By Fresnel light, a ship journeys in from sea to port, or churns lake/river waters and harbor channels. The vessel’s captain trusts that the keeper has maintained it; even on the darkest night.
Pharos’s mysterious “mirror” that served 285 B.C. Alexandria.
Maine… North Atlantic… South Atlantic… Western Great Lakes… California… Pacific Northwest.
Uniquely designed; only markers that could identify what location it was for the captain were the same color and pattern. Iron tripodish in the water, 50 to 200 foot high towers located on a sandy beach near the shore line. Whether nestled along a cliff or at the end of a bridge, each had the same duty… guide a ship and its cargo, like a mountain hiker’s lantern on a trail. Each was given a name not a number.
Keeper’s log divided into A to Z sections: History – building changes, natural or unnatural. Law – U.S. Code Title 33, chapter 16. Mishaps – ship or personnel accidents. News – other lighthouses. Order – supply list.
A lot to absorb, fundamental to the job. Construction was mostly from local materials. Onshore- wood, rubblestone, cut stone, brick, cast iron plate, iron or steel skeletal, and reinforced concrete. Offshore – straight pile or screw pile, caisson, crib, pier/breakwater. Property could also include Boathouse, Storehouse, Keeper’s Dwelling, Oil house, Fog Signal building. Necessities besides the lantern were radio, beacon and boat.
Experience didn’t always guarantee a successful period for a light keeper. Many elements and objects needed to work in order for a job to be done. Board or rope could break in the middle of recovery attempt. Never knowing exactly when guests would arrive. Or what assistance they might need. Ironic sanctuary this night.
Red…strontium, Green… barium, Blue… copper, Yellow… sodium.
Softly mused color and ingredients that lit the darkened sky like a thunder storm’s lightening. Potassium chlorate helped give a brighter, deeper hue. Italian fire masters during the 1830s had discovered the way to make fireworks more than just orange sparks or white metallics, gold or silver tinted. Nine hundred years later the gunpowder mixture of 75% saltpeter, 5% charcoal, 10% charcoal was still used. Potassium Nitrate made the chemicals burn faster resulting in a louder sounding explosive. Sometime in the period of 1400 -1500, canister shells were invented, along with “ground fountains”, the latter receiving its name from dense shower sparks.
A glance out toward a boat anchored several hundred yards away. It had been found that letting pyros off over a body of water led to a more spectacular show.
1730ish, creation of “quick match” allowed for more than one powder work to be lit at the same time by skilled technician. A long way from China’s Han dynasty bamboo sticks to spherical aerial canisters and set pieces; pictures or words made from hundreds of small torches. Alchemists, carpenters, metalworkers, masons, painters and other professionals worked to make bigger bangs, light flashes and new structures for elaborate viewing.
Addition of fine aluminum instead of black powder balanced with correct oxidizer created a faster, hotter mixture called flash powder. Effect allowed aerial salutes and noisier firecrackers. The female inspector forgot work and immersed into enjoyment of July 4th festives…
Jesse closed the journal and placed it back among the various books on the shelf. Ink splots and written text faded over the years, there to view from keen interest or peaked curiosity.
* * *
Bo’s smile widened at seeing a familiar figure seated on the Gazebo steps. He glanced over at the General parked in front of Rhuebottom’s, then walked over. “How are you?”
“Beauregard Duke!” The young woman exclaimed and stood up. “I’m fine, yourself?”
“Not too bad, weekly staples trip.” He answered. “Gonna be staying long?”
“Just in town to drop off papers to Miss Lulu.” She reached a hand out and gave Bo’s left arm a playful squeeze. “I got time to have soda with an old friend if you’re interested.” She grinned at Bo’s teasing expression.
“That’d be fine with me,” Bo paused. “But don’t we need to look for your old friend first?”
“C’mon,” She tugged the young man’s medium blue colored shirt. “How’s Luke?”
“You can ask him at the drug store,” Bo replied.
“Possum on a gum bush,” A male voice exclaimed and whistled softly. Cooter shut the driver’s side tow truck door. He watched the red haired woman dressed in a pleasant blouse and bell bottoms venture with Bo toward the Hazzard Drug Store. He turned his attention to a white Plymouth parked on the gas pump side closer to the street. “Hey Enos, you see who I saw,” He pointed in the direction of where the companions had been moments before.
“Bo…hmm” The deputy’s words muffled as he tilted his head more out the partially open patrol car window. “You think one of us should go over?” Enos mused.
