from THROUGHOUT ALL TIME
by Ann Ulrich Miller
A freak snowstorm had hit McClure Pass following the Labor Day weekend. Snow blanketed the U.S. Forest Service campground where the volunteer campground host’s travel trailer had rested all summer. It had been Ethan Miller’s first summer in Colorado and his first experience as campground host.
In exchange for greeting campers, keeping records, cleaning restrooms and picking up trash, the Forest Service had permitted Ethan to live in the campground. Not many people he had met over the summer months realized he was not paid for all he did, but it really didn’t matter. It had been beautiful and quiet, and something about the area intrigued him so much that he really didn’t want to leave. There was that sad yearning from somewhere within that called to him. McClure stirred the feelings in him even more. But his family expected him to return to Ohio. Although he was separated from his wife who had left him in 1982, they were on friendly terms. There were also his two sons and a couple of grandchildren. He did miss them.
Ethan had planned to pull out the next day, but now — with all this snow — he would be delayed a day or two — maybe longer. Oh well, what the hell did it matter? He was on no schedule. He had quit punching a time clock three years ago. His time was his own.
My copy of the Roaring Fork Valley Journal came in the mail the first week in September. I had mailed press releases to several newspapers, but had not expected the Carbondale paper to run it this soon. They must have needed filler material.
I was pleased at how clearly my photo had turned out in print. And the article that told of my book’s publication had a catchy headline: EX-LOCAL WRITES PROVOCATIVE SCI/FI NOVEL. Then I frowned at the editor’s choice of sub-head: “Return to Earth or live with beloved but ugly abductor?’’ That word ugly just did not fit! Obviously the editor had not read my book.
When my kids came home from school, I showed them the article. The oldest, Ryan, was not yet 12. Marty would soon be 8. Both of them were too eager to turn on the television to pay much attention to my show-and-tell. Jeff came home from work at the Forest Service an hour later and I proudly displayed the paper.
“Hmph’’ was his reaction. He barely gave it a glance before grabbing the remote control from the boys and switching the channel to the evening news. I shrugged and put the paper down, then went to make supper. It wasn’t that my husband lacked enthusiasm for my accomplishment. After all, he had partially funded my loan to get the book into print. He refused to give me the money outright, but agreed to finance me — at the current rate of interest, of course. At the time I was grateful to him because, on my modest income, I had nothing left after paying the baby sitter, the cable TV bill, my credit card payment and the remainder, which always got sucked up by extraneous household expenses. Jeff had not even read my book yet. The manuscript had been lying around for three years, but he had never shown any interest in reading it or any of my other novels for that matter.
At one time in our marriage, Jeff had confronted me with the opinion that “fiction is worthless.’’ I should be channeling my creative efforts toward more practical, money-making pursuits. I should spend my time writing articles and selling them to high-paying magazines instead of wasting my life cranking out make-believe tales that didn’t amount to anything.
I had found this most insulting and it only made me want to write more fiction. I tried to explain to this left-brained intellectual that there is more to life than making money and looking down on others who are not as privileged in their educational pursuits. I tried to tell him that works of fiction are not frivolous or a waste of time, that they broaden the experiences in the minds of millions. The world would be a sad place indeed without fiction and imagination. Without fiction, what would he be watching on the tube every night? But I soon gave up trying to get through to him. He had a way of always winning arguments and making me feel inferior.
Yet Jeff did finally read Intimate Abduction after it was in print. And he was surprised to discover that he liked it. “You weave quite a good story,’’ he admitted afterwards. I said nothing, but knew it had to be a compliment coming from him.
The journey east had begun. Ethan pulled the trailer down the pass and found it to be steep. The icy patches on Highway 133 certainly were no help. It was early and the sky was still rosy. Twenty-eight miles later he pulled into the Co-op in Carbondale to gas up and buy a cup of coffee.
As he pumped the gasoline into the front tank of his Ford Supercab, he bundled his jean jacket closer to his neck. Cold didn’t bother him much, but summer was over and he wasn’t looking forward to the winter months ahead, especially in northeastern Ohio with the “Lake Effect.” In January he would head south to Arizona, where it was nice and hot. He wondered if he would return to Colorado next summer. It was a possibility, but it all depended upon his guidance. He would know where to go and when.
Inside the Co-op it was warm and he filled a styrofoam cup with black coffee and paid for his gas. Lying on the counter top was a stack of newspapers. The cashier was making change as he reached over and picked up an issue of the Valley Journal. What the hell ... it was only a quarter. Ethan paid for it and left with his coffee.
