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Reviewer: SandraDee Signed [Report This]
Date: 08 Dec 2008 8:07:10 PM Title: Wondering

Oh, Penny, no one could capture those quiet moments quite like you do.   You always amaze me with your creativity, the way your words weave a picture, and how you can make the ordinary--talking on the phone at Thanksgiving--seem extraordinary.

This is the first story I've ever seen in which Allison is the main voice.  What an interesting choice!   Her thoughts on essentially being torn between what she wanted and what she needed really got to me. Many people have that choice to make.  At the same time, it's a good reminder that the world is vastly changed, even all these years later. 

I'll be interested in seeing whether the public face remains intact for Hawkins or if he's comfortable enough to show his private face with the Greens at the upcoming ball game.  I imagine that in some ways, that private vs. public face extends to Allison, as well.  She is most certainly her father's daughter, bound by obligation, duty, and yet also fiercely loyal to those she cares about. 

Thanks for sharing your story with us!

Author's Response:

Thank you for the wonderful compliments!

I loved getting to explore Allison for the first time here. I think she's a fascinating character. I think your observations about Hawkins and his private face, and how Allison takes after him in that way, are spot on.


Reviewer: SandraDee Signed [Report This]
Date: 07 Dec 2008 6:12:47 PM Title: Waking

Such a beautiful chapter, Penny.  I think yours is the first story I've seen deal with the direct aftermath of Stanley and Mimi's graveside vows.  You are so good at relating a multitude of emotions and reactions. 

Thank you for sharing this with us!

Author's Response:

Thank you!

Stanley and Mimi's graveside vows really touched me, more than almost any other scene in season two, or the whole series possibly. Certainly it was one of the more hopeful, moving scenes, in my humble opinion. It seemed natural to go from there when thinking of what Mimi is most grateful for in her life.

Thanks again!

Reviewer: SandraDee Signed [Report This]
Date: 07 Dec 2008 5:58:18 PM Title: Waiting

Oh, Penny, it was so nice to have Johnston back.  Reading this first part was, I have to admit, a little bittersweet, knowing what we do about the characters--that Jake would be estranged from his father for years, that Eric and April would get married but end up apart, and that Johnston would meet his end in battle quite different from the game of football.

I think my favorite part was the end, though, with Gail and Johnston enjoying each other's company.  I always enjoyed watching them on the show because of their obvious rapport, their connection, and their understanding of each other.  I thought you did a great job capturing them.

And let me just say kudos to Kara.  Like her, I don't get why Jake and Emily continue this back and forth. 

Author's Response:

Thanks Sandra!

I really enjoyed writing this scene from Green family Thanksgivings-past. It definitely did end up bittersweet, with all the things that will change in the future, including the relationships within this family.

I liked writing Johnston, a character I don't get to explore often, and it was really fun getting to go into his relationship with Gail, something else I don't often do.

Kara liked to state her opinions, to the chagrin of some family members, though I suppose she was proven right in the end of this one, if you read on.


Reviewer: Marzee Doats Signed [Report This]
Date: 01 Dec 2008 7:33:14 PM Title: The Match


The chatter was interrupted suddenly by a new set of arrivals in the Green's backyard. Everyone fell silent and turned to look. At the edge of the lawn, the Richmond family stood, five figures with five tall shadows falling across the grass. Each stood looking at their rivals, squinting in the late afternoon sun. They were impressive in their football jerseys, hockey sweaters, and polo shirts, a sea of red against the hazy blue sky.

LOL!  Those Richmonds sound like Amazons!  I'm starting to fear for Team Green.


Jake nearly groaned. “You already have strong players. You've got Clark the quarterback, and you've got one of my best deputies. I've got an eight-year-old.”

“Hey!” began Shelby, but the adults were too engrossed in debate.

Oh boy!  I think Dad's in trouble now....



Turning his back so the Richmonds couldn't observe so closely, Jake said through clenched teeth, “This is our year to beat the Richmonds. Team Green's year. It won't be a great victory if team Richmond has a Green on it.”

Jake seems pretty invested, and as they say, pride goeth before the fall....



“Uncle Stanley, you're supposed to stop running when people tag you in touch football,” he said, looking at his uncle with an air of accusation.

“Yeah, if people tag you, not grab you by the ankles,” said Stanley. “I figured, two kids attached to my legs, nothing new, I'll just keep going.”

