the deck, which held a hot tub. One could relax and enjoy the breathtaking view of the valley below. The leaves on the trees were in their fall splendor. Shades of gold, red and brown graced the valley. Varieties of green pine blended in. She couldn’t take her eyes off of the view.
“Harry, I love it. What about you?”
He wrapped his arms around her. “It’s perfect. Never again will I question your choices."
“Can I get that in writing, Admiral Nelson?”
Harry wriggled his finger back and forth. “Ah, ah, ah... no rank calling remember?”
“Sorry, I forgot…. Mr. Nelson.” she replied. Harry turned and headed for the stairs.
“Where are you going?”
“Something major is missing in these otherwise perfect accommodations and I’m going to see what I can do about it.”
She gave him a bewildering look. “What in heaven’s name would that be?”
He stopped on the first step, leaned against the railing and crossed his arms. With a grin he said, “What’s for supper?”
“Well, I... Oh dear, we forgot to get groceries.”
Harry held out his hand to her. “I do believe we passed a supermarket a couple miles back. Shall we?”
She took his hand. “By all means.” As they walked down the steps, she asked him, “So what are you going to fix tonight?”
“Me? I thought you were cooking. Isn’t that what the typical civilian wife does?”
“That may well be. But this civilian wife is on vacation!”
Jenny relented and fixed a fabulous meal while Harry made a fire in the potbelly stove to chase away the evening chill. They dined by candlelight on T-bone steak, baked potatoes and steamed vegetables. After the dishes were washed and dried, Jenny grabbed the bottle of wine that had been chilling and two glasses. She called his name as she slowly went up the stairs.
“Just where are you going with that?” He asked as he put the last dish in the cupboard.
“Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m going to have a glass of wine and watch the sunset from the deck.”
Harry threw the dishtowel over his shoulder and onto the table. “That’s a good idea.” He sprinted up the stairs two steps at a time. Jenny was setting the poured wine on the small table as he stepped out onto the deck. He positioned the chaise lounge so they would have a perfect view. The cool autumn evening air was settling in fast. She walked back into the room and retrieved a crochet afghan, which was draped over the back of a hickory rocking chair then went back out onto the deck. She draped it around his shoulders and told him to sit. He held open the cover and his arms while she sat down in front of him then wrapped them both around her. His warm embrace always made her feel safe and content. She never wanted this moment to end. The vibrant colored leaves of gold, browns and reds seemed to dance in the light of the setting sun while the scent pine trees drifted through the air. Softly, leaves dropped from their branches and slowly floated to the ground. They sat in silence, holding each other as they watched the sun disappear over the horizon.
An hour had passed since the sun had set and they were still cuddling on the deck, neither one wanting to break the mood. The sky was dark except for the twinkling stars and moonbeams that were filtering through the trees.
“Don’t you think we better go in? It’s chilly out here and besides, there’s not much to see in the dark.”
“Yes, we better I don’t want you catching cold.”
She stood and offered him a helping hand up. He took the afghan from his shoulders, wrapped it around hers and then swept her up in his arms. “Mrs. Nelson.” He said. “Would you like another glass of wine before we go to bed?”
Wrapping her arms around his neck, she asked, “Why Mr. Nelson, are you trying to get me drunk so you can have your way with me?” The expression on his face answered her question. She smiled at him. “There’s no need for more wine my love.”
He turned, slid the door open with his foot and carried her in. He stood for a second, scanning the room. Puzzled, she asked, “What are you looking for?”
“A bear skin rug.”
“What do you want with a bear skin rug?”
It only took her a second to catch on. “Aren’t we in a feisty mood?” Sighing, he said, “I guess we’ll have to make due with this soft, comfortable bed. Is that acceptable with my lady?” She stroked the side of his face with her hand. “Yes, quite.”
He walked over to the bed, put her down gently and then crawled in beside her. After a few quiet moments of lying on their backs, staring at the ceiling, he said, “Wanna neck?”
“Oh, Harry.” She exclaimed and burst into laughter.
Jenny was abruptly roused out of a deep sleep by a smack on her posterior. “Wake up, sleepy head.”
“Ouch!” She rolled over and glared at him. “What did you do that for?”
“It’s time to get up and get moving. It would be a shame to waste one minute of this beautiful day.”
She got up on her knees, grabbed his shirt and pulled him towards her. In her bedroom voice she said, “Well, I can think of a much better way to get my attention.”
He lifted her off the bed, planted her feet on the floor and kissed her on the forehead. “Yes dear, but not right now. Get dressed and come downstairs.”
Feeling rejected Jenny said, “Oh, all right.” She sniffed the air as she shuffled towards the bathroom. “Is that coffee I smell?”
“Yep, and I’ve prepared a little breakfast. So hurry up, it’s getting cold. Oh, and later, we’re going canoeing!” He turned and bounded down the stairs.
“I’ll be right down.” As she dressed, she smiled at the thought of Harry’s sudden burst of enthusiasm. Minutes later, they were sitting at the dining table, enjoying the omelets, bacon and toast he had prepared.
“Harry, this is delicious. You are full of surprises this morning.”
“It’s my pleasure. Now, after you do the dishes…”
Jenny interrupted. “What do you mean, after I do the dishes?”
“Well, I did cook the meal.” He said lightheartedly.
“Yes, yes you did.” She stood, picked up the plates, put them in the sink and squirted some dish soap over them. As the hot water filled the sink, she grabbed a dish towel and dangled it in front of him. “We’ll get to the canoe livery faster if you dry.”
He chuckled, took the towel and said, “Well, since you put it that way...”
