The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

As The Small Town Turns

December 20, 2010

Chapter 16 As the Small Town Turns

— By Karen Bethea

Guest writer

It had been a beautiful spring day when the wedding had taken place at First Methodist Church. They had decided on a double wedding –– Raquel and Buck, Maggie and Bobby Tom.

The girls had chosen to wear identical wedding gowns, carrying bouquets of pink sweetheart roses and Buck and Bobby Tom had been dressed in their Army Dress Blue uniforms decorated with many medals. The Maid of Honor had been little Roxanne, dressed in a handmade pink embroidered long dress, carrying her Raggedy Ann and the wedding rings on a pink silken mattress of woven ribbons and dragging her little brother behind her.

There had been one best man, Jake Green, of Tupelo, who had bawled like a baby throughout the entire ceremony, much to the amusement of everyone. Buck had kept his promise. He had made the trip back to Branson and found Corncob, who was now called by his real name, Jake. Buck had gotten the local Veteran’s Affairs office involved with Jake’s medical problems and within a month he had a new leg fitted at the VA hospital in Birmingham. Jake was hired by one of the local plants that liked to hire veterans, and he had moved into Buck’s old apartment over the hardware store and was becoming a favorite around town. He was an excellent classical guitarist and played every weekend at the pizza restaurant on the square.

Rock and Twyla were biding their time in Sheriff Blinky’s “hotel” since they had been extradited from Arkansas. The sheriff was trying to keep them from being charged with kidnapping so he called in some favors and they would be his guests for quite awhile before any trial would take place.

Twyla was in the women’s section of the jail that was managed by a prior Marine female Drill Sergeant who loved to teach physical fitness. She had taken one look at Twyla and had grinned. Rock was unfortunate enough to have as the “commander” of his section, an old “buddy” who he had gotten into a fistfight with at the Booby Bungalow on an “Elvis Impersonator” night, and the other guy had won both the fight and the contest. Big Ed had also grinned when he saw Rock walking jauntily down the cellblock. “Howdy Rock, reckon you’ll be lonesome tonight?” he asked.

After the beautiful wedding ceremony, when the church doors had opened for the couples to leave, both Buck and Bobby Tom had let out a gasp because there, in front of them, lining the church steps, were the men from their platoon in Iraq, in their Dress Blues, sabers drawn, forming an arch for the two couples to walk under. And at the bottom of the stairs were helmets lined up to represent the guys who couldn’t hold a saber because they had given all for their country.

Jake had made it his mission to find all of the guys and had asked them to come to the wedding as a surprise for Buck and Bobby Tom. The members of The Veteran’s Museum had helped raise money for their travel and had provided rooms in their homes for the entire platoon. As pictures were taken and hugs were given, there was not a dry eye to be seen and then a parade of people made its way to the reception that had been held at the Veteran’s Museum where this had all started.

The reception had been attended by every member of the museum as well as everyone who had been at the wedding –– and probably a few wedding crashers –– but nobody cared. There was a big party in Athens that day and the dancing part was going to be just across the street at the new Event Center.

The wives of the members of the local VFW had gotten together and made the wedding cakes, punch and every Southern goodie one could want at a wedding.

During the reception, Buck stood in the doorway, looking across the room and saw a beautiful young woman with a glowing face dressed in a lovely antique styled wedding gown. Their eyes met and he winked and mouthed,” I love you” and as an author so long ago said, “All’s well that ends well.”

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As The Small Town Turns
  • Church Bulletin 8/7/12

    August 7, 2012

  • Epilogue: As the Small Town Turns

    Editor’s note: The News Courier editorial staff chose Karen Bethea’s epilogue for our original novel. Our runner-up this week was D.K. Hutchins. We would like to thank all of our talented authors who contributed to “As the Small Town Turns” over these weeks. It has been a very enjoyable and satisfying endeavor for The News Courier and we hope it was enjoyable for those who participated. In coming weeks we will publish photos and short biographies on all of our authors whose chapters were chosen for the novel. But whether your chapter was chosen or not we would like to say thank-you to all for being such good sports and getting into the spirit of this project.

