The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane - Part 5

The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane
By Barbara Lynn Terry

Chapter 7 - The block party winds down.

Part 1 - The block party ends.

Jennifer Wilkins from the neighboring town of Pine Woods, walked around the block party, enjoying ride after ride and game after game. Her strawberry blonde hair, was more like a red apple than a strawberry color. She walked with a regal, feminine gait, and kept looking furtively here and there. Officer Steve Hastings was watching her, because she seemed suspicious for some reason.

It seemed to officer Hastings that Ms. Wilkins looked familiar, but couldn’t place from where. As he kept watching, she approached the soft drink tent. Steve followed her, but waited just outside of the entrance where he could hear every word.

“Excuse me, but may I have a Cherry Coke, please?”

Jay handed her the can of soda pop, and went about his business. Ms. Wilkins left the tent, and walked to the barricade. It was then that Steve had spoken to her.

“Excuse me, but I am officer Steve Hastings of the Pine Forest police department. I couldn’t help but think that you look very familiar. Have we met before?”

“No, officer, Hastings. I am Jennifer Wilkins of the Addison County Post. I report on things such as this nice carnival you have to honor,” she looked at her notes, “a Mae Harkins. Everywhere I went the people treated her name with the utmost respect. I am going to write an article about this particular block party. It is amazing how an entire town can honor someone like Mrs. Harkins.”

“She was a saint as far as we are concerned. She never had a cross word about anybody. She always baby sat for people in town, even when they asked her at the last minute. She came up with the idea for a separate children’s area when we have our square dance. This way the children can have their own square dance. The actual thought behind building a new community center, was her idea.

“Mrs. Mae Harkins was a lady people would be happy to have over for dinner, and she was invited to many a house while she was alive. It is hard to believe that she only passed away two years ago in front of the supermarket. Massive coronary, the doctor said it was. When we pray to our Lord, we always ask that He bless her soul. This block party is in her honor to get money to send a deserving high school student to college, either on a sports or academic scholarship.”

“Do you mind if I quote you, officer?”

“Not at all. Maybe this way we can have more people come and enjoy our block party.”

“Thank you, officer Hastings. This will be in the paper two weeks from today. Take care.”

“You, too.”

Steve resumed walking around the carnival. Except for the out-of-towners, everybody was behaving themselves. The last few hours, it seems, the block party started picking up. There were more burgers, corn on the cob, brats and hot dogs being sold along with beer and soft drinks. The red line on the thermometer was climbing with all of the sales.

By the time midnight rolled around, the red line on the thermometer was at two thirds the way up the scale. Steve got on the intercom, and told the people that the fair was closing and thanked them for another profitable block party. He reminded the people that this coming Saturday, there was going to be square dancing at the community hall. He turned off the microphone, and started packing the intercom equipment. Other officers were bringing him the speakers that were set up around Ginger Lane.

When the last of the lights were out on the last ride, the carnival crews began dismantling the rides, and other crew workers were placing the parts on the big semi trucks, to be taken to the next carnival. The flood lights were left on, because they were the property of the carnival, and provided the workers with enough light by which to see. The police were taking down the tents and placing the money collected in to a bank bag.

The carnival payroll supervisor presented Steve with a check made out to the Mrs. Mae Harkins Memorial Scholarship Fund. Tomorrow, the receipts will be counted against the cash taken in. Everything was good on this middle of September night.

The movers with the Shepard family furniture, were already at their hotel, hopefully asleep. Steve made a mental note to stop by the Rhymer Hotel and see if they were resting. If he didn’t hear any sound from inside the hotel room, he knew they were asleep.

This has been a long day for Steve and the other officers of the Pine Forest police department. Steve could have gone home after his eight hour day was over, but he decided to stay and make sure that everything was A-okay. He was going back to the station, sign out, and go home; when the carnival workers were finished taking all the rides down, putting the pieces on the semi trucks, and leaving for the next carnival. What? Oh! Yes, he was going to sleep all day tomorrow.

Jay told Jimmy good night, and he went to his house to go to bed. Jimmy did the same thing. At least tonight he gets to sleep in his own bed. His sister was already home, as were the McGuire sisters.

