Abram's Daughters 04 The Prodigal

Free Abram's Daughters 04 The Prodigal by Unknown

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eatin' more and talkin' less," he said, repeating one of Dawdi's sayings as he poked her in the ribs.
    Adah's little boys were busy with their bowls of pudding and too small to have caught the embarrassing banter between Abe and Lydiann. But Miriam hadn't missed it, not one iota; Sadie knew this because she'd heard a gasp escape Miriam's lips.
    "Are ya havin' a happy birthday, Abe?" Miriam asked, her voice pitched higher than usual.
    Sadie felt as though she might lose her composure and start laughing, although she was ever so sure such an outburst might not be the wisest thing for a widow in mourning. Besides that, Miriam was sitting only a few inches away from her. What would she say if she also knew of Sadie's reluctance to return Leah's letter and make a heartfelt apology?
    Thoughts of the rigid period, penance for her sins, calmed her quickly, and she sat back and became an observer, immersing herself in the cheerful chatter, especially between the birthday boy and his next-oldest sister. Sadie's gaze drifted to Leah. To think she had, all those long, sad years, assumed Sadie had been married to Jonas, yet she showed Sadie not a hint of past bitterness now. Today especially, Sadie found herself wishing for a tongue-lashing from her sister, if not worse.
    79
    ihily, Leah exemplified a forgiving spirit, just as Mamma had l|l lief day-, 111 it surely there were limits even for someone like
    f There, in the midst of the laughter and the celebrating, Indie fell ;is sad as could be, missing both her husband and piithef. She'd thought she would have a lifetime with Harvey, fiul here she was a widow. Had she taken their wedded hapnllii'NM for granted? She felt torn between longing for Harvey Ifid believing she'd squandered Mamma's final years, yet had [In *i'nyed put in Gobbler's Knob with Mamma, she never L'uiil have met and fallen in love with her Harvey. Oh, ji iineilines there was just no sorting through emotions so raw Id' I unnerving.
    I When the dishes were cleared away, washed, and dried, Pud it? sat in the front room with Miriam, glad to be alone f\\\\ Mamma's bosom friend. "How are ya feelin' this week, it win' Christmas and all?" asked Miriam, touching the back of lidio's hand.
    I "Well, it's not the happiest Christmas I've ever had," she liliniiied. "But it's wunderbaar'gut being back home in Goblin'1, Knob. ^'ve been enjoying the fun with Lydiann and
    khf."
    E NIiriam nodded, her eyes intent on Sadie. "But ya must be unking 'bout your loss, too."
    I 'i;idie looked down at her black apron, so much a part of Li daily attire. It was cut from the same bolt of fabric as her huiirning dress, making it difficult to tell where one began Bid I lie other ended. "Some days I think I might wear black |ii iesi of my life." For all the deaths ... She didn't say what In was really thinking, because she'd confided only in Leah pyiinling the many stillbirths.
    79
    fFFf'fffl80ci_- eusis
    " 'Course you'd be thinkin' thataway," Miriam said, sighing. "Harvey's passing is still fresh in your mind."
    "He was a good man," Sadie said. "He never lost his temper that I know of, not once. He spoke kindly of everyone, and he got along famously with all his siblings."
    Miriam listened, her gaze not straying from Sadie's. "How many brothers and sisters?"
    "Five brothers and three sisters." Lest Miriam wonder why Harvey's siblings hadn't invited her to live with one of them, Sadie explained that, after his death, she had felt the Lord God was calling her home to Lancaster County.
    "Oh, such a blessed thing to hear, Sadie! Does our bishop know of this?"
    "No ... I said not a word." She wouldn't reveal she cared not one whit for Bishop Bontrager, not as far as she was into the Proving now. If he knew the full truth about her, would he consider even this punishment too slight? Surely he would, but Sadie couldn't bear much more, most days wishing she could simply blend into the mopboards.
    "I'm thinkin' he oughta know," Miriam was saying. " Tis high

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