A couple hours later, they walked into the rental office. Immediately, the young man behind the counter asked cheerfully, “Good morning folks. How may I help you?”
Harry looked at his nametag. “Well, Brian,” he replied as he rubbed his hands together, “We’d like to rent a canoe.”
“Great! Have you ever been canoeing before?”
“Yes, but it’s been awhile.” Jenny tugged on his arm and whispered, “Harry, I’ve never been in a canoe.” He patted her hand. “Sweetheart, don’t worry.
It’s a piece of cake.”
The words ‘piece of cake and it’s been awhile’ made her wonder if this little adventure was such a good idea after all. She started imagining all sorts of disastrous scenarios. Suddenly, she heard the words, “We’ll take the fifteen mile trip.”
“NO!” she shouted a little too loudly. She felt her cheeks flush as both men
stared at her. “Harry, what I mean is I’d rather start out with the shortest trip. If all goes well we can do the fifteen mile trip another day…. OK?”
Harry turned back to the clerk. “Well Brian, I guess it’ll be the seven mile trip.”
She let out a silent sigh of relief. After finalizing the details, Brian briefed them on the rules and suggested they watch a short video on canoeing safety. When that was finished, they left the office. While Harry headed toward livery, Jenny went to the car to retrieve a few things they might need, for it was a sunny but cool day. When she caught up with him, he handed her a life vest.
“Ready, dear?” He asked her excitedly.
“Ready as I’ll ever be.”
attendants steadied the canoe as she stepped in and sat down in the back while
Harry was settling himself in the front. Then they gave the canoe a strong push
to send them on their way. Slowly, he dipped the oar in the water as Jenny
steered the canoe.
”See, sweetheart. There’s nothing to it.” He said.
Jenny was beginning to think he was right. Harry started to pick up the pace and she was having trouble keeping up. She started to call his name but was cut off by a face full of water from his oar. Stunned, she dropped hers and began coughing. “HARRY!!”
He turned around to see her wiping wet hair out of her eyes. Immediately, he started to snicker. Her dark eyes narrowed as she growled, “Not funny, Harry.”
“Oh boy, not a good start.” He thought to himself. “Sorry dear. Was I going too fast?”
“You could say that.” She said dryly.
“Maybe it would be better if I steer.”
“Good idea, but how do we switch places without overturning the canoe?”
Harry looked around for a second and then pointed to a large, weather worn log protruding from the river bank. “We’ll paddle over to that tree. I’ll hold onto it, while you move around me. Then you hold onto it while I move to the back.”
Jenny thought for a moment. “That should work.” She said and picked up her oar. “Let’s do it.”
He did the same. They paddled over to the bank and within minutes, had changed places. Harry shoved off the log to get them going again. Both started to paddle and quickly fell into a smooth rhythm.
The scenery was magnificent. Old maple trees lined both banks, their bent branches arched over the river as to shelter the river’s passengers. Fallen leaves floated lazily down the river as the sun shown through the bare branches, making the murky water sparkle. Splashing sounds and children’s laughter could be heard upstream. Above the trees, a flock of geese were honking, announcing their departure.
Jenny put down her oar, picked up the blue water-proof camera and placed the large rubber band that was attached to it around her wrist. Wanting to capture the beauty of the autumn foliage, she started to snap pictures, one after another. “Harry! Isn’t that a Weeping Willow over there on the left bank?” He took his eyes off the river for only a few moments. He failed to notice the protruding rock that was masked by the churning waters. The canoe flipped over as it connected with the rock. They both came up sputtering. Luckily, the water was only about four foot deep. Harry grabbed for the canoe. He looked around for Jenny and spotted her standing a few feet from him, rubbing her shoulder. Quickly, he waded over to her, canoe in tow.
“Jenny! Are you OK?”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes dear. The canoe hit my shoulder when it flipped. It’s nothing.”
She tried to stifle snicker as she got a good look at her husband. The always perfectly groomed four-star Admiral was a sight to behold. Wet leaves clung to his hair, which was plastered to his head and several were stuck to his cheek. But her quiet chuckle did not go unnoticed. “And what do you find so amusing?”
She smiled. “Don’t take this the wrong way, but you look like a drowned rat.”
“Well, you’re not looking so radiant yourself right now.” He retorted.
“Humph!” She grabbed her camera, pointed it at Harry and yelled, “Smile!”
“What? It’s for our honeymoon album. Besides, it’s great blackmail material.” She added.
“Oh, no you don’t.” He said as he reached for the camera.
Quickly, she moved it out of his reach. “Come on, Harry. Be a sport.”
He held up his hands in surrender. “OK, you win.” She took a few steps towards him, picked the amber colored leaves out of his hair and gently wiped his cheek with her fingers. “Thank you, dear.” Then she kissed him. “Don’t you think we should get going?”
“What’s your hurry?” This time Harry gave her a long, impetuous kiss.
As she drew back to catch her breath, she caught a glimpse of some movement. “Well, besides standing in four feet of water, we seem to have an audience.” Suddenly, sounds of clapping, wolf-whistles and shouts of ‘get a room’ were heard from passersby making their way down to Frye’s Landing, which marks the end of the seven mile trip.
Harry waved as they drifted by. Again, he pushed the canoe close to the river’s edge to make it easier to climb back in. Once in, they started to make their way down stream to discover what else lay ahead.
