The streets of Morehead City is bustling with workers getting last minute things ready for the festivities that will begin at 8 PM. The crab pot is checked over. The lights work now to check the timing of it coming down. They need to make sure it is exact.

Morehead City is nothing like New York City. There are about a third the people if that many. A small fishing town with many privately owned shops and restaurants, a quaint town that the people living there and around there love.

One such person moved to Beaufort, NC when she was a young mother. Her daughters were middle school and elementary school age. Three girls in a small town, perfect combination, or so she thought.

Life started out perfectly in 1995 when Mary and her husband found the cute three-bedroom house just out of the town of Beaufort. Before their daughters joined them, a young boy asked them if they needed any help and if they had any children. This was how it was in the south, especially in Beaufort. Children were very respectful and willing to help when they can, usually the latter is in hopes of a little money but they will not ask for it.

Mary and Jim have been married four years now. This is both of their second time around. Mary’s first marriage was full of verbal abuse as well as physical, emotional, and psychological. Leaving their last place was a blessing for her because she was truly able to put all of that behind her. Jim has been the perfect husband.

Jim worked for the government in the shipyard in Portsmouth, VA. He also was in the United States Army Reserves. Once he and Mary got married, he took on two other jobs to help make ends meet. In 1994, he found out that his dad had cancer. After the operation to remove the tumors, he and his family were told that they could only guarantee one year of good quality life because they could not get all of the cancer out. At that same time, his mother was being treated for breast cancer and he received his third pink slip from the shipyard due to the RIF program (reduction in force). The other two were pulled from him. Jim was very stressed out.

One day, Jim came home from his reserve weekend duty. He wasn’t home long when the phone rang. The Army was offering him a full-time position. They were offering him to go active duty, Jim took it.

He had to be away for schooling, so Mary had to hold down the fort and start preparing to move. Neither had any idea where they would be going. Most of the preparation was done while the girls spent time with their other parents and family. This gave Mary time to go through items and decide what they will keep and what they will get rid of.

In the mail, Jim finds he has a set of orders. “Mary! We got the official word! We will be moving to the Morehead City area.”

Mary was very excited about this news. Jim has been drilling with the reservists there for the last four years and there were times she would go with him. She loved the area. Before heading off to school, the two of them take a trip to Morehead City to find a home to rent. They met with a realtor and she showed them a house in Beaufort that was within their budget. They signed the paperwork and handed over the deposit. This will be their home for the next three years, or so they thought.

The day Jim left for school, the realtor calls. “Mary, I am sorry but the owners of the house need to pull out of the lease.”

“Why is that?”

“The job he was hoping for fell through and they just found out they were having their first child.”

“That is ok, we will let them out. See if you can find something that will be willing to let us have a six-month lease. That will give us time to find exactly what we want,” Mary said to her.

“Will do.”

Mary hangs up and sighs. Little did she know that this will become a normal thing for her. The moment Jim will leave, something will fall apart or fall through.

In a day or two, the realtor finds a house for them off of Harker’s Island Road in Beaufort. Mary sets up a day and time to come to see it for herself. Her dad offers to come along with her. He is old fashion and does not like the idea of his daughter going off anywhere by herself, especially four hours away.

The day comes and Mary sees the house. It is three bedrooms with one and a half baths. Just what they need for their three girls. The only problem is that it is truly a shack. The best part is that the owner is willing to have a six-month lease on it and the price is less than the other home Mary and Jim were looking at.

That was in June, by December Jim and Mary buy their own house. They were moving in when the young boy comes over.

Those three years were some of the best and some of the worse in their marriage. Here it is now 2019 and getting ready to become 2020 and this is where they decide to retire. Their middle daughter moves here right after graduating high school and ends up renting their house with two sometimes three roommates. The oldest moves into the property several years later when her husband abandons her and their daughter with Mary and Jim. Of course, that house had to replace a few years prior due to the spread of black mold. But she moves in after her sister moves out into a house her and her husband (the young boy across the street) buys their own house right next door.

Since that time, that boy from across the street cheats on their daughter and makes her move out of the house. She had nowhere to go and agree to allow the children to stay there until she finds something. She first moves in with her parents and then a good friend of her stepdad had a place available at a price she could afford. She ended up with a two-bedroom. She gave her kids the bedrooms and she took the living room to sleep in.

The door opening takes Mary out of her reminiscing of the past. There are two of her grandchildren, coming to stay the night with her while their mom and the oldest granddaughter (a teenager in high school) go to the festivities at the waterfront of Morehead City. The other two go to the bedrooms. Gary plays with his cars and Legos that he has at his grandma’s and Amber takes her tablet, her sketchbook, and her pencils into the other bedroom.

Mary hopes the New Year will be a better year for her daughters. They have been through so much.

Misty and Rachael with Deidre make it to the waterfront. Deidre asks her mom, Rachael, if she could walk around with her friends. Of course, Rachael agrees but tells her that she has to stay close by.

The girls go to the vendors and get themselves a sweet iced tea. No one makes tea better than anyone in North Carolina. They get settled in and wait for the crab pot to drop. Just about time for the countdown, they clink their cups and say “Here’s to a New Year with New Beginnings.”

The lights start-up and the crab pot begins to fall. The sisters say out loud. Ten…Goodbye to anger. Nine…Goodbye to hatred. Eight…Goodbye to financial struggles. Seven…Goodbye to the fighting. Six...Goodbye to self-pity. Five...Hello to new friends. Four...Hello to more opportunities. Three...Hello to self-love. Two...Hello to possible love. Together they shout out. One...Hello to new beginnings!!!! Happy New Year!

December 28, 2019 02:43

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Seth Bonty
02:01 Jan 09, 2020

I'll be honest, this story was a little hard to follow, There were some grammar mistakes that caused a few too many "wait, what was that again?" moments. After reading it a couple times, I do have an appreciation for the story of it all however. A few paragraphs could have been expanded on a bit; describing Mary and Jim, explaining what made the shack the perfect imperfect house, and expanding on the events that happen between some of the people in the story. Regardless, it is truly a good start and with another look, I believe the author co...


Robin Owens
18:01 Jan 09, 2020

Thank you. I love honest reviews and critiques. I find them helpful.


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