“Wow. That must really hurt,” Roger said as he tried to light his pipe.
“Yeah, I guess it does, but I’m tough. I can live through a lot and I still am. Every day’s a struggle. I’ve never really had anyone I could trust in my life.” Glenda’s eyes started to tear up.
“So what happened after your dad left?” Roger asked while passing a box pf Kleenex over to Glenda.
“The only way my mother knew how to cope was to turn to the bottle. Mom also got stoned on weed a lot. She also took several kind pf benzos and antidepressants that she got from her doctor. Mom was always good at scamming doctors.”
“How could your mother look after you while she was so impaired?” Roger asked.
“She couldn’t take proper care of me, my brother and my sister. That’s why Child and Family Services took all her kids away and placed us all in different foster homes,” Glenda answered and then drank a bit of her hot chocolate. “You sure make a good cup of hot chocolate, Roger. This is delicious.”
“It’s Tim Horton’s, dear. Only the best for you.”
Chapter One Hundred Thirty-Eight:
“I believe there is still room on the couch for you Ms. Richards,” Winston said.
“You can just call me Susan,”
“Then that’s how it shall be, Winston and Susan.”
“That works for me,” Susan said.
“Mom, what are you doing in Kelowna?” Stephanie asked.
“I have had a couple of telephone conversations with your father that have made me very worried about you and Ryan. Your father told me that you and Ryan are going on separate expeditions to search for Ogopogo. I am very concerned about your safety,” Susan said.
“I can appreciate your concern, Susan, but I can assure you that Ryan and Stephanie will be well taken care of,” Winston said.
“First of all, I am taking my grandson and his friend with me. If I didn’t believe that they would be safe I wouldn’t take them. Secondly, I own a very large vessel. Even a very large creature would have a very difficult time over powering it,” Winston explained hoping to reassure Susan.
“I take it that you believe that Ogopogo is real,” Susan said.
“Absolutely, I’ve seen it with my own eyes and so have Wally and Garry. We managed to get some excellent pictures and video footage of it two days ago,” Winston said.
“Wow! How close did the creature get to your boat?”
“I would estimate it was within fifty yards of us.”
“Did any of you get injured?”
“No, the animal didn’t get close enough to my boat. Even if it did, or made any attempt to attack us, I would not hesitate to shoot it. I own some high powered weaponry aboard,” Winston said.
“I don’t know if that makes me feel any better. The mere fact that you got so close to Ogopogo freaks me out,” Susan said. “And what about Ryan’s safety? I heard that he and his father will be going with a different expedition.”
“I don’t think that there is any serious reason for concern there either,” Winston answered. “The other expedition is sponsored by The University of British Columbia. There are several university students going on that expedition and I know one of the marine biologists who will be helping to direct the project. His name is Dr. Lionel Hardy and he has an excellent reputation as a marine biologist. Their expedition is co-sponsored by the entrepreneur, Blake Riley. Mr. Riley has an even larger and more elaborate boat than I have and he can afford to hire the best crew on the planet. He has will have at his disposal nothing but state of the art equipment for his voyage. Would you consider joining my expedition, Susan?”
Chapter One Hundred Forty-Four:
Susan Richards felt both shocked and honored by Winston Standfield’s invitation to join him on his expedition. She feared for Stephanie’s safety, but also realized just how much being on this this expedition meant to Stephanie. Susan also could not help but notice the attraction growing between her daughter and Garry Phelge. She knew that if she denied this expedition to Stephanie, her daughter would probably hold a grudge for the rest of her life. Let’s face it, this scientific expedition was an opportunity to make history.
Susan had to admit that she, too, was getting excited by this once in a life time chance to be a part of something that could turn out to be really significant.
It was getting late but Susan was still continuing her conversation with Winston. She was asking him detailed questions about Ogopogo and about his methodology in his search for Ogopogo.
“The pictures and videos that we took turned out very well. The video taken with the camcorder is a bit shaky because of my combination of excitement and fear when I saw Ogopogo. I am sure that these photos and videos will be very important in establishing Ogopogo’s existence. However, my goals go beyond just having photographic and video evidence. I want to find out what kind of animal Ogopogo is. I want to know if he is a previously unknown, undiscovered creature, or if Ogopogo is an evolved version of a previously known prehistoric animal. The marine biologist inside me needs to know the answers to these questions,” said Winston.
“How do you plan to determine this?” asked Susan with a yawn.
“Susan, I can see that you’re getting very sleepy and you’ve had a long day. I have another spare room in my cottage for you and Stephanie. I will show both of you to your rooms so that you can have a good night’s rest,” said Winston.
“Thank you, Winston. I greatly appreciate this.
It was early July and it was summer vacation for Stephanie and Ryan. Both of John’s kids worked odd jobs during the summer months so that they would have some spending money and to help pay for tuition . Stephanie and Ryan both had paper routes and also did chores for some of the people in their neighborhood.
Stephanie was the first to arrive home. She had been doing some dog walking for a couple that lived on their street.
Stephanie had medium length natural blond hair streaked with bright, red hair coloring. She had a gold nose ring and a piercing in one eyebrow. Stephanie wore a black and gold Nirvana tee shirt that had a few holes in it. She wore stone washed blue jeans with a tear in one knee. Stephanie was part nineties Seattle grunge and part punk rocker. Her favorite band was Nirvana. Her other favorites, in no particular order, were Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Hole, The Plasmatics and Motorhead. Stephanie also liked The Ramones and The Sex Pistols. She owned a large collection of CDs.
Like her brother, Ryan, Stephanie lived with her mother during the majority of the year. She had a strained relationship with her mother. Stephanie’s mother did not approve of her daughter’s style of dress, her friends or her lifestyle. Stephanie’s mom, Susan, was very concerned that her daughter might be using street drugs. Her brother Ryan got along much better with his mother and often smoothed things over when Stephanie and Susan got into intense verbal disagreements. Both kids were very upset by their parents’ break up but had their own ways of dealing with it.