The Man from Swift Current
© 2011 Russ Nielsen
All Rights Reserved




Chapter 2: The Beginning

I awoke in a cold sweat.   I remembered my dream so vividly that it kept replaying in my head.   I'd had this recurring dream every night for a while now.

I was just coming down the stairs from my room when I heard my Dad shouting from the front room.   Dad doesn't yell very often so something really bad must have happened.   I walked down the hall and into the front room.  

I was shocked by what I saw.   Randy was crying and his friend, Shawn, was holding him close to him.   As I watched Dad shouted at them, "I will NOT have faggots in my home!   I no longer have a son!   As far as I'm concerned, you are dead to me!  I want both of you out of my house as soon as you can get your stuff loaded in the car!"

Mom spoke up then, "Don, surely you don't mean that?"

I hadn't notice her until she spoke.   I could see she was very upset.

"Eva, I meant every word.   No good Christian should tolerate sinners living in their home.   You know as well as I do that be a homosexual is unnatural and should be stamped out!   How can you not see that?"

Shawn spoke, "Sir, you speak of being Christian but you are about as unchristian a man as I have ever met.   Do you think that treating your son this way somehow makes you a saint?   In my book, you are as big a hypocrite as those who crucified Jesus because he tried to teach them to live the spirit of his laws not just the outward appearances.   You are worse than they are.'

"How dare you try to tell me anything about being a Christian?   You are too blinded by your sin," Dad said heatedly.

Randy finally spoke up, "Dad you are blinded by your hatred and your prejudices!   Shawn and I will never ever return to your home and rest assured I will make sure my siblings know what kind of lies you have been telling us all these years!  How you say you love us unconditionally and will always will be there for us.   I counted on you being there for me now when I need you the most but your hatred and prejudice has overcome any love you ever had for me.   I can see now that I never really had a father.   I just had someone who pretended to be one to keep up appearances for all his so called "Christian" friends.   I hope my brothers and sister wise up and learn never to trust you before they are betrayed by you when they need you most!   Let's go Shawn.   We aren't wanted here and I don't want to be somewhere where I'm not wanted."

Randy and Shawn pushed past me as I backed out to the doorway to the front room.   I was in total shock!   First, I had just found out my brother was gay and that Shawn was his partner.   Second, that my Dad had just disowned them.

Dad turned to me and said, "And what are you looking at?  Are you a homosexual, too?   It would just be my luck to have two sons who are so fucked up as to want to do it with a guy.   Are you going to be the next one I throw out of my house?"

"No, Dad," I said my knees knocking together at the sudden verbal attack.

"I haven't seen you dating any girls or even talking about them.   It makes me wonder.   Your older brothers were intensely interested in girls by the time they were your age.   You had better make sure you aren't the next one to get thrown out of this family!   I won't tolerate sinners here."

I nodded my head and quickly turned around and went back up stairs to my room.   I was too shell shocked to do anything else.

I had relived that scene over and over, again.   The thought of Dad finding out that I was interested in guys gave me chills.   Was I gay?   I don't know.   But I did know I wasn't overly interested in girls.

Suddenly, my bedroom door burst open and my little sister shouts through the door, "Get up lazy bones.   It's time to head into town.  Come on!   Mom has breakfast on the table already!"

"Okay, I'm coming.   Just let me get showered first!" I shouted back at her.

"I won't promise anything will be left if you don't hurry up!"

"Nancy, can't a guy get a break around here!"

"No, especially if your name's Glenn.   Come on get up and get dressed and let's go!" Nancy shouts at the top of her lungs as she heads downstairs to breakfast.

Come one, Glenn, let's get it together, I thought to myself.   I rolled out of bed and made my way to the bathroom to relieve myself.   After Dad threw Randy out of the house for being gay, I needed to be especially careful.   My memory of that day will be burned into my head for a very long time to come.   In fact, as already noted, I dreamed about it often.  It happened about three months ago.   Randy brought home his lover Shawn to visit the family.   On the second day of their visit, Randy sat down with Mom and Dad with Shawn to talk about their relationship.   It ended in a very ugly scene with Dad shouting at both of them to get out his house and to never come back.  

