If you missed chapter 12, click here.
If this is your first visit and you want to start at chapter 1, click here.
It was Brad who’d told Woody Blackstone that that old Hazelton Grange Hall was for sale. Woody had mentioned he had some money to invest, the proceeds from Heather’s life insurance that had been sitting in a savings account at a low rate of interest. Since he knew nothing about the stock market, he didn’t feel comfortable with that type of investment. When asked for his opinion, Brad reminded him of what a matchmaker Heather had been. It was Heather who’d introduced Brenda to Brad, and she’d been delighted when the two had become an item.
“Why not buy the Hazelton Grange and turn it into some kind of place where singles and meet and mingle? Heather would have liked that,” offered Brad. “I’ll bet she’d be thrilled to think that money was being used to help people find their soul mates!
After thinking about it for a couple of weeks, Woody began to like the idea. It did seem like the kind of thing Heather would have liked to do. She had loved to entertain and go dancing before the cancer had taken the wind out of her sails. She also believed with her whole heart that everyone deserved to have a loving relationship and more than one marriage in their circle of friends had been the result of her efforts. The words “People need to connect with one another” had often fallen from her lips. And from there, the seed for “Country Connections” had been planted.
There had been negotiations to navigate, permits to procure, and renovations to render, and from the remains of the Hazelton Grange Hall, Country Connections had emerged. Brenda was the one who suggested the sign: “Country Connections: Where We Know You by Name, and Everybody’s Got Game.” It had a friendly sound to it, so Woody had run with it, and the rest was history.
It had taken a while to get the right mix of music and minglers, but after a few months, Connections had grown in popularity. He’d hired country bands first and was amazed at their popularity. Finding Patty and the Sidewinders had been a stroke of luck. He’d gone to New Hampshire to purchase some new lighting for the stage six months ago and had heard there was a good band playing at the Holiday Inn on Wednesday and Thursday nights. Woody went out of his way to be there the next Wednesday and liked what he heard. The band played a combination of country and disco, and the vocalist had amazing pipes. It turned out the owner of the inn where they’d been performing on weekends was retiring and closing the place, so they were looking for a new booking. A trial couple of weekends at Country Connections had gone well, and the group was now a Friday and Saturday night fixture.
The club had been a great idea, actually. It forced Woody out of the house on weekend nights in the beginning. Now, however, he enjoyed the music, the noise, and the camaraderie the place brought to his life. Being at the club beats the hell out of sitting home and watching crappy television, thought Woody. And all the talks about getting on with his life Brad had given him were finally beginning to get through to him. He’d finally worked up the gumption to ask Patty out. Even though she’d rejected him, he’d survived and just might be ready to actually date.
“I hope you understand, Heather,” whispered Woody into the night air. “I loved you will all my heart and soul, but it’s been five years, and that’s a long time to be alone.”