Home > Uncategorized > At Home In Heinz Hollow – #2

At Home In Heinz Hollow – #2

Okay, I’m still not sure where this will end up, but here’s the next part of the story.

* * *

“Thank you for a fine meal, Marge,” said Sepp. “I always look forward to Friday evenings and your good cooking.”  He pushed back his chair from the big kitchen table, preparing to leave.

“You’re most welcome. We’re always grateful for your help,” she replied with a friendly smile. “Many hands make light work of the milking, and we’re always glad for your company, Sepp. Won’t you stay a little longer, though? It’s a nice night, too nice to spend it all alone.”

Sarah and her husband Alex were busy washing dishes over at the sink and afterward they would all have a family hymn sing, but Sepp was impatient to leave the tidy kitchen and return home to his book. Normally he stayed with his neighbors later than this on Fridays, but this evening he was restless and craved solitude. “Thank you, but I have a few things I need to do before bed tonight. I’ll see you on Sunday morning.”

He rose and discovered that Dan Radamacher was walking by his side to the door. That was unusual. He wondered why. He took his old black hat from the hook by the door and slapped it carelessly on his head. The older man held the door for him and followed him outside to the porch. Sepp looked at him, curious.

“I’d like a word with you, if you can spare the time,” said Dan. He gestured toward two chairs that were off in the corner, facing the sunset sky.

Sepp sat down in one, a nervous feeling kindling in his stomach. Dan and Marge Radamacher had always been his neighbors. They had known his grandparents. They were godly, kind people and he enjoyed lending a hand on their farm when he was needed, but he often felt awkward if he were forced to be too close to people. All of the six Radamacher children were younger than he was, and in fact the youngest was one of his students. His solitary life was so different from their big bustling family. Dan’s blue eyes were serious as they looked at each other.

“You haven’t come to the community meetings the past couple of months,” he said abruptly. “Is something wrong, Sepp?”

His mouth dropped open in surprise and heat rose in Sepp’s cheeks. Was it so obvious that he was feeling uneasy? He fought an urge to squirm, wondering suddenly how many of his brethren watched him as he went about his everyday life. What could he say? He inhaled slowly.

“I don’t feel like my presence is really needed at every meeting,” he began, struggling to find the right words. “Since I don’t farm or produce much of anything to sell in the shop, I don’t feel like the community’s business is mine. I’m paid by all of you to teach, that’s all, and I don’t know that it would be proper for me to be advising all of you about finances.”

Dan frowned. “I’m disappointed, my friend. It’s true that our meetings are mainly to discuss community finances, but you’re an equal part of our fellowship, and what concerns one or more of us, concerns us all. You’ve got a quick mind for numbers, and you ask good questions about the figures Gebhard and the others give us.” Sighing, he continued more slowly, “Maybe I’ve spent too long working on the farm here, but those financial reports from the shop, the inventory and especially the ones about profits, they confuse me at times. I like having you there. I think it’s important for all of us to understand our common finances. After the meeting last week I asked Ben to explain again to me why we made so little money over the past season. He talked for pretty near half an hour and I left still feeling as confounded as before.”

Crickets chirped, filling the silence that followed. The sound of children’s voices drifted out of the house and Sepp realized that they were waiting for Dan to go inside.

“I don’t believe I know any more than you about how the finances should be, but if you think it’ll help, of course I’ll come to the next meeting.” He watched Dan’s frown lighten, but sensed there was something more that was left unsaid. Perhaps there’s something in the air these days, he thought, that’s breeding discontent and worry.

“I’d appreciate it if you’ll be there. I’d like to talk these things over with you,” said Dan. “Now Sepp, you do so much to help us here, is there anything that needs doing over at your place? We’d be glad to do something to help you.”

It shouldn’t be so hard to accept help from a neighbor, he thought, irritation rising in him. Dan meant well, but… “No thanks, there’s nothing,” he exclaimed, scrambling to find an excuse that would not offend. “Next summer the house will need painting, but everything’s fine right now.”

Dan nodded. “I see you’re ready to be off. Thank you for your help then, as always, and we’ll see you at Sunday service.”

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  1. August 12, 2010 at 14:38

    Nice. I love how this plays into the first book without giving it away. 😀

    • August 12, 2010 at 15:09

      It won’t give anything away, except Sepp’s personal thoughts. The poor man!

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