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Sunday, November 13, 2005

Chapter 3: The Meeting

Summer, 1943:

When Livy got out of her car at Rev and Mrs Case's house, she scanned the town. She had visited them some especially in her younger years, but she had not remembered the town as she was seeing it today. Had she made the right decision? Livy has realized in the past few months, she may not know what God has in store for her. So she needs to leave everything open to His will.
Aunt Betty ran out to greet Livy when she pulled up. Livy looked so good. So much better than the last time Mrs. Case had seen her.
They hurried in the house to settle in. Rev. Case came home at lunch to help get Livy's things out of her car and help to settle her in.
"Everyone is eager to meet you, Livy. They want to see who the new teacher is at the school. It's been along time since we've had someone outside of Wilson teaching at our school."
"I hope I don't disappoint them." Livy said earnestly.
"How do you suppose you could disappoint them?" Aunt Betty asked bewilderedly.
"I don't know, I may not be what they want...." Livy said.
"Oh, Livy, you have no idea how much they want you. You are the talk of the town. Everyone wants to meet you. And they will not be disappointed. I know it." Aunt Betty said convincingly.
Livy smiled at her warmly. Livy hoped that Aunt Betty was right . She hoped she had followed God's will.
The rest of the summer Livy was settling in and meeting the towns people.
The first people she met were the Board of Education. They loved Livy and knew she was going to be great at her position.
Livy also attended church every Sunday, as she was accustomed to. She ate at the potluck as often as they had one. Which was usually once a month. Once the harvest was in, they would have potluck every week.
Many young men saw Livy and thought they would ask her on a Sunday afternoon ride or walk. Or a picnic.
One walk was made and no picnics. Livy had not changed.
But one thing had changed. Livy had seen a tall, dark haired man in church. He sat with Mr. Stewart, Livy noticed. She had not dared to ask about him, she didn't want to start some embarrassing talk amongst the ladies in the church. Or at least that's how it would be at her church back in Denver.
This man seldom stayed for the potluck. Livy was never able to find out who he was. She had to find out though. But who would she ask?
School was starting back soon and Livy was busy at work getting things ready. She looked over her books and began to plan. How nice it would be to get back to something she loved. Something that she loved and it loved her too.
On the Sunday before school started, Martha approached Livy.
"Miss Dunne, I'm Martha Stewart, I'm Hank Stewart's wife. This is my daughter, Ruth. She will be in one of your history classes."
"Nice to meet you, Ruth. What grade are you in this fall?" Livy asked.
"7th" Ruth answered shyly.
"Well then, I have you before the end of the day. I have many things planned for us this year."
"I can't wait. I'm just glad you're my teacher. My Uncle Ray had me scared that HIS history teacher might be mine."
"Oh, I see that your Uncle Ray is quite the trickster." Livy and Ruth both giggled.
Little did Livy know that Ruth's Uncle Ray was the one she had noticed at church. There was no potluck that Sunday, so Livy told Ruth she would see her the next day at school. On her way out the door, she saw "tall, dark and handsome" with Mr. Stewart. Livy was stopped by Mr. Stewart.
"You ready for school tomorrow, Miss Dunne?"
"I hope so, Mr. Stewart."
"We've heard you have already been over studying and doing things in your room." Hank added.
Livy blushing said, "I try to stay one step ahead of the kids."
Hank quickly realized that Livy and Ray didn't know each other and had never been introduced. "Miss Dunne, this is my brother-in-law, Ray Singleton."
They extended their arms out for a handshake.
"Livy, everyone calls me Livy."
And they exchanged smiles.
"I need to be going, Aunt Betty may need me to help in the kitchen. The newlyweds are eating with us today."
"Mr. Singleton, so nice to meet you. Have a nice day."
Livy walked ever so fast out of the church.
Hank said,"Hope you have a good first day."
Livy replied over her shoulder, "I'm sure I will. Thank you."
On Livy's walk home.....she kept repeating "have a nice day??? Have a nice day?!?!?!" I'm sure that impressed Mr. Singleton, Livy moaned to herself embarrassingly
But one good thing did happen .... Livy found out who "tall, dark and handsome" was........Ruth's Uncle Ray, Ray Singleton, who seemed to like to have fun.

