Both in Magic Valley and at Pocatello, October started out pretty much as September had ended, with mild temperatures, no rain, and very little cloud cover. Greg's duck banding was yielding minimal results, and on September 30 - with only a week until hunting season would begin - he opened up the traps, and called it quits.

   In the office, he gathered up all of his and Chuck's notes for the quarterly narrative report, and finally sent off his change of address to Selective Service (still a little scary!) Friday, after talking to Tim, he drove to Pocatello, and spent the weekend with Vic.

   Saturday in Pocatello - with Mandy, Nancy, and the rest of the dorm regulars - they watched in disbelief as the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks (from Flagstaff) intercepted a Bengals pass, and ran 70 yards for a touchdown with only a minute and 20 seconds to go in the game. That gave the Lumberjacks a one-point win, 14 to 13. A good pizza dinner afterward softened the blow somewhat, but not enough for the fans-at-large.


   The first full week in October suggested that the seasons might be changing in Magic Valley. There was a pretty good rain on Sunday - as much as 2/10 of an inch in some areas, but not so much on the refuge - but then the skies dried up for the rest of the week. The Sunday precipitation had produced a little light snow in the higher elevations, but there was no frost except on Tuesday, when the refuge thermometer registered a low of 29 degrees. It warmed up immediately, and the latter part of the week saw temperatures close to 70 degrees.

   Somewhat surprisingly, Pocatello stayed warm and dry all week, although their "warm" was only about 60 degrees.

   Greg and Tim dismantled the duck traps, and stored them for the winter. Greg began writing the narrative report. Todd and the Fish and Game crew showed up Wednesday to prepare the hunt area for opening day on Saturday, October 8. Greg and Tim worked with them to get the check station in place, and to put up signs to mark the boundaries of the hunt area.

   With the sugar campaign scheduled to begin about October 12, Tim was beginning to consider when he might start his winter furlough. He didn't want to leave his parents without his help until he had definite word on when Rusty would arrive, and about Rusty's physical condition. He gave Greg a tentative departure date of October 19.

   "I don't see any problem with that, Tim. Any time you feel you want to go, just go. I've been thinking we've had enough moisture that you might take the grader over the main roads one last time before winter. If you agree, you can do that. I can't think of anything else really pressing."

   With hunting season beginning on Saturday, Greg wasn't going to get to Pocatello that weekend. He talked to Vic twice on the phone during the week. She didn't have much to share. She and Mandy had both settled in to their new schedules, and things seemed to be going fine. They had met Matt for "coffee" one day, and heard about his summer bird tours. He had loved Africa, and was enthusiastic to get back. He sent word to Greg that he thought they should prepare their mist-netting findings for some journal.

   Greg had one news story to share wwith Vic, about changes in the draft. Selective Service was ordering pre-induction physicals for all men 26 to 35 years old, who got past 26 without being drafted because they had educational or other deferments. In the past, they had been considered exempt, but Selective Service was changing the rules.

   "I guess that's about 50,000 men who thought they had escaped the draft," said Greg. "Selective Service assures them they won't be the first called - great assurance. It just means their lives are back in limbo, again. I can't believe they keep doing this!"

   "It is horrible, isn't it? And so completely unfeeling about people's lives.

   "Oh, I did talk to my Government professor about your letter. He liked it. Like you, he's afraid the Supreme Court's  opinion that the Government can use any means they want to get soldiers is just an invitation to violate more civil rights. He thinks that we could legitimately claim some kind of a 'national emergency' in World War I when the Germans started attacking our ships with their submarines. He thinks the same about World War II, not because of keeping the Germans from exterminating Jews - we ignored that for a long time - but because of the unprovoked bombing of Pearl Harbor. However, he doesn't see any danger to the United States from Korea or Viet Nam, and thinks the draft in those cases was a clear violation of the Constitution."

   "I wish some other people agreed with him!"


   Greg went out to the check station early Saturday morning, to see how the hunt had started. There were more hunters than he expected, possibly because some of the popular backwater areas along the river had dried up when the reservoirs were lowered to take care of irrigation demands downstream. Even though it was "bluebird weather," with clear skies and light winds, hunter success looked like it would be pretty good. He didn't know how many would bag the daily limit of 6 ducks, but he saw hunters come out with 4 or 5 birds in the short time he stayed at the check station. Most were mallards as expected, but he did see several pintails taken, another indication of an unusually late migration through the area.