Cooter shook his head. “Nah.”
“Buddy roe, can you the power steering fluid?” Enos paused. “Barely made one of the turns over by Willet’s Corners.”
“Pop the hood,” Cooter said and stepped to the front of the vehicle. “Oil, transmission and window washer levels too?”
“If it ain’t no trouble,” Enos replied. He glanced over to where Boss and Lulu were coming out of the courthouse. He observed the portly county commissioner and his wife. Cooter began to tinker under the hood.
“She said it wouldn’t take long to get here taking the highway,” Lulu sighed.
“Maybe there was some construction,” Boss suggested.
“Chickabiddy,” Lulu’s hands loosened from the purse strap held. “I need those papers by 5pm.”
Boss nodded. “I know and you’ll have ‘em. Now why don’t we go have ourselves a snack over at that little coffee shop?”
“Oh,” Lulu said quietly. “Here I am going on about something and you ain’t eat this morning because of your physical.”
“It’s alright,” Boss gave his wife a big smile. “We leave now, everything’ll be alright.”
“Ok, J.D.,” Lulu glanced over to Cooter’s Garage. She lifted a hand, then waved at Enos and Cooter. The mechanic scribbling hastily on a notepad. Enos looking at his ticket book. “I just worry with her having been gone, she may not recognize anything.”
“Strawberry pie, I told you everything will be alright. Now can we please go?” Boss asked.
“Of course,” Lulu replied. She waited for him to open the Cadillac’s passenger door. It was a nice morning for a drive in the convertible.
* * *
“How fast could you map out a route to the Hawaiian islands?” Daney asked.
Daisy raised her left hand and pressed her palm lightly on her cousin’s forehead. “Are you coming down with something?”
Daney shook her head, resulting in a mumbled answer as her cousin’s hand slid down her face.
“What did you say?” Daisy questioned.
“Not that I know of,” Daney shrugged.
“I liked the first idea of checking with the jewelry store to see if they recall selling this,” Daisy gently ran her left index finger along a grey velvet bag on the Hazzard County Airport registrar’s desk. It contained a heart shaped sliver locket and chain. The locket could be opened to interchange seven crystal stones that were secured on jewelry box plastic inside the bag tied closed by a light grey satin string.
Amethyst, Citrine, Sodalite, Rose Quartz, Aventurine, Blue Lace Agate and Carnelian.
“They’ve seen a catalogue this was featured in,” Daney paused momentarily. “Or heard about it from another customer.”
Daisy laughed. “One of us would get to keep if the owner isn’t found?”
“Not if it gets lost in Boss’s safe.”
“Do we risk carrying it around or find someone to entrust with the care?”
“Compromise, keep until we find someone of that description,” Daney paused. “Let’s not tell anyone we have it.”
“Sounds like a plan,” Daisy smiled. “I do hope we find the owner.”
“They probably don’t even realize it’s missing, otherwise wouldn’t we have seen an ad in the Gazette or flyer on the bulletin board?” Daney mentioned two ordinary places someone would post about such an item of value.
“Depending on when it was lost, might even be a report at the Sheriff’s Office.” Daisy said.
“Received from an inheritance or auction, they might not have known the contents,” Daney added. “Who do you think it belongs too?”
Daisy glanced to her watch, waiting until the second hand gone completely around for a minute. “Impossible. Let’s just take this as it comes, rather than plan anything out.”
“Yeah,” Daney agreed. “Has there been any foreclosures lately?” She stood up, her right hand snatching a purple beret off the desk. She put it on her head, then her left hand reached for the grey jewelry satchel. “If it does turn out to be antique, it’s been well cared or hidden for a long time.”
“Hopefully the jewelry store clerk will be able to tell,” Daisy grabbed her jacket and put it on. Then got a key set from the cork board above the desk. She smiled. “Are we going to let the boys in on this?”
“They’re capable of finding their own adventure,” Daney laughed. “Maybe that’s why they’re always in trouble.”
“We know where to find them if their assistance is required,” Daisy walked to the door. “Jesse too.”
“Always,” Daney opened the door and walked outside. She glanced at the air strip landing. Heard the door creak, click of the key turning the lock. Birds chirping merrily in the morning sky.
“Police Department or jewelry store?” Daisy started to walk toward the dark green Plymouth. She had been thinking. Boss owned the jewelry store. He might even be at his business establishment or the clerk would call him or the Sheriff’s Office.