Their trip was coming to an end. There had been a few obstacles along the way and they managed them with little trouble. But what lay ahead was a different story. Harry and Jenny had one more bridge to pass under. The current was stronger, deeper and filled with protruding tree stumps from the river bottom, which were not visible until you were on top of them. The path between was narrow and one needed to be extra careful not to run the canoe over them. As they started under, Jenny caught sight of one and yelled to Harry. He missed it but ran into another one and the canoe tipped sideways. Again, Jenny was thrown into the muddy water. After a few choice words, she climbed back in and they tried again. The end was in sight, but it was not to be.
“Harry, watch out!” She cried. But it was too late. As she went under, her head made contact with a stump. Harry braced himself for what was about to happen as she came to the surface.
Jenny rubbed the side of her head for a moment and then slapped the water with her hands. “Harriman!” She sputtered. “If you can navigate Seaview through Loch Ness, why can’t you maneuver a little canoe through a few stumps?”
Immediately, Harry started to apologize. He reached over the side, grabbed for her hand and helped her in. She looked at him and moaned.
“I’m sorry I yelled at you. But gee, Harry, how come I’m the only one that keeps falling in!”
A short time later, they arrived at the landing. After turning in the canoe and life vests, they climbed into the waiting van. Within fifteen minutes, they were back at the rental office and their car. They got in and headed back to the comfort of their chalet. As soon as Harry pulled onto the highway, Jenny closed her eyes and put her head back on the headrest. “She’s exhausted.” He thought to himself. He was about to say something but changed his mind. He remembered what happened the last time she was in this frame of mind….it wasn’t pretty.
In no time, Harry pulled into the driveway and shut off the car. He touched her shoulder and softly called her name. “Jenny, we’re back.” She slowly turned her head, opened her eyes, looked at him with a smirk and said, “I get the shower first!” In a flash, she had the car door open and was racing to the house. Harry shook his head. “I’ll never understand women’s moods.” After sitting there for a few moments, he grabbed the bag Jenny left behind and headed for the house. He heard the shower running as he entered the door. By the time he made it upstairs, she was coming out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around her head and wearing a plush pink terry robe.
“Your turn, dear. So while you are getting cleaned up, I’ll go down and get us something to munch on. I’m famished!”
Harry went into the bathroom, stripped off his damp, muddy clothes and hopped into the shower. The warm water felt good as it flowed over his body. He picked up a bar of soap and it immediately shot out of his hand. As he bent over to retrieve it, the muscles in his back cried out in protest. “Yeow! It’s a good thing we didn’t go on the fifteen mile trip!”
Harry was towel drying his hair as he stepped out of the bathroom. “Jenny, are you up here?”
“Yes dear, out here.”
He hung the towel around his neck and saw the sliding door was partially open. A pink robe was lying on the deck. Jenny was sitting in the hot tub, holding two glasses of red wine and a plate of shrimp was sitting on a folding tray next to the tub.
”I thought you’d never get out of the shower.”
Harry bent over and picked up her robe, stepped out onto the balcony and dropped it on the lounge chair. “What’s all this?” He asked innocently.
“It’s a peace offering.” She held out one of the glasses to him. “Care to join me?”
“I’d love to.”
He dropped his towel and climbed in. He took the glass from her hand. As they sipped the wine she added, “These massaging jets will do wonders for the sore muscles in your back.” Harry started to cough. Jenny sat her glass down and gently patted him on the back. “Are you OK?”
“I’m fine. He narrowed his eyes and asked, “How did you know my back was sore?”
She grinned, “I heard you moaning and groaning in the shower.”
He pretended to be hurt. “Here I thought you were trying to seduce me.”
Jenny took his glass and sat it beside hers. “You want romance? I’ll give you romance.” She moved closer to him, put her hand on his face and fervently kissed him.
“How was that?”
Harry took her in his arms. “Well, it’s a start. We better try again.” Just as he started to kiss her, a voice called to them from the ground. Harry peered through the rungs of the railing to see who it was. A young woman in her mid twenty’s was frantically wringing her hands. Her voice was full of fear as she spoke. “I’m so sorry to bother you, but I’m searching for my son. His name is Matthew. He is five years old, red hair, blue eyes and is wearing jeans and a green sweatshirt. He wandered off from our cabin.
“I’m sorry, no we haven’t. We’ve been gone all afternoon. ”
She started to sob.” I only took my eyes off of him for a few seconds.” She wiped her eyes and started to walk away. “I better keep looking.”
Jenny’s heart was breaking for this poor mother. “Harry, tell her we’ll help search for him.”
He called out to her. “Wait. If you give us a few minutes, we’ll help you look for him.”
“Oh, bless you!” She cried.
“By the way, what is your name?” He asked.
“Katherine, Katherine Parker.”
“Just wait on the porch Katherine, we’ll be down shortly.”
When she was out of sight, Harry reached over the side and grabbed his towel. He stood up, wrapped it around his waist and climbed out. He retrieved Jenny’s robe and handed it to her. He bent over and whispered in her ear. “Remember where we left off.”
“Oh, you can count on it!”
They dressed quickly. On their way out the door, Harry grabbed two flashlights, just in case they would need them. It was decided that Harry and Jenny would follow the walking path farther into the woods to look for the lost little boy. Katherine would stay there and wait for her husband. As they started their trek though the thickening trees, Harry yelled back to Katherine, “Don’t worry, we’ll find him.”
They had been searching for close to two hours with no luck. The sun was starting to set and with it came the cool damp air. By now Matthew would be cold, hungry and scared. Harry called his name as they walked. They came to a small clearing and decided to stop and rest for a few minutes.
Harry jumped when Jenny grabbed his arm and screamed.
“What’s the matter?”
“I saw something up there.” He turned on his flashlight and pointed it up into the trees. He started to laugh.
“What’s so funny, Harriman?” She snapped.