   The warm, sunny weather continued in Magic Valley until Columbus Day, when a general storminess began affecting the entire intermountain area. Salt Lake City had a major snow storm, and there was some snow locally, but it melted quickly. The newspaper described the weather near the refuge as "raw and chilly." Greg visited the check station most days, and observed that the stormier weather was resulting in happier hunters.

   The Saturday Bengals football game had been at the University of Idaho, and Greg had to wait for Mike to deliver the Sunday paper before he knew the results. The Vandals had won, 27 to 20. Apparently, they dominated the game early, but the Bengals came back in the 4th quarter from a 24-6 deficit, on the basis of their quarterback completing 14 of 30 passes, for 213 yards. Greg thought it would probably have been a fun game to watch.


   Dan and Jean Hayward had vacated the assistant's house at Idaho Falls. There was no home football game Saturday, so Greg suggested to Vic that they use the weekend to purchase furniture. She agreed. Pocatello weather had turned out rainy, then changed to snow, but not enough to really affect their travel or shopping. Friday, he drove to Pocatello, picked up Vic and Mandy, and drove to the Idaho Falls refuge. They left Mandy to visit with her parents, borrowed a Government pickup truck, and drove back to a motel in Idaho Falls for the night. By morning, both had concluded (not for the first time) that two weeks was too long to be separated.

    Saturday, with money sent by Greg's parents (he still intended to pay them back), they bought a queen-sized bed and mattress, a sofa, an easy chair, kitchen table and chairs, a small chest of drawers, and two floor lamps. (Greg found buying that much pretty unnerving, even knowing they had the cash!) They took the bed with them in the truck, and left the rest to be delivered. At a department store, they bought bedding and pillows. After a celebratory lunch, they returned to the refuge, and set up the bed, and furnished it with their new blankets, sheets, and pillows. They were ready for their first night in their winter home.

   They spent the rest of the day and evening with Mandy and their parents. Everyone caught up with news from school, and from the two refuges. It was nice to all be together again.

   After saying good night to the family, Greg and Vic walked across the compound to their house. They went in, turned on the lights, stood and looked, and both started to laugh.

   "I've often thought that you'd be happy any time and anywhere with just me and a bed," said Vic, "But this is ridiculous!" The only other furniture in the house was one of Alice's kitchen chairs, that Greg had just carried over with them.

   "Well," Greg began, "It seems obvious that whatever we do between now and morning will have to be something that we can do in bed. I do have some ideas."

   "I thought you might. I have some of my own that you may find interesting."

   He took her hand, and lifted it to his lips. "It's going to be a long night. We may need all of them before morning."


   Sunday morning at breakfast, Alice commented on how strange the empty house must have seemed. "Oh, we hadn't noticed," said Vic, with a straight face.

   "Something in particular you may not have noticed," began Chuck, "There is a refrigerator in your house.  It's old, but should be fine through the winter. Something you don't need to worry about buying right away, anyway."

   The Andersons had a Sunday morning paper delivered, so Greg didn't have to wait to see the football score. He found it was news he could have waited for. After the trouncing the Bengals has received a few weeks earlier from North Dakota, the Montana State Bobcats had repeated the indignity in Bozeman with a 49 to 0 win. The Bengal performance (or lack thereof!) was not readily explainable. They only managed to cross the 50-yard line three times in the entire game, and ended up with minus rushing yardage. The Bobcats finished the humiliation with a four-touchdown romp in the Fourth quarter.

   "Well, I'm sure that's something you don't want to dwell on," said Chuck, after breakfast. "How about we talk about your work schedule for the next month?

   "With Dan gone, and with George and Don about to go on their winter furlough, I'm on my own here until you arrive around Thanksgiving. That's not a major problem, but we do have a lot more going on here in the fall than we do at Magic Valley. I'm thinking maybe you should come up here to help out - maybe come up for two different weeks. Does that sound logical?"

   "Sure. You know how it is down there for the next couple of months. Tim will go on his break in a week or so, and probably won't be back until he takes over as caretaker. He's going to grade the main road before he goes. Todd handles all the hunting, and doesn't need me. I'll finish the narrative report, and then I won't have anything specific to do there. When were you thinking?"

  "Maybe the week after next - that would be starting October 24 - then two weeks after that, beginning November 9. Then, you'd be coming up for the rest of the winter around November 21."

   "That sounds possible. That would give me a week in between each visit to take care of anything that might need doing."

   "Let's plan on that, then. If we got a period of really bad travel weather, we can always modify."

