Holding a Tender Heart

Holding a Tender Heart by Jerry S. Eicher Read Free Book Online

Book: Holding a Tender Heart by Jerry S. Eicher Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jerry S. Eicher
her home from the Sunday night hymn singing. He’d consider her consent a great privilege , Evert had said. Her heart had beat faster at the very sound of such fancy words. How could it be that handsome Evert Stoltzfus considered it a privilege to have her in his buggy?
    She should have said yah on the spot. Instead, she’d stood speechless, finally managing the words, “I’ll have to ask Daett .”
    From the look on his face, Evert hadn’t liked that answer. Nor had he liked what Daett had told her. “You’d better wait a while on that one, Verna. Tell him nee —for now.”
    With Daett it was always “wait.” He had a cautious approach to life, enforced on him, no doubt, because he had to lead the community through many difficult spiritual decisions. But Evert had no plans to wait. She could tell at the following youth gathering byhow he frowned when she told him her answer. Though to Daett ’s credit, his evaluation of Evert’s character had proven correct. The young man had left the community for the Englisha world not two months later.
    It was Daett ’s only clear victory. All the others—two boys who had asked before Evert (one of which she would have turned down herself)—had gone on to date other Amish girls. Mose Yoder—the one she wouldn’t have turned down—would be married in this fall’s wedding season if the rumors in the community were correct. And she might have been the one who stood beside Mose on his wedding day if Daett had been able to overcome his fears.
    And Daett did the same thing to Ida. He’d turned down two boys already. Thankfully, both of them were boys Ida didn’t particularly care for.
    Lois, on the other hand, had received no offers so far even though she was twenty-one. Whether this came from Daett ’s reputation or from Lois’s own choosing, one couldn’t be certain. With what the people of the community expected from them as the bishop’s daughters, Lois didn’t do anything to help her cause by blabbing all the time about her admiration of the Englisha world.
    Last night, though, had been the worst yet. Never had Lois spoken so outright about her plans to take action. Hopefully her feelings would blow over before long and nothing would become of this. Verna and Ida certainly didn’t need a sister who had jumped the fence to add to their already difficult reputations. If Lois did something wild like that, they might never find suitable husbands—and already the field was getting quite thin.
    Not many men were left who hadn’t either chosen girlfriends or were well on their way to saying their marriage vows. In fact, Joe Weaver wouldn’t have asked Verna home if his girlfriend, Rosy—whom he’d dated for two years—hadn’t broken off their relationship a month or so ago. Because of this, Joe’s request had come as a total surprise. Verna hadn’t even noticed him make eyes at her atthe Sunday meetings. But then neither had she paid much attention, which only confirmed that her heart had been given over to despair that the right man would ever come along. At least someone Daett would approve of. So what exactly could Daett have against Joe Weaver? He lived north of the district, and he was the second boy in his family. The Weavers had been farmers for generations, and his family had a decent reputation. Joe was even gut friends with the handsome and loud-mouthed Paul Wagler, whose reputation no one doubted—at least when it came to whether he was a decent Amish man.
    Surely Daett could find nothing wrong with Joe Weaver. And so when Joe asked her last Sunday, Verna had said yah on the spot. For this man she would put up a fight if necessary. And perhaps Mamm would give her support—if it came to that. But now she had to tell Daett , and her courage failed her. Verna thought back over the week and figured she should have approached Daett at

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