“Sweetheart, it’s just a couple of screech owls.”
“Well, how was I supposed to know? All I could see were little beady eyes.”
He patted her hand and said, “Don’t worry, I’ll protect you.”
She frowned as she looked around the area. “Harry, I hate to say it, but I think we should go back. I can’t imagine the little boy would’ve wandered out this far.”
“Let’s look for a few more minutes. If we don’t find him, we’ll turn back.”
“OK, just a little farther.”
They had only taken a few steps when Jenny caught her foot on a small protruding root which sent her sprawling.
“OWWW! She sat up, drew up her leg and started to rub her left ankle. Harry crouched down. “He moved her hands as he said, “Let me take a look.” Gently, he moved her foot side to side. “I think you just twisted it. A little time in the hot tub will fix it right up.”
She winced. “Sounds like an offer I can’t refuse. Help me up.”
Harry shook his head. “No. You sit right here and rest. I will go take a quick look around. When I return, we’ll head back.
“OK. Don’t be gone too long. It’s almost dark.”
“Yes dear.” He replied as he disappeared through the trees. “I am tired.” She leaned back on the tree trunk and closed her eyes. A short time later she heard the sound of snapping twigs. She pointed the light toward the trees.
“Yes dear, it’s me.” As Harry stepped out from among the trees and into the clearing, she could see he was holding something in his arms. When he stepped into the dim light, she could see it was the little boy.
“You found him!” Jenny got up awkwardly and limped towards them. “Where on earth was he?”
“Not too far from here. He was curled up under a tree sleeping. Matthew, this is my wife Jenny.”
“Hello, Matthew. A lot of people will be so very happy to see you. How did you get clear out here?”
“There was a baby deer hiding behind a tree. He answered in a trembling voice. I wanted to see where it was going so I followed it.” He started to cry. “I got lost and couldn’t find my way back.”
Jenny brushed the hair off his forehead. “Well, you’re safe now.”
“Can we go see my mommy?”
Harry hugged him. “We sure will. But first, I need your help.”
“You do?” He said as he wiped his eyes.
He put the little boy down and said,” It’s a rather long walk back to our place and as you can see, Jenny hurt her ankle. She needs us to help her get back. I’m going to put my arm around her waist to give her support as she walks. We’ll use both flashlights to light up the path. Jenny, give Matthew your flashlight.”
He took it and held it tight. “Now, I need you to shine it on the ground in front us so we can see anything that might trip us. Can you do that?”
Forgetting how scared he was, he answered, “I sure can, Harry.”
“Good. Then we’ll be seeing your mom in no time.”
Now Matthew was feeling very important and brave. “Don’t worry,” he said as he put his small hand into Jenny’s.” “We’ll get you home.”
“Why thank you, young man. I feel much better knowing I have two strong men to take care of me.”
The walk back was slow. The sun had set and a bright silvery moon was starting to peak through the trees. Its beams threw off eerie shadows that looked like monsters, ready to pounce on their prey. Jenny could feel Matthew’s grip on her hand grow stronger and she tried to comfort him. “We’re almost there. Your mom and dad will be waiting for you.”
“I bet they are mad at me.”
“I think they are more afraid than mad, Matthew,” Harry said. “They didn’t know what happened to you and that made them sad.”
Matthew was silent for a moment. “I guess I better tell them I’m sorry, huh?”
Jenny chuckled. “That would be a very good idea. I bet when we tell them what a brave and helpful little boy you were, they will forget about being upset with you.”
“I sure hope so.” He replied with fervor.
Harry pushed a branch out of their way. He could see the group of people that had gathered on the porch. “Well, I guess we’ll find out in a minute because we are home.” He pointed toward them. “There’s your mom and dad waiting for you.”
Matthew let go of Jenny’s hand and yelled, “Mommy!”
A startled Katherine turned to see the silhouettes of three people coming toward the house. “Tom, they found our baby!” Both mother and father raced toward their son. Katherine reached out, scooped him up in her arms, and kissed him over and over. “Mattie, we were so worried about you! Why did you run off?”
“I saw a baby deer standing beside a tree. I wanted to see where it was going so I followed it.”
His father, Tom tried to be cross with him but just couldn’t. ”You know better than to run off like that, Matt.” He said sternly.
The little boy hung his head. “I’m sorry. I won’t do it again.”
When Harry and Jenny had finally caught up to the reunited family, Matthew remembered Jenny’s ankle. He took her hand again and said, “Come on Jenny, you need to sit down and rest.” His parents looked at each other with great surprise.
Harry turned on the porch light. When everyone was seated, Matthew started to tell his little tale of adventure.
“I got tired so I sat down under a tree and fell asleep. That’s when Harry found me! He carried me back to where Jenny was sitting…cause she tripped and hurt her ankle.
“Weren’t you scared?” His uncle asked.
He thought for a moment. “Well, a little, but when Harry told me he needed my help, I wasn’t scared anymore.” He got up and stood between them. Standing tall, he said proudly, “I had to shine the flashlight on the ground while he held onto her so she wouldn’t fall again. I took good care of her, didn’t I, Harry?”
Harry picked up Matthew, sat him on his lap and gave him a big bear hug. “You sure did. I couldn’t have done it without you.” Jenny leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. “Thank you, Matthew. You are my hero.”
Everyone laughed. The conversation continued with talk of family, where they were from and tales from past vacations.
Jenny was having such a good time visiting with these nice people and tried to hide her discomfort from her throbbing ankle. Katherine noticed the pained look on Jenny’s face and decided it was time to go. She nudged her husband and stood up. “It’s getting late. We need to get back and Jenny needs to get some rest.” Matthew got down off of Harry’s lap. He went to Jenny and hugged her neck. “I hope your foot feels better tomorrow.”