“Officer, I’d like to file a report.” Rosco turned from filling out a ticket for a late model Buick in front of the paint store. Blue eyes came to gaze at an elderly woman dressed in a white blouse and knee length cotton skirt. “What kinda report, ma’am?”
“My necklace is missing.” She replied.
“Any idea how it disappeared?”
“Ok,” Rosco paused. He snapped the ticket book shut, then placed it and the pen he had been writing with in his shirt pocket.
“A telephone operator usually has an idea of what’s going on,” Rosco smiled and beckoned for the lady to follow him across the square. “Ma’am…”
“You can call me Hannah, sheriff.” She answered.
“Could you describe it for me, please?” Rosco queried.
“A velvet jewelry bag,” patent leather pumps clunked around a small pothole in the street. “Silver gray. Length of a playing card, width of three decks. Satin string closure.”
“And the necklace?”
“More like a pendant,” She sighed. “Silver. Interchangeable stones made over the years.”
“Those were with it?” Rosco asked as he carefully made his way between two parked vehicles to get to the sidewalk. He did not see the bitter sweet smile come to her lips. “Foam covered cardboard insert.” The Sheriff did hear that and a small sniffle before he asked. “And the necklace hung secured in the middle, chain under that.”
While Rosco and Hannah ventured into the telephone office, Cooter gently let the hood of Enos’s patrol car down.
“I ain’t sure what to tell ya,” Cooter grabbed an orange rag that had been laid by the gas pump. “Levels look ok, didn’t find any cracked lines or rusted engine parts.”
“Sure do appreciate ya checking,” Enos watched Cooter wipe his hands off. “Guess it just had itself a vapor lock.”
“Just make sure to stop back in if it does it again,” Cooter advised.
Enos grinned. “I will, buddy roe.” He reached to turn the key in the ignition when the Duke men and their lady friend approached.
“Either of you seen Boss and Miss Lulu?” Luke asked. “Victoria’s suppose to deliver some paperwork.”
“Howdy, ma’am.” Cooter and Enos both said. Enos continued speaking. “They drove in the caddy about twenty minutes ago.”
“That would explain why Miss Lulu wasn’t home when I stopped before reacquainting with Bo over by the gazebo,” Victoria said. She looked thoughtfully between the mechanic and deputy. “Any idea where they might have went.”
“Probably to get some grub,” Cooter replied.
“I’m sure Mr. Hogg wouldn’t mind if you waited in his office,” Enos added.
Bo grinned. “You sure that’s a good idea, Enos?”
Enos nodded. He looked sternly at Bo and Luke. “He would mind if you two were, but not her.” Enos smiled.
“So it’d be ok to tell Boss you said it was alright,” Victoria reached a slender hand out and patted the light blue deputy shirt material.
“Hmm,” Enos murmured. The patrol car’s engine started. Bo, Luke and Cooter winced at the grind from the key being held a second longer than needed. Cooter took a few steps back for Enos to be able to drive away. “Thanks again, Cooter.” Enos said and the vehicle moved onto the street.
“Keep it between the ditches,” Cooter hollered as the white patrol car sped forward. Twinkling blue eyes looked at Bo, Luke and Victoria. “Ma’am, you’re more than welcome to wait here if you like.”
“That’s kind of you to offer,” Victoria hesitantly replied. “I could freshen up if you still have the loft?”
“If you don’t mind it being messy,” Cooter said.
Victoria laughed. “Not at all.”
* * *
“You found this at the airstrip?” Jesse looked at his two brunette haired nieces seated in the green Plymouth.
“On our way to town now, sir.” Daney answered.
“Unless you know who it belongs too…” Daisy added.
They watched the red cap slid off the head of white hair down past the metal bucket of chicken feed in his hands, onto the ground. Next to a hen who had followed him from the coop.
“Don’t you get any idea,” Jesse took one hand off the bucket. He stooped down and retrieved his cap. Making the material rustle just a bit to shoo Gabby toward the barn. He stood up. “What makes you think I know who that bag belongs too?”
“You know a lot of things,” Daney offered. Her fingers twisted the bag’s satin string nervously.
Jesse smiled. “Yeah but not everything,” The bucket was sat on the ground. He continued speaking while putting the cap back on. “Might want to stop by Hannah Edgewater’s place. Her husband use to find all sorts stuff after folks left his business.” He paused. “Other than that, I’d take it straight to the Sheriff’s Department.”