Jimmy walked in to the house, and the first thing he did was take himself to his room. He plopped on the bed, and the next thing he knew, his mother was waking him up.

“Come on, sleepy head. It’s time to get up, get your bath, and change clothes. Your dad is taking you to the school to register you and Kathy. I will make sure the movers get everything in the house.”

“Okay, mom, I’m up. Did dad bring us a change of clothes?”

“Yes, he had the movers bring the boxes from your bedrooms along with the beds. Your clothes are already laid out. All you have to do is take a bath and get dressed.”

“Alright, mom.”

Jimmy got out of bed, and went to take his bath. Jimmy was one to never play in the bath tub, even when he was very little. He washed himself completely, and then got his clothes on. He combed his hair, and went down to the kitchen to wait for breakfast. Kathy had already taken her bath and was at the kitchen table before Jimmy.

Eileen Shepard came in the kitchen and made them pancakes, oatmeal, two strips of bacon, and milk, orange juice and a vitamin pill. After this past weekend, they were going to need all the vitamin energy they would need to get through the school day. They ate slowly, because this way their stomachs had time to digest the food.

John Shepard came in, had a cup of coffee, two strips of bacon and one pancake. When everyone was finished eating, John Shepard told Jimmy and Kathy that it was time they were getting on to the school.

It took John Shepard twenty minutes to get to the school. It wasn’t hard to find, as it was just off of the business district. When they pulled up to the school, and parked in a space labeled visitor, they saw the sign that said Tri-County Public Schools. Schools? John Shepard would have to inquire about this.

They went in to the office and the office secretary asked what they were there for.

“Good morning, my name is John Shepard, and I would like to register my children for school.”

“Alright, fill out these applications, one for each child.”

John Shepard took the papers and sat down at a table provided for this purpose. He had to put their dates of birth, their names, their address, and the name(s) of the school or schools they last attended and what grades they were in. It took him about thirty minutes to fill both applications. When he was finished, he went back by the office desk, and gave them to the secretary. She said to have a seat, and the principal would be right with them.

While they were sitting there, other students who were coming in and out of the office looked at the Shepard children. About twenty minutes went by, and a portly man of maybe forty -- ish, called them in to his office.

“Hello, I’m Principal Mark Edwards. Welcome to Tri-County Public Schools.”

“I was going to ask you about that,” said John Shepard. “You have schools, plural, instead of school. Why is that?”

“Because this building houses the elementary school, middle school, and high school. If you look at the outside of the building, you will see it is enormous. That is because of the three schools combined in one building. We have students here that are from three counties; Addison county, Monroe county, and Status county.”

“I see. Saginaw doesn’t have anything like this. Maybe they should. It would save money.”

“That is one of the reasons we built this building. It saves on taxes, and the children from three counties get to associate with one another, even if it is only for eight hours a day. I see you live on Ginger Lane. That is where the late Mrs. Mae Harkins lived. I was one of thousands who attended her funeral. I also see that your address is 1734 Ginger Lane, Pine Forest. So, you’re the family that bought the widow Harkins cottage.”

“Yes, we are. I bought it outright on Friday. Then we helped with the block party.”

“How did you like the block party?”

“I thought it was fun. We had a little drama the first day, but all in all, it was fun. My kids were ecstatic because they got to go to a carnival.”

“You do know, that not every block party has a carnival. There are local bands who play at the block parties, and now and then we get a country celebrity to come and sing. We have had Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks, Clint Black, a few rock bands, too. So, not all block parties have a carnival.”

“Next week, Saturday, we’re having a square dance. Everybody in my family knows how to square dance.”

“I usually attend the square dances. I am normally at the block party, too, but my in laws paid us an unannounced visit. Well, everything looks good on the applications, and we will get their transcripts from their last school. Well, John, it is nice to have met you. Your children can start classes right away tomorrow. Good luck on Ginger Lane.

John Shepard and his two children left the Tri-County Public Schools and headed back toward Pine Forest. When John looked at his odometer, he found that he indeed would be on the other side of town if he were in Saginaw.

