Bryson City Seasons — The Runaways

This is from the forty-first chapter from my best-selling book, Bryson City Seasons, which is the sequel to Bryson City TalesI hope that you’ll enjoy going back to Bryson City with me each week and that if you do, you’ll be sure to invite your friends and family to join us.


Later that afternoon, as I was standing and writing in a chart, I felt a small hand pulling on my pant leg, and looking down, I saw Kate and Scott, holding hands and looking up at me. I bent down to eye level.

“Hey guys!” I exclaimed as I gave them each a hug. I always wanted my children to know they could interrupt me at any time—and I made sure my staff knew it too. My children were one of my most wonderful responsibilities and priorities. I loved it when Barb walked them over to the office, which she did at least once a day since we had opened the new office. Having the office so close to our home offered many advantages.

“Where’s your mom? In the front office with Dean?”

The kids looked at each other, and then Scott spoke up. “She’s at the house.”

“What house, Scoot?”

Scott smiled that “it’s amazing how much you don’t know” smile and said, “Our house.”

Kate added, “We had a problem.”

Now I was concerned. “What is it?”

They looked at each other—trying to decide who would spill the beans. Kate took a deep breath and then looked back at me. “Daddy, we had to run away from home.”

“You did? Why?”

“Well, it was not very nice.”

“What? The heat?” I asked, thinking of the fact that we still didn’t have air-conditioning in the house.

“No. Mommy.” Tears formed in her eyes.

“Here, let’s walk into my office and chat.” I looked up to see Beth standing in the hall just outside an exam room, tapping her watch.

“Five minutes. Okay?”

She smiled, and I turned to go into my office. Kate and Scott were hopping up onto the sofa. I sat in my desk chair and pulled it up in front of them.

“Tell me more.”

Kate began. “This morning after breakfast Mommy told us she would take us to Deep Creek to go swimming. Then after our nap she broke her promise and said we couldn’t go swimming.”

“Why not?” I asked. Both kids shrugged their shoulders.

“We don’t know,” Kate replied. “But we knew we couldn’t stay there anymore. We decided to run away. And this was the best place we could think of.”

“Does your mom know you’re here?”

Both kids shook their heads. 

“She was taking a nap on the couch in the living room. She said we had tired her out and she’d had enough,” Kate explained.

I nodded and thought for a moment. “Well, a couple of things. First of all, I’m delighted you came over here. If you had run away to Asheville or Sylva, you probably wouldn’t have had enough money to live very long. That would have meant getting a job. Work can be very hard, eh?” They both nodded.

“We don’t have any money,” Kate confided—almost in a whisper.

“Second of all, maybe we should let your mom know where you are. If she wakes up and you’re not there, don’t you think she’ll be worried?”

They both looked at each other, and then Kate nodded.

I rolled the chair over to the desk and punched in our home phone number. “Hi, honey. Did I wake you up?”

“Yes!” I heard Barb yawn. “I was taking a little nap.”

“Well, I’m sorry to bother you. I just wanted to let you know that your children ran away from our home.”

“What!” she exclaimed. I could tell she was fully awake now.

“It’s true. They’re here in my office. Something about their mother breaking a promise to take them to Deep Creek. Know anything about this very serious allegation?”

I could hear her chuckle. “Who appointed you judge, Dr. Larimore?”

“I’m just trying to be a good family physician here.”

“Hmm. Well, perhaps the little delinquents didn’t tell you that the promise to go to Deep Creek was contingent on their cleaning up their rooms. When it didn’t get done, I told them I was taking a nap. I told them if their room was clean when I woke up, we’d go. If not, I’d just start supper.”

I smiled. “Well, Mrs. Larimore, I must confess I wasn’t made aware of these additional facts by the defendants. Perhaps I can talk to your children and see if they’d be willing to return home and clean their rooms for you.”

Suddenly both Kate and Scott looked very guilty.

Barb laughed. “Well, while you’re doing that, I’ll just take a little walk over there. Maybe you’d have time to give us a little family therapy.”

“I’ll have to check with my nurse, Mrs. Larimore. But I think we’ll be able to squeeze you in.”

I hung up and turned back to the kids. “I just talked to your mom.”

They both nodded—having heard the entire conversation. “Your mother says you didn’t clean up your rooms.”

“It’s just not reasonable!” Kate exclaimed, with her brother nodding in concurrence. 

“Why not?”

“Because it’s our room. We know where all our toys are. And besides, isn’t your room messy sometimes?”

I looked at the magazines and charts strewn all over my desk.