They packed up their things and we haven't heard from them since.   Mom cried for days and Dad told us never to mention Randy's name again in his presence.   My brother, Eric, Nancy and I had tip-toed around the house for weeks trying to keep a low profile.   We were all completely devastated by Dad's insistence that Randy was no longer part of our family.   We have always been a loving family.   None of us expected that something like this could happen to us.   I'm sure Randy felt he would our find us (especially our parents) to be supportive of him and his choices.  Both Mom and Dad have always told us that they loved us unconditionally and that no matter what we did they would be there for us.   Well, that turned out to be the biggest lie ever told.   Dad wasn't understanding or supportive and was completely the opposite of what he had told us all these years.   It made me question everything else about our home life whether it was all for show.   I felt betrayed by the ones I trusted most in my life.

I feel so uncertain and confused in addition to being angry.   The problem now is that I think I'm gay.   I have always had an attraction to other guys but until Randy came home with Shawn I hadn't really admitted it to myself.  Dad's reaction seemed to be a catalyst for me to really examine my attitudes towards gays and whether I could apply that label to myself.  I hate labels!  Why should I be strait-jacketed into a tidy little corner called gay or straight?   Can't I be both and be happy with who I am?  Do I have to be one or the other?   Does it have to be either or?   So many questions….I just can't figure it all out. 

I've never had any real interest in girls.   Yeah, I have a lot of friends who are girls but that's as far as it goes.   I even dated a few of them once in a while to try and fit in with the rest of the guys at school.

All of these thoughts keep running through my mind as I look at myself in the mirror.   I've got get moving before Nancy comes back to get me.  After a quick shower, I pull on my clothes and run down the stairs following the smell of bacon and fresh coffee.

"Good morning, Mom," I said. "When are we leaving for Swift Current?"

"Right after breakfast, dear.   Hurry and finish your breakfast so we can get on the road.   You know how impatient your father gets if he has to wait,"   Mom said.

I looked across the table at Mom.   It was like looking in the mirror at myself - blond hair and grey-blue eyes and a deeply tanned face.   Mom is tall for a woman at 5'8" and very slender.   Mom always looks like she just popped off the cover a fashion magazine.   I passed Mom up in the height department just a few months ago.   I am so glad to finally be able to put a stop to my brothers' teasing me about my height.   They all got their height early and are all over 6"   Even my sister, Nancy, used to be taller than me at 5'8" like my Mom.   I am still the shortest boy in the family at 5'9" (we already talked about this bit of data, remember) but they can't call me "Runt" anymore (or least I hope they don't).

Mom smiled at me and ruffled my hair as she went back to cleaning up the kitchen in preparation for leaving for the day.   I quickly finished my breakfast and helped Mom do up the remaining dishes and wiped down the countertops and the table.

"Thank you for helping me, Glenn.   You are a good son."  Mom said.   I gave her a quick hug when I saw the tears shining in her eyes.   I knew she was thinking of Randy.

"Are you okay, Mom?" I asked.

"I'll be fine.  Run upstairs and get your things.   We don't want to keep your Dad waiting."  Mom said.

I ran upstairs and grabbed my duffle bag and met Nancy coming down the hall with her things.

"I can't wait to get to Uncle Dave's house," Nancy said.  "It's been like a morgue around here ever since Randy left"

"Shh!!  Nancy you know how angry Dad gets if you say his name in the house," I said.

"I know but Dad is wrong this time!" Nancy said.

"I agree and so does Mom but that doesn't change things."

"So what are you two whispering about?" asked my brother, Eric, as he came up behind us.

We both jumped at the sound of Eric's voice.  

"Oh, nothing in particular," Nancy said quickly.   Too quickly since Eric came back with a long drawn out, "Ooh, Really!!"

"We were just talking about Randy, Eric," I said.

"You know Dad's feelings about that," Eric said.

"Yeah, we do and it's not right.   Randy is still our brother!" I said.

"You two had better get going.   Dad has already honked the horn twice!  If you don't go now, he will come storming in here."  Eric said.

