Disclaimer- I own nothing but the original characters in this story. I am making no money off this story, writing just for fun.
The young redhead pulled her blue Trans Am to a stop in front of the feed store in Hazzard Square. She stepped out of her vehicle and looked around, not seeing many people around this early on a Thursday morning. She walked into the feed store, seeing a few customers in there. She walked up to the counter and rang the bell.
"Can I help you miss?" an employee came from the back.
"Yes, I need to purchase several things and place an order for hay to be picked up tomorrow." She smiled.
"Well, what can I get for you?" he asked, picking up a pencil to write down her order.
"I need twenty pounds of cracked corn, twenty pounds of rabbit pellets, twenty pounds of scratch, fifty pounds of oats and grains and I would like to order ten bales of hay." She said.
"You just buy a farm around here? I don't remember seeing you around." The man asked.
"I am moving home to Hazzard County and taking over my family farm." She smiled. "You will be seeing a lot of me I am sure."
"I will have the boys gather your things; you can pick it up out back. Your hay can be picked up tomorrow before we close at 5pm. How do you wish to pay for this?"
"Cash." She reached into her purse.
"And what name should I put your order in?"
"Collins. Julia Collins." She smiled.
Julia paid for her order, took her receipt and walked outside to her car. She climbed inside and pulled around to the back to pick up the feed she had ordered. She saw the items she ordered being stacked on the edge of the loading dock. She got out and popped the trunk. She handed the employee her receipt.
"Would you like us to help you load it?" he asked.
"That would be nice, thank you." She said as she grabbed a bag of cracked corn.
When everything was loaded, she slammed the trunk and climbed back in her car, driving around Hazzard Square and parking outside the bank. She looked up at JD Hogg's bank and realizing she had no other option in Hazzard, walked inside. She saw Emery Potter and recognized him as the teller on duty. She walked up to his window.
"Yes, how can I help you?" Emery asked.
"I am moving to the area and would like to open a bank account." She smiled.
"Of course, we'll need you to fill out some papers." Emery began gathering the papers.
Boss Hogg walked out of the vault and came over to see what Emery was doing.
"We got a new customer Mr. Hogg. She says she is moving to Hazzard and is opening an account with us." Emery said.
Boss looked over and recognized Julia. "Julia Collins, I would recognize you anywhere. You still got your daddy's eyes." Boss smiled and walked around the counter. "It is so good to see you back in Hazzard."
"Thank you, Mr. Hogg. It is good to be home after five years." She smiled as Boss hugged her.
"I haven't seen you since you and your mama moved away after your high school graduation. You sure are a sight for sore eyes." Boss chuckled. "Arthur Collins' daughter back in Hazzard. Say how is your mama doing?"
"I lost mama almost two years ago." Julia answered as Emery handed her forms to fill out.
"I am so sorry to hear that. Miss Amanda was a great lady." Boss said.
"Thank you Mr. Hogg." Julia said.
"And let me say how pleased I am that you chose my bank to do business with. And if you need anything, anything at all….you just let me know." Boss said.
"Thank you. I appreciate such a warm welcome." Julia was polite, but remembered Boss Hogg all too well from her childhood and teen years. "And please, say hello to Miss Lulu for me."
"Oh I sure will. She sure did love your mama." Boss said.
"I know. Mama spoke fondly of Miss Lulu many times." Julia said.
Julia finished her business in the bank and after depositing a good bit of the cash she had on her, she walked back out to her car. She looked across the square and saw Rhuebottoms store and decided to get some supplies before heading back out to the farm. Driving around the square she parked her car and walked inside.
She looked around and didn't see Mr. Rhuebottom anywhere but picked up a basket and began gathering things she would need. She grabbed some fresh bread and some eggs and began looking through the canned goods. She turned the corner looking for where the milk was kept when she bumped into someone.
"Oh I am so sorry, excuse me." She looked up. "Luke Duke!"
"Julia Collins!" Luke exclaimed and hugged her. "I can't believe it! What are you doing in Hazzard?"
"I just moved back. The last tenants to rent the farm moved last month, so I decided to move back to Hazzard and just got hired at Hazzard High School as the new history teacher, I start in the fall." She said in one breath.
"I haven't seen you since I left for the marines, you were what sixteen?" Luke smiled.
"Well Luke, aren't you gonna introduce me to the….." Bo walked up to them. "Julia?"
"Bo Duke!" she exclaimed and hugged him.
"Julia Collins, what are you doing back?" Bo hugged her.
"I was just telling Luke, I am moving back. I got a job and I am gonna stay at the farm. I just got into the county late last night and have been in town this morning trying to get things in order." Julia said.
