Rosco picked up the phone. “Hazzard County Sheriff Department… Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane speaking, yes Gussy, I’ll take the call.” He paused and listened to the voice on the other end of the line. “Sure Lacey, I’ll be right over. Ain’t like am the only one here.” The last words more a friendly jab than a snicker. Hazzard was a small, quiet, country town in Georgia where not much but farmin’ and runnin’ shine went on. It was said Hazzard got its name because three states fought over it even though no one wanted it.
Welcome to Hazzard where Commissioner JD Hogg runs things around here.
Rosco set the phone down and walked over towards the door that said Commissioner Hogg. JD or Boss, as most folks called him had been in office only a few weeks after a special May election, when the previous commissioner had to step down. He had ambition and drive. He was hard working and honest.
JD Hogg had begun his work career as a moonshine runner at the age of 14 in 1934. He moved on to shine making in the forties. In the fifties, he began to buy land, seeing a chance to improve his wealth. He started dating Miss Tri Country of 1953, Lulu Coltrane. They wed in 1958, which made him not just Rosco’s boss but also his brother in law.
“Boss, I gotta run over to Springville. I’ll be back as soon as I can.” Rosco said, after opening the door.
JD Hogg looked up from his stack of papers. He was still getting use to all the records and laws as commissioner that he had to know seeing Hazzard was such a small town, it really didn’t need but one public elected official, the hours were long but a good job well done meant happy towns folks who were more than happy to pay their fines and taxes on time. “That’s fine.”
Rosco nodded and shut the door. He picked his black hat off the desk and walked outside to a 1960 Ford Thunderbird, the only patrol car the county had.
A short time later the Ford pulled up outside the Springville Orphanage. Rosco got out of the patrol car and saw Lacey on the steps waiting for him.
“Now what could be so important, you couldn’t tell me over the phone.” Rosco asked.
“Well we have a young girl here. None of the other Sheriffs recognized her, and I was hoping you might be able too.” Lacey replied, escorting the Hazzard lawman inside the building.
Part of being a good sheriff, was knowing the folks in your county. So except for the occasional visitor, most sheriffs did.
“Well I’ll be happy to help if I can.” Rosco said, following him to the first room just after the entranceway.
Lacey quietly pointed to a girl, sitting in a window alcove. A book in her hands was covered slightly by the long straight brunette hair that hung down.
Rosco wasn’t sure but from just a glance she looked familiar. She appeared to be the eleven-year-old niece of Boss’s longtime friend Jesse Duke and his wife Martha Livonia. “Can I use your phone?”
“I take it you know her.”
“Sure that’s Daisy Duke.” Rosco exclaimed, a little louder than he meant too.
The little girl shot a curious glance over his way. “She’s my cousin.” She said and hopped down from the alcove.
Lacey didn’t look surprised. Rosco’s skills as a law officer were second to no one else. Many folks considered him to be the best lawman in the state of Georgia.
“Well uh, yes I do…” Rosco paused for a second, there were so many dang Dukes. Jesse and his wife hadn’t had any younguns but Jesse was the oldest of nine bothers and sisters. They were raising Daisy plus two nephews ten year old Bo and sixteen old Luke. Their parents had all passed on. Luke had been the first to come to the farm when he was three, his parents and new baby brother killed in a hospital fire.
Daisy’s mother had died at her birth, her father and stepmother had been killed in an accident when she was six. Bo’s folks had been killed in the same accident, he was only five. Though it hadn’t been proven, Rosco had always wondered if the accident was the result of the Duke family’s moonshine success. There were a lot of moon shiners but few could make the quality that Jesse Duke made.
“You’re Kate’s grand daughter, Daney.”
“Yeah,” Daney smiled.
Lacey frowned. “Why didn’t you say so?”
“I told the lady that but she wouldn’t listen.” If there was one thing all the Dukes seemed to have in common, it was a temper and not being afraid to speak one’s opinion.
“Now, Daney, just calm down. I’ll call Kate to come and get you.” Rosco injected.
“I’d rather stay here.” The Dukes also had a stubbornness to them too.
