Though, it’s not still July, I thought I’d share the unedited opening chapter of my Christmas novella “Christmas in July” that will be part of our upcoming box set. Hope you enjoy it.
Seven Daily Meditations; Thirty minutes ~ in two fifteen minute morning and evening sessions ~ of personal journaling; one mile walking with the General; no chocolate; introduction of kale to diet.
July in Fish Creek was where joy went to die.
Madelyn Grace was sure of it.
Madelyn grew up in the Door, as Door County, Wisconsin was known to the few locals who populated it year round. Fish Creek in the summer, July in particular, was mostly populated with tourists. Wealthy Illinoisans created a large percentage of the visitors, some of whom had second, sometimes third homes here, as well as boats. Big boats. They subsidized the economy, and they knew it. They drove up home prices, and they didn’t consider what that might mean for everyone else.
The Door was built on service and the tourists demanded and got serviced. Regularly.
Wild horses and a crate filled with colored diamonds couldn’t have gotten Madelyn to move back to Fish Creek. It took her daughter establishing a 6+9 Naturopathic Medical practice here to do the impossible. Now that she was back in a place she’d swore never to return to, her daughter no longer seemed to have the time nor the inclination to be with her.
“Stop feeling sorry for yourself and go do something productive,” Madelyn said out loud. It was far from her usual morning meditation which was supposed to help her greet the day with joy, hope and the awareness that yes, she did have the power to make her life the wonderful adventure she dreamed it could be.
Madelyn was supposed to be repeating, “In small moments great achievements are built. Success comes in compiling enough small moments.” Since it was 7:30 and all she’d collected so far was the General’s small piles of poo, Madelyn decide it was time to grab the General, stop feeling sorry for herself, and walk a mile before the tourists realized it was time to wake up.
“Hey, Drew, Maddy’s walking that rat terrier of hers again. Right on schedule. Every day since she got back two weeks ago. 7:30 time to walk. How many more weeks are you going to let her walk by without talking to her?” Sam Wittaker, Drew’s deputy, said with a grin.
Drew looked at his watch, 7:32. Maddy was two minutes later than usual, so technically, she wasn’t right on schedule. All he said to Sam was, “Time for coffee. See you in a bit.”
Drew ignored the younger man, reached for his hat, a ball cap he’d insisted the town adopt as part of his uniform, and started walking. He knew Maddy’s route by heart and he still hadn’t approached her. Every time he saw her, his heart thudded painfully in his chest like it used to in High School when she’d walk by. Maddy loved him then. Every bit as much as he’d loved her. Drew was sure of it.
Until she ran away.
Drew still didn’t know what made her leave. He couldn’t fathom why she’d stayed away for twenty-five years. And he didn’t know what brought her back, but he was fairly certain it had something to do with the new medical clinic just outside of town aptly named, Grace Medical. Hard for a police chief worth his salt to miss that connection. Drew wondered what the tag-line, For All Your Naturopathic Needs, meant. He’d find out before he made an appointment for his as yet undiagnosed naturopathic needs, the symptoms of which he started researching online so he could go there more than once if he needed to. He had to come up with something that wasn’t too severe and couldn’t be cured by a simple, drink more green tea and call me in a month. Of course he could just stop in and say ‘hello’, introduce himself, and offer to patrol more regularly in the event the new clinic’s owner needed assistance. But that wouldn’t help him understand the subtleties of how the newest member of the Grace family earned her living.
Grace Medical’s signage also indicated in very small print, Some emergency medical service provided as needed. Drew had no idea what kind of emergency merited naturopathic care and he was in no hurry to find out. Still, it was nice to have a doctor nearby when the closest emergency center was in Sturgeon Bay, miles away with one main road in and out.
Little did Drew Selleck know how manifestly those small seven words printed on Grace Clinic’s front door would forever alter his life.
What Drew Selleck did know was that today Maddy Grace was going to talk to him. Whether or not he had to arrest her to make it happen was totally up to her.
Want to find out what happens? Look for the AoMS Christmas Box Set this fall at your favorite ebook retailer. Now it’s back to my writing.