"Uncle Jesse is just gonna pleased as punch when he hears you're back in Hazzard." Luke smiled.
"Last we heard from your mama you were in college in West Virginia." Bo said.
"Yeah, she wrote your Uncle Jesse a few letters after we moved. But what are you boys doing here? She said y'all were caught running shine." She asked.
"Uncle Jesse made a deal with the government and we got probation." Luke explained.
She nodded in understanding. "I can't believe how much you two have grown up. Where are Coy and Vance? They in Hazzard too?"
"No, Vance is still with the merchant marines and Coy is in Detroit." Bo said.
"You gotta come to the farm tonight for dinner. Uncle Jesse would love to see you and I know Daisy would too." Luke said.
"Daisy is still around? Oh I would love to see her. I missed her so much after we moved." Julia said.
"Then it's settled, you're coming to dinner tonight." Luke said.
"I would love that. I hate to run off but I need to buy a few more things and get back out to the farm. The place is a mess with all my boxes and stuff everywhere and I gotta get the barn ready my horse is being brought in on Saturday. And I still gotta arrange to get my mail delivered." Julia said.
"We'll help you." Luke said and took her basket.
"Oh I couldn't impose."
"You're not. We offered. Besides, Uncle Jesse just sent us to get a few things, we got time." Luke said.
"How is Uncle Jesse? I missed him so much. I missed you all after we moved. I understood mama wanted to be close to her family after daddy died, but…..leaving was hard on me." Julia said as continued putting things in the basket.
"Uncle Jesse is the same. How is Miss Amanda?" Bo asked.
"Mama passed on about two years ago. She was never the same after daddy died, even after we moved to West Virginia. My sophomore year of college she was diagnosed with lung cancer. She underwent surgery and chemo but the cancer came back. When the doctors found it the second time, she refused treatment. She said she couldn't stand the pain and sickness the chemo caused again. So we talked about it; I didn't want her to suffer and we knew daddy was waiting for her. She held on long enough for me to finish my junior year."
"I'm sorry to hear that." Bo said.
"Thank you. So I stayed on in West Virginia long enough to finish school and get my certification in teaching. I taught a semester in West Virginia but….I wanted to come home to Hazzard and poked around, found out old Mr. Harper was retiring from the high school and applied for the job…and here I am." Julia finished.
"Mr. Harper is still alive? He had to be 90 years old when we had him." Bo chuckled.
"Isn't that the truth?" Julia laughed. "Where is the cat food? And does Mr. Rhuebottom even sell cat litter?"
"I'm sure he does. He has just about everything." Luke said.
Julia walked off to find the cat supplies.
"I can't believe Julia is back. Man has she grown up." Luke said.
"Yeah, and in all the right places." Bo chuckled.
"Yeah, makes me wish I had been nicer to her when she and Daisy were playing tea party." Luke laughed.
"Yeah, you were pretty mean to them. Putting that snake in her dollhouse." Bo said.
"That was you. And Uncle Jesse tanned your hide good for it too." Luke laughed.
"Oh yeah." Bo remembered.
Julia came back with a bag of cat food and cat litter. Bo took them from her as they walked to the front. Mr. Rhuebottom came out of the back.
"Little Julia Collins? Is that really you?" he asked.
"Mr. Rhuebottom, it is so good to see you." She smiled.
"Back for a visit?"
"Back for good." She smiled.
"That is wonderful news. I will ring you right up." He smiled.
Once Julia had paid for everything, Bo and Luke helped her carry her bags outside. She walked up to her Trans Am and unlocked it to place the bags in the backseat.
"This is your car?" Bo whistled, looking over the blue Trans Am.
"Yeah, you like it? I call him 'Lonely Blue Boy' after the Conway Twitty song." Julia smiled.
"Car like this might give the General some competition." Luke handed her a bag to place in the backseat.
"The General?" Julia asked.
"General Lee." Luke smiled and nodded his head towards the orange stock car sitting at the Hazzard Garage.
Julia smiled. "Now that is a car. Looks like something you would see driving at Daytona."
"You still cheer for Richard Petty?" Bo asked.
"He's still the king." Julia smiled.
"He might win the Winston Cup again this year." Luke said.
"It would be his seventh." Julia beamed. "You boys still race?"
"Every time one comes nearby." Luke smiled.
"Some things never change." She chuckled and finished loading her groceries.
"We better get that stuff for Uncle Jesse." Luke said.
"Thanks so much boys. It has been so nice seeing you again. I can't believe how much you have grown up. I need to be getting to the farm." Julia hugged the boys.