“We were gonna try the jewelry store,” Daisy interrupted quietly.
“Oh, you could.” Jesse agreed. “Probably best get going if you wannna get there before they close.”
“Yeah,” Daney paused. Hazel eyes watched Gabby edge closer to an herb patch by the tractor.
“Thanks, Uncle Jesse.” Both cousins said. Jesse smiled and waved. He turned to continue with chores, confident in decision. The elderly farmer began to whistle as the dark green Plymouth backed out the driveway and onto the road.
About that same moment in town, Lulu and Boss had returned to the county courthouse, made their way inside the building.
“Rosco, why ain’t you out on patrol?” Boss demanded upon seeing the Sheriff at the table. Rosco glanced at him.
“Hey Lulu,” Rosco smiled. Gussy hadn’t been very helpful in his investigation of Mrs. Edgewater’s missing item. “Boss, it’s like this. I had to come and file a report, then some folks came in,” He paused to catch his breath. “they’re in your office.”
“Whose in my office?” Boss’s chubby cheeks puffed, his lips pursed together. He was hesitant about having Lulu meet any of his business associates. That way she wouldn’t be asking questions he might not want to answer.
“Miss Edgewater and Victoria,” Rosco said.
“Oh,” Lulu exclaimed. She grabbed Boss’s hand and hurried toward the office door marked County Commissioner.
“Boss,” Rosco started but Boss didn’t hear him over Lulu’s exclamation of “She made it –Victoria, sweetie. I hope your travel wasn’t too bothersome.” She finished speaking, as the door opened for her and Boss to enter his office.
“Them Dukes,” Boss shouted, his hand dropping out of his wife’s hold. Chocolate brown eyes noticed the blond perched on the chair arm, the dark haired one on the desk.
“Khee,” Rosco grinned and thought to himself. I’d have told if Lulu hadn’t been in such a hurry.
“Afternoon Commissioner… Lulu,” Victoria held her arms out to hug the older woman. “What a beautiful dress.”
“Thank you,” Lulu reached her arms out. Her right hand brushed across the young woman’s shoulder. “You sure do look nice.”
“Uh huh,” Bo and Luke mumbled, watching the two women embrace. Boss shook his head. “Papers?” He asked.
Victoria smiled. “On your desk, sir.” She answered. “Miss Hannah, could you pass them over please.”
“Miss Edgewater, that’s alright. I’ll get them.” Boss said and carefully made his way to the desk. “Did you need to see me for something, honey?”
“Came to file a report about a missing pendant,” Hannah replied.
“Did the Sheriff or one of his deputies take care of that for you?” Boss queried sincerely. Hannah’s late husband Alan had been a lighthouse keeper before his station was closed. They had settled in Hazzard about thirty five years ago, after meeting a red haired man named Jesse at the town’s only café.
She nodded. “Yes, Rosco did.”
Boss smiled. Pudgy fingers reached to the desktop for the paper work. “I’m sure Rosco and his department will do all they can to help you.” He glanced at the boys. “What are y’all doing here?”
“Walked over with Victoria,” Bo said. “There is still time to make changes,” Victoria addressed Lulu who had walked to the desk.
Luke moved from the desk corner to make room for Lulu to inspect the documents. He went to the window, peeked out the blinds across the street to the garage. He listened half interested to paperwork discussion ramble, his blond cousin conversing with Miss Edgewater behind him.
“How much do we owe for expenses, Victoria?”
“Nothing, Miss Lulu,” Victoria smiled at the older woman. “It was a nice change of routine to be able to bring the papers to you.”
“Are you sure?” Lulu asked quietly. She wasn’t use to someone refusing her.
Victoria nodded. “Yes, ma’am.” She looked to the county commissioner for help.
“Would you accept just an itty bitty token of appreciation,” Boss paused. The faint ringing of the booking room telephone echoed. “Maybe some fresh picked fruits and vegetables?” Dark eyes followed Rosco exiting the room.
“I was planning to get some if I had time,” Victoria admitted. “Is that place with herbs and spices still out just past the interchange?”
Lulu smiled. “Yes. Just tell Mrs. Cromarty we sent you.”
“Alright,” Victoria replied. She still planned to pay for purchases but didn’t want to hurt Lulu’s feelings.
“Victoria, did you park by the paint store?” Luke called out, blue eyes looking out the blinds.
“Yeah,” Victoria said hesitantly.
