Home of the Bellingwood Series – Nammynools

Announcements and a Vignette!

The Bellingwood Trivia Night last Friday (the 14th) was such fun. Winners have been notified and most everyone has given me what I need to send out prizes. I truly have a blast with you all. Thanks for being part of this wonderful community.


Polly Birthday – September 20th. Boxed Set #3 – FREE!

I’ll have some fun contest going on that day and will give away some ebooks of Book 23. I’m not sure yet what I’ll do, but by Thursday, we’ll all know. It will happen on the FB Bellingwood page, so be sure to pay attention.

ALSO. The third boxed set – Books 7-9 – will be free on Thursday and Friday to help celebrate. Keep an eye out on the FB Bellingwood page for that link as well.

Big doin’s!


Book 23 release – September 25th

Be sure you’ve signed up for the newsletter. It will contain the book’s link, information on a new series by my brother, Jamie McFarlane (with a link for a fun book), and, as always, a new vignette.


Audio files

I uploaded the vignettes from Book 14 today to YouTube. Click HERE to start listening today to vignettes from Books 9-14. More will come as I finish them. This project is so much fun for me.


Bellingwood Vignette – Book 23 – #3 – Fun and Games

Mark Ogden frowned as he looked at his cell phone. Why was Sal calling? She never bothered him in the middle of the day and she usually spent Tuesdays at Sweet Beans, working on one of her many writing projects. This couldn’t be good.

“She did it again,” Sal’s frustrated voice said before she even greeted him. “Damn it, Mark. She did it again.”

“Who did what?” he asked. “Where are you?”

“I’m at home. Mrs. Dobley called me in a panic and I had to run home to sign for a stupid delivery. Where are you?”

“I’m actually just pulling into the office. Do you need me? I’ve got time.”

He could have sworn that he heard her sigh with relief.

“Do you really? I’m sorry. I know you’re busy.”

“Not so bad today. Seth and Marnie have everything handled at the office and there aren’t any big crises out there in Farmland, USA.” He swung through the parking lot and drove out the other end. He’d call Marnie after he figured out what the problem was at home. There weren’t many things that Sal couldn’t handle.

“Okay,” he said. “Now tell me what’s going on?”

“There are four huge boxes in our front yard.”

“Boxes of what?”

“I think it’s a stupid playset.”

“Did you order something?” Mark turned a corner. Only a few more minutes and he’d be there.

Sal practically growled at him. “Do you really think I’d order something like this without talking to you first?”

“No. You’re right. I know better. Where did it come from?”

She growled again, a low and deep sound. That was all he needed.

“Your mother?”

“Without even asking. She’s going to expect me to call her and tell her how wonderful she is for doing something so extraordinary for our children. What I want to do is call her, reach through the phone, and drag her back here kicking and screaming, then tie her up outside with a few tools until she puts it together herself.”

He held back a laugh at the image of that. Prim and proper Lila Kahane tethered to the fence in their back yard. Dressed in her fancy designer shoes and perfectly tailored dress with a shop apron tied around her waist.

One more corner and Mark could see their house. Sal stood outside on the front lawn with four long brown boxes laid out beside her.

“I’m here, honey.”

“Oh, thank goodness.” Sal ended the call and stood waiting as he pulled into the driveway. He was barely out of the truck when her face screwed up and she burst into tears.

Mark rushed to her. “It’s okay. I’ll deal with these boxes,” he said as he put his arms around her.

“I don’t know why I’m crying. That woman frustrates me to no end. Alexander isn’t old enough for this, but she doesn’t care. I’m glad you’re here.” She held onto him for a long moment, then pushed away.

He took a well worn bandanna from his back pocket and handed it to her.

“Thanks. I’m sorry I cried. I was so relieved to see you, I lost control.”

“You aren’t pregnant again, are you?”

She glared at him and then snapped, “No.” Then Sal gave him a grin. “At least, not yet, anyway. I thought maybe we’d wait a year.”

Mark kissed her forehead and waited as she brushed the tears from her face. Sal blew her nose, a loud, unladylike sound. She winked at him, then held out the dirty bandanna.

“Thanks, you keep it. I’ll get a fresh one before I go back to work. What is up with this?”

Sal brandished her phone. “Look. I already checked it out. That’s why I’m sure it won’t fit. Just look at this thing. It’s a monster.”