"Don't forget about dinner tonight. 6pm." Luke said.
"I wouldn't miss it." Julia climbed in her car. "See you boys later."
They watched Julia drive off.
"Come on, let's get our stuff and head back to the farm. Uncle Jesse is gonna be thrilled to hear Julia is back." Luke said as he and Bo headed back into Rhuebottoms.
At 5:55, Julia pulled her Trans Am up outside the Duke farmhouse. She had barely cut the engine when she saw Jesse come out of the house with Daisy close behind him.
"Julia Collins, get out of that car and let me look at you." Jesse smiled.
Julia stepped out of the car and Jesse embraced her in a bear hug. "I can't believe it. You're all grown up and through college. Just let me look at you."
"It's so good to see you again Mr. Jesse." Julia said.
"Now none of that, you have called me Uncle Jesse since you started talking." He hugged her again. "I am so proud of you…college graduate and certified teacher…..Arthur would be so proud."
"I hope so." Julia said.
"Oh he would be. What a beautiful lady you grew into. You still have your daddy's eyes." Jesse said.
"Daisy….oh I have missed you." Julia hugged Daisy. "You are still the prettiest girl in Hazzard."
"Not now that you are back." Daisy chuckled. "I am so glad to have you back. I missed you so much when you left."
"I missed you too. Mama worried I was gonna run away back to Hazzard I was so homesick at first." Julia hugged her again.
"I was so sorry to hear about Miss Amanda. She was the sweetest lady." Daisy said.
"Thank you. She always thought of you as a second daughter." Julia said.
"Well let's get on inside, I left the boys watching the stove and knowing them dinner has burned." Daisy chuckled.
"Sounds wonderful." Julia said as Daisy took her arm and walked inside with her.
Inside the house, Julia found Bo setting the table and Luke monitoring the stove. They smiled at her as she walked in. Daisy walked back over to take over the stove.
"Looks like everything is ready. As soon as I get it in bowls we can eat. Luke would you put the iced tea on the table?" Daisy asked.
"Julia, you sit right up here beside me. I want to hear all about how you are doing and what your plans are." Jesse said.
Jesse sat at the head of the table with Julia on his right and Luke on his left. Bo sat next to Julia and Daisy sat next to Luke. Daisy placed all the food bowls on the table. They joined hands around the table as Jesse said grace for the meal. After grace they were seated.
"The boys tell me that you are living back out at your family farm?" Jesse said.
"That's right. I am still getting the house in order. Everything in the house seems to be fine. But I was looking at the barn today and the roof needs patched up. I need to get it done before Cannonball is brought in on Saturday." Julia said.
"Cannonball?" Bo asked.
"My horse. I call him Cannonball, short for Wabash Cannonball. Some of the staff at the stable I boarded him at in West Virginia is bringing him in." Julia said. "I am gonna have to keep him in the corral until I can get the fences mended."
"We'd be glad to help you patch the roof in the barn and mend the fences." Jesse said.
"Oh you don't have to do that, I am sure I can get it taken care of. I was gonna put in ad up at the post office offering to pay whoever was willing to work cheap." Julia said.
"We're gonna help you and that is all there is to it. We'd be glad to do it." Jesse said.
"Shouldn't be too hard and with us doing it you know it's getting done right." Luke said.
"And I would be glad to help you get the house cleaned up." Daisy said.
"Besides, you're like family. It wouldn't be right to let you hire help when we are able to do it." Jesse said.
Julia smiled. "Thank you Uncle Jesse. It means a lot to me that you think of me as family."
"Are you kidding? As much as you were around the farm when we were kids." Daisy said.
"And your daddy and Uncle Jesse ran moonshine together for years." Bo said.
"Arthur Collins was one of the best ridge runners in Hazzard. And I could always depend on him if something went wrong." Jesse said. "One of the best friends I ever had."
"You and Arthur were really close, I remember." Luke said.
"Indeed. Arthur and Amanda moved to Hazzard after World War II ended." Jesse said. "Bought that farm and started working it immediately. Turned out he had run shine in West Virginia during the war while he was working the coal mines."
"He wasn't drafted?" Bo asked.
"No, he tried to enlist but the mine bosses interfered saying they needed young men to work the mines in order to help keep the war going." Julia said.
"That's right. Arthur was a great friend…even helped keep my farm going when I was in Korea." Jesse said.
"I never knew that Uncle Jesse." Daisy said.
"Oh yes, and it wasn't too long after I got home that Martha and I took in Luke and Vance following the death of their parents. Amanda was just tickled to death to help out with them. Arthur and Amanda had given up on having children at that point." Jesse said.
