By Liza O’Connor
How this story came to be:
Many years ago, my great aunt and uncle heard that I had lost my job. They immediately wrote and told me to come live with them. I was overwhelmed by their kindness, but I reminded them there were no jobs in Wabbaseka (population 300).
I assured them that I would find a new job in either NJ or Manhattan, which I did. But still, I pondered what would it have been like if l had gone to live with them. Thus, being an after-work author, I wrote a ‘what if’ story, featuring my wonderful great aunt and uncle. I never tried to publish it while they were alive, but upon finding and reading it last year, I decided to publish it. The only thing that is true to reality are my Aunt and Uncle. The rest is a bizarre ‘what if’ story I created from my imagination.
When Anna Baker is fired from her New York job, she accepts her aunt and uncle’s offer to come live with them in the little town of Wabbaseka, Arkansas. She discovers a house in dire need of repairs and her relatives in need of proper care. Under the misconception that being unemployed means she has no money, the local sheriff gets involved in her life, trying to determine how she can afford the building materials to fix up the house. Her cousin, Dewayne, appears and wants her evicted, and the FBI thinks she’s involved in a money-laundering scheme. While Anna doesn’t find the peace and quiet she seeks, she may find love…
Sheriff Carr was enjoying his morning coffee and paper at Leon’s Diner when Mr. Kaufman, the postman, sat down across from him. “Mind some company, sheriff?”
“Not at all,” Carr replied, knowing by the excited expression on the fellow’s face, he had some juicy gossip of ill-doings to report. While the postmaster’s propensity to confess the town’s sins was excessive and no doubt in bad manners, it certainly made Carr’s job easier.
“Have ya heard the Larrington’s have a niece living with them now?”
“I noticed a Subaru in their driveway,” he said, giving Kaufman just enough so the man would feel obliged to top it with his own findings.
“She’s a yankee from New York City.”
“Her license plate says New Jersey.”
“Don’t know nothing ’bout that, but I know she was some big-wig in New York City until she lost everything and came running back here to live off the Larringtons.”
Carr had already heard the story about her spending her last dollar on a fishing pole. “Well, I expect the Larringtons are pleased with the company and assistance.”
Kaufman’s eyes beamed with excitement. “I think she may be too assisting if ya know what I mean.”
“Can’t say I do. Is there something I should know?”
“Only that she’s hired a carpenter to fix the roof.”
“Glad to hear it.”
“Yeah, but how could she afford it when she can’t even afford a fishing pole? The Larringtons told Ethel who told Maxine the supplies are spares, which Jeremy Adams had and he’s doing the work for free while she watches his little girl.”
Carr frowned. While he was glad to hear somebody would be watching after the little girl, he damn well knew Jeremy didn’t have spares of anything.
“I’ve been asking around to see if anyone is missing stuff,” Kaufman added.
“Maxine is missing shingles and Dodge Hodgens is missing wood.”
With his bounty of information reported, Mr. Kaufman continued on his route. Carr reluctantly put away his paper while the waitress, Nancy, topped his coffee.
He suspected Maxine lost her missing shingles in the bad storm that passed through last week, and Dodge Hodgens’ memory was so rattled that he might be recalling some wood he bought and used over five years ago. Still, he’d better check it out. The Larringtons were good people and he’d hate to see them harmed. And Jeremy Adams’ involvement didn’t make him feel better about the situation.
About the Author
Liza O’Connor lives in Denville, NJ with her dog Jess. They hike in fabulous woods every day, rain or shine, sleet or snow. Having an adventurous nature, she learned to fly small Cessnas in NJ, hang-glide in New Zealand, kayak in Pennsylvania, ski in New York, scuba dive with great white sharks in Australia, dig up dinosaur bones in Montana, sky dive in Indiana, and raft a class four river in Tasmania. She’s an avid gardener, amateur photographer, and dabbler in watercolors and graphic arts. Yet through her entire life, her first love has and always will be writing novels.
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(There’s over 40 now)
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Once again, Ms. O'Connor writes a tale which will stay with you long after you put the book down. The gossip and hatred which Anna faces is a part of our society. Sometimes it's not as obvious as it is in the story but we all have faced it. But it's how Anna deals with it that shows how we all can keep on the positive side of life, help others and be kind.
Ms. O'Connor's characters give me inspiration to be a better person and I always finish her books with a smile on my face.