The Long and Winding Road
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This is the one you’ve been waiting for…
Max Abbott takes center stage in the Butler, Vermont Series finale when the timeline jumps forward five years and finds Max staring down his ten-year high school reunion, with no desire whatsoever to attend. Under pressure from his family to go, he ends up glad to be there when he connects with the only person from high school he wanted to see—his ex-girlfriend, Lexi, who’s been “missing” the last ten years.
When Max finds out where Lexi has been—and why—and realizes all the old familiar feelings are still there, he’ll have to decide if he can risk taking a chance on an uncertain situation with her or if he’d rather continue to be alone with his son, Caden.
Find out where all the Abbotts and Colemans are and what Fred and Dexter are up to five years later as this beloved series comes to an exciting and heartfelt conclusion.
Release date: January 17, 2023
Publisher: HTJB, Inc.
Print pages: 314
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The Long and Winding Road
Hope this finds you doing well and enjoying your daughter’s cooking as much as I enjoy my daughter’s. Why’d we resist moving in with them for so long anyway? I gotta say the service around the barn is pretty darned good and includes laundry that smells fresher than a spring day. My Molly dotes on me and seems to love every minute of it, so I let her do her thing. She loves to mess with Linc by waiting on me hand and foot while telling him to take care of himself. Whatever she brings to me, I ask for a second one for my buddy Linc. It’s rather entertaining! I love having the dogs, Ringo and George, underfoot, too, although Molly is forever yelling at them not to trip me. They wouldn’t do that to me. I’m always sneaking them treats when Molly isn’t looking. They’re my buddies. They’re getting on in years, but they still have lots of energy, so we hope they’ll be with us for a long time to come.
I take care of the pups when Molly and Linc are off on one of their getaways, usually with Linc’s siblings. I’m so glad he’s spending so much time with them these days. He’s all but retired and turned the reins over to Hunter, who juggles CEO and CFO roles masterfully, as only he could do. He’s hired some more help
in the accounting department, which has allowed him to handle both jobs. We’re very proud of the direction the kids have taken the family business. It’s in very good hands with Hunter, Will, Ella, Charley and Wade running the show, with lots of help from Cameron, Lucy, Emma, Mia, Amanda, Dani and many others in the office, store and warehouse. The catalog has been a huge success, growing the business at a staggering rate. The kids are planning to open two more locations in Stowe and Rutland over the next couple of years. People still come to town all the time looking for the gorgeous “models” in the catalog, also known as my grandkids, most of whom are now married with children. The best was when a woman chased Will around the grocery store after she recognized him from the catalog. He didn’t think that was funny, but the rest of us sure did!
I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying your new home, too. I’m sure it’s not the same living in Maine, which is like a foreign country to us Vermonters! Hopefully, you can come visit sometime. We’ve got lots of empty bedrooms here in the barn, and you’re welcome to stay. Although, we’ve always got a little one sleeping over, or so it seems. And there are a LOT of little ones—forty-one great-grands at last count. Can you believe that? Eighteen kids had forty-one kids (although we acquired a few through marriage and other situations—they all count), and they’re not done yet!
Hannah’s son Henry just got engaged to a lovely young woman named Emerson, who we absolutely adore. They grew up together here in Butler but met up in Boston at a Red Sox game. The rest, as they say, is history. Jackson is engaged to Autumn, who he met when he was in Wyoming. He’s living out in Jackson Hole with her, so we don’t know her all that well yet, but she seems like a peach. Sarah, my youngest granddaughter, is dating a wonderful guy named Nathanial, who more than holds his own with the family, which, as you can imagine, is essential to his success.
As for the rest of them, they’re married and having babies and working and making us proud every day. Molly had to make a spreadsheet with all the kids’ names and their birthdays so we wouldn’t forget. I’ve got that printed out here next to me, so I won’t overlook anyone. In a funny aside, even with all the space in the barn, Linc had no choice but to add on to the dining room so we could keep having Sunday dinners during the baby boom.
For now, the addition is set up with high chairs and booster seats, but it’ll convert as the little people get older.
