olliecramptonGloria: Hello Mr. Crampton. I am here to interview you, to learn more about the characters in The Second Time Around, Book I of the Belanger Creek Ranch Series. My first question is, How long have you been at Belanger Creek Ranch?

Ollie: (he has a twinkle in his eyes) I’ve been here so long I’m a fixture here. They’ve adopted me as part of the family. The Thompsons are wonderful people.

Gloria: So you know Colt quite well?

Ollie: Sure do. I’m his second daddy. I love that boy like he was my own. He’s a hard worker, and he loves this here ranch. It’s kinda’ too bad that he has to stay at the farm. But as nice a guy as his Dad Bob is, he is a stubborn old man. If he’d just accept that he can’t deal with the stress of running the farm and move into town, Colt could put a manager there and move out here where he wants to be.

Gloria: What can you tell me about Colt?

Ollie: Aww, he got ‘imself into a bit of a wreck eight years ago. He’d married that Sharon a few years earlier. She was somethin’ else, but love is blind and he couldn’t see her for what she was. When the dust all settled she broke his heart and his bank account.

Gloria: Yes, I interviewed him yesterday. He seems to be a very bitter man.

Ollie: He’s damn bitter, but he isn’t doing himself any favours now.

Gloria: Why would you say that?

Ollie: Colt has the most god awful taste in women. He is so smart about everything else, but when it comes to women I just want to put the toe of my boot to his ass. That Sharon—the woman he married– had no interest in the things that mattered to him—this here ranch, the farm. This is who Colt is. Yeah, he got carried away by a pretty face and the rodeo stuff, but when Bob laid down the law, he knew what he had to do, and he settled down and went to work. She was shallower than a china saucer—all that woman wanted was the glamor of winning—she didn’t give a hang about real life…and she proved that she didn’t want a kid. But when push came to shove, she sure wanted—and got—every cent she could get out of Colt. I’d say he got off lucky—she would have ruined his life for sure.

Now he’s got himself tied up with that Shauna Lee Holt. Same damn thing all over again—except he says he ain’t gonna’ marry her. But she isn’t interested in anything about him except goin’ out for dinner and goin’ to bed.

(Ollie shakes his head) I’ve tried to talk some sense into his thick head, but he’s not listening. Damn it, he isn’t the first man to have a marriage go sour on him. He’s still a young man. If he’d just get his head out of his…uh hum…well you know what I mean—he could make a good life for himself. I told him that, and he told me I was like the pot calling the kettle black. He said he didn’t see a ball and chain tied to my leg.

But I didn’t have the kind of life he did. My maw left me with an uncle and aunt who did not want to raise another kid at their age. I was a total inconvenience to them. I left there when I was fourteen—no education, no money—I grew up fast and I worked at whatever I could find, but I loved workin’ on ranches. I was a rollin’ stone, gatherin’ no moss, until I came here. This is the first place I ever felt was home and I hope I die here.

(Ollie squints and looks away) But back to Colt…we’ve got a little gal workin’ at the ranch here now. She’d be perfect for him. She loves the work—damned if I didn’t find out that she’s a veterinarian. I haven’t asked what she’s doin’ hidin’ out here. She looked pretty down when she came. I almost sent her home, but that first night she proved what she could do when she delivered a backward calf, and I made an executive decision to keep her. I was up agin’st it for help, and when Frank Lamonte—(he smiles and nods) Yeah, her name is Frank, and she made it clear that she is proud of it!

Anyway when I saw how good she was with the animals, I decided that she had to work with me—not him. I broke all the rules and just told Colt that Frank Lamonte was the best hand we’d ever had. I knew he’d have bust a gut. He’d always refused to hire a woman no matter what. How the fact that she was female slipped past them on her resume, I have no idea—but heck with a monicker like that– I guess they just assumed she was a man.

I intended to tell him, but I just kept puttin’ it off, and as it happened, Bob had another heart attack and Colt didn’t come out to the ranch for quite a while. Then he ended up comin’ when I had gone to Swift Current. I guess he hit the roof when he found her here.

I don’t know what took place—he was here for a couple of days. Whatever happened, after he first told her to leave, he did a turn around and asked her to stay. She said she did it for me. But somethin’ happened that time—cause after she first came she began to perk up and it was like watchin’ a flower bloom. But after he was here those two days, she’s never been the same again. The bloom has faded—and he treats her like she is some bad disease.

I get so frustrated, but I can’t really do anything about it.

Gloria: So you like Frank Lamonte?

Ollie: Heck—there’s nothing about her to not like. She’s kind, thoughtful,  and she loves working with the animals. She says she never learned about being a lady, but she pitches in and helps clean up when we decide it needs to be done, and she is a good cook. In truth, I’d like to slap Colt upside the head and ask him what he’s thinkin’, cause they would fit together like two pieces of a puzzle. But…  he’s so damned determined not to care again, he’d step right around the piece of gold that’s laying in front of him, and go to that whore in town.

Gloria: Those are very harsh words Mr. Crampton.             

Ollie: Yeah, I guess I shouldn’t call her a whore. I don’t know what happened to her; maybe she’s been hurt too. But he looks me in the eye and tells me they both want the same thing. He admits that they don’t love each other and neither one of them wants to get married. I’ve told him that life gets lonely after a while, but he says it’s a whole lot worse than lonely, if you hook up with the wrong one. And I’m just thinking, “Are you blind man?”

Gloria: Well Mr. Crampton, this interview has been very enlightening. You have definitely shed a new light on Colt Thompson and Frank Lamonte.

Ollie: I just tell it like it is. It’ll be interesting to see how their story ends. I’m looking forward to finding out what happens in The Second Time Around.

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