Author Topic: Story - Neighbours  (Read 9583 times)

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Offline Lake Lili

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Story - Neighbours
« on: February 20, 2014, 10:48:00 AM »
I grew up in Toronto in the late 1960s/1970s and while we never feared the Russians - they were too far away and they lost THE hockey game ('72, Paul Henderson my Hero!), but the Americans were there and big, and we grew up with this niggly fear that one day they would have had enough and come calling. One day they would want our water, our oil... and if climate change continued they'd want our wheat fields and our northern ports. The question was always would you accept them or try to fight them. It came up for discussion again during the Quebec Separatist Referendums.

 Both Canada and the US have changed hugely since those days. We are perhaps not quite so wholesale admiring of what the US has to offer but many of the blatantly socialist policies, combines with an "inclusion at all cost" mentality that we have taken on isn't universally popular either. So this is what might happen if we continue down some respective paths...


The old man walked slowly up the aisle and took a seat in front of the Congressional Committee.  He was old, very old, and arthritic, and walked with two canes.  Most had never seen a man so old. He was plainly dressed as were the two pretty young women, his great-granddaughters, who accompanied him.  His blue eyes were sharp and missed nothing.  He looked at the young whippersnappers, sleek and well stuffed into their fancy suites and considered going home.  ‘But no,’ he thought.  ‘We have come a long way and even if they won’t hear me, what happened will be on record.’ In a clear voice with its intriguing trace of a German accent, he began.
“My name is John McConnell.  I am one hundred and two years old and I am here to testify regarding what is now historically called “The Great Relocation”.  It happened the year I was twelve.  Now some might say that I am not the best person to testify but there are very few of us left who can and the record is important. My parents, Jan and Jones, were amongst the selected.  I am one of the Relocated.”
At his words, there was a gasp and then the room went silent. The members of the public, the historians with their pencils handy for revisions, the Congressmen, members of the military… they all sat silent.
“On the day it all began…” he started and then stopped.  He took a sip of water and then started again.

“The 401, in case you have never driven it, was the original highway to Hell.  The southern line of the Trans-Canada, it took you from Windsor to the Ontario-Quebec boarder, where it changed its numbering and continued on to the north-east through Montreal along the south shore of the St. Lawrence, past Levis and to points further east.  In the old days, when my mother was a child, there were big rivalries between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadians. Gas was cheap then, and bosses saw value in the camaraderie of days off, and the traffic flowed unceasingly.  But those days were long passed by the time I was twelve.  Days off had become few and far between as employers demanded and got 12-hour workdays and woe betide the slacker or one in need of a ‘mental-health day’. Not being a team player was a criminal offence and accepting a job was on par with a fly landing on a spider’s web, a version of the ancient 1960s song “Hotel California” where checking out and leaving were not possible.  Then again the cost of going to Montreal from Toronto was beyond what many could ever dream of affording, although I do remember advertising for cheap package trips to Florida.  So vacations were still theoretically an option.  In any event, the 401 had become a form of commuter hell, as carpooling vehicles vied with transport trucks.

From the time I was born, my mother and I travelled regularly to the Children’s Hospital in Toronto.  It was always an adventure for me – so many machines and things going on.  It was so different from our daily life, but the procedures were not always nice.  On the day our world changed forever, we were coming back from one of those trips…”

... if ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd, of what flock are ye?  - Alma 5:39

Remember to keep clear the line between sheep and sheeple!

Offline Lake Lili

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Re: Story - Neighbours
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2014, 10:50:25 AM »
Chapter One – Getting home…

Jan and her son, John, had been in their truck for about two hours.  Once upon a time it used to take only two hours to drive the one hundred miles from downtown Toronto to the 100-acre farm in the amalgamated City of Kawartha Lakes that her grandparents had moved to in the 1960s.  The old log house with its small bank barn and garage had become the center of her family’s world with each of her mother’s siblings having a trailer out back.  Grandchildren came and went but in the end only she had remained, although a couple of cousins still occasionally came and use the trailers in the back woods, and it had been a couple of years since any had been by.  In any event, the two-hour drive now took four hours on a good day and longer if there were accidents.

Today, they had been east bound on the 401 for two-hours and were just past Oshawa.  The old Lincoln Navigator was in great shape and relatively fuel efficient considering that it was a 1999 model.  While the screaming “look-officer-give-me-a-ticket” red had had her stopped before and accused of drawing attention to herself, its age and the wasteful cost of repainting or replacing it usually got her excused.  She hated driving in Toronto traffic, but at least the Navigator gave her the height to see over the traffic and move efficiently.  These monthly trips to the Hospital for Sick Children were winding up.  At twelve, her son was stable and they had finally identified the primary issues.  Daily she thanked whichever gods were listening that the issues were not communicable, progressive or degenerative, they just were.  She could live with that. They were lucky.  She was taking her son home.  So many parents never would. She had been living with the impact of John’s largely undiagnosed issues for years now and of course hehad never known any different.  Traffic was easing a bit as they got beyond Toronto but it would still be a problem until they had cleared the 115/35 exchange.  She looked in the rearview mirror and smiled at her son.  He smiled back. 

“Hey Mom, we’ve passed 22 Ford F-150s and 6 Ford F-250s since the Simcoe Street exit”, he said.

“Wow!”  She responded.  “How many dump trucks?”

“Eleven,” he said.

“How many transport trucks?” she asked thinking that there appeared to be fewer on the road today.

“Only twelve,” he said, “You now Mom, there should have been more.  There should have been lots more.  Then again there have also been six fighter jets.  They were F-18s.  Do you think that’s why there are no transport trucks?”

Ever since they had seen a YouTube documentary on the US and British militaries, John had been talking about fighter jets and helicopters.  Once Canada had had a proud military tradition but the outcry over harm done by the military in the countries of birth of New Canadians had resulted in the members of the armed forces being convicted of crimes against humanity and sent to tar sands ecology reclamation camps in Alberta.  One of those convicted was her cousin, Gordon.  He was still there according to the annual publication of the interned and she sent letters and parcels to him through the Red Cross.

“Really…” she said.  “And how many helicopters?  Which country?” She smiled at his imagination. 

“American,” came the fast response.  “The helicopters are the OH-58 Kiowa.  You know the one that see over hills.  There is one.”

“Okay John!  Enough stories…” but she looked quickly to her left and saw the round viewfinder looking over the cliff on the Lake Ontario side of the 401.  “Oh shit,” she thought.

She darted across three lanes of traffic and took the next exit off the 401. Her brain was having difficulty computing but the one thing she knew was that her son always knew which vehicles he was talking about.  If he said it was an Impala, it was.  If he said it was a Kenmore with a Durabody or a Great Dane box, it was.  If he said it was a SeaKing or a Warthog it was. His brain catalogued very precisely when it came to vehicles and military hardware.  His memory on these was edict. 

“But what was going on…” she wondered.  She had known for some time that the relations between Canada and the US had been deteriorating at warp speed.  The social... okay gloves off and admit it… way beyond socialist… policies of successive Federal and Provincial governments had resulted in a system by which every individual minority and minority group had more rights that the whole and the whole had become so cowed that they no longer did anything other than go to work and go home.  Often even that was not enough to keep them out of trouble.  There was a custodial lawsuit going on where an obviously Anglo woman out buying groceries was being sued by another shopper for failing to include enough “ethnic” food items in her shopping cart and there-by failing to teach her children properly.  The Main Stream Media (MSM) was fully behind the accuser and it looked like the poor woman would lose her children all for stopping at a DaisyMart and picking up K-D and hotdogs. 

Again, she thanks the gods that her son was deemed “too impaired” to attend the local school and that the government had decided that it was cheaper for her to stay home and educate him than it was to pay for a teacher’s aide.  The pittance that she received was, even by their case-worker’s admission, pitifully small. So with the doctor’s sign-off, the case-worker had given her permission to have a vegetable garden and six chickens.  These were normally illegal, as it would take employment away from approved farmers.  Twice a month, they were visited by the case-worker.  For these intrusive visits, she tried to always have a small bit of fresh veg to offer as a “thank you” for the case-worker’s “care and attention”.  She would then have to show the case-worker the approved school work her son had done.  She made sure that only the approved school books were on view and that the binders with his schoolwork were easily accessible.  She ensured that the workbooks reflected that he was working at the expected level on all but two topics.  In one he showed that he excelled and the other that he was struggling.  He wasn’t actually struggling with much of anything.  There was no cognitive impairment.  He only needed to hear it or see it once to remember, but the case workers needed to be able to show improvement and prove impairment at the same time…

As she cleared the highway and headed north, she started driving all the back roads.   The radio chimed 4:00pm and behind her, she could hear explosions.  The rearview mirror showed columns of smoke rising.  So far they were staying along the 401, but she wanted to get as close to home as possible before the Americans began to move north off the highway.  She had some friends who quietly prayed that the Americans would liberate them from this mess so that they could join the Republic.  She knew of others who had drunk the Kool-Aid and who hoped that the American Democrats would join them.  She figured that she was somewhere in the middle.  She had hoped that the Canadians could figure out how to extricate themselves from the mess, and keep their own country but this attitude of entitlement fostered by nanny-state socialism was so ingrained that she had no idea how it could be accomplished.  In some ways, she wished they could move somewhere else but emigrating with a child was now illegal as it would deprive the community of that child’s future productivity.

They swung by the Agri-Services store in Fenelon Falls.  Young Mary put her finger to her lips as Jan walked up to the counter. Jan nodded and then ran her hand along under the counter.  She stopped and looked at Mary.  At the woman’s nod, Jan pried the small circular listening device off the counter and ground it to dust under her boot.

“Thanks!” said Mary, relief evident in her face.  Jan just nodded.

A brief chat with 17-year old Mary indicated that the news of what was happening south of them had not yet broken. Jan didn’t enlighten her. But she looked through the freezers and picked up 20-lbs extra stewing beef and a case of 40 chicken thighs (bone out, skin off).  She also grabbed the last four bags each of frozen corn and peas.  There were also two bags of horse carrots and a 50-lb bag of potatoes.  She took them all.   

“Any seed left from last year?” Jan asked.

“Still have sixty pounds of that bicolour Sweet Peaches & Cream corn (Zea mays var ruosa).  I know you don’t like that hybrid but the seed is not treated… So while I can’t officially sell it as human or cattle feed, it is safe for both.  We also have 200-lbs of hard red winter wheat you ordered. Again, not treated.  Had to be careful though as that nosey Mr. Wallis was in wanting to look at the books again... I sure hope the next Agricultural Inspector we get isn’t such a stickler. 

“I hear Hayden Scott is going to run for the office in the next election,” said Jan.

“Oh!” said Mary.  “He’s is plumb full of ideas and most of them sensible.  Comes from having a preacher for a grandfather… You know they took him in after those missionary parents of his were executed after that big show trial – you remember the one where they were convicted of trying to convert the heathen Muslims in one of the ‘Stans... still can’t believe that the Canadian government wouldn’t send them consular aid because they were charged with a religious crime.  Went to school with Hayden... You should talk to him before the next election.

“Anyways, I had the guys load your trailer after Old Man Wallis left.”  Mary stopped talking long enough to take a breath. It was like the listening device had put a cork in her and its destruction had freed her to speak.

“I’ll take the hybrid corn seed and an extra bag of corn feed for the cows and chicken feed,” said Jan. 

“You need more canning supplies?” asked Mary.  “We just got in 200 pint jars still in flats.  Mrs. Andres put in an order for 50 jars and is now refusing to come pay for them.  Her neighbour told her that she’d heard that next year canning will be considered hording.  I can give them to you at cost.  If you can do cash, we’ll mark them as broken, but if you pay any other way we have to record who bought them.”

Jan smiled.  “Thanks Mary.  I’ll take all of those too!  Now that had best be the end of it.  Do I still get the discount if I pay cash.”

“Absolutely.  But we’ve been told by Wallis this is the last month we are allowed to take cash.  After the 1st of November all purchases must be by card so that they can track who is buying what.  I’ll have the guys put it in the truck. ”

“In that case, I’ll take all the flats.  Also wanted to get some more hay.  Do you know anyone selling square bales?”

Mary hummed and finally told her that the Yodders on 9th Line might still have some and that she should ask their boy, Jonas, who was working at Handley’s Lumber.  Mary blushed.

“Have a thing for young Jonas?” smiled Jan.

Mary nodded.  “We’ve been walking out together and I have been twice out to meet his parents and he to meet my mother. They are real nice about my not being Amish and are teaching me how to run a house their way.  I go to visit his aunt twice a week and help.  Did I tell you that my mother has moved down to Toronto to live with my sister?  She sold our farm to some city people who want to go ‘back to the land’.  They take over December 1st.  The Yodders have stored my trunk and my suitcase and I’m renting a room over Peter’s Hair Salon. Jonas and I are planning to marry in the spring.”

Looking at the happy, fresh faced, pretty brunette, Jan could only wish her well and hope that both Spring and Jonas would still be in the cards for her.

The boys at the back of the Co-op hooked up the trailer Jan had dropped in it that morning to get the animal feed, the salt blocks and the chicken feed. They added then new feed and the bags of seed and Jan’s other purchases. 

While she had enough hay from the second and third cuttings from the 4 horses and the ten head of cattle, she still stopped in at Handley’s to speak with Jonas Yodder.  Fresh-faced and personable, she could see why Mary liked him.  Bad boys might be fun but they were a bad bet for the long term.

She had also made arrangements through Jonas for the two steers to be collected and taken to his uncle, the Amish butcher, at the end of the week.  Once canned, the meat from the steers would feed them for the next year.  The cattle had been her grandparents, so the herd was permitted, even though they were not provincially sanctioned farmers.  However a cow that died could not be replaced, so she took very good care of her animals.  Her vet and feed files were immaculate – no way was PETA ever going to say that she mismanaged her livestock.  She had had the six cows (five angus and one short-horned milking cow) artificially inseminated back in May so that with the approximate gestational period of 283 day, her heifers would be calving in March.  That way she would not just have fresh beef next year but would also have milk. 

All in all, she and her son were lucky.  She had inherited the two-bedroom house on the farm out in the back roads of Victoria County, now the City of Kawartha Lakes.  The house was a small, two story log house with a kitchen L and bathroom, a living/dining room, two bedrooms above, and a basement rec room and laundry room below. Because there were two of them, and her child of a different sex, she was not required to house anyone else.  If the house had had three bedrooms, and luckily not even the Province thought that the storage attic above the kitchen qualified as a bedroom, she would have been required to “volunteer” to house and feed one of the community’s unfortunate.   The economy had made it impossible for most to be able to afford nursing homes, so the Province had determined that it was the community’s responsibility and “volunteering” was required.  It had happened to a friend and she was now treated like a servant in her own home, running all day for two elderly women who made her life a living hell and reported her for every perceived fault. Jan grinned.  ‘Perhaps’, she thought, ‘with the Americans coming, some changes might be occurring in that household.’
Her house had a detached one car garage with a side workshop, full of her grandfather’s hand tools and stacks of planks for projects he had not lived to complete. Once a month she would go in there and check them all, oiling and sharpening as necessary.  She didn’t know how to use them but in their own right she thought they were beautiful. Someday John would learn to use them

Also in the farm yard was a small bank barn.  In the lower level were the sheep pens and the box stalls for the horses.  Upstairs was for hay and a threshing floor.  Further along was the drive shed which housed the ancient horse-drawn farm implements her grandfather had collected and used, a tractor shed, a chicken coop with an attached small green house, a fruit storage house, a root storage house, and ice house and a smoke house. Tucked in below the hill was the old log barn that they used for the cattle.

The yard had always had a one-acre garden, but with her permit she had expanded it to two acres.  It wasn’t as big as the Amish kitchen gardens but she grew only what they would eat and enough to store for the year.  If the government decided that canning was hording, she wasn’t sure what she’d do as the stipend she received would never feed them.  This year she had planted a half acre of potatoes…  They stored well and John would always eat them. Last year she had planted 50 potato plants and ended up with 200 cwt.  It was still holding them when she had harvested this year’s crop.  She had bettered last year’s by almost a hundredweight this year. The other half acre was in onions.  She started them in the green house in February so that they were big by the time they went into the ground.

She also planted bush beans, pole beans, sugar snap peas, English peas, and a host of different beans that she dried for soups and chilies.  She had planted rows of cucumbers for both fresh and pickling, same with cabbage for fresh, boiled and kraut.  There were field tomatoes for fresh and Roma tomatoes for sauce.  John had his own little garden filled with cherry tomatoes and in early September he would graze through there, delighted that he had grown them and kept them safe from bugs.  She had planted celery but for some reason it was always iffy.  She was challenged by carrots as the rabbits loved them as much as John did and between the two it was hard to get enough to store.  Two years ago she had fenced the garden and that helped with the rabbits if not with John.

In the green house, she grew things like peppers that needed more heat. She also grew most of her herbs there.

She had a wonderful asparagus bed and it grew wild all over the farm.  Through most of July and into August, John would take walks with his pen knife and come home with a bag full.  There were also several beds of rhubarb.

She had been permitted to keep the orchard as it contained only non-commercial varieties and all the trees were older than fifteen years. There were ten apple trees –  two each of cox pippin (eating, zone 5b), Cortland (eating/cooking/storing, late, zone 4), wealthy (eating/cooking, midseason, zone 4) and wolf river (baking, late, zone 3).  The other two trees were very old and her favourites.  She figured they were planted when the farm was first settled in the 1830s.  They were a 300-year old Quebec variety, the Snow Apple (fresh, midseason, zone 4). She was going to have to graft some new ones this year as they really were getting to the top end of their prime. There were also two Bing cherries. She had planted a number of hickory, northern pecan, and butternut trees.  She also had planted swamp oak which, with a lot of work, produced a low tannin, sweet acorn that made delicious flour.  John loved to collect the acorns and would spend hours cracking them. She smiled, ‘Ah… the sweet joys of child labour.’ She also had four Blue Jay bush blue berries, a couple bushes of red currants, black berries and an old crab apple, which made bar none the best homemade pectin. She also had beds of strawberries and with the raspberries between the fences and the wild blue berries out by the swamp.

They grew enough corn for them to have fresh eating and for freezing, but bought the dent corn that was used for grinding for meal.  Some years Jan grew some cow corn for feed but really tried not to feed the cattle more that they got grazing with the occasional grain supplement for a treat. Otherwise they grew hay in the fields.  The soil was really poor with a lot of erratics, so the first job before planting was to pick the rocks.  In every field there was a central mound of them.

The fence-lines, which ran all the way around the property, except where it opened onto the waterway in the Swamp Field, were all swamp cedar on either side of a double 8-foot tall chain link fence and a three gate system had been put across the drive by her grandparents.  She was lucky in that.  If it had not been put in the 1960s, she would not have been able to have the gates.  They were ornate and spikey and made by an iron monger who went on to make a name for himself in artistic circles. So although gates were now deemed anti-social, because of their age and beauty, her gates were deemed historical.  Her grandfather had put jagged boulders and raspberry canes between the fences. Her grandfather had also used concertina wire for the cane to grow over and for more than sixty years it had tangled together. The moss made the boulders slippery and the canes and wire made the landing unpleasant. When she had been little and her grandfather had read stories to her, he had always described the brambles around Sleeping Beauty’s castle as being like their fence and cane system.

A quarter of the farm’s acreage was made up of two wood lots – one was a fifteen acre of mixed woodlot, heavy with sugar maples, from which they collected 50 gallons of maple syrup a year.  The other ten acre mixed wood lot was managed to give them all the wood needed to heat their home.  When she had moved to the farm in the late-1990s, she had taken a course in wood lot and sugarbush management.  It had been a good thing as Lord knew that the stipend they received would only pay for enough propane for the stove and none for heat.

When Jan and John finally got home, they unloaded the feed into the zinc-lined room in the barn.  At least once a year she cut herself on the metal and it took forever to heal, but it was fantastic for pest management.  John was a great helper and now that he was bigger, she really appreciated it.  They poured the feed into the metal garbage bins and put the lids on.  John then went and checked the water levels in the troughs for the chickens and cows. He then took the paper wrappers from the feed bags and ripped them into lengths and braided them for fire starters.  They were stored in the spill jar at the back of the wood stove.

Pausing in their chores, far away to the south west, Jan and John could see the columns of smoke rising.  Jan put the truck away in the garage – normally she left it out, but with all that was happening, under cover was best.  For some reason, Cable Cable was still operating and she was able to get the American television stations.  There was nothing on their news about the activities occurring north of the border, but that was no real surprise as their MSM rarely acknowledged that Canada even existed.  The Canadian news stations were all off the air.  The news blackout didn’t matter much in the end the Canadian media was unlikely to have admitted what was happening anyways. However a benefit to being hit by the Americans, she thought was that they were unlikely to take out the nuclear reactors…. 

Jan loved her kitchen with its big wood stove and the water pump at the kitchen sink.  It had been there when her grandparents had bought the farm, and they had found it useful in the winter when the power went out for days at a time.  Being north of the swamp, and right on the township line, meant that you were considered to be so far into the back woods that you came at the end of the line for all services, including repairs. That was why the fridge and freezer were propane.  And while they were technically still tied to Hydro, they used very little power – it was just too expensive.  Most of the time Jan just had it turned off at the breaker so that they wouldn’t make the mistake of running up a bill.

