E Walk was born September 4, 1938, Died July 10, 2011
[his email address is monitored by his friends]
This is Beau.
Grant, Inga, Ben and Maria arrived right at 5:30. Ben took care of the amenities and went to get everyone a drink. We had just gotten seated when Harley and Gregg arrived. Harley quickly announced, "I'm sorry we are a little late, but Sally called just as we were leaving the house and told us that she and Mrs. Dolan would be joining us at Madeline's for dinner. I suggest that we leave now so we can be at the restaurant to meet them."
Ben took my vehicle with Grant and the two young ladies. Becca and I crawled into the vehicle that Harley was driving. We had just entered the restaurant when two ladies came in. Harley and Sally made the introductions and Harley approached the host. "The Garrison party is here."
We were shown to a round table and the attendant seated us. How odd, the older lady, Mrs. Dolan, made sure she was seated between Ben and Grant. The two young ladies were seated on either side of them and Sally Lundgren was seated between Gregg and Harley while Becca was seated beside Harley, so I was next to Maria. There were five men and five women. The ages were so scattered that we looked like we were at big family gathering.
The waiter approached, "Good evening ladies and gentlemen. My name is Henri. I will be your server to tonight. May I bring you something from the bar?"
The older lady looked up, "Cut the charade Hank, we'll start with a bottle of the best white wine and the best red wine and then we'll go from there. These four beautiful young people can only have samples of the wines."
"Yes, Mrs. Dolan, I'll bring the wine while you decide on what you would like for dinner."
"Hank, who is the chef tonight?"
"Maxim is the chef in charge tonight." Hank said as he faded away.
Mrs. Dolan turned to us and announced, "If Maxim is in charge, then everything will be good. Order what you like and I am treating."
I leaned over to Becca, "Who does Mrs. Dolan remind you of?"
Becca whispered, "Your Grandmother Tillison."
Hank returned with the wine. Mrs. Dolan looked around, "Hank, bring us all a cup of your bouillabaisse and a tossed salad with the house dressing. While we are enjoying the first two courses, we can decide on what we would like to have for an entrée."
Hank laughed as he left. He returned with the soup and some menus. We studied them and Hank took our orders. I noticed that he did not write anything down. He looked at us after we had ordered, "Gees, you don't make it easy for us poor servers. We have ten people who ordered ten different entrees. The poor kitchen staff is probably going to go berserk."
Mrs. Dolan frowned, "Hank, are you telling me that the kitchen is so inept that they can't roll with the punches?"
"No ma'am, what I am saying is that I am going to have a difficult time remembering who ordered what."
We were eating our salads and Mrs. Dolan started, "Okay, Mr. Ben. Tell me everything about you in one minute."
Ben was very brief, "I am the oldest child of my parents who are here at the table tonight. I have two sisters and a brother that you would probably love. You remind me of him. You cut through to the chase and don't take any captives."
Mrs. Dolan looked at Maria, "Okay young lady, you have one minute and don't make me waste my time pulling the story out of you."
"My name is Maria Theresa Montoya. I am of Spanish descent. I have had some relatives who have attended Cornell before me. I have been taking a course in conversational English so that I will be ready to understand the professors this fall when school starts. I will be finished on Friday and then I am flying to London on Saturday to spend two weeks in Europe before the fall semester starts."
Mrs. Dolan got a funny look on her face, "Senorita Montoya, what does your father do?"
"Daddy is the Ambassador to Great Britain from Espana."
"And what does your Mother do?"
Maria started to laugh, "All the Spanish government will permit her to do is look like a lady in waiting. She has her doctorate degree from Cornell in finance. But she is happy being the wife of a diplomat, so I have no problem with that."
Mrs. Dolan looked at Grant, "I am going to skip you for now young man. I have the feeling that your story will be like a melodrama that will keep us here all night."
She turned to Ingrid, "Okay young lady, tell us about you and your family."
"Ma'am, I am the only daughter and youngest child of my parents. I had six older brothers. My Mother also received her Doctorate here at Cornell and then moved onto the University of Stockholm where she won a Nobel Prize for her writings on the economic standards around the world. My Father is a Supreme Court Justice in Sweden.
Mrs. Dolan started to laugh, "So we have a Supreme Court Judge's daughter and the daughter of an ambassador, Grant can you top that?"
We were interrupted because Hank and his assistant brought our food. We were starting to eat and Mrs. Dolan looked at Grant, "Okay Grant, tell us what makes you so special."