“Because Enos is walking toward your vehicle with his ticket book in hand,” Luke said.
“Miss Lulu, Boss it was good seeing you both,” Victoria hurried toward the door with Bo, then Luke following her.
“Look forward to doing business with y’all again.” She yelled as her and the boys ran out to the booking room.
Miss Lulu, Rosco and Mrs. Edgewater laughed. Boss looked mildly amused.
He cleared his throat. “Hannah, you said something about a stolen items report?”
“Rosco took care of that,” She said. “We’re waiting to hear back from the jewelry store.”
Boss took his watch from a vest pocket, glanced at the time. “It’s open for another half hour.”
He returned the watch to its place, his fingers gliding over the chain. “I could call if you like.”
“Mr. Hogg, I wouldn’t want to trouble you,” she glanced at Lulu.
“We could walk over, the exercise will do you good, J.D.” Lulu said quickly with a smile.
“That sounds like a good idea but I still have to count monies and get them to the bank,”
He gestured toward the small cash box on top of a beige filing cabinet.
“Just bring it with you,” Rosco suggested. He had seen Boss do that before. “Lulu, ain’t you got to put those papers in your security box?”
“Rosco!” Lulu exclaimed and grabbed the papers from the desk. “Thank you. Me and J.D. can do our business at the bank, while you help Hannah.” She smiled at the older woman.
“If that’s alright?”
Hannah nodded. “Of course, I always feel safe when he’s around.”
“Not many do,” Boss mumbled. He reached for the cash box. He saw Lulu frown at him.
Cooter was headed back to his garage from the post office. He observed a purple Plymouth in the last parking spot on the street alongside the jewelry store. He lowered his head a bit to allow the ball cap covering his head to shield his eyes from the sunlight.
Wondered how come the boys hadn’t told him that Hunter had received an updated coat.
And their cousin would trust just anyone to do the work. As he got closer; Cooter saw it was a Barracuda, noticed the license plate number was different. The mechanic could also tell where stripes had once been.
“Not a bad looking car,” He heard a female whistle. He tilted his head a little, saw Daney and Daisy walking from Hunter who was parked up the street by the fire hydrant.
“Hey Cooter, how are you?” Daney asked.
“Not bad, just took a break and went over to get some stamps.” He smiled. “What brings y’all
to town?” The threesome stepped to within a stop sign distance of one another.
“We found something out at the airport,” Daisy held up the gray velvet bag. “Thought we’d check
with the jewelry store about it.”
“Sure a secret admirer didn’t leave it for you to find?” Cooter teased lightly.
The cousins looked at each other, then at Cooter. “Didn’t even consider that.” Daisy replied, she untied the string for Cooter to take a peek. “You ever seen anyone with this?” She asked, taking the box out and carefully holding it, and then opened.
“Hmm, umm.” Cooter shook his head. “Enos did mention the Sheriff was helping Mrs. Edgewater file a report on a pendant.” He paused. “It wouldn’t hurt to check with the
jewelry store since you’re already here.”
“Thanks,” Daney said. She and Cooter watched Daisy repackage the delicate item into the bag, tie the string. “I best be getting back to the shop case Enos has more vehicle dilemmas. Or your cousins stop by with the General.” Cooter rubbed at the pavement with the toe of his left boot.
“Have a good afternoon, Cooter.” Daisy smiled. “Appreciate the tidbit about the report.”
She gave him a quick hug. Cooter returned the embrace, managed to hug both cousins. “We best let you get to work,” Daney said, giving the mechanic’s right shoulder a friendly squeeze, her and Daisy stepped away.
Cooter grinned. “Yeah, take it easy.” He waved and waited until the Duke cousins were in the store before starting back toward the garage.
“I’ll be with you in a moment,” the store manager said upon the short bell chime of the door being closed. “Ok,” Daisy replied politely.
“Thank you, Mr. Folger.” the dish water blond haired gentleman at the counter said. “I’ll make sure to check on those for you, have an estimate in a week.”
“Appreciate you stopping in before leaving on your business trip,” Mr. Folger replied.
“Not a problem,” the man answered. “Is there a flower shop close by?”
“Make a left at the end of the street and go a few blocks. If you pass the Gazette, that’s about five buildings too far.” Mr. Folger came from around the counter. “It should be open for another
twenty minutes or so.” He paused. “If not, there is a farmer’s stand along the route to the airport.”