“Yes, sir?” Daney didn’t have the traditional blue eyes that 99 % of the Dukes had or brown like the others, she had green brown hazel. It was what made her unique and set her a part from shy blonde Bo, pretty pixie Daisy, or serious brunette haired Luke and the rest of the cousins.
“Have a seat. I’m going to make a call.”
Rosco chuckled and followed Chief Lacey out of the room. They went into the main office. Lacey asked for the extension.
Rosco looked around on the desk as he waited. He glanced closer at a top file. A sheet of notebook paper written in child’s cursive caught his attention. He pulled the sheet out and he began to read.
He looked up to see Lacey handing him the receiver, he in turn handed the paper to Lacey. He listened to Kate for a few minutes, before speaking. “Would you rather I call Jesse and see what he can do?”
Lacey went through the rest of the folder, by the time Rosco hung the phone up a few minutes later he was done.
“Interesting ain’t it?” He held the folder out to the Hazzard County Sheriff, the notebook paper on the top.
“Call the Duke farm. I’d bet a meal of Mama’s, Jesse’ll take care of this.” Rosco said quietly, blue eyes scanning the documents quickly.
Lacey picked up the phone again. He waited while he was connected to the Hazzard Country operator, then finally to the Duke farm. He spoke for a moment and then handed the phone to Rosco.
“Well Martha, I don’t see a problem if Jesse and you could come over and sign some papers. Probably be best if y’all could do it today. Alright, we’ll see you in a little bit then.” Rosco hung the phone up then.
He turned and took a seat to wait for the Dukes. Lacey meanwhile begin to make a few more calls.
Meanwhile at a farmhouse located off Old Mill Road, 18 miles from the town of Hazzard.
Jesse Duke looked hesitantly at his niece and nephews after Martha had told him about the phone call. “I have something I want to ask you.”
11-year-old Daisy asked. “What is it?”
“Would you like Daney to come and live with us here on the farm?”
“Why… Doesn’t she like Capitol City any more?” 10-year-old Bo asked.
Luke hit him in the shoulder. “Bo, you don’t say stuff like that. Of course we do Uncle Jesse, Aunt Martha.”
Jesse gave them each a look and Martha gave them a smile. “Well it’s a long story. Rosco got a call from Chief over in Springville. I want y’all to be good while your Aunt Martha and I are gone. If you have any trouble, call Miss Lulu and JD.”
They echoed in agreement watching him and their aunt walk out.
Daney was nervous looking at the man in the uniform sitting at the other end of the table from her. Could she trust him? Mother had never believed her when she told her. She’d just say Daney should have been more careful doing her chores. Her mother’s friend had seemed so nice at first. She had loved school till this last year, when the kids had picked on her.
Timidly she stood up. “Mr. Sheriff sir, can I talk to you.”
“Well of course.” Rosco replied.
“I don’t want to go home.” Daney replied slowly walking towards him.
“Why not?” Rosco asked, he was pretty sure the paper he had read had been written by Daney.
“She’s mean to me…” Daney replied.
Rosco rose from his seat. “How is she mean to you?”
Daney said the easiest thing. “She says a lot of mean things to me…”
Rosco could tell it was more than that. Not just from the note he read but her cheek had what appeared to be a faded bruise on it. “Did she hit you?”
“I fell off my bike yesterday and hurt myself,” She fibbed.
“Would you mind showing me?” Rosco asked, concerned.
“Sure.” Daney pulled her shirtsleeve up just above her wrist. There was a welt, like if you took a belt would make.
“You didn’t fall off your bike, did you?” He asked.
“No sir… I’m sorry I fibbed.” Daney replied, tears falling down her cheeks.
“It’s alright. You just sit right there and I’ll be back.” Rosco answered. He watched her sit quietly and then he walked out of the room, in the hall and to the next room. He threw the door opened and looked seriously at the woman sitting there smugly.
“Excuse me your Honor, I need to bring something to your attention.” Rosco said in a firm voice.
“Yes Sheriff, what is it?” The judge asked. He had been about to announce his decision.
Rosco stepped closer to the table. “Daney’s life is in danger if you send her back with this…” His words faded trying to think of a fitting word for the woman sitting across from Jesse, Martha and Kate.
