Between Friends

My dear Jackie,

I almost canceled my trip to Pierre after you phoned me to say you couldn’t make the trip. I ultimately opted to make my way to our cottage anyway and decided to stay two weeks this time. It’s hard to believe our bad luck—never able to meet up at our quaint home at the same time.

I stopped by to visit Gladys before making my way to our sweet “get-a-way.” She was thoughtful enough to store the swing in her shed until we arrived. Can you guess who she offered to help install it? Yes, yes—her nephew, “Sexy Nick.” I can see you laughing and celebrating right now. Your hint about the box being heavy did the trick. Gladys agreed to deliver the porch swing the next day at my convenience.

When Nick knocked on the door, I swear even his knock emits sex appeal. (Wink, wink) I sat and watched him assemble it and get the pretty, pink swing in place. Although, I did help him a couple of times. Of course, flirting transpired. You didn’t doubt that, did you? All my blushing can now be set aside. I’m so sorry you missed out on that. Oh, and thank goodness you chose a soft pink. I worried it was something in the fuchsia category.

After Nick finished with the swing, I offered to make him dinner. He had other plans—just my luck. But, the good thing about that is, he asked me out to dinner for Friday. I found out he’s forty, which is eight years younger than me. I’m officially a cougar. I doubt anything will develop between us, but I’m glad to have some company.

All that incredible information you found out is good fortune, indeed, Jackie. We could never imagine our luck when buying this place, could we?

I also have exciting news. Wednesday afternoon, I decided to have some hot tea in the breakfast nook and admire the backyard garden. The butterflies are amazing here. I noticed that the picture on the wall to the right of the table was crooked. I tried to straighten it, but it kept catching on to something. So, I took the picture off to check what was causing it. You’ll hardly believe what I found.

Behind the picture is a little cubby with a latched door—the previous owners painted over it, but the latch was loose. I pried open the door and found a five by seven wooden box. I found a key in the box, a pair of antique cameo drop earrings, and a small photograph. The earrings are gorgeous.

Of course, I wanted to find out who the people were in the photo. And, what in the world does the key open? Anyway, I took the earrings to Munson’s Jewelry to appraise them and find out what year they are from. The jeweler estimated that the earrings dated back to 1928 with a value of about five thousand dollars. Wow!

After learning the year, I visited the Historical Society, as you did. I spent hours comparing photographs focusing on anything relating to the Stranglers, and guess what? The couple is none other than Mr. and Mrs. Strangler. I don’t know the year of the picture, but they look very young. I am assuming the year is most likely around 1928.

It can’t be a coincidence that the picture on the wall was crooked. You know I believe in the paranormal, as do you. The spirits inhabiting this place want us to discover some of the secrets to this property. I only wish I knew what that key belonged to.

There it is, Jackie—proof that we are meant to own this house and the property. We are quite the detectives, aren’t we?

Hey, I forgot to buy a bottle of wine for next month, sorry. We must make this work next month. I hope nothing comes up for either of us to interfere.

Hugs and more hugs!

Jean

P.S. My dinner with Nick was wonderful. I’ll fill you in next month.

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