produced/written by G. Matthew Smith



EPISODE #152 (March 2, 2012) click here for a printable version of this episode
A Week Later
July 1936 - Afternoon

SPRINGHILL MANOR - KITCHEN

54 Spring Lake Dr.Ruby ThomasRuby Thomas paced anxiously around the kitchen as she mentally rehearsed how she was going to talk to Naomi Jackson.  No matter what flimsy excuses Naomi had given, Ruby didn’t buy a word of anything she’d told her.  None of it rang the least bit true to her.  Ruby was convinced that Naomi was in some kind of trouble – real trouble – and Ruby was determined to find out exactly what was going on.

“What the devil are you doin’ here?” Naomi asked as she came into the kitchen.  Helga said you wanted to see me?  What’s this about?  I told you not to be comin’ here!” 

After a long, deep breath in an attempt to collect her thoughts, Ruby turned around to face Naomi.

“I’m here to find out, once and for all, what kind of trouble you’re in,” she explained calmly, “and I’m not leaving until you tell me the truth.”

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ALBANYVILLE GENERAL HOSPITAL – SECOND FLOOR CORRIDOR

Albanyville General Hospital“If you’ll just bring the results of Mr. Noble’s test to my office as soon as you get them,” Dr. Talbot Campbell said to the nurse as walked down the hall together.

“Yes, Doctor,” the young nurse nodded before leaving his side right as he turned the corner just in time to see a most unexpected sight – Judith Linford standing at the nurses’ station and filling out some kind of paper work.  “Judith?  What are you doing here?” he asked as he walked over to her.  “You’re not sick, are you?"

“Oh, no.  Nothing like that,” she laughed warmly before she set the clipboard down onto the counter.  “I’m just signing up for a little volunteer work.”

“Volunteer work?”  He fought, with little success, to hide the surprise her announcement brought.

“Don’t look so shocked.  I can be quite charitable when the mood strikes.”

Talbot Campbell“So, exactly where in the hospital are you planning to volunteer?”

“In the children’s ward,” Judith replied.  “It would also probably come as quite a shock to you if I were to tell you that I owe it all to your wife.”

Corinne?  How so?”

“It was the hospital benefit she chaired.”  She paused and returned to finishing the volunteer form.  “All the talk about sick children in need made me think about the baby I lost.  This is just a way of being able to channel all of those feelings into something good.”  Her eyes narrowed as she carefully examined his expression for some sign that he believed her story.  “What’s that look for?  You act like you don’t believe me.”

“It’s not that, Judith.  Honestly.”

Judith Stokes Linford“Then what is it?”  She set the clipboard down again and looked at him directly.

“Oh, I suppose I’m a little embarrassed, that’s all,” he sighed with a slight blush and a shake of his head.

“Embarrassed?  What on earth for?”

“For prejudging you,” Talbot confessed.  “I’ve never taken you as the philanthropic type, to be honest.  However, knowing how deeply affected you were by the loss of your baby, I really shouldn’t be surprised.”

With a warm and nearly coquettish smile, Judith turned her back to him in order to set the clipboard back down on the nurses’ station counter.  Talbot had no way of knowing the real reason for Judith’s sudden interest in volunteer work.

REGINALD & JILLIAN’S HOME – KITCHEN

2210 Elmwood Ln.“You do know it really would be much easier if you did hire a housekeeper?” Lorraine Davis reminded as she watched Jillian Callison scurrying around the kitchen.  “If our finances were where Douglas and I could do it, I’d have one in a heartbeat.”

“I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with having a housekeeper.  Remember I was raised with an entire penthouse full of staff.  I just want to do things myself like every other ordinary housewife.”  Jillian picked up the cookbook she had propped up in front of her on the counter and examined the recipe closely.  “Oh, why the devil do they make these things so difficult to understand?  Can’t they write these things in plain English?”

“Let me see.”  Lorraine walked over and took the book from her so that she could see what Jillian was trying to read.  “This one?  Honey, that says ‘350° for two hours.’”

“I don’t have that much time,” Jillian muttered to herself.  “I’ve still got to peel the potatoes and these biscuits aren’t going to make themselves.  Can’t I just cook it at 700° for one hour?”

“Jillian, dear, it just doesn’t quite work that way.”

Lorraine’s shoulders slumped and she bit her bottom lip as she shook her head in bewilderment.  As much as she deeply admired Jillian’s effort, it was quite obvious that she was far from destined to be a Master Chef any time soon.

“Can I help?” Lorraine finally asked as she saw the growing look of panic in her friend’s eyes.

Jillian Stokes Callison“Would you, please?  If I don’t get things moving, none of this has any chance of being ready for Reginald by the time he gets home next week, let alone tonight!”  Jillian began to frantically pace around the kitchen before stopping and heading towards the stove.  “Could you taste this sauce for me and tell me what you think?  I want your honest opinion.”

“O-Okay.”  Lorraine had already heard more than a few stories from Reginald – by way of her own husband, Douglas – about Jillian’s valiant, yet futile, efforts in the kitchen and was well aware that she might be taking life into her own hands.

“Well?”  Jillian bit her lip, anxious about what her best friend thought of her attempt at cooking.  “I know it needs to simmer a little more and….”

“Jillian, honey, I don’t know how to say this, but….”

“B-But?”

“Well… Um….”  Lorraine exhaled slowly in an attempt to give herself a moment to think of the best, and nicest, way of expressing her opinion.  “You might want to start over.  I… I think you got the salt and sugar mixed up and….”

“Oh, I’m never going to get this right.”  Jillian slammed the cookbook down onto the counter and balled her hands into fists in frustration.  “I bet Stephanie’s not having this much trouble.”

Lorraine Blake Davis“Stephanie?”  Lorraine’s grew wide at the mention of the name.  “You do remember that Stephanie has Mrs. Oliver to help her, don’t you?  Stephanie’s not doing any of this by herself.”

“Yes, I remember Mrs. Oliver.  But Stephanie specifically said that she was trying to do without her help.  In fact, I was just talking to her the other day and….”

You were chatting with Stephanie?”  Lorraine shook her head, unable to believe her ears.  “Since when…  Since when did the two of you become such good friends?  Surely, you haven’t forgotten….”

“No, I haven’t forgotten,” Jillian sighed.  “I don’t think I’ll ever forget; however, I’m determined to put all of that behind us.  That was the entire point of the double wedding.  Besides, she’s having a baby, too, and we’re both going through a lot of the same adjustments." 

“Well….”  Lorraine furrowed her brow as she tried to comprehend the idea of Jillian and Stephanie Lake as friends.  “Be that as it may, don’t think for a minute that Stephanie is going to last very long doing everything by herself.  Mark my words, it won’t be any time before she’s got poor Mrs. Oliver waiting on her hand and foot.  And you be careful around her!  You know I don’t trust her.”

“Don’t worry.”  Jillian couldn’t help but laugh at how worked up the mere mention of Stephanie’s name could make Lorraine.  “Besides, it’s not like she and I have suddenly become best friends or anything.  That’s what I’ve got you for, after all.”  She let out a warm laugh but then paused and anxiously bit her lip as her attention returned to the disaster-in-the-making that was also known as dinner.  “So…  Do you think you can be my best friend and help me make this dinner something that resembles edible before Reginald comes home from the office?”

Lorraine didn’t say a single word, but instead grabbed the spare apron that Jillian had draped over a kitchen chair and went right to work.