“Thank you sweetie, I do too. You come back and see us before you head for home.”
“You bet I will!”
“But on one condition,” Harry added.” You have your mom & dad bring you. No more going off by yourself.”
“Good boy. Back to camp with you and get a good night’s rest. You had a busy day.”
Matthew and his family headed back to their cabin. As Jenny got up from her chair they heard a “Bye, see you later” drift over the stillness of the night air.
Harry held the door open for her while she limped inside. He closed and locked the door behind him. “Do you want something to eat?”
“No, I’m too tired. But I would like a cup of tea.”
“Coming right up, dear.”
“Just bring it upstairs, will you? I’m going to take a nice warm shower,” she said as she started up the steps.
“Wait a minute.”
She turned around. “What’s the matter?”
“You are not walking up those steps,” Harry said as he swept her up into his arms.
“I can manage a few stairs. Now put me down before you hurt your back.”
“Hush, woman. I’m taking you up and that’s final.” She put her arms around his neck. “Yes, dear.” Within seconds, he had sat her down on the bed.
“Now, by the time you are out of the shower, I’ll have you a nice steaming cup of tea,” Harry said as he descended the stairs. Jenny stood, grabbed her nightwear and hobbled into the bathroom.
By the time she came out, Harry had pulled back the comfort on the bed and had her cup of tea sitting on the nightstand, as well as an ice pack. As she was crawling in, he plumped the pillows and placed them behind her. When she was situated, he picked up the mug and handed it to her. Next, he placed the ice on her ankle.
She gently blew into the mug and then took several sips. “Oh, that’s good. Thank you, sweetie. You take such good care of me.”
“You really should eat something. It’s been hours since we ate,” he pointed out.
Jenny yawned and replied, “I’m too tired.”
“Will you at least eat some soup? You know a person shouldn’t go to bed hungry.”
She drained her mug and handed it to him. “Oh all right….just a small bowl.”
“Good. I’ll be right back.”
“Don’t forget the crackers,” she yelled as he went down the stairs.
Five minutes later, Harry returned with two steaming bowls of vegetable soup. He handed her a large soup mug and said, “It smelled so good, I decided to have a bowl too.”
She patted the bed. “Care to join me?” He sat his mug down on the nightstand. “I’ll be back in a minute. I’m going to change out of these clothes.”
Jenny had the covers pulled back by the time he rejoined her. He climbed in next to her and picked up his mug of soup. When they were finished, he took the dishes down to the kitchen. After downing a couple of aspirins with a glass of water, he returned to their bedroom to find her fast asleep.
“So much for romance,” he sighed. “Guess I’ll see what’s on TV.” Harry got back into bed and picked up the remote that was on the nightstand. After flipping through several channels, he came upon Moby Dick, a classic movie he hadn’t seen in a long time. He set the sleep timer, snuggled up to his beloved and settled in for the night.
Several hours later, Harry was roused from his slumber. “Aahh..choo! Ah..ah..choo!” He rolled over and saw his red-nosed, puffy-eyed wife coming out of the bathroom, blowing her nose.
“Aahh…choo… Oh Harry, I’m sorry I woke you,” she said as she sat down in the rocker.
He pushed the covers back and got up out of bed. “Don’t be sorry, dear.” He walked over to her and felt her forehead with the back of his hand. “Hmmm…
You don’t have a fever. How about I get you a mug of hot tea?”
“That would be great.”
“I’ll be back in a few minutes,” he replied and headed down the stairs. As promised he returned with a steaming mug in one hand and a pill bottle in the other. Setting the mug down, he picked up a glass of water and handed it to her. Popping the lid off the bottle he shook out a couple pills. “Here, these should make you feel better.” She took them and drained the glass of water. She heard a “click” and immediately saw a flash of light. There was Harry, camera in hand, standing in front of her smiling.
“HARRIMAN!” she squealed. “How could you?”
“Oh Jen, be a sport. It’s for our honeymoon album. That’s what you told me, remember?”
She sighed and nodded her head. “Yes, I remember. Turnabout is fair play.” She sneezed again and wiped her sore nose. “But my nose is all red!”
“And what a pretty red nose it is. Now, drink up and then back into bed you go.”
After a few days of rest and some TLC, they were ready to move on to their next destination. Harry was just about to take the last bag out to the car when he heard a small knock. He sat the bag down and opened the door to find a smiling Matthew and his mother.
“Hi ya’ Harry. We’re heading home today and I wanted to say good-bye.”
“I’m glad you stopped by. Come on in.”
Matthew looked around. “Where’s Jenny?”
“I’m right here,” she said as she descended the stairs.
He raced over to her and hugged her. ”Your ankle…. its all better!”
“You bet it is…thanks to you.” Matthew’s face beamed.
“As a matter of fact,” Harry said, “we’re leaving today also.”
“Are you heading for home also?” Kathleen inquired.
“No, our next stop is a small town in the heart of Amish country. We’re going to do some sightseeing.”
“And a lot of shopping.” Jenny added.
Kathleen grinned. “Now that sounds like a plan.” She looked down at her son. “Well, Mattie, we better get going. Again, thank you for all your help.”
“You are very welcome.” He bent down as Matthew came to him to give him a hug. “Bye, Harry. I’ll miss you.”
“I’ll miss you too.” He answered.
Jenny held out her arms for one last hug. “Here, Matthew,” she said and handed him a folded piece of paper. “This is our address. Maybe you could have your mom write and tell us what you are up to every once in awhile?”
