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By Joy Prewitt


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Chapter One


            Jasmine watched the mountains slide by as she guided her old brown station wagon down Highway 29.  The car still had a good engine and it hummed gently under her hands.  An old Stevie Nicks song, Leather and Lace, played on the battered radio and Jasmine sang along.  The sun was streaming thru the sky and the scent of cow manure; hay and freshly cut grass tickled her nose and filled the wagon.

            Jasmine passed the white sign, which adorns many small towns as you drive into them, it read, Meadowtown Population 633.  I guess they can make it 634 Jasmine mused.  Like most small country towns this one had a bank, a drugstore, a thrift store, a grocery store and of course a real estate office.  There were a few other stores as well, not many, but a few, plus the Sheriffs office and a volunteer fire department.

            Jasmine pulled into one of the three parking spaces allotted for the real estate office.  It was a small brick building with two large windows each had Samson Real Estate painted on them in thick bold black letters.  She got out of her car and walked up to the door and went in the bell rustling softly as the door shut behind her.

            “Mr. Samson, are you here?”  Jasmine called into the empty office.  No answer came back.  Mr. Samson was supposed to meet her at three o’clock.  It was that time now.  She had met him a month ago to buy the property on Maple Lane.  Jasmine had decided to leave the city and her shabby apartment after she received an inheritance from her uncle, it was enough to buy the farmhouse and still have money to fix it up and hopefully she could manage a year without a job.  She had found the perfect place on the outskirts of Meadowtown.  A couple turns off the main highway brought you to Maple Lane.  Big, ancient Maples hanging their limbs over the narrow curvy path graced the one lane gravel road that dead-ended on her farm.  There was only one other neighbor on Maple Road and Mr. Samson said the town “kook”, Emmie Randolf, a forty something unmarried woman, owned it.  Jasmine didn’t see what was so “kooky” about that; maybe she just liked being alone.

            “Hello, Ms. Jasmine.”  Mr. Samson insisted on putting the Ms. before Jasmine no matter how many times she told him “Jasmine is just fine.”

            “Hello, Mr. Samson, I thought I would just rest her until you got back.”  Mr. Samson whose first name was Phil, although everyone called him Mr. Samson, was a middle-aged man, he had shapeless saggy cheeks, a beer belly and was almost completely bald.

            “That’s fine, I just had to go to the drugstore and pick up my medication.” He was addicted to nerve pills, though no one in the town would have ever suspected it.  “I have your keys here and besides a couple of signatures, you’re all set to become a land owner in our community, how does that sound Ms. Jasmine?”

            “Perfect, I was hoping to have time to stop at the A & P to get a few groceries before they close.”  It was Sunday afternoon and most of the stores were closed, the A & P however was open until five o’clock and it was already three-thirty.

            “Good, good, here are the papers to sign and three keys, two for the house and one for the outbuilding” he said handing her the papers and keys.

            Jasmine signed the papers after reading them and handed them back.  “Well, I guess I’m all done here then.”

            “Yes, yes, I hope you will enjoy our small little town and I’m sure the farm will make you a wonderful home.”

            Jasmine thought she saw a little twinkle of mischief in his eyes but it left as quickly as it appeared, if it was ever there.  “I’m sure I will, the city has been my home for the last ten or so years and I’m glad to be somewhere where I can smell the fresh air for once,” she laughed.

            “We have plenty of that, just don’t get to close to the Miller's pig farm, its fresh but probably not the kind of fresh you want,” he laughed back.  “It was so nice to meet you Ms. Jasmine and do not hesitate to call if you need anything.”

            “Thank you and hopefully I will be able to take care of things myself,” she said smiling as she walked to the door.

            “Just the same if you need me for anything be sure to call, okay?”

            This time Jasmine was sure she saw the mischief in his eyes, she was sure the house and land were okay, she had it appraised and it was well worth the money.  Maybe he was the one that was a “kook.”  “Goodbye, Mr. Samson, it was nice doing business with you,” she said as she shut the door behind her.       

            Jasmine got into her car and drove past Fountain Square; it was the kind of town you might see on a picture perfect postcard.  The Meadowtown Courthouse was standing in the middle of the square; it was a three-story brick building with beautiful old trees surrounding it.  A few feet two the left was a circle with benches, a drinking fountain and a statue of the towns’ founding father standing tall amidst it all.  It was a place to relax maybe read a book and eat your lunch.  She passed thru the town and just before you left it the A & P stood by itself.

            Jasmine went into the grocery and bought a few staples for her pantry and headed out of town to her new home. 

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