It was mid-afternoon when he reached Denver. Vail Pass hadn’t been too bad, but after the snowstorm it was no picnic. The trailer was pulling okay, but his mileage was lousy. He had 2,000 miles to drive and at eight miles per gallon it was going to cost him. He hoped to reach Kansas before dark, but pulling the trailer was slowing him down.
Ethan found a truck stop and decided to get gas and eat lunch. He knew he would have to keep his expenses down on his limited income. This trip back home would no doubt use up the major portion of this month’s pension.
Inside the cafe he ordered a bowl of chili, a sweet roll and a cup of coffee. After the waitress left, he opened the newspaper he had bought that morning and began to page through it. Reaching into his shirt pocket, he pulled out his reading glasses and put them on. He enjoyed this small-town paper. Although he usually didn’t read papers much, this one had spunk and spirit. He had bought the paper because he wanted to take part of western Colorado home with him.
The waitress came and poured his coffee, then bustled off. Ethan turned the page and his eyes rested on the word “UFOs’’ as it jumped out at him from the page. His attention was immediately drawn to the headline: EX-LOCAL WRITES PROVOCATIVE SCI/FI NOVEL. Beside the article was a photograph of a woman in her 30s, apparently the author of the UFO book the article talked about. Ethan stared at the woman’s picture. She had medium-length light hair, styled and neat. She wore a rather low-cut blouse that seemed to emphasize her delicate features and gentle shape.
But what drew him most were her eyes. They stared back at him and something stirred within his breast, some longing that started his heart beating faster. Who was this woman? He had to know. Under the picture was her name. Ethan left his coffee to cool and began to read the article.
The telephone was ringing when I came through the door that led from the garage to the kitchen. I set Scotty down and ran to answer it, the day’s mail still under my arm.
“Ann? It’s Shirlè,’’ came a distant voice after my response.
“Oh, hello, Shirlè.’’ My eyes followed Scotty as he tried to tear off his jacket on the kitchen floor.
“Listen, dear, I’m coming to see you.’’ Shirlè Klein-Carsh and I had met one another the past June, during the UFO conference at the University of Wyoming. She was an associate director of UFO Contact Center International in Vancouver, British Columbia. I had become an associate director of the organization two years before, only Shirlé’s group was ten times larger than my local center, and she was a famous artist besides.
She told me over the phone that she was planning to fly to Arizona the first week in November to visit her good friend, another associate director by the name of Helene Charbonneau. “But I’ve booked my flight to Grand Junction,’’ Shirlè disclosed, “so we can meet for a couple of days and start working on our book.’’
I was taken by surprise. We had talked about doing her book at the conference. Shirlè had an incredible story to tell the world about her life and her contact with extraterrestrials, only she had no time to write it herself. I had offered to write the book for her, and she had taken me up on my offer. I simply hadn’t expected it to happen so soon.
I tried to imagine what it would be like having this lady stay at my house for three days with my family and my skeptical husband and my work schedule. But I said, “It sounds fantastic. When should I meet you at the airport?’’
After I hung up, I set the mail on the counter and tended to my son’s immediate needs. What would Jeff say about having this Canadian lady as a house guest? My God, I had to get the house in order, and where was she supposed to sleep?
Later, as I opened the mail, I came across an envelope addressed to Earth Star Publications. It was postmarked from Akron, Ohio. Inside was a money order for eight dollars and a handwritten note requesting a copy of the book Intimate Abduction. It was from Ethan Miller in Ravenna, Ohio.
I remember thinking to myself, “Ethan ... what an unusual name.’’ I puzzled over how this person had found out about my book and finally assumed he was one of those out-of-state people who had a second home in Aspen or somewhere. No doubt he had seen my article in one of the local papers.
As was my custom, I gave the order my immediate attention and the book was autographed, packaged and ready to send the next morning, along with a flyer I slipped in, advertising The Star Beacon.
Two weeks later, I received another money order from Ohio and entered Ethan Miller’s name on the Star Beacon subscription list. Little did I know the fate that was ahead of me.
About the Book:
THROUGHOUT ALL TIME, A Cosmic Love Story, is a memoir by Ann Ulrich Miller, who discovered her soul mate and sacrificed her marriage, her kids and her security in order to grow spiritually and spend the next 18 years of her life with her Divine Counterpart and best friend throughout all time. It was published in May 2009 and is available as a Kindle ebook at Amazon. The paperback is still in print (320 pages), available through Amazon ($17 USD) or directly from the author for just $10.00 (postage included!). Order your copy by sending a check and your address to: Earth Star, PO Box 267,Eckert CO 81418.
More information is available here.