His mouth dropped open as he took in the image of a gigantic outdoor play set. A fort in the middle with a slide and a climbing wall. It had a set of monkey bars off one end and off the other end, a swing set with not one, but two swings and a glider. There looked to be a picnic table on the bottom floor of the fort and good heavens, there was a crow’s nest off the clubhouse. Lila Kahane was insane.

“She didn’t tell you this was coming?” he asked in disbelief.

“I’d have told her not to. Am I right? This is the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever seen, isn’t it?”

Mark laughed out loud. “It is absolutely ridiculous. I have no idea what we’re going to do with it. How much money do you think she spent?”

Sal took the phone back, swiped to another screen, and handed it over again.

“Fifteen hundred dollars?” He was aghast. “I’d rather that money went into a college fund. Fifteen hundred dollars?” Mark grabbed Sal’s arm, as if to steady himself. “We don’t dare return this, do we?”

She shook her head. “No. She’d never forgive us and she’d never let us live it down. Every time we saw her, she’d make some reference to the wonderful gift that we’d refused. She’d also be sure to tell Alexander and Theodore that they could have had a wonderful outdoor play set, but Mommy and Daddy were big old jerks and sent it back.”

That sounded exactly like Lila, except Mark couldn’t imagine the woman would deign to use the word jerk.

“What are we going to do?”

“That’s why I called you. I have no idea. Whatever we do, it has to be something I can explain to Mother without her accusing me of betraying her.”

“Betraying her?”

“I wish I could make you understand,” Sal said, weariness filling her voice. “I wish I could make everyone understand. Everything revolves around Mother. If we don’t do exactly what she wants us to do, she takes it personally. It would be one thing if she quietly stewed about it, but the woman will touch on this for the rest of her life. How many times have you heard the story about how I broke the crystal vase that she received as a gift from Helen Claflin?”

He nodded. Whenever they were with Lila, she brought that story up and slyly watched Sal for her reaction. Sal generally apologized again for breaking something that had been so important to her mother. He didn’t understand it. He’d never heard of Helen Claflin, but evidently, she’d been part of an important Boston family.

“And the time I rushed into the house with a bloody knee while she and Daddy were entertaining trustees from the hospital board?”

Mark nodded again. As Lila told the story, she’d expected Sal to be in attendance, quiet and demure. When Sal was late because of an activity at school, Lila had left a message for her daughter to stay far from the dining room and parlor – she wasn’t welcome. But Sal had never seen that message and in her rush to be on time, had fallen up their front steps. Lila took her daughter’s messy entrance as a personal affront and continued to remind Sal that she needed to be prepared at all times for important guests.

He took the phone from Sal again and looked at the layout of the play set. “I have an idea,” he said.

She looked up at him with such gratitude in her eyes that he wanted to hold her close and never let her be wounded again by that woman.

“Why don’t we built the center structure? No slide, no climbing wall. You can take Alexander up to the fort every once in a while until he’s old enough to climb up by himself. We’ll stow the extra pieces and when he gets older and we want to add the swingset or the slide, we’ll figure out how to do that.”


He looked down at the boxes and kicked at one of them, then drew his foot back. The thing was solid and heavy. “This is going to take forever to lay out and then assemble. I’m betting that the parts are spread across the boxes. I won’t be able to just open up one and discover that it’s the fort.”

“I can help you.”

Mark tugged her close. “We’ll do it late at night when the boys are sleeping.”

“You won’t be able to see the labels on the parts if it’s dark.” She grinned up at him coyly. “Or maybe that’s not what you mean.”

“Maybe I could hire one of Sylvie’s kids or even one of Polly’s boys to put this thing together. That way you and I could do something more fun in the backyard late at night.”

“That sounds much better. Now, how are we supposed to drag these to the backyard? I watched those guys take them off the truck. They’re heavy.”

“I’ll figure that out. Marnie’s boy, Barrett, is working at the office today.” He chuckled. “Maybe he’d like to earn some extra money before school starts. He’s a bright boy. He could build this. Now, what are you doing about the call to your mother?”

The grin she gave him this time was almost wicked. “I believe I will write a formal thank you note to her and put it into the mail. She didn’t bother to call and let me know this was coming, I don’t need to be bothered with alerting her to its arrival. I will thank her in the proper manner and then we’ll be finished.”

“You know you won’t be finished, don’t you?”

“There isn’t a thing that she can say about it if everything I do is proper. That’s her problem.” Sal hugged him tight. “Thank you for putting up with me and my crazy mother.”

“I love you. Her? Well, I love you.” Mark replied as he tightened his arms around his wife.


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