Preacher: Part 7

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN CAROL DUERKSEN & MAYNARD KNEPP
The letter arrived several weeks later. Sue Ann showed it to Jonas

when he came home from work.



?Well, what do you know,? he said, folding and slipping it back into

the envelope.



?What are you going to do?? Sue Ann asked.



?I?m not sure. What do you think??



?I don?t know either. It shouldn?t be such a big decision. Either they

go, or they stay. Or one goes and one stays,? Sue Ann said. ?Becca!

Come set the table for supper!?



?It?s more complicated than that,? Jonas said, picking up E.J. from

his playpen.



?You tend to make things complicated, Jonas,? Sue Ann teased. ?I bet,

when your mom asked you to set the table when you were a kid, you

wondered if you should put on knives and forks and spoons. The green

glasses or the Tupperware? Little bowls or big bowls??



Sue Ann walked to the chair where Jonas sat with E.J. and gave Jonas a

light kiss on the forehead. ?But you know I love you for it?that?s

what makes life interesting.?



?Just for that, I?m not going to tell you why this deal isn?t so

simple,? Jonas said, his mouth pursed in a fake little pout. ?I?ll

talk to Becca about it instead.?



?What, Daddy?? Becca had been listening, but obviously now the

conversation called for her input.



?Well, there?s a guy in Indiana who?s interested in buying Preacher,?

Jonas said, watching his six-year-old closely for her reaction.



Becca stopped in the middle of setting a knife on the table, and

instead shook it slowly at her father. The look in her dark eyes

wasn?t a threat?it wasn?t even anger or a tantrum-in-the-making. The

brown eyes?the ones she got from her mother?simply made a statement.

?You can?t sell Preacher, Dad,? she said, and then calmly continued

setting the table.



Jonas and Sue Ann exchanged glances. Jonas didn?t take any sassing

back from his children, and the waving knife had caught him off guard.

But he knew it had simply been Becca?s exclamation point?one she

happened to have in her hand.



?And why can?t I sell Preacher?? Jonas pushed the issue.



?Because he?s ours. We all like him. Ben and Marie love him. And you

do too, Daddy,? Becca stated.



?Well, how about if we let Merv?that?s the guy in Indiana?borrow

Preacher for a little while? He says he could break him to ride. Then

when Preacher comes back, you could ride him.?



Becca was quiet, and Jonas could almost see the wheels spinning in her

brain. She absentmindedly flicked back the white strings hanging down

from her covering and seemed to be concentrating on the glasses she

was putting on the table.



?Could we go see him?? she finally asked.



?Probably not. Indiana?s too far away.?



?How long would he be there??



?I don?t know.?



?Well, then,? she paused, her hands on her young hips, ?I don?t like

the sound of it at all.?



Jonas smiled at her grown-up response?she?d obviously seen someone

else do that. But he struggled inside, knowing this wasn?t going to be

an easy decision.



* * *



Jonas felt like he needed to talk to someone else?someone who

appreciated a good horse but could also help him see clearly through

his decisions.



He and Sue Ann decided to go to his parents after supper. Jonas

hitched Lightning up to the hack buggy while Sue Ann collected the

children, washed off the worst of the day?s grime from their faces,

and changed Lydianne?s dress. Becca had stayed fairly clean that day,

but the three-year-old was another story.



Esther greeted her grandchildren with open arms and cookies, and while

she took Sue Ann to look at her garden, Jonas found Fred working on

the drill. A rain the day before was keeping farmers out of the

fields, but as soon as they could, they?d be in there planting milo.

Wheat harvest would follow soon. All of that depending on the weather,

of course.



?Got a letter from Merv Smucker today,? Jonas said to Fred, who was

sitting cross-legged on the ground, replacing a part on the drill. ?He

found out that Preacher?s sire used to be a race horse out there in

Indiana. A big black stallion named Legacy.?



?Oh?? Fred looked up at his son. ?And??



?And he wants to buy Preacher, or at least take him back there to

break him. He went to the stable that owns the stallion and he wants

to take Patsy back to that stud to breed her and see if she?ll have

another colt like Preacher.?



?Why?s Merv so interested in Preacher and Patsy??



?He saw him when he stopped at our place last month. And now that he

knows who the sire is?well, I think Merv?s hoping to get a race horse

out of the deal.?



?What are you going to do??



?I do

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