Chapter 60

April 15th, 2011

Semi-Final Visit

Before I left for my 8pm Church meeting and probably for my last full weekend at The Cabin, I stocked-up Murphy's 1 water and 3 food bowls, packed my duffel bag, took my AR-10 .308cal (7.62 x 51mm NATO), with Leupold Gold Dot CQ/T Scope, my awesome Beowulf .50cal with a EoTech Red Dot Scope, extra mags loaded with 300gr .50cal rounds, and of course, my all-time personal favorite, my Kimber 1911 "Eclipse Target II" .45cal ACP, which I wear concealed as my "daily carry piece" (1990 PA-CCW), and some food for the weekend, since I'd cleaned-out everything from the 'fridge on last weekend's visit.

After the meeting, I hit I-83 north and arrived at The Cabin in short order. It had stopped raining and I hoped it would dry-out before any mudslides occured in the mountains around Adam's Junction, the quaint old village in the mountains of Pennsylvania. I pulled into the left-side carport,

disarmed the building and went inside to give Jenny (the mixed-breed dog I found along the road, rescued, and bought from her owners for $150) a big hug. I refilled her 3 water and food bowls and gave her a brushing. After unloading the food into the 'fridge, I called Roy's (Shell Station) son Randy, my fellow Eagle Scout, Cabin-caretaker, driveway snowplower and dog-sitter, on his cellphone and told him that I had Jenny handled for the weekend; he could stand down for now, but that he'd have to take-over on Monday morning. He'd refilled her 2 litter pans on the rubber tarp in the 2nd Bedroom. I turned-up the furnace to 78°F and built a roaring fire, with plenty of split firewood from the Firewood Stack on the Back Porch, in a pile next to the hearth, flanked by 2-3 3ft logs for good measure. After unpacking in the Master Bedroom, I took a long shower, shaved and changed into some fresh clothes.

I sat down in my comfy leather chair in the Living Room in front of the fire, weary from the past week's activity and thinking about the upcoming 7-days-a-week "Spring Hours" routine I'd be going through all too soon, as I just wasn't "mentally ready" for it yet. It was now 9:55pm. I wished that I could stay on the truncated "Winter Hours" all year-long, but that wasn't to be. I'd already logged-in some customer meetings for next weekend and coming weekdays, so I'd have to be ready to assume the "tasks" ahead.

I looked at my new (old) newly-purchased and installed bookshelves – the 1930s Oak Stacking Bookshelves with double drawers and the 1930s Glass Front, Antique Oak Barrister's Bookcase – and decided to get a book from one of them to read for a while: "The Pillars of The Earth" by Ken Follett, sat back down in front of the roaring fire and picked-up where I'd left-off, several weeks ago. My friend Linda, had recommended it, so I bought it. But at almost 1,000 pages, it was going to take a while to read at "this weekend-reading rate"; I'd take it home on Sunday and finish it at my condo in East York, over the Spring months. I'm a someimes-voracious reader, having taken Evelyn Wood Speed Reading Dynamics in the late-60s; I could then read 1,000-1,500 words per minute (WPM) w/ 96% comprehension, but I doubt that I'm anywhere near that level of 40+ years ago. Now, I just read for enjoyment and content, instead of volume.

I heard the rain starting and coming down hard, and then turning to sleet and snow, wondering if I was going to have the same "mudslide-caused isolation" problems which I'd had weeks before, if the old trees started coming loose on the mountainsides. Damn; just damn. I turned-on the Police Scanner and no alerts had been issued, as far as I could hear, but the noise from the pounding rain and sleet sounded like a train coming through The Cabin. I killed the scanner, re-stoked the fire and went back to reading. No more Vintage 50-Year Old Brandy, Cognac or Cuban cigars, but I was enjoying myself and relaxing. I called Sgt Clay's cellphone and left a message that I was here for the weekend, just in case we ran into each other over the next couple of days, there'd be no surprise that I'd come to my place without "checking-in" and saying hello. After doing a quick inventory of the kitchen and my own personal needs, I figured that I'd need to go into town tomorrow and get a carton of Marlboros and a few other things to get through the weekend. I started a list. By 11:45pm, I was yawning and Jenny was asleep on the bearskin, so I decided to close-down the place and get some sleep. The rain had stopped and temps outside were dropping into the 30s. It was now snowing lightly. Tomorrow's another day.

It was still very dark outside, but I was up at 5:30am, and we'd had 3"-plus of snow by then; it was still coming down lightly. Temps were in the low-30s, but would rise and melt the damned stuff within a few hours. I turned-up the furnace to 78°F, watered and fed Jenny, made breakfast – OJ, 3 eggs-up over-easy, corned beef hash, hash browns, bacon, toast and coffee – and a fire, and waited for sunrise, simply dozing-off in my comfy chair in front of the fire. My thoughts began to race from one topic to another.