HA!  Oh, the picture this brings to mind!  The only thing missing is that he didn't call them rugrats. ;-)



“We planned it all out, the day before. We packed everything we'd need to go on our camp out,” she said. “Clark made the sandwiches, because he was old enough to use a butter knife. I brought the campfire songs notebook. And Johnny was in charge of fishing gear.”

Fiona and Clark caught each others' sideways glances and laughed themselves now. “When we finally picked our camping spot, Johnny pulled out a container of worms he'd dug up. He thought we were all set.” Fiona giggled again, and her cousin flashed her an irritated look.

“Meanwhile of course, no one knew where you were, everyone was ready to put a search party together,” said Gail, with just a hint of a reprimand in her voice, though she was on the verge of laughter herself.

“Mimi was afraid you'd been eaten by coyotes or kidnapped by pissed off refugees or something,” said Stanley.

“No I wasn't,” she said, playfully swatting Stanley's head. “But I was very concerned that our darling children were lost.”

“We weren't lost,” protested Johnny, to further chuckles across the porch. “We would have stayed there overnight. If Deputy Taylor hadn't found us.”

Shelby had vacated her seat on the floor and come to stand by her mother. “You really thought you could use worms? To go fishing? In the middle of the field?”

I love the mixture of humor (only Clark was old enough to use a butterknife) and the hint at world conditions (coyotes or pissed off refugees) in this story, but the kicker is that they were going fishing in a field!  I'm glad Jimmy found them (or was it Woody?) though of course, they were not lost. :-)



We can enjoy the night. Probably better if we go out and really see it,” she said, gently tugging his arm herself now. He resisted at first, but finally allowed her to pull him to his feet.

“You know, that football just tired me out. I'm not as young as I used to be,” protested Jake. “It might just do me in to hear Stanley brag about his touchdown one more-”

“We won't be able to hear Stanley,” said Heather.

Jake stopped protesting. “You're not suggesting-”

She grinned. “No one said we had to catch up with them to go for a walk tonight.”

He look scandalized for a moment, but the corners of his mouth tugged into a smile. “I can live with that.”

“Oh, you can live with that?” she said in a teasing voice. “Okay.”

He slipped his hand into hers. They crossed the lawn, their fingers interlaced between them and their heads close together. Their gentle banter, and laughter as they recalled Thanksgiving walks of the past, mixed with the other sounds in the evening air as night descended on Jericho.

Aaaaaahhhhhhhhh! :-)  Wonderful Jake and Heather mush, and what a lovely echo of the Johnston and Gail moment at the end of Waiting. 

Excellent job, Penny.  My little holiday-loving heart is immensely satisfied.  Thanks for sharing!

Author's Response:

Poor Team Green does seem to be divided into those who realize that the Richmonds do resemble Amazons and those who are unwilling to accept defeat. Unfortunately, the most invested did take a bit of a fall here. But most of them would agree they had fun, I think.

I enjoyed blending in some humour in this part, after the more reflective and emotional parts that came before. Though this wasn't Team Green's year, I'm sure they'll all be laughing and remembering this one on the porch in the years to come.

Thanks for reading this story, and for all your comments!

Reviewer: Marzee Doats Signed [Report This]
Date: 01 Dec 2008 6:59:57 PM Title: Wishing

A few of the highlights in this chapter, for me:

  • That Jake, like Johnston before him, gets fed up with overly excited children and makes them go outside to "run off" their excess energy.

  •  Poor Johnny.  He thought it was his year, and then Fiona tied him in the race.  It just feels like there's a certain irony in Jake's amusement at their disappointment over his declaring it a tie.....

  • I just like Shelby, and it's intersting to see the new side of Jake she brings out.  Her mini tantrum over her "green" cracked me up, as did Mary's solution.  Sequins, indeed!

  • That supposedly impartial Gail who calls all kinds of penalties against her own family is secretly rooting for that Green victory -- and encourages Johnny to make it happen. :-)

Penny, I love your version of the Greens. :-D

Author's Response:

Thank you!

I liked including the parallels between Jake as a father and his father those years before. Though I'm sure Jake doesn't think about them too often, he knows they're there.

Poor Johnny does take a bit of a hit to his hopeful excitement in this part, but he and his uncle are, I guess, a little too invested. It's too bad Jake can't recognize this parallel.

I'm glad you enjoyed Shelby here. I think she and Mary had fun coming up with that solution, though I'm not sure Jake shared in their amusement.

Gail does try to keep up appearances of fairness in her role as the judge, but isn't above trying to nudge some of the Green family representatives towards victory.

