Standard disclaimers apply. This story is a work of fiction. The characters and specific places mentioned are fictitious. Resemblance to any person — living or dead — or place — current or historical — is purely coincidental and wholly unintentional.
I know it is never a good thing for an author to have a favorite story. But this ranks in the top two or three for me. I think a part of it is the company I was keeping as I wrote it.
My new family — my fiancée, her children and my son and former stepdaughter (who calls my home her permanent residence) — spent the summer travelling across the United States. It was a remarkably restful time for us. My fiancée is a university professor and the children are still in school. Since I am unofficially semi-retired, this was the first time any of us had taken an extended vacation.
It saddens me greatly that it is likely the last one we will be able to take. Unfortunately, I am going to have to return to work eventually. The children are growing quickly. My former stepdaughter is a sophomore in college. My fiancée's oldest child is starting high school. Her youngest is in fifth grade and my son is in kindergarten. Their lives are rapidly becoming their own.
But for one glorious eight-week period our lives were intertwined. I wrote this story and another, Finding Shelter, in the mornings while I waited for everyone to get ready. I am an early riser — all those years of newspaper work have conditioned me to sleep far less than most people, I suppose. So I would take my laptop to wherever I could find a cup of coffee and spend two or three hours in relative solitude before the day began in earnest.
My long-time editor, DesertPirate, agrees with my assessment of the story. He wrote to tell me that The Hillside is one of his favorite stories of mine, too. His opinion means a great deal to me and I can't fully explain how much effort the stalwart volunteer editors put forth. DesertPirate is one of the best, in my opinion, this site offers. I appreciate his contributions to all my stories.
I know there are historical inaccuracies in this story. Not surprisingly, I'm OK with them. I don't think they detract much from the story and I hope the reader will be able to remove himself from reality long enough to overlook the flaws.
In short, I hope you enjoy reading this story as much I enjoyed writing it.