The long harvest table had been in the kitchen when her grandparents bought it and was too large to remove. Dismantling it was out of the question as it was the center of family memories – Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, baking lessons, quilting bees and homework done under her grandfather’s supervision.  On it were the usual piles of assortment of mail, John’s Lego projects, some mending, a schlocky paperback, her garden calendar and a couple of pre-WWI cookbooks. It was surrounded by an assortment of kitchen chairs all painted a unifying moss green. The oversized ancient Lazyboy armchair beside the stove was John’s favourite winter perch.  Ugly as sin and the most comfortable place in the world to curl up in, he headed there now to decompress.  There was too much going on for him sort out.

Jan lugged several flats of canning jars and lids down to the basement.  She slid the washing machine to one side. Behind it was a small door that led to a large room that lay six feet under the yard.  Her grandfather had built it as a bomb shelter, but it was now John’s hidey hole and her storage space. Officially her grandfather had been stabilizing the dry stone wall cellar with concrete block and cement.  So as far as the Planning Department knew that was all the work that had been done.  Later he had expanded the shelter so that it was 30’x40’. Decorated as a living space with a series of storage rooms, Jan used it to hide the canned produce of their garden, the rest of the books she had inherited and those items that were now deemed “dangerous to society” - the guns she had inherited, along with the the family bible and their library…  These were the books she really used to teach her son, with the ones in John’s bedroom being for show.   John loved their Hidey-Hole, the cozy, quiet space enabled him to center himself and focus better. 

Jan was trying to get the TV to give her more news options, when she jumped at the sound of banging on her front door. ‘Drat!’ she thought. ‘Forgot to close the gate.’
... if ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd, of what flock are ye?  - Alma 5:39

Remember to keep clear the line between sheep and sheeple!

Offline Lake Lili

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Re: Story - Neighbours
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2014, 11:13:04 AM »
More chapters to come...

I hope that you will add comments and thoughts but most of all enjoy the story.

Comments please in the Authors Comment Section,
this section is only for the Author to post the story, so if you take the time to read the story, please take a moment and leave a comment for the Authors, it really helps them out. It also makes them feel good to know that there are others of like mind, people reading and of course that someone likes their work!
edited to add in above only. wild_E
« Last Edit: February 20, 2014, 12:47:54 PM by wild_E »
... if ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd, of what flock are ye?  - Alma 5:39

Remember to keep clear the line between sheep and sheeple!

Offline Lake Lili

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Re: Story - Neighbours
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2014, 08:04:01 AM »
Chapter 2 – The McDonalds…

“We had these neighbours across the road,” John told the Committee.  “Their son David died only a few years ago.  He was also Relocated… His mother was… well she was something else.”  The Committee smile politely.  “She was sort of vague and fluttery and spoke in a whispery baby voice.  She drove my mother nuts, but I recall her saying that Mrs. McDonald was extremely good at getting what she wanted from men regardless of the consequences to those around her.


“Gillian!” she exclaimed at her harried and panic looking neighbour.  “What is wrong?” Her mind added ‘this time’ to the inquiry.

“Oh Jan!” she wailed.  “It’s the kids.  The school just called and advised that for the duration of the emergency the kids will remain safely at school.  I can’t reach Andrew.  I can’t even try to go get them… you know how I hate driving… the distance…”

‘Can’t be bothered to drive… or cope… or make a decision,’ thought Jan, who schooled herself.

“Take a deep breath…” she said.  “What emergency?”

“I don’t know… TV and radio aren’t saying anything…” Gillian replied.  “My kids… how am I going to get them…”

“Can we take your truck?” Jan asked.

“Well…” said Gillian, uncertain that she wanted to have to use the gas in her vehicle if she could get Jan to use hers.

Jan could think of thirty reasons why she didn’t want to do this and knew that she still would.  The biggest issue was that the trip was 45-minutes back towards where the bombing was happening, but the trade-off was that she still be able to get some supplies.  She also knew that she would not take John on the off chance that the authorities might try to take him too.   Looking at Gillian, she said:

“Get in your truck.  Give me five minutes and I’ll drive you into town.”

Very quickly, she told John to drop into the hidey hole and to stay until she came back. She told him that she would lock the gates. He could watch a movie but he was not to come out for anyone other than her.  She kissed the top of his head and laughed as he said “Ah… Mom!”

She thought about how she was going to get Gillian’s kids out of that school… She wondered about how she was going to do the shopping without Gillian the Gossip watching her like a hawk…

“Gillian”, she asked as she climbed into Gillian’s truck.  “Am I still on the designated pick-up list?”

Gillian nodded. 

“I am thinking that I had best go get the kids,” Jan continued.  “If I claim that you are sick and that you are concerned that they might be contagious, that should get them out.  But for that to work, I am going to need to take your truck. You need to go home and take some meds and play sick like you have the flu.  Call your own doctor and request a visit.  They won’t send anyone but it will be on record and because the school may send its own doctor.”

Gillian nodded happily at having got out of having to do it herself and Jan dropped her off at her door.  Mentally, Jan berated herself but knew that she would not have willingly left John at the school either.  From Gillian’s console, Jan pulled out Gillian’s sunglasses and headscarf.  Similar in height and weight but differing in style, Jan tarted herself up and undid a few buttons.  Up close, someone who knew her could tell that she was not Gillian but at a distance the charade might work.  At the bottom of the bucket between the front seats was Gillian’s wallet.  Jan pulled out Gillian’s license and tucked it in her own purse.

There was almost no traffic going into town.  Fenelon was almost deserted.  Ironically, only the cars lined up at Jardine’s Funeral Home indicated any life.  Traffic was very light as Jan drove south on Hwy 121 before turning south onto Hwy 35.  Almost every vehicle was official - either a police or city.  Even though traffic was supposed to slow going through the village of Cameron, nobody slowed today.  As she came into town on Hwy 35, there were police guarding the Lindsay airport.  Kent Street still had cars moving and traffic appeared normal although the Service Ontario building and the Court House were blocked off.  She turned down Angeline.  Standing guard duty outside the Leslie Frost Public School was a very large policeman in riot gear.
“Good afternoon officer” said Jan politely, keeping her hands where they could be seen.

“Get out of here lady,” he said dead faced.

“Can’t do that officer.  I am here to collect two children whose mother has the flu.  There is concern that it may be the contagious one that we have all been trying to avoid.  For the safety of the community, those children must be removed,” stated Jan.

She could tell that the officer wanted to order her away but playing to community safety with the flu was a guarantee.  The previous winter more than 12,000 had sickened and close to 2,500 people had died of H9N7 in Lindsay alone and it only had 20,000 people to begin with!  The burial trenches had filled the field across from the airport, behind the Walmart.  He lifted his walkie-talkie and spoke into it.  He waved Jan through to the front door.  She then picked up the mask she always carried in her purse and put it on.

Jan was met at the front door by the school secretary, a stout aged dragon who knew that salvation came through unionization and collectivism.  She firmly believed in the government’s goal of cooperation through parental coercion.  The parents would do as they were told and the children would be safely protected from the terrors and disappointments of individualism.  The plans were finally being implemented and now here was this woman mucking things up.  The dragon crossed her arms and barred the door.  Jan was not intimidated.

“I am here to collect David and Grace McDonald.” Jan advised her from behind her mask.  “Please have them collect all their belongings. Their mother has the flu and the whole family will need to be tested for H9N7.”

The dragon recoiled.  The last thing she needed was sickness of the lethal variety in her school.  She would never move up if a child died in her care.  The sacrifice of two for the collective safety… for the safety of her own career… was necessary.  Jan showed Gillian’s identification.  David and Grace were unceremoniously routed from their classrooms and delivered to the woman.  All three were then hustled out the door.  The dragon ordered that their classrooms be sanitized and any remaining belongings be tossed in the incinerator.  Later the dragon could not remember the woman’s name.  In the scheme of unfolding events it didn’t matter to her, so she looked at the CCTV and wrote down the make and license plate number of the truck.  It matched the mother, so she wrote down “Collected by mother” and closed the book.

David and Grace were annoyed.  With matching sullen expressions, they sat leaden in the backseat of their mother’s truck.  “Everyone is going to have a party and sleep over at school” they whined.  “Why are you collecting us?

Jan looked in the rearview mirror and thought how much like Gillian they were.  Pity they weren’t more like their father, Andrew.  Jan contemplated her reply and decided that a dose of reality would do them some good.

“The 401 is being bombed by the Americans.  The schools have decided that they will not allow the children to go home, even if a parent is there.  Your mother is terrified and wants you home, so I figured out a way for you to get there.”

David thought about this.  “You mean”, he said slowly, “That even if Mom had come that the school would not have lets us go?  That crazy!  You are crazy.  Take us back.  Now!” His voice rose as he issued his commands.  The self-satisfied look on his face made Jan want to smack him.

Jan pull over.  She turned around in her seat and said in a very quiet, very serious tone. “David.  You will be quiet now.  You will behave.  Even if you do not believe me, call your mother.  I need your help for the next half hour while I make a few pick-ups and then you will be delivered to your front door.”

Grace was looking mulish, like she was about to talk back.  But David took the wired-in car phone and called his mother. “Mommy!” he whined.  Within seconds, his astonished eyes found Jan and he nodded and hung up.  He took Grace’s hand in his own and squeezed hard.  Grace looked at him.

“They’ve bombed Toronto.”

“Well that would account for that cloud…” replied Jan, pointing down the length of Kent Street and off to the south west was a huge rising cloud.  The children looked scared. “Okay now buck-up, we have only a short window here, so let’s get moving.”

Jan headed up past Ross Memorial Hospital for the nearest grocery store.  With the kids help, she raced through National Grocers buying as much as she could in bulk – 22kg bags of flour, oatmeal, and sugar; buckets of lard and bricks of butter; jugs of vinegar, cooking oil, soya sauce, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, cleaning supplies; large containers of spices, chocolate, yeast, boxes of salt, baking powder and soda, powdered milk, toilet paper, bulk cereal, medical supplies, dental supplies, feminine hygiene, cheese cloth, tinned meats and fruit, bouillon cubes... The biggest buy though were canning jars and lids. She seriously stressed her cash supply. Normally she would have used a credit card for groceries but she didn’t want to leave a trace in the system to link her to the food or to Lindsay.  The parking lot was crazy as they were leaving. People were starting to line-up to get in. Several watched her closely as she loaded up, but the clerk at her side kept them back.  ‘The joy of Canada,’ she thought, ‘is that at this point, no one is armed.’ With the truck loaded, she pulled a tarp over the contents. 

She raced over to the Shoppers Drug Mart on Kent. Telling the kids to sit on the floor boards she left them in the car at the back of the parking lot. She ran in as they were locking the doors.  She cleared the rack of bottles of one-a-day vitamins, cold medications, tampax and bleach.  She also took all the  medicated ointments – Polysporin and Preparation-H; Bactine and rubbing alcohol, calamine lotion, antifungal powders and her most beloved favourite, Tylenol Sinus. She spoke quietly to the physician and got a nine-month supply of John’s medications – all they had. As Jan dashed towards the Pharmacy counter, she grabbed 3 chocolate bars.  The pharmacist, her old friend Ali Patel, added a few more items to the bags as he handed it to Jan.

“Jan, the hordes are coming.  They will have as many hands as Shiva.  If the horde does not come first the government will.  Soon there will be nothing left here.  What I give you will not come again.  I have looked for something that will match John’s medications when they are gone.  I have put them in the bag with the proper dosage.  Here is another bag with antibiotic medications.  You will know how to use sparingly.” Ali bagged the rest of her purchases and stapled a receipt to the top of the bag.  “Go now.”

“Thanks for all you help Ali.  Do not lose your life for this.  Your knowledge is not replaceable, this may be.”

In his kindness, Ali did not charge her.  She moved quickly out of the store.  A clerk glancing over saw the receipt stapled to the top and waved her through.  Back at the truck, the kids smiled and they all filled themselves with chocolaty comfort.  As they left, the police were moving in to block off access to the pharmacy.

She was going to stop at the Bulk Barn in the Whitney Mall to see if she could get the tortellini that John loved but the line-up at the beer store next door made it unwise.  She did go to the Tractor Supply Company (TSC) and picked up propane, caning supplies and more chicken feed.  The owner, Scot Saville, loaned her one of his rental trailers.

“This place will be gone by tomorrow,” he told her.  “The Province has already advised me that they will be closing me for the duration and that my records will be reviewed to see if I will be permitted to reopen. I don’t expect that I will be able to reopen. Howard Turlingot, the Major’s brother has been trying to buy me out for years.  I expect he’ll own all of this after the emergency.  So what else can I get you?  I’ve turned off the cameras so that everyone can shop safely.”

Jan took all the locally bagged hard red wheat berries and any untreated corn.  She also took batteries, seed packets, spices, onion sets and seed potatoes, a Daisy Red Rider BB gun for John and shot for it.  She went to the clothing section and got winter clothes for them all, including the McDonald kids.  She figured she’d store it at her place and give it to Gillian later.  With the loaner trailer loaded, she got the kids back into the truck.

She saw several other farmers she knew and they spoke quietly.  Offering protection for each other’s families and livestock, they settled the agreement with a handshake.  Scott came out and spoke with Jan as she prepared to leave.

“I expect that they’ll come for my farm too.  Can I move the best stock over to your place?”

“Of course,” Jan told.  “Remember we have the back trailers if you need to come with your family.  If you have possessions you don’t want tossed about you can store them there too.”

“Appreciated,” Scott replied.

“Don’t be silly that’s what neighbours are for,” said Jan.  “To support and protect each other.”

They joined the stream of traffic heading out of town on Hwy 35. There was nothing but static on the radio, and to the south west the plumes of smoke grew taller.  Jan put on a CD of the local Wright Family Singers and she got the kids singing the music they knew from Community Service.  As quickly as she could, Jan got off Hwy 35 and took to the back roads.  It was a bit of a longer drive but for the most part she was able to keep off the main roads.  There was no choice about going through Fenelon Falls.  There was only one bridge but luckily traffic was moving. 

“Thank which ever god is listening that this is happening after Thanksgiving,” thought Jan.  “If it had happened when the cottagers were all in town, it would have been a zoo here!”

Known as the Jewel of the Kawarthas, Fenelon Falls had a year round population of about 1,800 and supported the wider farming community of an additional 1,500 people.  One of the five villages and one city in the former County of Victoria that were forcibly amalgamated by the Conservative government in 2001.  A disaster that the Province was unwilling to permit undone, the City of Kawartha Lakes lumbered about politically, unable to meet the needs of its constituents, more than half of whom were cottagers and not full-time residents.  Fenelon Falls with its single two lane bridge that ground the community to a halt for six months a year was a perfect example of the failure of political will.

Jan pulled into Gillian’s drive in time to see the doctor getting out of his truck.  Dr. Pecher was her doctor too.  He had been very helpful in the past.  The kids did not acknowledge him as they went racing into the house. Jan stopped him before he followed them in.

“Hi Dr. P.”, she smiled at him.  He was about eighty but that didn’t mean the Province was going to allow him to retire.  Every citizen must contribute for the collective good.  “Gillian was feeling very unwell, so when the school called to say that they were going to keep all the children at the school until the emergency was over, we were concerned that they might also be contagious.”

“Hrumph…” muttered the doctor.  “Going to keep the children? Hmmm… not good that… forces people to do all sorts of things… smart of Gillian to be so sick… she’s not usually so forward thinking… must see that she gets well slowly… perhaps one of the kids will be sick too… hmmmm.”  He looked at Jan.  His eyes sharp and clear.  “You go home now young lady, lock those gates and keep your head down.”

“You come to us if you need to,” Jan said quietly.

“This is my home and my world. I will look after my people,” he said.  “I aim to stay.”

“If you have no choice.  Please come to us,” said Jan patting his arm. 

He smiled at her.  “You’re a good one girlie.  Now get and take care of that boy.  We’ll have need of his steadiness one day.”
... if ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd, of what flock are ye?  - Alma 5:39

Remember to keep clear the line between sheep and sheeple!

Offline Lake Lili

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Re: Story - Neighbours
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2014, 05:53:48 AM »
Chapter 3 – The Police Chief…

“The invasion has been historically referred to as a Police Action to Correct Deviation from the Constitution, but make no bones about it, it was an invasion,” John told the Committee. Several members of the Military looked at each other and grimaced.  The historians and press wrote furiously.

“At that time, in Ontario, Police Action meant something completely different.  Today it would be known as Selective Attrition.  You never knew what could get you on the hit list and it could be quite personal, innocuous and local or it could be the result of a policy change at a Federal level. Didn’t matter, it still got you dead.”

Jan headed home and grabbed her truck. It might have been easier to take Gillian’s truck but she didn’t want any record of Gillian’s vehicle on her property. She drove back to Gillian’s and removed all her groceries and re-hitched the trailer to her own vehicle.  There was no one about, so she shook out the scarf to make sure none of her hair was caught in it and popped it back in the console.  Then she wiped down the truck – steering wheel, doors, handles, knobs, dials, seat belt, seat, Gillian’s license, the sun glasses, the CD and player, the keys and then tucked the keys under the mat.  With her elbow she closed the door and drove home.  Not a perfect cover, but hopefully enough to put question to anything Gillian might say.  She had no doubt that no one existed of any importance in Gillian’s world except Gillian, and if it suited her she would cheerfully feed her own children to the lions.

She parked near the back door, unlocked the door and ran downstairs to check on John.  He was happily still watching a film.  Completely absorbed and zoned out, John watched Star Wars Episode IV for the umpteenth time.  Despite being exhausted, Jan unloaded the truck and moved most of it into the hidey-hole and put the rest in the metal bins in the pantry and in the feed room in the barn.

She desperately wanted to know what was going on.  John was watching their only TV, so she turned on the radio.  There was nothing on CBC.  The ham radio operators (hams) though were talking a mile a minute.  Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax, St John’s, Quebec City, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Vancouver, and Victoria all bombed.  A lot of secondary cities too, places like Peterborough, Barrie and Trois Rivieres, Kelowna, Moncton…  She noted that nothing in Alberta had been bombed… hmmm… access to the tar sands and oil fields….  She also noted that although the 401 had been bombed from Oshawa to Oakville, the 407 was intact from Burlington to the 115/35 and the railroads and shipping had been left alone.  Minimal interruption to commerce seems to have been the goal. So while cities were bombed, the rail yards and lines, and the ports at Vancouver, Prince Rupert, Winnipeg, Toronto, Hamilton, Thunder Bay, Sault Ste Marie, Montreal, Quebec City and Halifax were untouched while the cities themselves burned.  But what was the point… but what was the trigger?  She wished there was someone to talk to… perhaps if Jones… perhaps if Andrew McDonald got home soon…

Quietly Jan made dinner... nothing fancy… fresh veg from the garden, some shredded chicken and rice.  It was one of John’s favourite meals and when everything around him was stressful, it was important to keep other aspects of his life as even as possible.  They played a game of battleships after dinner and then John went to bed.  Jan went back to chopping carrots and putting them into the Excalibur dehydrator and listening to the hams. With the dehydrator full and running, Jan also began to cold pack the chicken thighs into the new pint jars and put the first load of stewing beef into the crock pot.  The hams noted that people were being picked up, but it didn’t sound right.  The people that were being picked up were family members of people in key positions... it clicked… just like the schools… hostages.  Someone was ensuring that everyone would cooperate, but with whom?

Jan moved quietly around the house, pulling the black-out drapes. It was not quite 8pm but it was getting dark so much earlier.  The heavy, floor to ceiling curtains had been hung by her grandparents.  They cut all visible light and drafts.  In addition to the blackout lining, there was also a layer of Kevlar.  Jan’s grandfather had been intrigued by the materials possibilities and had acquired several bolts from the manufacturer when it first became commercially available.  The curtains were his way of stopping bullets, although the pane of plexiglass sandwiched between the panes of ½-inch regular glass helped.  The years had caused the plexiglass to yellow slightly but it made for a warm light.

She banked the fire in the wood stove and pouring a cup of tea, then sat at the kitchen table with her notebook.  Mostly she was doodling but she was trying to figure out what was going on.  Her thoughts were a whirl and the radio talking quietly in the corner was not helping.  As new bits of information came through, she wrote them down. 

There was a hard pounding on her front door. ‘Oh heck!’ she though. ‘Forgot to lock the gate... again! Should have learned last time.’ She slid her note book into the table and went to the door. 

“Who is it?” she called out.

“Police!  Open up!”

Jan opened the door and she was pushed to one side as a half-dozen armed men from the tactical squad stormed in.  They checked each room.  Jan heard John scream and she went to get him and was held back by a rifle barrel.  John was dragged into the room and pushed into Jan’s arms.  Jan held the sobbing boy in her arms.

“Papers” demanded one of the officers.

“Top drawer of front hall table,” said Jan as she tried to calm John. His issues made him not respond well to situations like that.

“Shut the kid up” ordered the Police Chief getting right into John’s space, further scaring the child.

“Special needs kid,” said Jan.  “See papers.”

The officer looked over the papers and nodded at his boss.

“All seems to be in order.  Why the permit for the garden and chickens?”

Jan looked up at him.  “I receive $350 a month from Ontario Works.  The garden and chickens were permitted rather than make the stipend liveable.”

One officer goggled.  “$350 a month? Wow! That’s pathet...”

“Jones” barked his superior.  Turning to Jan he said.  “The lack of gratitude will be noted.  Tell me about your neighbours.”

Jan smiled at him which seemed to confuse him.  “Oh I am grateful.  It takes a community to raise a child and we are very grateful for all the assistance we are given, including the stipend. I see the garden and chickens as my way of reducing the amount of resources we need, so that others who need it more can access it.  Now my neighbours are Gillian and Andrew McDonald with two terrific kids, David and Grace.  Gillian has been feeling unwell, so the kids are at home to ensure community health safety.  Andrew works for the roads department.  I do not know in what capacity or location he works as we have never discussed his work.  Gillian works as a library volunteer.  The kids are in school and seem bright and attentive.”