I thought about what Linda's long-time and my new friend – no, not the "faceless" lady anymore, since we three had a wonderful dinner together weeks ago – Sherry, was now going through with the passing of her elderly father, and I said a prayer for him and her.

On every day which goes by, I miss a beloved someone else or a favorite pet who has died, either prematurely or of old age, and who is now forever gone from my life on this temporary, earthly plane. I mourn their passing, but rejoice in the fact that we once crossed paths and we shared Life and Love, together.

I put together my final shopping list, started last night, and readied myself for the trip into town. It'd be busy, since today was Saturday and most everything would be closed tomorrow, Sunday for Church. I loaded the Beowulf .50cal and 10 extra 11-round mags, in its Eagle Carrying Bag, into the back seat of the 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo, shut-down The Cabin, and headed for Adam's Junction. Stopping at Bev & Tony's General Store on Mainstreet first, I filled my list and loaded the Jeep with my purchases. I talked with Tony for a while, as Bev was at the "hairdresser" (haven't heard that word in many years), and he and Bev still missed Gabrielle although Bev tried hard not to show it. Me too. I left and headed for Midlands' Garden Center to get some more perennials for Gabrielle's grave. I'd stopped by the cemetary on the way into town, and nothing was blooming; looks like I had to replace some early-bloomer plants which weren't "hardened-off" yet and may have been damaged by the snows and frosts. I decided to take these new purchases to The Cabin for an overnight dose of cool wind, and plant them on Sunday morning. If they didn't perform, I'd bring some really nice ones from my place in southern York County in the Summer; those would colorful and hardy. The folks at Midland's were apologetic, but didn't offer to replace the 4 tender, not-ready-for-primetime perennials I'd bought last weekend. No matter. They just don't know any better, it would seem.

I got a return call on my cellphone from Sgt Clay, and we talked for about 10 minutes. He wanted me to stop by the Adam's Junction Police Station, and pick-up my Deputy Sheriff's Badge & ID, so that I'd have it when visiting, in case "something happened" and I was involved. I drove there and parked in Space #7, went inside and Clay met me at the front desk. We went into his office, he deputized me and I signed the paperwork, gave me my credentials/ authority and I opened Locker #7, taking some Police Gear for the back of the Jeep, amongst all the other shopping bags and purchases. I have 2 large PVC "techno-crates" which I keep such stuff organized in for transport and quick-access, apart from the regular cargo: my "Jack Bauer" Satchel Bag full of several calibers of extra mags/ammo, plus LED flashlight, portable eyeglass scope, map, radio, compass, survival kit, first-aid kit and a bunch of other "necessities" for any outdoor "trek" (as I learned in the Boy Scouts (Eagle Scout, Class of 1963; Order Of The Arrow/ Vigil

Honor), back in the late 50s and very early 60s), my 16" English Wellington Boots, 16" Bowie Knife, the Marlboro Gear Down Parka, 12" LLBean Maine Insulated Hunting Boots, and full Police Rain Gear are in there, plus cuffs, mace, incident reports on an enclosed metal clipboard, road flares and various and sundry "other things". My Police Radio is quick-release installed under my dashboard. No laptop computer, as the Official Police Cruisers have, though; I hate all laptops. I also have a walkie-taklie w/ charger from the dash's separate power outlet, in the Jeep. The vehicle is "loudly-alarmed" in case of attempted break-ins. I almost felt like I was on-duty again, but I wasn't; just well-outfitted and equipped by the AJPD. I left and headed back to The Cabin to unload and clear-out my previous shopping items from the Jeep's cargo hold.

After unloading and storing the personal and food goods, I rearranged the 2 crates and their contents, and set back out for town. I wanted to cruise the Adam's Junction's residential areas to look at the place in early Spring bloom and color. Cherries of all varieties, Forsythia, Crabapples, Magnolias and others were showing nice color, and many Maples were just beginning to flower (yes, all Maples have a small red or green flower before leafing-out). It was almost 10:30am. I drove by Nell's Kitchen Drive-In Restaurant, but decided not to stop, as I'd brought plenty of foodstuffs for my own meals this weekend. I stopped at Roy's Shell Gas & Service Station to gas-up and talk with Randy. $67.50 for ¾ tank of Regular Unleaded, and it was going-up 2-3¢ per day, now.

