Tag Archives: Gus Farley

Meet the Cole Children

img_0163While helping built a trail in the forest, Spike encounters the Cole children living in a lean-to. Jeremiah, the oldest brother, is suspicious of Spike at first, But Spike earns his trust by keeping their secret. He aides them by bringing food and supplies. Later, when a fire breaks out and threatens their safety, Spike convinces his friends to rescue the two younger children–Daniel and Rachel.

In Book Four, the Coles become the foster children of Gus Farley. Daniel and Rachel love their new home and their new foster dad, but Jeremiah has learned to distrust strangers. He tries to keep his brother and sister from getting to attached.

Here’s their story:

The story of the Cole children was a sad one. Three years ago, their mother died of cancer. Their father, Charles Cole, moved the family to Harrison, a small mining town south of Bluesky. He rented a tiny house and they were getting settled in their new home. Charles enrolled the boys in school. Rachel was only four, so he found a neighbor to care for her while he worked in the copper mine. Jeremiah adjusted quickly to the new school, but Daniel struggled. Some of the children teased him, and the teachers complained because he was disruptive. Charles tried to explain that the jerky movements and noises Daniel made were due to a condition called Tourette’s syndrome. There was nothing Daniel could do to control the movements or the sounds. Putting him under stress only made them worse. The teachers seemed sympathetic, but said they had other children to consider. Daniel had to remain quiet or he would be removed from the classroom. Daniel continued to have problems, so when Charles was offered a job as a wrangler on the Morgan ranch, he took it. Mr. Morgan gave them a little cabin to live in. Like the Morgan children, Jeremiah and Daniel were enrolled in an internet school since the nearest town was too far away. When she turned five, Rachel started kindergarten, going with her brothers to the big house every day to work on the computers. School was going well for all of them. It seemed that everything was looking up and then tragedy struck again. While riding the fence line, Charles was thrown from his horse. It was a day later when he was discovered. By that time, it was too late to save him.  

            Mr. Morgan didn’t want to, but he knew he had to let the authorities know about the children. Jeremiah was sure they would be placed in foster homes, and probably separated. That would be bad enough for him and Rachel, but he knew Daniel would never survive it. They had to leave the ranch. His only hope was to hide out with Daniel and Rachel. When he turned eighteen in nine months, he could get a job and raise his brother and sister himself. The night before someone from Child Protective Services was coming to the ranch, Jeremiah packed up his brother and sister and ran away.

The Handy Helpers series is available on amazon

A Sneak Peek at Book Four

rheddens_order_delivered_jpgI am busy working on the final chapters of book four–Not a Happy Camper. But I decided to offer a little sneak peek.

“Do it again, Gus! Do it again!” Rachel shouted, excitedly.

            Gus looked over the top of his newspaper. He used his tongue to push his bottom dentures out of place until they rested on his lower lip. Rachel giggled and jumped up and down, clapping her hands. Gus popped his teeth back in place and went back to reading the paper.

            “Stop bugging Gus!” Jeremiah scolded, “And pick up that mess!” He was referring to the crayons and coloring book Rachel had abandoned on the carpet in front of the television.

            “Okay, Jeremiah.” Rachel picked up the coloring supplies and placed them on the desk.

            “She’s not bothering me,” Gus said, laying down the paper. “I love to hear her laugh.”

            “She needs to behave properly,” Jeremiah insisted. “She can’t go around annoying people.”

            Daniel was working on a jigsaw puzzle Gus had given him. It was a picture of a farm with a big red barn and lots of animals. Occasionally little squeaking sounds came from Daniel and his head jerked. “Go sweep the front porch,” Jeremiah told him in a harsh tone. “You’ve gotta pull your weight around here.”

            “The dust on the front porch can wait,” Gus smiled at Jeremiah. “Let your brother finish his puzzle.”

            “We don’t expect something for nothing!” Jeremiah said forcefully. “Our parents raised us to pay our own way. As soon as I can get a job, I’m gonna pay you back every cent you spent on us.”

            “I’ve told you, Jeremiah, that you don’t owe me anything. I’m happy to help you kids. You’ve been taking care of Rachel and Daniel on your own and you’ve done your best. There’s no shame in accepting help. Besides, having you around brightens up my life. You’re paying me back just by being here.”

            Before the forest fire, Jeremiah had been living with his brother and sister in a little lean-to he had built in the woods. He fished and trapped to feed them. After Spike discovered their hiding place, he began bringing them food. When the fire changed directions and headed toward their lean-to, Spike and his friends hiked into the forest at night and rescued Daniel and Rachel who were alone because Jeremiah had gone into town.