   While the women visited, Chuck took Greg on a quick tour of the refuge, pointing out a few of the issues they were dealing with.  After lunch, Greg returned the girls to school, and went back to Magic Valley. He wasn't hungry when he got to the diner, but he stopped to say hello, and to see how business had been. Jackson reported that the hunting had been good, and they'd had a lot of  happy sportsmen eating and drinking at their establishment. It sounded like everybody was feeling pretty good, although Cora complained that the upturn in business was going to, once again, keep her from taking her trip to Hawaii.


   Beet delivery to the Paul processing plant had begun on October 10, as predicted, and processing began October 12. On Tim's proposed furlough date of October 19, there was still no word when Rusty would arrive. Tim decided to leave then, anyway, and work with his dad until Rusty could take over. He graded the main road, did a little maintenance on vehicles, shut up his shop, and was gone. Greg would be alone until he left for Idaho Falls at Thanksgiving.

   He spent most of the week in the office, getting the narrative report almost finished. He decided he'd take it to Idaho Falls with him, and finish it up there. When Mike brought the mail on Thursday, he told her he'd be gone from Friday through the next Saturday.

   "Take your pick as to whether you hold it at the post office, or bring it out here. I think our mail box is big enough to hold everything, even the newspapers. If you didn't want to come all the way into headquarters, you could even leave everything in the box up at the bus turn-around. I think it's perfectly safe, there."

   "I'll probably leave it at the post office, and bring it all out a week from Monday, if that works for you. Are you going on vacation?"

   "Only if 'vacation' is defined as going up to Idaho Falls to help Chuck for a week. His assistant transferred out the first of the month, so Chuck will be short-handed until I move up there around Thanksgiving to spend the winter. I'll probably spend one more week up there before I actually move.

   "I guess you've heard about Rusty?"

   "Yeah. I hope it's really as minor an injury as they're making it sound. We really need our legs."

   "Tim is certainly hoping that Rusty can take over with their parents, so Tim can work the campaign. They really need the money, he says. Yesterday was his last day here, until he comes back as caretaker, but he doesn't want to leave his dad until he knows Rusty is home and capable."

   "I assume you'll see Vic this trip?"

   "Yes, we'll stay together this weekend, and go to the college football game with Mandy. Then, I'll stop again next weekend, before I come back here on Sunday."

   "Tell the girls hello for me."


   The weather prediction was for sunny, dry skies all week. That's what they got, but on Thursday, strong winds blew across Magic Valley all day long, and there were occasional, very light showers. When Greg talked to Vic on the phone that evening, she said they had also had lots of wind. He didn't hear any details of their local situation until the Friday morning radio news, and was unaware of the extent of the Pocatello storm until he got up there Friday afternoon.

    In Magic Valley, winds up to 45 mph had whipped through the area. Apparently, there wasn't any major damage, but there were reports of a few trees uprooted, lots of tree limbs down, and scattered brief outages when limbs hit power lines.  Burley got a skiff of snow, but it either blew away or melted quickly.

   The storm was stronger at Pocatello. The wind blew continuously  around 35 mph throughout the day. There were regular gusts over 50 mph, and one gust of 70 mph was recorded. Some billboards blew over, and there were scattered power outages, mainly from limbs falling on wires. To add to the mess and confusion, they had a little rain, followed closely by a dust storm that coated everything with mud. Next came a couple of hours of light snow, but it melted away quickly. By the time Greg got to town, there was little evidence of the storm.  The prediction was for clear and cold skies for Saturday's Homecoming football game, with real "football weather" of 18 to 50 degrees.

   He met Vic at her dorm Friday afternoon, visited briefly with Mandy and Mrs. M., arranged where they would meet Mandy before the football game, and he and Vic went off to their motel room. Greg had brought the usual burgers and fries, which they ate companionably, before falling asleep on the couch for the next several hours. A little desultory news-sharing took a couple more hours, after which Greg produced a bottle of wine, and ordered a pizza.

   When they were done with all that, Greg lay back on the couch, his hands behind his head, and smiled.

  "What are you looking so smug about?"

  "Oh, I was just remembering our first meeting."

  "You mean at dinner, your first night at the refuge?"

  "No, I mean when I really met you, the next day,  and how I described it to the lads in the pool hall."

  "In the pool hall? And where did you get that Irish accent, all of a sudden?"

 "Ah, lass, a second cousin - seventh removed. Yes, when we boys got together and chalked up the sticks, we often talked about the birds we'd known - or imagined we'd known - or wished we'd known."

  "Birds? You're in London now, right?"

  "Yes, my girl - second cousin, sixth removed. And, oh my, I remembered you. it seemed like I was viewing you through a pink haze..."

  "You were - a very alcoholic one."