“Good point,” I admitted. I thought quickly and only for a second, which is a critical skill for a parent—quick thinking, that is. “How ’bout this? If I clean my desk and Mom cleans our room and you all clean your rooms, then we’ll go to the swimming hole together. How’s that sound?”

“Yippee!” was the unanimous agreement.

“Okay, you stay in here—or let Miss Beth know if you go to the kitchen or waiting room. Your mom will be here in a few minutes. Let me finish seeing my patients, okay?”

Both nodded.

“Well then, let’s shake.”

We all shook hands.

I knew that later that evening I’d have to confront the issue of their running away. But for now, I was in awe. The miracle was that Kate could walk at all. The marvel was that she could talk and make decisions. It was a wonder that she was beginning, for the first time, to show independence. And she and her brother were bonding in a very special way. When Barb and I were long gone, they’d still have each other. And what others saw as a disability in Kate, I could clearly see as a blessing.

That day I fell in love with my kids as never before.



  1. Dead Man Standing (Part 1) (Part 2)(Part 3)
  2. Eyes Wide Open (Part 1)(Part 2)
  3. Auspicious Accidents (Part 1)(Part 2)
  4. Answered Prayers (Part 1), (Part 2), (Part 3), (Part 4)
  5. Rotary Luncheon
  6. Death by Emotion (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)(Part 4)
  7. The Invitation (Part 1)(Part 2)
  8. Barbecue and Bacon (Part 1)(Part 2)
  9. A Touchy Subject
  10. Family Time (Part 1)(Part 2)
  11. Chicken Pops(Part 1)(Part 2)
  12. Swain County Football (Part 1)(Part 2)
  13. Hospital Politics (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  14. The Bobcat Attacks (Part 1)(Part 2)
  15. Dungeons and Apples
  16. A Tale of Two Surgeons (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  17. Tanned Feets (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  18. Wise Counsel (Part 1)(Part 2)
  19. An Anniversary to Remember (Part 1)(Part 2)
  20. Mrs. Black Fox (Part 1)(Part 2)
  21. The Littlest Cherokee (Part 1)(Part 2)
  22. Christmas Firsts (Part 1)(Part 2)
  23. The Silver Torpedo
  24. Another New Year’s Catch
  25. Turned Tables
  26. Doctor Dad (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  27. The Phone Tap (Part 1), (Part 2)
  28. Labor Pains (Part 1), (Part 2)
  29. Staph and Staff (Part 1), (Part 2)
  30. The Ribbon Cutting
  31. Mountain Breakfast
  32. Walkingstick (Part 1), (Part 2)
  33. One Big Fish
  34. Memorial Day (Part 1); (Part 2)
  35. The Parade of the Century (Part 1)
  36. Lost Boy (Part 1); (Part 2)
  37. Facing the Music
  38. Flesh-Eating Bacteria (Part 1); (Part 2)
  39. The Best Medicine
  40. The Blessing
  41. The Runaways


  1. The Murder (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  2. The Arrival (Part 1)(Part 2)
  3. The Hemlock Inn (Part 1)(Part 2)
  4. The Grand Tour (Part 1)(Part 2)
  5. The Interview (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  6. Settling In (Part 1)(Part 2)
  7. First-Day Jitters (Part 1)(Part 2)
  8. Emergency (Part 1)(Part 2)
  9. The Delivery (Part 1)(Part 2)
  10. The “Expert” (Part 1)(Part 2)
  11. The Trial (Part 1)(Part 2)
  12. Shiitake Sam (Part 1)(Part 2)
  13. Wet Behind the Ears (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  14. Lessons in Daily Practice (Part 1) — Anal Angina(Part 2)(Part 3)(Part 4)
  15. White Lies
  16. The Epiphany (Part 1)(Part 2)
  17. Becoming Part of the Team (Part 1)(Part 2)
  18. Monuments (Part 1)(Part 2)
  19. My First Home Victory (Part 1)(Part 2)
  20. Fisher of Men (Part 1)(Part 2)
  21. Fly-Fishing (Part 1); (Part 2)
  22. Something Fishy (Part 1)(Part 2)
  23. A Good Day at the Office
  24. An Evening to Remember
  25. Another New Doc Comes to Town
  26. ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas (Part 1)(Part 2)
  27. A Surprising Gift
  28. The New Year (Part 1)(Part 2)
  29. The Home Birth (Part1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  30. The Showdown (Part1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  31. The Initiation (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  32. Home at Last (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)  

© Copyright WLL, INC. 2019. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.

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