“Do you have some information…Sheriff?” The judge inquired curiously.
“What’s wrong, Rosco?” Jesse asked, after the younger man didn’t speak for several moments.
Rosco had regained control of his anger when he finally spoke. “Jesse, you ever take a belt to Daisy?”
Jesse shook his head. “No, Can’t say I’ve ever had to yet, thank the good lord.” What ever else he was gonna say was forgotten when the mother laughed.
The three men and two women looked at her.
She said calmly. “That child is so clumsy. She’s always falling down or tripping over something.”
Rosco slammed his fist on the table. “Those were not from a fall or tripping over something. You hurt that little girl.”
The judge rose from his seat. “Jesse, Martha, Sheriff. Follow me. I’d like you to wait in the hall while I speak to the girl.”
Martha, Jesse and Rosco had been sitting quietly for a few minutes when the judge came back out. “Sheriff, can you come in here. She won’t talk to me.”
“I figured she wouldn’t.” Rosco said, following the judge into the room.
“Daney, your Uncle Jesse and Aunt Martha can’t take you home if you don’t talk to the judge here.” Rosco spoke.
“He’s just gonna send me home with her.” Daney replied biting on her lip, she was all cried out.
“No, he won’t. C’mon you can tell him. I know you can.” Rosco encouraged.
Daney scooted the chair back and stood up. With out a word lifted her shirtsleeve up like she had done earlier.
“Your mother did this.” The judge asked.
“Her friend.” Daney nodded, searching his face for some sort of emotion that would tell her what he was thinking. She grabbed Rosco’s arm when the judge walked out without saying anything.
Rosco looked down at her. “Don’t worry.”
Daney looked unsure. “Ok.”
The judge came back in a few minutes later. “Sheriff, I’d like you to take the young lady to her house and get what ever she wants to take to her new home. It’s going to take Jesse, Martha and Kate a bit of time to fill out all the papers for guardianship. I want to process them before they leave.”
“Yes, your honor.” He paused and took Daney’s hand. “You ready to go?”
Daney nodded, her green brown eyes shining bright. “Yes!”
Rosco listened attentively to Daney talk about school and things she liked driving to a house on one of the main streets in Capitol City. It was a two-story house with a small porch.
He followed her inside. When you walked in there was a living room to the left, a dining room to the right. The kitchen was on the other side of the dining room.
“If you’re thirsty Sheriff, there might be something in the refrigerator. I doubt it tho’… They were hardly ever home.” Daney said shyly before turning a corner and running up a flight of steps. He wasn’t thirsty so he did a bit of snooping. Trying to see if he could find anything that would indicate why the woman had done what she had done.
Besides the steps to the upstairs…there were 3 doors in the kitchen. One to the cellar, one to the small backyard where a small carport was. The other door led to a small bathroom that had a bedroom off of it. He walked trough the bedroom and found himself at the foot of the steps.
He ran up the stairs when he heard a sound like something was being thrown against a wall. On the stair landing to the right was Daney’s room. To the left was another bedroom. “Are you ok?” he asked, seeing her standing in the middle of the room.
“Yeah… I feel better.” Daney replied, her gaze resting on a smashed vase a few feet from her. She looked at it for a brief second and then grabbed a small cloth bag. “I’m ready to go.”
Rosco listened to his sister talk about one of the kids at the orphanage. “Well you know Lulu, there might be some one you could call to help you. I don’t know how willing she’d be but you could ask Daney.”
“Oh Rosco, I don’t know.” Lulu sighed. It would be nice, the child needed someone to talk to and the Duke teenager had been though the same thing.
“Rosco picked up the phone. “Gussy, get me the Duke farm… thank you.” He paused. “Hello Jesse, how are you? — Do you think Daney might be willing to talk to one of the kids at the orphanage about some stuff.” There was another pause. “Sure, Lulu will be glad to come out and pick her up. Let her know Lulu will be there in about 30 minutes.” He glanced over at Lulu with a raised eyebrow, as if to say is that ok.
Lulu nodded, and listened to the formal goodbye. “Thank you, baby brother.” She said, rising from her seat.
“Khee, no problem. That’s what I’m here for.” Rosco’s smile matched his sister’s.
