Jeff and Cherry Moon, late of Philadelphia, were heading down the snow covered interstate on their way to Iowa, to return to Jeffs' home town of Crescent, population 280.

In the back of the heavily laden chevy station wagon slept the three boys, finally. The journey had been long and tension filled, between the snow storm that set in early in the trip, the boys acting like boys and the fact that Cherry had never, in the ten years of their marriage, met her in-laws.

The call had come from Jeffs' mother that Jeff senior was having health problems and to please come home.

After long discussions and angry erruptions from both of them, they had put their lovely, comfy home on the market and uprooted themselves.

The snow swirled toward the windshield, and Cherry had to roll the window down to stay awake under the hypnotic action of the white flakes.

Cherry, a free lance investigative reporter had met Jeff while they were in college. Jeff had become, in the last ten years, a famous writer of detective mysteries and it seemed everyone had a copy of his last effort, "The Mustang Ranch Murders".

She looked at him sleeping, a small amount of silver hair had recently slipped into the hair at his temples creating a wonderfully distinguished look.At six feet tall, he towered over her small four feet ten inches. He was lean and well muscled, working out while he thought over his stories, and working out even harder if he had written himself into a "box". Cherry preferred walking instead of the confines of the wieght room and drew envious glances from other women and lusting leers from passing men. Her flame red hair brushing just above her still firm buttocks and her Dolly Parton build could really cause a stir at the beach.

Deep asleep, Jeffs' lashes fluttered as he dreamed leaning against the cold, frost covered passenger side window. The car hit a bumpy area, and Jeffs' head bounced a bit against the glass, causing him to open his eyes and smile at her.

"Where are we hon?"
He asked, drowsily.

"Headed north on I-35,

'bout 40 miles south of

the Mason City, CLear Lake exit"

said Cherry.

"When we get there

I better take over driving

'cause we'll almost be on home ground.

He said, stretching and rubbing his neck. Mason City, Iowa, originally known as River City and immortalized in The Music Man, was located about 20 miles north of Crescent. Almost Home!

Jeff knew he could write his stories anywhere, in fact, out on a little farmstead, away from distractions, he could do some really moody little tales, but he was concerned about his wife, the "City Girl". He glanced back at his brood of sleeping, impending manhood and smiled. They would sure like farm life and could now have horses and a ton of pets and play in the safety of their own yard on some back country gravel road.

The car slowed as Cherry pulled into a huge parking lot heading for a flashing neon sign that said, humorously,..

The boys woke instantly and Cherry asked if anyone wanted anything since there was a restaurant a few feet away. Of course, the boys bolted out the back end of the Chevy and ran for the doors of the eatery before the words left her lips.
Guess we are taking a supper break

She said, half laughing, to Jeff.

Well, they HAVE had a tough

day and if the food tastes

as good as it smells from

here, I could put some back too.

Putting his arm around Cherry, they followed the boys inside and took a break. Cherry needed to prime herself, he could sense her nervousness.

Don't worry, Cher

Mom will love you

and dad will envy me.

She smiled and said,

I sure hope so.

Back on the road, with Jeff behind the wheel, Cherry checked her make-up and hair. She had changed clothes in the restuarant restroom, and now wished she had picked something else.

She looked up, and at the same time, the boys simultaneoulsy said,


The picture postcard town that unfolded looked like it should be on a christmas card.


said Jeff,

Here we are, my home town!

The boys and Cherry looked around them in facination, and the car went around a gentle curver that effectively displayed the whole town before them. They passed by the school Jeff had attended. It was K through twelfth back then, but was now a part of the Consoidated School District and functioned only as the Middle School now.

Approaching main street a Christmas banner was streched across and above the intersection, where the one traffic light, a flashing red light, was positioned. As they stopped at the flashing light, Alan, six years old and the youngest son suddenly asked,

Who the heck is Leon?

Jeff burst out laughing. As a boy, he too had wondered who this Leon was and why he got a banner every christmas. They had never replaced it, it appeared to be the very same one and must, he thought, be a town joke by now. The banner, which had been in use for over 50 years actually proclaimed, "NOEL", however, the sign was see through, so it only said NOEL from one direction...coming into Crescent the way they did...LEON got his moments of fame each yule.

They arrived at Jeffs' parents farm about 15 minutes later, having had to drive slower over the snow filled gravel road, the plows were out, but the back roads were last on the list. The house was well lit with christmas decorations and a large golden retreiver bounded, flop eared and barking happily as they wheeled in close to the house.

The front door opened, and Cherry saw her mother in law for the first time. The female version of the man she loved, the older woman came slowly through the small drifts to the passenger side of the car.

I was so worried,

the weather reports were

bad right across the country

Since you called and

said you were on your way!

She said, her brow furrowed, but a smile on her face.

Hurry and get my grandbabies

in and we can all have

some hot chocolate!

Cherry stepped out of the car and into her new mother in laws arms and got the biggest hug she had had in years. Cherrys' parents were long gone and having a mom again, she thought, would not be all bad. She laughed out loud, and when Connie Moon looked quizically at her, she said,

I was afraid to meet you!

The two women headed in, while the boys ran wildly about the yard with Jake, the dog, who seemed delighted to have boys to play with.

Jeff, watched his family and relaxed, everything would be fine. Pulling a couple of large suitcase out of the station wagon, he headed for the house. The ladies standing silhouetted in the front window appeared to be old chums, arms around each other, watching the future at play in the yard.