The Serial

The General Store Radio Serial (the beginning) 

    Lucy is coming home!  Annie receives an e-mail from her childhood friend Lucy who lived in Angels' Notch as a kid but who moved to the big city for college and a career as an architect. Lucy has inherited her Aunt Fran's farmhouse and is planning to move back to the valley to live there. 

     Lucy arrives in the middle of the night thinking she can start a fire in the woodstove in the old farmhouse and grab some sleep.  She finds the place in great disrepair.  Part of the roof is missing and most of the windows have no glass, so Lucy curls up in her sleeping bag and dozes off in her car.  At dawn a tall stranger, who is out walking his dogs, raps on the windshield of her car asking if she is okay.  Lucy bolts upright and yells at the guy for waking her.  She defensively states that the property is hers now and that she has a right to sleep there in her car if she wants to. 

     The man turns out to be John, Lucy's neighbor and the fellow who bought the other half of Aunt Fran's farm.  Not much is known about John because he is a self-proclaimed hermit.  He lives without a phone, a computer, or a TV.  He does have a radio and listens faithfully to the little radio station Annie runs out of The General Store. Annie and Andy interact with John occasionally when he comes into the store for supplies and feed for his horses, but most of the villagers never see him. 

     Because the old farmhouse is uninhabitable, Lucy decides to design a tree house and have it built in and around the huge tree that overlooks her Aunt Fran's perennial garden.  She brings the plans into The General Store to show her pal Annie, and declares this will be her Tree Temple. Lucy begins exploring the land she has inherited.  She finds a place near the border of her property where a stream divides around a small island of birches.  She names this her special sacred spot where she goes nearly every day to meditate.  One day she panics because her neighbor, the mysterious John, has put blaze markers along the property line near the stream.  Lucy fears changes that will affect her sacred spot.  She asks around and finds out that John is planning to dig a pond for his horses and divert the water from the stream to fill it. 

     It was bound to happen. Lucy runs into John at The General Store.  She lets her anger fly about his planned excavation. John, who doesn't interact with many people, is completely taken aback by this fireball of a woman who is now his neighbor.

     Lucy is an independent person and decides to take matters into her own hands.  She marches out to her sacred spot intent on pulling down all the blaze markers, but is caught in a sudden thundershower, slips, falls down the bank into the stream, and ends up with a sprained ankle.  She sits there injured, soaking wet and shivering.  Finally she hears the sound of hoofbeats and calls for help.  It's John.  Without saying a word he dismounts, climbs down the bank, carries Lucy up out of the stream bed and puts her in his truck.  It takes him a while to deal with his horse and unhitch the trailer from his truck. Finally he drives her to the local clinic to be treated.  All the while, Lucy is in pain.  She attempts conversation but gets little response.  John carries her to the porch of the clinic, sets her down, and leaves. 

     Lucy comes into The General Store on crutches and tells Annie that she has submitted the design for her new tree temple for an architecture award.  Annie remarks on how inventive Lucy is and says she thinks Lucy will win the award.  Lucy doesn't think so. Meanwhile Annie has been doing some thinking on how to settle the dispute between John and Lucy over the proposed horse pond.  As Lucy is helping Annie get ready for the annual welcome summer party at The General Store, John comes in.  Annie takes the opportunity to offer a compromise:  If Lucy will allow John the use of the natural pond on her land, John will scrap his plans to dig a horse pond and divert the stream.  They agree just as the party begins. 

     A few weeks later, John comes into the store.  He wants to give Lucy money for his use of her pond for his horses.  Lucy flatly refuses.  Annie suggests a trade, and John offers to teach Lucy to ride.  Lucy doesn't think she wants to spend that much time with a man she has nicknamed “Hoss the Hermit".  Annie and Lucy make a bet.  If Lucy gets the architecture award for her tree temple, she must take riding lessons with John.  If she doesn't win, no lessons. 

     Lucy does win the award and with trepidation goes for her first riding lesson with John.  John, a very thorough teacher, begins by having her muck out the stalls.  Lucy slips and falls in the manure, declaring she will never go back for another lesson.  Annie reminds Lucy of their bet and convinces her to go back.  For lesson number two, John has Lucy clean the horses 

hooves with a hook, a process which Lucy finds completely disgusting.  Lesson three is how to put on and remove a halter from a horse, and Lucy finally gets it right, but thinks that John tangled the halter just to make it harder for her.  Finally John saddles one of his mares and lets Lucy mount.  She is short, so she has to use a mounting block.  When she tries to dismount, the horse steps away from the block and she falls on her backside.  She thinks she detects a slight smile on John's face 

as he helps her up. 

     Lucy confides to Annie that she decided to move back to Angels' Notch because her heart was broken back in the city.  She was engaged and had already made all the plans for the wedding including sending out the invitations when her fiancee eloped with one of her coworkers.  She admits the city only reminds her 

of this heartbreak.  She has come back to her childhood home to heal. Lucy and Annie reminisce about the summers they spent together in Angels' Notch when they were kids. 

     On her way to a riding lesson, the exhaust falls off Lucy's car.  Her car is extremely loud as she pulls in next to John's stables.  John is in the barn with one of his mares on cross-ties.  The loud noise frightens the horse which rears up and stomps down on John's foot.  Lucy finds John rolling around on the floor of the stable trying to get his boot off.  This time Lucy takes John to the clinic.  She drives his truck and sets him up in the passenger seat with his foot in a bucket of ice.  She waits for his foot to be set in a cast, drives him home, and offers to stay to help him out, but John wants to be alone with his pain killers and sends her home.  Feeling like the accident was her fault, the next day Lucy visits John to see if she can help out.  John says that the one thing she can do to help is to muck out the stalls.  Lucy's guilt drives her to come over to John's every day to shovel manure.  She catches him staring at her and yells at him for enjoying her misery. 

