To my Canadian friends Happy Boxing Day–that’s our equivalent to Black Friday. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and as the year winds down to its close, may each of the coming days be merry and bright.
Today I’m continuing with Candy Kayne’s Christmas, using both an image from the selection provided and the word SNOW. I pick up where I left off last week.
Bill smiled indulgently at his grandfather, a man he loved more than any other. “Grandpa, we both know people who still hold grudges against the North for perceived injustices after the Civil War. Tobias may have taken it to extremes, but I’m damned sure he wasn’t the only one.”
“You’re probably right, but what he did was wrong, and I intend to fix it.” The old man pursed his lips. “Tell me more about my great-uncle.”
The last few months, Grandpa had been obsessed with learning everything he could about Zeke Kayne.
“Unfortunately, your great uncle didn’t have any better luck with his progeny than did your grandfather, Jeremiah, his twin. Ezekiel had two sons, Anthony and Jonah, who died in infancy. His son, Anthony Ezekiel, had two children of his own, a girl who died without issue and a son, Robert Ezekiel, took over the family store. He had two children. Marie who died from tuberculosis in her twenties and Jerome, Candace’s father.”
“We haven’t been a very lucky lot, have we?” his grandfather asked, shaking his head.
Bill sighed. His mother, Elizabeth, Luke’s only daughter, had suffered a severe miscarriage after Mavis, his sister, had been born, leaving her unable to bear more children. Wanting some, she and his father, William, had adopted two, himself and his biological brother, Michael. While he hadn’t been born a Kayne, he’d been raised one, and carried the name as his middle name.
“Maybe it’s God’s punishment for the man’s arrogance,” Luke continued, reaching for the coffee mug on the table beside him. “How do you intend to approach her?”
Bill smiled. Looking into the past was fine for the old, but he preferred to look forward. For him, the past was filled with bitter memories. “Like I do any other business venture for this family. Serendipity Construction has purchased an old flour mill. The place has housed several different ventures since it closed its doors in 1934. Most recently, it’s served as a warehouse for Stockton Winery. You may remember I took a preliminary trip there six weeks ago and spoke to a few of the business men. Candace was in New York. What the people I spoke to tell me is that Willow Grove needs something to bring in the tourists during the winter months since they’re plentiful the rest of the year. My idea is to do just that.
“The mill is a beautiful old limestone and granite building with Douglas fir beams, the likes of which I haven’t seen in years. It sits on the river near the falls, at the base of a small mountain. I’ve looked into the logistics, talked to a few operators in the area, and I intend to renovate it, and open a ski resort.” He glanced down at his watch. “Phil Stockton, the owner of the nearby winery, should be informing the business community of Willow Grove about the plans in about an hour. He’s excited about it and willing to put out a new line of wine with the revamped mill on its label providing we agree to sell his wines in the resort’s restaurants. He gave me a couple of bottles, and I’m impressed enough with the quality to agree. I’m on my way back to Willow Grove in a couple of days. Candace has turned the general store into a high end coffee shop. I’m hoping she’ll be excited about the possibility of merging her business with ours. If all works well, the Serendipity Ski Resort should open its doors in time for Christmas a year from now.”
“That’s a pretty tight schedule, isn’t it? It’ll mean a lot of time on the job site. What about Tommy?”
Bill bit his lower lip. He’d hoped to put off discussing this aspect of his plan until after Christmas.
“I’ve bought a house a few miles away from the mill. It needs some work, but I should be able to move in by mid-February. Grandpa, I want to take Tommy up there with me—more than that—I want to stay on and manage the resort. My son lost his mother last year, and I’m away more than I’m home. I’ve been an orphan. I was five when Mom and Dad adopted me. I know what that loneliness feels like.”
“I’ll miss him, and so will Mrs. Hollingsworth,” the old man said, the sorrow in his eyes, heartbreaking. “When will you be back?”
“This time? A couple of days before Christmas. With a little luck, maybe your grandniece will agree to accompany me.” He smiled, hoping his grandfather would see his sincerity. “Mrs. Hollingsworth has enough to do watching her own children. Tommy will be in school most of the day and I’ve already looked into Daycare up there for him. I hope you’ll consider coming up to spend time with us, too.”
His grandfather laughed. Wouldn’t that be something? Another Kayne transplanted up north. I’m not saying I won’t think about it. I haven’t seen snow in years, but these old bones might prefer to wait until warmer weather.”
“It’ll be beautiful there in any season, you’ll see. Think about it. The house is a beautiful off-white, two-story one big enough for all of us to share. I saw pictures of it last winter. The back of the house faces the river and from the front, you can look out on Silver Mountain.”
“By all of us, exactly who do you mean?” his grandfather asked.
Bill’s cheeks heated. He’d seen a picture of the very attractive and delectable Ms. Kayne and looked forward to getting to know her—maybe even in the Biblical sense. After all, they weren’t blood relatives.
That’s it for this week. Don’t forget to check out all the other delicious stories coming your way today on Tuesday Tales.