When last we left Cherry Hill, Jack, Amanda, and the children were on the run with a mysterious group calling themselves "The Association" right behind them. Picking up where we left off last Sunday, let's see what Amanda and the gang are up to this week...
Missed an episode? Get caught up here: Cherry Hill Index
Marjorie Wilson was in a fluster. It was her month to host the Protestant Ladies Auxiliary luncheon and nothing was going as planned. Although her husband, Henry, reassured her that everything was top notch, Marjorie's sense of perfection had her worried that the meticulous little chicken salad sandwiches she prepared earlier were lacking flavour, or worse, that the orange and chocolate chip snack cake she made to serve with coffee would be dry.
Of course, nothing could have been further from the truth as Marjorie Wilson's luncheon's and dinner parties were legendary in the sleepy little town of Cherry Hill Saskatchewan; but ever since Amanda Fitzpatrick came to town with her big city ideas about entertaining, Marj had been faced with competition and was determined that her title as best hostess remain intact.
It didn't help, either, that the men of Cherry Hill, including her husband Henry, all seemed to be enamoured of Amanda and her clever dishes, and as Marjorie put the finishing touches on her famous recipe for jello salad, she sighed loudly and chastised herself for being petty.
Amanda was a nice girl, really, and certainly had been through enough in the last year to warrant sympathy - especially with all the rumours swirling around about her late husband - town doctor - Paul. There had been talk in Cherry Hill for months of an affair between Paul and his nurse Val but no one had been able to prove anything. However, when Paul's car crashed on a back country road at well past four in the morning last year with Val in it, speculation had run rampant.
Sadly, Paul did not survive the crash, and Val who had been diagnosed with a case of selective amnesia, was of no help to put the mystery to rest.
In the meantime, Amanda had had to pick up the shattered pieces of her life and go on, if not just for her sake but for the sake of her two young children, Bobby and Sally who Marjorie secretly adored. Although she could be what her husband called "a tough old bird" on the outside, her icy exterior masked a warm heart and Marj had spent much time with Amanda's children in the months following the crash.
But then Easter rolled around and Amanda found the strength to host a lavish dinner to thank everyone for supporting her.
Amidst the ooohs and ahhhhs of happy guests who had never heard of such things as roasted asparagus or pineapple glazed ham, Marjorie Wilson had to swallow her pride and admit that Amanda was a tremendous cook.
It didn't mean, however, that she had to like it and as she removed her apron and straightened her hair before the first guests arrived, she hoped today's luncheon would firmly reestablish her as Cherry Hill's premiere hostess.
Just then the doorbell rang, and in a flurry of hello's the good women of the Protestant Ladies Auxiliary began to arrive - but with no sign of Amanda. Although this was not an issue that would normally concern Marj, there was an undercurrent in the room from the get go, as though everyone was holding a secret that Marjorie wasn't in on.
The dining room table was set buffet style with a large strawberry lemon punch sitting in the middle, chicken salad sandwiches, deviled eggs, jello salad, and assorted crudities flanking both sides, and as the ladies helped themselves to the lovely array of food, Judy Phillips, from Phillips and Family Automotive asked if anyone had seen Amanda.
A sudden hush fell over the room.
And then before anyone had a chance to respond, Merilee Turner, who, in Marjorie's opinion, had always been a busy body, asked about the whereabouts of Marjorie's son Jack.
"Why would you ask about Jack," asked Marjorie feeling perplexed, "And what on earth does he have to do with Amanda playing hookey on lunch?"
The room went silent and as the women looked from one to the other it became more and more apparent to Marjorie that they weren't telling her something. "Ladies," she asked in exasperation, "What on earth is going on?"
After another long silence, Judy finally chimed in. "Marjorie," she asked, "When is the last time you spoke to Jack?"
Marjorie had to think for a second. Normally she and her son spoke or saw each other at least once a day, but come to think of it, it had been a couple of days since she saw him. She'd been so busy preparing for the luncheon that time had just slipped by.
"Not for a couple of days, I don't think," said Marjorie looking around the circle of women, why? Is Jack involved in something I don't know about."
"Well that's just it," said Judy, "Nobody knows. Neither Jack, Amanda, or Amanda's children showed up at school yesterday morning and there's been no sign of them anywhere since they were seen talking in Jack's front yard two nights ago."
Just as Marjorie was about to ask another question the front door burst open and Mr. Wilson rushed in, "Jack's home has been ransacked!!!!" he yelled, and knocked a vase of roses from the back garden onto the floor with a splintering crash!
Two women cried out and poor Gertrude Greenspan who was well known for having a thready constitution, nearly fainted from the shock of it.
"Jack is missing, his house is upside down, and there's been no sign of Amanda or her children for the last two days!! Sweet Shepherd's of the Scepter," he cried out, "It's happening!" and ran out the door.
The good ladies of the Auxiliary stared at each other aghast. Marjorie, however, decided efficiency was the best way to combat panic and began calmly sweeping glass from the floor. "Somebody get poor Gertrude a glass of punch," she said to the stunned looking crowd, "I fear she may go down for the count if we don't get something into her."
Surmising that her husband had been dipping into his flask, Marjorie was determined to get through the luncheon and worry about her missing son later.
"Ladies, as well you know there are children starving all over this planet and I am not about to let good food go to waste, so fill your plates, eat up, and we shall concern ourselves with Jack and his mysterious departure later."
Although she had no good idea what on earth was going on, Marjorie Wilson was a believer in the comfort of the familiar and took solace in pouring coffee from the large silver urn at the foot of the table. Making small talk with the shell shocked group of women sitting in her dining room, her calm exterior belied a sense of growing panic she had within.
In the meantime, Walt Fischer and his team had made it as far as the forest in pursuit of Jack and Amanda, but not as familiar with the terrain, all search efforts to this point had been fruitless.
Jack, Amanda, and the children spent the night and a second day in their hidden cave, resting up and recharging for what Jack described, as the grueling next leg of their journey. A journey that Amanda still did not fully understand. In all their time together, Jack had still not revealed the meaning of Zanzibar or the reasons she could trust no one but him.
Stay tuned next week as Jack and Amanda continue on the run and Mrs. Wilson tries to get to the bottom of why her husband's secret lodge has called an emergency meeting...
Please enjoy the next installment in the Cherry Hill Saga: Jack Suppresses His Love for Amanda
Stay tuned next Sunday for the next exciting installment of Cherry
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Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer
with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe
developer, and a website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada. Lyndsay
believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and
ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of
all levels can accomplish.
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