Monday, October 8, 2012
The Hospital Dedication
After many months of planning, designing and building the Camden Corner's Hospital, the town is preparing for the dedication ceremony.
Lucinda Rossi, who was remembered in Shane Howard's will with more money than she could possibly spend in her lifetime, saw the need for the hospital when young Kenny Bentley suffered from an attack of appendicitis. The Bentleys and Doctor Tom Campbell were able to get him to the Greensboro Hospital before the appendix ruptured but his condition could have had a disastrous outcome.
“Lucinda, I am so proud of the generosity you have shown to our small town,” said her new husband, Nick.
“This is my town now too Nick. I still shudder to think what could have happened to Kenny if Joe Taylor and Cody Hill hadn't been able to move him to the Greensboro hospital in the fire wagon in time. You know I never wanted that money for myself. Actually, it is Cassandra's money, I just didn't want her to have the burden of growing up wealthy. Don't you think she will thank me for that someday?” laughed Lucinda.
“Yes, she will because she is as loving and generous as her mother.” Nick said as he kissed the back of his wife's neck while helping her to fasten the clasp on the string of pearls she was wearing.
Lucinda McCoy and her daughter Cassandra were living in poverty in an apartment in New York City. Their next door neighbor was Shane Howard. Shane was a recluse and secret millionaire many times over. His nephews, Harold and Howard Hightower were summoned to the reading of his will after his death. They were astonished to learn of their uncle's wealth and along with Lucinda were left vast amounts of money. The Hightowers invested in land for grapes, a winery and a house for their growing families. The twin brothers were married to twin sisters and both couples had a set of twins. It was discovered after Shane's death that Lucinda's murdered husband was in fact Shane's grandson. Lucinda and Paul grew up in the same orphanage, became good friends and eventually fell in love.
The Hightower brothers, wanting to get Lucinda and Cassandra out of an unsafe environment, encouraged Lucinda to move to Camden Corners where she met and married Nick Rossi. Nick oversees the vineyard where the first grape plants are beginning to grow.
In the house two doors away, Jamison Bentley is admiring his wife, Caroline. She is expecting their child any day know. The pregnancy had been a total surprise to Jamison and Caroline. Caroline didn't think it was possible for a woman her age to conceive a child. Her daughter, Grace had given birth to Caroline's first grandchild just three months ago.
Caroline lost her parents at a young age. She found herself alone at the age of 16. Her father's best friend, George Watson, married her and provided her with a home. He died when their daughter, Grace was just a young girl. Jamison Bentley, an architect came to town to supervise the building of the opera house. They met by chance and fell in love. Caroline felt she was betraying George's memory and denied her feelings. Although Jamison and Caroline never forgot their love for one another, Jamison eventually married another and became the father of two sons. He was a widower living in Greensboro. Caroline confided in Lucinda about her brief encounter with Jamison. When the Hightowers were looking to secure the services of an architect, Lucinda suggested Jamison Bentley.
It wasn't long before Jamison and Caroline rekindled their love affair. They were married and the adoptive parents of orphans, Kenny and Becky who turned up in Camden Corners after they learned they would be sent to separate orphanages.
“Caroline, you are positively glowing this evening.” said Jamison as he stood admiring his wife. Becky was helping her pick out the earrings she would be wearing.
“It must be that I'm bursting with happiness and pride. Jamison, I am so happy the hospital will be opening tomorrow. I think this little one is going to be arriving very soon and I suspect he or she will be the first baby to be born in the new Camden Corners hospital. It is such a beautiful facility, Jamison. I have always known you were a master of design but you really have been outdoing yourself lately.”
“Must be because I am so happy with you and our little squirts.” He reached out and tickled a giggling Becky.
Jamison's sons were waiting downstairs with Kenny. Kenny was showing them his latest designs for the treehouse he and Jamison were going to build this summer.
“Remember when Dad had us designing our own playhouse Alex? I think we have one more architect in the family.”
Kenny still had to pinch himself when he heard the word family and knew he and Becky were a part of a happy one.
“Let me take a look Kenny, by Jove I think you have it.” Alex teased him. “You know this really is very good Kenny. You must be a natural unlike your brother Todd here who designed his first treehouse without a door. It was a beautiful place, we just couldn't get inside,” Alex laughed.
Kenny started laughing too. He had heard that tale before. He knew Jamison had caught the mistake before the treehouse was built but it made a good story.