“Have you seen Andrew McDonald today?” she was asked.

“No,” she replied.

“Your answers have legal ramifications.  Have you seen him or spoken with him today?”

“No,” she replied.

“If you see him be advised that he has been declared an Enemy of our Nation and that aiding him in any way will make you one as well,” stated the Police Chief.  “If you see him you are to call this number. Jones - give her a card. We will be watching you.  I don’t like your attitude.”  He stomped out.

Jones handed her a business card, winked and left.

Jan guided John into the kitchen and sat him at the table. She quickly took the card she had been given and cut it in four before putting it in a bowl of water.  Some of the cards, like the one she had been given, contained voice activated transmitters. The police used them to spy on their targets and because you had accepted the card, the Courts had deemed that you had agreed to the bugging. With the card disabled, she flipped the switch to hear and record what the driveway microphones might pick up.  As she made hot chocolate, she listened as Jones asked the Police Chief what had been wrong with her attitude.  When the supervisor growled, Jones said that he wanted to know so that he wouldn’t get taken in the next time.

“Well then,” said the Police Chief in a more jocular manner, “Firstly those special needs retards should be in institutions and not visible, frankly not born at all is even better.  Secondly, she is not married so should not even have a kid, and thirdly you say things like that to women and they get right scared and co-operative.  I am going to see just how cooperative I can make her.  You know I’ve tried three times to get the Judge to declare that kid a Ward of the Province have him sent to an institution, but it keeps getting blocked.  That woman used to be a legal secretary for a lawyer in Lindsay.  She would have been much more useful working in my office ‘under’ my supervision.”  The last part was said with a sneer and a slimy chuckle.

“Wow,” said Jones.  “I have so much to learn.”  Very quietly so that only the mikes picked it up Jan heard him say “Holy shit! This guy is scary insane. Keep these gates locked.”  Jan smiled and ended the recording.  She remote locked the gates.

“My father was a good man,” said John to the Committee. “He had a very definite moral code.  Unfortunately his code did not allow him to work easily within the Province’s legal system and enforcement structure.  But by working inside the System though, he survived and because he survived, so did my mother and I.”
... if ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd, of what flock are ye?  - Alma 5:39

Remember to keep clear the line between sheep and sheeple!

Offline Lake Lili

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Re: Story - Neighbours
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2014, 07:28:35 AM »
Chapter 4 – Andrew…

“Being declared an Enemy of the Nation was no small thing,” John told the Committee. “You and anyone who harboured you could be shot on sight and your assets split between the shooter – usually a policeman, who would receive a medal, and the Province. There was a whole campaign to get people to turn in those declared Enemies.  The newspapers would print their photos on page 2 every Saturday and the next week a red X would be drawn over those who had been eliminated.”

John drank down his hot chocolate but it still took Jan more than an hour to get him calmed and back to bed.  He was asleep quickly after that but Jan knew that the next day was going to be a behavioural mine field.

She began to pack the stew into jars for the pressure canner. Shortly after 10pm, she began to wind things up for the night, when there was a light tapping at the back door. 

“Jan!” said a strained whisper, “Open up.  It’s me Andrew.”

Jan doused the light and picked-up the small illegal handgun.  She slowly eased the door open and Andrew slid in.  Jan closed the door and turned the light back on.  Andrew looked like he had tangled with her raspberry bushes and lost.

“Some men in uniform came to our door looking for me.” He said.  “David told them I wasn’t home yet and that Gillian was ill with the flu and that Grace wasn’t feeling well either.  One of the men put on a hazmat suit and respirator and searched the house for me.”  He dropped into a chair, his head in his hands.  “Lord, I’m tired… a co-worker dropped me in Argyle and I walked from there.  It’s a long f-ing walk. When I got here, there were those uniforms at my place.  I hid in your woods and listened to them.  They want me… Anyways, they hustled David and Grace into the car and took Gillian out on a stretcher… they’re gone…”  His voice trailed off in fear, confusion and exhaustion.

“Go have a shower,” said Jan.  “I’ll find you some clothes.”

She pushed Andrew into the bathroom and pulled some of her grandfather’s clothes out of the cedar chest in the hall.  He wouldn’t win a fashion award and they smelled of cedar but they were comfy-worn and clean.  She also put a tube of Polysporin on top of the clothes and told him, that after his shower, he was to put it on every cut and scrape.

When Andrew emerged twenty minutes later, Jan put a bowl of soup and a hunk of bread in front of him.  She told Andrew about getting the kids out of the school and about Dr. P making the house call. 

“Andrew” she said.  “I know that you work for the roads department, but…” and she looked at him closely.  “What is it exactly that you do that would have the uniforms looking for you, declare you an Enemy of the Nation and be willing to take three hostages in order to secure your compliance.”

Andrew sighed.  “Yes, I work for the roads department, but it is my job to coordinate trucking operations to ensure that there is enough fuel to get the trucks around the Province to do on-time delivery.  If the fuel is not where it needs to be then the trucks cannot make the deliveries.  There is a two day window before the trucks will run out of fuel and the system falls apart.”

He spooned in half the bowl of soup.  “The problem is that three days ago the number of trucks coming up from the US suddenly started to decline.  As of 12noon today there was not a single US-based truck in the Province. Something was going on and I kept trying to get a hold of the Minister of Transport but I was never able to reach him.  I tried reaching my counter parts in other provinces.  I was able to speak with Tony in BC and he said the same thing was happening there, but then our conversation was cut off. My office phone no longer worked.  Then my computer was turned off remotely. Then I got this really strange phone call on my cell in which I was ordered to keep quiet and wait at the door for a driver.  That scared me badly.  My cell phone did not work again – so I left it on my desk. Did you know those things have tracking chips in them?  A co-worker was just pulling out and I ran and jumped into his car.  He was really nice about it but had to drop me over by Argyle as he couldn’t deviate from his regular route.  I have spent the rest of the day walking and hiding whenever I saw a car coming. Its 25 miles from Argyle to here, but I got a ride in one of the Amish buggies which took the walk down to fifteen miles… Jan do you know what is going on?”

Jan told him about the information being relayed via the hams versus, what they had seen on the way back from Toronto, and the visit from the Police. 
... if ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd, of what flock are ye?  - Alma 5:39

Remember to keep clear the line between sheep and sheeple!

Offline Lake Lili

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Re: Story - Neighbours
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2014, 01:14:06 PM »
Chapter 5 – The Rules Change…

All was quiet the next morning as Jan woke at 6am.  Andrew was still asleep on the couch.  John would be a couple of hours still, so there was time to water the gardens, feed the livestock, collect the eggs and get ready for the day.  Quietly she made coffee and went to get the chores done.  Back inside with a double double in hand, she flipped on the radio, turning the volume down so as not to disturb the sleeping man.  Broadcasting on the CBC Radio 99.1FM was a looped taped statement:

Please be advised that the American military has secured the Canadian nation so that the freedoms guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Responsibilities may be fully restored.  Please return to your place of residence.  Please have all official documentation proving citizenship and rights of domesticity at hand.  Screening of all residents is expected to take 72-hours.  After that all cleared residents will be able to return to their regular lives.  New regulations for those required to house the elderly or disabled will be broadcast on the quarter hour.  New regulations for New Canadians will be broadcast on the half hour. New regulations for businesses will be broadcast at quarter to the hour.  At this time all Police departments are ordered to stand down and return to their places of residence.  All policing will be handled by the US Military Police and troops.  Looters will be shot on sight.  No travel is permitted for the next 72-hours.

‘So,’ thought Jan, ‘the ball has finally dropped.’

She flipped the station to 107.1FM The Wolf out of Peterborough, to 680AM out of Toronto, and then to 820AM out of Hamilton.  The same statement was being played on loop.

She flipped on the ham radio and it was alive with chatter.  Leaning back against the counter, Jan listened as someone in West Virginia talked about the destruction in Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa and Montreal.  Then someone else broke in and said that thankfully all the hockey teams were playing out of town, so the NHL would continue even if the Leafs never won again for Toronto.  There was a cumulative snort of laughter over that, and Jan giggled too.  The Toronto Maple Leafs hadn’t won a game since 1967.  The discussion continued with a discussion of how far the bombing had gone, what was left, and the possible whys.  Sometime later someone else broke in and said that all of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Northern British Columbia, and the Arctic Territories had been annexed and that all the remaining Canadian soldiers had been freed. On hearing that tidbit of news, Jan did a victory dance.  Her cousin was one of those soldiers and he had still been alive last fall when the yearly list of the incarcerated was published.

So, she thought, as she noted it down in her notebook.  The oil fields had been part of it.  But she expected that the wheat fields were too, along with the fresh water, and including the ports along the North West Passage. Climate change was making the far south less arable and leaving the Arctic ice free for shipping year round. Once Churchill and Inuvik were nowhere places, now they were major year-round ports.  Yellowknife was now the 2nd largest city in Canada after Toronto, and boat traffic on the Mackenzie River resembled the Ole Mississippi. Hmm… so where did that leave rural Ontario.  Certainly by 2020, the nation’s focus had shifted away from the east to the north. 

Another ham advised that he had heard that the US Army was doing house to house sweeps.  New Canadians had to prove legal residency; that they spoke English or French if they had been here for more than one year, or that they were taking lessons in either if less; that they had a job; and had no criminal record.  Any of the criteria not met they were being sent back to countries of origin.  New Canadians who failed the criteria but had children born in Canada could take their Canadian-born kids with them (their citizenship nullified) or leave them behind to be adopted by other families – anchor babies were no longer a legal method for a family to remain in Canada.  New Canadians who married those born here had to meet the same requirements. Political refugee claimants were automatically deported social refugees might be permitted to stay providing they met the criteria.

Then someone else broke in and asked about those holding the children and those who had disappeared in the middle of the night.  “Don’t know” came the reply.  “Will look into that” came another and then there was silence. Jan sat with her coffee, staring at the page.

“Well that’s one way to clean house,” said Andrew, referencing the new rules for New Canadians.  Jan stood up and poured him a cup of coffee. “Thanks for letting me sleep.”

Shortly after 8am, John wandered in and Jan began to cook breakfast for everyone.  Trying to normalize John’s routine, Jan pulled out the math books and after breakfast got him working on a times table square from 25 to 50.  John pulled out his pencil and wrote 25x25=625, 25X26=650, 25x27=700.

At 9:30am at the general meeting of the UN, the Canadian envoy stood up and demanded that the US withdraw its troops from Canadian soil.  A number of the envoys of other nations who had not yet heard the news looked at each other in surprise.

“It’s a land grab!” shouted the Mexican envoy.  Fear of being next etched on his face.

“Why would anyone attack the socially progressive and peaceful nation of Canada!” exclaimed the Venezuelan envoy.

“Our people are disappearing!” shouted the Canadian.  “Les Américans ont voléz notre peuple!  Save our people!”

“Nous devons aider nos frères et sœurs!” shouted the French.

There was no response from the Americans.

An hour later at an emergency session of the Security Council, several members of the Council delighted in telling the Americans that they needed to halt their imperialistic and aggressive action in Canada.  The US envoy mused at how unfortunate it would be should the US institute the 24-hour “get out of dodge” order for all UN personal and their dependents.  The Russian envoy having no desire to return to the rapidly approaching winter of Moscow nodded in understanding.  Despite the Canadian envoys apoplectic fits of rage, the Security Council moved on to other topics.

As the Canadian envoy departed the UN in an unmarked decoy vehicle, he was detained by the Marine MPs.  He was transferred to a military vehicle.  As he was driven out to the waiting helicopter that would take him to detention at an undisclosed location, his rantings were played in the General Assembly and the world heard as he raved about the planned execution of those Relocated by the Americans… of how their future was in the hands of their children… how he would make the pay.  The recordings were then replayed on major radio stations around the world and it distracted the masses only long enough for their attention to be caught by the next round of nonsense perpetuated by drama princess Suri Cruise.

Around 2pm Jan began to suddenly see a lot of traffic on her road.  She went out and checked that the gate was locked.  As she did, an Asian woman stopped her car.  With a heavy accent she asked:

“Can we stop here.  Can we hide here?” 

Jan looked at her sadly and answered with a heavy Spanish accent.

“No.  They have no space.  They say we must leave too. Do you have space in your car to take us?”

The woman ran back in her car and Jan looked across the street at the officer monitoring the McDonald’s house.  He was calling in the woman’s license plate number.  Jan ensured that the three gates were secure and ran for the house.  She knew she might not be so lucky the next time.

An hour later, the front gate intercom rang.  Jan flipped on the cameras. It was Officer Jones asking if she had seen Andrew McDonald.  “No Officer, I have not seen him today,” she replied.

“Please explain why your gate is locked.” He asked.

‘Oh right! Like that really needs to be explained,’ thought Jan. 

“Well Officer Jones,” she answered. “As the officer across the street has reported to the station, I have had a number of New Canadians requesting to hide in my home.  I don’t know what this is about but I am concerned and I have never had that request before today…”

“Unlock the gate” he laughed and hung up.

She successively unlocked then re-locked the gates remotely.  Jones was in civilian clothes with a pick-up truck pulling a livestock trailer.  He immediately drove around back of her house beside the barn.  In the trailer was a displeased milk cow and her bull calf.  Jan and Jones stepped inside the barn.  In the dark shadows, he swung her against the wall and kissed her deeply.

“Hi honey.” He said with another kiss.  “Thank God John didn’t recognize me last night! What a nightmare that man is! Get McDonald to come help me.  I saw him arrive last night.  I have some info for him about his family.  We don’t have much time.  I also have some chickens for you.  These come from my parents’ farm.  A number of farms on County Road 8 were hit by looters last night.  The house is a wreck and the barn damaged.  Mom’s okay.  They just pushed her into a closet.  All of Mom’s food is gone, but nothing else was touched.  So she’s fairly sure that it was the Barnet boys. Kenny lost his job last week.  Mom only had a few animals left and I’ve brought them here.” Jones told her.  He kissed her again.

Jan went in and got Andrew.  The men had known each other from grade school and they worked swiftly to unload the livestock.

“Andrew,” said Jones, “Your family is in detention to try and flush you out.  I would advise that you stay here and go to ground.  Jan, can you put him in one of the back trailers? I am not sure where you and Gillian stand as a couple but she is singing like a canary and it ain’t pretty.  She is claiming that you were a failure as a husband and parent because you were never home and that the kids aren’t yours.  Any chance that’s true?”

Andrew looked like he’d been punched.  Then he shook his head.  “Well I’m certain that David is mine but, yes, I knew Grace was not.  Gillian was having an affair with one of the married men on the Library board.  I forgave her but we never slept together again after.  When she got pregnant with Grace, I never said a word.  I raised those kids but they are so much like their mother that I just stay out of the way.  Work is busy, so it became a justifiable excuse.”

Jan was stunned.  ‘Goes to prove,’ she thought, ‘that you just never know what goes on with your neighbours.’

“Okay” said Jones.  “That matches with what that witch… I mean your wife said.  Since she has already made herself comfortable with the Police Chief, I’d leave her there.  Now Grace is a fine act following her and I’d doubt you could claim her after what Gillian has been saying.  But I think that David may be worth saving and it won’t happen where he is.  I’ll get him fostered to a farm family and then in a couple days we might be able to get him back here…”

He looked at me.  “Jan here is the paper work for you to have the cow and the additional chickens.” Jan started to speak but he held up his hand.  “If you could come tomorrow and help my mother in cleaning the house it would be appreciated.  She is likely to try and give you a lot of stuff.  Take it.  She is moving in with my sister in Bobcaygeon and it is going to be crowded there, what with Becky’s two girls and it only being a three bedroom house.  I am going to leave the trailer here for you to bring back and fill up.  Keep the gate locked and do not open it for anyone that you do not know or trust absolutely.

“The Americans are coming but don’t expect them for a couple of days.  Farmers are not their primary concern.  You should be fine.  Answer truthfully and keep your head down.  If they offer to move you, tell them you want to go to west - to Alberta, Montana, Wyoming, or Eastern Washington state...  Don’t give them a blue state or you’ll stay here.  Here is not going to be a good place.  Ontario is about to become the clean-up example of what will happen to the Eastern States if they don’t reign in their socialist liberals.”

Andrew looked at him closely. “How do you know this?  For a cop in the back of nowhere, you sure seem to know a lot.”

Jones gave a twisted smile. “I am a CSIS operative,” he said.  “There is one of us in almost every regional police force.  Our job under the Trudeau government is to track and monitor Canadians.  For instance…” and he looked over at Jan, “As you knew, you were of interest for a while. 

He looked at Andrew.  “Jan has worked incredibly hard at staying below the radar. No credit cards.  No cell phone.  An old truck without GPS or black box… Her doctor is an old guy without a computer… She never does anything that makes her suspicious and yet in itself that is unusual.  You have to be taught to do that and they wanted to know who had taught her.  It took them a while and a few discussions with her cousin Gordon, who is safe by the way, to understand that was how she was raised.

“You on the other hand Andrew… well politely you are in for a rough ride.  In your favour is that the Americans can use someone with your knowledge right now and you would be wise to play to that.  Armies need fuel distribution too.  And you not only know the roads but the fuel centres and their operators.  But if the Police Chief catches you, you won’t see dawn.  I don’t know who is issuing his orders.  They aren’t coming through us.  But he has a list and there are members of our community who won’t see tomorrow no matter how much I do.

“Now I gotta run. Jan keep those gates locked.”
... if ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd, of what flock are ye?  - Alma 5:39

Remember to keep clear the line between sheep and sheeple!

Offline Lake Lili

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Re: Story - Neighbours
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2014, 02:20:38 PM »
Chapter 6 – Gift horses…

“Because of my father’s work, we were not able to spend much time with my Grandmother,” John told the Committee.  “I knew who she was but also knew that for my father’s safety, she wasn’t allowed to spend much time with us.  Getting to know her better was one of the more positive results of being Relocated.  Allison was named for her.”  One of his fresh faced, white bonneted, great-granddaughters dipped her head and blushed.  Several of the men found it quite charming.  John cleared his throat and they looked away quickly.


While Andrew was helping John with his school work, Jan went with Jones to his parents’ farm.  It was an older farmhouse at the corner of County Road 8 and Fairview Road.  It had been in the Jones family since they had come from England to Victoria County in the 1830s.  The core of the kitchen was the original log house, to which had then been added a frame two-story house, sided in wood and re-sided in the 1950s with asbestos.  All those fine, intact, fireproof shingles made the house unsellable… and since it was likely that every pipe was also wrapped in it, the house was deemed unfit for habitation (unless you had already been living there without issue for fifty years)…  Jan had always loved the house with its sunny white and yellow exterior, and large deep wrap-around porch.  Due to Jones’ work, Jan had been required to keep her distance and had only ever met Mrs. Jones a couple of times.  She found her to be a down to earth, practical woman with a fine sense of humour and complete exasperation with her family.

Allison Marie (nee Simpson) Jones was a tall, willowy woman in her early sixties.  She had had four children – Cindy-Lou who had died of diphtheria at age 4, Nigel who had drown out on Sturgeon Lake in a boating accident his early teen, Becky (age 30) and Angus (age 35).  The Becky and Angus were not close and rarely spoke if they could help it.  It caused her a lot of stress and grief but she had come to realize that part of it was Angus’ occupation and part of it was that neither had ever really recovered from Nigel’s death.  She had been a stay-at-home mother and farm wife, until her husband had died two years prior in an accident on the farm.  His death had resulted in the pulling of their farm license, but the state of the house had meant that she had not been required to house anyone.  She had liked Jan the few times they had met but they had never been able to have the close relationship that she would have liked.

“Now young lady…” she started.  “My boy seems to think much of you but I don’t see him settled yet.”

Despite her best intentions Jan blushed.

“He also seems to think that you will appreciate what my daughter can’t see the use of.”

Jan nodded.  “That may be Mrs. Jones, but I don’t know Becky.  Even though we are of an age and my grandparents owned the farm just up the road.  I didn’t move there until I was seventeen, and I never went to school here, so there are a lot of people I don’t know.”

“Well she is a right fine worker is our Becky.  As you know, she married into the Raven family.  Thems that run the dairy and she works right hard for them.  Can’t say that the himself and I did not raise her up right, it’s just that she believes that only new and store bought has value.” The stream of irritation flowed up the stairs with Jan behind.  “We’ll start at the top girl and move down.”

The attic was deceptive from the outside.  Actually its existence was a surprise as from the outside it didn’t look like there was one at all.  The attic was full of old bedsteads, a couple were brass, with all their fittings intact, others were gorgeously carved Victorians whose mahogany and oak carcasses’ weight could be measured in tons, and a few were even designed for rope. Jan oohhed and awed over them and Mrs. Jones told her to move them to her pile. So she took some of the brass and all of the rope bedframes. There was even a box bed tucked into the corner.  Opening it, she found snow shoes and tall Ojibwa paddles with wide vermillion-painted blades. She marked the lot to go. Jan also claimed the treadle sewing machine and its fittings, the dressmaker’s dummy, a trunk full of notions, another trunk full of HBC point blankets and capotes, and still another full of quilts.  She took the two spinning wheels, the wool winder, the floor loom, the table loom and the quilting frame.

Jan stopped there fingering one of the quilts, the soft cotton warm in her hand.  “Mrs. Jones… Are you sure your daughter won’t want some of these?  They are really lovely.”

