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Chapter IV

Thanksgiving dinner in the Darcy household was subdued, but it did occur, the day after the memorial service for the man whose body would remain overseas. Almost the entire town of Monroe had shown up at the service at the church, many had joined the Darcys at the reception afterward, and more than a few of the local matrons had sent their husbands over the following day with still-hot dishes for the Darcy dinner.

Everyone, Mr. and Mrs. Darcy, their three daughters, Sally, Ann, and Deborah, and the two hired men, Wally and Jim, sat at the dining room table with the darkest clothes in their possession. For Wally that was a black suit, white shirt, and black tie he had purchased the day before with an advance from his employer.

It was Frank Darcy who prompted grace, in the silence of a mourning household. “Let us bow our heads and now give thanks to Our Almighty Father.” The seven seated around the table joined hands and bowed their heads as the head of the household intoned, “Our Father, bless this meal that we have been given on this day, and accept our thanks for all the nourishment, both physical and spiritual, that we have received this year past, and—”

Wally succumbed to his curiosity and opened his eyes to look up from the stainless tablecloth and examine these creatures with their heads bowed in submission to a God they still believed in. When his eyes rose enough, they locked with another pair looking directly at him, a pair belonging to the eldest Darcy daughter. Sally quickly lowered her eyes upon being caught looking, and Wally smiled at her girlish blush as he reclosed his eyes, rebowed his head, and muttered “Amen” with the rest of the table.


Lieutenant Colonel Halstead, still wearing his bandages from his surgery of a week before, checked out of his hotel early on a Friday morning, before the city of Pasewalk had begun to stir from its slumber. The former guest of the hotel ate yet another breakfast of potatoes and turnips in the hotel restaurant (the Allies had refused to lift their blockade after the signing of the Armistice two weeks previous), washed it down with a glass of wine, and departed for the local military hospital, where a certain patient was scheduled to be discharged that morning.

Alternity, Chapter IV:

46/ 47/ 48/ 49/ 50

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