“Great,” the man turned and began to walk toward the door with Mr. Folger. “If you have any other questions in regards to the brochure, someone at the phone number on the card should
be able to help.”
“Ok,” Mr. Folger replied. He looked toward Jesse’s nieces. “What can I help you two with?”
“We found this item and wondered if you could tell us anything about it, sir.” Daney said quietly.
She nudged her cousin gently. Daisy laid the bag on top of the closest display. Then she returned to watching the mustachioed stranger leave the store.
“Might be able too,” Mr. Folger stepped to the case and opened the bag, then the box. He studied the piece for a moment. “Exactly what were you wondering?” Some people bought gem stones and crystals for certain occasions; others thought they held healing powers.
“If it was brought from this store or possibly repaired here,” Daisy answered.
“I’ve seen crystals at a gem show,” He paused. “Can’t say I’ve seen this pendant before.”
“Not even maybe a customer wearing it?” Daney asked.
He shook his head. “I can see if there are any identification marks, highly unlikely.”
“If that wouldn’t be too much trouble,” Daisy said.
He smiled. “Not all, if you’ll just follow me to the back room where the microscope is…” He picked up the box, the bag fell to the checkered linoleum floor.
“Probably won’t be able to tell how old it is,” Daney mused out loud as she and Daisy followed Mr. Folger to the back room. “Or where it came from.”
“There are jewels exclusive to areas,” He took a breath. “Honestly, I think these are pretty garden variety. Can find them most places.”
“Do you have to go to school for this type of thing?” Daisy asked.
“You can- the best learning is working with an expert,” Mr. Folger replied. “More beneficial is specialization.”
“Sorta like a detective,” Daney smiled. “Few take missing people, others deal in insurance.”
Mr. Folger nodded. “That’s a good example. How is your uncle?”
“He’s fine,” Daisy answered. Mr. Folger took a seat. Box of glass examination slides laid next to a basic microscope. Pair of tweezers had been placed on top of a foot long ruler. Gem stone and mineral books scattered over a wall shelf.
While the female Dukes learned about gemology, Bo and Luke had helped Victoria gather some items at Miss Cromarty’s stand.
“You have such a lovely place,” Victoria said after her purchases had been secured in a brown paper grocery bag. She looked at the log cabin about thirty feet away. A creek ran out back of it, pecan and fruit trees to the east, herb garden west. Various flower patches almost to the dirt road’s edge.
“Thank you,” Miss Cromarty smiled. “Sure you boys don’t need anything?”
“No ma’am,” Luke replied.
“Actually would you happen to have any pickled scuppernongs?” Bo asked.
Luke looked at his cousin. “Didn’t the general store have them?”
“They weren’t on the list,” Bo said. “Thought since we’re late getting back home,
might be a nice surprise.” He explained.
Luke shook his head. “We didn’t tell Jesse when we’d be back.”
“I have some in the house, be right back.” Miss Cromarty turned and went toward
the cabin as the boys continued to speak.
“Prefer the red myself,” Victoria interrupted the boys discussion.
“Wild grapes ain’t bad once you get use to them,” Bo glanced at her. “Kinda look like olives.”
“They’re not,” Luke commented. “And just how are we going to pay for them? We spent all that we had on the weekly staples.” He reminded the younger man.
Bo smirked at his older cousin. “There was a little left.”
“I wouldn’t charge you boys,” Miss Cromarty spoke quietly as she came back with a mason jar in her hands.
“But we couldn’t just take them,” Luke insisted politely.
“I could use some help next week with trimming trees,” Miss Cromarty replied. She looked at the dark haired cousin. “Would that be a fair trade?”
“Yes ma’am,” he answered. “Any particular day?”
“Friday if you’re not busy,” she answered. She watched Luke glance at Bo to see if that was ok.
“That should be alright,” Bo said. He took the container from Miss Cromarty. “If it rains, then Saturday will work.”
“Yes, in the afternoon.” She answered. “I’ll see you boys later this week.”
“Take care,” Luke smiled. He, Victoria and Bo watched the older woman walk back toward the cabin again. Then they strolled over to their vehicles. Victoria placed the sack from her hands just behind the driver’s seat on the floorboard.
“If you fellas don’t have plans this evening, why don’t you come to the city?” Victoria asked.
Bo and Luke glanced at each other. “We told Daisy and Daney we’d,” Bo started. Luke finished the sentence. “spend time with them.”
