It seemed that we had been riding for weeks but, in truth, it had only been 6 days. I had told Charles that I was not too happy about this trip to the Mountains, but , as usual, Charles wooed me into saying I would go with him.
The man has such charm, and no matter what we discussed he could just twist me around his little finger and I would find myself agreeing to almost anything because it would please him so much! And when Charles was pleased and happy ~ oh the joy he gave me! I loved him more than anything !
Over these many years I found that almost all of his family had this particular "charm" EXCEPT for the Mountain folks ~ gawd they were such an odd bunch.
I still had such bad memories from that visit all those many years ago when we first married. Charles had suggested we go to the Mount Washington area in NH for our honeymoon. He said he had family there that I would "just love" and as we were getting married in late September the scenic views and the glory of the land from the top of Mt. Washington would be something I would never , ever forget!
Well he was right about the beauty of the changing colors of the trees and the wonderful crisp, clean air (something we were not used to in CA). And he was right that I would never forget the climb to the top of Mount Washington BUT he sure was wrong about me "just loving" THAT family.
As we drove through the winding roads ,
(we had decided to take the full scenic view and not do much highway driving once we hit MA), I tried to enjoy the pleasure of Charles singing to me, the sweet touch of his hand holding mine, the giggling of Spencer and Cameron in the back seat. Oh how our children gave me joy. I had wanted to leave them home with their Memere ~ I didn't want to subject them to the oddities of these Mountain folk. But, again, Charles the Charmer, won again.
"I truly want Aunt Lucinda and Aunt Delvina and Uncle Philias to see our beautiful sons. My darling, you have have given me such gifts in these two boys, please, my love, allow me to share my joy with them."
And so there they were safely strapped in and having the time of their young lives playing their road games as we drove on.
Charles's cell phone rang and it was his Aunt Delvina asking how close we were to the Kangamangus Highway. He answered that we were probably an hour or so from it. He listened intently for a minute or so and replied "That sounds fine, I really don't enjoy driving on that winding road at night and we are getting tired".
He turned and told me that Aunt Delvina had made reservations at the Camping Ground on the Kangamangus. My face must have shown my shock! We had no camping gear...we weren't prepared to camp out! Charles laughed and said that I was just edgy ~ his Aunt had reserved a Log Cabin for us and he just laughed and laughed and said "Oh Marlie you slay me! Will you please let go of those memories!"
As we entered the long, dusty road into the Camp Ground, the sun was just setting and a small doe ran across the road! Spencer and Cameron were so excited to see it. I had to smile as they saw the red fox chasing the rabbit and the moose standing so regal by the side of the road.....oh how excited they were!
As we rounded the curve we saw the first row of Cabins and there THEY WERE!
My heart began to pound as they ran to the car. Suddenly the boys were scooped up into strangers arms and Uncle Philias was hugging me and telling me how happy they all were to have us back again and "this time, we won't let you leave!"
Oh my Gawd.............the overwhelming
~ Author Mayen ~
Overwhelming panic and dread set in as I watched both aunts, Delvina and Lucinda, seize Cameron and Spencer in their arms, spinning them in circles, their legs dangling outward from the centrifugal force, which made them squeal with laughter.
Uncle Philias' words, "...this time, we won't let you leave..." echoed in my mind as he hugged me, and I forced the appropriate smile to the Fuller Family Welcome Committee. I knew right then that I wasn't going to leave my 2 boys alone with this bunch of country hicks and there was no way we were going to visit Ellis Falls again, either.
After several years of married life, Charles Fuller knew me all too well, so he put his arm around my shoulders and gave me a tight, loving squeeze. "Relax Mar," he whispered softly into my ear, sending chills down my spine. "We'll have a fine visit, you'll see!"
I forced a smile and a nod, then looked over at the cabins, hoping that the 4 of us could soon get a good night's sleep before all "Hick-Hell" broke out in the next few days.
Memories of the Viewpoint Pet Cemetary came back to me and sent chills all over my body. In my private thoughts I vowed to myself that Cam and Spence would not be lured to those pet graves in those creepy woods, no matter what I had to do to prevent it.
I glanced around the campground and saw the familiar Fuller Impala wagon parked next to one of the cabins. "That old thing's still running?"
Uncle Philias suddenly grabbed me by the elbow and I jumped. "So, it's real nice to see ya' again, ya make Charlie here one very happy man."
"Oh, it's nice to be out this way again," I stuttered. "The trees are just beautiful this time of year." I forced a smile and hoped that Philias wouldn't notice the nervous twitch under my right eye.
Charles walked over to me and announced to all that we were going to get a good night's rest for tomorrow's 2 hour winding drive back up to Mt. Washington.
Aunt Lucinda pointed to the left and said, " We'll be right next door if y'all need anything, and lil Spence and Cam, we's all gonna have a real good time this week, y'all just wait and see!"
Uncle Philias jumped in, "Yeah, we got more things to show ya' this time, seein' as ya didn't stay long on ya's last visit up in these here parts. Maybe we'll finish what we started." He gave me a quick wink and my heart pounded in fear.
"Dang it all," I thought. "If I didn't love my Charles so much, I wouldn't even be setting foot in New Hampshire again."
I noticed the dusky western sky was now a beautiful peachy-purple. "Come on Spence and Cameron, help me get your bags out of the van." They ran right past me with excited smiles on their little faces, racing to the van in their usual competitive way.
As I turned and followed them, I thought of how nice it was to see the boys so happy and hoped they'd be like this forever. My mind raced as I thought back a few years and to the stories of Ellis Falls and, of course, what I saw at Viewpoint Pet Cemetary.
I don't even want to ever go back there, not ever, and once we make it up the mountain, I surely won't let my 2 boys out of my sight!
~ Author Mary ~
Graphics done exclusively for this story by The Shop Around The Corner