We both gave Eric a quick hug.  "We'll see you at the end of week.   I wish you could come with us to Uncle Dave's house, too."  I said.

"I wish I could come as well but somebody has to help Dad here on the farm."  Eric said.

"Take care of Mom while we're gone.   You know how sad she's been since Randy left," Nancy said.

"I will.  Now hurry up!"  Eric said.

I looked around the farm as I walked from the house to the car.   There are wheat fields as far as the eye can see with an occasional line of trees shielding a farmhouse or defining the property line between neighboring farms.  I have spent my entire life on this farm.   It's been a good place to grow up.   I can't believe that my whole world view has changed since Randy's visit.   Before that whole episode in my life, I had never considered that I would ever leave this place.   But now, I know I can't stay here and be true to myself.   I don't want to have to always be pretending to be something I'm not.   If I ever slipped and let on that I liked guys, Dad would disown me just like he did Randy.   I am so glad Uncle Dave asked Nancy and I to come stay with them for a week in Swift Current.

Dad had the trunk of the car open, impatiently waiting for me and Nancy to stow our gear.   We threw our stuff in the trunk.   Dad slammed the trunk shut and jumped into the driver's seat as Nancy and I climbed into the back.

The trip into town was uneventful.   Nancy and I listened to some music on our MP3 Players (Dad doesn't believe in spending a lot of money for name brand stuff like IPods).    Mom and Dad didn't talk much either other than to comment on this farm or that one as we passed.  When we arrived at Uncle Dave's house, my cousins, Ben and Cynthia, bounded down their front steps to greet us.   They were both excited to have us stay with them for a week.  

Cynthia grabbed Nancy by the hand saying, "I'm so glad you're here!   Come on up to my room.   I want to show you something!"   Cynthia and Nancy quickly disappeared into the house, both of them talking at the same time.

As Ben came up to me, I checked out all 5'7" of him from head to toe, with my new awareness of how I felt about guys.   For the first time, I noticed what a good looking guy Ben had become.   Ben is the same age as I am…17 and an avid hockey player.  Ben's smile lights up his entire face making his green eyes sparkle under his unruly mop of dark brown hair.   His smile is so contagious.   I couldn't help but smile back at him.  He grabbed me in a bear hug and lifted me off the ground in his enthusiasm.

"Okay, okay, you can put me down now," I said just a little out of breath from being mauled by this bear of a young man who was my cousin.   "You've been working out, Cuz'!"

"You bet!   I've got to make up with muscle what I didn't get in height!   Besides, I have to be able to muscle my way around the ice.   Otherwise, I'll always end up on my butt on the ice!" said Ben.

"Well, you don't have to worry about that anymore!   Just don't try any of your tricks on me, okay!" I said.

"Hey, you've grown a couple of inches on me since you here were last," said Ben.

"Yeah, I grew 3 inches over the summer.   Mom is complaining about having to buy new clothes, again." I said.

"If you keep growing at that rate, you'll pass up your brothers!  Come on, let's get your stuff and put it in my room.   We have a lot of catching up to do.   We haven't been together since before we got out of school last spring."  Ben said.

"Boys, take Nancy's stuff up to Cynthia's room while you're at it," said Uncle Dave.

"Sure thing, Dad," Ben said.

My Dad popped the trunk open and went inside with his brother leaving us to bring in the bags.

As we hauled our stuff inside the house, Ben kept looking over at me.

Finally, I asked, "What's up with the looks, man!"

"I just can't believe you passed me up.   You have always been the shortest one in the family saving me from having that title."

"Sorry about that, dude.   I am so glad to pass on the title to someone who so deserves it!" I said.   This caused Ben to come up and smack me along the side my head.

"That's for being smart with your best cousin!" Ben said, laughing at my wounded look.   "Looks like I'll have to teach you some respect for your betters before we are through this week!"

"Yeah, I'd like to see you try, Short Stuff!  You're not as tough as you seem!"  I said.

We continued our bantering back and forth like the good friends we are as we went into the house with our bags.   We have been each other's best friend since we were little.   Our dad's have always been close and we have spent a lot of time at each others' homes over the years.