“You bet!” He paused in thought for a moment. “Would you send me some pictures of where you live?”
Jenny chuckled. “You bet. I’ll even send you some seashells.”
“Come on, Matthew. Your dad should have the car packed by now.”
He stuffed the note into his pants pocket. “Coming, mom.”
Kathleen held the door open for Harry as he exited with the suitcase.
One more round of “goodbyes” were said as mother and son walked back to their campsite. As they walked she said, “Son, I think you should give me the paper that Jenny gave you.”
“But mom, she gave it to me.”
”I know dear, but you don’t want to lose it, do you?”
“No.” He put his hand into his pocket, pulled it out and handed it to her.”
“I promise I’ll put it in my wallet as soon as we get to the car. OK?”
Out of curiosity, she unfolded the paper and read it. “Oh my goodness!”
“What’s the matter, mom?”
“Matt, your new friends are famous people. We just met Admiral Harriman Nelson and his wife.” His eyes grew wide as his mother continued. “You know that submarine they talk about on the news sometimes? Let me think. Umm…the Seaview?"
“Harry is the builder and owner of it. He works very hard to preserve and protect all the creatures of the sea.”
Matt was silent until they reached the campsite. He tugged on his mom’s jacket and said, “Mom?”
”Since they are so busy all the time, do you think Jenny will still remember to send me those seashells?”
Before they headed up the highway, Harry stopped at the office to return the keys. He went inside and handed them to the clerk. The young man asked him if they enjoyed their stay. Harry told him they had a great time.
“We hope you will come back again.”
“You can count on it.”
Upon his return to the car, he found Jenny studying a road map. He fastened his seatbelt and started the car.
“OK navigator, which way?”
“Turn right on this road until you see a sign for OH 39. Turn right again. Stay on this road until we come to OH 62. By the looks of the map, it shouldn’t take very long to get to Wilmot.
A COUPLE HOURS LATER….
Jenny had been fidgeting with the road map ever since she woke up from her ‘cat nap’ and it was beginning to annoy him. Right after she had fallen asleep, the road detoured onto a small side road due to a bridge repair. Somehow he missed getting back on the main road. He decided against stopping and asking for directions. That would be admitting he was lost. “Nope, not going to do it,” he thought to himself. “She’d never let me forget it.”
Totally frustrated, she folded the map and tossed it on the dashboard. “I give up!” she grumbled. “Explain to me how we ended up in the middle of nowhere?”
Calmly, he replied, “The road was closed due to some construction so I followed the detour signs.”
“And” he said slowly, “I may have missed a road sign…or two and ended up on this road.”
She sighed as she shook her head. “Do you have ANY idea where we are?”
“Yes, I do,” he said with certainty.
“WHERE?” she cried.
In a confident tone he answered, “We are on an unmarked,
graveled country road… somewhere in
“AUGH!!” Jenny’s frustration dissipated and she snickered. “There’s never a dull moment with you, is there Harry?”
Finally, they came to a four-way stop. “There!” Jenny pointed to a small road marker. It
Harry thought for a moment. He put on his left signal and turned. “We’re going this way.”
Ten minutes passed, and then he heard what no man wants to hear. “Face it, Harry, we’re lost.” He flinched at the spoken words.
As he crested a small hill, he growled, “We’re not lost.”
But Jenny wasn’t about to give up. “Why don’t we just stop...LOOK OUT!”
In front of them was a slow moving horse-drawn wagon. Harry hit the brakes. As the young Amish man turned to see what was going on behind him, he saw the car sliding off the side of the road. He pulled on the horse’s reigns and brought them to a stop. He hopped down and went to see if the couple needed help.
Harry saw him approaching and put his window down. “Are you folks all right?” The young man asked.
“We’re fine. I hope I didn’t spook your horses. We’re on vacation and I’m not familiar with these roads.”
Jenny decided to take matters into her own hands. “Actually, he took a couple wrong turns and now we’re lost. Will you please tell us where we are?” If the look Harry gave her could kill, she’d be one dead woman.
The Amish man smiled. “I could tell you weren’t from these parts. Where are you headed?”
“We’re trying to find The Inn at Amish Door.” Jenny answered.
He shook his head in acknowledgement. “I know the place.”
He pointed north and continued. “Follow
this road a few more miles. You will come to a village called
Harry thanked the man for his help. He then went back to his wagon, climbed up and continued on his way. They both sat there in silence for a minute.
“Well, at least we know where we are now.”
“Yes, dear,” he retorted as he pulled the car back on the road and continued on. Silence reigned for several minutes. Finally, Jenny put her hand on his arm and stroked it. “Are you mad at me?” she asked.
He glanced at her sweet face and his irritation melted away. He shook his head. “No I’m not. It’s just …well….we men don’t like to admit to being lost.”
A smile tugged at the corner of her lips as she kissed him on the cheek. “Yes, dear…I know.”
As they rounded the turn and crested the knoll, their destination came into view. A Victorian-style inn stood majestically among the acres of farmland;
a welcome sight to any weary traveler. Also in this small village was a restaurant, a market and several shops that offered items that ranged from wooden toys to Amish made furniture to hand-made quilts.
Harry turned into the driveway and followed the signs to the inn. As he parked the car, he noticed the restaurant. He looked at his watch. “Do you realize we missed lunch?”
“Yes, I do. But before you make a beeline to the restaurant, let’s check in and freshen up first. OK?”