Thanks for the wonderful compliment. Coming from a 'keeper' of the Greens, I'm glad my version works for you!

Reviewer: Marzee Doats Signed [Report This]
Date: 01 Dec 2008 6:33:50 PM Title: Wondering

Back when I live 3000 miles away, I always knew that I needed to make a visit home when my father was reduced to complete uncommunicativeness on the phone.  In other words, I totally get where Allison is coming from.  :-)  I have to say, Penny, I appreciate how you illustrate universal conditions.  I'm sure we all have someone in our lives who is horrible on the phone.

This is such an interesting chapter, the first piece I've ever seen written from Allison's POV, and you've done a great job showing her worries and hurts and frustrations as she takes on the task of keeping her family together, of protecting and caring for them all.  It rang very true and I will definitely never be able to look at her the same again.  Wonderful job.

Lastly, for humor, I just have to say I appreciated this line.  (It may be Allison's job to keep them all laughing, but Hawkins does a pretty good job making me laugh!)

“Lot of carrots,” he said. “Just how much do you think those Greens eat?”



Author's Response:

Thank you!

I too, have one of those 'not so good on the phone' relatives (Two, actually!), so that was my inspiration, but I do think you're right, we all have one of those in our lives.

I very much enjoyed getting into Allison's perspective here, as I think it was my first time really writing her. She's a very interesting character, and I think one that many of us could relate to. She has a lot of conflict and cares very much for the people around her.

I'm glad you liked Hawkins' humour here. I guess they probably do need lots of carrots for the two teams that'll be facing off later, and Hawkins can see the humour in this every day task his family shares.

Reviewer: Marzee Doats Signed [Report This]
Date: 01 Dec 2008 6:16:15 PM Title: Waking

Wow.  I'm still blown away with the account of Mimi's and Stanley's honeymoon.  That was too poignant for words.  I could really feel Mimi's desperation to hold onto the one solid thing she had left in life, her gratefullness for Stanley, her grief for Bonnie.  I was especially touched by how her feelings for Bonnie went from "surly teenage hostess" to 'sister".  Beatuifully done, and nicely wrapped up in the irony of night owl Mimi appreciating a sunrise.

I also liked the 'cycle-of-life' feeling this chapter has with Mimi, older and wiser thinking about her relationship with her mother and with Bonnie and now with her daughter.  I laughed at Stanley's horror that his daughter inherited some of Mimi's aversion to morning, and at how Tessa's initial scandalized reaction to the idea of her mother's first kiss gave way to curiosity.  I hope the Richmond women enjoy their walk while the boys fight it out about the turkey and football at home. :-)

Author's Response:

Thank you!

This was one of my favourite parts to write, as you know how fond I am of the Richmond family. I wrote this part first, as I was getting into thinking about what it means to really be grateful, and Mimi's experiences that led her to be truly grateful, on many days besides Thanksgiving.

I think the Richmond women did enjoy their walk, and their conversation may have turned to football just once, though they would have us believe that they are not in this game for the competition at all.

Thanks again!

Reviewer: Marzee Doats Signed [Report This]
Date: 01 Dec 2008 5:54:37 PM Title: Waiting

Ah, Penny!  I love it.  And what I love about it the most is that for just a few moments Johnston was back.  That's a nice treat. :-)

Both Thnaksgivings were quite interesting, very true to how families operate over the years.  I can just see Johnston on the verge of tearing his hair out when his kids just won't behave and Kara's too short to sit at the table without that booster seat, and he has no idea where it went. 

Can I tell you how much I love Kara?  She and I seem to have some coinciding opinions!

I also like your version of EJ Green.  He definitely should be a "Gramps" as he referees football with a baby on his hip and teases his daughter and granddaughters. 

Lastly, I love the tidbit of Johnston/Gail.  They know one another so well, and they take care of one another.  It was just too sweet how she knew what he was thinking and was able to say what he needed to hear, and went for a walk with him in the other direction. :-D  Lovely stuff.

Author's Response:

Thanks Marzee!

I'm glad you enjoyed Kara's appearance here. She definitely had some strong opinions, and wasn't quite as careful about sharing them as some family members. I had fun writing EJ, and am glad the 'Gramps' title worked for you. Thanks for approving of my using it!

It was interesting and fun for me to write Gail/Johnston, since I don't often get a chance to look in on them. They're a great set of characters, and their relationship was very solid and interesting to watch.


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