Excerpt from first chapter of "Keeper of the Garden"
|Mac knocked on the door at 6:00 pm. Mary answered it in a simple sundress that tied in the back, but somehow on her it looked elegant.
Mac stood in the doorway, taking in the view of simple beauty in its purest form.
“Won’t you come in?”
Mac took a step forward and handed her the pie he had brought for dessert, then the small bouquet of flowers.
“I didn’t feel right coming empty handed,” he said.
“Thank you Mac, I didn’t know you cooked.”
“I dabble a little, I hope you like it,” Mac’s eyes swept around the small but tidy areas of the house that could be seen.
“Let me put these flowers in some water before they start to wilt,” Mary said.
Mac followed her into the kitchen and noticed there were four place settings. He looked at Mary, quizzically.
“Come, I want you to meet my mother and brother.”
She led him into a small den, where they were reading by a brightly lit lantern.
“I would like you to meet Ephraim Moore. He goes my Mac; Mac this is my mother, Hannah Brown.”
Mac bowed slightly, “It’s a pleasure to meet you ma’am.”
“I’m glad you could join us, Mac,” she said.
Mary turned toward her ten year old brother, “and this is Terence. Terence, this is Mac.”
The lad jumped up and shook his hand with a firm grip. “Welcome to our home,” he said, repeating the greeting he heard his father give many times when company came to visit.
“Thank you, young fella; you have quite a grip there.”
“I have to; I’m the man of the house, now.”
“Terence,” Hannah interrupted, “it’s time to get washed for dinner.”
“Come on Mac, I’ll show you where the wash room is,” he offered.
Mac glanced at Mary, who nodded her head.
“So mama, what do you think of Mac,” Mary asked.
“Don’t quite know yet,” Hannah answered, “I’ll know after dinner, when ‘the man of the house’ gets through with him.” They both laughed quietly.
“Mac, you can sit here,” Mary directed him to the seat next to hers.
“This is really good Mary,” Mac said, “you cooked this?”
“She can cook, can’t she,” Terence added.
Mac nodded as he forked in another bite.
“So, you are Mary’s new boyfriend,” Terence asked, looking out of the side of his eyes at Mac.
Mary and Hannah looked at each other and smiled.
“Not yet, but I would like very much to be; if she’ll have me.”
“How long have you known her?”
“I’d say about a week or so.”
“Are you a church going man?”
Mac was humored by the young Terence’s questions and admired the love he showed for his sister. “Yes sir, I’ve been going to church all my life.”
“I see, and what do you do for a living?”
“I farm a little, a carpenter by trade, and I plan to go to Bible School soon.”
Mary, Mac, and Hannah, laughed. “That’s enough questions Terence; let the man eat, Hannah managed to get out.
“Ok, for now,” he glanced at Mac. “We are a Christian family and we don’t need no devil trying to get in it.”
Mary served the peach cobbler Mac brought.
“This is delicious, Mac, what’s in it, Mary asked, after her first bite.
“It’s no different than a regular cobbler, except my secret ingredient is a pinch of cinnamon, I’m glad you like it.”
Mac insisted on helping Mary clean up after dinner. Then they went to sit on the porch swing.
“So how do you like my family so far,” Mary asked.
“I like them fine.” Mac was trying to think of a gentle way of bringing her father into the conversation, ever since Terence, made the comment about him being the man of the house, but he couldn’t so he simply asked. “Mary where’s your father?”
Her smile disappeared as she looked down for a brief moment, before locking eyes with him. He could see the battle she was having trying to keep the ocean of tears from flooding out of her eyes. His heart sank; he sincerely did not want to hurt her.
“He died in the war,” she said in a shaky voice.
“I’m so sorry, Mary. I didn’t mean to.…”
“It’s not you Mac. I just miss him so much sometime. I wish he was here to meat you tonight.”
“Me too,” Mac cupped his larger hands around hers.
She broke an awkward smile through her tear streaked face, “in some ways you remind me of him.
“Not too much I hope,” Mac smiled trying to lighten the air.
“No, not too much.” She knew what he was doing, she appreciated it, and it worked.
“Isn’t that the most beautiful sunset you’ve ever seen,” Mary asked, looping her arm through his.
“Almost,” Mac replied.
“What do you mean, almost?”
“The most beautiful sunset I’ll ever see is the one that goes down on our wedding night.”
She laid her head on his shoulder. She felt so comfortable with him; so safe, she could let her guard down and just enjoy life when he was around.