Jenny walked to the front doors and waited while he retrieved their luggage from the trunk. When they entered the lobby, it was like stepping back into the Victorian times. The spacious lobby decorated with hand-crafted furniture of that period. White lace curtains adorned the windows. A large carpeted staircase led to the second floor. As they approached the front desk, a young lady greeted them with a “Hello, how can I help you today?”
Harry replied, “We have a reservation, Harriman & Jennifer Nelson.”
She quickly checked her book. “Yes, the honeymoon suite is ready and waiting for you.” She smiled and handed Harry the key. “You’ll find it on your right at the top of the stairs. If there is anything you need, don’t hesitate to let us know. I hope you enjoy your stay with us.”
“Thank you.” Jenny replied. “I’m sure we will.” Harry picked up the luggage and they headed up the staircase to see what awaited them.
Jenny opened the door and they entered the elegant, spacious suite. “Oh Harry, look at this room!” Before them was a king-size canopy bed that was covered with a white quilted comforter. In one corner was a fireplace to chase off an evening’s chill. There was a kitchenette and a Jacuzzi in the bathroom. All the comforts of home plus more. Harry placed the bags on the floor, headed straight to the bed and jumped on top of it. “Aaah, just like lying on a cloud.” He patted the empty side of the bed. “Care to join me?” She strolled
over to the bed. “I thought you were hungry?”
“I am, but I think we need to relax for a few minutes. Don’t you?”
“Oh, I totally agree.” She said as she curled up beside him.
Jenny looked at the clock and then at Harry, who was sound asleep. Gently, she shook his shoulder. “Harry…Harry, wake up.”
He sat up and rubbed his eyes. “What’s the matter?”
“Our few minutes of rest turned into four hours. It’s now and I am starving!” She hopped out of bed and headed for the bathroom. “Give me a few minutes to freshen up.”
Five minutes later, they were entering the busy restaurant. Quilts and wall hangings hung from the gift shop railings on the second floor. Smells of fresh baked bread, fried chicken and other delectable items floated through the large dining room. The hostess promptly seated them. Several minutes later the waitress was taking their order. Harry decided on the roast beef while Jenny ordered the fried chicken. A basket of warm bread was brought to the table while they were at the salad bar. Before they were finished, the main meal was placed before them. Jenny’s eyes widened at the sight of Harry’s plate. “Are you going to eat all of that?”
Harry took a taste and answered, “Oh yeah, every last bite.”
“Oh man, am I stuffed.” Harry moaned as they sat in the hickory rockers on the front porch of the restaurant.
“I imagine you are.” Jenny replied, not wanting to admit she was stuffed to the gills also. “How could you eat that apple dumpling, topped with ice cream after that big meal?
Harry patted his stomach. “Well, it was touch and go there for awhile, but I managed.”
“I better set out the antacid when we get back to the room. He’ll need it in a couple hours,” she thought to herself.
They sat a while longer, watching the fall sunset. Shades of orange painted the sky. The air cooled quickly once the sun was gone.
“Ready to go back to the hotel, Harry?”
“Yes, I think we better go.” He got up and held out his hand to her. “It’s been a long day.” So hand in hand, they strolled back to their room. Jenny decided to have a warm relaxing soak in the tub while Harry watched the evening news. No sooner did she get settled and she heard, “Umm, sweetheart, where’s the antacid?”
With a smirk she answered, “It’s on the nightstand, dear.”
“I see it. And before you say anything, I’ll admit I did eat a little too much.”
Jenny resisted the urge to say, “I told you so.” Instead, she replied, “That’s why I brought the large bottle.”
Harry stuck his head in the door and countered, “That’s why I married you. So you could keep me supplied with antacids.”
She splashed some water and soap bubbles at him. “Oh, go watch some TV.
I’ll be out in a little while.”
“Don’t stay in there too long. You’ll come out wrinkled like a prune,” he teased and quickly shut the door.
Jenny relaxed a little longer before getting out of the tub. She dressed in her night clothes and crawled into bed. She snuggled under the warm down comforter in wait of Harry, but never heard him come to bed, for she was asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow.
Jenny was roused from her slumber to the sounds of honking geese on their way to the nearest pond. She rolled over to see Harry watching her.
“What’s wrong?” She asked as she rubbed her eyes.
“Why nothing, dear.”
‘What time is it?”
“Almost ,” Harry replied.
“Oh for heaven’s sake, Harry,” she cried “Why didn’t you wake me?”
He moved closer to her and answered, “Because I love to watch you sleep.”
“You know,” Jenny purred, “I’m really not ready to get up just yet. How ‘bout you?”
“Breakfast can wait.” Harry smirked as he pulled the sheets up over their heads.
With only one day left, they decided to take the main road and just stop at tourist attractions as they came along. Jenny grabbed a local map off the dresser, just to be on the safe side, and they started their day.
Their first stop was a local cheese factory. They were able to see through glass windows how cheese was made. Afterwards they sampled a lot of the many kinds of cheese imaginable. Then it was on to a bakery that was
across the street and more tasting of the goodies they had to offer.
Later in the afternoon, Harry spotted an Amish farm that was giving tours
and decided to stop. He pulled into the driveway, parked the car and then joined a small group of people that was waiting for the next tour guide.
The tour started in the main house. Hand-made curtains hung in the windows, pulled to the side by a sash. Since Amish do not use electricity,
a white gas floor lantern sat next to the treadle sewing machine that sat in the corner of the room. It was a simple yet comfortable looking room. After seeing the rest of the house, they walked out to the barn. The century old barn was full of animals: Cows, horses, some goats, chickens and a collie to keep them all in line. A teen-age Amish boy demonstrated the art of milking a cow by hand. He coaxed Harry to give it a try, which was less than successful. Next stop was the one-room school house. A large blackboard hung on the wall and old fashion school desks were lined up in several rows.
