Saturday, February 4, 2012
A Wife for the Vicar~Part 1
The fine ladies of Camden Corners were assembled once again in the basement of Saint Peter's Church. Mary Ellen Brubaker was still recovering from her embarrassment over the Beverly Sills fiasco. She had yet to forgive her cousin Earnest for his deception. The ladies assured Mary Ellen that there were no hard feelings. The evening had turned out to be a success and everyone had a good time.
Vicar Willard Duesenberry stopped in to wish everyone a good day. Everyone loved the friendly man of the cloth. Alma Schrum, the Vicar's loyal housekeeper sighed as her boss left the meeting room.
“Vicar Will is such a wonderful man and deserves to have a fine woman by his side” exclaimed Alma.
Millicent Merryweather Stout spoke up “Our next project should be finding a wife for the Vicar”.
Everyone chuckled at the suggestion but several of the ladies were pondering that suggestion. Millicent mentioned her niece Melanie Merryweather.
“Oh, she is a fine lass. She lives in Greensboro with her family but I'm sure she would be happy spending some time with her Auntie Millicent over the Thanksgiving holiday.”
What Millicent had failed to mention was that the day before she had received a letter from Melanie's father. Melanie was associating with a boy of questionable lineage. His family had recently moved to Greensboro from Chicago, Illinois. Chicago was practically the wild west. Melanie's mother was beside herself with worry. Millicent made up her mind, she would send a wire today to her brother suggesting Melanie come to stay with her until she was over this silly infatuation.
Agatha Carson thought her cousin Arlene's daughter might be a good choice for the Vicar.
Catherine White's good friend's daughter was another suggestion.
Almost every one of the ladies thought they had the perfect match for the Vicar but they all knew if Millicent Merryweather Stout set her mind to something, it was sure to happen so they all accepted the fact that Millicent's niece would be the new Mrs. Willard Duesenberry.
After the meeting, Evelyn Keys pulled Alma aside to tell her how happy she was that her granddaughter, Kate had accepted a teaching position at Camden Grammar School. Alma hadn't had a chance to mention it to the ladies but Kate would be staying with her through the school year.
Alma's daughter and her family had moved to Larkspur a couple of years ago and Kate was homesick for Camden Corners. She had received her teaching certificate in the spring and was anxious to begin a new chapter in her life. Alma was happy caring for Vicar Will and had many friends in Camden Corners but she was beside herself with joy that her granddaughter would be living with her. Kate was a quiet and very serious young lady. She loved being around children and they loved her.
Within the week, Melanie Merryweather arrived in Camden Corners. As she stepped off the train Millicent knew this was not going to be a pleasant visit. Melanie was pale and drawn. Her eyes were as red as could be and it was obvious she had cried all the way from Greensboro. Millicent thought it best if she didn't bring up the subject of the boy she left behind. Melanie hardly spoke on the ride to her aunt's house. Millicent's maid had cooked a very special meal but Melanie only took a few bites and asked to be excused to her room.
“I'll let the girl have one more night of feeling sorry for herself but tomorrow we are visiting the Vicar. If she will only smile, I'm sure the Vicar will fall in love with her at first sight.
Millicent retired at her usual 8:00 that evening and didn't hear the sound of pebbles hitting the bedroom window or hear the squeal of delight when Melanie looked out the window and saw Michael Cassidy smiling up at her from the ground below. Melanie opened her bedroom door as quietly as she could and heard Auntie Millicent's snores coming from the room down the hall. She tiptoed all the way down the stairs, opened the front door and flew into Michael's waiting arms.
Melanie couldn't understand her parent's dislike of Michael. Maybe his ancestors didn't come over on the Mayflower but what difference did that make. Most of the Merryweather's friends were insufferable bores. Michael's family and friends were all fun and loving and enjoyed being together. Melanie's mother had packed her bags and her father practically carried her to the train station and off to Camden Corners. Her little sister Melinda found the telegram Auntie Millicent had sent. While her parents were otherwise occupied, Melinda ran down the street to find Michael and tell him what was happening with Melanie and where she was going.
Michael had a plan. His Uncle was the Vicar of the First United Church in Greensboro. He had gone to school with Vicar Will and they had remained friends. Michael wondered if Uncle Jason would write a letter of introduction to Vicar Will. He would find a job in Camden Corners. Maybe he and Melanie would be able to figure out a way to be together. Michael caught the next train to Camden Corners and was on his way to find the love of his life.
Vicar Will wasn't born yesterday and knew there had to be more to Michael's story than he was telling. He sensed Michael was a fine young man and his friendship with his Uncle Jason was all the assurance he needed to offer Michael use of the spare room above the rectory.