Mrs. Jones gave an unlady-like snort.  “Sure and she’d like them, but only to sell to that man at the antique store in Fenelon. I’ll sell him those beds you don’t want. Becky don’t sew buttons on anything.  If one falls off she sends it to the cleaners to be fixed.  Now my boy, he can sew his own buttons and do leather tack too.  He’s a good catch that one.  Now tell me about that boy of yours.  I’ve seen him out and about, but I don’t hold with none of that magpie chatter, so you tell me.”

As they sorted through boxes of papers, which Jan convinced her should be given to the museum in Fenelon Falls rather than put in the burn barrel, and trunks of clothes, some of which were also set aside to be donated or sold, Jan told her about John.  But she still was careful and when Mrs. Jones called her on it, Jan said bluntly:

“Mrs. Jones, he’s our boy and while you might mean all the best in the world, talking about him elsewhere might bring us all attention we don’t want. And more over, might give you information you shouldn’t know on the supposed level of interaction we’re supposed to have.  One day this may all change and then I’ll tell you all.”

Mrs. Jones cackled and told her she was right.  By early-afternoon, they were done the attic.  When the man from the antique store had come for the first load, Jan stayed out of sight.   Then they took the museum donations into town. Town was a quiet place and they stayed off Colburne Street, by slipping across Princess, down John to Oak.  A few curtains twitched but there was no one on the streets. The Curator was in and reluctantly took the donations.  She was closing up on government orders.  Curfew was going into effect at 6pm.  The OPP had already locked down the bridge. There was no going south now. The Americans were coming.  They were already in Lindsay.  Everyone was quietly going to ground.

Jan and Mrs. Jones slipped just as quietly back out of town.  Back at the farm, they had a quick cuppa and a slice of Mrs. Jones’ spice cake and went to start on the second floor. Jan carried garbage bags of linens – heavy cotton sheets with delicate tatted lace edges, heavy flannel sheets for the winter, beautifully embroidered pillowcases and towels.  She put the bags in the trailer on top of the trunks and went back in.  She carried down rugs and putting them over the line and beating out the dust before rolling them up and putting them in the trailer.  Family photos were taken out of frames and put in plastic bins with silica packets. Mrs. Jones sighed and handed them to Jan.

“My boy will want these.  Now Becky, bless her, likes that minimal look. Family photos are clutter to her mind.  I’ve put the names on the back, so you all will know who is who”, she said.

Small chachkas were either wrapped up for Mrs. Jones room or put to one side to be sold.  Several Jan watched Mrs. Jones lament over, and she offered to put a trunk away in the barn for Mrs. Jones in case she changed her mind.  She accepted and the trunk filled quickly with things she wanted but wouldn’t have room for at Becky’s.  Several items were very special.

They dealt quickly with the books.  Most were not worth saving, but there were a couple of agricultural and gardening texts that Jan tucked to one side.  Mrs. Jones wrapped up the family bible, which had porcupined due to all the family papers and photos tucked into it, and put it on the front hall table for her son. 

Next came the furniture...  Mrs. Jones was taking her bedroom things, but the rest of the house was a question mark. Jan looked around her and sighed.  So much great stuff… No space for it…

At some point the summer kitchen had been turned into the pantry.  From there Jan took all of the mason jars and lids, the canning kettles, the pressure cookers, the apple peelers, the meat grinders, the sour kraut and butter crocks. There were the very old barrel butter churns and the more modern glass paddle versions, both manual and electric. The electric ones were put in the antique store pile. She even found a box of butter presses and paddles. 

There was an amazing array of dishes and large platters.  Jan found a bunch of roasting pans, a clockwork rotisserie, large and small dutch ovens, and several spiders – both of the iron and living varieties.  The iron ones she kept.  The living ones were squashed.  In another cupboard were stacks of pie tins, cookie tins and biscuit cutters, bread pans, molded cake pans, shortbread molds, and gelatin molds. There was a shelf full of candle molds and several pots that had obviously been used to melt wax or tallow. Opening one tin, Jan found balls of braided wick.  In another tin was coiled wick for the oil lamps.  The lamps and their chimneys filled the top shelves of all the cabinets.  There were even wall reflectors and mounts for some.  There were drawers full of hand carved wooden spoons and other implements and a stack of cutting boards.  There were also some gorgeous mixing bowls that Jan couldn’t resist.  Under the window was a proofing box and beside it a large dough board with a fitted base. The old stove had been blacked recently and its chrome parts all shone attesting to Mrs. Jones pride in keeping house, even in a room that she clearly did not use.

She felt like a kid in a candy store… or discovering Aladdin’s cave… or Howard Carter whispering “Wonderful things!”… She could have stayed all day and just wallowed in the contents of the room. She realized that she finally understood the word ‘covet’.  She felt like she had landed in a heritage village and was being handed the keys to the kingdom.

That lottery winning feeling continued in the laundry room, where Jan took the drying racks – one on the wall for hand towels and the two suspended from the ceiling.  There were wooden and iron sock and glove stretchers.  The tiny ones for a child’s glove made her smile.  There were several tin agitators, and washboards of both the tin and glass variety. To her pleasure, there were wash tubs and stands and some wonderful mangles.  Up on its shelf were the old irons – even one for crimping collars! 

“Mrs. Jones,” asked Jan deciding to push her luck.  “Is there a dedicated wringing post in the yard.  My Gran always used the porch posts, but I’ve had my eye out for one to put down by the stream.”

Mrs. Jones laughed.  “Fancy you knowing about wringing posts!” she said.  “No we used the porch post too for things too big to go through the wringer.”

From there, even though it was starting to get dark, Jan headed out to the wood shed, which was at the end of the L and accessible off the south porch. They were going to take all the cut wood.  She figured there was close onto three cords here, which would fill in their winter supply.  The candy store feeling continued at the back of the wood shed, there were cooking tripods with their hooks and chains, the syrup and lye kettles.  In the back corner, in a messy pile were several fireplace cranes, trivets, meat clocks and reflectors. 

Looking around the main floor, Jan tagged several dressers, the Formica kitchen table and chairs, several painted hutches and jam cupboards.  What she really wanted were the kitchen and pantry cabinets and Victorian cast-iron enamel sinks, the wood cook stove and two parlour stoves.  Those could all go into the trailers to make them winter-safe.  She also wanted the picket fencing and a look in the garage and drive shed, but that would have to wait for the next day.

She packed up the truck and headed for home, exhausted but relieved.  As she went to leave, an equally tired Mrs. Jones handed her a mason jar full marbles for John.  Jan smiled and hugged her.

“Please know that if things don’t work out with Becky, you will always have a place with us”, said Jan.

Mrs. Jones patted her arm and gave a sniff.  “You keep my boys safe.  Things are going to get downright scary here.  But I want to lay my bones down with my Pat and the doctors say I don’t have long anyhow…”
“You know,” John interrupted his narration and looked at the Committee, “There are things that were collected from that farm house that are used in my home even today.  I treasure them.  Our life would have been so much more of a challenge without them. The agitators may have new handles but the tin is still in use. The candle molds were used last week by the girls…” and he nodded at his great-granddaughters. “The churns and butter molds are used daily. Many of the items belonged to Grandpa or Grandma Jones’ grandparents. For 250-years now, they have seen service… it’s a testament to craftsmanship and the continuation of our way of life.” He resumed the story.
When she got home, Jan collected Andrew and John and they drove out past the spring head to the trailers and cabins behind.  In short order, one of the beds and mattresses were unloaded, along with a dresser, an old Formica table and chairs and a hutch.  The furniture was placed in one of the one room cabins.  A second mattress was manhandled up the ladder and into the loft.  John escaped the work detail to play.

“If Jones can spring David, he’ll be able to stay here with you,” said Jan.

“I went to see if there was a way into the property today,” said Andrew, “but there is still a cop posted there.  I did see Gillian and Grace go in and come out with a couple suitcases.  Grace was whining because she couldn’t take all her toys when she went back to school tomorrow.  So it looks like Gillian is going to turn her over to the school board.”

He sat down suddenly at the edge of the bed.  “Oh God!  I feel like such a failure as a parent.  I looked at the girl I have raised as my daughter and felt nothing but apathy and disgust… my own child… I didn’t even recognize her.  She was all tarted up like a teenager and she’s just going on ten.”

Jan decided to leave than one alone.  “Well if they only took suitcases, then your stuff is still there and it is being guarded.  So while you can’t get to it, neither can anyone else.  So anyways… here it is.  You are welcome to stay here or to move on.  Your choice.  If you stay here are the rules:  (1) You help out.  This is a big place and if you want to eat with us and stay here, you need to contribute. (2) You do not bring anyone here who has not been vetted by me.  This is John’s and my safe haven and I will not tolerate it being made unsafe.  (3) You do not discuss what is here with anyone.  Ever.  Period.  End of discussion.  Finally, (4) I am not a fringe benefit to staying here.  You are married, even if Gillian is behaving badly, but I do not fool around with married men.  I have always enjoyed your company and like your common sense but I am not going to play bed games with you.  Kapeesh.”

Andrew looked at her and nodded. “Kapeesh.  Not going to say that I am not sorry about number 4 but I understand.  Can I ask what the deal with Jones is?”

Jan looked at him. “Appreciate the compliment. At this point, Jones and I have a lot to sort out.  There is a lot going on.  Our world is about to change really fast and I am not sure if either of us can afford or equally not afford to publicly acknowledged our… relationship.”

Andrew nodded.

Jan continued to look him straight in the eye.  “What are you going to do when the Americans get here?  Jones has said to expect them at the front gate no later than noon tomorrow.  I cannot negotiate for your safety and I will not compromise my son for you. There will be no hiding from them. You might want to talk to Jones about this.  Going with the Americans might be your safest venture.  I don’t know why you were marked but you should probably ask to talk to a commanding officer and lay the whole thing out.  If need be, I will take David until you can join us again. You will need to write-up paperwork to that effect tonight and have a copy prepared for the Americans.  Now I am exhausted.  I am going to make dinner and go to bed.  Tomorrow morning at 5am, the five of us, you included, will be going to Mrs. Jones’ house to collect the furniture. I want to be back here by 6:30am.”

... if ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd, of what flock are ye?  - Alma 5:39

Remember to keep clear the line between sheep and sheeple!

Offline Lake Lili

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Re: Story - Neighbours
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2014, 08:02:10 AM »
Chapter 7 – Changing guard…

Jan was up at 4:30am.  After a quick porridge for everyone, a sleepy John climbed into his seat. Andrew helped Jan attach the livestock trailer and then he hid in the back under a pile of tarps.  They headed out before 5am.  A lonely and very bored policeman sat vigil at the end of Andrew’s driveway.
He looked at Jan and gave a half-hearted wave.  She rolled down the window.

“Any sign?” asked Jan.

“Naw,” said the policeman, who looked barely old enough to shave.  “I bet he’s long gone.  His old lady is shacked up with the Chief, the girl was dropped off at the school and the boy has been sentenced to hard labour on some farm for objecting to what his mother was doing.  The new guy, Jones, had to take him out there. Jones was real mad about the place.  Said it wasn’t fit for a rat let alone a child, but the owner is the Chief’s cousin. The kid’s got morals unlike the other two but no sense of politics… then again how many twelve years olds should have to understand that.  I can’t wait till shift change at 7am.”

Jan went to move when the policeman said “Hey if that lady ever comes back, stay away from her.  She’s poison you know.  She tried to even get you in trouble.”  Jan’s blood ran cold.

“Really?” she said.  “What did Gillian say?”

“Oh she tried to claim that you were some sort of nut job who had told her to play sick to get her kids out of school.  She even tried to claim that Old Doc P was in on it.”

“What!?!” exclaimed Jan.

“Oh no worries,” said the policeman. “They checked with the school and their records show clearly that it was Gillian who picked-up the kids and the cctv show that it was her car.  Heck they even show her at the grocery store with the kids.  If she wasn’t sleeping with the Chief, I’d bet she would be in major shit for talking like that about you and the doctor.”

“Why that… grrr…” shrieked Jan. She stopped herself.  “Thank you for letting me know.  I thought she was a good friend…  Why would she… I mean…  Best get going.  Thanks for the warning.”  She waved at him and put the truck in gear.

She was shaking as she drove down the road.

“I’m sorry”, said Andrew.

“Do... Not... Ever... apologize for that woman,” spat out Jan.  “On the other hand, she has very publicly removed herself from your life.  On paper, you are David’s father.  Once the Americans resolve this, file for full custody of him and move on. With her infidelity on record and played out so publicly, I doubt you’ll even have to pay alimony.”

It was a few minutes after 5am when they pulled into the Jones’ farm.  They were met by two teams of Amish men.  John was asleep and Jan left him in the truck.  Mrs. Jones was fluttering about, caught between the thrill of her life’s accumulations not going to the dump and the sadness of letting them go. 

In short order, the men moved the three dismantled wood stoves into the trailer. They were followed by the furniture that had been marked and the cabinetry.  The huge cast iron kettles, the giant tripods and spits, and various hand forged kitchen implements were taken from the shed along with the tools from the garage.  Jones had also capped off the well and removed the pump.  It went into the trailer too.

The drive barn was opened and in the pale light Jan’s mouth watered.  A fine wagon and several pieces of horse drawn equipment were there.  Jones hitched his team of Belgians to the wagon. The wagon was loaded with boxes and suitcases. The Amish farmers talked rapidly as they ran their hands over the equipment and the horses.  Speaking with Jones, they tried to buy them.

“This equipment is well made.” said Samuel Yoder.  “Would you consider selling it to us?”

“No,” said Jones with a smile. “My grandfather collected and restored the equipment.  I learned by handing him tools.  He and I drove the teams putting it all to use. I miss him. This has been a good farm and I’ll miss it too.”

Jones then introduced Jan to them as his fiancée.  The men nodded respectfully and hooked up their teams to the equipment.  John rode in the wagon with Jones.   The horses set out on what should be a twenty minute ride to Jan’s.

Jan and Mrs. Jones went through the last few items.  Jan reiterated her invitation to Mrs. Jones and got a tearful hug.  Jones would be coming back to move her to town.

Jan waved to the officer as she came in.  He waved back.

Jones pulled out the trestle table from the barn and Jan served all the men a morning snack of coffee, fresh bread, boiled eggs, cheese and apples.  The Amish men looked about and were complimentary to Jones about the farm.  They headed out by 6:40am.  Jones kissed her and left quickly too.
“I’ll be back about 10am,” he told her.  “I am resigning today. Keep everything locked down.”

Everything was done and quiet before the police changed shifts at 7am.  That turned out to be a good move.  Jan watched the shift change from her driveway camera.  She hit record on the camera. The officer was standing there quietly.  The Police Chief was strutting around like a peacock, yelling at the officer. He the lashed out striking the young man across the mouth and knocking him to the ground.  The younger man stood up, took off his badge and walked away.  Jan knew there was going to be big trouble now.  Even so, she was shocked as she watched the furious Police Chief unholstered his gun and shoot the young man in the back of the head.  With three key strokes, she sent the file to Jones’ private account.

She continued to watch, and record, as another officer was ordered to stand watch.  Two more officers were dispatched to try and throw the body of the dead officer over her fence.  They couldn’t do it.  So they pinned his badge back on, put his gun back in his holster, and laid him down on his stomach facing the road, his feet at her gate.  It looked for all the world like he had been shot walking away from her property… well if you ignored the lack of blood splatter and the drag marks.  Then the Police Chief and his entourage left.  The officer across the road, took off his badge, pocketed his gun and that of the dead officer and walked away.  With three more keystrokes, Jan sent the second recording to Jones’ private file.
The only response from Jones was “Touch nothing.”

Looking at the piles of stuff in her living room and figuring that she had four hours at most before the Americans arrived, Jan set to work sorting them.  She had John and Andrew sort the tools and put them away in the tool shed.  She wanted it to look like one big mess of tools, not recent acquisitions.  A couple of the new dressers were lined up down the hall, and she wiped them all down and filled them with the linens.  On top of them went her books, both her and Jones’ family photos.

Jones’ suitcases were unloaded and his clothes put away in her closets.  His shaving kit and toothbrush went in the bathroom as well as fresh towels matching towels for them all.  His jammies went under his pillow.  A photo of the two of them went on the dresser.  One of Jones with John went on her bedside table.  His books and newspapers went on a side table in the living room.  His personal papers went into the drawer in the Front Hall table. It now looked for all the world like Jones had always lived there.  Finally, Jan reached up under her bedside table and detached the small blue envelope.  Out of it she slid three rings.  Quietly she placed two of them on her ring finger.  She smiled briefly.

She closed the drawer and got back to work.  She wished there was more time.  She felt under the gun to make sure they had everything.  The fact that they might have to move terrified her from a logistics perspective.  How the heck was she going to make sure they took everything they were going to need…

Slowly the pile in the living room dwindled.  She was putting the last items in the hall closet when the buzzer sounded the front gate.  It was Jones.
“Let me in Jan.  The Police Chief is close behind me.  Lock down hard behind me.”

Jen buzzed him through each gate, locking down each behind him.  As he cleared the last gate, she electrified the fence and turned on all the cameras.  Jones sped into the farm yard, gravel flying, and put the truck in the space in the drive shed.  Meanwhile, Jan hustled John into the hidey hole.
“For real this time,” she told him.  “Come out only if I give you the code or the Americans come in to get you.  If you see the Police Chief, you know what to do.  What do you do?”

John looked at her and repeated by rote, “Shoot him before he shoots me.  Never let him take me away.”

“Got your mask?” Jan asked.  He nodded and held it up.

“I love you most.  You are super special.” She kissed the top of his head and hugged him hard. “You make my heart sing.”

Jan backed out of the hidey-hole and Jan closed him in.  She said a silent prayer and hoped that he would be safe.

Jones reached the kitchen.  He gave Jan a quick squeeze then stopped when he saw the rings.

“Ready to be public?” He asked as he kissed the rings on her hand.

“Now is the very best time,” said Jan firmly, and slid his ring on his finger.

“I’m on the Police Chief’s list.  Someone is targeting CSIS officers.  They shot Mac in Lindsay and Henry in Peterborough.” He sat in the hall chair with his head in his hands.  The ring gleamed on his finger. “Charlie in Orillia got away but we have heard nothing from Annie in Coboug.”

“Annie survived,” said John.  ”She came out and visited us once about ten years after everything settled down.  Charlie was killed in the end as were some 60 other CSIS agents who had been imbedded within police forces.  I think they decided in the end that it was an inside job with someone within CSIS  advising the Ontario Police Union of the presence of the operatives and then the Union dictating the removal.  Didn’t matter that all had been Union members and one even a Union boss.  There were about thirty who survived.  Thankfully my father was one of them.”
... if ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd, of what flock are ye?  - Alma 5:39

Remember to keep clear the line between sheep and sheeple!

Offline Lake Lili

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Re: Story - Neighbours
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2014, 02:36:43 AM »
Chapter 8  - On your mark…

“You gentlemen do understand what CSIS was?” John asked looking at the Committee.  Most nodded, but for those who hadn’t he explained.

“At the time it was the Canadian equivalent to the CIA and while they originally did a lot of foreign work, by the time of the Invasion, it had devolved into a strictly domestic spy agency.  My father’s position was to monitor the Police themselves and ensure that they did not get too far out of hand.  I gather that in rural areas this was a particular problem as they had found it more lucrative to work with the Triads and biker gangs in the growing of recreational drugs.”  John turned in his seat and looked at the historians behind him.  “I am sure that one of your students could write a very interesting thesis on that bit of history.  Should all be declassified by now.”  He smiled at them and turned back.

Jan and Jones both knew it was a race as to who would get to them first.  The problem of course was that the Police Chief knew that there was a time line while the American military didn’t and might not have cared even if they had.  While the Army was at the other end of the road – they were still five miles and six farms away.  Jan electrified the fence.
The buzzer sounded at the gate.  Jan turned the perimeter cameras and speakers to record.  Standing over the body of their former colleague, dressed in SWAT gear, the Police Chief and fifteen men waited.

“May I help you?” she asked.

“Police”, came the crisp reply.  “You are ordered to open the gate.  Gates are not permissible under Section 5 of the Anti-Social Natures Act (2016).”

“These gates are permitted and grandfathered under section 6025(i) of the Cultural Heritage and Skilled Trades Act (2017).  Gates will remain closed until premises cleared by US Army 3rd Infantry Division as per the orders issued by Col. James Silias.  The orders were issued at 7:10am to all residents of the CoKL under the Orders of Occupation which state that “All residents are to remain inside until their residences have been cleared by troops.” So the gates will remain closed until the US Army arrives to clear the premises”, stated Jan.

“This is the Police.  You are ordered to open the gates or we will blow them.”

“Be advised that as per Col. Silias’ directive, all police units were ordered to stand down with all authorities revoked and return to the places of abode until cleared by the Army…”

“You open this f-ing gate woman!” shrieked the Police Chief.  “You killed one of my men!”

Only now did some of the policemen look closely at the body lying on the ground.  Many looked twice at the scene and body.  They looked puzzled.  Several started to back away.

“Please watch the screen” Jan directed and she pressed play.  She watched as the policemen watched their colleague remove his badge, be shot in the back of the head by the Police Chief who the repined the badge and directed that the body be placed in her drive.  The Police Chief drew his gun and shot out the screen.  Jan and Jones watched as the SWAT members dove for cover while the Police Chief screamed and shot through the gate and at his men.

Into the turmoil drove the first American truck.  What later became labeled a battle by the surviving police and a completely forgotten minor skirmish by the Americans showed how badly thought out the Police Chief’s actions had been.  Although wounded, the Chief was hog tied and tossed into the back of the truck.  Any police who shot at the troops were shot and the rest detained.  With that dealt with Jan turned off the electrics on the fence.  She then went down and got John.  She also buzzed Andrew.