  "You seemed so childlike, so innocent - so winsome. And yet you weren't a child. You were a woman - a young woman, but clearly a woman. Seeing you in profile against a setting sun, your shape..."

  "Greg! Move along."

  "But, really, it was your eyes, and your hair, that captivated me. Your eyes were green - like grassy pools - looking right at me..."

   "They're more hazel."

   "Your hair was red, and grown with leaves, just like an autumn tree..."

   "It's more chestnut, and I think the leaves you're remembering were from when you threw me to the ground during the owl attack."

   "You moved your tiny hands..." "These tiny hands?" Vic asked, as she held up her two very nice, but not very tiny, hands.  "...and you made a little turn. You swayed in the wind, just like a graceful fern."

   "Greg, I was standing in a gravel parking lot!"

   "I wished a hundred times that you'd never looked at me with that first wild beauty that only youth can see..."


  "For now I am a man, and I'd marry if I could, but I can't lose the memory of the girl in the wood." He sang the last couple of lines with considerable force.

   "Wow, that must have broken up the game."


  "You were shooting pool with the lads down at the hall, remember?"

  "Oh, yeah. That. Yes, it did pretty much break up the game. I guess my memories were a little too emotional for them."

   "Well, Gregory, let's look at those 'memories.' Eyes. Hair. Hands. A spin - with hot coffee in my tiny hands? Sunset in the morning? Wrong, wrong, wrong! My shape... Well, I hope you weren't too explicit in the description you shared with the lads.

   "Actually, the only things you said that were even partially true were that your vision was pretty hazy, and - either then or later - you decided that you liked what you saw through the fuzziness."

   Greg was silent beside her for a few moments. "You know, Vic, I didn't really dis-remember all that. It's just that once I got started, and the lyrics went that way, I had to follow along."

   "Oh, I know. The song was before my time, but I have heard it. I recognized the descriptions. But let's not get bogged down in minutia. Let's remember the key points. You were in the woods, although not on that particular day. I was a girl - well, young woman - and I was in the woods. I was not only a girl in the woods. You know that I was the girl in the woods. Your transition in just a couple of weeks from boy to man is nothing short of miraculous, but the result is that you did indeed find the girl in the woods."

   She paused a moment, for effect. "There is one other point to be made, regarding the song and the girl.  In case it slipped your mind, you did marry her - me. You are quite happy with that outcome, and wouldn't have had it any other way. It's possible you might even reap some of the benefits of that circumstance, a little later in that big bed across the room."

   She let that last pronouncement hang in the air.


   It was definitely "football weather" on Saturday - clear and crisp, but thankfully with little wind. The usual gang from the dorm watched the Bengals beat the University of Montana Grizzlies, 17 to 14, thanks to a field goal in the last ten seconds of the game. It was especially welcome and memorable because the Bengals had been unsuccessful in four previous field goal tries. They had been trailing in the game 14 to 9, but an interception, two fumble recoveries, and the final field goal got them to the win. It wasn't turning out to be one of the Bengals' finest seasons, with only two wins against four losses, and only one win out of three with their league teams. Consequently, the narrow defeat of the Grizzlies seemed even more significant than it might have.

   Greg and Vic had Saturday evening to themselves, then took Mandy with them to breakfast Sunday morning. They had barely received their meals when Mandy started questioning Greg.

   "I'd like to talk about adultery," she began, without preamble.

   Greg almost choked on his coffee. Nevertheless, he had experience with the Anderson women, and was ready to counter-attack. "You're not married, so you're not eligible to partake."

   "You brat! I don't want to partake, or participate. I want your definition of adultery."

   "That's easy. Adultery is the act of a married person having sex with someone who is not his or her legal married partner. Can we eat now?"

   "I need more information."

   Greg set down his coffee cup. "Okay, what's this about? What are you trying to get me into?"

   Vic answered. "Mandy's English class is reading 'The Scarlet Letter.' She needs background information."

   "Poor Hester Prynne of the big red 'A.' Okay, what do you need to know?"

   "I think you answered some of it. You have to be married to be adulterous, right?"

   "Right. If you're having sex outside of marriage, but not with a married person, it's called fornication."

   "Yuck! That's a horrible sounding word. I don't like it, at all."

   "It does sound horrible. The word may have been invented, hoping its terrible sound would keep people from practicing it. It didn't work."

   "It certainly didn't," Vic said, and gave him a wide grin. He chose to ignore it.

   "Since we're talking about Hester, I'm not sure - well, the book isn't clear - if Hester thought she was committing adultery. She was married, but she hadn't seen or heard about her husband in a long time. Since he hadn't been officially declared dead, and since they hadn't divorced, I suppose - for legal considerations - she was still a wife.