They arrived back home twenty minutes later, and the kids went directly to their rooms, to get out their clothes for tomorrow. The movers were still moving furniture in, but the clothes that belonged in each bedroom, was already there and hung up. Eileen Shepard was busy while they were gone. Now she just supervised the movers and told them where each piece of furniture went
There were vases and pictures on the truck, too. Eileen Shepard would take care of that, tomorrow. At that moment Elaine Schwimmer paid the Shepards a visit.

“May I come in, Eileen?”

“Yes, Elaine, come in, please. I was going to ask. I like flowers to be in my home. Is there a florist in town?”

“Yes, but it isn’t on the main street. It is around the corner from where the realty office is. They are a part of the FTD floral delivery service. Annie’s Floral Shop. Annie Potts is a really nice lady. She has a daughter about Francine’s age.”

“I was just wondering. I am going to buy some flowers for my vases. I have pictures I need to hang on the wall. Then I think I will have a nice cup of chamomile tea. Would you like some?”

“Why thank you, I’d love some.”

“Elaine, my children start school tomorrow. George told my husband that the school bus picks up the children from across the street. Is that directly across the street?”

“Yes, they walk to the end of the lane, cross the highway and wait right there. When the bus brings them back, they are let off on our side of the highway and the kids can just walk down to their houses.”

“Okay, that’s simple enough. Jimmy and Kathy already have their school clothes out. I think they are kind of eager to start school. Jimmy and Kathy seem to make friends where ever they go.”

“I notice that Jimmy helped Jay with that bully during the block party.”

“Well, the man who came yelling right after that bully was taken away, also got arrested. He was the bully’s father. Then one of their friends came looking for the father and son, he was told that he could visit the father, but only family could visit the son. John told us that is what Steve Hastings said to him.”

“Well, Saturday, we are having a square dance at the community hall. It starts right at two o’clock and goes until eleven.

“We’re looking forward to it. It sounds like Pine Forest likes to have fun.”

“Yes, Eileen. We have our work and we have our play time. This is why a lot of our events are on Saturdays. Not too many are at work. Do you have a driver’s license?”

“Yes, I do, but John uses the car for work, unless I need the car for shopping, then he let’s me drive. If he is going on one of his inspection tours, he leaves the car with me. I was thinking that tomorrow he will be gone for about four months, going from one hardware store to the next, both here and in Canada. I will drive him to the airport, and then bring the car back with me. Where is the airport here?”

“It’s over by Pine Grove. That is the nearest big city in Addison county. Pine Grove is about sixty minutes from here. The airport is just outside the city limits about one mile. The big jet planes land there as well as the smaller company jets and personal planes. It is a very busy airport. It is the only airport in four counties.”

“Do they have a gift shop and a duty free gift shop?”

“You know, Eileen, I couldn’t tell you. I have never been in there, but I know where it is because our in laws come here through there.”

“Thank you, Elaine. At least I will know where to take John when he has to fly out.”

“So, Eileen, do you do any macrame, or knitting?”

“Yes, Elaine, and I even crochet and do needlework.”

Elaine Schwimmer looked at her watch.

“Oh, my, look at the time. I need to get home and vacuum, then put the laundry in the washer. I will be back later.”

“Why don’t I come by your place? I need to be a neighbor, not just someone who lives in the same neighborhood.”

“I heard that. There are people who live next door to each other, and don’t even know one another.”

“It is sad.”

“Well, look, Eileen, I need to go. We will talk later.”

Elaine Schwimmer left to go do her house chores. Eileen Shepard sat there for a few more seconds, then went to make sure the movers were putting the furniture in the right place.

While the two women were talking, the movers had all of the living room furniture in the house and placed where Eileen had told them to put it. Now they were bringing in the dining room furniture. Eileen Shepard was telling them where to put everything. When the dining room furniture was in place, they had the kitchen furniture and appliances to move in.

But, seeing as there were already appliances in the house, Eileen told to just put them in the basement. After all the furniture was moved in, they brought in the pictures and vases. After about six hours of moving things in to the Shepard house, the movers said they had to go.

Eileen Shepard invited them for a cup ofs coffee, if they felt they had the time. They accepted Eileen’s offer, and the two men and Eileen were talking, when John Shepard came in to the kitchen.

“Ahhh, coffee. I think I will have some. Are you guys all finished moving us in?”