A young soldier pushed the buzzer and identified himself.  Jones unlocked the gates and they all went down to meet the advancing troops.
... if ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd, of what flock are ye?  - Alma 5:39

Remember to keep clear the line between sheep and sheeple!

Offline Lake Lili

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Re: Story - Neighbours
« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2014, 01:40:28 PM »
Chapter 9  - Get set…

The group of six young soldiers came through the three gate system and found themselves on a well-kept, well run, small farm.  They looked at each other and smiled, but did not let down their guard.  Standing in front of the house, they saw a couple with a young boy.  Coming across the farm yard was a second man.  Two soldiers peeled off the group and intercepted the man.  They spoke for a moment and then one of the soldiers lifted his radio.  Shortly thereafter a jeep came barreling into the yard, Andrew was bundled into the jeep and driven off.  The two soldiers rejoined the group and they continued up to the farmhouse.

“Good afternoon,” said one of the soldiers, with Lt. J.A. Ferguson on his name badge.

“Hi,” said Jan.

“I am Angus Jones,” said Jones.  “My wife Jan McConnell and our son, John McConnell.”

Ferguson nodded.  “Papers, please.”

Jan had all their papers ready, but Jones handed them his ID and asked to speak with the CID person.  The soldiers looked at each other again and one stepped aside to radio for CID.  Meanwhile Ferguson took Jan’s paperwork.

Ferguson asked if there were any pressing medical needs.

“Thanks,” said Jan. “We are okay for John’s medications at this time.  Neither Jones nor I take any.”

“Do you require any food?” Ferguson asked.

“No.” was Jan’s reply.  The soldier was not surprised.  Of the six properties they had been to that morning this was the fifth that did not need help, the sixth had been looted the night before.  They had found that most of the farm properties had been completely self-sufficient.  He commented on this to Jan.

“Oh,” she replied.  “They have to be.  Farmers have to be able to feed their own, and whomever else they are required to house, or they lose their farm status and their farms.  It can be a real challenge around here as the soil is not very good for crops.”

“Well that explains a lot.  Could you please take us through your house? Magnus will stay here with your son,” said Ferguson, and although he was polite it was an order.
Jan caught John’s attention.  “John,” she said looking him in the eyes. “This is Magnus.  He will stay with you here while you look at the jeep. He can radio me if you need me.”

John nodded and went back to looking at the truck.  As they left, Jan heard John start to ask Magnus questions about the jeep.

Jan led Ferguson into the house.  Ferguson was unsurprised to find a clean, but obviously lived-in house, full of old furniture, books, craft projects and produce in varying stages of preservation.  There were family pictures scattered around, local maps tacked on the wall, and paintings of the area by artists of occasionally dubious talent. Behind the front door was the gun safe inside a cupboard.  The woman did not seem concerned that he knew it was there and opened it on request – four long guns, barrels bolted and trigger locks in place, as required by law.  The boy’s room was full of cars, blocks and Lego, and old Muppet and Star Wars posters.  In the corner of his room was his desk with a wall of school material beside it.  The other bedroom was obviously the master.  Again all was well looked after and obviously old.  He figured that this is what his great-grandmother’s house would have looked like.

Looking out John’s window, Jan saw one of the soldiers making a drawing of the layout of the farm.  Two more were surveying the buildings and calling numbers to the one making the record.  John was beside the jeep with the soldier, Magnus.  John was pointing out things on the jeep and talking a mile a minute.

Jan smiled and turning to Ferguson, said “My son has a fascination with military equipment.  Do you want me to rescue your colleague before his ears bleed or after he has received a dissertation on that particular model of jeep?”

“Oh I am sure that Magnus can handle himself,” the soldier replied.  Jan was doubtful but left it alone.

They returned to the kitchen to find Jones seated at the computer with O’Donnell, the CID man.  The computer struck Ferguson as a jarring note but it reminded him that these people were far more sophisticated than they had expected.  While most of the farmers so far had been of the “good ole boy” variety Fergusons and his men had not missed the fine business sense most of the famers processed nor their almost universal loathing of governmental interference in their farm operations and life.  Jones was showing O’Donnell the tape from that morning’s shooting and then the Police Chief’s attempts to gain access to the farm.

Ferguson then had Jan take him through the out buildings and the orchard. As they went along, Ferguson grew more and more respectful of this woman, what she had inherited and what they had built, and sorry for her at what was about to happen. He also felt sorry for the farm itself.  It was a good little farm and unless they chose new tenants carefully it was bound to get mucked up.  He hoped that she would be permitted to take most of the farm’s contents with her.

“Lt. Ferguson,” inquired Jan.

“Yes Mam,” he answered.

“The man, Andrew McDonald, who was here earlier, is our neighbour from across the road.  His wife has abandoned him and taken up quite publicly with the Police Chief.  His wife turned her daughter over to the school board but their son, David McDonald, was sent to the Ford Farm on County Road 22, because he objected to his mother’s behaviour.  It is our intent to take in David until the issues with his father are sorted out.  His father will be applying for sole custody based on the mother’s behaviour.  How can we get this expedited before…” Jan stopped.  She handed him the paperwork that Andrew had written up the evening prior. “You should be aware Lieutenant that the Ford Farm is a home for wayward and hard to manage children.  They have a reputation for severe disciplinary methods and, on occasion, children placed there have become… let’s say unaccounted for.”

Looking them over, Ferguson nodded.  “McDonald will have to initiate but there is unlikely to be an issue if he makes the request. I’ll let CID know to have additional men and medical staff in place when they clear County Road 22.”

“Now,” he continued. “You are likely to be confined to the farm until the issues that CID are investigating are concluded.  You are likely also be relocated.  You may wish to use this time that you have to consolidate and prepare the things you need to be moved.  You have a large operation that will need to be moved and the fact that you can operate a farm without gasoline or diesel will make you highly sought after.  Your husband will have been given the forms that you need to complete.  You need to include any family members, immediate or extended, that are likely to want to move with you.  Once the forms are submitted, the farming communities that have available properties will request a match.  You may have several options or none.

“As an aside, you may want to look for one from Havre, Montana.  My folks are down there and there is a farm on their road that is not dissimilar to this one.  I’m going to tell them to submit for you all.”

“That is very kind Lieutenant!” said Jan, enjoying to young man’s eagerness.  “Can you tell me the process by which the farms are chosen in each community?”
“Well...” he said.  “I’m not entirely sure, but most of them were foreclosures, or abandoned and untenanted for more than 3-years.  So none of them are going to be first class places like this one but no one is being forced off their property either.  The one by my parents was farmed until five years ago when the owner died and the only child lived in New York City and hasn’t paid the taxes on it since.  My dad even tried calling him.”  He shook his head. “Some land is available because the current farmers have applied, under this scheme, to move to a different part of the country or been advised that it is in their interest to do so.”

“What kind of criteria are the communities looking for?” asked Jan.

“Well hard working for one… honest… church going...”

“Well that one is a bit difficult,” Jan interrupted.  “It has been illegal here to worship publicly since Good Friday 2016.  Initially in late 2014, the Quebec government passed a law barring the outward display of religious symbols in public service positions but within eighteen-months it was carried it to its extreme by treating religious adherence of any sort to be a form of mental illness that could result in the removal of children from the home and the incarceration of the adults for “deprogramming”.
“It went into effect on the Good Friday and the police broke down the doors of churches arresting and shooting.  It was a bloodbath.  It was the biggest asset grab in Canadian history and many people died.  The Liberal government of Justin Trudeau took everything that wasn’t nailed down and pried up what was.  Kind of like what King Henry VIII of England did but with all denominations and all faiths...  A few  religious leaders fled to the US but the majority didn’t get out in time, as did few of their parishioners, many of whom were arrested, personal assets seized and children taken away. You will find very few adults who will admit to any form of religious adherence.  However, you may see vestiges it as an economic slash cultural display – Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Cinco de Mayo and Dia de Muertos.  The important holidays are now Civic Holiday in August, Labour Day in September, Thanksgiving in October, New Year’s Day, Family Day in February, March Break, Victoria Day in May and of course July 1st - Canada Day!
“The government eventually gave dispensations to groups like the Amish and Mennonites and Hasidic Jews as they viewed their religions as having ‘quaint visual and cultural value in a diverse society’.  But even with them any religious expression is very much private and underground. You are unlikely to get many to admit that they practice.”

‘Of course,’ thought Jan, ‘I wonder if any of these guys will figure out the symbol for those who practice underground…’ as she looked above her front door at the small silver plaque with its red enamel stripe.  To those seeking, it indicated that this was a home of faith.  Taken from the story of Passover, where the Jews marked their lintels with lambs blood so that the Angel of Death might Passover, the underground Christians now used the symbol to marked their own lintels.

Ferguson had caught her glance and noted the small plaque.  Later when looking at photos of the front doors of the houses throughout the City of Kawartha Lakes, Ferguson noted that nearly 20% had the small plaques.  He suggested to his boss that this might be of importance.  He then noticed that almost to a household that those with the plaques had also been marked for relocation, while none of the households marked to stay had a plaque.  The exceptions to relocation were all due to age and infirmity.  But they still didn’t know what the plaque meant. Nor did they know if it would apply outside of the Kawarthas.

“Those plaques,” John told the Committee, “can still be found on the homes of the descendants of the Relocated.  We do it in remembrance as a guarantee of safety to each other.  They are similar to those used by those of the Jewish faith to bless the house. Can’t remember what they call them…”

“Mezuzah?”, suggested the Congressman from New York.

“Really?” said the Congressman from North Dakota.  “My in-laws have one above their door. My wife put one above our front door when we were married. Never thought about it again…”

John smiled.
... if ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd, of what flock are ye?  - Alma 5:39

Remember to keep clear the line between sheep and sheeple!

Offline Lake Lili

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Re: Story - Neighbours
« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2014, 01:45:59 PM »
Chapter 10 – Going… Going…

“You know,” John told the Committee. ‘The Jewish people call themselves The Chosen Peoples.  They will also tell you that sometimes they wish someone else might be chosen.  This time, they got their wish.  This time we were chosen. And they were right.  Being chosen can make life very difficult.

 “When the relocation scheme had been initiated in the US, the Amish and Mennonite communities in the US had been approached and quietly asked how best to move the Ontario Colonies.  So the Brethren of the American Colonies put their collective heads together and after considerable consultation paired up their Ontario brethren with Western colonies.  It was a challenge because while all were Anabaptists, their Ordnungs varied and that could cause problems. They had determined that the City of Kawartha Lakes (CoKL) Amish community would be relocated to join with the West Kootenai Colony in Rexford, Lincoln County, Montana.  Others farmers were being sent to Saskatchewan, Alberta, eastern Washington state, Idaho, Montana, North and South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

“While it wasn’t only farmers who were sent, the majority from our area were.  Some wanted to stay, only to find that the community was going to force them out. Not sure who the communities thought were going to run the farm and feed them but then logic wasn’t exactly their strong point.  Truth is that the farmers who went were working hard on marginal properties.  In Ontario long ago the best farm land had been seized by the Province and leased to corporate farm operations. So the farmers were headed to better pastures and the US got farmers who spoke English, and knew how to work in within their context.  No more importing farmers from Keyna – men who worked hard but knew nothing about how North American farms worked.”

The CoKL Colony was being moved in its entirety - houses, barns and outbuildings and their contents and equipment.  Everything would be dismantled, packed on trains and go with them. The Cedar Cove School would also be moved. The military organizers decided that as non-mechanized farmers, Jan and Jones and their family would go with them.   

It was a huge logistical challenge for the US Army to coordinate and move so many so far… to move people, buildings and equipment, livestock, and personal items.  But this was to be the test run of four-hundred and thirty people, from thirty-eight farms and twenty-two other Amish-owned businesses would be going to Rexford. A further sixty farms would be relocated to other communities across the west and would be handled in the second round. 

In the US, they had already relocated east all the “blue” families from Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, North and South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin… and there weren’t many of them, and moved west any “red” families that wished to go… oddly there weren’t a lot more of them.

For Ontario, there were transportation logistic issues. With Andrew McDonald tucked into a back office playing with the advanced software and tracking tucks, they dealt with Provincial fuel supply issues. Within the week, the Army’s Corps of Engineers had re-laid the railroad lines from the main spur at Cobourg through Fenelon Falls and on to points north.  There was the expected vocal squawking and quick silencing of the eco-freaks, who had encouraged the creation of bike paths that were rarely used except by a very small minority.  To Jan, the fact that the Americans had the man power and materials in place to do this indicated how much advanced planning and financial resources had gone into this scheme. This would not be permitted to fail.

The Army moved forward fast. Tracks were laid.  Soon the box cars were in place, and the farms were being dismantled.

The dismantling of the Colony was aided by two Amish barn-building teams from West Kootnai. They came in to meet each other and to ensure that the buildings could go back up quickly on arrival.  Winter was coming and there was no time to be lost. As fast as the trains could be procured, the families were shipped out.  At one point, they were going out at the rate of ten families a day.
Jan and Jones had presented a problem for the West Kootenai Colony. The large influx of Amish from Canada would present enough challenges as the communities blended.  Although Jan and Jones were known to the Kawartha Lakes Colony, they were not known intimately.  And while the leadership of both communities could attest that their farming lifestyles and skills were comparative, neither Jan nor Jones were religiously or culturally Amish, spoke the Pennsylvania Dutch, read the High German dialect, or were pacifists.  The Colonies were not entirely happy about them coming to Rexford, but admitted that they would be an asset. The Amish community had been in Rexford since the 1970s and there were an equal number of non-Amish in the community.   As Jan watched this development happen, she became increasingly concerned about being moved into a community that might not be welcoming. 

Jan met with the Colony leaders and the Relocation Coordinator. An elderly woman acted as her chaperone as Amish men rarely spoke to English women on their own.

“Mrs. McConnell, can you explain to me why you choose to live as you do?” asked one of the Elders from West Kootenai.

“Sir… Gentlemen… The farm was my grandparents.  Of all their children and grandchildren, I was the only one who really loved the farm and loved the work that it took to run.  As such, I attended the Royal Agricultural College in Guelph, Ontario, for 2-1/2 years, learning the business side of farming, crop management and large animal husbandry.  I had to leave before I completed my degree because my grandfather passed away and I came back to care for my grandmother and to manage the farm.  Unfortunately, because I did not have my degree and my grandmother had no formal education, the Department of Agriculture rescinded our farm license.  We were lucky that the farm was considered marginal or my grandmother would have been forced to sell it to a licensed farmer.  After that, I was permitted to grow only what would sustain the existing herds and flocks.  I was not permitted to replace animals except by natural means.  Thankfully, the neighbour’s bull was extremely wily about in getting onto our farm and so the herd numbers have been maintained through natural increase and attrition. Because of the small stipend given to care for John full-time, we have been permitted to keep chickens and have up to a two acre garden.”

The Elders all gave a small smile and nod.  Jan’s willingness to sacrifice personal to honour the needs of her elders was a strong positive.

“I believe strongly that in a small operation such as the one I had, that non-mechanized farming was the most cost effective and in the best interest of the land.  Before my grandfather’s passing, I took several courses in Tennessee with a group that taught non-mechanized farming with mules and horses.  I took my team down with me and they were a great help in knowing the best way to work the teams.  It was a terrific opportunity.  Their soils are similar to ours and rocky in nature but we don’t have the steep field issues they had, but I do have experience tilling on mountain sides. 

“My grandfather had collected the farm equipment, as had Jones’, and so I learned from him initially.  Certainly at college they pushed the mechanized means but the equipment is expensive and our farm simply did not make the type of revenues needed to purchase that type of equipment.  My grandfather believed that you only bought what you could pay cash for – no credit, no debt.  For that reason there was no concern about losing the farm on his death.”

Another of the Elders asked “Could you tell us about your husband and son?  Your marriage does not appear to be widely known, if at all.”

“While I was at college, I met my husband.  We laughed that his family’s farm was only three miles from mine, but that we had to go to Guelph to meet. Of course he was from south of the swamps, while I was from the north side…”  One of the Elders made a side comment to another about the cross swamp feuds.  “Jones was determined to become a cop but ended up recruited by CSIS.  We married quietly at the start of my second year of college with only my grandparents and his mother in attendance.  The records were deep-sixed at the St. David’s Presbyterian Church in Guelph. When I moved back here with my grandmother, Jones was posted to another city in an undercover role and I was pregnant.  For the safety of all, I kept my name and continued to portray myself as a single woman who had made a mistake.  John was born early and there were obvious issues from the start.  The Hospital for Sick Children has provided enormous support.  The Province has wanted him institutionalized from the get-go.  I have refused and Jones position has ensured that each request has been quashed.  The late Police Chief in particular spent a huge amount of time hassling us and trying to get John committed.  John has a number of issues that mark him as mild on the autism spectrum and several other physical developmental delays.  However, he is fairly social and cognitively is very bright. He simply requires more attention and focused direction than can be given him in the current educational climate, so his doctors felt that home education would be the wisest option to ensure that he would have the most opportunities.  He is not however dangerous or in any way mentally unstable.  His medications are not psychotropic in nature.  He would not be a danger to the community. His doctors could not foresee any reason why, in the fullness of time, he would not be able to be apprenticed, hold down a full time job, marry and have a family of his own.”

“Thank you for the completeness of your answer,” said one of the Elders from West Kootenai.

The talks continued with individual elders and the community leaders but finally all sides began to feel that the move was in the right direction.  Within days, the teams were in numbering boards and logs at the farm.
... if ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd, of what flock are ye?  - Alma 5:39

Remember to keep clear the line between sheep and sheeple!

Offline Lake Lili

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Re: Story - Neighbours
« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2014, 05:05:00 AM »
Chapter 11 – At the station…

“I am not sure that any of us actually thought of the process of how we were going to get from CoKL to Rexford.  I mean we knew we were going by train but the actually getting of A to B and what it would entail had not been a part of our thoughts.  My mother was far more concerned about how to get everything packed.  You know we had one rail car of furniture and good.  A second of farm equipment and then a car and a half of livestock,” John told the Committee.  “Certainly we had not contemplated the hows of our getting out of the Occupied Province of Ontario.  Or the fact that most people would not be willing to see us leave with our processions, let alone our lives.  This had always been our home.  We were not used to thinking of it as hostile territory. It was a big paradigm shift.”

Getting on to the train had not been pleasant.  The family had been brought into town with the last convoy of trucks from their farm.  As they got out at the station, they saw that a second platform had been built in the parking lot at Jug City.  They saw that a small crowd had gathered just beyond the platform and beyond that the burned out shell of the Agri-Services store.  As they went to get on the train, a woman with bound arms was pulled out of the crowd.  Head shaved and badly beaten, Jan barely recognized Mary. Around her neck was a sign saying “I sold food to Relocators”.  Several men pushed Mary to the ground in front of Jan and spat on her.  Within seconds the MPs had surrounded the crowd forcing them back as vitriolic hate-filled words word were screamed out.

Rocks, bottles and eggs began to fly. Grandma Jones moved as fast as she could to shepherd the boys onto the train.  John had begun to shake and David looked terrified.

“Grandma,” he whispered in shock.  “My Scout leader was in that group.”

Grandma Jones was only glad that he had missed the blonde lady on the end.  God help her, Gillian had thrown rocks at her own child…

 A soldier helped Jan lift Mary onto the train. As bottles and eggs hit the railway car, the doors to the car were closed.

The family was assigned one end of a Via Rail carriage, where the seats folded into beds.  With Grandma Jones soothing the frightened boys, Jan got Mary into a seat and cut the bindings on her arms.  Leaning over to kiss John, she pulled out her medical bag.  Jan cleaned the cuts and applied Preparation-H to Mary’s bruises.  The whole time Mary quietly sobbed.  Jan got her to drink some water and covered her with a blanket.  The soldier came back to check on her.

“I’m sorry Mam but we don’t have a doctor on the train.  Is she going to be okay?” he asked.

“Physically I think she’ll be okay but mentally we’ll have to see.  She’s been pretty badly beaten and not just this once. I won’t know the extent of her injuries until I can get her fully cleaned up.  Her fiancé pulled out earlier this week – one of the Yoder boys.  They are settling two farms over from us.  Her father died two years ago and her mother moved to Toronto to live with her sister but I don’t have any contact information for her. So, we’ll take her with us.  Soldier… do you know where my husband is?”

“About your husband, I have no knowledge. Above my pay grade.  About the girl, I’ll see if we can find her some clothes and there is a shower room at the top of the car.  Do you want some help getting her there?  I’ll get her accompanying you cleared.  Obviously we can’t leave her here,” said the soldier.  “Now the curtains have to be pulled down and lights will be turned off in the car for your safety once we get moving.  We recommend that you leave the blinds closed for the next while as we will be moving through hostile territory and these passenger cars have come under attack on previous runs.  It is just your family on this run to Lindsay.  There we will be picking up the cars for another family from the Cambray area.  Do you know the Codys?”

The soldier smiled.  “Supposedly,” he confided. “I heard tell that they are related to Wild Bill Cody… him who had the Wild West Show.”

Jan shook her head.  “I know of the Codys but never met any of them.  They are over in the Linden Valley, technically Woodville, and look to Little Britain and Lindsay for supplies.  I think they mostly grew feed corn.  Where are they headed? ”

The soldier smiled.  “I gather, he said, “they are headed to family who farm on the Milk River on the Canada-US border. 

Jan nodded then looked at Mary.  “I need to get her to the shower.  Can you help?”