An old-fashion school bell sat on the teacher’s desk.
When the tours of the building were finished, Harry and Jenny decided to go for a buggy ride down a small dirt road. The slow pace of the horse, gave the passengers a chance to take in all the beauty and quietness of the country.
After their ride, Jenny headed the gift shop. Meanwhile, the aroma from the bakery was attracting Harry’s attention. “I’ll meet you back at the car,” they both said in unison. Twenty minutes later, they both met at the car with their purchases. Harry put the packages in the back seat, started the car and headed back to the hotel.
After one last hearty Amish style meal, they decided to spend the rest of the night relaxing in their room.
Harry awoke to the sound of the sliding door opening & closing as Jenny went out on the balcony. He got up to see what she was doing. The air was still chilly as the morning sun started to shine over the valley below. He wrapped his arms around her and asked, “What are you doing out here in the cold?”
I wanted to take in the beauty of the countryside before we had to leave.”
Silently they stood, gazing out over the hills. They watched an Amish farmer stack his cornstalks in a distant field. The sound of horse's hooves could be heard trotting down the road pulling a buggy and his owner. Children could be heard laughing as they walked to school.
“It’s time to get ready and head to the airport,” he whispered in her ear.
“I know.” She said sighing. “I wanted one more look of the countryside. I’ve had a wonderful time. Are you glad we came?” He gave her a big squeeze. “Very.” They took one last look and went back inside. Within the hour, they were heading for the car to head back to the airport where the NIMA jet would be waiting.
In less than two hours, Harry and Jenny were back at Burke Lakefront
Airport. The baggage handler unloaded their belongings onto the cart and headed for the awaiting plane. Jenny waited at the gate while Harry turned in the keys for the rental car. Their ‘alone time’ was over. Now it was back to the real world of deadlines, meetings and…Admiral Starke. She was still lost in thought when Harry came up and touched her arm.
“We can board now. Shall we go?” He asked.
“No. Can’t we just stay here forever? I’m sure there are jobs for a couple of marine researchers.”
“I’m afraid not.” He chuckled as he opened the door for her. He took Jenny’s hand as they walked toward the plane. “Don’t worry.” He said. “We’ll come back again.”
“Promise?” She asked.
“Promise.” Harry answered firmly.
As they were ready to climb the steps, Lee appeared at the door.
“Harry! Jenny! Good to see you. Did you have a good time?”
She acknowledged with a wave. She sighed as she took her seat and buckled up. As Harry and Lee engaged in conversation about Institute business, she mumbled, “Well, the honeymoon is over.”
COUPLE MONTHS LATER
Harry was worried. Jenny hasn’t been well for the last few days. She’s been nauseas, pale, not wanting to eat. She keeps telling him it’s the flu and won’t go to sickbay. Well, today he’s not taking “no” for an answer. When Jenny comes out of the head, he’s dragging her down to see Jamie. Finally, the door opened and out she came, wearing her heavy robe and wiping her mouth with a towel.
“Enough is enough.” He said sternly. “Put on your slippers. We are going to Sickbay to see Jamie.”
Seeing the look on his face, she knew she wouldn’t win this time. “OK. Let’s go.”
Jamie was sitting at his desk when they entered. “I see you’re still not feeling any better.”
“No.” She replied in a weak voice.
He took her by the arm. “Let’s get you up on the examination table.” Harry started to join them but
Jamie closed the curtain and said, “You stay out here. This won’t take long.”
“No buts’. Go to the control room and see how things are going. By the time you return, we’ll be finished.”
Harry did what he asked. Lee could see that something was bothering him.
“What’s wrong Admiral?”
“I finally got Jenny to go to Sickbay. Jamie chased me out.” Now I’m more worried than ever.”
“Come on, Harry,”
As they made a hasty retreat, Lee gave a quick command.
“Mr. Morton, you have the Con.”
By the time they arrived, Jamie had completed his exam and was sitting at his desk. Lee was the first to speak.
“OK doc. What’s the matter with my sister?”
“It’s nothing serious.”
“What’s wrong with my wife?” Harry roared. “I want to know NOW!”
“Oh Harry, calm down.” Jenny said as she pulled back the curtain.
He walked over to her and took her hands in his. “What is wrong?”
“Do you promise to stay calm?” She asked.
“Yes. Now tell me.”
“The rabbit died.”
He had no clue what she was talking about. “The rabbit died? What’s a rabbit got to do with anything?”
“It means,” Jamie answered, “That you are going to be a father in about six months.”
“A baby?” Lee and Harry remarked in unison.
Harry fell into the closest chair. “I’m going to be a father. Lee! I’m having a baby!”
“I’m going to be an uncle.” Lee beamed.
Jamie saw she was getting pale again. “You better go back to the cabin and lay down. Here are some pills to help with the nausea. I’ll have Cookie bring you some tea and crackers. That will help.”
Harry and Lee came back down to earth. “We’ll see that she follows your instructions to the letter, Jamie.”
Jamie smiled. “I’m sure you will.”
As they escorted her back, she thought to herself, “. It’s going to be a long pregnancy with these two hovering over me.”
Lee left the two of them alone and headed back to the Control Room. “Chip is never going to believe it.”
When Chip saw Lee, he immediately asked how she was. He couldn’t hold it in any longer. Grinning from ear to ear, he said, “Men, I have an announcement. Come spring we will have a new crewmember….and you all will be honorary uncles!” The room filled with cheers of joy.
A new adventure for the Seaview had begun.
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