“Yes, John. Your wife invited us for coffee.”

“It’s the least we can do,” John Shepard said with a smile. “You guys came a long way, and in good time, too.”

“Sometimes, we to have move people clear across the country. When that happens, we wait for someone coming back. Otherwise we leave the truck at that Mayflower depot, and fly back. We are not given a certain truck to drive, because of our national policy to move people where ever they have to go.” The two men finished their coffee. “But, we do have to be going. Thank you for ther coffee, Mrs. Shepard and good luck in your new home.” With that, the movers left.

“Well, dear,” John Shepard spoke to his wife. “We’re all moved in, the kids start school tomorrow, and I leave for my inspection of our hardware stores and delivery service. I will not be gone the usual four months, because I don’t have to go to Canada. I sent Richard a telegram, letting him know the new address, and said I would phone him after our phone is installed.

“The new addition I want to build on to this house, will be used for my office and filing room. This way I can work right from here on most days, when I’m not gallivanting around the country.”

“Do you gallivant, John, or do you work?”

“You know perfectly well what I meant,” John said with a smile. “But, anyway, we’re home, and here we’ll stay. I was thinking, too, that all the acreage that goes with this cottage, could be used as a garden. Because of the enormous size, we could plant corn, potatoes, beans, peas, carrots and more. It’s too bad we don’t have a river flowing through, or we could build a grist mill. But, I guess we will just have to buy our flour.

“Where is Jimmy and Kathy?”

“They’re upstairs. Would you like to them to come down?”

“Yes, I thought that today, since I am not flying out until tomorrow, and the children don’t start school until tomorrow, that we could get ourselves familiar with the town and the surrounding area.”

“That sounds good to me,” Eileen Shepard agreed with her husband. She called the children down from their rooms. “Children, your father wants us to go with hime, and we can look at the town and the coutryside around it.”

“All right,” Jimmy Shepard said.

“I agree. Anything is better than looking at the walls,” retorted Kathy Shepard.

“Tomorrow, while everybody is gone, I am going to go in to town and get some flowers for the vases and hang the pictures up on the wall. By that time, you children should be on your way home from school.”

Part 2 - The extradition hearings.

While the Shepard family were making their plans to look around the town, there was another plan in the making. Detective Robert Belford of the Detroit, Michigan police department was walking in to Branch 37 of the Addison County Superior Court. His purpose was to present evidence that Jonah Wilson Carruthers and David Adams were wanted criminals from Detroit, Michigan, and detective Belford wanted the two criminals extradited. But, he waited patiently for the bailiff to call the court to order. He didn’t have to wait long.

“Please rise, Branch 37 of the Superior Court of Addison County is now in session, the honorable Harold W. Benedict, presiding. Silence is commanded and gentlemen take off your hats.”

“Carl, I will have the first case, please.”

“Yes, your honor. The first case is set for an extradition hearing in the state of Michigan versus Jonah Wilson Carruthers. The state of Michigan is represented by detective Robert Belford of the Detroit police department.”

“Thank you, Carl. Appearances, please.”

Carl Tinsdale has been a deputy sheriff for Addison county for twelve years. In that time, he has seen defendants found not guilty, guilty, plead no contest or outright plead guilty. He has seen extradition hearings, and could write several encyclopaedias on everything he saw and heard. He was a man of his word and stood five feet, ten inches tall, and had wavy black hair.

“David Williams for the defendant, your honor.”

“Assistant district attorney, James W. Leeds for the state, your honor.”

“Thank you gentlemen. Mr. Leeds you may proceed.”

“Thank you, your honor. I call as my first witness, detective Robert Belford to the stand.”

Detective Belford was sworn in and spelled his last name for the record.

“Detective Belford, you have come here with an extradition warrant for the defendant, Jonah Wilson Carruthers. Would you please, in your own words, tell this court how you happened to come across this warrant so quickly.”

“Yes, I was in our squad room at the Detroit police department’s headquarters, when I heard the fax machine. I went over and looked at the fax, and, yes, there is a God in heaven. As I looked at the fax, I saw the name Jonah Wilson Carruthers, d.o.b., 04/02/1982. The fax was from an officer Steven Hastings of the Pine Forest police department, asking for wants and warrants.