The soldier helped Jan get Mary down the hall to the shower room.  Then he ran off to get a spare pair of fatigues.  In the shower room, Jan striped an uncooperative and bawling girl of her torn and shredded clothes.

“Mary,” said Jan.  “Look at me.  Did they rape you?”

“Not quite,” came the reply. “Well.. yes” she amended quietly.

“Not quite?  What does that mean?” asked Jan.

“They used a gun… they put it in… the threatened to pull the trigger… then their hands were everywhere…” started Mary before breaking down and crying again. “Then they started.  They thought the old men should have fun first.  Only they couldn’t you know but they touched me… men I knew… friends of my father’s and grandfather’s… it was...” she shuddered and began to shake.

‘Yuck! Yuck! Double yuck!’ thought Jan, patting the girl.  “Okay honey,” she said. “Let’s get you cleaned up.  You’ll feel a thousand times better just with that much and some clean clothes.”

“… but Jonas isn’t going too…” Mary tried again.

“Mary,” stated Jan as she turned on the water.  “He is not going to hold something like this against you.  He’s going to feel bad enough for not having been there to protect you.  Now in you go.  Here is the soap and a wash cloth.”

As Mary cleaned herself up and tried to scrub off the feeling of being touched by men she had known and always trusted.  She also knew that she was lucky to be alive.  She wasn’t sure about the two boys she had worked with.  Both had been taken, along with her, two days ago from the feed store before it had been torched.  She went to wash her hair and at the feel of her shorn head she began to cry again.

“Mary,” said Jan as she handed her a towel.  “The soldier is going to want to ask you questions about what happened.”

“Good,” the girl answered.  “Did they also get Kyle and Eggie free?”

“They took the boys too?”

“Oh yeah!” came the answer from inside a camo shirt.  “And Mr. Wallis too.  I don’t like the old man and he could be right mean, but he’s way too old to get beat on the way he was.  He didn’t sell food to any Relocators, but he did tell us to sell them feed so their animals wouldn’t starve.  He thought that the animals should all be kept here and if we didn’t feed them they wouldn’t be healthy for those who stayed. I saw Dr. P in one of their interrogation rooms.  Supposedly he had continued to treat his patients even if they was Relocators.  He said he swore an oath but The Council don’t see it that way.”

“The Town Council made that decision?” Jan asked.

“Yeah. I was pulled in front of them like they was some judge and jury.  They was the ones who ordered this. Said I was a collab… a collaba something…”

“A collaborator?” Jan asked.

Mary nodded.  “Then they ordered that my head should be shaved and I should be whipped at the cenotaph.  They made me walk barefoot down Colburne Street and then tied my hands to the flag pole and… they pulled my shirt and bra off and whipped me… They left me there exposed… then when the train came they tied my arms and made me walk down here.  I don’t know what I’m going to do…” She dissolved in tears again.

“We are going to take you with us, Mary,” said Jan. 

Jan got Mary back to their seats.  The soldier had turned one into a bed for her and she climbed in stiffly and curled up.

Jan went back down the car to talk to the soldier.

“There were a couple of things that she said that stood out,” said Jan.  “The first is that apparently the Village Council apparently has decided that they are judge, jury and executioner. Council is made up of what used to be Church elders and Community leaders, and it has a long history of catering to the old families and making power grabs. I suspect that, because she has no family here, Mary was an easy target to use as an example of what would happen if you didn’t obey them.  And with no one to defend or protect her, they went to town on her.  She has been raped, marched through town and was tied to the flag pole at the cenotaph, stripped and publicly flogged.  You might want to ask how your patrols missed this happening.

“Secondly, she was not taken alone.  Mr. Wallis, the Agricultural rep, was also beaten for permitting the sale of animal feed to Relocators on the premise that their animals should not be permitted to leave the Province.  So was a local doctor.  Dr. Pecher is very elderly.  Also, two teenaged boys were also seized and she is worried that they may actually have killed them.  I know that neither of their families are Relocators, but we will take them if you can find them and need to get them out of town.  We’ll take in Dr. Pecher too.  Mr. Wallis will be fine he has a lot of family here round and they are not going to be happy about his treatment.  Families tend to get personal about things around here and vendettas are easy to start and hard to stop.”

The soldier headed for his sergeant to report.  Jan put her head back for a moment, wishing for sleep , but instead went to see how the boys were.  Mrs. Jones had got them settled and dozing on the benches.  She got out one of their cooler bags and handed Jan a bottle of water.

“Well girl” she said. “You sure have some way of collecting waifs and strays and enlarging this here family.  That Dr. P is a fine man and he’ll be a good addition to the community.  Don’t know those boys but of course I know of the families and fine workers the lot of them.”

Jan smiled at her.

A half-hour later, a badly beaten boy and an old man were helped onto the train.  A second boy, laid out on a stretcher, was carried on board. All three were dazed and confused.

“We found them locked in the basement of the United Church,” said the soldier.  “Bit of a gun battle to get them out.  The medic on a quick check said they’d all be okay but him…” and he pointed at Kyle “…has taken some pretty nasty kicks to his lower limbs.  It will be a while before he is up and marching happily.”

Ten minutes after another soldier appeared with a couple of bags for the boys.  He then went and talked to the old man.

“Dr. Pecher,” he asked quietly.  “I am sorry but your home and office have been torched.  As we went to leave, a woman came up to one of the guards and handed him a bag and slipped back into the dark. We’re still trying to figure out how she slipped through our perimeter…  Anyways, it has some photo albums and some small items that someone thought you would want. She included a letter.  I am sorry I was not able to get more.  We will replace your medical kit if you want one.”

“Thank you son, and I’ll take you up on the offer of a medical bag,” said Dr. Pecher and put his head back, tears leaking from his closed eyes.  Then he sat-up, blew his nose, and looked Jan in the face.

“So young lady,” he said.  “Looks like I am joining you after all.  Where are we headed?”

He then saw Mrs. Jones and smiled.  To her dismay, Jan saw Mrs. Jones blush.  ‘Oh great,” she thought, “how do I explain to my husband that his mother and the doctor are eyeing each other…’ Then she smiled to herself. ‘Why not... We all deserve some happiness.’

“My grandmother married Dr. Pecher the next spring,” John said.  “They had another ten years together before he died at the age of ninety.  Then amazingly, at the age of 75, my grandmother married for a third time.  Said she liked doing for someone and she wanted her own home.  She died at the age of 86-years.  She was a good woman and well liked.” 

Behind him the historians scribbled like mad.
... if ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd, of what flock are ye?  - Alma 5:39

Remember to keep clear the line between sheep and sheeple!

Offline Lake Lili

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Re: Story - Neighbours
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2014, 05:06:26 AM »
Chapter 12 – Tracks south…

The train began to move out shortly thereafter. Jan was surprised at the smoothness and hoped that the livestock were travelling well.  She wasn’t entirely sure of the route, but figured that they would be headed to Windsor and then across.  But, they hadn’t even cleared town when the passenger coach came under small arms fire.  Via Rail coaches were really not designed to be bullet proof and they were lucky no one was hit.  She could hear fire being returned and then a boom as the Salvation Army thrift store and distribution center took a direct hit.  Even behind the curtains, Jan could see that the resulting explosion was way too big for only old clothes to have been stored there.

“So that’s what was there,” said Dr. P.  Jan looked over him.  The dark bruise on his jaw was spreading, so she pulled out the Preparation-H and applied it.  “Well I knew they had taken the fertilizer from the Agri-Co and had taken it somewhere.  It’s what saved that blamed fool Wallis.  They were really going to roast him until he offered it up. I should really go check on the boys.”

“Both are breathing evenly and asleep, Dr. P.” advised Jan.

“In that case,” said the doctor. “Let’s see what my parting gift bag contains.”

Jan laughed.  ‘One could always count on the doctor to find the bright side,’ she thought.

He picked up the bag and opened it carefully.  Inside were three photo albums – one of his grandparents, parents and childhood and two of his married life and kids. Wrapped in napkins were a mortar and pestle that had been his great-grandfather’s; an old butter mold with a pear at the bottom – it had been his great-grandmother’s; a carved reindeer and sled made for him in his childhood by a DP who had worked on his father’s farm; his stethoscope given to him when he graduated from medical school; the gun his father had taken off a German SS officer in WWII; two hankies with his mother’s initials embroidered in the corner; and a small jewelry box containing his mothers and wife’s wedding rings and his father’s medals.  There was a file with all his personal ID papers.  He looked up at Jan his eyes and cheeks wet.

“Oh my,” he said. Pulling out his handkerchief he wiped his eyes and blew his nose. “I figured these were all gone.  I was resolved to it but I sure am glad to have them.”

He pulled out the letter, read it and handed it to Jan.

Dear Dr. P,

I saw them pull you from your car at that roadblock and figured there’d only be a short window to get anything from your house.  Hope I got what was most special.  Its stuff you told me about over the years and I figured if you survived them, you’d want it.  I’ll tell you so you know that I was the one that burnt your house down.  They was talking about coming back for your files and using them to ensure cooperation.  I don’t figure that it is any of their danged business what is in anyone’s medical files so the lot will have go.  I used gasoline in there. Poured it in each drawer, so it burned really well.  If the Army comes I’ll give your bag to one of the soldiers.  Thank you for all you did for me and mine.

Best respects, Dee

The doctor smiled and gave a small laugh. 

“She’s a pistol that girl!” said the doctor.  “I delivered all four of her babies.  One back when she was a teenager…  Fought her daddy on that one…  Once I was sure what she really wanted, I helped her get the baby adopted to a good family.  She waited until she married to have the other three.

“We should be coming into Lindsay soon” said Jan. The train barely slowed to take on the other family and attach their cars to the train. 

The Codys looked as rode hard and hung-up wet as she was sure her own family did.  An extended family, there were two sets of grandparents, six other adults and twenty children from teenagers to toddlers. One teenaged boy on crutches and another had a broken arm.  They went as sat with Eggie and looked at Kyle on his stretcher.  Jan could only wonder at the boys as one of the Cody’s said to Eggie:

“You catch Kyle with your sister or sumpting?” That Kyle was moon-eyed over Eggie’s sister Tanya was an open secret.  That Eggie thought 15-year old Tanya was too young to date was equally well known. The boys all laughed and settled down to exchange stories.

Jan realized that she knew Lynn Cody as one of the tellers at the BMO in Fenelon.  It was just that she had thought her last name was Naylor.  Turned out that was her maiden name, and she’d been married to Jim Cody for twenty years and had eight kids – six of whom were teens!  Jim’s younger brother Andy Cody was married to Lisa James and they had six kids – four teens in that house.  Mary Cody was divorced and had moved back home with her four – three teens and an unexpected three year old.  Sam Cody was widowed and had two little girls, aged two and four.  Their mother had died in a car accident the previous winter and he had been fighting his in-laws for custody, a fight that had become extremely bitter once they realized that the Codys were being relocated.  Matthew and Gail Cody were the parents and Martin and Jackie Cody were his brother and sister-in-law. The family had been full to bursting in their broken down old brick house and bluntly the opportunity the relocate had been a golden one for them. 

They all settled down in their car and it rumbled out of town towards Ponty Pool and Cobourg.  Jan had been told that they were trying to get everything to a secured rail yard at Cobourg before 7pm.  Jan had wanted to know as the cows would have to be milked even if the milk would have to be thrown away.  Jan watched as the boys settled into a solid group of nine – Kyle laid out, Eggie and the Cody cousins Matt, Martin, Jamie, Tom, Mark, Eric and Tyler. Two seats down the girls collected – the two sets of twins Sama and Andrea, Lydie and Gail, and Sally. Heather went and sat with Mary and the two talked quietly. The three Cody middle boys Gordie, Joe and Drew gathered around David and John. The littles played on the floor between the rows – Agnes, Samuel and Ginger.  The noise was incredible and Jan could not remember the last time she had seen so many kids playing so well together.  It bode well for the trip.

While the Cody couples all got themselves settled at the far end of the car, Jan and Grandma Jones got things sorted out at their end. Jan pulled out bedrolls and extra blankets.  She then found the cooler bag with their dinner in it and wondered how she was going to feed three more.  “Loaves and fishes,’ she thought.

It was this separation that proved to be lifesaving.  As they cleared the old iron railway bridge south of Lindsay, there was an explosion at the far end of the car. Jan and Grandma Jones had already been bending down.  Dr. P was laid out on one of the berths.  The kids all hit the deck, but the adult Codys were all killed instantly.  The carnage was horrific and while the train kept going as gunfire erupted from both sides.

She ran down the car and grabbed the littles off the floor and tossing them to sisters and cousins and herding everyone towards the back of the car as soldiers came pouring in.  All the while, children were yelling and screaming in fear as the world continued exploding around them.

“Quiet!” ordered Jan.  “Quiet! Let the soldiers do their work.  Everyone down below window level.”

Another burst of gunfire blew out two more windows and the cool night air poured in, chilling those already shocked with terror and exhaustion.  Jan grabbed the few blankets she could see and the older kids wrapped up the littles and the injured.  Huddled under a window, Grandma Jones held John and David.  Beside them Samuel, who held tightly to his car, would not let it or his sister Heather go.

Heather looked over at Jan.  “What happens now?” she asked helplessly and shocked.

Jan looked around at the twenty-five children in front of her and said simply. “You stay with me.  We’ll find a way.”
... if ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd, of what flock are ye?  - Alma 5:39

Remember to keep clear the line between sheep and sheeple!

Offline Lake Lili

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Re: Story - Neighbours
« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2014, 05:08:25 AM »
Chapter 13 – Two dozen plus her own…

“Are you telling us that your mother took in all of those children?” asked Congressman Kennedy from Massachusetts.

“She took them all in without knowing where we were going or how it would all come together,” said John with considerable pride.  “You all used to have a program called ‘No Child Left Behind’… My mother lived it.  She truly believed that children were a gift from God that was to be cherished and supported.  It was just until then, all she’d had was me.”

It took almost an hour to clear the way forward.  Until then there was nowhere for them to move to, so they all stayed where they were during the half hour trip to Cobourg.  A screen of soldiers blocked their view of the dead at the other end.  One by one, Jan and Mrs. Jones shook the children clear of glass and cleaned as they best they could the small cuts while Dr. P attempted to see if there were any more significant injuries.  It was dark and cold, and the crying, emotionally wrung-out children clung to one another.  They were all exhausted, very chilled and heart sick by the time they arrived at the depot.  There they were led off the train and into one of the barracks.

“Mrs. Jones?” asked Jan. “Can you and Dr. P watch the children, while the medic checks them while I go check the livestock?”

They nodded and Jan went and spoke with the older children.  Selfishly Jan hoped that the livestock had all survived.  She suspected that the goal was to stop the train and steal the livestock so their attackers were not aiming for those cars.  More than ever, their lives were now going to depend on those animals.  Matt and Jamie chose to go with her to deal with their family’s livestock.  Sama and Andrea came to deal with the milking. 

The cattle were all fine and with a soldier to guard the girls while they milked the eight cows, Jan and the boys left to go to the next car.  One of the quarter horses had caught a piece of shrapnel in its left flank but that was easily removed, cleaned and patched-up.  They were fed and watered and settled quickly.  The third car was a bit of a mess.  There were three hens that had been hit.  Matt dispatched them quickly and Jamie ran them back to the barrack to be cooked up for dinner.  They left them with Heather.  She and Mary quickly plucked and gutted them before chopping them up to stir-fry and the into the soup pot.  With thirty people to feed, three hens wouldn’t go far.

One of the other tragedies was that one of the pigs had been hit across the neck by shrapnel.  The only luck was that he had fallen snot down and bled out.  A quick talk with the Sargent indicated that they would be here for 24-hours while new passenger rail cars were obtained.  With the help of two soldiers, they hoisted the pig outside the barrack and cut him so that he finished the bleed out properly.  Jan was able to access her canning jars.  Martin Cody had been apprenticing as a butcher, so Jan let him handle the cutting while she and the girls prepared to can as much as they could.  Food simply could not be wasted.  She was annoyed that they would not be able to render the fat, but in talking with the depot cook, he was willing to trade butter for the leaf fat and fatback on a pound per pound basis.  So Jan ended up with 7 ½ lbs of butter.  She clarified it to ghee and canned it too.  It was a long 24-hours in getting it all done but as a first team project, Jan figured that they could not have come up with anything better.

During that time she met twice with the Relocation Coordinator.  First when they had buried the Codys, and then when they had met to discuss the children’s future. The Codys out west were unable and unwilling to take on twenty children... Lord knew the idea was daunting.  They’d take the boys on as unpaid field hands but would take none of the girls or littles.  Jan decided that the older children needed to involved making the decision, so she and the Coordinator met with them.

“Okay listen up all of you,” said Jan rising her voice only slightly over the babble.  “This is Major Johnston who is in charge of the Relocation venture for this area.  You’ve already met him when he came to pay his condolences. Now he has talked to your cousins out in Milk River.  Major…”

Jan turned the floor over to him.

“Okay here’s where things stand.  Option 1 - Mrs. McConnell has offered to keep you all.  Option 2 – Your cousins are willing to take the seven boys on to work as field hands in exchange for room and board. But they won’t take the girls or the small children who can either go with Mrs. McConnell or go to an orphanage.  Option 3 – you all go to an orphanage.  I would like to add a fourth option for those seventeen and older.  Enlistment in the military is an option and we would welcome you.

“Now Mrs. McConnell has made it very clear to me that you all are old enough and have been through enough to have an input into your lives.  I am sorry to rush you but decisions need to be made quickly as it impacts which way the train will head.”

The children broke off into family groups.  Then Matt, Jamie and Heather spoke together before Matt turned to the Major.

“For the time being, we think that going with the McConnells will be the best solution.  We will take all the things our parents packed with us and add our livestock to theirs.  Our only concern is that it is unlikely that the McConnell’s house will be big enough to house us all plus the other four kids that Mrs. McConnell has adopted in the past two weeks as a result of this military action.  Is there someone who can help with that?  Also Heather and I want to go into the military, myself as a soldier and Heather as a nurse.  We can’t do it until our siblings are settled so we would like to defer enlistment for a year.  Can that be done?”

Jan smiled a big smile and was pleased to see the kids thinking ahead that way.

The Major was even more pleased.  There a few more boys in that group who would make fine soldiers and he intended to grab them while he could.

... if ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd, of what flock are ye?  - Alma 5:39

Remember to keep clear the line between sheep and sheeple!

Offline Lake Lili

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Re: Story - Neighbours
« Reply #15 on: March 19, 2014, 05:15:18 AM »
Chapter 14 – A growing family…

“I can remember,” John told the Committee, “Sitting with my mother at the long table in the barracks that night. It was an enormous decision that she made.  With time I can see that there were no other options in her mind but at the time I wasn’t happy.  She was my mother and I was used to having her to myself.”

“Are all those kids really going to come and live at the house with Daddy and Grandma?” John asked with the look of a kid whose whole world had gone through the blender and he had no idea where anything stood any more.

“I hope so.  What do you think?” she asked.

“Well I don’t really want them all to come, but I guess that they are. Right?” he said with hopeful resignation.  When Jan nodded, he continued, “Well then I’ve got two thoughts.  It’s going to be really crowded. So we need to have some big bedrooms added on.  Can we just do two – one for boys and one for girls?” he suggested.

“That’s a good idea but maybe we’ll do a boys, a girls, one for the littles, one for Grandma, and also have two rooms for Dr. P.”

“Why does Dr. P get two rooms?”

“Well he needs a bedroom and an office to see patients in,” said Jan.

“Can’t he share a room with Grandma?  They keep holding hands and looking goofy at each other.”

Jan wanted to laugh. “Ummm… well… how about if they get married they can share a room, but not until then. So what was your other thought?” 

John looked at her seriously.  “Where did they take Daddy?”

Jan turned and put out her arms to hug him, but he stood back, waiting for her answer. Jan’s arms dropped.

“I don’t know John.  Every time I ask they refer it to someone else or say above my pay grade. But I miss him desperately.  At least before he would call us, this time he doesn’t seem to be able to and now we don’t have a phone.  At least he knows where we are going. I can only pray that he will be able to join us soon. Besides,” Jan looked at him and smiled. “We have a whole lot more kids now and I want help with the dishes!”

John smiled. “What are you writing about?” he asked pointing at her notebook.

“Well,” she said.  “I figured that I had better start recording information on the kids. I need to know things like birthdays and allergies and stuff like that.”

“Am I going to be in there?” he asked.

