Preacher: part 11

Little E.J. was going to be a year old a few days before his

great-grandfather Moses Eash had his birthday, so the family planned a

big party for the two of them. It?d be held at the home of Cris and

Rachel Eash, Sue Ann?s parents. That way, Mose, who lived in a ?Dawdi

house? (Grandpa house) next door, wouldn?t have to go out if the

weather turned nasty.

Mose was past 80 now, and he?d lost his wife to cancer a year ago.

Since then, his age seemed to be really taking a toll on him. Everyone

knew they had to TALK REAL LOUD when addressing Mose if they wanted

him to hear them, and a cataract on one of his eyes had affected his

vision considerably. Arthritis had set into his hips, and he moved

slowly with the aid of a cane.

Mose still insisted on driving his own horse and buggy, and the family

lived in fear of him having an accident. But, unlike people with a

driver?s license who could get it revoked if they didn?t pass the

test, Mose didn?t need a license to drive his buggy. He just hitched

up his trusty old horse and headed down the road.

While Mose?s body seemed to be wearing out, and his energy for life

decreasing, his mind remained brilliant and sharp. He still preached

in church, although he usually allowed himself the luxury of sitting

down for the last part of his sermon. He knew the Bible and he

understood the Ordnung better than anyone. As bishop, that was his

job. Age and experience had earned him a position of status and

respect in his community.

The evening of the birthday party, Mose sat in the rocking chair in

the corner of the living room. The men were gathered on chairs and

couches in the same room, catching up on the latest news and gossip.

The women inhabited the kitchen area, and the half-dozen

great-grandchildren played wherever they chose. At one point, E.J.

toddled his way over to Mose and stood in front of the old man,

offering him a ragged teddy bear. Mose gratefully took the bear, then

reached out his arms to the boy.

?Come here, E.J.,? he said. ?Come sit with me.?

But E.J. wasn?t in a sitting mood. Having found a babysitter for his

bear, he wandered off to other important people and places.

The evening passed quickly, and soon husbands were telling wives to

get the kids dressed while they went out to get the buggy. Jonas was

almost out the door when he heard someone calling his name. He turned

to see Mose beckoning him over to his rocker.

?If you could wait a minute, I?d be much obliged,? Mose said without

explanation. ?Until the others are gone, if you don?t mind.?

Jonas said ?sure,? and went to tell Sue Ann.

Sensing that Mose might want to speak to Jonas alone, Sue Ann and her

parents made themselves scarce as soon as everyone else had left. The

fact that Jonas would have to talk loudly for Mose?s sake meant they?d

probably hear half of the conversation anyway. Jonas sat down on the

couch close to Mose?s rocker and waited.

?Whatever happened to that black horse of yours?? Mose asked.

Jonas?s heart skipped a beat. This wasn?t just small talk. Mose had a

reason to be asking about Preacher.

?He?s up in Indiana. Getting trained.?

?It?s a long way to go to have

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