Chapter 1 – Harold & Harriett

Time in Willow Creek: 2 weeks

Harold Humphries was a bit of a home body and never cared to venture past work and home. His philosophy was nothing existed outside the house that could be more exciting than anything he could watch on television. Needless to say, he was a very lazy man. But, it was the first day of his retirement, and his wife, Harriett, was determined to show him a world beyond the TV. She took him to the park to enjoy the great outdoors…and maybe get some sun on his pasty skin. They shuffled along the far side of the park by the water in the blazing afternoon sun. The air was thick like a sweater, and the mosquitos flocked to him like ants on a discarded piece of candy.

“Ok…I had enough of this outside business,” Harold said. “Time to go on home.”

Hariett huffed. “But, we’ve only been here for 10 minutes!”

“And it’s been 10 minutes too long!”

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She shook her head and glared at him, but someone caught her attention. “Oh look, Harold! It’s Rebecca!”

She pointed to the middle-aged red-head sitting on the bench.

He slinked over to the woman. “Hey, pumpkin pie. How’s my favorite daughter?”

She was their oldest and worked in a big, fancy building and must have been on her lunch break; it was around midday.

She stood and greeted him with a hug.

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“Harold! You can’t say that.”

“Hey daddy!”

“Well, it’s true, and everybody know it.” He turned his attention back to Rebecca. “How is my Sloane and the rest of your brood?”

Sloane was Rebecca’s oldest daughter and Harold’s favorite grandchild. Harriett took a seat next to the sleeping woman while her loved ones got caught up.

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“The children are fine. That husband of mine is still quite a sick puppy.”

“He’s weak,” Harold yelled. “Any man who pines after a woman like he does ain’t got no room to call himself a man. And you’re a fool for marrying him! You shoulda stuck with the first one. Now that was a real man.”

“Harold!”

“It’s ok, mama. Even us ‘tough as nails’ girls can be sentimental fools sometimes.”

Their squabble must have been too loud. The sleeping woman woke up and walked away. Harriett sat next to a young, dark-haired girl behind Rebecca.

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“Come sit down, honey,” Harriett said to Rebecca.

The three of them sat on the empty bench.

“Are you being a good wife and taking care of Jack? You ‘tough as nails’ gals tend to forget about your wifely duties!”

Rebecca rolled her eyes. “Oh please, mama. Jack knew what I was when he married me. It’s his own fault for falling in love.”

“I declare! You modern women! Y’all don’t know a thing about being a wife and running a household! You just think about self. No wonder you’re on your fourth marriage!”

“How I conduct my marriages and my household is my business, mama. Maybe you should tend to your own marriage. Daddy has been unhappy for years. Maybe you’re not doing your job right.”

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“Your daddy is a contemptible old fool! There’s no satisfying him.”

Harold grunted.

“Hmmm. That’s a matter of perspective. I’ve gotta get back to the office. See y’all.”

Next Chapter

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