Entering Ben's room, I threw myself on his bed and stretched out.   Ben sat down at his desk and turned to me and said, "I wish you could stay here in Swift Current for our senior year.   It would be so cool!   We could have so much fun."

"It would certainly beat being down on the farm!" I said.   If only we could convince my Dad, I thought to myself.

"Do you want to play some video games?" Ben asked.

"Sure, let's go!  I can't wait to show you who is the real master here!" I said.

"Well, it certainly isn't you!   You can't hold a candle to my superior intellect and reflexes!" responded Ben.

"Like I said, you're all talk and very little action!   Let's see if you can put some reality into those words of yours," I said.

We headed into the family room and turned on the TV and hooked up the video games.  Ben handed me a controller and he took the other one.  Pretty soon we were deeply involved in a game.   We are good friends but we are also very competitive when it comes to video games.   We are pretty intense when it comes to playing each other.

After a while, Mom came into the family room to give me a hug and kiss good-bye.  "Be good and listen to your Aunt and Uncle," she said.   "Come out and say good-by to your Dad, sweetheart."

I just gave her a look that said, "Are you kidding!  Why would I want to do that!"

"Please, son, do it for me," she pleaded.   She and I have had many conversations over the summer and she knows how I feel about Dad right now.   She also knows that she can get me to do just about anything when she uses that tone of voice on me.

"Okay, just remember I'm doing it for you and not him," I said heaving a big sigh of resignation as I dragged myself to my feet.

I walked out the front door and up to my dad and gave him a quick hug and said, "Drive safely Dad.  See you in week."

Dad hugged me back and said, "See you later, son."

Both he and mom waved to all of us standing in the driveway as they pulled away from the curb and headed back home.   Watching them leave left me feeling liberated from the heaviness that had plagued our home for months.   It was like having a big weight lifted off of my shoulders.

Nancy and I had a wonderful time with our cousins over the next week.   We hung out with their friends, played games, and watched videos.   Every once in a while, I would get to thinking about Randy and his boyfriend and how my Dad had reacted their news.   I would get really quiet and moody.   It worried me that my Dad would react the same way to me if he found out about me.  Uncle Dave must have noticed my pensiveness around the house because he suggested that I accompany him on a quick flight to Moose Jaw see one of his friends.  Uncle Dave had a way of knowing just what to say to get me to talk to him.   I knew from past experience that I could trust him with my closest secrets.   He parked the car at the airport, filed his flight plans and walked over to his plane and opened the door to let me climb in ahead of him.

I love flying planes.   I have had a fascination with airplanes all of my life.   I have been a passenger with Uncle Dave in his plane many times over the years.   This time, Uncle Dave even let me take the controls once we were in the air.   Uncle Dave loves flying, too.  As I said earlier, Uncle Dave has always known what to say and what to do to get me to talk.   Our flight to Moose Jaw was no exception.

"Okay, Glenn.   What's been bothering you?   You've been pretty quiet all week and that's not normal for you"

I just sat there thinking, trying to figure out if he has guessed that I'm gay.  What will he say if I told him I thought I was gay?

"Glenn, you know you can always talk to me.   It can wait until you're ready….no pressure here"

That was all it took for me to begin to unload all of the pent up feelings of hurt and anger I had been keeping bottled up inside me all summer.

"Uncle Dave, I am so angry with my Dad.   He has disowned Randy and told him never to return home, again."

"Why is that?" he asked.

"Randy brought his lover home and told Mom and Dad he was gay."

"Oh….I didn't know Randy had brought home his boyfriend," said Uncle Dave with a little bit of surprise in his voice.

"Dad always said he loved us unconditionally and it didn't matter what we did that he would always love us.   How can that be true when he can't love Randy just because he's gay!"

"I didn't realize your Dad was so intolerant and prejudiced against gays that he would disown his own son."

"It has hurt all of us.   It's been really bad all summer ever since Randy left.   Sometimes I catch Mom crying when she thinks no one is around.   I'm tired of the tension and the fear I feel at home.   I feel like I'm going to burst from the frustration I feel and the anger at being betrayed by Dad.   How can I trust him to really love me when he can't love Randy despite his feelings about his sexual orientation?"