 Autumn has now arrived in Angels' Notch and a shiny new Jaguar pulls up in front of The General Store.  A stylish blonde woman comes into the store declaring that it is 'quaint'.  She has left her cell phone at the place in town where she is staying and uses the phone in the store to make a call to it.  To Annie's surprise, this beautiful woman is not only calling John, she seems to be flirting with him.  John tells Annie to get a message to Lucy that he will no longer need her to come over to do chores for him.  He says he has a friend staying with him who will help him out. Lucy heads on over there anyway and from the shadows sees John hugging the good-looking blonde.They do not see her, so Lucy leaves feeling strangely upset. 

     Later that week, Lucy has a visitor of her own.  She comes into The General Store to introduce her brother Sam, an ad man from the city who has no shortage of adjectives in his vocabulary.  They talk about growing up in Angels' Notch and have Annie pack them a picnic. 

A week later in the store, Sam meets the mysterious blonde who turns out to be named Samantha. He chats her up and makes her laugh.  The two Sams leave together. 

     Lucy is determined to find out who the blonde woman is, but Annie has no idea other than that she is a friend of John's, a man who by his own admission has no friends or family.  The John comes in and wants to know the identity of man was who was visiting Lucy.  Annie realizes that Lucy and John are curious about each other's visitors.  When Annie tells John that Sam is Lucy's brother, he is visibly relieved and confesses that the blonde woman is his sister Samantha. 

     It's winter and Lucy decides to have a holiday party in her tree house.  She comes into The General Store very excited because she ran into John in the post office, presented him with an invitation, and he said he would come.  On the day of her party, Lucy comes into the store first to pick up last minute items then again later to meet her brother who is arriving from the city.  John comes in because he is going to meet his sister at the store.  To everyone's amazement, Sam and Samantha arrive together in her Jaguar and announce that they are in love. 

     John doesn't come to Lucy's party and Lucy cannot figure out why. She communicates her displeasure to her brother Sam, and tries to convince him that he and John's sister Samantha have nothing in common.  Samantha joins them and it's obvious that she's in love. 

     Another day Samantha and her brother come into the General Store.  Samantha has called Sam and asked him to join them much to John's displeasure.  Sam shows up with his own agenda.  John is miffed that his sister is going to traipse off with Sam and isn't spending the day with him, but Samantha thinks it's the fact that she's dating Lucy's brother that's bothering her brother. 

     A few weeks later Lucy gets a letter from her brother suggesting that John might be her serendipity.  She dismisses this idea, but decides to confront John about the fact that he said he'd come to her party then didn't show.  There's a big snowstorm in Angels' Notch.  Lucy paces the few steps available to her in her tree temple, then once the storm subsides, she plods over to John's on snowshoes to have the face off she has been imagining for weeks.  She finds that a huge tree has come down across the front of the barn blocking John's exit.  The branches have broken the front window of his attached apartment. Lucy wonders if John has been injured, but talks to him through a slot in a side window and finds that he is unharmed.  She suggests that he climb up into the loft of the barn and jump into the snow.  John refuses, and finally admits he is afraid of heights, the reason he didn't come to her tree temple party. Lucy fetches a shovel and digs John a way out from the window. 

     Once the ice melts and the days are longer, the community organizes a work party to help John rebuild his roof and put in a new window.  Annie hopes that such a show of support will encourage John to come out of his shell and interact more with the other villagers.  John is grateful and delivers a load of two-foot wood cut from the downed tree to The General Store. Lucy huffs that she's the one that dug him out and wonders why she didn't get any wood.  Annie points out that the two-foot wood is too big for her little stove.  John then surprises Lucy with a stack of firewood cut specifically for her wood stove. 

     A moose takes down John's fence and one of his mares escapes and disappears.  John who is exceedingly attached to his 'hosses' is especially distressed because the mare is pregnant. He comes into the General Store for help.  Lucy proves she is a good detective by finding the mare in her old barn chewing on some hay.  A week or so later, Lucy is in her tree temple and sees John's pregnant mare pacing in the field next to the pond. Suddenly the birth of the foal begins.  Lucy runs to get John and they deliver the filly together. 

     John has warmed considerably to Lucy and asks Annie if she thinks Lucy would date him.  Annie suggests that he cook her a meal and they watch a video together.  John invites Lucy to thank her for the watch, and Lucy, always eager to get a meal she doesn't have to prepare, accepts.   Lucy enjoys the food, but trouble begins when it comes time to watch a video because they have each brought three and they can't decide.  They spend the entire evening arguing over movies. 

     Lucy decides to return the favor by cooking for John.  Of course, due to his fear of heights, he doesn't want to come to her place for dinner, so they compromise on a picnic.  Lucy prepares a couple of Mexican dishes.  John tries the food and spits it out because it's way too spicy for him.  Undaunted, Lucy cooks for John a second time, showing up at his door with a basket of steaming food.  He eats it, but later when Lucy asks him, he declares it was much too bland. Lucy is now frustrated. Her tree temple and her cooking make him uncomfortable. 

       The saga continues… Tune in every week to hear the latest episode of The General Store radio serial.