As I paid my bill, I overheard a trucker bitterly complaining about the price of Diesel Fuel – $4.73/gal and rising – to Roy, and then start shoving him when he tried to explain that he wasn't to blame for the high prices. I put on my Badge & ID on my belt next to my Kimber .45cal's Galco FED Holster, and went over to blunt the trucker's misdirected rage at Roy. After Randy helped his dad up off the ground, I get between them and faced-off with a PO'd guy who weighed 125-150lbs more than me. After pulling back my coat and showing him my Badge and .45cal, he backed down, though he "smelled like a brewery". I called it in to the AJPD, got the rig's license plate as he drove out onto I-83 north, and the State Police were notified to take care of it from there. Roy thanked me and so did Randy, for stepping in between the fracas, as Roy would have gotten his lights punched-out, and I would have had to shoot the guy in the leg(s) to stop him. I didn't need this on this final weekend. After leaving, I headed back to town to continue my drive-through and "horticultural excursion".

I stopped at Old Mrs Patagonia's Bakery for a half-dozen fresh "Hot Cross Sticky Buns" and slathered them with her homemade butter, wrapped in foil, for the rest of the drive. I drove out to the rural areas, past the 3-story white farmhouse barn and numerous out-buildings, where the shootout had happened weeks ago, and all was quiet. I ran into Deputy Bob's Cruiser on patrol and we talked for a few minutes about the past week, CSI investigation of last week's attempted bank robbery and my now-healed facial cuts. I continued on to look at other farms on the outskirts of town, and then drove back into the 10-block area to see some of the homes of historical significance: Jefferson's Mansion, Adam's Mansion, the Adam's Junction Bed & Breakfast Inn, and Franklin's Mansion. Beautiful and very historic homes, all.

I stopped by the Hardware Store on Mainstreet and walked around looking for several types of bracing backets for the 2 antique bookshelves I'd bought, just to keep them sturdy and anchored against The Cabin's walls. As a kid growing-up in Huntington, WVa and Arlington Heights, IL, I remember going to various hardware stores with my Dad in the mid- and late-50s, and being fascinated by all the wondrous "stuff" in those places. He'd always know just what he wanted, but I'd spend the time looking at everything in the many bins and shelves, none of which I knew what to do with, at that young age. But I always looked forward to it on those particular Saturdays back in the 50s. I found what I needed, bought a new B&D Power Drill, bits, screws, paid and left for my continued drive.

I stopped next at Adam Junction's Town Square, angle-parked and sat on a bench finishing the "Hot Cross Sticky Buns" and just watching people and traffic for a while. I needed some "fresh air" before going back to The Cabin to brace the bookshelves and do a few other "chores" before the day was over. Temps had warmed-up to the lower-50s and a light jacket was all that was needed in the bright sunshine. While looking around, I noticed the Pharmacy across Mainstreet: people were running out of the store in panic and others had taken cover behind the angle-parked cars. I got up and walked over to the store and looked inside the large, front store window. There were 3 young men with pistols holding-up the pharmacist and counter cash register clerk. I ran to the Jeep, called it in to the Police Station Dispatcher, and grabbed the Beowulf .50cal with an EoTech Red Dot Scope, and its extra loaded magazines of 300gr .50cal rounds, and worked my way back to the store. I told the cowering people to run for safety down the block. I went around the back, and it was locked. Back to the front of the store, since there weren't side entrances because of adjoining buildings on both sides. Only front and back doors and no side windows either, to shoot through.

Sgt Clay and Deputies Tim and Alex showed-up within 2 minutes, from patrol in their 3 Cruisers. I told Clay that if the 3 perps aren't quickly "neutralized", we're going to have an ugly hostage situation on our hands. Tim and Alex went around back with their sidearms and 12ga shotguns, while Clay and I stayed in front behind the parked cars. We spotted the perps' car and Clay grabbed the 4th man sitting behind the wheel, and cuffed him. I loaded the .50cal with a mag of 11-rounds, and we waited until the 3 came out of the Pharmacy with their bags of drugs and money. Clay yelled at them to "halt and drop your guns" – a so-called useless "command" that no perp ever obeys – and they opened fire at him, shattering nearby car windows and spraying 9mm rounds all over the square. I took aim at 2 of them and fired. One .50cal round penetrated the first man and easily went into the second man's chest. Both were quickly down on the now-very bloody sidewalk. I aimed at the other one, who fired at me once but then dropped his handgun. I held fire until Clay got to him and cuffed him, secured all the weapons and called for ambulances from Memorial Hospital, a few blocks away. I safetied the .50cal, and pulled my .45cal, running over to Clay and the third man, who was down and cuffed. Tim and Alex were back from the rear and went inside to check on the employees; no one was hurt, only scared. They took statements.

I holstered my Kimber .45cal, kept the .50cal aimed at the perp, and Alex and Tim examined the 2 others: dead. By now, a curious crowd had gathered and they both did crowd and traffic control. I went back to the Jeep, unloaded the Beowulf and put it back into its carrying bag, with the magazines. The medics "tagged and bagged" the 2 dead, and Deputy Tim drove the 3rd and 4th men to the Jail, after they'd been read their Miranda Rights. Clay began filling-out his clipboard's paperwork on the hood of his Cruiser and I worked with him on it. One of the Pharmacy employees hosed-off the front sidewalk blood after pictures were taken of the crime scene. It was allowed to re-open afterward. I told Sgt Clay that I was going home, after he'd gotten all the on-site paperwork done, and he'd finish-up the detais back at his office. I left for The Cabin; I had things to do.

