Kate Prepares for John’s Funeral

For several days, Kate found herself wandering her apartment, looking at photos of her and John on dates at the zoo, or at the St. Louis Arch, or with other Air Force friends. She cried so much, she couldn’t anymore.

Jen came over one afternoon after her shift with a small bouquet of carnations and daisies and a card. She stayed for a while and sat with Kate, not saying anything. In the silence they stared at the walls or watched Buttons playing with his rope. Kelly called and brought over some German chocolate cake, which Kate appreciated but couldn’t eat. She put it in the freezer for another day.

The only productive things she did had to do with making sure her blues uniform was in regulation form and packing it in her garment bag along with her black pumps wrapped in a towel to keep them from getting scuffed.

Spencer had called a couple days earlier to let her know when the funeral would be. He offered to come over so they could arrange the same flight, but she didn’t want company. As soon as she hung up, she called for a flight up to St. Paul/Minneapolis. John’s family lived in a suburb of the Twin Cities.

Two days later, the day of the funeral was bright and sunny, completely the opposite of Kate’s mood. She didn’t pay any attention to the scenery during her cab drive to and from the airport to her hotel. Somehow she blocked out the traffic and noise along the freeways. She knew the Mall of America was around somewhere, but she certainly wasn’t interested in anything like that. This morning she dressed in her blues uniform and fixed her hair and makeup, in a robotic state. Spencer booked into a different hotel and was coming to pick her up while she waited in the lobby.

Now she would meet John’s family for the first and last time. The thought upset her and she grabbed a tissue from her bag.

****

Until next time,

Michelle

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Friends Grieve with Kate and Spencer

Previously on HFN: Spencer Grieves and Worries

Kelly came outside and rubbed Kate’s shoulders, “I’m so sorry, Kate.” Then others trickled out of the building to offer their condolences. Spencer slid over on the bench, but only slightly.

After a few minutes, Kate and Spencer were alone again. A pair of uniform pants and boots appeared in her vision and she let go of Spencer. Their commanding officer, Senior Master Sergeant Connors, must have asked Sergeant Thompson where they were. She didn’t even feel guilty and when she saw the look on his face; she knew it was okay under the circumstances. She and Spencer slowly stood up and half heartedly saluted.

Connors was a cool guy, not a hard-nosed jerk like some officers they knew and had worked under. Kate knew he had a sense of humor, though she didn’t see him often. She also knew he was fair.

His tall frame towered over them, but he never used his height to lord over anyone. His blue eyes often twinkled and he loved to share a good joke.

The CO dismissed them and was silent for a moment. When he finally spoke, it wasn’t a reprimand. “I’m sorry, Kate, Spencer. These things are difficult to take, but they happen.”

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Heir Force Novel: Spencer Asks Kate to Lunch

Previously on HFN: Spencer’s Secret

Scott Air Force Base spreads across over 3,500 acres in the western part of southern Illinois and employed about 5,500 active duty personnel, another 2,300 Air National Guard and Reserve members and close to 5,000 civilian employees. Adding over 1.5 billion dollars to the area’s economy, it’s considered one of the largest employers in the state.

Several times the base has narrowly missed the base closing and realignment list. Named after the first enlisted man who died in an air accident back in 1912, Corporal Frank S. Scott, the base has since grown to include many groups under the 375th Air Mobility Wing, and under each group, several squadrons. Kate, John, Spencer, Andrew and other friends worked for the Security Forces Squadron, or SFS for short. Kate sometimes thought it was all rather complicated and was glad she didn’t have to keep it all straight.

She was having a hard enough time keeping her life straight. John and Ruth were now both gone, and she was fretful of one and relieved of the other. Each day that passed, seemed to make Kate feel worse. She said a quick prayer each night and morning for John, not sure that anybody heard them, she not being particularly religious.

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Heir Force Minor Characters

If you’ve ever read Agatha Christie, you know she sometimes lists her cast of characters before the story starts. Here, in no particular order, are more Heir Force characters that will appear in the story. I’m closer and closer to getting started and am excited to get things underway!

Mrs. Kern—(Lauren), John’s mom, the mother of three sons, she lives in Minnesota with her husband, Bill, whose health is failing.  Lauren yearns for all three sons to come home safe.

Andrew Green—a newer friend of Spencer’s, he’s 27, with a younger sister, his parents are older. Andrew loves a good catfish dinner, as long as he doesn’t have to catch it first.

Matt Walters—a friend of John’s and Spencer’s and Kate’s, from Missouri, 25.  Matt likes to play hard, no matter what the game.

Jen Flowers—a new friend of Kate’s since her arrival at Scott, Jen is 25 and works in Supply; Kate met her while working out at the gym; Jen has two older brothers and is from Minnesota. She stands about five foot, eight inches, has dirty blond hair and hopes to have a big family someday.

Kelly Christie—a friend of Kate’s, about 26, from California, a little on the loud but fun side, she’s liberal and has one sister.  Kelly enlisted to prove she could to a hotshot cousin of hers.

Ruth Vandervort—Kate’s current nemesis, she tries to get Kate in trouble at every opportunity, she used to date John Kern.

Sarah Kern—John’s young daughter, living with her birth mother in another state.  She will soon play a major role.

 

Michelle