A Quilt for Jenna

A Quilt for Jenna by Patrick E. Craig Read Free Book Online

Book: A Quilt for Jenna by Patrick E. Craig Read Free Book Online
Authors: Patrick E. Craig
empty, aching sorrow, and then she found herself walking slowly along with him out to the grave.
    The bishop who led the funeral went ahead of the mourners to the graveyard. When all had gathered beside the grave site, he gave a final prayer, and the pallbearers closed Hannah Hershberger’s coffin for the last time. They placed ropes under the coffin and used them to lower the coffin into the ground. Members of Jerusha’s family stepped forward and threw a handful of earth onto the coffin. Jerusha stood a long time with the dirt in her hand before she dropped it into the grave. When the clod hit the top of her grandmother’s coffin, it sounded like a door slamming. A knife twisted in her heart as in that moment she came to grips with the reality of death and its finality. Jersusha stepped back, and as the mourners watched, the pallbearers filled in the grave. And then it was over. There were no flowers or foliage near the grave. The plain tombstone lay on its side, waiting to be set in place.
    Hannah Hershberger, 1862–1941, 79 years, 2 months, 5 days.
    That was the summation of her grandmother’s life. Somehow it seemed not enough.
    As Jerusha slowly walked back to her father’s buggy, the young man who had stopped her from crying out stepped in beside her and spoke to her. The sound of his voice was rich and masculine, and she suddenly felt herself blush. She plucked up her courage and looked into those startling blue eyes. They were still smiling at her, and then she heard his words coming to her as though from a long distance away, and slowly she realized what he was saying.
    â€œI’m Reuben Springer, and you’re the girl who makes those quilts,” he said. Then he turned and walked back to the road.

    The upside-down car teetered back and forth in the wind like an old rocking chair. Inside, buried in a pile of clothing, blankets, and a seat cushion, lay the little girl. She had reddish-blonde hair and a determined chin. Her skin was blue from the cold, and over the hours she passed in and out of consciousness. The front of the car lifted up, settled down again, and then lifted up again. The wind blew harder and then eased off. The car moved a little, sliding a few inches more out onto the ice. The snow had blanketed the surface of the pond, hiding the hole that had been there only hours before.
    As the car rocked gently, a picture came into the little girl’s mind. She was warm and safe in her mama’s arms, and her mother was singing a song as she gently rocked back and forth, back and forth.
    Suddenly the wind picked up again, and a strong gust hit the car. The front end reared up like a horse and then smashed back down onto the ice. The ice groaned and cracked, and then a small fracture began to run out from under the front of the car like a lightning bolt.


    I N THE SPRING OF 1941, distant rumblings of the conflict in Europe had come to Apple Creek from time to time, but for the most part the Plain People did not involve themselves in discussions about England’s battle against the Nazis. Their firm belief in nonresistance precluded any discussion of a possible global war. The people remembered that in World War I the government had drafted Amish men, but most refused to fight, and the whole community had suffered persecution and scorn as a result.
    And now, before another war erupted, the elders of the faith were working with the government to provide honorable alternatives to actual combat. However, the possibility of being forced into combat was a source of some concern among the young people. Even so, on this lovely spring morning, thoughts of the war and the world outside Apple Creek were far from Jerusha’s mind.
    Jerusha hadn’t seen Reuben Springer since her grandmother’s funeral, but she thought about him often. She remembered his gentle touch and soothing voice. She especially remembered his deep blue eyes and the effect

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