When Maggie woke Sunday morning she didn’t smell coffee. It took her a minute to clear her head and she realized that George was still lying next to her. She turned slightly to get a look at the clock that sat on the table next to where George slept.
“What time is it Maggie?” George asked in a sleep filled voice.
“Oh goodness, it is 7:30! What time is church?” Maggie asked with a slight hint of alarm. Rushing around on her first morning of service wasn’t what Maggie had imagined.
“We had better get at it. Service begins at 9 so we should leave about 8:40. I’ll take care of the chores while you dress and get breakfast ready.” George casually slipped on his overalls and headed out like he had all the time in the world.
He turned back when he reached the door. “There is a standing invitation for dinner at the Peterson’s on Sunday. If you don’t mind I would like to keep up that tradition.”
“Betty did mention that you usually take your Sunday dinner with them. I think that sounds fine.” Maggie felt some pressure subside as she would not have to rush to have dinner ready after service. She hurried down the hall to start the coffee. She grabbed the oatmeal from the pantry and measured it into a pan. She pulled the eggs out of the icebox and sat a skillet on the stove top. She then went to wash and dress. Maggie was thankful she had taken the time to do the wash on Friday. She slipped into her brown skirt and white shirt. As she stepped out of the room she pulled her apron on and grabbed her straw hat.
George must have been feeling the rush also. It usually took him forty-five minutes to do the morning chores. It was a few minutes before 8 when she heard the click of the door. “I’ll take a quick bath and should be ready to eat in 10 minutes.” George said as he walked through the kitchen and down the hall.
Maggie smiled. He usually took fifteen minutes in the evening so he was feeling the need to rush also. The oatmeal was keeping warm and Maggie had just finished frying the eggs when George entered. He sat his suit coat over the back of a kitchen chair, laid their Bibles next to Maggie’s hat then slid into his seat. Maggie sat the platter of eggs on the table and moved to the icebox to bring out the cream. That made her smile. There has been cream available since George found out that is how she preferred her coffee.
The last dish was put away just in time to leave. George put on his suit jacket as Maggie went to check that her hat was situated properly. Maggie was starting to feel the butterflies. It might have been a good thing the morning was rushed as it kept the butterflies away until now.
Maggie remembered Pastor Dan stated that the church was two miles from the farm. She didn’t recall seeing it on the drive in. Not surprising since it was dark and she was exhausted. As George rounded a curve they crossed a bridge and the church came into view.
It wasn’t large. It was a white building with four long, narrow windows on each side, The front of building had three steps leading up to the door. It looked to be double doors. Maggie wasn’t certain since the door was propped open. Directly above the door was a steeple with a partially enclosed bell and a cross on the top. The church looked charming.
There were several vehicles parked outside along with some horse and buggies in the bag. A few people were standing around talking. Word must have already spread that George had a new wife since most of the people in the church yard turned to stare when George pulled in to park. Maggie silently prayed “Lord, please give me the strength to face this.” George stepped around to open her door as Betty and Jake parked next to them.
“Lord, thank you for Betty.” Maggie said under her breath.
“Good morning, sweet girl. George. It’s fine day to be here. Maggie has George introduced you yet?”
George replied, “No ma’am. We arrived just before you did.”
“I see, well, there is not time like the present. Shall we go in?”
Jake and Betty headed in with George and Maggie following. Betty and Jake greeted each person as they walked toward the steps. Maggie could feel that George was as nervous as she was.
“Morning, Amy and Andy, I would like you meet, Maggie, my wife. Maggie this is Amy and Andy Moore. They live two mile up the road from us to the south.”
Amy smiled and that relieved some of Maggie’s butterflies. “Pleased to meet you, Maggie, I look forward to getting to know you. These are our children Sam, Susie, David and this is Miranda, but we call her Randi.:” Randi gave Maggie the widest smile at the mention of her name.
They made small talk until Maggie saw a young man remove the rope tied next to the door and pull it to ring the bell three times. “We had best find our seat.” George said.
“It was a pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Kraft. I’ll be at Jake’s to discuss harvest on Friday. See you then George.” Andy tipped his hat as he took his wife’s arm and escorted her into church. George did the same stopping now and then to introduce Maggie.
All eyes were on George and Maggie as they made their way up the isle. George whispered “up on the left, fourth pew back, next to Jake and Betty.”
Maggie was grateful to slide into the pew. George sat stiffly next to her and Maggie was relieved when Betty took her hand and leaned over to whisper, “Relax, you’re doing fine.”
“Good Morning. It’s my honor to be here serving you this morning. I’m grateful that the Lord saw fit to give us a nice breeze on this fine, hot August morning.” Pastor Dan smiled.
“Amen” was heard from many in the congregation. That caused most people to wiggle a little in the pew and smile or chuckle softly.
“I have a few announcements. There will a meeting of the elders on Thursday at 7 p.m. Betty Peterson will provide coffee cake for the meeting. Now, Jake, there will no sampling on the drive over.” Pastor Dan said with a smile.
That brought a laugh while Jake looked hurt that he would be accused of such a thing.
“Congratulations are in order for George Kraft and his new bride, Maggie. They were married in a private ceremony on Wednesday. I’m sure we’ll all go out of our way to make Mrs. Kraft feel welcome. “ Pastor Dan looked at Maggie and smiled.
“Now Tom, if you will please lead us in singing praise stating with hymn 256.”
The singing started with Maggie’s favorite hymn, How Great Art Thou. As Maggie lifted her voice she could feel all the tension of the morning release. It felt good to be in church. Actually sitting in church by a man who truly believed and wasn’t there to improve his social standing.