"In fact, I think I might be gay and how will Dad treat me if he ever found out?   The same way he did Randy by kicking me out of the house?"

"So are you telling me you're gay?" asked Uncle Dave.

"I don't know….I'm so confused right now.  I get so angry at Dad at times that I feel like telling him I'm gay, too, just to spite him.  Am I into guys?  I've never been with one so I don't really know.   I've dated girls but nothing serious has ever happened.   After a few dates, we decide that we're friends but that's it.  I just find it easier to be around the guys."

"Glenn, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me.  I didn't know what happened with Randy until you told me just now.   I'm not surprised that Randy found a boyfriend in Vancouver."

At this last statement, I looked at Uncle Dave in shock and surprise.

"Don't look so shocked.   Remember, Randy stayed with us for the last half of his senior year of high school after the trouble he had down at Kincaid Central.   He always seemed to hook up with cute guys and wasn't exactly shy about showing his interest in them.   Randy is a good looking guy and likes to flirt.   Your Aunt Mary figured it out first and clued me one night after Randy and his boyfriend left to go to the movies one evening."

"So being gay is okay with you?" I asked.

"It's okay as long as that's what makes you happy.   Just remember being gay is choice not something you have at birth.   Do I approve?  No I don't.   Can I accept the fact that some guys are gay? Yes.   Can I treat gays with dignity and respect?  Yes.   You should always treat others with kindness and respect even if you don't agree with them.

Just to be clear, Glenn, you certainly don't need my approval by any means if your choice is to be gay.  I'm not deeply religious and being gay doesn't bother me from that perspective but there are plenty of challenges to face in life without bringing on the additional ones that being gay in our society throws at you.   Being gay requires a lot of courage as well as a lot mental and emotional strength to be able to withstand the pressures and prejudices in our world today."

"I know that being gay can be hard, especially at school," I said.

"Yeah, that's an understatement.   Teenagers are not very tolerant of those who are different than themselves.   They feel threatened by anything they don't understand or that is unknown to them.   There aren't very many teens that have the maturity to deal with someone who is gay.  Many of them, jocks especially, feel threatened somehow by gay guys.   This leads them to verbal, mental and emotional abuse and sometimes violence to help silence their own fears and/or hide their own sexual uncertainty."

"Wow, I didn't think you would be so understanding, Uncle Dave!   My Dad certainly isn't!"  I said.

"Well, one of my best friends in college was gay.   Unfortunately, he was beaten to death by members of the university football team one night on the way home from football practice.  The police tried to portray the incident as self-defense on the part of the perpetrators and didn't press charges.  It wasn't until we held student protests on campus and signed petitions to have the police chief removed from his position that a real murder investigation was conducted.   When the case came to trial, they were convicted of man-slaughter and given reduced sentences.  It was like someone being gay gave them license to kill and the judge and jury sought to validate that right by giving them a slap on the wrist."

"So, if you decide you are really gay, please be very careful about who you trust with that information, Glenn," Uncle Dave said.   "I don't want you to get hurt in any way because of the labels people will put on you or the actions people take based on those labels."

"Labels are dangerous things because people tend to put labels on you and expect you to behave in certain ways.   Labels cause people to ignore the fact that human beings are very complex creatures.   Labels put up fences to protect the ignorant from themselves and their fear of the unknown and the uncertainty that comes with an ever changing world.  If they can just put a label on it, it will become solid and knowable…predictable.   It also is very limiting and prevents us from seeing the true potential of each individual human being.   I hope that people can someday learn to accept each person for who they are instead of forcing them to accept a "label" or fit a "stereotype" that makes them feel comfortable."

"Sorry for the philosophy lesson, Glenn.  I get a little passionate about treating people with respect and dignity.    Believe it or not your Dad and I share many of the same views on life.  That's why I was so surprised to hear your Dad's reaction to Randy and his boyfriend.  Here, let me take over the controls so we can land this puppy safely," said Uncle Dave.  "It's the hardest part of flying…getting the plane safely on the ground without crashing it!"

