Ever and Always
Chapter 20: The new land – July 2022

Copyright© 2015 by Banadin

The next week was busy for Rick and Marsha. They had to arrange for telephone service with Bell South. They also signed up for a fiber-optic connection for Internet and television. Marsha talked about the bad old days when you had to deal with many companies and DSL or a cable line was the fastest service you could get. Now that fiber optics ran at ten times the speeds they were in 2014 nothing could beat it.

They signed up with the electric company at the local Pikeville office. As befitting a small town it was a one-person office and the lady at the desk knew all about their move. She let them know the modular home people contacted them about having a crew available to connect the service to the home.

They drove out to the home site and saw a flatbed truck parked in the yard and a man digging with a back hoe. Rick introduced himself while Marsha waited in the car. The worker explained that he was getting the water, and septic lines dug up, so they could be connected to the modular home.

He also let them know he surveyed their driveway and let the company know they would have to trim some limbs to get the modular home in, but they were lucky. No whole trees would have to come down.

They then went over to the barn and found their ATV's as Jack Nelson said he would leave them. They decided to ride together this trip. They had a topographical map from the U S Army Corp of Engineers to navigate by.

Marsha drove while Rick did the navigation. Their goal was to find and review the area that looked best for their home site from the aerial photograph.

They had to wind around several hills to find the site which was about three-quarters of a mile from their starting point. This didn't seem like much when riding, but they remembered their first trip out. The route they took had a gentle rise, but nothing that would give an automobile trouble in the winter on a cleared road.

Once they went up the last rise, they came to an open flat spot at the base of Hinch Mountain. When they had driven by Hinch on the road and seen it from a distance, it looked like a worn hill. Now they were next to it, and had seen how difficult it was to get around on these small hills, they realized it was called a Mountain for a reason.

The open area was about twenty acres in size. It was surrounded by another hundred or so acres also level, but tree covered. The trees were established pines, so there wasn't much in the way of underbrush. They drove around the area and confirmed its size. As usual, in pine needle covered forest floors it deadened sound to the point that it had a feeling of being in church.

Marsha stopped the ATV, and they just enjoyed the lack of sound. They were far enough from any highway, they couldn't hear any traffic, and there wasn't much in this area anyway. At one point they could hear a small aircraft engine, in the distance, but it soon faded. They sat and enjoyed the environment for a while then moved back to the clearing.

Marsha stopped in the center of the clearing. She looked at Rick and asked, "When you first looked at the aerial photographs you mentioned observation posts on some of the hills. What are you thinking?"

"I was wondering when that shoe would drop," Rick replied. "My thoughts are twofold.

First a simple camera set up, which wouldn't be as visible as a camera at the front gate. It would be wireless with a battery power source. There would be a motion detector set up before it, to an alarm in the house, so we could see who was coming before they were in sight of the house. It would be set up for large sizes like a car. Living this far out I want to know who is coming up the drive way, especially after dark.

Secondly and a distant second is if it hit the fan, it would be handy to have firing positions away from the house.

"Do you think it will come to that," Marsha asked?

"If our living a long time happens like it is starting to look, then yes, when is a different question? Will the government collapse in the next ten years, probably not, in the next one hundred probably, in the next two hundred, without a doubt?"

"Historically governments and nations change over time. Seldom have there been major changes without major upheavals. Marsha, as to the direction that this country or its successor will take, your guess is good as mine."

"What about England, they have been the same country for almost a thousand years."

"That is true but there have been many changes in the form of government from Cromwell to Kings by Devine Right to the current parliamentary systems, that does not count the Barons, the bloody additions of Wales, Scotland and Ireland, the loss of most of Ireland, the British Empire, and most of the British Commonwealth. The name may be the same, but that island has changed many times."

Marsha asked, "So trouble is coming from a historical viewpoint, but we don't know when."

"You got it hon. Look at it this way, based on not only history but the world as it is today; the United States is an outlier in the scheme of things."

"Well now, that is enough gloom and doom for today, where should we place our house?"

"Ah, on to the important things," Rick smiled.

"Yes," Marsha replied smiling sweetly. "You can't predict when the nation will come to an end; but if you don't get our house built, I can predict what will happen!"

"Yes ma'am! Right away, Ma'am!"

They both broke out laughing at this piece of nonsense. An onlooker who didn't know them would have guessed their ages to be in the early sixties or younger. As they continued their light banter, they drove around the area.

It became apparent that they'd miss the sunrise as they were right at the base of Hinch Mountain. They decided this wouldn't be a problem for them, but they have to make certain any crops planted were far enough out to catch the morning sun.

The mountain itself made the placing of the house easy. There were two steep ridges about four hundred yards apart going east to west from the mountain. They'd place the house between them with the house facing south. The house would be offset in the pocket formed by the mountain and its ridges. The house was to be situated about one hundred yards from the northern ridge. This allowed maximum daylight to the front of the house.

Protected on three sides with a winding road to get to them wouldn't protect them from a professional assault but could make any amateur's life difficult. Rick had some ideas of how to make it even more difficult for the amateurs. If the professionals came, the events were predictable; scouting and an over whelming force. But then why would they bother?

The rest of July 2022 flew by. Their double-wide trailer was set in place and all the hook ups were made. Their furnishings were pulled out of storage and moved in. On August first, they were settled into their new temporary housing.

In the meantime, they interviewed several architects in Chattanooga. They settled on Smith & Evans. They had excellent references and had a catalog of previous homes that fit within what they had in mind. Rob Smith was the senior partner, and they got along with him and Charles Evans very well; even though 'Charlie' came across a little too liberal for Ricks taste.

The architects recommended Rebel Home Builders as their contractor. They had a long-term relationship with John Mertz as a builder. In this case the son, John Jr. would be making it happen.

The house that was settled on, at least Marsha's idea of settled on, was five bedrooms, six and half baths, large kitchen with a breakfast nook, dining room, living room, mud room, family room, library/office (Rick), sewing room (Marsha), the master suite included a walk-in closet with all built ins and a full basement.

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