Summer, 1943
Ray was in Wilson the day Miss Dunne arrived in town. He was at the merchantile stocking up on his monthly groceries. The towns people were all looking in a hustle wondering what she would be like. Ray gave it no thought. He went on about his business for the day. He did notice the unfamiliar car as it passed him on the street heading for the Rev's house. Ray watched as it disappeared in the sunlight. He didn't think of Miss Dunne again.
At church, Ray would see Miss Dunne, sitting up front near where Mrs. Case would sit as soon as she finished playing the organ. After church, boys would be lined up to talk to Miss Dunne. Wanting to take her on a Sunday afternoon ride. To Ray's surprise, Miss Dunne declined most of the offers. Ray had seen Miss Dunne on a drive one Sunday with Rusty Parish. Ray hoped that Miss Dunne knew what she was getting herself into. Rusty courted all the girls, and then would leave them for another girl. Ray chuckled to himself.......Danny would sure to be in that line if he were here today-soon there would be no other competition. Danny would have won her heart. That was the difference in Ray and Danny. Ray was quiet and reserved and only courted a few girls. Danny on the other hand, had a slew of girls bidding him farewell when he left for boot camp. All their hearts had been broken by Danny Singleton.
Ray didn't stay for the potluck during the summer months. The farm had too much work to be done. It was hard for Ray to stay idle when he knew he had much to do at home, He did go to the town socials once a month. He went mostly so no one would bother him about getting out and socializing. The town had worried a lot about Ray when Danny had passed away. They came to see him and visit. The ladies took great care of him with cooking. Always dropping off a casserole, pie or cake.
Each Sunday, Ray sat with his sister Martha and her family. Every Sunday Ray prayed for his own family to sit with in church. He would stay for Potluck if he had a wife to prepare the food. He would stay for potluck if there was hope for someone to love.
On the last Sunday before school started, the church was full of eager students and relieved parents. The sermon was about new beginnings. How you should always embrace the opportunity for a new beginning. Ray heard the words, and closed his eye. He prayed his fervent prayer once again. Knowing God would answer one day.
After the service, Ray was talking with Hank about the crops and what he had to do before harvest. Hank and his boys, Hank, Jr. and Chester, always came over to help to help Ray with his harvest. And Ray did likewise. Ray had Japanese camp workers, but it was not enough for his large farm.
Martha had fixed lunch for all of them back at home that Sunday. Ray was waiting around on the boys, Hank Jr. and Chester, they always rode home with Uncle Ray in the back of his beetbox. Martha was up front talking with the new teacher, Miss. Dunne. Ray thought Martha may be awhile, with all Miss. Dunne's suitors hanging around.
Soon Miss Dunne was walking back down the church aisle towards Ray and Hank. Ray had never been as close to her as he was right now. Her beauty was breathe taking. Hank stopped Miss Dunne and they spoke candidly about school starting. Hank introduced Miss Dunne to Ray, "Miss Dunne this is my brother in law, Ray Singleton." Ray extended his arm out to shake her hand. "Livy, everyone calls me Livy." Ray smiled. And Livy smiled back. She hurried off right after the introduction. Ray watched as she exited the sanctuary. He had never seen such beauty.
Martha walked up and they all walked outside to find the boys, who were playing hide and seek. When they saw their Uncle Ray, they made a bee line to the beetbox. All the way to Martha's, Ray thought about Miss Dunne, Livy, everyone calls her Livy. He could not forget her beauty and her sweet, soft smile. But what was Ray thinking? All he had to offer her was his ordinary days. Something Ray knew Livy was not accustomed to.