Kristmas Collins

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From their perch above the cottage, it was an impressive view. Chuck explained that the main house had once been a milking barn for cows. And back when the farm was originally converted to dairy, this cottage was built to be an ice-house to store the milk, which was the reason for its thickly insulated walls and lack of windows. But they had it taken out when Carolyn began using it as a slide. Chuck went on to bemoan the fact that the seven-thousand square foot converted barn used over a thousand gallons of oil to heat it during the winter. Billy had trouble evoking sympathy for the filthy rich.

Why is it called Bevelyn Farms?

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Brokeback Mountain had nothing on Bevelyn Farms, he said with a hearty chuckle. But Evelyn refused to part with her, and hijacked her to Florida, where she now lives. It took a year of heavy negotiations to get her to finally hand over the urn, so the ceremony is slated for Monday. Chuck smiled wryly. Funny how that worked out. Instead, he turned his attention to Carolyn. All Billy knew about the tongue injury was that it was related to an incident that got her expelled from nursery school, creating the need for someone to watch her during the afternoons. Neither father nor daughter seemed to want to talk about it, but Billy finally had to ask, What happened to your tongue?

I tried to trick the other kids in school that I was Dracula, and pretended I was gonna suck their blood. So I made blood go down my chin. But then everybody got mad. She shrugged, looking perplexed. Biting off your tongue is fun? He was starting to understand why they offered him the babysitting gig with no questions asked— nobody mentioned that she might be a vampire!

The tale continued getting stranger, before Chuck stepped in. Carolyn—what did your mother and I tell you about fibbing? Carolyn joined in, showing off her big toothless grin. But the gruesome tongue was still lurking in the shadows. Chuck explained to Billy that Carolyn believed fireflies fought off dragons, and she made him help her collect them each night before going to bed.

She pointed proudly at her shirt. Slap Shot! Put the foil on, coach.

You watch that movie? Billy asked, surprised. Slap Shot was a s cult-classic about a minor league hockey team called the Charlestown Chiefs, starring Paul Newman. Not exactly age appropriate. Oh, like the enforcer, Billy caught on. Eighteen years in the minors and I have the aching joints to prove it, Chuck added proudly. And besides, it seemed like a different lifetime. He chose to remain quiet, while Chuck quizzed his daughter on the important elements of life. As they moved the final items, the sun began to sink behind the wooded surroundings, turning the late afternoon into a Norman Rockwell painting.

They saved the heavy bookcase for last. Billy and Chuck were struggling to set up the computer when they heard the crash. Billy was under the stand with a flashlight, trying to find the right plug for the USB attachment.


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He dropped the flashlight and banged his head. By the time he got outside, Chuck was already on the scene.

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There was no way to know why Carolyn tried to pull the bookcase off the back of the Cherokee by herself. There was also no way to know how she did it, but the rope used to secure it to the back of the truck was the probable culprit. The bookcase rested fiendishly on top of her, only her small head was visible.

Blood flowed like Niagara Falls. Most troubling was that there was no scream—no sign of life.

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Billy stood motionless, staring at the bloody scene in front of him. But he remained in a trance. They used to rave back in his quarterbacking days about how he always remained calm under the pressure. Cool as a cucumber, was the common term of praise. But right now Billy was cracking under the weight of the pressure like he was the one trapped under the heavy object. The light suddenly went on and he sprung into action, sprinting to the accident scene and helping to lift the bookcase off the little girl.

Carolyn remained in a fetal position, the blood continuing to flow from her left temple, painting her once-white T-shirt a shade of crimson. Billy was relieved to see her eyes open. She looked more stunned than anything else. Once it was determined that she was still in one piece, Chuck began the reprimanding. Once he made his point, he pulled her into his arms. He then ran into the cottage and retrieved a wet cloth.

When he returned, he dabbed it on her wound. Still no flinch. Carolyn looked up at him with a clueless daze, crocodile tears continuing to stream down her face. Beth arrived in hysterics. She grabbed Carolyn away from Chuck and inspected her head. What happened? You left a three-year-old alone around heavy objects? Even for men, you two take the cake! Beth looked indignant. Her tears dried up like the Sahara. Carolyn held the rag over her gash with her free hand.

It was the unnaturalness of her reaction. It reminded him of a movie he once saw where an alien accidentally landed on Earth and tried to assimilate itself into society by pretending to be human. After a long day of moving furniture in the heat, Chuck suggested Mexican food. It sounded good to Billy, who craved anything that would remove the gamey taste from his mouth.

He joked that it still might be too expensive on his budget. It took a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to get past, and now Beth is … He paused, searching for the right word.

Chuck nodded. Beverly left us this house, but she liked to live extravagantly, so the estate came with a lot of debt. Dana has helped us out a ton, but we still struggle to survive each month. You could get a lot more for the place. Laying floors during the day and bartending here at night.

Our cars are in the shop every other week. She loaned it to us last week because the starter went in my truck. Yes, four grand a month would help a lot. You were the first person we interviewed who seemed like a real person. They passed through the crowded bar that featured a mariachi band, before exiting into a patio area.

It was practically empty—most people not willing to take on the record heat. A mister was trying to cool things down, but having little effect. She has an interesting way of showing it. Billy said, eyeing Chuck suspiciously. No offense, but I get the feeling that Beth gets the final word on all issues in the Whitcomb household. Carolyn and I did fight for you, Chuck came clean, but Beth might be the most overprotective parent on the planet—which I love her for—so despite her lip service, she had no plans of ever really hiring a babysitter for Carolyn. So the idea of leaving her daughter with a strange man with a vague past—no offense—would take a miracle to get approved.

And after the bookcase debacle, she might be the only one left on that list. Billy swallowed hard as he nodded.

Beth has abandonment issues from her family and sometimes overcompensates with Carolyn. Chuck sighed. She was adopted. Then when her adopted mother died, that family turned on her. So she felt abandoned by two families—birth and adopted. She never wants Carolyn to feel that, so she grips a little too hard sometimes. Billy was again surprised, but covered it with a smile. I guess she picked the wrong kid to be overprotective of. Carolyn is fearless.

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Not to mention, she bit off her tongue to get some laughs from her classmates. He chuckled with admiration. We call her the Boo-Boo Machine. Author Harriet Martineau literally paid the price for her fame by being sent an unmanageable quantity of fan mail, hate mail, and prank mail. The amount due was calculated not only by the number of sheets of paper and enclosures but also by the number of miles traversed.

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A letter enclosed in an envelope received double charge, so thoughtful people folded the letter and sealed it with a wax or sticky wafer. In Victorian London, mail was delivered to homes 12 times a day. It was possible in London, at least to mail an invitation in the morning, receive an answer in the afternoon post, and still have time to make preparations for dinner that evening. Now, Sir, why is this?

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If there is any good reason why letters should not be delivered in less than eight hours after their postage, let the state of the case be understood: but the belief that one can communicate with another person in two or three hours whereas in reality the time required is eight or nine, may be productive of the most disastrous consequences. William Wordsworth , on the other hand, was disgruntled to receive all of his mail.

He grumbled that all cheap postage had done was increase the number of time-wasting letters from strangers. Postal Museum Blog describes how the Victorian mailboxes quickly filled with:. In , Henry Cole hit on an ingenious alternative to writing out hundreds of letters at christmas time. He asked his artist friend, J. Horsley, to design an illustration. Alexia Fernandez. People November 11, What to Read Next. Yahoo Celebrity. Yahoo Music. Yahoo Entertainment. Entertainment Weekly.