   "However, she may just have considered herself fornicating and, when a baby resulted, she may have thought - like Othello - that she had loved 'not wisely, but too well.'"


   "I'm just quoting Shakespeare, Vic."

   Mandy intervened. "If I can keep you on track another minute, would Hester - any adulterer - have to wear a big red 'A' on their clothes?"

   "Yes. I don't think there was anything in the Massachusetts law that said it had to be red, but it had to be worn. If a convicted adulterer was seen in public without their 'A,' they got a public whipping.

   "That wasn't the worst of it. A little earlier in colonial history, Hester could have been hung for her adultery. Quoting directly from the Old Testament books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy, Massachusetts law declared it a capital crime, punishable by death."


   "Really. Well, it's a whole different story, but I've often wondered how 'Christians' - and the Massachusetts settlers considered themselves Christians - could tie themselves to any of the Levitical laws - which Jesus supposedly freed them from. Especially, how they could pick and choose which ones they wanted to keep. For instance - and thankfully! - they apparently didn't believe that a child should be stoned to death for sassing his or her parents, but that's in the Old Testament right next to the 'death for adultery' law.

   "So, did I give you what you need, sister Mandy?"

   "Yes, you did, Greg. Every girl should have a brother like you."


   Greg returned the girls to their dorm, and drove back to Idaho Falls,  to work the week with Chuck. Mandy's excitement for the day wasn't over. After having a couple of "coffee dates," Matt had invited her to the movies, and this was the night.

   She arrived back at the dorm fairly early, while Vic and Nancy were still awake and ready to hear about the evening.

   "The movies were pretty good," Mandy related. "They showed Walt Disney's 'Bear Country,' which is pretty old, but it's one of their nature films that they bring back regularly. The main feature was also a Disney film, 'The Fighting Prince of Donegal,' an adventure film about ancient Ireland. I liked it, and I especially liked that the heroine was played by Susan Hampshire. You remember her from 'The Three Lives of Thomasina,' about the mysterious cat. I loved Susan in that show, as the woman who lived in the woods!"

   Her words didn't really sound too enthusiastic, and Vic asked her if everything had gone okay with Matt. "I suppose so, but I don't think we'll be going out, again."

   "Why? What happened?"

   "Nothing, really. I was excited about going out, and about the show, but all he wanted to talk about was his bird trips. He's a nice guy, and one reason I've liked him is that he and Greg both like birds. But Greg likes other stuff besides birds. Matt doesn't seem to have any other interests. He's obviously smart, and he studies and reads a lot, but I'm not sure he's ever read a novel, or got really excited about some singer or rock band. I like birds, but I don't want 24-hour birds!"

   She stopped, but then added, "I don't think he's a particularly good kisser, either."

   That pronouncement certainly intrigued Vic and Nancy. "You kissed?" Vic asked. "Well, obviously you did, or you wouldn't have commented on his kiss. What was wrong with it?"

   "I'm not sure. I'm obviously not a connoisseur of kissing - having only had one other, ever! Matt's was gentlemanly, I'd say, but it was obviously meant to be a good, solid kiss. It was okay, but I guess I just expected to feel something more. I liked my first kiss a lot better."

   "That first kiss," Nancy pursued, "What was better about it?"

   "And who did you kiss?" Vic demanded.

   "Terry." She smiled, in clear remembrance of the details. "I'm not sure it was even meant to be a kiss. It was at your wedding, Vic, when Terry and I were dancing together. Our faces were pretty close together, and at one point, our lips just kind of brushed against each other's as they passed by. It might have been over then, but we both decided to move back and keep our lips pressed together. It was only a fraction of a second - and neither of us mentioned it later - but, oh, it was so nice! I got the feeling he thought so, too."

   "Terry! I wouldn't have guessed, but Greg thinks there's something between you two."

   "He does? Well, there really isn't. We've been close friends for a long time, but we've never been even slightly romantic toward each other. That was just a very nice, one-time thing."

   "If you say so," said Nancy.


   Greg's week at Idaho Falls was spent helping Chuck however needed, and getting to know the refuge operation. He and Donna finished up the narrative report. He didn't have any photos for it, but there wasn't really anything worth memorializing, anyway.

   He was surprised on Thursday, when Alice showed up in the office with a chocolate cake, and the four of them celebrated Greg's birthday with cake and coffee. Another happy surprise was to actually have some people appear at the refuge, who wanted to watch birds. He spent a few enjoyable moments talking to kindred spirits.