Quickly she drew a five column chart.  “You bet! I need to know their names, ages, dates of birth what grade they are in in school and what their work co-ops were.  You know honey, those work co-ops were just about the only thing I agreed with the school board on.  Made the kids able to work in our community rather than having them all go to Toronto to work in offices and have no skills.  You know John.  No system is ever entirely wrong.  You can hate the system but admire aspects of it.  The key is to identify and replicate the good without falling prey to the bad.  Apprenticeships are really good.” So she wrote:

Name           Age   Date of Birth   Schooling   Work/Apprenticeship
Matt Cody           19   Sept 12           Finished   Farming… interested in being a soldier
Jamie Cody   18   Jan 4                   Finished   Farming
Heather Harris   18   Mar 5           Finished   Nurse’s Aid… interested in being a military nurse. 
Eric Harris           17   May 11           Grade 12   Auto mechanics co-op
Eggie Roberts   17   Apr 23           Grade 12   Agri-Co co-op, chicken farming
Mary Taylor   17   Aug 3           Grade 12   Agri-Co co-op, accounting co-op
Kyle Ball           17   June 15           Grade 12   Agri-Co co-op, pig farming
Martin Cody   17   Oct 12           Grade 12   Butcher co-op
Tom Cody           16   Apr 18           Grade 11   Grocery store co-op
Sama Cody (twin)  15   June 6           Grade 10   Fenelon Dairy co-op
Andrea Cody (twin)15   June 6           Grade 10   Fenelon Dairy co-op
Mark Cody           15   Sept 25           Grade 10   Handley’s, lumber yard co-op
Tyler Harris   15   Jan 21           Grade 10   Mechanical co-op @locks
Lydie Cody (twin)14   Aug 27           Grade 9   Bakery co-op
Gail Cody (twin)    14   Aug 27           Grade 9   Farming co-op
Erin Cody           14   Oct 31           Grade 9   Tailoring co-op
John McConnell   12   Apr 2                   Grade 7   
David McDonald   12   May 24           Grade 7   
Sally Cody           10   June 28           Grade 5   
Gordie Cody   10   Nov 9           Grade 5   
Drew Cody             8   Jul 15           Grade 3   
Joe Cody             8   Feb 22           Grade 3   
Agnes Cody     4   June 17           JK   
Samuel Harris     3   May 26      
Ginger Cody     2   Sept 2      

John kept watching. “Now I’m going to colour coded the kids by family.  Jim & Lynn Cody’s kids were blue. Andy & Lisa Cody’s kids were yellow.  Mary Cody’s kids were pink and Sam Cody’s kids were purple. Now, why don’t you go play with David.  I need to have a little chat with Heather.”

Looking around she saw the girl and went over and joined her.  Heather had a sleeping Samuel wrapped up in her arms.  Both had been crying.

“Do you want me to put him down on the bed for you?” Jan asked quietly.

Heather shook her head.  “He’ll only start crying again.  He’s not too heavy.  What’s up?”

“I’ve just been writing you all in my book to try and keep everyone straight.  I don’t have your father’s name or the name of the girls’ mother…”

“Oh!” said Heather.  “Well my dad is Eric Harris, Sr.  But he has remarried and has two children with his next wife.  Just to be confusing those kids are Eric and Jane.  The other Eric is three months younger than Samuel.  My parents had been separated for a couple years and decided to give it another try.  It was a disaster, and then my dad met this other woman and left.  Dad didn’t know that Mom was pregnant until she was six months along.  She didn’t tell him.  He was sorry about it after but she was really mad and hurt.  We haven’t seen him since he left.  He tried but Grandpa was pretty angry too and ran him off a bunch of times. I know that Dad and… I think her name was Kathy.  Mom always called her ‘that woman” with a big heap of scorn.  Now the little girls’ mother was Aunt Marie.  She was pretty and fun but her parents were really nasty.  They hated Uncle Sam.  Whatever you do don’t let them take the girls. Aunt Marie told us never to let ourselves be alone around her daddy as he liked little girls.”

Jan filed that little bit of information away under ‘oh yuck’.  Just then Agnes walked up.

“You can’t be my Mommy,” announced the girl. “You can’t be an auntie either.”

“Why not?” asked Jan.

“Because they all die.”

“Well then why don’t you call me Tante Jan,” said Jan.

Agnes looked at her consideringly and finally nodded her ascent.

“Why did you choose that title?” asked Heather.

“Do you know where we are going?” asked Jan.

“Somewhere in Montana,” replied Heather.

“We are going to Rexford.  It has a large Amish community and we are going there because I ran a non-mechanized farm at the north end of Fenelon Township.  While we are obviously not Amish, the German language is spoken and there is also a formality to the way that they live.  Children do not call adults by their first name.  It’s rude and disrespectful.  Calling me Aunt or Tante would be a politeness. While calling me Mrs. McConnell is overly formal. 

“Now I need to say this to you.  I have no idea how long it will take us to get to Montana or how things will come together when we get there.  Currently my husband is missing and I have adopted 23 young people, his mother and an old man in the fifteen days since he has been gone.  But I do promise you this.  You will all have a home with us until you choose to leave. You and the older kids are almost adults so I will not try to be your parents but I will give you a safe harbour to finish off being teens and help guide you where you want to go. But I do promise to raise Samuel and the other younger children.  If you are not happy with things you must come and speak with us.  I cannot fix or resolve anything I don’t know about.  Now Samuel is solidly asleep.  I will put him on the cot next to you so that you can lie down to.  Sleep while you can.”

Jan went back and finished filling in her chart and then started an individual page for each child. Ten-year old Sally then joined her and started talking.  Jan figured that the book would be full by the time they reached Rexford.

“I have that book here,” John told the Committee.  He could hear the historians buzzing behind him.  He handed it to an aide who took it forward to the Committee.  He could see them handling the fragile pages and looking at faded writing.  “That is the original book. It was started before we ever left Ontario.  My mother wrote the daily news and weather… what happened to the livestock and crops… which neighbours she saw or shopping she did… My mother started a new one several times year.  She noted our illnesses and accomplishments, our apprenticeships, marriages and family details.  She kept them for every year from the train trip until her death.  She died at the age of ninety.  The archive in Rexford has the other volumes.  There are more than two hundred copy books in total.  As they had their own families my sisters and several of my brothers kept them too.  I gather some of the grandchildren have also kept the tradition.  When these girls marry, I will give them each a note book as their wedding gift.”
The girls blushed and lowered their eyes. The Congressmen looked at each other.  They had never heard of such a thing. 
... if ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd, of what flock are ye?  - Alma 5:39

Remember to keep clear the line between sheep and sheeple!

Offline Lake Lili

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Re: Story - Neighbours
« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2014, 11:05:31 PM »
Chapter 15 – Rolling again…

When they got on the train the next day, they were no longer in a passenger car.  They were now being transported in a modified troop car.  It was modified to have a kitchen at one end and bunks stacked four high at the other.  Jan and Mrs Jones promptly started to hang curtains for a girls’ side and a boys’ side.  There were fifteen boys and Dr. P on one side and 10 girls with Jan and Grandma Jones on the other.  Although on the first nap Agnes, Samuel and Ginger all piled onto one bunk like a litter of puppies and slept together.  Heather remarked that it was just like home and then burst into tears.  She and Mary went off to talk together.

In the middle of the car were two big tables with enough bench space for them all.  At the other end was a kitchen area with a big wood stove for cooking and eating.  It wasn’t pretty but it was insulated and they were warm.  The only problem was that there were no windows but then even if there had been they would have been blacked out for safety.  They had been told that they would be going through Toronto at night.  The rail lines ran right through the downtown core and there were safety concerns with all the bridges.  The train was coupled with more cars with more families from other areas headed west.  Jan knew they were there, but did not meet them.  Several times a day, she and the older kid would make the dash between cars to check the livestock.  The children all seem to be holding up as well as could be expected.  As they worked through their grief, several times a day someone would dissolve in tears and need hugs and pats to get them back on track.

Milk was needed for the younger children so Sama and Andrea were milking twice a day.  The milk was all being strained, boiled and served as hot chocolate or cooked into cereals.  Anything left was given to the pigs.  It was a huge waste but conditions were just too unsanitary to be able to drink it cold or keep it.

The chickens were laying but the numbers were way down due to stress, cold and lack of light.  There were usually enough eggs so that every other day everyone could have one boiled with enough to bake some treats with.  One of the chickens had turned cannibal and so she ended up in the pot before she could teach the others.  The pigs were happy to take care of the very few scraps that made it off the table.

One of the big challenges turned out to be related to the soldiers that were posted to their car.  There were always two on duty in the car at any time.  Guard duty went always to the youngest and the young men clearly enjoyed being with people their own age, especially the girls.  While most of the Cody girls were modest in dress and Mary being engaged to an Amish boy was naturally plain in her dress for all she wore fatigues, it turned out to be Heather that was a problem.  Raised in the city by a mother who encouraged her to “dress with the times”, Heather’s tops were too tight, too low cut and too short. Her jeans were too tight and too low. She flirted outrageously with the soldiers who were equally lonely and lapping up her attention.  Finally Jan had to step in.

“I realize that you are bored beyond all comprehension and that you see chatting with these young men as a way to relieve the boredom but I need to point a few things out.  (1) I am not your mother and I am not trying to replace her, so count that come back off your list. (2) You behaviour threatens the careers of these young men because sooner or later they are going to reach for what you are advertising and you are going to say they attacked you and their careers will be over. This is the real world, not high school, and they will be forever destroyed. (3) You claim you want a military career, well you are on trial here, and right now you won’t be getting in based on your behaviour. (4) Your behaviour threatens the safety of the group because while you are distracting the soldiers they are not paying attention to our safety.  If you are looking for something to do, I would suggest that you take your career aspirations over to Dr. P and start talking and learn as much as you can from him.  He is the doctor going into our new community, and play it right, and you could spend a year gaining experience as his nurse before going into the Army.”

Heather opened her mouth. Jan put up a hand. “Think it through,” she said. “Now go and dress in something that doesn’t look like your marketing your wares at Church & Isabella.”

Heather flounced off looking for sympathy from Mary.  With the bruises still vivid on her faces, Mary was not at all sympathetic.

“Grow up!” she stated. “This is a war.  We are being forcibly relocated. I was raped. A whole lot of us have been beaten by people we knew and trusted.  Your family was killed. Mine are who knows where. We are being taken in by a woman we don’t know, who went from having a special needs twelve year old to twenty-five kids and two old folks in the space of two weeks, and her husband is missing. And you… you are treating this like some school trip to summer camp! Aghhhg!”  Mary stomped off.

Eric hobbled up on his crutches and slung an arm over her shoulder.  “She’s right Sis.  They both are.  Now come spend some time with Tyler, and Samuel and me.  We need some family time.  Just us four.  We need to talk some hard truths for us and decide where we go from here.”

He led her over to a bunk where the other two boys were.  Tyler was playing trucks with Samuel.

“Okay,” started Eric.  “Harris family conference and game plan time.  So we decided that we are going to Rexford with the McConnells and our cousins and the others.  Heather has already said that she wants to become a military nurse but is going to defer for a year to get us settled.  As Tante Jan correctly pointed out Heather would be smart to volunteer to be Dr. P’s nurse. So that is her taken care of.

“I’d say for me that school is done.  Don’t look at me like that Hez – I was never a good student.  Somewhere in Rexford is going to be an agricultural implements repair operation and I am going to go looking for that.  That old guy next door to our place, Mr. Van der Lipp, gave me the name of an old guy he knew in Rexford.  He’s Amish too and hopefully he’ll set me up with someone in their Colony.

“Tyler needs to get back to school.  He’s book smart as well as mechanically inclined.  It will also give us more social contacts in the community beyond who we meet through the McConnells and the Army.  At least we’re lucky in that we know a lot of the Amish families who are moving there. But there are going to be differences between the two Colonies and we don’t want to become the nails that need to be hammered between the two while they sort out those differences.

“Also Tante Jan pointed out to Hez something that I hadn’t thought about and that is that like it or not Jan will become Samuel’s mother.  We can hate it all we want because we know who his mother is, but reality is that Mom and Dad are gone and he needs the security of parents just like we did at his age.  So we need to be prepared for that and be glad that it is someone decent like her and that he didn’t get packed off to an orphanage, adopted out and lost to us.  Thoughts?”

Tyler looked up at them.  “I miss Mom & Dad but I sure am glad we are not going to be slave labour at the cousins.  Remember what it was like on vacation there.  We did all the work while they sat around and issued orders.  I was talking to the Army Corps of Engineer guys when they were laying the tracks at the bottom of our farm about the type of work they did and I am really interested in learning more.  So I would say long term I’m for the Army too but we’ll see how it goes.”

“I am going to get changed in a second,” said Heather.  “I’ve had a chance to think over what Tante Jan said and I think I was just trying act like I would have if everything was normal and Mom was here.  But you know Grandpa wasn’t too happy about how I was dressing and behaving.  I just didn’t think that anyone else saw it as an issue and he was just being an old grump.  But I’m thinking that Grandpa might have been right and it was Mom who was wrong to encourage me.  Tante Jan was really direct in saying why it was an issue and I think it bodes well for us all in the future if she can discipline that way.  I am sure a lot less concerned about Samuel than I was.  I couldn’t see how we could all go off and leave him with her.  Even if I were to not go into the Army and was to marry in a year or two, he needs stability now and I’m glad she is willing to give it.  Same with Aggie and Ginger.  Those two haven’t had a stable place to live since Aunt Marie died.  I did tell Tante Jan about Aunt Marie’s daddy so I don’t think she would let them go there.  The other cousins, the middle ones all need support and guidance too.  In going with the McConnells at least we are able to stay together.”

Samuel looked up.  “Are Mommy and Daddy in Heaven with Aunt Marie?”

Eric looked at him and said “Yes.”

“Good,” said Samuel.  “Then there is someone there to show them around.”

The older three looked at each other and tried not to grin and failed.  “I’m off to change and to talk to Dr. P.,” said Heather.  “If you have a moment you two should each talk to Tante Jan about your plans.  She has this notebook going and she is writing down the important stuff.  So if it is important to you to have her remember, then tell her.  With twenty-five of us, she can’t possibly know otherwise.”

The train kept rolling through Toronto without incident.  It simply did not stop.  The local populations were being kept well back from the rail lines and the ports and with unauthorized incursions resulting in fatal injuries successful attacks were becoming fewer.  No further chances were being taken. With no standing Canadian army and a population well used to being over policed, the general populous was not the issue.  The problems were being incited by the police and by what the teachers were teaching the kids.  Soldiers were not used to viewing the frontline enemy as children and in this war that was who it was turning out to be.

But the train kept rolling out and away from this.  Originally they were to go through Windsor but the lengthy hold keeping trains on the Canadian side of the boarder were turning them into targets, so the train shunted and headed to Buffalo. 

Meanwhile, at the Detroit station a very frustrated Jones waited with his Army guard for a train that did not appear to be coming.  At the last minute, they boarded a train headed for Chicago.
... if ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd, of what flock are ye?  - Alma 5:39

Remember to keep clear the line between sheep and sheeple!

Offline Lake Lili

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Re: Story - Neighbours
« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2014, 11:08:53 PM »
Chapter 16 – Rolling into the future…

As the train rolled through the Southern Ontario night, Jan got the younger kids tucked in. Prayers were said in the safe knowledge that saying them could no longer result in prosecution or persecution. Grandma Jones sat on one side of the wood stove with her knitting.  Sama sat with her learning to knit and pearl... and dropping more than a few.  Dr. P sat on the other side.  He was guiding Heather through a copy of Grey’s Anatomy. He was beaming at the opportunity to teach once more.  Jan sat with a couple of the older kids, notebook out, learning a bit more about them. 

Tom Cody talked in glowing terms of his apprenticeship at the Sobey’s grocery store in Fenelon and at how the manager Mr. Marcus had spent an hour with each kid every week mentoring them on the things that made his store the top Sobey’s in the Province.  He desperately hoped that he would be able to find another mercantile mentor in Rexford.  Jan made a note on his page in her book as he waxed lyrical on the importance of cleanliness and display, the processes of ordering and stocking, and how to price to sell.  Jan was impressed with the amount he had learned.  Mr. Marcus had run an excellent operation, even if it had been too pricey for her to shop there.

Sama and Andrea talked, in the disjointed way that twins often do, about dairy cattle and cheese making.  Sama talked with great fondness of cattle and their care.  She asked if she could manage the dairy part of their herd.  Andrea wanted to manage the other end of the process, caring for the milk and making the cheese and butter.  Both of them loved working in the vegetable gardens too.  They said that Sally was a big help and things just grew for her. 

A light bulb went off for Jan.  Recognizing that with the number of people in the household a different management style would be needed, she asked the kids to give her a list of their skills and favoured activities.

Lydie wrote carefully on the paper that she loved baking and cooking but hated laundry.  Erin noted that she loved clothes – from making them through caring for them, including laundry. In her small suitcase she had brought her button collection. Eggie, whose real name was Nathan, wrote down that he loved chickens and wanted to manage poultry operations.  Kyle wanted to handle the pigs. Gail was in love with horses, especially heavy horses.  Jamie wanted to be involved in the cropping, but hated dealing with livestock. Mark wanted to be involved in rebuilding the buildings and to look after structural repairs and the wood piles.  Tyler wanted to be involved in maintaining the mechanics of the house.

Jan stopped them there.  “You realize,” she said, “that the farm is not mechanized and that there will be no electrics into the house.” The children goggled at her. “Part of the reason that we were chosen to go to Rexford was that we could operate without utilities.  All electrical power at our last place was courtesy of the solar panels we had.  They provided enough power to maintain a small fridge for dairy, a small freezer, the fences and the computer.”

Jamie looked at her with fear of confirmation in his eyes.  “You mean I’m not going to have a tractor to work with?  You mean I’m going to have to work with hoses?”

“Yes,” said Jan.  “Jones and I know how and can teach you.  You’ll love the equipment and the horses are trained for that type of work.
“Now while you keep writing down what you like to do and hate doing, which of you can tell me about the supplies your parents packed and what livestock they brought.  I know that your house did not come and I gather your barn did not either…”

Heather and Matt looked at each other.

“Well… Matt started.

Jamie laughed. “The house was old.  Really old brick and it was falling down.  I mean Grandma needed to have the plumbing fixed and they found that the floors upstairs were rotten and there was no support under the toilet.  Then they found that the second floor wasn’t really attached to the outer frame and then that the outer frame was rotten where it stood on the sills and that the logs that made up the main floor had rotted to the point that some were actually no longer touching the outer walls and… anyways, the contractor called in the inspector and they condemned the house.  We ended up living in the green drive shed with porta potties on each side for the boys and girls and dividing curtains.  The CoKL had already told my grandparents that they had until the first snows came to find a better place for us or they would take us…”

Heather then took over.  “The Americans invading and deciding to relocate us was God sent.  None of us wanted to go to our cousins but it was better than being taken and split up by the Province.  We’d have never seen the littles again.”

Jan nodded and said. “Okay but what did your family pack to bring with them?”

Heather said “Well we had some food.” Heather pulled the Army packing list out of her pocket.  “Not a lot but 200lbs of potatoes, 120lbs of onions, 300lbs of rice, 500lbs of flour and another 500lbs of white sugar. We also have 200lbs of wheat berries and 300lbs of popcorn. Mom also had 200 gallons of white vinegar, 50 gallons of soya sauce, 20 gallons of Diana’s Honey Garlic BBQ sauce, 30 gallons of maple syrup.  There are boxes of spices and such.  We had also just taken delivery of this month’s permitted purchases of salt, yeast, and chocolate. There are cases of tinned meat and canned things like fruit, veg and wild meats.  We have 10 dairy cows and their calves, 10 beef cows including six steers – three of those ready for slaughter, 40 chickens, 3 sows and 14 gilts.  We had to shoot the boar, he was just too mean to transport safely.   We still have two male pigs from this season’s breeding and we are hoping to trade him to someone for increased genetic diversity.  Frankly we are not very well positioned and I am not quite sure how we were going to do it when we got to Alberta.”

Erin then added “I know that Grandma had 600 jars and 14 cases of lids for them.  Each case had 24 boxes of 12 lids.  Some of them were those reusable Tattler lids but after they were outlawed, she couldn’t get them anymore and so was real careful and always tried to reuse the lids once.  I worked most often with her in the canning.”

“Did they have a dehydrator?” asked Jan.

“Yes,” said Erin. “Grandma had three small ones that worked pretty well.  She used them for drying fruit and veg only.  She said she didn’t trust them for meat, but we had a smoke house for that.”

At the end of the night, Jan had a rough idea about the supplies that they would have at hand and the skills that the kids had to contribute.

She mocked up a work chart in her notebook.

Cooking: Jan, Mrs. Jones, Heather, Erin, Lydie
Baking: Mrs. Jones, Lydie
Dairy   : Sama, Andrea
Housekeeping: Jan, Mrs. Jones, Mary, Heather, Erin
Clothing: Erin, Sally
Wood Box:   Mark, Tom
Health: Dr. P, Heather
Childcare of Littles: Jan, Mrs. Jones, Mary, Heather, Erin
Facilities Maintenance   
Building: Mark
Equipment: Jones, Tyler, Eric
Cows – beef: Martin (also apprenticing as a butcher), Sama
Cows – dairy: Sama, Andrea
Pigs:   Kyle
Chickens: Eggie
Horses – heavy:   Gail
Horses – riding:   Gail
Crops: Matt, Jamie
Vegetable Garden:Mrs. Jones, Sama, Andrea, Sally
Orchard: Jan, Kyle
Yard Maintenance: Jones, John, David, Gordie, Drew, Joe

On another page, she began to try and figure out how much space they were going to need.  The log house had two bedrooms, which of course had been fine for three.  It was impossible for twenty-nine.  Her fingers flew as she figured that two large dorm rooms and three regular sized bedrooms.  She started sketching the house and seeing how the dorm rooms could be added.  She figured that Dr. P and Mrs. Jones could have separate cabins.

Suddenly there was a scream in the air and the train shuddered and stopped… another scream and another shudder… then a third… then the train seemed to leap forward and race down the tracks.  The two guardsmen leapt to their feet and each ran to an opposite door.  Jan sent the kids to their bunks.  She allowed them to double up as they needed but all little feet were to be off the floor.

... if ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd, of what flock are ye?  - Alma 5:39

Remember to keep clear the line between sheep and sheeple!

