Saturday, September 28, 2013
Dear Jon - Chapter # 9
Hello all! My name is V.L. Locey. I am a self-published and traditionally published author that lives in the mountains of Pennsylvania with my husband of over twenty-two years, my daughter who is seventeen, a herd of dairy goats, chickens, geese, ducks, turkeys, two dogs, two cats, and a partridge in a pear tree. For more info and links about me and my work, check out the Bio tab up above.
Being a fan of music – and many other things - from the 40`s - I thought it would be keen to include the links to the songs mentioned in this story. Here`s Paper Doll by The Mills Brothers. Feel free to play them as you read for atmosphere or wait until you’re done.
See, this is what I never understood about God. One minute he`s using you for punting practice. The next he`s got one of the most fantastic looking men he ever molded from clay smiling at you as you enter his humble shop. Not just a ‘Hey, how are ya?’ smile’ either. There was real pleasure in those slate grey eyes of Ross Coleman`s. The bell announcing our presence was a pleasant sounding one, ringing joyfully just over our heads. I heard the Mills Brothers singing from the backroom.
Andrew was now loosening his grip so that I could feel my fingers. The shop was a small one, but man alive, was it something to behold. Fine furniture crafted by hand filled the shop. Tables, chairs, rockers, hutch cupboards, cradles, and porch swings. You name it, and Ross Coleman could make it, and make it well. Inhaling deeply, my nose tickled as minute particles of wood dust entered my nostrils.
“Well, look what the sunshine brought out.”Ross called, stepping around a tall book shelf of honeyed oak. The wood gleamed in the bright rays streaming in the wide front windows. Andrew released my hand to hug my leg. Walking became interesting. I met Ross halfway. The handshake lasted a second longer than society called for. I was intrigued, but too damned blue to act on it. “What brings you into town?”
“Your truck door,” I said, jerking my head at the front window. Ross raised an eyebrow. There was sawdust in the creeping brow. His black-and-silver hair had a fine coating of wood powder as well. He wore old trousers, a short-sleeved shirt, and an old leather apron. The urge to get my hand under his apron nearly blinded me. I do have a weakness for older men. Tipping his head to peek around my noggin, Ross gazed at his truck parked along the curb, and then looked back at me. “It was me that stove it in. Since I was in town to pay that old grave-tender Martin, I figured I might as well drop in and apologize for the damage.”
“Heck,” Ross said, a slow smile breaking free, “I hadn`t even noticed it. You said you were over to Martin`s? I hope no one close passed.”
“My sister,” I replied, my hand dropping down to rest on Andrew`s sandy-blond head. “His mother,” I added gently. Ross looked down at the lad stuck to my leg like a burdock.
“I am so regretful to hear that.” The man turned from us. He had to sloop and slew like a circus acrobat to fit around all his creations. Behind an old beaten counter he went and then disappeared. I looked down at Andy. He looked up at me, clearly curious as to what was going on. His fingers were tugging the hairs on my legs through the material of my pants, but I didn`t pry him off. That funeral home had scared me as well. When Ross appeared once more, he had a stout wooden horse in his hands. “This is for you,” he smiled, dropping down into a crouch in front of Andy.
“Mr. Coleman, you don`t have to do that,” I said. Andrew reached for the toy horse then stopped when I spoke up.
“I`d like the lad to have it,” Ross said, holding the horse out to Andrew. “I made them to keep the children occupied while the parents shop. He`s more than welcome to it.”
Ross stood up. Andy hugged the clunky horse to his chest.
“That`s very kind, Mr. Coleman,” I said with candor. He brushed off the sentiment, uncomfortable with the praise. “What do you say, Andrew?”
“Thank you,” Andrew squeaked.
“Please, call me Ross, and I`ll call you Jon. That`s the neighborly way of things here in Hannity Hills.”
I nodded, fully aware of how neighborly Hannity Hills could be. I took off my out-of-shape Fedora. The store was rather stuffy. I removed my hankie to mop my brow.
“So, you stove in my truck door? I`m afraid that will cost you, Jon.”
The way he said it jerked my attention from my sweaty forehead. I lowered the handkerchief I had been dabbing with. Was I just hoping to see what I thought was attraction in his thunderstorm eyes? I`d been around the block a time or two, and thought I could read the signs. The bell over the door tingled, shattering the moment like a mallet to the knee. We both took a step back instinctively. A woman called gently from the doorway.
“Why don`t you and the lad meet me at the diner where the accident occurred tonight at six, and we`ll discuss settlement for the door.” Ross smiled politely but the smolder in his eyes was anything but urbane. I wavered. He patted my arm as he left to attend to his customer. “I`ll be there, if you come that`s fine, if not, we`ll meet up somewhere else. I hope I haven`t offended you.”
My palm resting on Andy`s head, I watched him wiggle around a claw-foot end table. The lad began to chatter to his horse. Asking for his hand, I led my charge through the narrow passages, pausing at the front door. Ross was showing a reedy woman in a plain brown dress a delicate shelf to hold whatnots. He looked up when the bell chimed.
I nodded then tapped my old wristwatch, indicating to mind the time. The man inclined his head. ‘Message received’ his smoky gaze said. Outside Andy and I went, my burden feeling somewhat lighter.
“Time to get some staples,” I said, heading to Henderson`s Market on Main Street, my nephew tight to my side. The way finances were going, Andy and I would need every S&H Green Stamp we could beg, borrow, or steal.