Grant looked at Mrs. Dolan, "Until two and a half weeks ago I was a piece of wood. Ben did some things that made me come to life."
The people who didn't know Grant's story looked at him in disbelief. The rest of us were enjoying our dinner. Mrs. Dolan looked at everyone, "Grant, we'll hear the rest of your story after we look at the building that your father is considering buying. We'll all go back to my house and relax. I can hardly wait to hear this story. It sounds like a fairy tale."
Ben looked at Mrs. Dolan, "Okay lady, you have one minute to tell us about yourself."
I thought Harley, Gregg and Sally were about to jump out of their seats.
Mrs. Dolan was so cool, "I am 70 years old, my husband died a little over a year ago. I want to get out of this town and move to Florida to be near my children and my grandchildren. I have a part-time teaching positioning at the university in the town where my son lives and I'll be living with my oldest son and his wife. Their children are grown and live close by with their families. Quite frankly I am very tired of shoveling snow and cooking for myself."
Ben looked at his watch, "I'm sorry you lose. That took one minute and forty two seconds."
"Well I never!" Mrs. Dolan stood and handed a credit card to Hank, "Hank, please bring the check and one of your signature cheesecakes. I am going to take these young punks home and teach them a lesson. I'll feed them so much cheesecake that they will blow their test tomorrow and never get admitted to Cornell."
Hank returned with a box and a folder. Mrs. Dolan signed the check and slipped several bills into the folder. "Okay, let's get out of here and go see Mr. Garrison's store."
Maria picked up the box with the cheesecake and Mrs. Dolan was holding onto Ben's arm. It was a nice evening so we decided to leave the cars parked where they were and we walked on The Commons to the building that was for sale. Sally opened the door and turned on the lights.
Gregg suddenly sparked, "Look at this show room area. There are showcases already in place and there would be room for display shelves behind. People could see the merchandise from the street, and there are two big display windows to show the new merchandise."
Grant started to laugh, "Dad, don't let Timmy know. He'll be here to arrange your new puppets to accentuate their best assets. You'd better not be planning to bring Poker."
"Grant, we'll talk about that later. Let's move to the second floor." Gregg led the group to the elevator.
"The elevator is only big enough for two or three people at a time." We'll go up with Sally and turn on the lights and send it back down for Mrs. Dolan, Beau and Becca."
Grant looked at his Dad, "The four of us teenagers will walk up the steps. We need to work off the fattening dinner we ate."
When we were assembled on the second floor, there were two small apartments, one each side of the center hallway. Gregg said, "Harley and I could live here very nicely until we get the third floor finished the way we want it. Then, after the guys finish their freshman year, they could always live here.
I watched as Ben and Grant looked at each other. I could tell that was not something they thought was a good idea.
We moved to the third floor. Gregg started, "We would like to make this into a luxury apartment. I have started to sketch plans to show how it could work. The front would be the living area and the back would be the sleeping area since it would be away from the noise on The Commons during festivals and such. We were thinking that we might make a set of stairs to the rooftop, so we could enjoy the warm summer evenings in the fresh air and listen to the sound of the people strolling by."
Mrs. Dolan asked, "Gregg, you used a word several times that has me a little concerned. You kept referring to 'we.' By 'we,' did you mean 'Grant and I' or did you mean 'Harley and I?' I don't think you were referring to you and Grant since I think he is already spoken for. Let's get out of this place and go back to my house where we can at least sit down and visit."
When everyone was reassembled on the first floor, the front door opened. "What the hell are you people doing here? I have the exclusive rights to show this building."
Mrs. Dolan turned around and her face was bright red, "Mr. Johnston, if you will remember, I still own this building. I have every right in the world to be here. In case you have forgotten, your contract to sell this property expired on July 15. I have called your office two or three times and you have never returned my calls. Ben, please go remove the For Sale Sign in the window that lists this jerk's company as the realtors. Grant, please go get the key to the building from the loud mouth man who swore in front of ladies and escort him out."
The guys did as directed. As we were departing, Sally looked at Mrs. Dolan, "Kathryn, did you realize that Mr. Johnston is employed by the person you despise? The person you think is trying to make The Commons his own venue."
Gregg was beginning to look concerned, "So are you saying that if I buy this property I would be getting in the middle of a civil war?"