   On his way back to Magic Valley,  he and Vic spent two nights together. They felt they needed them. On his arrival at the college Friday evening, he was immediately taken to Mrs. McPherson's apartment, where Vic, Mandy and Nancy had arranged a cupcake and beverage birthday party for him. That was nice, too.


   The weather during Greg's last four weeks at Magic Valley showed some signs of seasonal change. There were more generally cloudy days than in the previous month, and even a few showers. What was described as a "soaking rain" occurred around Veteran's Day, over two days amounting to more than a half-inch of precipitation in parts of the area. Some spots even got a skiff of snow. Mostly, it stayed dry, with temperatures seldom dipping below freezing, and often reaching 50 degrees. By Thanksgiving, there was no sign of any winter freeze-up on the way.

   Conditions around Pocatello were similar. There was some rain, and even a few inches of snow, but it melted quickly, and there was no disruption of travel. Temperatures were often well above normal.

   Duck hunters loved the varied weather, and did well most days. That meant Cora and Jackson did well, too. The beet harvest went ahead without incident, and was pretty much completed by Veterans' Day. Predictions were that the campaign might be over by the end of the year - good news for the industry, probably not such good news for those hoping for another paycheck or two before the close.

   Greg spent another week working at Idaho Falls, and stayed in Pocatello with Vic almost every weekend. It got a little expensive, with motel costs and eating out, but both felt it was worth it for their marriage, and they were pretty frugal, otherwise.

   There were no "home" football games remaining, so they didn't see Weber State beat the Bengals 16 to 7, a game in which their quarterback ended up spending a night in the hospital - thankfully, without serious injury.

   They didn't see the Bengals get beaten by the Parsons College (Iowa) Wildcats, 13 to 8, either. At the time, Parsons was the  6th ranked small college in the country, with an 8 win, 1 loss record for the season, so the loss wasn't a complete surprise. Also, the Bengals were without their starting quarterback, who was still recovering for his shake-up against Weber State.

    A Thanksgiving Day game played in Portland against Portland State College resulted in a happy 12 to 7 win - and included a 67-yard pass-run play that was the second longest in Bengal history. That may have helped some fans get through the winter, but the Bengal record in 1966 was a dismal 3 wins against 6 losses, with only one win against a conference rival.

   There wasn't a lot of national news to share. The so-called "Housewives' Revolt" attracted regular attention, beginning in early October, when women began picketing Phoenix supermarkets, demanding lower prices. By mid-October, pickets were common in Denver, and by the first of November had spread to a dozen or more states. Some markets made token attempts to calm the protest by stopping some of the check-out games (scratch cards, Bingo, etc.), that apparently do cost the markets a lot to run - costs that they pass on to their customers in higher prices. More common were the condescending "threats" - sure, we can cut prices, but a bunch of bag boys and checkers will have to be laid off. Prices in some areas did seem to be lower, but it was hard to tell how much the boycotts were responsible. A nationwide boycott of markets was planned for the week before Thanksgiving, but did not materialize. It didn't seem to have been a significant protest overall, but some sociologists were viewing it as one of the first big national events initiated and organized by women.

   In Viet Nam news, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara was said to have told LBJ that he expected fewer Americans to be sent to Viet Nam in 1967, than in 1966. He thought the draft might be cut by 50 percent, basing this optimism on what he considered a "much stabilized situation" there. Greg thought McNamara ruined the effect by adding that they were going to call up 40,000 more men yet in 1966, bringing the total to 385,000. Draft calls, he said, will "definitely" be lower in 1966, but immediately hedged his bet by warning that "we continue to face a stubborn enemy." In other words...


   In early November, Greg arranged a surprise event for Vic. From their motel just at dusk, Greg got them into their car, and drove them across town. He wouldn't tell Vic where they were going.

   She soon found out. "Wow, a drive-in theater! Den of iniquity, the place where my mother never wanted me to end up. Yet, here we are."

   "Yes, we are. I've been wanting to introduce you to both sides of the drive-in experience - watching a movie, and... Well, the 'den of iniquity' stuff. Are you game?"

   "I'm prepared to begin. What do we do?"

   Greg paid the entry fee, and drove out into "the theater," where there were separate parking spaces for cars. Beside each space was a basket with some sort of equipment in it. He rolled down his window, and brought the contraption into the car with them.

   "What's that thing?"

   "That, my dear, is where the movie sound comes from. You hang this box on the inside of your window, and turn the volume to where you want it. The picture is up there on the screen, but the sound is right here in the car with us. After a while, you don't notice that the sound and the picture are not originating from the same place."