"Mama told me once that she and daddy talked about adopting, even visited the Hazzard Orphanage a few times." Julia said.
"That they did. Then when Coy came to live here, we even discussed Arthur and Amanda adopting him." Jesse said.
"I never knew that." Julia said.
"So what stopped them?" Bo asked.
"Amanda found out she was gonna have Julia. She had what we all thought was a terrible virus, when Arthur took her to the doctor, she found out she was expecting." Jesse smiled. "I can still see Arthur driving up to the house, blowing the horn and shouting. I don't think his feet hit the ground the entire time Amanda was expecting."
"Wasn't that about the time me and Bo came here to stay?" Daisy asked.
"Yes it was. Arthur helped me add the extra room onto the house to make room for everybody. And Martha helped Amanda get ready for her new baby." Jesse said. "I knew Arthur wanted a boy, especially the way he enjoyed helping out with Luke, Vance and Coy. So when the call came in that Amanda had a baby girl, I was a bit worried Arthur would be disappointed."
"Was he?" Julia paled.
"Oh heaven's sakes no." Jesse squeezed her hand to assure her. "Arthur was so crazy about his new baby girl….I never seen a prouder papa. And protective, he was cautious to even let Martha hold you…and we had the five kids here."
Bo chuckled. "I haven't heard you talk about Arthur in years."
"Well losing Arthur was like losing family." Jesse said.
"I remember how hard that was on you Uncle Jesse." Daisy said.
"And when Amanda took Julia and moved back to her home in West Virginia, I understood her wanting to be close to her family." Jesse said. "She rented out their farm so they would have income."
"How did you manage to go to college if you don't mind me asking? I know Arthur's sickness and funeral left huge bills." Daisy asked.
"Oh its fine. I worked and went to community college in Logan County, West Virginia the first year. And I ended up qualifying for a scholarship as the child of a coal miner. It's offered in West Virginia." Julia smiled.
"That is wonderful sweetie. I am so proud of you." Daisy smiled.
"Thank you. I can't tell you how wonderful it is being back here. I love this farm. I spent so much time here as a child and when daddy was sick, I practically lived here." Julia looked around the farm house that looked so familiar to her.
"Well once your daddy got down bad sick, Amanda had to stay at the hospital with him, first at Tri-County and then in Atlanta. I was glad to keep you and make sure you were safe and getting to school." Jesse said.
"You were so good to me Uncle Jesse. I always felt so loved and safe here." Julia smiled. "I can never thank you enough for that."
"No thanks are needed, I was more than happy to do it. I was just so sorry you lost your daddy so young." Jesse said.
"Well, the years of working the coal mines before he came to Hazzard caught up with him. Black lung just destroyed his health." Julia said.
"I just can't believe how much you still look like your daddy." Luke said.
"Arthur was so handsome, looked just like Paul Newman." Daisy chuckled.
"He was." Julia agreed. "By the way, this meal is fabulous."
"Thank you." Daisy smiled.
"Finish up dinner and we'll have some coffee in the living room." Jesse said.
After dinner, Daisy served coffee to everyone as they sat around the living room to talk. Julia smiled that not much had changed in the past few years around the Duke home.
"So what all do you need done out at the farm?" Luke asked Julia.
"The barn roof and fences that I already mentioned. The chicken coop could use some work, I don't want anything getting in to harm my chickens. I brought a rabbit pen with me but I need something to keep my ducks and geese in." Julia said.
"We'll get all that done. Don't you worry. And I will look over the house to make sure that everything is in good shape." Jesse said.
"I appreciate that. I really do. Are you sure y'all won't let me pay you?" Julia asked.
"I won't even hear the notion." Jesse said.
"I just can't believe you will be back over at the high school. Boy did we have some good times there." Daisy chuckled.
"Oh yeah…..you on the cheerleading squad and me as a majorette. Both of us trying to hide from Hughie Hogg." Julia laughed.
"Don't mention that swine." Luke chuckled.
"Do you remember that time Hughie showed up at the pep rally bonfire and asked us both to the homecoming dance?" Daisy laughed.
"Oh goodness yes, you had already agreed to go with Robbie Calhoun and Coy had promised to take me if no one I liked asked me." Julia chuckled.
"And Hughie would just not let up on us." Daisy laughed.
"And Coy noticed we were flustered and came running over to try to help." Julia giggled.
"Just in time to see you smack Hughie up the side of the head with your baton." Daisy laughed harder.
"That sounds like Hughie alright." Bo laughed.
"It really is good to be back in Hazzard." Julia leaned back and sipped her coffee.