I’ll start with Molly’s family. Hunter and Megan have three kids, Carson, 5, Cory, 3, and Claire, 2. Megan is still running the diner, and somehow, she and Hunter make it look easy to manage the businesses while raising three kids. Hannah and Nolan have Ms. Callie (real name Caleb, for Hannah’s late first husband), who is 6, and a son named Colby, who’ll be 5 soon. They’re both a couple of pistols like their mother and are as obsessed with moose as she is. Hannah takes care of Hunter and Megan’s kids while they’re at work, which has been great for both families. Hunter and Hannah are still the best of friends like they’ve been from day one. Hannah and Nolan finally built the gorgeous post-and-beam house he’d been dreaming of for years on the property his grandfather left him.
“Baby” Dexter the moose is now fully grown and has his own “moose house” that Nolan had built for him out of desperation when letting Dex sleep in front of the fireplace was no longer feasible. That moose is like a pet dog to their family and is best friends with their dog, Homer Junior. Fred still comes for playtime every afternoon, the highlight of their day. He’s getting on in years, but that doesn’t slow him down. He’s still strolling through town like he owns the place, which he probably does by now. In another unbelievable development, Nolan’s father, Vernon, has gotten himself sober and is actively involved in the lives of Nolan and his family—and even helps at the garage when Nolan needs him. It’s done my heart good to see those two mending fences and for Vernon to get his life back. I must admit… I never thought it would happen, and I’m very happy to have been proven wrong.
Anyway, where was I? Will and Cameron have Chase, who’s almost 6, and Molly, 3, and recently had a surprise baby boy they named Murphy, which is Cam’s maiden name. Will said that the C names had to stop eventually, and he wanted to name his daughter after his mother and the new little guy after Cam’s family. Our little Molly is as sweet as her grandma and is crazy about her brothers and their pups. Chase and Molly are thrilled about their new baby brother, as are the rest of us since Will and Cam had said they were quitting with two. You gotta love a surprise!
Speaking of surprises, you probably read about this in the paper… Cameron’s dad, Patrick Murphy, married our beloved Mary Larkin in Paris about four years ago and sent us a picture with the news. Will and Cam, those sneaky devils, managed to get there
with Chase to celebrate with the happy couple. We had a big reception for them back here in Butler the following summer, and we see a lot of them when they come up from the city to visit the grandkids. Cameron says her dad barely notices her when the kids are in the room, but she loves seeing him as a doting grandfather. He’s cut way back on work so he and Mary can travel and enjoy life. He’s shared with me before that he regrets not spending more time with Cam when she was growing up. If you ask me, he’s making up for that with the time and attention he gives those babies. It’s very sweet to see.
Ella and Gavin have Sarah, almost 6, the other Caleb, almost 5, as well as Cecilia aka Cici, 2. Interestingly, Caleb is a twin to his late Uncle Caleb at the same age. I think it brings Gavin some comfort to see his beloved brother in the little boy he named after him. His logging business is booming, and they’re building a new house on a lot they bought outside of town a couple of years ago. Gavin’s parents are still running the Capt. Caleb M. Guthrie Inn for the widowed spouses of servicemembers. Even with the country not at war, you’d be surprised how many still come through the doors seeking the solace they offer. Amelia and Bob love being grandparents to Gavin’s kids as well as Hannah’s.
In a sad twist of fate, Charley and Tyler took in his nieces Kendall, 7, and Maisy, 9, after their parents were killed in a helicopter accident while on vacation in the Grand Canyon. Our Charley always said that she had no desire to get married or have kids, but she sure does love Tyler, and those sweet girls have earned a place in all our hearts. She’s been a wonderful support to them as they adjust to the changes in their lives and deal with unimaginable grief. We’re so proud of Charley and Tyler for what they’re doing for the girls, who’ve become such a special part of our family.
Wade and Mia have Carlee, 5, and Corbin, 3, who are just the sweetest kids. Wade is still running the health and wellness line at the store, and Mia works very part time at the warehouse, mostly during the holiday rush. They finally finished renovating their farmhouse, and it’s a gem. Of course she loves having her dad, Cabot, here now that he’s married to Wade’s cousin Isabella, but more on them below.
Lucy and Colton installed indoor plumbing and added on to their cabin up on the mountain shortly after the arrival of Christian, 5. They’re also the parents to twin boys, Camden and Cooper, age 3. All three boys are just like their father, much to
Lucy’s dismay. They prefer to be naked, and she’s constantly chasing them around to put clothes on them, even in the dead of winter. The rest of us think it’s hysterical, but she’s not as amused! She’s a good sport to put up with Colton and his “feral spawn,” as she refers to her offspring. Colton is still running the sugaring facility on the mountain with Max’s help, and they broke all our previous records for ounces of maple syrup bottled this season.
