- Just A Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 1
- Just A Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 2
- Just A Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 3
- Just a Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 4
- Just a Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 5
- Just a Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 6
- Just a Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 7
- Just a Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 8
- Just a Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 9
- Just a Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 10
- Just a Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 11
- Just a Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 12
- Just a Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 13
- Just a Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 14
- Just a Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 15
- Just a Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 16
- Just a Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 17
- Just a Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 18
- Just a Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 19
Once more Jim drove past the two metal signs. He hoped that the next time he drove up Dead Horse Gulch it would be on the new highway. The Rotten Ranch was a disgrace to the community. He would be glad when Seth and Sam moved out of there.
Jim took a quick look at the girl beside him. People had taken for granted that she was one of them. Could there of been a mix-up somewhere? Surely she wasn’t one of that Rotten family: Today he had tried to find one little resemblance between Elly May and Martha. There was none.
And how about Seth and the boys? One quick look would tell anyone that he was the father of that tribe And how about the girl and Seth? That beady-eyed hawk nosed buzzard had produced a batch of boys that looked just like him, but what about the girl? Jim shuddered. It wasn’t possible
He took another fast look at the girl beside him. She was just where she belonged, right there beside him. She was his girl and one of these days she would be his wife.
Taking her home today had been a big shock to her. Meeting her father and two of her brothers would be another. Only two of the boys, Clyde and Oswald, were home now. Thank God for that!
A sudden burst of laughter startled him. He gave Elly May a fast look. Her shoulders were shaking He couldn’t tell for sure whether she was laughing or crying.
“Are you alright?”
She took a handkerchief from her purse and wiped her eyes. “Oh Jim.” she laughed. “When I think of mother putting soap in the cookie frosting it almost kills me!”
Jim chuckled, “That was funny alright. I had a heck of a time keeping a straight face.”
“I was so shocked I couldn’t see the funny side of it at the time. But now…” She buried her head in her arms and her laughter filled the air.
Jim joined in. It was good to hear her laugh and quite a change from a few minutes ago. Elly May made a quick recovery.
They came to the fork in the road. He glanced at the row of mail boxes and wondered if the card from Elly May was still in the box. Very likely it was. There was no need of stopping; Buck didn’t work on Saturdays.
He shifted to a lower gear. The rest of the way was a long steep crooked road. The scenery began to change. Instead of foothills covered with grass and sage brush there were big mountains. They were covered with tall pine trees and big open meadows. Some big red white-faced cows stood there chewing their cuds, their calves beside them.
Jim pointed with his finger. “See those critters?” Elly May nodded. “They belong to the Green ranch. This is part of our summer range.”
“Oh Jim. That is wonderful!”
The pine trees were getting larger. Now and then a tall blue spruce decorated the landscape. There was a slight chill in the air, becoming more noticeable as they gained altitude.
A big black cloud could be seen on the horizon. There was no sign of a breeze and everything stood deadly still.
“It’s going to rain.” Jim muttered.
“It rains a lot in Seattle, almost every day all winter.”
The big cloud covered the sun. It was getting quite dark. They came to a wide place in the road he pulled over and stopped.
“Something the matter?” Elly May asked.
Jim shook his head. “Not a thing. Just taking a few precautions. The road from here on is steep and narrow. A darn poor place to meet some crazy driver that doesn’t have sense enough to come in out of the rain.”
Elly May looked puzzled. “If everyone in Seattle quit driving every time it rained they would stay home most of the time.
Then the storm sprang from its ambush. A giant streak of lightning streaked across the sky followed by a colossal clap of thunder.
Elly May trembled and slid close Her eyes were big and wide. “Oh Jim what was that?”
The big black cloud opened up with its biggest artillery. The lightning turned the sky to a sheet of flame the thunder roared. Then came the downpour
Her arms were around his neck and she pulled herself close. “Oh Jim, I am so scared. I have never seen or hear anything like this.”
He grinned. “Have no fear Jim is here” he gave her a reassuring hug.