            The story of the Cole children was a sad one. Three years ago, their mother died of cancer. Their father, Charles Cole, moved the family to Harrison, a small mining town south of Bluesky. He rented a tiny house and they were getting settled in their new home. Charles enrolled the boys in school. Rachel was only four, so he found a neighbor to care for her while he worked in the copper mine. Jeremiah adjusted quickly to the new school, but Daniel struggled. Some of the children teased him, and the teachers complained because he was disruptive. Charles tried to explain that the jerky movements and noises Daniel made were due to a condition called Tourette’s syndrome. There was nothing Daniel could do to control the movements or the sounds. Putting him under stress only made them worse. The teachers seemed sympathetic, but said they had other children to consider. Daniel had to remain quiet or he would be removed from the classroom. Daniel continued to have problems, so when Charles was offered a job as a wrangler on the Morgan ranch, he took it. Mr. Morgan gave them a little cabin to live in. Like the Morgan children, Jeremiah and Daniel were enrolled in an internet school since the nearest town was too far away. When she turned five, Rachel started kindergarten, going with her brothers to the big house every day to work on the computers. School was going well for all of them. It seemed that everything was looking up and then tragedy struck again. While riding the fence line, Charles was thrown from his horse. It was a day later when he was discovered. By that time, it was too late to save him.  

            Mr. Morgan didn’t want to, but he knew he had to let the authorities know about the children. Jeremiah was sure they would be placed in foster homes, and probably separated. That would be bad enough for him and Rachel, but he knew Daniel would never survive it. They had to leave the ranch. His only hope was to hide out with Daniel and Rachel. When he turned eighteen in nine months, he could get a job and raise his brother and sister himself. The night before someone from Child Protective Services was coming to the ranch, Jeremiah packed up his brother and sister and ran away.

The Handy Helpers series is available on amazon

 

The Clawson Sisters

IMG_0474 (2)Spike meets the Clawson sisters in book three, when he goes with Gus to handle a little plumbing problem the ladies are having. In book four, not only are the Clawson sister back, but you’ll know the whole story–how they came to live in the elegant Victorian home in the middle of Bluesky. But it’s not just their story, it’s the story of how the town of Bluesky came to be.

Here is Spike’s encounter with the Clawson sisters from Red, While, and . . . Bloopers.

“I hope you don’t mind if we make a stop on the way home,” Gus said. “The Clawson sisters are having a little plumbing problem.”

“The Clawson sisters?”

“Rose, Violet, and Daisy,” Gus said with a grin. “Some people call them the Flower Girls .”

“I can see why. Their parents must love flowers.”

“Yes, they did. Rose was married, but her husband died several years ago. Now the three ladies live together. Violet and Daisy are what we used to call old maids.”

Gus pulled up in front of a gray Victorian-style house with a peaked roof and gingerbread trim. It had a huge porch that went across the front of the house and wrapped around to the side. Rose bushes grew along the white picket fence and beds of daisies, bachelor buttons, and zinnias lined the walkway.

“Wow!” Spike exclaimed. “I guess they really do like flowers!”

Violet Clawson answered the door. She was wearing a bright fuchsia dress with a strand of pearls around her neck. The flower motif continued inside the house—pink mums on the wallpaper, vases full of flowers on every table, and even flowered floor coverings. Her sisters quickly joined her in the living room. “Good afternoon, ladies,” Gus said. “This is my friend, Michael.”

“Thank you so much for coming.” Rose invited them in. “We are having a slight problem in the upstairs bathroom.”

“Daisy dropped her teeth in the toilet,” Violet whispered to Spike.

“I’ll be right back,” Gus said as Rose led him away up the stairs.

Spike stood near the door while Daisy fussed with the vase of flowers on the coffee table. She hadn’t said a word since Gus and Spike arrived.

“She won’t talk without her teeth,” Violet said in Spike’s ear. “She’s so vain!”

“Michael!” Gus yelled from the top of the stairs. “Can you go get the wrench from my truck? They’ve got a little leak up here.”

Spike was relieved to have an excuse to go outside. He climbed into the back of Gus’s truck and took a wrench from the toolbox. In the bed of the truck, he saw the whoopee cushion he had thrown there that morning.  Spike picked it up. It was almost too hot to handle after lying in the sun all day. Spike tucked it in his pocket and went back in the house with the wrench.

“I’ll take it to him,” Violet offered, taking the wrench from Spike’s hand.

Spike sat carefully in one of the fancy high-backed chairs. When Gus came down the stairs with Rose and Violet, Spike stood up quickly, not noticing the whoopee cushion fall from his pocket.

“Okay, ladies,” Gus said. “I think everything is fixed.”

“Thank you so much,” Rose walked with Gus and Spike toward the door.

“Oh, look!” Violet exclaimed. “Daisy, here’s your hot water bottle. It’s still nice and warm.”

Before Spike could say anything, Daisy sat down on the chair he had just vacated. “Pfffbt” came from the whoopee cushion.

“Oh!” Daisy exclaimed. “Excuse me!” Daisy stood up and then sat down again. “Pfffbt” came from the whoopee cushion again.

Gus and Spike hurried out the door. “I guess I should have left the whoopee cushion in the donation box,” Spike said as they got in Gus’s truck.

“Why do you say that? Those ladies are gonna have fun with that whoopee cushion for days.”

The Handy Helpers book series is available at Amazon