Uncle Dave landed the aircraft smoothly next to the farmhouse on his friend's fallow field.  We had a nice visit with his friends and we had a nice flight back to Swift Current later that evening.  Our conversation on the way out really set me to thinking about who I am.   Uncle Dave didn't press me into talking anymore about it on the way back.   We sat in a comfortable silence except for a few general comments about how smooth the flight was going.

Later that night as I lay in bed, I couldn't get my brain to shut down.   I kept going over and over in my head what Uncle Dave had said.   Was I really gay?   Or did I just need to give myself time to figure things out?   Why didn't I seem to have the same interest in girls as all the other guys?   I had fantasies about both girls and guys sometimes but lately they had all been about being with a guy.  Why did Uncle Dave think it was a choice to be gay?   There were so many questions and no real answers.  After what seemed like forever, I finally fell asleep from pure mental exhaustion.  

As we ate breakfast the next morning, Uncle Dave asked, "How would you and Nancy like to stay in town with us for the school year?"  Both Nancy and I said, "YES!!" at the same time, practically jumping up and down in our seats with excitement at the prospect of getting away from the farm for the whole school year!  

"But how are you going to convince Dad to let us stay here?" I asked.

"Your Aunt Mary and I will talk with your parents tonight when they come to pick you up," said Uncle Dave.  Looking directly at me he said, "Just let us handle the negotiations with your Dad."

"You know how over-protective Dad is of me,' said Nancy.   "He isn't going to be very willing to let me out of his sight.   I feel like he is smothering me.   I can't even have a phone conversation with a guy without getting a lecture from Dad.   Staying here and going to school with Cynthia would be like a dream come true!"

"Just because you're not at home, doesn't mean we don't have rules here, too,' responded Uncle Dave, "In fact we should probably talk about that now.  On school days, curfew is 9 o'clock and bedtime is 10 o'clock.   Curfew on weekends is 10 o'clock and bedtime is 12 midnight.  Both Ben and Cynthia know this already.   No members of the opposite sex are allowed in your bedrooms at any time.   No alcohol, tobacco products and no drugs. 

Looking at Ben and Cynthia he asked, "Do you two want to share rooms with Glenn and Cynthia or have them stay in the spare bedrooms?

We all looked at each other for a moment then said at the same time, "We'll share rooms!"

"Well, since you all seem to have agreed to share rooms this year.   Do you want bunk beds or regular beds?"

We all looked at each other again for a moment then Ben and I said, "Regular beds"   The girls conferred among themselves before Cynthia announced, "We want bunk beds, Dad.  That way there will still be room for two desks as well as the extra dresser for Nancy"

Uncle Dave turned to Ben and asked, "So where do you boys plan to put another dresser and a desk?"

Ben said, "We will put the dressers in the closet so the desk will fit in the room.   I don't really need the desk since I usually get my studies done during the time after school and the beginning of hockey practice.   If I need to, I can study at the kitchen table."

The prospect of staying in town to go to school had all of us excitedly planning what we would do to organize the bedrooms and talking about the things we were going to do at school.   After helping to clear the table and wash the dishes, we split up to our separate rooms excitedly talking among ourselves.

Ben and I were sitting on his bed talking about our plans when I said, "I don't think Dad will let us stay.   You know how protective he is of Nancy.   He doesn't think much of city folk and hates coming into Swift Current.   Mom is the one who drives into town to get supplies and to visit with family."

Ben said, "Yeah, you're right but Dad can be very persuasive and so can Mom.   I bet that your Dad will jump at the chance to have you out of the house.   It's Nancy he won't let stay."

"Yeah, you're right," I said.  "Dad and I have never seen eye-to-eye.   He doesn't like to be challenged by anyone.   His word is law around our house and I seem to always confront him about things and try to push him to change his mind.   The only one in the family who has been able to escape is Randy.   After Randy and his lover left, Dad didn't speak to anybody for almost two weeks.   Randy has a job with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)."

