LAST NINE FREE

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Summary

The story is true. Some of the names have been changed out of affection. Some have not been changed out of affection. Friendships and traditions are maintained through some of life's unexpected turns. The vignettes are inspired by a late in life divorce which required moving to his ancestral lodgings in The Orchard. It is a quaint historic village. It is a quiet village. Growing up in The Orchard laid the foundation for his love of field and stream, of bird dogs and fed his curiosity tp discover what adventure lay just over the next hill or around the bend in the road. There are road trips, trophy trout, great bird dogs, honky-tonk bars, and love lost and found.

Genre:
Adventure / Other
Author:
HB West
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
16
Rating:
n/a
Age Rating:
18+

CHAPTER ONE

TODAY IS 28 JUNE 1863

THE ORCHARD

THE HILLS HAVE NAMES

General Winfield S. Handcock in command of the II Corps, Army of the Potomac, under orders from General George E. Meade, marched his troops, under a boiling hot sun, the thirty two miles from Monocacy Junction, near Frederick, to The Orchard. He marched up Bark Hill to enter the town from the west. Upon entering the town, a New Yorker in his company observed that it “was a pretty secluded village, patriotic, but paralyzed just now by the nearness of the rebel army.”

Had he turned left, upon entering town, he would have gone up and down Lazy Hill and arrived in Gettysburg long before he did. On a clear day he could see Little Round Top from the cemetery that rests on the crest of Lazy Hill. He was not headed to Gettysburg just yet. Handcock was looking for Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia instead he damn near found J.E.B. Stuart and three brigades of his Confederate cavalry. The Orchard’s town folks told him Stuart was camped four miles away in Westminster. General Handcock chose not to take action on this local intelligence and did not launch what may have been a surprise attack. Had he heeded this information and headed east to Westminster he would have gone down Meadow Branch Hill and changed history in the process. Local legend has it that he chose to bivouac his troops at Love Spring on Cool Spring Farm a short distance northeast of town, fresh water being the necessity.


28 JUNE 2016

THE ORCHARD

It is still a pretty secluded village, and patriotic. The stars and stripes fly from the front porches of many of the homes, not just on holidays. A closer look will see the stars and bars on the back porch of some a testament to the politic of the day. The Segafoose Hotel where Hancock and his officers took their comfort is now a private residence with a historical marker in the front yard. Love Spring is still there, I reckon, there are lots of locked gates, wire fences and signs that are not welcoming. Holding pens are now front yards. When growing up here it was one of my favorite places to roam around with my black and white English springer spaniel, Jinx. Even if I had a dog I could not do it now.

The Rising Sun Tavern closed in 1842. The same year the Crossed Keys Tavern also closed leaving only the Segafoose Hotel which had gained and maintained a grand reputation for food and entertainment. My back porch was built in 1842 which also has developed a grand reputation for fine food and wine, respectful entertainment and very good 90 proof American whiskey. Maintaining the Orchard’s long lost tradition for fine food and drink is just about the only reason I can think of for living here. Brian and Frank arrived Easter weekend for our annual fly fishing outing to Friends Creek. We call it Trout Camp. Their arrival broke the monotony of two months of corn bread and ice tea.

The Orchard’s hay-day came to an end around 1885. The tannery had shut down. It was no longer the main road from Baltimore to Pittsburgh. There were three stores left, three churches and one bank to serve the four hundred residents. It pretty much stayed the same for seventy-five to eighty years. Today, all the stores are gone. The two that sold gasoline closed first. The one that survived housed the United States Post Office in a front corner each house had its own post office box. It was not self-service. Candy, cigarettes, gossip and everything else needed to live life in a small town including the world’s most delicious ice-cream. It was made in an outbuilding behind the store with the cream of local Holsteins unregulated, uncertified and not homogenized. It was the gathering place. The Great Fire of 1976 reduced one church and several houses to ashes. The bank got bought, got over staffed and closed due to lack of loans. I could have most probably enjoyed living here in its golden years, except for the lack of indoor plumbing.

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Further Recommendations

weston00: this is a great story, at times i felt as if my heart was gonna stop. it was full of adrenaline

pcnewma3: Needs help with vocabulary and tenses. God story line to develop. Got to be sorry to do this.

Manwendra: Hjjkkk........................

KK95: This book has romance and thrills. It has you wondering what the hell is going on while making you want to spend all your time reading! It's addictive!! Soooooo good

Catrina Versailles: WHAT THE HELL!!! THERE HAS TO BE MORE SHE CANT DIE!!! NONONONONONONONONONONONO

Viv Fernandez: I liked how the author made it seemed realistic. So mistakes here or there. Overall fantastic

Lisa Forsythe: I loved this book. I think it had a great plot and it kept me wanting to read more. The few grammatical errors I saw could easily be blamed on autocorrect (that's what I would say at least 😉) I can't wait to read more by this author

Tanishka: A VERY NICE NOVEL . ITS REALLY NICE !

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Ana Bonda: Absolutely love this story! Romance, comedy, drama, sex, it has it all! Kudos to the author!

Komala Reddy: Gyni yuk ki the h I'll collemmt to finish gfty

Aspen C. Winters: This story is amazing in each and every sense possible. The last three chapters especially had me in tears constantly. The twists and turns were startling and shook me to the very core. I loved the way you depicted the deteriorating mental health of Amabel and how John was her grasp to reality. ...

Lindo: I loved the story, it's really grabbed my attention from the first chapter.

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rellerton: Nice little story, I love the characters. Story has good pacing, keeping me interested. Not too dramatic. Really enjoyed it. A good read!

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