Sunday, December 17, 2006

A Nice, Quiet Dinner

The state of TIAH

December 17th, 2006

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Alternate Historian's Note: Stephen Payne provides the alternate history as we begin the second half of our NaNoWriMo novel. We hope you are enjoying this change in format – let us know how you feel about it in comments or by emailing us. This will be the format of TIAH throughout the holiday season, unless we receive a great outcry about it. Speaking of the Holiday Season, keep in mind those who need help year-round and keep yourselves safe and happy, as well. And, should you feel generous inclinations towards our guest historians, you can visit the sites of those who have separate ones from TIAH; generosity towards us here at the Academy is always appreciated, too, and you can find ways to help us out all over the site. Right now, we'd appreciate a lead on a good day job, but my lovely Co-Historian could also use some more memory on her PC, if anyone feels generously inclined. (It's PC133-style – yes, it's an old machine). Any good wishes you have towards us can be emailed here.

in 1862, during the American Civil War, General Ulysses S. Grant issues General Order No. 11, expelling Jews from Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky. It was an event that later inspired another anti-Semite, Charles Lindburgh, to challenge for the Presidency in 1940. -entry by Steve Payne from Counter History in Context - You're the Judge!-

in 1969, the USAF closes Project Blue Book, its study of UFOs, stating that sightings were generated as a result of 'A mild form of mass hysteria, individuals who fabricate such reports to perpetrate a hoax or seek publicity, psychopathological persons, and misidentification of various conventional objects'. In fact, the US Government was confident that the non-proliferation committee for the Congress of Worlds had abandoned attempts to probe the American nuclear program after landings at Roswell, New Mexico and Kecksburg had been intercepted following tip-offs by a traitor inside the Committee... -entry by Steve Payne from Counter History in Context - You're the Judge!-

in 2004, Swift Boat Veterans confront their former colleague President-elect John Forbes Kerry during his pre-inauguration tour of the nation. They fiercely dispute his account of the 1968 events in Cam Ranh Bay leading to the award of a Purple Heart. Already whispers of impeachment over SwiftBoatGate have started. Democrats start to wonder if they would not be better off with the more charismatic Vice President-elect John Edwards. Edwards could not agree more; in fact, he is the agitator behind the rumours. -entry by Steve Payne from Counter History in Context - You're the Judge!-

Joan put out plates for dinner as Steph began turning off the burners on the stove. “Georgie, don't forget to put out the silverware,” she reminded her son, and he grabbed the utensils and started placing them next to the plates. Steph pulled some large bowls out and filled them with corn, mashed potatoes, and the chicken-fried steak she had just made.
She was exhausted. It had been a long time since she had cooked like that. The Thanksgiving just before she and Jake split up; that was it. She had cooked for hours, and he had barely acknowledged anything she'd done...
She put that out of her mind. She counted the place settings at the table and hoped there would be enough. She'd added in herself, the kids, Jake and Specialist Bradley, and a couple more, just in case. She placed the large bowls in the center of the big table and told the kids, “Shouldn't be too much longer. Y'all can go watch TV till they get here, if you want.”
They scurried off and checked the regular cable channels. Steph heard the Emergency Lady for a few brief flips through the channels, then a DVD was started up. She sat down at the table and picked up a roll from the pan she had made. She just nibbled at it; she didn't want to spoil her appetite, but she was a little hungry. As she was about halfway through it, she saw lights pull into her driveway. The kids noticed, too, and they hopped up from the TV and ran outside. She went into the living room and turned off the TV before joining them.
Jake was hugging the kids and introducing them to a nice-looking brunette woman. Steph felt a little twinge of jealousy before reminding herself that was ridiculous. She saw that Specialist Bradley was avoiding the little family tableau on the other side of the jeep and walked up to him. “How did it go, Mr. Bradley?”
“It's Kevin,” he said, a small smile lifting the corner of his lip. “It went... well, I think we're gonna tell you about it inside.” He touched her shoulder and leaned in towards her, saying, “I just want you to know, before we start in on all this, that I didn't want them to come here.”
The expression on his face was so serious that it scared her a little. “I'm sure it'll be OK,” she said, uncertainly. He just shook his head.
“The kids say you got a big dinner ready, Steph,” Jake said, bringing the crowd over to them. “You wanna eat?”
“Sure,” she said, turning away from Kevin and walking back up to the house. As Jake, the kids, and the other woman passed, she looked over at Kevin again. He was looking back in the direction they had come from, towards Waco. “You comin', Kevin?” He turned away from Waco, and the look on his face was so sad that it made her want to give him a great big hug. She restrained herself, but as he walked up to her, she touched his arm and whispered, “Whatever it is, you have the strength to handle it.” She gave him a small smile, and Kevin brushed his hand against hers, smiling back.
“Jake sure was a lucky man. I guess he didn't realize that.”
She chuckled. “No, he didn't.” She looked him in the eye a little longer than she meant to. She didn't usually like white boys, but he did have pretty blue eyes – not to mention 3 million dollars. And she always did like a man in uniform...
She shook herself out of it and said, “Well, we better get to the table before they eat everything up.”

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