Kate, as we would learn to call Mrs. Dolan, answered, "Gregg, Mr. Petrillo has been trying to buy up all of the property on this street so he can have the buildings razed and build super apartment houses. First, that would destroy the ambience of the area, and second, there are not enough parking spaces to support such a complex. It would drive the pedestrian traffic totally away from the area. Now let's get back to my house and finish our conversations. I need to find out about Grant and this piece of wood."
This is Ben.
We went to our cars, which were parked in close proximity. Mrs. Dolan took charge, "Ben, you are going to be chauffeuring me and Maria, Sally, you take Beau and Becca. Grant, don't you and Inga get lost. Harley, the address is 326 Hudson Street. Ben will be driving the white Towncar so keep your mind on your driving and follow us."
I looked at Maria and Inga and they were struggling to keep from laughing.
Miraculously, the four vehicles made it in caravan fashion to Mrs. Dolan's house. We parked the cars in the circular driveway in front of the house. Mrs. Dolan led us to the front door.
Grant and I took off our shoes as we entered the house. Mrs. Dolan looked at us like something was wrong, "Why in the world did you take your shoes off?"
I guess I must have had a funny look on my face, "Ma'am, why would we want to scuff and track dirt into the house. It looks like something from a Washington Irving novel. Besides, it feels good to walk around in just our socks and we can also check to see how clean your floors and carpets are."
Maria stopped any more frivolity, "Mrs. Dolan, where would you like me to put the cheese cake?"
"Ben, why don't you and Maria put the cheesecake in the refrigerator while I fix everyone an after dinner drink? While you are in the kitchen, would you please start the coffee makers?"
Maria and I went to the kitchen and both Maria and I stopped. It had all new state of the art appliances. We finally figured out how to start the coffee makers. There was a wonderful seating area overlooking a lighted garden.
Maria and I returned to the parlor. I was so excited that I couldn't contain myself, "Hey everyone, you should see the kitchen. Mother, you will probably want to move it to Fremont."
Maria was laughing, "Heck the kitchen is even more state of the art than the kitchen in the Embassy in London. Dad and Mother's cooks would have a field day with appliances and features like the kitchen has."
Mrs. Dolan stood, "Why don't we move the party to the kitchen and we can relax in the bay window area while we have our dessert and I finally get to hear the story of Grant and this piece of wood."
We went into the kitchen and Mrs. Dolan led us to the alcove with ten chairs around an oval table. My mother and Ms. Sally were busy looking at the appliances. Mrs. Dolan was determined, "Everyone sit down while these extremely beautiful teenagers serve us dessert and coffee. I want to hear Grant's story."
I started to tell the story of what I had done to make Grant come to life. Dad and Mr. Garrison filled in some of the details. Everyone was laughing especially Mrs. Dolan, Ms. Sally and Mr. Harley Gordon. I thought Mr. Gordon was going to split his pants he was laughing so hard.
Dad had been very pensive and all of a sudden he asked, "Aunt Kate, would you mind showing us the rest of the house?"
"Why would I mind? Let's go and I'll take care of the dishes after we finish the tour."
I think we were all amazed at what we saw, Mrs. Dolan started to show us the upstairs, "Hal and I were planning to open a bed and breakfast after we retired, so we had work done on the kitchen and the bedrooms. While we were at it, we made a master suite like we always dreamed of having."
"We kept the rest of the house and especially the first floor intact since both Hal and I had inherited a bunch of antique furniture and accessories. We thought they might be a drawing card for the patrons."
"Let's go to the lower level. I think that you might like what you see." Mrs. Dolan led us to the lower level or what I thought was going to be a basement.
Boy was I wrong. The first thing that you saw was a walkout door to a lighted patio. Mrs. Dolan opened a door, "In here there is another guest room with its own private bathroom facilities and small study with an internet hookup. We were planning to spend our time down here, especially during the peak periods so we could rent the five bedrooms on the second floor to guests."
Dad's mind must have been going faster than the bullet trains, "Okay everyone, we would like to have you meet us at the Statler for breakfast at 7:30. We have a lot of work to do in a short time."
Editor's Comments: Have we seen the last of Mr. Petrillo or Mr. Johnston? Somehow I think not, but what do I know? I'm just the poor editor. Stay tuned for the next chapter. At least our writers don't go on strike! Will B.
Other Editor's Notes: As I read through these chapters, I find myself just as captivated as I was when I first read this wonderful story. I promise you that the story gets even more interesting as things move forward. Stay tuned.
Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher