Thanks for the is the end of the 1st part. Let us know if you want the other 2 parts posted!
Luke wasn't one to tell war stories, but he was relieved that Jake hadn't asked about his Mother. He wasn't sure that the younger kids knew he had been in the Marines. He got kind of a far away look in his blue eyes as he began, "I joined the Marines just in time to have my training complete right as what was called the Vietnam Conflict began. I was a Paratrooper which meant my 'job' was to jump out of 'perfectly good airplanes' into the fighting, usually behind enemy lines. You have all seen parachutes coming out of planes falling to the ground."
Ruth Ann spoke up, "Yes, I think they are pretty! I'd like to do that someday!"
Bo and Beth shot Luke a warning look, and said, "Luke."
Luke smiled taking the hint as he continued, "Well, Honey, they may be pretty but they sure make a good target too. The winds were too high really for us to jump but the mission had to be done so we jumped anyway. We knew we were in trouble before we ever landed because we were being shot at from the time we opened the parachutes. I believe we had two or three guys hit before we landed. We landed in a clear area but soon found ourselves pinned down. We were able to get out on the radio to call for re-enforcements. Instead they scrubbed the mission and sent a rescue unit for us. The first one or the two helicopters flagged off and pulled up do to heavy fire. The second one landed, leaving the rotors turning even the pilot jumped out to help get us on board. I was helping one of the medics get a couple guys to the helicopter. While getting 'my guy' in I was hit hard with what we learned later was debris from a grenade but it knocked the breath out of me and I went down. The pilot got back out and helped me in. The whole time co-pilot was screaming that they were overloaded which we were. The pilot couldn't get the height he needed to get away from the shooting so he flew back and forth trying to make us a harder target. Well, what ever he did, and who ever was watching, ... it worked. When we got back I got the opportunity to meet the guy that was flying the helicopter that day."
Luke noticed Daisy's tears well up as she said, "BJ McKay?"
Luke smiled, "Yes, that was BJ McKay. He and his best friend and partner have even came here after we got back. He bought himself an eighteen wheeler and travels all over with his buddy, Bear, who happens to be a monkey. The monkey that helped keep him alive after he went down pulling another dang fool rescue like he did the day he pulled my hide out of the fire. He was a POW for quiet awhile before with Bear's help he escaped."
The 'kids' eyes were wide open. "Wow!"
Ruth Ann set up eagerly,"I got one!"
Bo, Jr. replied, "No way, your next maybe but Dad hasn't told me his side of this yet."
Bo leaned back in his chair to get comfortable. "Well, there's been more times than I like to think of that me or Luke found ourselves standin' with one foot on a banana peel, and the other in the grave. But as far as the time I came closest to dyin'? Oh, Lord. It has to be that time we were drivin' NASCAR... I had a real good car that day, and she was flyin'. She was a little loose, though, and we tried everything to fix it, but it wasn't workin'."
Beth slid even closer to Bo, feeling a shiver down her spine as she thought of that race. She had been there. She had seen it.
"It was at Darlington, and I hit the turn flyin'. The car decided not to go with me, and it hit the wall doin'... He-, what was it, Luke?"
"I don't know, but it wasn't pretty."
"No, it wasn't," Bo agreed, glad that the little ones were in bed. "The car caught fire, and I was stuck in there... And I thought I was gonna die for sure. I tried to get the window open, but my legs were trapped under the dash, and the window screen wasn't comin' open. I remember then just prayin' that the Lord would let me out alive. Your mama was expectin' Caroline then, and I wanted to get out alive and see that baby."
"Yeah. I was doin' more than my share of prayin', too," Beth said, wrapping her arms around Bo.
"But anyhow, just when I'd near about given up, some man pulled me out. I fainted real quick, and I didn't know what happened. Never been able to thank that fella, but I wish I had been."
"Oh, Lord, Daddy!" Ruth Anne said softly.
Bo smiled. "Honey...it's all right... and as I recall, it's your turn to ask for a story..."
Ruth Anne nodded. "..."
The Miller's excused themselves saying it was getting really late. They had enjoyed themselves but had to get going before another story could be told. Jake was spending the night so he stayed put.
Ruth turned her attention to what she had wanted to know all evening. "Uncle Luke, you said you asked Aunt Dixie to marry you before but circumstances prevented it. What happened?"
Bo, Jr. remembered the conversation the night Dixie showed up and he remembered his Dad's and Cooter's reply when he asked much the same question. Their reply had been'As for what happened, if you didn't live it you'll have to get it out of Luke or Dixie. Son, I don't know if there's that much moonshine left in Hazzard County to get that story told.'
Well, there it was. Luke had hoped to squeak by this story also. How could he not tell it seeing as how Bo had spilled his guts about a whole heck of a lot tonight. The longer he remained silent the more interested the kids got. Beth held her breath. Bo was trying to think of a way to put their questions to rest. Bo, Jr. thought of his Dad's reply. He slipped into the kitchen and brought back an ice tea glass of Jesse's finest.
Dixie looked at the young man and said, "If he's telling that story, you had better make that two of those if I even have to think about those times."
Bo, Jr. replied, "I can do that!"
Luke took a long drink of shine and began, "Lets just say when we started talking it was just that. I drove the wrecker for Mr. Davenport sometimes and Dixie would ride with me. She had been away from Hazzard and had just came back for the summer. I was out of school. She was several grades ahead when she entered here as she had went to a good school where her Mother lived. I took her out one night to hear Jeb's band at the Boar's Nest for teen night to be nice. No one paid us any attention really she rode the wrecker with Cooter or me so that wasn't odd. We managed to get pretty close without either of us or anyone else knowing it." Now Luke paused, he took another large drink of shine as had Dixie just seconds before. Luke was thinking of how to tone this WAY down. "We went out to the lake one night. That's where the racing, partying and parking went on. Dixie was staying with Daisy that night. Her Dad knew this, but Uncle Jesse didn't. Therefore, she had no time to be in exactly." Luke was interrupted.
"Thanks, Luke! Remember she is 16!", said Bo.
Luke grinned widely. The shine was working to loosen him up quiet a bit. "I'm trying my darn-est to make it a PG story. But YOU know it! It's not THAT easy!"
Beth said, "Well, try harder! And don't give her ideas of how to escape curfew." she was smiling. She never thought this story would get told. But, of course it hadn't yet!
Taking another drink of shine, Luke continued. "Anyway, we ended up being the last car there as the others had to get home. We ended up 'parking'. A couple hours later there was a flashlight in my face. There were two Troopers there. One knew who's car it was and WHAT was going on. He would have never stopped. The new Trooper being an eager beaver want to arrest a Duke if it meant he got us for spitting on the side walk. So there they were. I knew as soon as they identified themselves I was spending the night in jail. See we had both been drinking."
Dixie spoke up, "Yeah, so he gets out holding his drink and continues to drink it!"
Bo and Cooter looked at each other. "We've never heard this either kids."
Luke laughed, "I'm telling this so maybe they will learn WHAT NOT to do! OK?" he took another drink of shine which finished the glass. It was Jake who slipped out to refill it this time. Luke continued after Jake returned. "There was no way they could charge me with DUI, but they would at the least charge me with public intoxication and indecent exp-. Well, a couple of baloney simple charges. Just enough to make sure I didn't go home that night. I figured if I'd been drinking anyway what difference was a little more. I hopped on the hood of the General Lee. Dixie was scared and she set in front of me. The new trooper asked for ID's. I told him there was no use running my license it was 'valid with 6 points' the car was tagged to me and Bo and the insurance was good. He left to verify what I'd said. Well, the first Trooper, I knew pretty well, I had convinced him to call Dixie's Father which would start War War III but it beat her being charged with drinking too. He agreed until smarty pants came back. He was now about to flip out! He was yelling at me to get my hands on the car now! I looked from him to the other Trooper who motioned for me to just stay put. He walked over to the younger Trooper, they talked a few minutes. When Trooper Mitchell, the one I knew, asked, 'Luke is the information here correct?' I replied 'Yes'. He handed Dixie her license and asked her the same thing. She replied it was. It was at this point Trooper Mitchell handed me Dixie's license and asked me, 'How old are you?' I replied, 'I just turned 21.' He asked me how old Dixie was I replied 18 almost 19. Dixie looked at me and shook her head no. I said 'No?' The Trooper told me to check the license and do the math. I looked at mine. I still hadn't gotten what they were talking about. I said 'Yeah, I'm 21 and she's eight...' " Luke took another long drink of shine. Then continued, "She wasn't 18, ... but 16 going on 17. To make a long story short, ... her Father was MORE THAN unhappy. He pushed the legal system all he could. I wanted to and offered to marry her. Neither her Mother or Father would let that happen." Luke took another drink of shine.
Bo rescued him before anymore gory details could be told, he smiled saying, "Now you all know what I meant when I told him it was about time he made an honest woman of her."
That was it. Beth elbowed him hard in the same spot she had managed to hit all evening.
"Owww! Honnnney!" he managed to complain.
The adults and three older teens laughed hard at him.
"That's about all the stories I can stand for the night." said Beth.
Bo. Jr, knew he had Luke at a disadvantage as Luke was feeling good tonight. "Uncle Luke I haven't had anything to drink. Can Jake and I go to the Boars Nest for a spell?"
Luke reached in his pocket for his keys. "Be home when your Dad tells you. I want my truck home before dawn!" He tossed the keys in between Jake and Bo, Jr. purposely.
Jake beat Bo, Jr. to them.
Luke said, "You drive down. Bo, Jr. drives home. I do NOT want any calls from the jail and I DO NOT want to pay an impound fee on MY truck. Got it?"
The boys were heading to the door and called over their shoulders, together. "Got it!"
Bo, Beth, Dixie, Jeb, Coy, Vance and even Ruth Ann looked at Luke and said, "Sucker!" together.
Luke was not feeling any pain though he wasn't drunk. He thought, 'He-, how much trouble could they get into? Me and Bo and the others have went to the Boars' Nest plenty of times in a MUCH faster car than my 4-wheel drive."
Luke had a lot to learn as a parent!
Bo, Jr. and Jake were having the time of their lives at the Boar's Nest. Neither of them could legally drink, but, being Dukes, as they were, they managed to charm a few beers out of a couple of pretty waitresses. "That one right there..." Bo, Jr. said, indicating a petite brunette waitress with sparkling green eyes. "I'm gonna ask her for a dance."
"Well, here's your chance," Jake said with a grin, as the old Patsy Cline song "Leavin' on Your Mind" began to play. "Go get 'er," Jake said.
Bo, Jr. stood up, and asked the girl to dance. "Sure," she said, staring up at Bo, Jr., who was 6'3", while she was only 5'4".
He slid his arms around her waist, and pulled her close to him. "What's your name?" he asked her, in his gentlest of tones.
"Jessica," she replied. "Jessica Hansen."
"Well, howdy, Miss Hansen. I'm Bo Duke, Jr."
"I've heard of you... Oh! You played football in high school!"
"Yeah," he replied. "I was a linebacker."
"Uh-huh! I remember. I always went with my friends to the games!"
"Really?" He smiled at her, that charming Duke smile that no Duke boy could help but have.
"Uh-huh. Yeah. My friend Laura used to go out with one of the players."
"Oh, yeah. I remember him."
The two young people held each other close as they danced, and Bo, Jr. felt a little funny. They were not going to get a chance to know each other. Bo was in college, far from Hazzard. But... something told him... something said that he should get to know Jessica better.
In the meantime, Jake, ... had spotted Jessicas' friend Laura setting alone at a table. These girls were either older than the guys or had just as good of connections as they were also drinking beers.
Jake finished his beer then went over to the table. "I see your friend there deserted you for my buddy", he nodded to the dance floor. "Would you care to join them?"
Laura was the shier of the two but she smiled an award winning smile at Jake, and replied, "Sure. "
Jake studied her as they went to the dance floor. He judged her to be about 5'6". She had long brown hair pulled back that went to her waist. Laura had Brown eyes that looked as if they could just melt. She was the heavier of the two girls but like Luke he did like a girl that you could hold on to.
Once on the dance floor, Jake said, "I'm Jake Miller."
Laura replied, "I'm Laura Campbell."
"Didn't I use to see you at the football games?" asked Jake. He knew he had and she was at the time dating one of the players.
"Yeah, I kinda 'had' to go. I was dating Nick Price and he, ah, 'expected' me to be there." she said a bit sarcastically.
Jake smiled at her and said, "Well, if I remember Nick, I can see why he wanted you there. You most certainly would have made him look better." he charmed.
NARRATOR: Where do those Duke boys get their lines? You can certainly tell he's Luke's.
She blushed just a bit and was glad it was dark so maybe Jake didn't notice. "I broke up with him about a year ago, though he doesn't always 'remember' that, if you know what I mean."
NARRATOR: Well, now if that ain't a red flag signaling trouble I don't know what is. Want to bet that young Jake is blinded by all that hair and those eyes to see it.
Jake was not in the mood to talk about her ex-boyfriend so he replied, "Yeah, I do. This song is about over let's go play something else." He took her hand and they went to the old Jukebox. "Ley's wake this bunch up. What do you think about 'Rocky Top' by Conway Twitty?"
"Oh, I love to dance to that!" she said.
"Good. You can pick the other two." Said Jake.
She checked out the music. "I haven't hear some of these songs in years." She picked 'San Antonio' Stroll by Tanya Tucker and 'Talking in Your Sleep' by Crystal Gayle. Once the group had danced to the two fast songs they were all ready for the slower Crystal Gayle song. With their arms wrapped tightly around their ladies the guys were not watching the crowd.
Jeb, Coy, and Vance eased into a back table. They didn't want the kids to think they were spying but there was just not anything else going on in Hazzard this time of night. Besides, with the rest of the kids in bed the guys thought they would leave the two pairs of 'love birds' alone for a couple of hours. They all ordered a beer and began watching the ladies themselves. Jeb was figuring on driving home so he was only going to have the one beer.
The song ended and Bo, Jr., Jake and the girls returned to their table. They all ordered a beer.
Jeb was the oldest there so he took the lead when he saw Jake make his way to the Jukebox. Jeb walked over as if he were going to look at the music too, but asked, "Who's driving home?"
Jake looked at him and said, "Bo"
"Well, we're all here if he has too much to drive. Let me know and I'll have Vance lay off a bit so he can drive home." said Jeb.
"Ok, I will, but I think he'll be OK." replied Jake.
Jeb explained, "We just came out to see what was cooking here. We didn't come out to spy. I did notice both of you drinking though. Luke is attacted to that truck though." laughed Jeb.
Normally Jake would have taken Jeb's offer offensively but for some reason it just didn't rub him the wrong way tonight. He replied, "Thanks for the offer. I'll keep an eye on him and let you know something." They both headed back to their own tables. They all continued to enjoy themselves, until...
Back at the Duke farm Luke wasn't going anywhere far so he suggested that Dixie and him set on the porch for awhile. Bo and Beth headed to their room.
Bo pulled Beth into his arms as he sat on the bed. She rolled toward him and asked, "Are you really happy?" Though the look in his eyes already answered that question.
"Yes, I am. And not just for us!" stated Bo.
Beth smiled, "You know had Dixie told me that Luke had asked her to marry him I think I'd have had trouble believing it. I'm so glad they shared that moment with us!"
Bo looked into her eyes, "Beth, there is only one thing that could make me happier right now. Jesse had divided this place between us all years ago. Well, it was when Luke had asked Dixie to marry him before."
She stopped him in mid-sentence. "Darlin', I know how much you want Luke back in your life and in Hazzard. I just don't know if it will happen."
"I don't either. I would like to at least offer them the track of land that has been his all along. It just has never had a separate deed, but it is his. Jesse wanted it that way. I at least want him to know if he ever wants it, it is still his."
Though Beth didn't see Luke coming back to Hazzard, she knew how important it was to Bo to try to get him back home. She smiled at Bo. "Go tell him!"
Bo almost woke the house with his, "Yeehaw!" and then let the door slam to the bedroom as he thundered down the steps to the porch.
Luke set up on the swing where Dixie had settled on his shoulder. "Bo, what on Earth? Is the house on fire or what?"
Bo looked at Luke a bit strangely, "No. Why?"
"Well with all THAT noise I thought it might be!" replied Luke.
"Ooopppsss! I guess I got a bit carried away." said Bo. "I wanted to talk to you both before you went to bed. I don't know what your plans are. I don't know if you do at this point. Luke, I'm not twisting your arm or anything, but I wanted to let you know anytime you want the back 40 that you picked as yours years ago, that is always yours."
Dixie set up surprised.
Luke stood up shook his cousin's hand and they hugged each other. Dixie stood beside them. She saw Luke was not able to tell Bo what they had been talking about. "Bo, we were just talking about that before you came out. It will be a bit longer drive for us both, but if your willing to have us as neighbors. We will gladly accept your offer."
Bo's eyes grew wide. "You mean that? Luke you are really coming back to Hazzard and the farm?"
Luke had found his voice by this time, "Bo, I seen what you have here with Beth. I once called you a fool, but I think I was the fool. I can't think of a better place to build a life with Dixie, Jake and start my own family."
That did it. Bo lost hisself. The 'yeehaw' that followed probably could have been heard at the Boar's Nest on the other side of town had they not had the music up.
Beth had to laugh as she put on her robe. She knew Luke had accepted. She also knew that they now had to send the kids back to bed. As she opened the door she saw Michaela, Caroline, Jesse and Ruth Ann coming into the hall. "Ok, back to bed. Everything is Ok."
Michaela asked, "Why does Daddy make us go to bed then wake us up?"
Beth almost lost it. "Well, I'll let you ask him that at breakfast, sweety. No go back to bed."
Ruth Ann gave her Mother a questioning look and said, "I'll get them."
Beth replied, "Thanks, honey. I'm going to find your FATHER." Beth went down the stairs..."Beauregard Jackson Duke!" she called, her mama style voice tone turned on high power.
Bo cringed. That was one thing he didn't like about this family reunion! His full name had been called far more often than he'd liked. But he only smiled, "Yes, honey?"
"You've woken all your children up... and scared the life out of everybody in Hazzard County. Now you better go to bed before you don't have a bed to go to." Her eyes told Bo she wasn't kidding.
Luke laughed out loud. "If I was you, I'd be doin' what the lady says."
"I think you're right," Bo said, walking over to put his arms around her waist. "Sorry, honey."
"Bo, I love you, but sometimes..."
He smiled. "I really make you wonder why?" he suggested.
"Yes. That's it exactly." She shook her head.
"Honey, I think you lived in this house with Uncle Jesse too long," Bo said. "You say things just like he would've said."
Beth smiled and leaned over to rest her head on his chest. "Well...somebody's gotta keep you in line."
He grinned, "Agreed. Now let's hit the sack."
She hugged him. "Alrighty then."
The two of them went upstairs, and climbed into bed. Bo pulled his wife into a tender embrace and kissed her gently. "I love you."
"I love you, too."
01~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~01
Meanwhile at the Boar's Nest... Bo and Jake had been enjoying getting to know the two girls they were dancing with. But one young man was determined to keep them from getting to know each other any better. Nick Price walked into the barroom and saw Laura with Jake. He was mad to start with, but drinking a few beers to 'calm his nerves' had the opposite effect. He got more and more angry. The young man walked over to where Jake was dancing with Laura. "What do you think you're doing, Jake?" he asked angrily, taking hold on Laura's arm.
"Dancin'," Jake replied calmly, resisting the urge to light into the boy right then.
"Well, I say you stop 'dancin'' with my girl."
"Well, I say she ain't your girl," Jake replied, leveling his gaze on the slightly shorter young man.
Nick gripped Laura's arm tighter. "Ow, Nick!" she exclaimed. "That hurts!"
Something inside Jake broke. No man in his right mind would hurt a woman in front of a Duke boy... long lost ones included. "Let 'er go, Price," Jake said, still cool for the time being.
"I'll do whatever I wanna do with my girl."
"I'm not yours, Nick," Laura interjected.
His grip tightened even more. Jake saw tears in Laura's brown eyes, and he let it all go. He'd been through four years of high school watching Nick mistreat Laura, and he sure wasn't planning to keep watching from the sidelines. "Price, if you don't let her go..."
"What? You'll hit me? Go ahead, if you think you're man enough."
It took Jake only a fraction of a second to answer Nick's challenge. He aimed straight for Nick's nose, and hit it, but no sooner had blood started to flow, than Jake was joined on the barroom floor by a few of Nick's friends who weren't too excited about seeing their friend go down. "Da-," Jake breathed, realizing just how outnumbered he was.
But his outnumbered state was somewhat improved when Bo, Jr. joined the fray. The two boys took naturally to fighting together, another Duke trait.
Jeb, Coy, and Vance saw the fight, but they were very much like Uncle Jesse. They knew that this was the boy's fight, and Duke men never got involved in fighting younger Duke's battles for them. Bo, Jr. and Jake were back to back with the other guys circling them. As two of the guys jumped in, each taking on one of the cousins, Bo, Jr. turned to Jake. "Just how'd you manage to pull this off?"
Jake answered without looking back over his shoulder. "Funny thing is, I didn't do a da- thing. Nick was hurtin' Laura, and that don't set to well with me."
Bo agreed. The two of them were getting pretty close to finishing up, when the lady sheriff walked in. Her name was Linda Strate, and she was a young cousin of Enos. She whistled loudly, and all of the brawlers came to an immediate halt.
"Now, I hate to do this, but I have to arrest y'all. You can't be fightin' like this."
Bo, Jr. shook his head. "I think we're about to turn into Uncle Luke and Dad," he said as a deputy cuffed him.
"My thoughts exactly," agreed Jake.
Bo mentally cursed, knowing that both he and Jake were in big trouble with the law if they found out that the two of them had been drinking.
"Uh, Sheriff Strate?" he said, in his most charming of tones.
"Um...if we don't press charges, and they don't... can we just go home?"
"Well...it's up to your friends here," she said.
Nick was in no hurry to have a breathalizer test, either, so he said it was 'OK', and they were uncuffed.
Both of the boys went back to dancing with the girls, this time to Charlie Pride's "Kiss an Angel Good Morning."
Nick kept his distance the rest of the night.
It was getting late, so the boys decided to go home, but not before getting the girls' phone numbers.
Jessica kissed Bo on the cheek, while Laura gave Jake a shy hug.
As they walked out, Jake motioned to let Jeb, Coy, and Vance know. The three older men decided to stay a little longer.
01~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~01
Beth and Bo were in bed when the boys pulled in. Bo had fallen asleep holding Beth, but she was not sleeping so well, worried about her son and his cousin. The sound of Luke's truck woke her up. "Bo...honey..." she woke him up.
"The boys are home."
"Oh..." he simply turned over and went back to sleep. She rolled her eyes, but got out of bed and put on her robe. She went down stairs to see the two young men with busted lips, and bruised faces.
She gasped, "..."
At the Boar's Nest Jeb walked over to where Sheriff Strate had taken a seat just to make sure there were no more misunderstandings tonight. Being a typical Duke he stuck his foot right in his mouth when he said, "Excuse me Officer."
This was a sore spot with Sheriff Strate. She turned on him immediately informing him, "That's Sheriff!"
"Oh, well, ... some things in Hazzard have changed for the better. I'm sorry Sheriff, ah", reading the name tag, "Strate. Hey, you're not related to Enos Strate are you?"
"As a matter of fact I am why?" she replied sharply.
Jeb explained, "Well, I saw the name tag, I grew up here with Enos, and most people with the same name here in Hazzard are related some sorta way."
She was still a bit annoyed due to the fact Jeb had called her 'Offficer'. "I'm Enos's cousin. Is there something that I can help you with other than to discuss my family tree?"
"Well, as a matter of fact I wanted to discuss my family tree. I wanted to thank you for giving those young men a chance to work things out between themselves without taking them to jail. Lord, knows it wouldn't have happened when I was there age." replied Jeb.
Sheriff Strate was still a bit confussed. "What does that have to do with your family tree?"
"Well, two of the boys fighting were my cousins boys. I for one, am sure glad I didn't have to go tell them about this." replied Jeb.
She couldn't resist now, he' gotten her curiosity up, "So which boys and who are your cousin's?"
Jeb almost wished he hadn't started this now, but seeing how she was Enos's relative maybe she was as straight as he was, "Well, the two that were out numbered are my cousin's boys. The blonde is Bo, Jr., Bo Duke's son. The dark haired on is Jake Miller, Luke Duke's boy, but that's a long story."
She raised her eyebrows and asked, "So you are a Duke?"
"Yes, I'm Jeb Duke." he replied.
"That's funny I thought I only had one family of Dukes here." she replied.
Jeb said, "Well, actually you do but most of us are in for a spell, kind of the first family reunion we've had since Uncle Jesse passed on."
"I see. Well, as Sheriff, I hope all the stories I've heard about you Dukes are in the past." she replied.
"I do too, Sheriff. Have a good night and thanks again." Jeb said standing to return to Coy and Vance.
By this Cooter had also joined them. He had spent the later part of the evening checking out the garage.
Back at the Duke farm.
Beth tried to keep her voice down and was almost successful. "Boys, what in the world?"
Before they could answer, Luke, who was a light sleeper even though he'd been drinking, heard her from the couch he had claimed as his since the first night. "Beth? What's wrong?"
"Come see for yourself. Maybe they will tell you." she replied more than a bit annoyed.
Luke pulled on his jeans over his swimming trunks he was sleeping in and came barefooted into the kitchen. "Ok, boys what's up?" he said before he focused on them.
They looked at each other.
By this time Luke had focused. He wiped his face of sleep and shine, then said, "A fight huh? How'd you manage to come home and not get put in jail? Things have sure changed or I just wasn't lucky. Beth where is that shine I need a little to clean these cuts." He saw the Motherly look in her eyes. "Beth, they are fine. Get me the shine and go on back to bed. You need your rest and don't need to be bothered with a little thing like this."
Beth was glad Luke was handling this 'little thing' for her but she replied, "Are you sure?"
"Yes, Beth, I'm sure. That baby needs you more than these boys do. You need to rest."
Beth didn't want to leave her son, but Luke insisted. As she headed up the stairs, Luke took the shine and went to work. The shine stung, but the boys wouldn't let on. "Now what happened?" Luke asked, as soon as Beth was out of hearing range.
"Danged if I know exactly," Bo, Jr. said. "I just jumped in cause Jake here was outnumbered."
"You know Nick Price, Mr... uh..." Jake asked, not quite sure what to call the older man who was his father.
"It's Luke, if you don't mind that... And yeah, seems like I remember him... Not a real good kid if I remember right."
"You remember exactly right," Jake said. "The kid... Da- punk... He hurt his ex-girlfriend, so I had to do somethin' about it."
"His ex-girlfriend, huh? She pretty?"
"Oh, Lord, is she ever," Jake said with a smile. "Her name's Laura. Laura Campbell. And she's..." he looked at his father, who was listening intently. "Well, anyways... Nick hurt her, and I had to make him act like a gentleman, but he had some friends, and so... Bo here jumped in to help me, and we both ended up gettin' cuffed by Sheriff Strate. But Bo did some quick thinkin' and kept us out of jail. Lucky for us, 'cause we'd had a few drinks."
"That kid is a punk," Luke said angrily. If there was one thing Jesse had taught them, it was that no good man ever lifts a finger against a woman. Then, one of the names Jake had mentioned rang a bell in his head. "Sheriff Strate? You mean, Enos?"
"No, sir. It's his cousin, Linda."
"Linda? Lord, Hazzard has changed more than I ever imagined," Luke said, wiping Bo's split upper lip with a cloth soaked in shine.
It stung, but Bo didn't react outwardly.
"Dang, fellas. It musta been one h- of a fight," Luke said, turning to doctor a split place above Jake's eye.
"It was," Bo said. "There was, what... five other guys... against me and Jake."
"We took 'em, too, Luke," Jake said, grinning even though it hurt his lip.
Luke grinned back. "I'll bet you did. You're Dukes. It'd take more than five guys to take you down."
Bo grinned. He was glad Jake was his cousin. "Uncle Luke?" he said softly.
"Thanks." Bo had now been thou roughly doctored, and his face had a lot of band-aids. He knew he looked funny, but he didn't care.
"No problem," Luke replied. "Now you two better hit the sack before the sun comes up." He patted the boys on the shoulders.
They went up the stairs to Bo, Jr.'s room and laid out a pallet for Jake.
"Hey, Bo?" Jake said.
"Thanks for havin' my back tonight."
"What's family for?" the younger man replied. "Night, Jake," he added, pulling the blankets up to his chin.
As he started to doze off, Bo started planning some changes for his life. He was going to transfer to Georgia Tech so he could be closer to Hazzard. He and Jake needed more time to hang out, and that Jessica Hansen... wow! He really liked her.
01~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~01
Luke lay awake as well, also making plans. Plans of a house on the back 40 to share with Dixie, and hopefully a few kids. He pictured them living the life Bo lived... or at least, their own version of it. He and Dixie would have a good house with a big yard for the kids, and an extra room for Jake, in case he wanted to visit from time to time. But he figured that with Jake being 20 already, he'd soon be starting his own family with his own home. But still, Luke hoped that things would work out so that he would be able to get to know his son better.
01~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~01
The next day was Sunday, which found the whole Duke clan wearing their very best, headed off to church. Luke felt a deep sadness when he looked over and noticed Carl and Martha Ledbetter, Margie's parents. He wondered if they knew that Jake was their grandson. Nothing could have prepared him for what happened next. Margie herself walked into the church, and sat down at her mother's side.
The Preacher, Mr. Brown looked over the congregation as he began to open services. Mr. Brown noticed his small church was more crowded than it had been in a long while if it wasn't Christmas or Easter. Mr. Brown had preached these parts the better part of the Dukes lives so he immediately recognized Luke, Daisy, Jeb, Coy, and Vance and among the Dukes was even Cooter Davenport and his sister, Dixie. Mr. Brown opened, "Today I see we are truely blessed. Our small congregation has in its mist several members who have left Hazzard for places far and near. I'd like to welcome all the Dukes and Davenports back into our mists and let them know they are always welcome whenever they find time to be back in Hazzard."
Needless to say all the members of the small church looked back and forth to see who the preacher was talking about. Margie Ledbetter found herself rest on one of the dark haired Dukes for just a spell to long. Luke's eyes meet hers and held for a minute, unnoticed by anyone. Her appearance hadn't changed much from High School and it was obvious from her timid actions she was still the very meek mild person who was not Luke Dukes type as a steady girl.
After the services Luke told the others, "Ya'll go ahead. Dixie and I need to take care of something."
There was no questions as they all figured Luke and Dixie wanted too talk to Mr. Brown. Luke continued, "Here Jeb, trade me rides, my truck holds more than your Mustang."
They traded keys and everyone packed into the rides that had brought to church.
Luke turned to Dixie, "Would you go tell Mr. Brown we'd like to speak with him when everyone leaves? Then, come on back out here."
"Sure, Honey?" she replied.
"I'll explain when you get back." he told her. She left to go speak with Mr. Brown. Luke waited patiently in the parking area. He spotted Margie coming out to her car. Luke walked over to her side. "Margie?"
"Well. Hello Luke. It's been awhile." she said.
"Yeah, you could say that. I think WE have a lot to talk about." he said sternly.
She got a scared look on her face. "I don't know what you think WE have to talk about. You sure wasn't looking to talk to me more than once!" she said sarcastically.
"You are probably right about that. But, I'd like to speak with you about a FORGED piece of paper." he said quietly.
She went to open her car door as she said, "I don't know what you mean."
Dixie walked up and caught the exchange taking place.
Luke stopped the car door from opening. "Look. I know WHAT you did. I know who my son is. I just want to know WHY?"
She stopped dead in her tracks. She gave him a shocked look. 'How could he know about our child? That it was a boy? AND, Who he is?' she thought. She leaned against the car. She could have been knocked over with a feather and asked, "How do you know?"
"How exactly could I not know when I ran into him?" replied Luke.
"We had a boy? You've seen him. Where?" she asked shocked.
"No, I think you have alot more to explain than I do!" Luke insisted.
Dixie nudged him. They were beginning to gather a crowd.
Luke took the hint, knowing how Hazzard was. "Let's walk back towards the church for a minute."
Once out of everyone's hearing distance, Margie said, "I'm sorry. I was scared and I knew you didn't want me and things would have never worked. I did what I thought was best for the baby. I knew if I'd ever seen it, I would have wanted to keep it. I also knew I couldn't support a child and you were..."
Luke was hot! "You might have known about YOU. You may have even thought you were doing best for IT! But, let me tell you a thing or two; IT IS part of ME! and IT has a name and feelings too! I HAD A RIGHT TO KNOW AND TO MAKE MY CHOICES!" Luke paused to keep from shouting. "I'll tell you this much, I have meet my son and as long as he wants to know me I'll be there for him. As for YOU, he hasn't asked about you and I'll keep you identity to myself IF that's what you want which is ONE HE- more than you did for me or MY son! IF you want to know who IT is I suggest you find out on your own." Luke turned to Dixie and they walked back towards the church.
Margie never called to him or followed.
At the church steps Luke paused. "Give me a second." He took a good deep breath and let it out slowly. He dropped his head slightly taking another deep breath. "I haven't been THAT mad in a long time. I just had to collect my self before going back inside."
Dixie placed her arm around his waist. "Take you time. I don't believe that."
Luke was still mad but felt better as soon as he looked Dixie in the eyes and saw love and support. "Come on, let's go talk to about more pleasant things." He hugged her as they walked back into the church.
The preacher was gathering his things as they walked back in. "Luke, Dixie come on up here. What is it you wanted to talk to me about? Here have a seat."
They all sat down, Dixie let Luke do the talking, as they hadn't talked about even a date let alone much of anything else.
"Mr. Brown, I know it has been a long time since either of us have been in regular attendance here, however, that may change very soon."
The preacher looked up questioning.
"I have asked Dixie to marry me. We haven't even talked about a date but if it's OK with Dixie, I'd like you to preform the ceremony. I was really pleased with you when, " Luke paused, looking away for a second, and continued, "When Uncle Jesse passed. We are planning to build on part of the farm and return to Hazzard in the future."
"Well, now, Luke. I'd be honored. You can ask Bo, I require at least a couple meetings with you both before I'll do the ceremony. I take marriage and its vows very seriously."
Luke smiled, "Mr. Brown it may have taken me a long time and a lot of girls to get to this point in my life, but I also take marriage and its vows very seriously."
They both looked at Dixie who had been quiet until then. She replied, "I'll tell you both, I have waited to be Luke's wife since I was 15."
Mr. Brown seemed satisfied with the intial meeting. "Ok, when would you all like to set up our next meeting?"
Luke smiled and said, "Can we call you this week? I took some time off and I'm not sure about Dixie's schedule. We will talk and give you a call later today or tomorrow and setup a time."
"That will be fine and congratulations to you both." said Mr. Brown.
One the way back to the farm Luke said, "Now all I have to do is to talk to those two about 'drinking a little' and driving MY truck!"
Dixie just smiled at him.
Luke did indeed have a talk with Bo and Jake about driving after drinking. They were both told that they would not be allowed to drive Luke's truck again unless they promised not to drink when they did. Both of them promised. Though alcohol was not hidden or kept from the boys, they were never to drink and drive. Once that was established, Luke's 'lay down the law' mood was over and all was well. They sat down to a big Sunday lunch, prepared by Daisy, Dixie, and Ruth Anne with assistance by Caroline and Michaela, since they had decided that Beth should rest.
Bo looked around the table at his extended family, and smiled. "I say it's time for the blessin' so we can eat." Everyone gave their hearty approval. They joined hands around the table and closed their eyes. Bo said the blessing. "Lord, first of all, we thank you for this food and those who prepared it. We thank you for this family, and how we've lasted even after we lost our craft and our land. Lord, we thank you for every person here, who's family in one way or another. Thank you for Cooter, who's always been part of the family. Thank you for Jake, and lettin' us find out that he's a part of this family. Thank you for Dixie and bringin' her in to become an official member of the family. And thank you for me and Beth's new baby. Please bless us with more family as the years go on. Amen."
"Amen," echoed everyone. They all started passing food around, mashed potatoes, green beans, yeast rolls, and hamburger steaks with gravy. As a family of Dukes, it didn't take them long to eat most of the food. When they were all finished, Ruth Anne brought out several apple pies which she had made herself. Everyone ate even more, and the pies were delicious. The younger girls washed dishes, and the men gathered on the front porch, along with Beth, Dixie, and Daisy, to enjoy the evening, and sip a little shine, with the exception of Beth. After a while, Luke and Dixie went off to talk.
"Dixie... How long do you think it would take for them to transfer you somewhere over here?" Luke asked.
"I don't know. A few weeks, maybe a little more depending on if they have a job open?"
"I'll probably be able to get out of work pretty soon, too. When forest fire season's over. But... I gotta get a 9 to 5 here, and get everything settled... And then we gotta have those meetings with Mr. Brown..."
"How about..." she looked at him. "How about we get married on December 21. That'll be a Saturday. Plus, all the school people will be out for Christmas, and it should be close enough that people can get off work if they work Saturdays. Then we can live over the garage until we get our home up on the back 40. LB doesn't use the room anymore."
"Sounds good..." he said, thinking for a moment. How did she know it would be a Saturday? "Dixie, how'd you..."
She read his mind. "I've been lookin at my calendar ever since you asked me."
He shook his head. "Dixie Lee Davenport, you are somethin'."
She smiled, and pulled him close to kiss him.
01~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~01
Bo, Jr. looked at his parents. "I'm transferring to GA Tech next semester," he said, firmly, hoping that his tone would tell his parents that he wasn't backing down.
He was shocked when his dad said, "That's fine with us, son."
"Yes, really. It'll be good having you close again."
"Wow!" He decided to start making preperations for that immediately. He was going to have to go back to school the next day. Only a few more weeks till he would be back home with those he loved.
01~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~01
Dixie and Luke filled everyone in on their wedding plans, and Bo, Jr. filled them in on his school plans, and it was agreed that the week before the wedding, another gathering would take place at the home of Bo and Beth.
The next day, Bo, Jr. left early to go back to school, driving his black Charger, which had been fondly dubbed Stormy. The other family members all fell out a little at a time, until there was noone left but Bo and his family... or at least those of his family who weren't at college. Noone could wait until time would bring them back to Hazzard County, so that the family would be together again.
Sequel coming soon!