“I immediately called the Pine Forest police department and placed a felony hold on Mr. Carruthers.”

“Do you see Mr. Carruthers in this courtroom, today?”

“Yes, he is seated third from the center aisle, three rows down from the courtroom door.”

“Your honor, let the record reflect that the witness has identified the defendant, Jonah Wilson Carruthers. Detective Belford, how were you able to pick him out of all the people in the courtroom?”

“Mr. Carruthers and I have a police/suspect relationship going back eleven years. When I saw the man sitting in the defendant’s chair, I knew that wasn’t Jonah Carruthers, so I started looking around the courtroom. That is when I saw him where he is seated now.”

“Thank you, detective. Now, you are requesting that Jonah Wilson Carruthers be extradited to Detroit. Will tell this court why?”

“Yes, Jonah Wilson Carruthers, the defendant here today, is wanted in Detroit, Michigan for murder, carjacking, endangering safety by conduct regardless of life, robbery, armed robbery, arson. …”

“Thank you, detective. No further questions.”

“Any cross, Mr. Williams?”

“No, your honor. I have not been able to get my client to even talk to me. So, I can’t even put on a defense.”

“Very well. Mr. Carruthers, do you have anything to say as to why you should not be extradited to Detroit?”

“This isn’t any of your affair. You flatfeet are all the same. You had better let me go, and I mean now.”

“Mr. Jonah Wilson Carruthers, it is the judgment of this court that you be extradited to the city of Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, to stand trial for felony crimes committed by you in that jurisdiction. The court further orders that detective Robert Belford is to be allowed to take custody of the defendant. This court will take a brief recess for about thirty minutes.”

Thirty minutes goes by pretty fast, and the next thing the people knew, Carl was telling everybody to please rise. When the judge sat down, Carll told everybody to be seated.

“May I have the next case, Carl?”

“Yes, your honor. This, too, is an extradition request by the state of Michigan to extradite David Adams, the defendant present in court.”

“Thank you, Carl. Mr. Leeds, you may proceed.”

“Your honor, the defendant, David Adams is wanted on felony warrants from the City of Detroit, Wayne County, State of Michigan, for various felonies committed in that jurisdiction. I call detective Robert Belford to the stand.”

“Mr. Belford, you are still sworn,” judge Benedict informed the detective. Proceed Mr. Leeds.

“Detective, please state in your own words why you want the defendant extradited to Detroit.”

“David Adams is wanted by the State of Michigan for robbery, armed robbery, arson, murder, attempted murder, and grand theft auto.”

“Is there he isn’t wanted for?”

“Objection, your honor,” Stated defense attorney Williams.

“Sustained. Mr. Williams, you know better.”

“No further questions.”

“Mr. Williams, any cross?”

“Yes, your honor. Detective Belford. Isn’t it unusual for a police detective to come and take charge of a suspect on a Sunday.”

“Yes.”

“So, why did you come to take charge of the defendant this Sunday past?”

“Because, I was in the Detroit police department headquarters squad room, when I heard the fax machine. I went over and saw that the defendant was being held here in Pine Forest. I woke up a circuit court judge and told him the facts, I showed him the warrants that have been issued for the defendant, and he gave me an extradition warrant. So, here I am.”

“So, isn’t a fact that your city issued warrants against the defendant based on allegations?”

“No, sir. The warrants issued against the defendant were based on eye witness accounts. Our investigation showed the defendant to be the logical actor in all of the warrants issued.”

“Then, why wasn’t he arrested in Detroit?”

“Because, when we went to arrest him, he had left our jurisdiction.”

“Now, detective, isn’t it a fact that you have a personal grudge against the defendant?”

“Objection, your honor. Improper cross and calls for a conclusion on the part of the witness.”

“Sustained. Anything further, Mr. Williams

“No, your honor, defense rests.”

“Very well, Mr. Adams stand up. This court finds that you are guilty of certain felonies comitted in the city of Detroit, County of Wayne, State of Michigan. It is the further order of this court that you be extradited to Detroit to stand trial on thew warrants they have issued against you. It is so ordered and this court is adjourned.”



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