Victoria laughed. Hazel eyes taking note of the boys’ expression. “Bring them along.”
“They’d like that,” The boys said.
“Around eight pm, there’s a new band that covers just about everything playing at a club on
Campbell Street.” She paused. “I’ll met y’all at the drug store on Lynch Boulevard.”
“Which one?” Luke asked.
“Off the highway ramp to Apple Blossom, left at the second intersection.” Then her right hand tapped the driver side mirror of the purple Plymouth. “If this ain’t in the parking lot, then you aren’t at the correct location.”
“Alright,” Bo laughed. “Is there a number where we could reach you incase something comes up?” Victoria nodded. “Directory under Buckingham. Just leave a message.”
“We’ll see you about seven thirty,” Luke paused. “Less you wanna grab a bite to eat before then?” “Seven forty five is fine,” Victoria replied. “The place doesn’t really start getting rowdy
till about nine.” She stared at the both of them a second. “Go out for breakfast afterward.”
“Oh,” Bo smiled. “We best all get going then. See ya later.”
“Yeah,” She waved to them. “Take it easy, fellas.”
“Need directions back to the highway?” Luke asked, his lanky form began to climb through the driver’s side of the General Lee. “I’ll be alright,” Victoria insisted. The boys watched her get into the late model Plymouth. “See you later,” Bo shouted as he slid through the open passenger window, the sound of two engines rumbling in his ears. He placed the mason jar from his hands in the glove box. Figuring it was safer in there, than him trying to hold onto it. Anne glanced in the rearview mirror at the orange stock car before taking off down the road.
Bo grabbed the cb mic. “County cousins… you two out on the Hazzardnet, come back?” He spoke while Luke maneuvered the General down the dirt road.
“You boys on your way home?” It was Jesse who answered the blonde Duke’s question.
“Uncle Jesse, yes sir we are.” Bo replied.
“It’s about time,” the elderly farmer’s voice came over the little box. “You boys left hours ago.”
“Yeah, we ran into Victoria. Then we came out to Miss Cromarty’s,” Luke settled comfortably in his seat; enjoying the drive, listening to the exchange between his cousin and uncle.
Rosco looked at his watch after the door closed behind him and Mrs. Edgewater. “Still got a few
minutes- Mr. Folger, you here?” He called and then glanced at the floor. “Ooo,” He stooped down, retrieved the item next to his right boot. “Did the bag look like this?” He straightened up and held the velvet material by the delicate string.
Mrs. Edgewater nodded. “Yes, this could be it.” Rosco placed the bag in her hands.
“Sheriff, is that you?” Mr. Folger came from the back room followed by Daisy and Daney.
Rosco glanced at the threesome. “Who else would it be?”
“The girls here brought an item in and I was just about to call you,” Mr. Folger spoke
as they walked over.
“Wouldn’t happen to be a pendant with some fancy stones would it?” Rosco asked.
“How did you know!” Mr. Folger exclaimed.
“Mrs. Edgewater is missing one,” Rosco replied.
“Were you at the airport in the last few days?” Daisy looked at Mrs. Edgewater.
The older woman stared at the two women for a moment. “I stopped by there yesterday.”
“That’s where it was found,” Daney said. “If it’s the same.”
“Mr. Folger, could you get it for us?” Rosco asked.
“Of course,” He turned, under the watchful eyes of the others took quick steps to the other room.
“How come you didn’t bring it to the station?” Rosco looked at Daisy and Daney.
“Thought maybe Mr. Folger had sold it,” The older cousin answered.
Mrs. Edgewater smiled. “No, each item was brought for various reasons over the years.”
She paused. “That’s what he did after he left the lighthouse service.”
“Sheriff,” Mr. Folger interrupted. “Miss…”
“Hannah,” She replied and went over to the register counter that Mr. Folger was by. He had laid the box and its contents there. Rosco and the Dukes gathered around the older woman.
“This is yet,” She said, running her fingers along the box. She looked at Rosco. “I’m not quite sure how it ended up at the airport – I ain’t gonna be in trouble for filing a false report?”
Rosco shook his head. “No, ma’am. Did you think someone could have followed you
“I’m not certain,” She whispered. And then placed the box in the velvet bag.
“You wrote that lighthouse journal that Jesse has,” Daisy asked quietly.
“Parts of it,” Mrs. Edgewater said. Mr. Folger waited until she was done speaking before he said.
“I’m sorry to rush y’all out but it is closing time.”