Lucas and Dani have Savannah, now 7, as well as Sawyer, 4, and Sienna, 2. Dani is still running our warehouse and juggling work and family with aplomb, while Lucas has risen to the rank of captain at the fire department and continues his woodworking business when he has time. They opened a storefront in town for the furniture he makes as well as the pieces she enjoys rehabbing into works of art. They’ve done very well with the new venture.
Landon has broken the record for the most kids in their family with Stella, age 17, as well as Sloane, 5, Sarah, 3, and Stefan, 2. Amanda works from home running the catalog division, while Landon is also a captain in the fire department and still managing the Christmas Tree Farm with lots of help from Max.
Speaking of Max, his son, Caden, is about to turn 7, which is so hard to believe. He’s in the first grade and doing wonderfully. Reading like a champ and writing paragraphs. They moved into my place when I came to the barn—Max and I joke that we traded bedrooms. I gave him permission to make the house where I was so happy with my Sarah his own, and he’s done a marvelous job updating it and turning it into a wonderful home for him and Caden. I continue to hold out hope that he’s going to find someone to love and who loves him the way he deserves, but so far, it hasn’t happened—not for lack of trying on the part of his father and grandfather. We tell ourselves he’s still only 28 and has all the time in the world, but you and I know how fast the years go by without us even realizing it.
Now for Hannah and her family… She’s happily remarried to Ray Mulvaney for four and a half years now, which makes Lucy and Colton’s kids Hannah’s grandchildren, too, since Ray is Lucy’s dad. Lucy’s sister, Emma, is married to Grayson, Hannah’s eldest, and they have Simone, 16, as well as Hannah, 4, Finley, 3, and Rowan, 1, all girls. Grayson has his hands full with five ladies bossing him around, but he loves every minute of it. Emma still works in the office at the store and is, according to
Hunter and the others, the nerve center of the whole place, keeping everything running smoothly. Grayson practices law from home and is Mr. Mom to the little ones. Times sure have changed from our day, haven’t they? Sarah wouldn’t have dared put me in charge of our kids—haha!
Noah and Brianna have his son Elliott, 8, as well as Ethan, 4, and Elias, 2. Their construction-and-renovation business is busier than ever, and the two of them work so well together after their inauspicious start while rebuilding the Butler Inn after the fire. I told you how they fought nonstop until they realized all the fighting was actually attraction, right? We’ll always be thankful to Brianna for bringing our Noah back to us and making him so happy. All he does is smile these days.
Izzy and Cabot got married just about five years ago now. He’s so thrilled to be living near his daughter, Mia, who’s married to Wade. Izzy and Cabot also have twins, Miles and Madelyn, 4, who are just the cutest kids. Cabot is over the moon with them and fully experiencing every moment of his second chance at fatherhood. We’re so happy for them. Izzy is a wonderful mother, but I always knew she would be. Cabot is getting to do fatherhood and grandfatherhood at the same time, and he’s content as he can be surrounded by kiddos. He works a little here and there but is mostly retired now.
Vanessa married Troy Kennedy, close friend to Cameron, Lucy and Emma, about four years ago. They live in New York City with three kids, Declan, 3, Bennett, 2, and Alice, six months. Vanessa is a full-time mom, but she helps with Troy’s law practice. He does some incredible work in the social justice field and has a thriving business. They get home quite often, which makes her mother—and her grandfather—happy.
Our Alli surprised us when she decided not to wait around for Mr. Right, as she put it, and had two boys on her own, Kingston, 4, and Axel, 2. She still works in marketing in Boston and has a wonderful live-in nanny who helps with the boys while she’s working. She seems very happy and settled with her kids. And though she still dates from time to time, she’ll tell you it’s not a priority. I told you about Jackson, Henry and Sarah above, so that about sums things up for all the grandkids.
It took me three days to type all this, so you’d better write back and tell me what’s going on with you and your family. I sure do miss the old days of sitting around drinking coffee and playing checkers with you and Percy at the store and arguing about every
thing. I miss you and good old Percy since he left us. Do come visit sometime. I’d love to see you.
Your friend Elmer
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