    December 20, 2010

  • Chapter 16 As the Small Town Turns

    Editor’s note: Chapter 16 of The News Courier original novel, “As the Small Town Turns ...” is written by Karen Bethea. Runners-up are D.T. Hutchins and Cynthia Boris.
    It’s time for a bang-up conclusion for the saga of Raquel and Buck. The novel will conclude Dec. 19 and the only thing that remains is the epilogue.
    If you haven’t sent in a submission, now is the time.
    If you make it exciting enough, we might have to revisit them for a satisfying epilogue. Please see novel rules in this section and we look forward to your conclusion.

    December 20, 2010

  • Chapter 15: As the Small Town Turns

    Editor’s note: Chapter 15 of The News Courier original novel, As the Small Town Turns, is written by Diane Hutchins. This was a week that brought several fine submissions. Runners up Karen Bethea, Cynthia Boris and Elizabeth Carter are printed in this section. It’s time for a bang-up conclusion for the saga of Raquel and Buck. If you haven’t sent in a submission, now is the time. If you make it exciting enough, we might have to revisit them for a satisfying epilogue. Please see novel rules in this section and we will be looking forward to your thrilling Chapter 16.

    December 20, 2010

  • Chapter 14 ‘As the Small Town Turns’

    Editor’s note: Chapter 14 of The News Courier original novel, “As the Small Town Turns,” is written by Karen Bethea. We had three excellent submissions this week. Runners-up are Harriette Rost and Cynthia Boris. The action has turned wild. With only two more chapters, now is the time to jump in for the big conclusion. If things get too hot, who knows? This saga could live for yet another chapter.

    December 20, 2010

  • Chapter 13: As the Small Town Turns

    Editor’s note: Chapter 13 of The News Courier original novel, “As the Small Town Turns,” is written by Cynthia Boris. Our runners-up this week are Karen Bethea and Elizabeth Carter, whose submissions are published in this section. Readers and potential contributors have just three more weeks as we draw the saga of Raquel and Buck to a conclusion with Chapter 16 on Dec. 12. There’s still time to get in on the action.

    December 20, 2010

  • Chapter 12: As the Small Town Turns

    Editor’s note: Chapter 12 of “As the Small Town Turns” is written by Bill Hunt. This week’s runner-up submission is by Cynthia Boris. The News Courier is anxiously awaiting Chapter 13 as the story heats up. Please keep sending submissions. Hint: Wouldn’t it be great if somehow Bobby Tom could meet Raquel’s friend, Maggie…? We’re just saying. Please review the rules of the game in this section and get your submission to Karen Middleton by Wednesday.

    November 17, 2010

  • Chapter 11: As the Small Town Turns

    Editor’s note: Chapter 11 is written by Harriette Rost. Our single runner-up this week is Cynthia Boris. We continue the story as Rock tries to disguise his abducted daughter Roxanne Marie’s identity as he prepares to go on stage in Branson to compete in an Elvis impersonator contest. The law is involved now. The News Courier staff is excited to see how our readers will come to the toddler’s rescue -–– if it’s not too late. If readers have previously submitted chapters that were not chosen to continue the saga of Raquel and Buck, please do not be discouraged. Hint: Let’s not forget Bobby Tom stuck up in a veterans’ hospital recuperating from wounds. Let’s get him back in the action.

    November 17, 2010

  • Chapter 10, As the Small Town Turns

    Editor’s note: Once again, Cynthia Boris has submitted an excellent chapter to As the Small Town Turns. We received no other submissions last week, so there are no runners-up. However, we welcome your Chapter 11 submissions, so please review the novel rules in this section. We continue the story as Rock speeds toward Branson with his abducted 2-year-old daughter Roxanne Marie. As The News Courier looks forward to drawing the novel to a conclusion by the end of the year, please jump in and help us resolve this cliffhanger.

    November 1, 2010

  • Chapter 9, As the Small Town Turns

    Editor’s note: The Chapter 9 submission chosen for The News Courier original novel, “As the Small Town Turns,” was written by Cynthia Boris. As readers will remember, from Chapter 8, Raquel’s ex-husband, Rock Roddenheimer, abducted their daughter, Roxanne Marie, from her bed in revenge for having been thrown out of the house and humiliated by Raquel’s new friend, Buck. Now, as Rock speeds toward Branson in his 18-wheeler, the gravity of his rash actions begins to soak in, and back in the small town, Raquel is devastated to learn that her daughter is missing. Other excellent chapters were submitted by Karen Mastich and Carol Schwarzenbach, which are printed in this section along with rules for submitting Chapter 10.

    November 1, 2010



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