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Jacob harnessed up Tater and Spud while we were getting ready. I usually insist on doing that job myself. I love doing it, and I don't get to spend as much time fussing with them, as I used to when I was living at home. I got Benjamin all ready and Avery took him from me and out to the wagon. I stepped up to get into the wagon, and felt someone take a hold of my elbow. I knew it was Jacob. I tried not to let on but it made me uncomfortable for him to touch me, even in such an innocent way. Other men have done that same thing for me many times, but he just gives me a feeling that I can't shake. I hurried to get into the wagon so he would let go.
I murmured to him, "Thank you Jacob."
He smiled, "Anytime Missy.......uh, Rachel."
"Any message you want me to give to your mother?" I asked looking him in the eye.
He looked down, "No." And he turned to walk back toward the barn with his head still down.
As we were going down the road I said to Avery, "You'd think he'd want to see his own mother at least."
"What do you think she will say when you tell her that he is here?" I asked, as I held Benjamin close. He looked happy to be going for a ride today, making his little baby noises that I love so much.
"I wanted to talk to you about that," Avery turned to look at me. "Do not tell her or anyone that Jacob is here. If anyone finds out he is here don't mention how long he has been here."
I paused and thought, now why wouldn't Jacob want his mother to know he was here? Why wouldn't he want to see his sisters? Maybe friends he had before he left so long ago? I was truly puzzled.
"Rachel? Are you with me on this?" Avery was still looking at me.
"Why Avery? What is he hiding? Why wouldn't he at least want to see your mother? I am sure she would be overjoyed to see him. Her oldest child. She doesn't know whether he is dead or alive."
"He doesn't want anyone to know. Even Mother."
"Avery, that would be like Benjamin being gone with no word for ten years. I would be besides myself with worry. Even if she doesn't mention it, I am sure she thinks about him constantly. I would."
"Just promise me you won't say a word to anyone about him being here."
"I can't promise that. I already told Ruth."
Avery's eyes met mine, "Oh no. I hope she hasn't mentioned him to anyone else. We will stop by the hotel on the way home to ask her. Please do this for me, Rachel. He is my brother and if I can help him I want to. I care about him just the way you care about your brothers."
"Okay Avery. For you. Not for him."
Avery seemed relieved then. I was afraid he knew something that I did not. For the moment I just wanted to forget about Mr. Jacob Longworth and his deep dark secrets. I wanted to rejoice because we were going to church again. Benjamin is getting big and is healthy. I need to speak with the pastor about a christening. Usually it would have taken place when he was much younger. So much has happened. Avery being missing for such a long time, not knowing whether he was dead or alive. Then him being hurt so bad and me taking care of him and everything else. And now Jacob.
"Avery, do you mind if I pray for Jacob to go see your parents? At least your mother?"
"No, Rachel. You can pray for whatever you want. Just don't let anyone else hear you. Okay?"
"Okay." With that I settled down in the wagon anxious to get to church and see our family and friends. To see people I hadn't seen much of since I had last gone to town. Going to church settles my mind when I have things I am worried about. I will pray about this matter. As my mother always says about troublesome worries, "put them in the Lord's hands." I will do that today.
We will stop by Ruth's later and she will think it is a strange request from Avery, but she will agree. Unless she has mentioned Jacob to someone else. Then we will go back to the Longworth's house for Sunday dinner. It should be an interesting day. Good thing Benjamin can't talk yet. I don't think he could keep this secret.
Copyright © 2010 Kathleen G. Lupole