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“...And so let us give thanks on this beautiful Sunday morning to our Lord Jesus Christ, who has wrought wonders and brought peace to the trenches in Europe, and,” the minister on loan from Knights Mill Methodist Church allowed a pregnant pause, “dare we hope, an everlasting peace to the whole world over. Amen.”
Wally was awoken by an elbow nudged against one arm, and then he was standing with the rest of the congregation to sing a hymn in praise of the Lord Jesus Christ. Wally caught the glare from his employer, two spaces over in the shared pew, as well as the continued stares of interest from his employer’s three daughters in the space beyond. The hired man responded to both looks by staring straight ahead at the whitewashed wall before him and belting out the lines from the hymnal with gusto.
The service was over, and then the minister was at the door to shake hands with the departing. Wally, seated to the far side of the frontmost of the packed pews, was the last out of the single-room church, and was given a long handshake as Frank Darcy introduced him.
“Well, it’s always a pleasure to have new souls in town. Where are you from?”
“Illinois. Oak Park.”
“Well, welcome to Monroe. What brings you back East?”
Wally released the hand and maintained his smile. “Well, I just sort of landed here.”
Dr. MacCracken belted out a laugh that threw his head back and thrust forward the leather-bound Bible gripped in one of his hands. “I like honesty in a man.” He gripped Wally’s shoulder and gently guided him out the door of the tiny church. “You know, the Church is ready-made for drifters.”
“I’ll keep that in mind,” Wally replied, out of a lack of anything else to say.