When Lulu pulled up to the farm, Daney was standing on the porch.
“Hi Miss Lulu,” The brunette teenager called and turned back to the screen door. “I’m leaving, Daisy. Be back soon.”
Lulu could barely hear the other Duke’s goodbye as Daney came toward the car.
“Uncle Jesse, said something about the orphanage.” Daney said, closing the door on the passenger side of the Ford Granada.
“There is a little girl there age 9,” Lulu paused. “I think she needs someone she could open up too.”
“Like a friend?” Daney asked.
“Well what are we waiting for?”
Lulu chuckled and drove the car back out on the road.
“How is school going?”
“Great, I think with Bo on the team, the boys will win state championship.”
“They might. The last time Hazzard won that was when Luke played?”
“Yeah, 4 years ago. Doesn’t seem like it’s been that long. It’ll be nice to have him home again.” Daney smiled and looked out the window. 21 year old Luke had just left for a 4 year stint with the Marines.
She watched the scenery go by and listened as Miss Lulu recounted her latest shopping trip to the city. Soon the Granada pulled up in front of the Sheridan Orphanage.
Kids waved and yelled hello as they got out of the car. “Now you boys get away from this car, or I won’t take y’all to the ice cream parlor later.” Miss Lulu reminded the group of children. Daney smiled at the wide eyes and innocent grins. The ice cream parlor had only been open a few months and Miss Lulu took the kids once a week. Boss had a fit about the cost, but it made Miss Lulu happy, and that was what mattered.
“Daney, I’d like you to meet Season.” Lulu said, after they entered the living room of the home. It was plainly decorated with the drawings of the children taped to the walls. The orphanage was run mostly by donations, the biggest contributor being Lulu Hogg.
“Howdy Season, it’s nice to met you.” Daney smiled.
“You’re Bo’s cousin.” The little girl’s blue green eyes lit up.
Daney held back a laugh. For one reason or other, girls of all ages were attracted to the 15-year-old lanky blonde Duke with dark blue eyes. “Yep. He ain’t my only cousin, though. It’s really nice outside. Why don’t we go for a walk and talk about our cousins. You got cousins don’t you?”
“Yes and yes.” The little girl giggled. She slipped her hand into the older girl’s and followed her out.
Lulu was having a discussion with Mr. Sheridan when the door opened and the kids came running through.
“Settle down, what’s going?”
Several small voices echoed each other. “It started raining.”
Lulu frowned after glancing around the crowd. “Oh, dear. Did any of you see Daney or Season?”
A giggle came from the doorway. Lulu held her hand up to her mouth as she saw both girls soaking wet. Mr. Sheridan frowned, he liked to run the orphanage much like the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Forces ran their boot camps.
Season smiled as Daney stooped down to let her off her back. “We went down to the gazebo. It’s real pretty downtown.” She looked up at the older girl. “Thank you.”
Daney hugged her. “Your welcome. Maybe I’ll stop and see you after school tomorrow if you like.”
Mr. Sheridan cut off the little girl’s reply. “Children, go up to your rooms, please.”
“But Miss Lulu was suppose to take us to the ice cream parlor.”
“It’s not nap or bed time.”
“I said now.”
Lulu glanced from the empty eyes of Mr. Sheridan to the anger on Daney’s face as the children filed out of the room.
Mr. Sheridan could see both of them wanted an answer. “I just don’t think it would be right for Season to have a visitor, when the others don’t. I think you can understand that.”
“I understand, maybe you should try organizing things for them. There are the girl and boy scouts, stuff like that.” Daney replied.
“We don’t have the money for those things.” Mr. Sheridan retorted.
“If it’s money you need, why didn’t you just say so? I’m sure JD would gladly put up some of the cost.” Lulu chimed in.
Daney added. “I bet you if you let folks know, you’d have all kinds of volunteers for the kind of things these children need.”
“How would you know what they need?”
“I was a kid not long ago and Season told me.”
“She doesn’t talk to anyone.”
“Well she talked to me. And I’ll tell you if I was old enough, you’d be out of a job, Mr. Sheridan.” Daney was not about to hold back now. She looked at Lulu. “Season told me one of the reasons, she don’t talk is because he tells them not to. What these kids need is activities and support, not shut up in rooms or left to run wild outside for hours.”