"How does Randy like the RCMP?" asked Ben

"He loves it!   I only wish I could join him in Vancouver but I know Dad won't even let us think of driving out to see Randy.   He won't even let us mention his name in his presence."

Ben said, "I didn't know he was so upset about Randy.   Mom and Dad have never said anything about it.   Change of subject, dude, let's make a list of the things we want to do this school year.   I have got so many plans for you, cuz!.   We are going to just knock your socks off!!    Just wait until I tell my teammates that you'll be staying here in Speedy Creek.  You know that Craig's sister, Jen, has the hots for you?  She keeps asking when you are going to be in town next.   She was always nagging Craig to invite you over to their house after our hockey practices at the recreation center."

I said, "I know!!!   She always sits next to me and talks constantly during your practices.  I never knew anyone who could talk so fast.   She doesn't even stop to let me respond to her questions.   She just keeps going.   Girls!!!   I just don't understand them.   Can't they just sit and watch the hockey game?"

Ben said, "But she is really cute with her blue eyes and blond hair.   You know…you should ask her out.   You know…go to movie or something.   Maybe you could take her bowling."

"I don't know…what if she tells me no?"

"Well, you won't know until you ask.   And besides, you already know she really likes you.   Why wouldn't she want to go to the movies with you?"

"Alright, if Dad lets us stay for the school year, I'll ask Jen out but you got to promise you won't harass me about it though!"

"Okay, but I will keep on you until you do.   You promised me and I won't forget that!"  said Ben.

"Sh!!"   "That's my Dad…he's not sounding too happy.   That doesn't sound very good."

As we tried to overhear the conversation, I kept thinking of what Dad's objections would be.  Dad considered Swift Current a dangerous place.   After what seemed like an eternity, they called us to come into the living room.   As we walked into the living, Dad looked like a thundercloud and Mom looked relieved.    Uncle Dave and Aunt Mary smiled at us as we sat down on the couch. 

Uncle Dave was the first to speak, "Well kids, your mom and dad have agreed to let you stay here until Christmas.   We will evaluate how things are going at that time and determine if you get to stay until the end of the school year.   You know the score….good grades and no messing around."   Uncle Dave looked directly at Nancy as he said this.    Nancy just gave him her wide-eyed innocent look that says, "Who me?"

Aunt Mary said, "And we will start with the back-to-school shopping in the morning including the school supply lists."

Nancy and I said, "Thanks Mom and Dad" We both gave Mom a hug and kiss.   Nancy was the only one who dared approach Dad.   She wrapped her arms around Dad and gave him a kiss on the cheek.

"Dad, I love you.   I promise you I won't get into any trouble.  Besides, Cynthia will be there, too, as well as Ben and Glenn.   Thank you for letting us stay," Nancy said.

"Well, it's only until Christmas…you did get that part?   I guess it can't hurt to see how you two handle being in the city for a while," Dad said.   "We still have some things to discuss about logistics.   Why don't you kids run along while we work out the details since I seem to be agreeing to this despite my better judgment."

With that statement made, Dad's face seem to clear a little and he smiled at Nancy.   Mom even dared to smile after that knowing that Dad had made peace with himself over the decision to let us stay.   After that, we all went downstairs to watch a movie and talk about our plans.  

About an hour later, Mom and Dad came downstairs to say good-bye.  Dad got all teary-eyed as he hugged Nancy.  "You know I love you and want you have the best of everything, my cuddle bug.   Make sure you listen to your Uncle and Aunt."

 He came over and shook my hand and surprised me when he pulled me into a bear hug and said, "I love you Glenn.   Make us proud this year in school.   Show these city folk that farm people can do everything better!"

 Dad hadn't told me he loved me in a very long time.   Tears came to my eyes but I wasn't about to let my Dad see me cry like a baby.   So I blinked really hard and said, "I love you too Dad.  I promise I will do my best"

We waved to Mom and Dad as they pulled away from the curb headed back to the farm.   I felt kind of sad to see them leave knowing I wouldn't see them until Thanksgiving when the whole family would travel down east to stay at my grandparents' home.  (Thanksgiving is in October my American friends!)

Prev To be continued . . .