Offline Lake Lili

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Re: Story - Neighbours
« Reply #18 on: March 20, 2014, 11:11:59 PM »
Chapter 17 – They kept coming…

With their guns drawn, the soldiers stood guard.  A group of ten moved through their car, and out the back. Jan and the other two adults exchanged fearful glances.  They heard two shots.  Shortly thereafter the back door opened and two soldiers came each carrying a child.  The second soldier had an older child by the hand.  All three were black with smoke and covered in… well who knows what it was and speculation wasn’t getting it off.  With haunted eyes, the lead soldier said:

“Will you help? Their car is gone.  They were under the seats…” his voice trailed off.

Jan and Mrs. Jones reached for the children.  Jan quickly took the water off the top of the stove and poured it in a basin.

“Heather”, she called.  “See if you can find me some small track pants and sweatshirts.”  The looking down at the oldest child she asked quietly, “What is your name?”

The child didn’t respond.

Jan sat the child she was holding down on the table and stripped off its clothes.

“A girl here,” she said to Mrs. Jones. She popped the child in the water and gently cleaned her off before wrapping her in a towel.

The little wiggly girl was then placed in front of Dr. P, who checked her health, before passing her off to Heather to be diapered and dressed.

“The little girl is about 18-months old… maybe 21-months but not two yet,” he said.

“This one is a boy,” Jan told Dr. P.  “Long gash on front of his left thigh.  Not deep.”

Jan passed him the boy.  Dr. P cleaned the gash.  No stiches were required but he taped some gauze over the wound, and Heather dressed him.

“Same age as the girl,” said Dr. P.  “It’s possible that they are twins or close cousins.”

“Twins,” said a small voice.  “Thems mine. Hilda and Kurt.”

“Do you know how old they are?” Dr. P. asked.

The small head shook.  “Thems supposed to have birthday party at new house.”

“Do you know where your new house was going to be?” The little head shook no.

“Do you know where your old house was?”  The little head shook no.

“Do you know how old you are?”  The little head shook up and down.
“Can you tell me?”  The little head shook no.

Can you tell me your name?”  The little head shook no.

“Why not?”

The child looked at her like she was an idiot. “Cause I’m not allowed to talk to strangers.”

“Ah…” said Jan.  ‘Well that is a very good reason.”

Gently, Jan sat the child on the table and began to wash face and arms.  When she went to remove the child’s shirt, the child resisted.

“You can’t see my private areas.  They’s mine,” said the child.

“I understand,” said Jan seriously, all the while trying not to smile.  “We are trying to get you cleaned up and put in clean clothes.  You watched us bathe Hilda and Kurt and know that we didn’t hurt them.  So may I bathe you too? Then we can all get something to eat.”

After due consideration, the child nodded.  “Okay.  Whats is we going to eat?”

As she removed the child’s shirt and torn pants, she noted the bruises on the child’s upper arms and then the stripes and scars across the child’s back.  Gently she bathed the child.

“You have a lot of cuts on your back.  We’ll have Dr. P. put some magic cream on them so that they don’t get infected.  How did you get the cuts?”

“Iz get whupped for talking back and not cooking enough dinner for Daddy.”

“Oh!” said Jan, her mind racing. “And where was Mommy?”

“Oh she was entertaining Daddy’s mean ole boss.  She hates him but if she don’t go entertain him then Daddy wont gets to keep his job.  She was really happy we was movin so she donts got to entertain no more.  Daddy aints always mad.  Just when he gots to allow Mama to entertain that man.”

Jan and Mrs. Jones exchanged looks.  Both had heard of that sort of thing but never up from a child.

“Okay!” said Jan. “Let’s get Dr. P to work his doctor magic and then we’ll get some dinner.”

She looked at Dr. P and mouthed “Girl. Whipped with a belt. I need to get one of the soldiers to see.”

Dr. P. nodded and Jan went to the end of the car.

“Private.  Would you please radio your Sargent?  We have an abuse issue with one of the children who needs to be seen before the child can be released to their parents again.”

The soldier looked at her and grimaced.  “They were the only survivors from that car.  I know that Sarge wants to speak with you too.  So just a second.”  He lifted his radio.

A short while later a weary looking man in his early thirties came into the car.  The babies were asleep, side by each, on a bunk.  Samuel was playing cars with the little girl, with Heather supervising.  The quick meal of KD had been well received by the children.

Jan put a cup of coffee down in front of Sergeant Tyler Davison.  He scrubbed his hands with his face.

“With all due respect, I can’t wait to get back to the US,” he said.

Jan smiled into her coffee.

“Okay,” he said.  “Here’s what happened.  Rocket fire has taken out the last three cars of the train.  We lost two cars full of people and a box car full of belongings. I lost six soldiers.  Saved were the two babies who had been put in boxes and shoved under the seats. I don’t think I want to know what type of parent does that.  The third child was asleep on the bottom shelf of the luggage compartment by the head.

“I am deeply sorry about your men,” said Jan.  “The rest of the information fits.  So… the three are siblings.  The twins are Hilda and Kurt and the older child refuses to tell us a name.  However the girl has been whipped and recently as the marks are fresh, but there are older scars below.  The girl has said that it happened because of her father’s frustration at being unable to prevent his boss from demanding that her mother ‘entertain’ him.”

The sergeant looked disgusted.  “Why didn’t he quit?!?”

Well,” said Jan. “It is illegal to quit a job.  You can be fired but if you are then you lose your children because you are deemed ‘unfit’.  Technically something like this could result in you being permitted to change jobs, but in all likelihood the wife would be charged with prostitution and the husband with trying to bribe his boss.  By the time it came to court they would have lost their home, the children and their reputations.  Chances would be good that neither would ever be hired again, so they would end up doing hard labour as vagrants.  You can’t win under this system.”

“He won’t have to worry about anything now except explaining his abuse to his Heavenly Father,” said the sergeant.  “Our issue now is the three children.  Looking at the transit papers, the family’s last name was Schmidt.  They had five children.  The youngest three were Inga, Hilda and Kurt.”

Jan got up and went over to the children.  She hunkered down beside them.  Looking at the little girl, she asked.  “Is your name Inga?”

“Yous guessed!  Yous is very smart.”

“Okay Inga.  You play some more with Samuel and then its bedtime.”

“Whats I’m supposed to call you?” asked the girl.

“Her name is Tante Jan” said Samuel.

“Das ist a goot name.”

“Inga?” asked Jan.  “Do you speak German?”

“Yes!” said Inga.  “Mein Mama speaks German cause she used to live on a farm. She showed me once.  A lady she said was my Oma came out to the truck to see Hilda and Kurt but then Opa made Oma go inside and we left.  Mama cried.  She said that Opa cared more about rules than family.”
“Thank you Inga.  You can go back to playing now.”

Jan returned to the table.  “Sergeant, where did this family come from?  I suspect that the mother may have been Amish or Mennonite, perhaps even one who was shunned.  Now we’ll take these ones with us too.  The Colony may be willing to adopt them or find a way to get them to family, if not, we’ll keep them.  But that now puts me at twenty-eight children.  Now, without being crass, what do they have in the way of supplies, animals… anything?”

“The Schmidts were from Elmira. There were three other family that were completely wiped out in those two cars.  When we get to the secure rail yards in Buffalo, you can go through all their things and take what you need.  We can probably also give you their livestock, although they didn’t have much.  One of the families also had a house and barn. Perhaps that might solve your space issues,” suggested the Sergeant. “Thank you for agreeing to take the children.  There was no next of kin listed for the family.”

“You know,” John told the Committee.  “Over the years, my mother took in many children.  In Rexford, she became the go to option for children who were orphaned, unwanted, in trouble… whatever the reason.  She took them in, gave them a home, and made us a family.  The Rexford Colony made a good choice when they agreed to accept our family.  But she always expected to be paid for her work. She felt that if families did not pay for the care then they were abandoning their children and she never wanted a child to feel that way.  She also told me once that volunteers were idiots.  They received minimal recognition, their skills were routinely dismissed, their advice underappreciated or ignored in favour of high priced consultants who said the same thing, and they were viewed as less competent.  All because they weren’t paid, so she always made sure she was.

“All men,” John continued. “All men may have been created equal, but we all know that they are not born equal.  The lives of my siblings before they came to taught us that.  But the right to work hard and enjoy the fruits of your labours… The right to speak your mind without fear… The knowledge that freedom has a price that your must be willing to pay.  These things seem so obvious. But we all know that for the most part they are an illusion.  Until the reforms, for more than a century, many worked incredibly hard so that many more can sit around on the dole and do nothing, or sit in prison and be cared for.  The right to speak freely and make what every choices you want has never really existed.  There are consequences to your words and choices.  If you say the words you have to be willing to accept the consequences.  And the majority view freedom as either a God-given right or something they are owed. 

“Now I was raised and lived side-by-side with the Amish.  But I am not Amish, although many of my siblings and children have joined the Brethren. For some of those who did not join it was the disciplinary measure of shunning that was the line in the sand. It was decided that because the parents of Inga, Hilda and Kurt had been shunned that they could not be adopted within the Colony, although the twins did join as adults and married into the Colony.  To me the sticking point as not faith, or style of dress but their policy of pacifism.  I believe that mid-20th Century writer Robert A. Heinlein was correct when he wrote:  ‘Pacifism is a shifty doctrine under which a man accepts the benefits of the social group without being willing to pay - and claims a halo for his dishonesty.’  If you want freedom, you must accept that there is a price to pay.

“The US Constitution is an agreement of rights and responsibilities.  For example, the right to bear arms is balanced by the peoples’ responsibility of ensuring that government remains of the people and acts in their best interest.  The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms tried to guarantee equality all people in all things but failed to demand that they be accountable in their demands.  All teachers should earn the same amount – regardless of level of education, experience, skill, or subject.  The school curriculums were taught to the lowest common denominator as no one could fail – that would create inequality.  Guidance counselors encouraged children to view professional designations as the only possible career choice, even though Bay Street careers were not available in their communities and a well-trained mechanic could earn twice as much.

“Anyways… enough of my thoughts…”

The General in the third row wanted to cheer.
... if ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd, of what flock are ye?  - Alma 5:39

Remember to keep clear the line between sheep and sheeple!

Offline Lake Lili

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Re: Story - Neighbours
« Reply #19 on: March 26, 2014, 04:49:10 AM »
Chapter 18 – Deluded little heroes…

In another train, rattling though the night, Jones dozed fitfully.  Mostly he was barely coherent with exhaustion and worried sick.  He might have been off working before but he always knew where his wife and son were.  Now he didn’t.  They had left Fenelon on time and then vanished.  How the heck could a train full of people vanish?  Well technically they hadn’t, vanished they had just disappearing into an information back-out.  The younger of the two soldiers figured that the train would have to go through Chicago to go west, so they might catch it there.  If not, Jones decided he was heading on to Rexford to wait for Jan. He closed his eyes and prayed that he might sleep a good part of the 11-hour trip.

“During this time,” said John to the Committee. “Things all over Canada were imploding.  A whole lot of people who had been dissatisfied and they were fighting the government, but they weren’t necessarily supporting the Americans.  A whole lot of people who supported the current government were fighting the Americans. A whole bunch more were supporting the Americans, but some of them were spies. And then there were the Anonymous anarchists, in their Guy Fawkes masks, who used any opportunity possible to disrupt and distort. The Federal and Provincial governments were at odds in their response and the US Army was running out of patience. 

“No matter which way you went it was a circus. The cities were burning and the American military began to practice neighbourhood closure.  If as protests were started up and agitators moved in, the Army locked the area down and let itself burn out.  Thousands died and many more were injured.  Attempts to blame the US military were refuted with images that showed them not to be the aggressors.  Overseas and in the US, Anonymous activists were arrested – possession of a Guy Fawkes mask became an automatic five year jail sentence.

“Now a days, those with dissenting opinions are given the opportunity to express themselves, but they must show their faces.  Hiding behind a mask is the act of a coward”

“We should be reaching the border shortly.  We will not be stopping until we have reached the secured rail yard.  It should take about an hour.  If we stop again any sooner, move everyone onto a bunk again, so that the soldiers can move freely.”  With those final words the Sergeant left.

Jan sat there shaking her head, wondering what Jones was going to say.  Twenty-eight children!!!!  Twelve of whom would be at home for the foreseeable future.  The others were all teens who would require guidance as they prepared for their own lives.

“Well Girlie,” said Dr. P.  “Looks like you’ve got yourself a new career.  Best hang out a shingle and call it what it is – The McConnell Home for Children.  Or you could call it what it will be – Bedlam.”  He headed off to his bunk, cackling to himself.

“Whatever is my son going to say?” said Mrs. Jones in an irritated and slightly aggressive manner.

Jan looked at her and replied slightly more sharply than intended, “He’ll accept that there were no alternatives. Who would you have me abandon?  Everyone on this voyage is here because John and I have taken you in.  Should there have been a cut off?”  Jan took a deep breath.  “Thank you for your help with the kids. We are all exhausted and wrung out. I think we should all go to bed before we say too much.”

She turned and started taking the littles to the bathroom for the midnight potty run. Ginger and Agnes were snuggly and happy to include Inga into the puppy pile.  Samuel put on his jammies and decided he wanted a big boy bed.  He lasted ten minutes before joining the puppy pile.  The twins had their diapers checked and were left to sleep.  She walked along the row of bunks, tucking in hands and feet, and covering up slumbering bodies with their quilts.

Mrs. Jones stopped on her way back from the bathroom.  “I’m sorry for my comments,” she said to Jan. “I am really tired and I’m not used to so much happening and… well… I am worried about Angus and Becky.  Worried that I won’t see either again...”

“Come with me,” said Jan.  She led Mrs. Jones back to the table.  They sat down on the benches and bowed their heads.

“Heavenly Father…” said Jan. ‘Heavenly Father, we ask that you watch over us as we travel to our new homes.  We ask that you watch over Angus and Becky. We ask that you help us guide, mentor and parent as appropriate these young lives that have been entrusted to us.  Help us to show them love, compassion, humour and stability. Please watch over these young soldiers, that their tours of duty bring them safely home to their families. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”

“Mrs. Jones,” Jan said.  “You know that there is nothing more we can do but to hand it over to the Lord and pray that He will guide and protect us.  Now we are slowing and should be at the border shortly.  I am going to need your help managing the kids while I go through the contents of the other cars.  So grab some sleep while you can.”

Mrs. Jones patted her daughter-in-law’s hand and quietly went to her bunk.

As the car quieted, Jan prepared coffee for the soldiers on guard.  She also quickly mixed up a batch of cinnamon rolls for the next day.  So she was standing there with a pot of water and the flour canister when an incendiary device came through the ceiling.  Without thought she dumped water and then flour on it.  It fizzled and went out.  As it did so, the soldier shot through the roof and a body followed the device into the car.
“What the blink?” exclaimed Jan.  “How did that get opened?”
The body lay unconscious and bleeding. Jan reached out and pulled off the hood to reveal a young child of no more than eight years.  She lifted the child onto the table and quickly applied pressure to the wound.
“Dr. P.!” she shouted.  “Front and center...  Injured child.”
The old man stumbled from his bunk bringing his kit with him.  Within minutes, he had extracted the bullet, stitched and dressed the wound.  He then gave the child a shot of penicillin and another for pain relief.  The child was coming around and began to snarl as he saw the adults around him and the Sergeant come through the train door.
“Quiet boy!” ordered the doctor. “Or you’ll undo all the hard work we did patching you up.  Why in God’s name were you up on the roof of the car?”
“Teacher says I’ll get a medal if I stop the train,” the boy slurred as the medications took effect.  “Must stop train… teacher says… hero… I’ll be a hero…”
“Don’t look at me this time,” said Jan as the Sergeant turned as looked at her.  “I am not taking on a rabid, brain-washed child. I’ve seen the death and destruction these kids can cause.  You all can sort this one out.  You all have doctors that can handle this type of deprogramming.  I won’t endanger the children you have already entrusted me with to cope with this.  Nor will I bring such a child into the community where he might be dangerous to them and vice versus. How did he get past your guards?  We didn’t hear him land on the roof.”
The Sergeant nodded.  One of the soldiers carefully picked up the child from the table.
Jan looked at him again.  “Don’t underestimate this kid.  Three farms on our road were burned out by a gang of ten year olds taught to do that by their teachers.  In one case, it was the child’s own family.  He set fire to the house at night so that they might all be killed – his parents and two siblings.  Just because he is a child, treat him exactly the same as you would a child soldier from Africa.  Treat him as if we were dynamite.  He is just that dangerous.”
The Sergeant looked a Jan with an air of condescending disbelief.
“You think that I am making this up don’t you?” She said.  “The schools have been at this a long time.  It started back in 2011 when the Toronto District School Board gave all their students a home survey – how many siblings, how many parents at home, how many grandparents, where do they all live, who earns the money in the family, doing what jobs, what education do your parents and siblings have, has anyone in your home ever gone to prison, has child services ever been involved with your family… The questions went on for five pages.  Two kids brought the surveys home and showed their parents and there was a blow-up in the press but by then it was too late. The school board had the information. 
“In 2018 the school boards in bedroom communities outside of Toronto set-up a boarding facility.  It was sold to parents who commuted as a convenient option to ensure that their kids were cared for while they commuted to Toronto. The kids stayed Sunday night through Friday evening. The following year, it was made mandatory.  It both parents commuted then the children had to stay in the boarding facility unless there was an adult over 21 residing full time in the home.  And remember they knew who was at home because of the surveys. Then it became the cool place to be and parents suddenly found their kids demanding to be able to go.  Other school boards followed suite.  Employers found they could demand longer hours because the kids were all in boarding.  Parents found they had lost their children and had ceased to be the primary influence in their kids’ lives.  That is how you end up with eight year olds who think that they will be heroes for throwing Molotov cocktails into train cars.  Good luck with that one but watch him, if he can, he will kill you and claim a laurel leaf wreath for doing so.”
The Sergeant shook his head in disbelief.
“How did you all not manage to get caught in the net?” He asked.
“Oh!” laughed Jan tiredly.  “I escaped because my child was deemed too impaired medically and because we lived on a farm in a rural area.  There were rumours that a boarding facility was to be set-up in Lindsay for parents who commuted to Oshawa and Peterborough to work, but it hadn’t happened yet.  Likely the other kids didn’t go because they lived in Fenelon.  The Cody kids were about to be seized by Child Protective Services because their family home had been condemned as unfit for habitation.  Had they been seized, they would have been sent to a boarding facility in Oshawa from which they would never have left.
“Sorry gentlemen, I have to get some sleep.” Jan wiped her face, exhaustion showing.
She looked over at the child being held by the soldier.  His eyes were open and he was watching her.  They all heard him speak in the small quiet voice.
“I will kill you lady.  Yous a traitor.  Yous is dead. Bang.”
The soldier holding him deliberately squeezed his arm and the child’s face went curiously blank before it screwed up and the child cried out. 
‘Hmmm…’ thought the Sergeant. ‘Manipulative little shit.  He actually could control the pain long enough to consider which response might elicit the most sympathy.  Keep a careful eye on that one.”
“It was 3:00am before the train was cleared at the border.  Five more children were found.  One had knocked out the soldier on guard and then heaped straw in the middle of the cattle car.  He was about to set fire to it when he was apprehended.  One was found in the food storage car, smashing jars and trying to break into pallets of food.  One was caught cowering in the bathroom.  Two more were caught on the roof, trying to break into the cars.
“It was a lesson in unexpected tactics,” John told the Committee.  “The US Military had no real experience in dealing with child soldiers.  Oh the occasional suicide bomber in the sand pits had been a child, but for most of the world, our cultures recoil at sending children out to be soldiers.  Even more it is impossible to train our youngsters to shoot a young child.  It destroys them.
“I am not sure what the military did with those kids.  If they were smart they’d have dropped them into the Niagara Gorge and left it to God to decide.  In any event, I am sure that your Military archivists can pull those records and tell you.”
From behind John came a commotion, and a four-star general stood and came forward.
“General McCormack would like to address the Committee,” he stated.
The Committee members looked at each other. Then Congressman Kennedy announced, “The Committee recognizes General McCormack.”
“Gentlemen, Mr. McConnell,” said the General.  “Discussion of operative tactics pertaining to this operation will cease.  The Official Secrets Act is in effect and will remain so for a further seven years and eight months.
“I can however tell Mr. McConnell that his mother’s fears and warnings were well founded and… And that if they had been heeded, far fewer would have died.  The five children pulled from that train were highly trained, very disciplined and extremely dangerous.  If they had been adults they would have been executed as rabid dogs.  Instead some of the softer more media sensitive members of the leadership felt that rehabilitation would be best.  It was marginally successful for two, one of whom later under a sub planted command killed her grade 12 class and her teacher.  The other three were kept in solitary confinement as each attempt at release resulted in the attempted murder of the people around them.  The one successfully rehabbed, returned to Ontario and killed the teachers who had taught him the skills.  He then committed suicide.
“Not all of the child soldiers we encountered in Ontario were this fanatical or rabid, but some certainly were.  Most of the ones that were came from the suburban areas where the Provincial boarding schools had completely removed them from their families.  Those in urban or rural areas seem to have mostly readjusted well and four generations later there are few issues.”
“Thank you General” said the subdued Congressman Kennedy. 
“Thank you for telling me General,” said John as he struggled to stand. “We will add a note to the official records.”
The general placed his hand on John’s shoulder.
“No need to stand for me, Sir,” he said.  “I grew up in a house with a plaque over my door.  I now know what it means and I will now have one put above mine.”
“It is good to know where you came from,” John replied.  “When you forget your history, Our Heavenly Father will make you learn the lessons again.”
« Last Edit: March 26, 2014, 04:50:57 AM by Lake Lili »
... if ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd, of what flock are ye?  - Alma 5:39

Remember to keep clear the line between sheep and sheeple!