“Thank you for the help,” Daney said and strolled toward the door. Daisy smiled at the older gentleman, followed her cousin.
“Yeah, I best get to the station and unfile that report,” Rosco held his arm out for Mrs. Edgewater.
With her item held tightly in one hand. She looked shyly at the Sheriff, then gave him a peck on the cheek. “Sheriff, thank you.”
“No thanks needed, was my pleasure.” Rosco said hesitantly. “I mean I didn’t really find…” He cleared his throat. They continued talking and walked outside. As they discussed supper plans,
he looked over his shoulder to see Daney and Daisy by the green Plymouth’s trunk, smiling.
“Have a good evening!” They shouted.
Mrs. Edgewater turned and smiled at them.
Cooter placed the pump back in it’s slot on the box. As he put the gas tank cap back on, he spoke to the driver of the patrol car. “Enos, you could’ve filled up anywhere.”
“I know, but you were so helpful earlier.” Enos replied. “It just didn’t seem right.”
Cooter smiled and walked around the car. He took the rag hanging off his belt, and wiped a smudge of dirt on the door handle. “Ok, you need this charged to the usual account?”
Enos nodded. “You got plans for the night?” He turned the key in the ignition.
“Just a card game at the lounge,” Cooter pursed his lips for a moment, listening to the engine. “How’d you like to tag along?”
Enos looked at him. It sounded better than going back to his room at the boarding house.
“That’d be nice, thanks Cooter.”
“I have to close up the shop and change,” Cooter paused. “About twenty minutes?”
Enos glanced at his lucky hat on the dash board. His foot on the brake, he pulled the gearshift lever from park to drive. “Ok, you remember where my place is?”
“Yeah,” Cooter nodded. “Twenty minutes.” He repeated the time for Enos to be ready.
“See you then,” Enos said. He waited for Cooter to step away from the vehicle before driving off.
Jesse began to finish whittling the same piece of wood that he had started after morning chores, watched Hunter and the General roar out of the driveway this morning. He enjoyed the cb conversations until both vehicles had been out of range.
A half hour later, the General eased onto the exit ramp. Dark blue eyes glanced in the side mirror to see Hunter maneuver in the same manner off the highway. In the green Plymouth, the driver’s right hand turned the radio volume control lower. He focused on driving in the late afternoon traffic.
Hazel eyes watched the General’s left blinker begin to signal. Hadn’t Luke said right off the second light. The brunette shrugged and continued cruising Hunter along the street behind the Dodge stock car. Getting lost in the city, you didn’t have to go far for help, unlike a county dirt road with no houses or businesses for miles and miles.
Attention darted to the instrument panel. The gauge readings were good. A few minutes later, Bo was climbing out the driver side window as Daisy pulled into the parking lot. She found a space at the end of the row just before the exit drive and one vehicle from the orange stock car.
Daney got out Hunter’s passenger side. “Any sign of Victoria?” She called.
“Don’t see her car,” Luke replied.
“Probably just got caught in traffic,” Daisy said.
“If we’re lucky,” Bo grinned. “She’ll be here any second.” The streetlight above the vehicle parked between the Duke cars allowed Bo to see each cousin look at him, then toward the store to see if Victoria was coming out.
“Maybe we could leave a message with the clerk and try to find the place?” Luke said.
“That’d work if we had more directions,” Bo replied.
“Now, now don’t you fellas start already,” Victoria teased from directly across the parking lot.
She took a few steps toward the cousins. “Did Miss Edgewater get her pendant back?”
Daney and Daisy nodded. “Yeah, last seen her and Rosco were going to unfile a report.”
“Aww,” Victoria said. “If y’all don’t mind leaving the vehicles here, the place is about
a ten minute walk.”
“Won’t the store owner mind?” Luke asked hesitantly.
Victoria shook her head. “They close in an hour. Not usually busy this time of night.”
“Probably be easier than trying to get a spot closer,” Bo surmised.
“Sounds like it,” Daney answered. “I don’t mind.”
“Might want to roll the windows up in case it rains,” Victoria suggested.
Luke glanced toward the darkened sky. “Too nice a night.” He continued looking at
the stars, heard a squeak or two of Hunter’s doors open and close for the windows to be rolled up.
“What’s this place like?” Bo asked.
“Garden variety,” Victoria smiled mischievously. “C’mon….” The cousins looked at each other, then started to follow their friend to the sidewalk.