“I have never seen or heard anything like this in Seattle.”
Then from out of nowhere came the wind. The first blast shook the Jeep. The next one pushed it several feet across the muddy surface.
There was another blinding flash followed by a terrific explosion!. A big tree across the canyon came crashing down. There was the smell of sulfur and brimstone in the air.
The Jeep was equipped with electric windshield wipers. He switched them on and the blades swept back and forth across the glass. He switched them off They were worthless in a storm like this.
Suddenly the huge drops of water turned to hail. The splatter on the roof turned to a mighty roar. The Jeep trembled. Elly May drew herself closer. “How long will it last?” she asked.
“Not very long. Usually only a few minutes,” he said assuringly.
The big black cloud gave one last supreme effort to terrify the inhabitants of the forest. The sky lit up with forked lightning. The thunder Gods beat their mighty drums . The wind howled and blew as the rain came pouring down.
Then as suddenly as it had began it was all over.
The sun came peeking out as though to see what effect it had on everything and everyone.
Elly May’s eyes were wide with wonder. No longer was she afraid. Her voice trembled with excitement.
“Oh Jim! That was exciting and wonderful was it not?”
“It sure was. We get a lot of them here. And one thing for certain is there are no two or them alike.”
Just ahead of them was a small meadow. Standing there at the edge of the forest were two deer, a doe and a fawn. Jim pointed through the windshield. “Look, sweetie. Do you see what I see?”
She stared at the two animals. “What are they, Jim?”
“Deer,” he said. “A mother and her baby.”
“But they have such big ears I have seen deer in the zoo but none with such big ears.”
“They are Mule deer, Sweetie. They were named after the Mule on account of their big ears I guess. They are quite a bit larger than most deer.”
For a few seconds the deer stood there flopping their big ears, then casually walked off into the brush.
Just a few yards up the road were a couple of ground squirrels. They were eating something, which they held in their paws. Their little jaws moved with lightning speed. Every little bit they would stop eating and chirp. With their chirps, their tails would go straight in the air.
Jim glanced at Elly May by his side. She was missing nothing while taking in the show that seemed to be just for them. He gave the horn a toot. The squirrels dropped on all fours and scampered over the bank.
“The storm is over.” He said. “Let’s get out and stretch a bit. The road is sandy from here on in. It will dry off in a few minutes.”
They climbed out of the Jeep and found a big flat rock to stand on. He slipped an arm around her waist. With the other hand he pointed to the mountains ahead, “God’s country up there. Years ago you loved it. I hope you still do.”
“I know I will. And oh Jim I am so glad you come to meet me. Suppose you had not been there and I found no one to take me out to that terrible place. I would of been stuck there and nowhere else to go. I think I would have killed myself.”
“Don’t talk like that, Sweetie.”
“Jim. You call me Sweetie. Did you call me that before?”
He nodded. “I guess I started that at the school party. It was then that we sort of got engaged. Do you like me to call you Sweetie?”
The girl’s eyes glistened. “I love it.”
He took her in his arms and held her close. “Listen darling. There is something that I would like to talk to you about. You and my mother got along very well. She loves you. She will certainly be surprised to see you again. I think it would be best at least for the present not to mention your illness. Don’t mention anything about you not remembering. There is something funny going on and I think we will have a better chance to solve this riddle if we keep this a secret. What do you think?”
The girl nodded. “I sure don’t understand why no one in my family will tell me what happened to me.”
“It’s strange alright, and another thing…”
He was about to say, “You can’t be one of that family.” Then changed his mind, “Let her meet the rest of them, then tell her.” he thought.
His mother would certainly be surprised, all right. Could they convince her that they had kept this a secret for four long years? Maybe not, but after all you are not supposed to tell everything
“Can you explain all this to your mother?” she asked. “I will sure give it a try. Mom will understand. She won’t ask a lot of questions.”
He guided the girl toward the Jeep. “We might as well get going I think the road will be alright now.”