   "Okay. So, what are we seeing?"

   "'Shane.' It's a Western. Everybody who's seen it thinks it's really special."

   Soon, the sky was dark enough to begin showing the movie. Vic curled up on the seat beside him, and Greg put a blanket over the two of them. The movie was good. The scenery of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and the Teton Mountains was spectacular. The story line was familiar - the evil cattlemen trying to run the homesteaders out of the valley - but there were some interesting twists. Shane, a gunslinger - played by Alan Ladd - rode into the valley, and one of the farmers employed him to work on his land, but also to help ward off the bad guys. The situation got a little complicated when the farmer's wife and young son developed strong attachments for Shane. Despite the potential for personal problems, Shane stayed on, and eventually killed the worst of the cattlemen. Apparently, Shane had been shot, but it wasn't clear how badly. He rode off, leaving the homesteaders in peace.

   Vic seemed to be sleeping during the last part of the movie, but stirred when the little boy started calling "come back, Shane," after the retreating gunman.

   "That was really good," she offered. "I liked it a lot."

   "I thought maybe you had missed the ending."

   "No, I was awake. I saw it all."

   Greg moved around a bit, turning to face her. "So, it's intermission. Are you ready to delve into Part Two of the drive-in experience?"

   "You mean, kissing and hugging?"

   "Well, to begin with..."

   "I've been thinking about that."

   "You haven't! You've been watching the movie."

   "Gregory, I am one of those women who can both walk and chew gum at the same time. In the same way, I can watch a movie, and be thinking about other things. The other thing I've been thinking about is what you just called 'Part Two' of the drive-in mystique. Do you want to hear what I think?"

   "I have a feeling that getting to Part Two isn't going to happen until I let you talk."

   "You are so right. So, here goes. Now, before I get into the details, I want you to focus on one thing - our car, the one we are in right now. It is a little older than most of the cars around us, and one feature of older cars is that they are roomier than newer ones. Roomier. Remember that.

   "Now, my conclusion is that coming to a drive-in for the chief purpose of being alone with someone so you can have more sex than the basic kissing and hugging is a terrible idea. It should only be employed if it is absolutely, positively the only option you have."

   "Wow! You don't mince words, do you?"

   "Not in this case. I'm going to explain my reasoning now. So, take kissing in a car, and the basic contact that usually goes with it. We have a lot of experience with that, and I think both of us would give our results a good high rating. Having said that, it isn't all that easy. We're facing forward naturally, so we have to turn toward each other. There isn't a lot of room to turn between the steering wheel, the dash board, and the gear shift. And then there's the raised area in the floor - that's what, where the drive shaft goes? Anyway, we manage to maneuver through all that, and get a pretty good kiss. However, if you were going farther than that - more into 'Part Two' - you've kind of run out of room."

   "That's true, and that's where the back seat comes into the picture."

   "Ah, yes, the infamous back seat. Well, you can kind of look over your shoulder at it, now. it is a clear, flat  space. However, it isn't very wide, and there isn't much room between it and the front seats. A person couldn't really lay down there unless he or she was about five-foot-two. We're pretty tall, but with most couples our age, at least one of them is at least as tall. The best they could do - well, we could do - would be for one of us to prop ourself up against one door, spread our legs a little, and then have the other kind of crouch on us. That might feel kind of nice, but what do we do, then? We probably have too many clothes on to go much farther, and it's not going to be easy getting them out of the way - particularly, if both of us are wearing jeans or slacks.

   "So, what do we have to do first? Before we leave home, do we shed all pretense of this being anything but a planned sexual encounter? Do we take all the mystique and romance out of it by you saying to me, 'Honey, we're going to a drive-in. Be sure to wear a dress or a skirt - preferably a short one?'"

   "That does seem a little blatant, doesn't it?"

   "Well, I think so. Anyway, say we've solved the clothing problem. You're on top of me, or I'm on top of you. Maybe we can finish what we started, but we sure can't move around much. We can't shift our position without one of us falling off the car seat, or developing a bad cramp in some part of our body. And remember, this is all happening in a back seat much roomier than most couples will have.

   "Oh, one other thing. Just while we've been talking, close to a dozen people have walked by our car. A number have peered in the window. I would have to be pretty far gone in ecstacy to not mind being... what's that foreign term, inflago...?"

   "In flagrante delicto, caught in the act? Yes, that would be a consideration. Well, you've managed to take all the fun out of the drive-in experience. And yet, apparently a lot of people still do it."