Lulu looked over at Mr. Sheridan. “Do you need a break or vacation?”
“Mrs. Sheridan and I run things fine, thank you.”
“I’m sure you do, but wouldn’t you like some helpers? I mean just think of all the stuff you could do. Take the kids hiking and fishing, simple things that don’t cost anything if you got all the right stuff. You could teach them about farming and nature. I’m sure you don’t want to see the kids of these kids in here someday, do you?” Daney said.
Lulu smiled. She had seen the classic Duke with a plan expression so many times on Jesse and Luke’s faces, it was natural to see it on Bo, Daisy or Daney’s.
“She has a good point.” There was a benefit of being the wife of the richest and most powerful man in the county. People didn’t argue with you as much as they would other person.
Mr. Sheridan nodded. “Yes, and you think people would volunteer?”
Daney laughed. “Heck, yes. I know Daisy would and with some persuasion, Bo probably will. Then all our buddies and Miss Lulu has lots of friends who I am sure would help.”
Lulu’s smile widened. “Yes, they would.”
Several weeks later after permits and papers were filled out and ok’ed with Boss, the first part of Daney’s plan started. The children were taken camping and fishing by some of the high school kids, Bo, Daney and Daisy.
Rosco chuckled when he saw the group come into the office. Season walked up and handed him some wildflowers wrapped in brown paper.
“Jit, Jit, you know there’s a law against picking these things when they’re on private property.”
Season giggled and looked over at Daney with a sly grin. “She made me do it!”
“You Dukes are always up to something…” Rosco teased. He wasn’t surprised, today was always the day every year that Daney stopped in with the same flowers. Then he got up from his seat and led the group on a tour of the Sheriff’s Department.
The day ended with Boss and Lulu taking some of the kids in their new convertible caddy and Rosco and the other kids in the patrol car to the ice cream parlor.
Life is what you make of it. Daney thought looking at the boys and Uncle Jesse sitting at the picnic table taking a break before continuing with the rest of the stuff they needed to do for harvest time. It had been 2 years since they had went on probation and an agreement with the government had been made. About the same time Uncle Jesse and Boss had had an argument and weren’t as close as they had been. She finished putting the clothes on the line and headed over to the General. It was time to head over to the Boar’s Nest to help Daisy with opening duties. Things weren’t as bad as they had been in the past and the future was uncertain. She was glad to have family like she had and friends like the Sheriff and Miss Lulu she could confide in when she was feeling troubled or had a problem and needed an opinion. Or when she had doubts about being in Hazzard…or when she got sidetracked and needed to focus on something.
Bo frowned as he saw the flash of orange pull from away from the side of the house. “Did you tell her, she could take the General!”
“No, you probably left the keys in it again.” Luke teased.
Jesse glanced at them. “I told her earlier she could since we need the truck for work and Daisy took the roadrunner.”
Both young men smiled and Jesse returned it with one of his own.
Daisy stood next to the gate at the Atlanta airport. “I wish I could go with you to see the boys. Charlotte sounds nice.”
Daney smiled. “Yeah. But you know Boss wouldn’t let you go and if I take that job, I don’t know when I’ll be back. And I do really want to see the twins.”
Daisy laughed. 18 months ago, Season and her husband Chase Daniels become parents. Chase a trucker was away at the time. So Daney had gotten the honor of naming the twins. Shelby Rain and Carly Bree. Daisy hadn’t quite figured out how the heck she had came up with them, but that was Daney.
“Hey, that’s last call for my flight!” Daney exclaimed. She frowned, seeing something stick out of her backpack. She grabbed the 2 brown papers and handed it to her cousin. “Could you see Miss Lulu and Rosco get those. I meant to give them to them before I left. I’ll call you when I get there.” She hugged Daisy and took off.
Daisy lifted the bouquets of wildflowers and smelled them as Daney ran to where the flight was boarding. She was curious to peek at the cards attached but she knew the one was a thank you to Lulu and the other was to the person who Daney would always see as a Friend In Blue.
To my own friends in ‘blue’, thank you =)