Alex and Todd were happy their father had found love again after the untimely death of their mother. They loved Caroline and their young brother and sister. They had many happy times with Caroline's daughter Grace, her husband Ted and their new baby, Freddy. Alex and Todd had taken over Jamison's firm in Greensboro and continued to live there but were frequent guests in their father's home.
Grace, Ted and little Freddy arrived. The family planned to attend the ceremonies together. The completion of the hospital was a major accomplishment for a town the size of Camden Corners and everyone within miles would be turning out for the dedication.
Reggie Blackburn was panicking. He had one necktie to his name and couldn't find it anywhere in the cottage he shared with his wife, Josie.
“Why are you so nervous Reggie? You have been on pins and needles all day,” said Josie as she handed him his tie.
“I guess I am a little uneasy. I have visions of the building collapsing just when they cut the ribbon this afternoon. Thanks to Leo Carlisle we were behind schedule for several months. I can't believe the hospital is finally ready to open for business.”
“Mr. Carlisle is spending many years behind bars for his many crimes. His punishment came too late for Al Blanchard but at least he won't be able to hurt anyone else.” said Josie.
“When I think of that man grabbing you and putting a gun to your head it makes me want to wring the weasel's neck.”
Josie's bout of morning sickness while Carlisle had hold of her shocked him into dropping his gun and being restrained by several of the members of Reggie's crew.
“The baby and I are just fine and you will see our little hero or heroine in just a couple of months. I can't say I enjoyed having morning sickness but it really did save me that day. That mean, nasty man couldn't handle a little bit of vomit covering his mean, nasty face.” Josie chuckled.
“A little bit, if I recall you had devoured three eggs and a half pound of bacon that morning. That wasn't even counting the biscuits and gravy and I think you had a couple of blueberry pancakes to top it off.”
“Mama always cooked as though Julie and I were growing boys. Back at the beginning of this pregnancy, I couldn't get enough to eat but never was able to hold it down. That's enough of that kind of talk. We will both lose our appetite for all the wonderful goodies that will be available after the dedication today. Rosa says Eduardo and Anna have been cooking up a storm for three days. The Mackenzies and Burkes closed their kitchen yesterday after lunch to start preparing for today's party. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.”
It was another lovely spring day and the dedication was held outside on the massive lawn in front of the hospital. There was standing room only as Mayor Horton introduced the parties responsible for the beautiful new facility. Speeches were held to a minimum which was a relief to Caroline Bentley as she was holding Grace's hand and remembered the day almost 30 years ago that she experienced her very first labor pain.
Becky noticed Caroline grimacing in pain and remembered her other mother looking that way before they took her away and she never saw her again. Becky began to cry. Her little friend Iris stood by her side and held her hand.
“Your mama is going to be alright. It's time for your baby to be born that's all. My mama looked just like that before Joey was born. I was scared too but Mama told me it would hurt for a little while but after that we would have our baby. She was right. When she was holding baby Joey she was smiling and it didn't hurt anymore.”
Diana overheard her daughter's reassuring words and felt her usual pride in this wonderful little girl who came into their lives. She looked into the heavens and thanked Mavis Short once again for this most precious gift.
Dr. Julie looked over in Caroline's direction and said to her husband “The hospital isn't due to open until tomorrow but I think we may be welcoming our first patient shortly.”
Mayor Horton was informed of this new development and quickly asked the audience to form a line for a tour of the hospital ending with refreshments being served on the back lawn. Doc McMillan whispered in his ear. The mayor nodded and announced the emergency room would not be included in the tour today.
After giving Becky a hug and telling her everything was going to be fine, Caroline was escorted into the emergency room with Jamison following closely behind.
One hour later, Jamison stepped out from behind closed doors. He was beaming as he announced the birth of the newest Bentley. “It's a girl!”
One by one, each member of the Bentley family walked into Caroline's room as she was holding her baby and smiling.
“Oh Mama, Iris told me you would be smiling and it wouldn't hurt anymore.” said a tearful Becky as she gazed at her new baby sister.
“Iris was right darling. Any pain I did have was worth going through to have this little girl in my arms. Everyone, I would like to introduce you to Lucinda Rose Bentley. She is named after our dear friend Lucinda Rossi without whom Jamison and I would never have found each other again. We will call her Lucy for short if that is agreeable with our friends and family.”
Everyone approved wholeheartedly of the name. Lucinda was deeply touched and kissed the cheek of her good friend Caroline.
Tony Marino was waiting with his camera to take a picture of the first baby born in the newly dedicated Shane Howard Memorial Hospital.