George notice Maggie as soon as she began to sing. It wasn’t a surprise that she had a smooth, sweet soprano voice. He peeked out of the corner of his eye and could see that she didn’t need the hymnal since was singing with her eyes closed. There seemed to be a peace within her that pleased George. He lifted his voice in praise with his church family, but all he could hear was Maggie.
Betty noticed also. She smiled as she saw Maggie relax and rejoice in song. When George joined in the sound of Maggie’s sweet voice and the deep baritone of George gave Betty goose bumps. Yes, Betty thought, these two are going to be good for each other in so many ways.
The service passed quickly. Maggie enjoyed the sermon. Pastor Dan had a good mix of humor and seriousness. He spoke the truth with gentleness that left one wanting to hear more. She would enjoy her Sunday morning services.
The congregation stood as Pastor Dan said the closing prayer “and all God’s people say”
“Amen” rang out from the congregation.
There was chatter all around. Many stopped to meet Maggie and congratulate George. Betty leaned toward Maggie “We are heading home so I can get the meal done. No rush. You and George take as long as you need. There are plenty of people who want to meet you, sweet girl.” Betty winked as Jake led the way out.
George and Maggie were almost to the truck when Tom called for George. “If you’ll excuse me Maggie I’ll be right back.” George said with an apologetic voice.
“No need to hurry, George. I will wait for you by the truck.”
George turned to walk over to Tom. Tom tended to be a talker and George hoped he wouldn’t leave Maggie alone for long.
A lady stepped from the front of the truck and approached Maggie. She was young, had blond hair cut into the new short bob style with bouncy curls. She was dressed in a pale yellow dress that drew the eye to her slender curves and made her blue eyes stand out. It was noticeable that she took great pride in her appearance.
“Well, well, I see that the rumors were true. I’m Vivian.” Maggie’s expression didn’t change like Vivian expected. It was like she had no idea who Vivian was. “Vivian Hughes.” Still no recognition.
“I’m Maggie. Maggie Kraft, pleased to meet you, Vivian.” Maggie said with a genuine smile.
Vivian’s eyes narrowed as she plastered on a smile. Maggie had dealt with girls like Vivian all of her life. They had just met and Maggie had no idea why Vivian would behave this way.
Vivian used her best syrupy voice as she spoke. “Imagine my surprise when I returned home and found out that the man I was to marry had up and married someone else.”
Maggie could feel her face pale much to Vivian’s delight. Oh no! How could George have married her when he was an engaged man! Vivian took advantage of Maggie’s discomfort to look her over from head to toe and back up again. “The only thing that came to mind is that George had to marry you.”
George cringed when he saw Vivian walk up to Maggie. As he watched her face go from ashen to bright red he knew he had to get over there. “Tom, I really to see to the wife.”
“Sure, sure I remember what it’s like to be newly married.” Tom said as he slapped George on the back. He then turned and started to talk to the person closet to him.
George walked up and took Maggie by the elbow. “Viv” George said with little emotion.
“Hello Georgie.” Vivian cooed. “I have been getting to know your wife.” She said in a nasty tone with the biggest smile plastered on her face. “Congratulations.” Vivian turned and walked over to her Daddy’s car.
They rode to the Peterson’s in silence. Neither one said a word about Vivian. George opened the door for Maggie and she went straight to the back door.
“Betty it smells delicious. What can I do to help?” Maggie said without the normal smile in her voice.
Everything is ready. While I slice the chicken you can dish up the sides. Maggie placed whipped potatoes, milk gravy, green beans and hot from the oven rolls on the table. Betty added sliced chicken and carrots that had been roasted along side the chicken. On the table was a butter dish, pickled beets, and a pitcher of tea.
Jake said grace and then the boys dug in. You would have thought Jake hadn’t eaten in days! He packed the food away. It was all wonderful although Maggie didn’t eat much. There was no concern about her lack of conversation since Jake and Betty were present. Even in her present mood Maggie couldn’t help but be entertained by the chatter and Jake's hearty laugh.
The dishes were done and Betty had packed up leftovers for Maggie to take home for supper. As the ladies went to the porch with apple pie Betty couldn’t keep quiet any longer.
“Sweet girl I noticed that you didn’t eat much and seem awful quiet. Did you not enjoy the sermon?” Betty asked with concern.
“Oh yes, I enjoyed it a great deal. It seems like a fine church and the sermon was good. I had a headache come on after service.” Maggie leaned her head back against the chair back.
“You should have said something. I will be right back with some headache powder.”
“There is no need. I am sure that a good night’s sleep will take care of it.”
“Nonsense” Betty said as she started to rise. “There is no need for to suffer when it can be helped.” She was gone before Maggie could protest further.
As Betty stepped back out on the porch the skies opened up and a gentle shower started to fall.
“No wonder your head was a aching” Jake said. “Looks like you might have your own weather alert there George.” Jake laughed as if he had said the funniest thing ever.
Then Jake looked at George and became serious. “I do hope this rain is short lived. Harvest is around the corner and we need them field dry."
George nodded as he was thinking the same thing. He decided he should take Maggie home.
Betty thought that was a good idea. “George, do you have any of the Goody’s Headache Powder?”
“I believe so.” George said with a nod.
Betty wouldn’t let Maggie clean up dessert. “I won’t hear of it.” Betty declared.
“Honestly Betty I am fine to help.”
“Sweet girl, I said sit right there and I mean it. I will be right back as soon as I gather up your supper food. George there is no reason why you can’t make sandwiches out of the chicken I’m sending home. That and some pickled beets should do you.“ Betty continued on as she headed to the kitchen. Once the door shut all that was heard was her muffled voice.
Once home George insisted that he put the food away. Maggie didn’t protest. She went to change and lie down for a little bit. George came in to change into his work clothes. It concerned him to see Maggie not feeling well. It had come on fast and he hoped she was right that a good night’s sleep would make her feel better.