#1: WHAT PEOPLE DO FOR FUN OUT IN THE COUNTRY
Written by Lyndon Froese // Artwork by Seth Heinrichs
It was one of those nothing days. But, of course, it is always on days when you expect nothing that the unexpected is most likely to come around.
An antique dog sled hung above the resort front desk. Out the window was the small parking area, overlooked by gently swaying evergreen treetops. Emily Christie, one of the three daughters in the family who owns and runs Falcon Trails Resort, was working her shift.
It was hot – all of life had moved into a slight slow-motion. The front door was propped open and the curtains responded to the breeze. A fan whirred behind the desk, tickling Emily’s neck.
An office daydream was dissolved by a call from outside. The footsteps now tapping up the wooden stairs belonged, without a doubt, to Laura Green.
Every year the Jed and Laura Green family would come to the lake and occupy their favourite cabin with their favourite dock.
Laura popped her head into the office.
“Oh! Emily! Hi!” she said when she saw which of the Christie sisters was working that day.
Goodness, Laura could be such a ball of enthusiasm.
The two exchanged how-are-ya’s and took care of the check-in.
“Okay! We’re good then!” Laura said.
“Now,” Laura said, “where’s Brynn!?”
Brynn was the good-natured family dog that was a part of the resort experience for many guests.
“Actually,” Emily said, taking her time, “this is a little sad but... Brynn died in the fall.”
“Oh my God. NO!” said Laura. “OH MY GOD.”
Laura blinked rapidly. Her eyes darted around. She spoke with no space between sentences.
“Oh Emily, I’m so sorry! I can’t believe it – I don’t know what to say!”
Emily wasn’t sure what to say either. Of course it was sad when it happened and everything, but you move on.
“It’s okay,” Emily replied, “sometimes these things happen.”
“I’m so sorry – Emily, that’s... that’s just horrible!”
Tears rolled down Laura’s cheeks and she opened her arms, inviting Emily in for an embrace.
It’s not that Emily doesn’t like hugs but she’s not exactly the most touchy-feely person you’ve ever met either. Laura squeezed tight.
“Yeah, it was too bad,” Emily said after Laura released, “but, it’s okay, we’ve got a puppy now!”
“Oh, God,” Laura said without even asking about the puppy, “I have to go tell Jed.”
Outside, Laura came across Craig Christie, Emily’s father. Craig is short compared to his daughters, a fact accentuated by his choice not to wear shoes. Even on the job site he’s often barefoot. Craig is a carpenter by trade and has the thick fingers to show for it. He’s got the worn-out ears to show for it too, which is part of the reason he often seems a little detached, in his own world. In group settings it is not uncommon for Craig to ask a question about a topic discussed some time back in the conversation. Turns out he was mulling that over that whole time! But for the same reason, when you do engage with him directly, he will respond with deep interest and focus that you don’t often get from others.
Mostly, Craig goes about his days on his own. It’s often a little unclear what he’s working on exactly, but everyone is sure his chosen tasks must be important to him.
And now here was Laura.
“Oh, Craig…” she said as she came in for a hug, with tears in her eyes.
Craig is not one to turn down a hug simply because he does not know what it is for.
“Craig, I heard about Brynn.”
“Oh yes...” Craig said, “it was pretty sad.”
There is an air of wisdom around Craig’s speech. He speaks slowly, never getting ahead of himself, never fishing for how to put it. He’s economical with his words, choosing each one carefully. With the few he uses, he takes the time to describe the sights and smells, the sensory layers of life.
Craig told Laura about how Brynn had been his constant companion. Every morning she would be there waiting for him on the driveway. She’d follow him everywhere he went. Never far behind, chasing him as he drove through the woods in his truck, keeping him company during all of his daily tasks.
“How... did she die?”
“She got hit by a car.”
“Oh that’s horrible! Oh my God – I’m so sorry, Craig!”
The two looked at each other. Craig’s kind eyes ran over Laura’s tear-streaked cheeks and returned to her eyes.
“Yes,” Craig said sensitively, “she was chasing a deer across the highway. But, Laura, have you met our new dog?”
Laura looked down at the sandy mixture beneath her flip-flops. Her brow furrowed.
“I’m sorry, Craig, I’m not sure I remember...” Laura hesitated a moment. “Was Brynn your daughter or Emily’s?”
“Daughter?!” Craig said, “Brynn was our dog!”
They both burst out laughing. Laura’s tears turned into tears of relief.
“Laura,” Craig said with a huge grin on his face, “didn’t you clue in when I said she was running behind my truck and chasing deer in the bush?”
“Well!” Laura said, “I don’t know what people do for fun out in the country!”