BQE Stories Available in Print!

Wish these stories were available in a paper version? Wish there were more of them? Well, you can and there are! We’ve compiled the stories we posted in 2013 and 2014, plus a few never-before-published stories in a print edition. titled (what else?) BQE Stories. It’s available at and at

Eagle Nest Lake Vacation – 11 of 15

In the last two weeks, Katie hadn’t done much beyond fishing on Eagle Nest Lake. She hadn’t joined her parents on their evening forays into the nearby village or countryside, so when Daniel invited her to his family’s ranch, she wasn’t sure what to expect.

The ranch house was at the north end of the valley, beside a small stream that wound between pine trees. Cattle and horses grazed beside it. It looked like a park.

After she met his parents, Daniel took her to the barn.

There were four three-month-old calves. As Katie and Daniel entered the stall, the calves surged toward them. Katie put out her hand and one began sucking her fingers. She gasped at the roughness and intensity of its tongue and then laughed. “It’s hungry,” she said.

“They like you,” Daniel said.

“I like them, too,” she said in surprise. She smiled and scratched a knobby head.

Copyright © 2014 Loretta Miles Tollefson

Eagle Nest Lake Vacation – 10 of 15

They had been at Eagle Nest Lodge for eight days. At breakfast on the ninth morning, Katie’s mother said, too casually, “I wish we could stay here forever.”

Her father pushed back his chair. “Maybe it’s possible.” He looked at Katie. “What d’ya think? It’s beautiful country.”

“With hardly anyone in it,” she answered. Her eyes narrowed. “You have to go back to work.”

“Well, not exactly.” He shifted his weight. “The store’s probably going to close, given the economy and all. And the lodge needs a bookkeeper.”

“I thought the store was Depression proof.”

“The boss wants to retire.”

She looked at her mother. “You can take photographs here, but you can’t show them.”

“I have enough gallery contacts in the city. And there’s a room in the basement that’ll convert nicely into a darkroom.”

She glared at them. “You’ve already decided.”

“Well, not exactly,” they said in unison.

Copyright © 2014 Loretta Miles Tollefson


“I’m getting up early tomorrow to photograph Wheeler Peak at sunrise,” Katie’s mother said. “The light’s just incredible.” They were in the Lounge after dinner, in front of Eagle Nest Lodge’s stone fireplace. “Want to come?”

“No thanks.” Katie didn’t approve of her mother’s photography. It interfered with her real responsibilities. Not that Katie’s father seemed to mind.

“You know, you should start thinking about what you’re going to study after high school,” her mother said.
“Since you only have two years left.”

“I don’t need to study what I want to do.”

“And that would be?”

“Wife and mother.”

“You can also have a career.”

“Not me.”

Her mother chuckled. “Where did I go wrong?” she asked the firelight rhetorically. She stood up. “I’m going to bed. Let me know if you change your mind.”

Katie frowned at the fire. Nothing could touch the woman, she thought irritably.

Copyright © 2014 Loretta Miles Tollefson

Eagle Nest Lake Vacation – 8 of 15

They went fishing three afternoons in a row. On the fourth day, Daniel rowed south, paralleling the shore, and then angled toward the grass. “I want to show you something,” he said.

Katie frowned. “I’d rather fish.”

“It won’t take long.”

He beached the boat and took her hand as they crossed the hillside toward the trees. When they reached the first bushes, he paused and turned. She thought he was going to kiss her. Instead, he gestured toward the valley below.

“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?”

“Kind of lonely,” Katie said. “Not many people.”

“That’s why I like it.” He turned back toward the trees. “Come on.”

He led her up through the rocks and trees to the edge of a small meadow. “Quiet,” he warned, then, “See them?”

There were three elk in the meadow, two with babies. She nodded absently and looked back toward Eagle Nest Lake.

Copyright © 2014 Loretta Miles Tollefson

Eagle Nest Lake Vacation – 7 OF 15

There were ten fish in the bottom of the rowboat when they got back to Eagle Nest Lodge. They’d each caught five. Katie was sunburnt and tired, but happy. Daniel had pointed out two eagles and an osprey diving from the cliffs near the dam, but she was more interested in the thrill of fish tugging at her line.

“Would you like to go again tomorrow?” he asked, helping her from the boat.

“Sure,” she said. “Can we go farther out on the lake?”

“It’ll be windier out there.”

“We can see more.”

He smiled. “All right.”

They took the fish to the kitchen, where the cook promised to cook them for dinner, then Daniel went home.

As they were eating that night her mother said, “Well, I guess we don’t need to worry about Katie’s future. She can always catch fish.”

“Or boys.” Her father said, grinning. “Even here.”

Copyright © 2014 Loretta Miles Tollefson

Eagle Nest Lake Vacation – 6 of 15

Katie and Daniel exchanged basic information as he rowed the boat toward Eagle Nest Dam. He’d be a senior at the high school in Taos in the Fall, but lived on a ranch farther up the valley. He worked at Eagle Nest Lodge in the summer, when they needed extra help.

Katie explained that she was vacationing with her parents and would be a junior at the Oklahoma City High School. She studied Daniel’s shoulders as he worked the oars.

“Do you like to fish?” he asked.

“Don’t know.” She smiled at him. “I never have.”

He grinned. “Or we can just look at the scenery.”

She shook her head. “That’s too passive. I’d rather fish.”

“But you don’t know if you’ll like it.”

“Oh, I will.”

He grinned at her and paused the oars. “Sure of yourself, aren’t you?”

“I try to be,” she said.

Copyright © 2014 Loretta Miles Tollefson