It was getting on to 2:30pm and Jenny needed some food, when I got back. After parking in the driveway, disarming the buildiong, taking my rifle inside, turning-up the furnace, I watered, fed her and brushed her shaggy coat. Next, the 2 bookcases needed bracing and securing to The Cabin's walls since I'd loaded them with so many of my books. After using the new B&D Power Drill and screws to secure the cases, I was finished by 4pm. I decided to have some Chicken Cordon Bleu for dinner, fresh asparagus w/ homemade Hollandaise Sauce and a poached egg on top, Jell-O® Mousse and some Ocean-Spray Blueberry-Pomegranate Juice, without any vodka. Just what I needed after such a "tirng day".

With outdoor temps dropping fast to 31°F and The Cabin's furnace up to 78°F, I lit a roaring fire in the Living Room's fireplace, and sat down to relax. I was down to 177lbs from 247lbs since January 10th and needed a new wardrobe, as my clothes were just "hanging on me". I'll have to pass on it today, as I have "other priorities" at my business, for that possible thousand dollars or more. After a shower and some fresh clothes, I continued reading "The Pillars of The Earth" by Ken Follett, and just relaxed while I did a load of laundry. It was almost 11pm and time for some well-deserved sleep. Jenny was already asleep on the bearskin in front of the fire. I armed The Cabin, closed it down and went to sleep. Jenny joined me later when the fire died down, but I was already in la-la land. I had recurring bad dreams about the day's shootings and woke-up several times during the night; I was unhappy to have killed 2 young men (both were 20 years old), but their firing 9mm's at me and Clay earned them what they got. That rationalization helped me get back to sleep, and stay there until 8am.

8am is the latest I've slept in many, many months. I turned-up the furnace, watered and fed Jenny, made breakfast – fried egg sandwich w/ cheese, red grapefruit sections, a bagel w/ pimento cream cheese and French Roast coffee – and decided to make a "to do" list for today, Sunday. After turning-on my cellphone, I had a call from Sgt Clay asking me to come to the PD for a meeting with the CSI Team at 1pm. Meanwhile, I cleaned-out the hearth ashes, vacuumed, cleaned the kitchen and bathroom, changed bed linens, did laundry, brought-in more split forewood from the backporch tarped stack and took Jenny for a brisk walk to the end of the 1,000ft driveway and back. The morning was gone already and it was time for lunch. I made a grilled cheese & ham sandwich, pan-fried PA Dutch Knockwürst with a (crushed pieces) pretzel crust and mustard, applesauce and juice for lunch, and had to get to the PD for the 1pm meeting.

After arriving at the station, I met with Capt Bunce now very near retirement and unusually quiet), Sgt Clay and two CSI Team Officers from Harrisburg, who had some questions on my "2-for-1" shot at the Pharmacy-on-the-square, on Saturday. After getting satisfactory (to them) answers, mostly about the caliber of the rifle and ammo I had used, they had me sign my statement and said I could go. They had not even seen a Beowulf .50cal with an EoTech Red Dot Scope, Beowulf .50cal with an EoTech Red Dot Scope with 300gr .50cal rounds, so I brought it in and showed them both the weapon and awesome stopping power of the rounds. They were familiar with the reknowned $10,000 .50cal BMG Sniper Rifle and its $7/round .50cal ammo, which has a range of 1-¼: miles, and used by the US Military, but not my specific unit. I talked with Clay about yesterday's

incident and he said it was "all wrapped-up and a done deal". With that said, I left and went driving through Adam's Junction and its quaint, old residential areas once again, to re-imprint them on my memory for the Spring months, since I didn't know when I'd get back to visit.

After 20-25mins of driving, I headed back to The Cabin and began where I'd left-off that morning, readying The Cabin for my departure and intermittent/extended absence during the coming Spring months, since we'd be on "Spring Hours" (Mon - Sat, 8am - 5pm; Sun 11am - 4pm), and I'd be working on the (darned) weekends. I'll have to take 1 (maybe if I'm lucky, a 2nd day) day(s) off during the week, as I did last year, since I just can't physically work 7-day-a-week anymore. All the "chores" on my original list were complete, and I put away the dried breakfast dishes and various pans drying in the sink rack. Jenny needed watering and feeding, which I also did. Randy would take her and The Cabin's care from here, until I returned. After packing my rifle and gear into the Jeep, I gave Jenny a brushing and rubdown and kiss on the top of her head, armed the building, closed-down The Cabin and headed for York.

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