   "I know. I suspect some of them just want to try it because their parents don't want them to. They probably don't care how sexually satisfying it is. The other is that people really want the closeness - kind of at any cost - and they don't think they have other options. But they probably do."

   "Like what kind of options?"

   "Okay, how about the great outdoors? You talked about the forest up behind your dorm at college. I bet it wouldn't be hard to  find an out of the way spot to spread a blanket. You could take off as many clothes as you wanted, and do whatever you like. Or how about right in this area, or in Magic Valley? There are all kinds of little roads that almost nobody travels at night. You wouldn't have to carry a blanket very far from your car to find a nice grassy spot, hidden behind some sagebrush. We could stretch out on our blanket, I could gaze up at a jillion stars, and maybe hear coyotes singing to us, while you... Well, we can both imagine what you would be doing."

   "I like your idea, Vic, but the wide open spaces might not be everybody's choice."

   "Well, there's always the old standard - a motel. Motels cost money, but so do drive-ins. Probably most couples our age could handle the little bit of extra cost - and couples younger than us shouldn't be thinking about such things, anyway.

   "Just consider the motel - like the room we have tonight - and compare it to the drive-in experience, at its very best. You have a nice warm, private room to yourselves. You can spend as much time as you want to, taking off each other's clothes. You might find you're engaging in a little bit of interesting enterprise even before you make it to the bed. When you finally get there, you have a nice surface, wide enough that you're not likely to fall off no matter what you do. You can lay side by side, or one on top of the other. You can kiss for as long as you want. If you want to explore further with your kissing, you can slide down in the bed, or even turn in the opposite direction. There are no limits on where you might end up.

   "If you want to be really adventurous and try something new, you can be as athletic or acrobatic as is necessary. You can reach an obvious climax, then start over and over, as many times as you want. If you don't have  to be home by midnight, or if you don't have school or work early the next morning, you can keep doing what you're doing until close to the 11 o'clock check-out time.

   "Doesn't that sound better than the back seat of a car?"

   Greg found he couldn't get any words out immediately. He thought his breathing was a little heavy and irregular, too.

   "So, this is a double feature," Vic continued. "What's the second film?"

   "What?" That was an abrupt transition!

   "What's the second film?"

   "Oh, it's' called 'How to Steal a Million'."

   "What's it about?"

   "What? Oh, it's about robbing a Paris museum, I think. But it's not a crime show. I think it's more a comedy caper."

   "Who's in it?"

   "What?" He was having trouble concentrating. "Oh, Audrey Hepburn, I think."

   "Oh, I like her a lot. Let's try it. It'll only be another two hours, and it isn't a school night."

   Greg found he couldn't respond. He felt both excited and deflated, with the deflation starting to take control. He just sat rigidly next to her.

   Vic swung around, so her legs were up on the car seat, and she was perched over them. She drew herself erect close to him, with her face a little higher than his own. She smiled.

   "I'm teasing you, Greg. Will you please put the speaker back in its basket, start the car, and get me out of here?"

   He didn't need to be asked twice.


   It was Wednesday morning, the day before Thanksgiving, and Greg was in the final process of closing up the Magic Valley refuge for the next four months. Mike would be forwarding all mail to Idaho Falls. Greg had stopped delivery of his two newspapers, and closed out service on the Anderson's private phone line. Tim had stopped by for any last minute instructions. They're weren't any. He had a key to the office, and the refuge phone would stay available for his use. He'd call in his time and attendance record to Donna each week, would keep the west gate locked, and would lock the east gate after Fish and Game pulled out for the season.

   Greg put a few personal items in his car, looked around the compound one more time, just to be sure he wasn't forgetting anything. On a whim, he sat down on the steps - his and Vic's steps - of his little house. A lot of memories flitted through his mind, almost all of them involving a tall, slim, dark-haired girl. He and Vic had been through a lot on these steps - had really gotten to know one another, probably in a way that many couples never did.

   He wondered if they'd be back here, again. That was certainly the plan, but he wondered. He really wanted them to be together every day (or, almost every day), and the thought of three more years of her at school and him on a job away from her was barely tolerable. They were doing okay, and they would continue to do okay, but he had hopes for some other solution. They'd see.

   He drove through the refuge, said his temporary goodbyes to Matt and his crew, spent a few minutes with Jackson and Cora, and then was on his way east. He picked up Vic and Mandy at their dorm (Nancy was already on her way to Magic Valley), wished Mrs. M. a happy Thanksgiving, then continued on to the Idaho Falls refuge, his new home for the rest of the winter.  



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