Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Party Goes on

The Party Goes On

Margie Springer reached out her hand hoping to calm her husband. She had known Clayton Springer since they were in sixth grade together and she could tell when his temper was getting the best of him. She couldn't imagine what he meant about knowing the pretty young woman who stood at the podium in front of the applauding crowd.
Clay was seething as he listened to Lucinda praise a man called Shane Howard. He had no idea who she was referring to. His only thought was how she had made a fool of him. He couldn't understand why she would masquerade as she did and the fact that she would put her sick child in danger infuriated him. Was she testing him to see if he was up to her standards as a physician? Was this just a trick to get him to agree to uproot his family and move to Camden Corners? Most importantly why did she choose him to humiliate? His mind was whirling and then he heard her mention his name.
I would personally like to welcome our newest physician and his family to Camden Corners. I'd like to tell you of my encounter with Dr. Springer when Cassandra and I were still living in New York City.
As you know, Cassandra and I were struggling to make ends meet in our little apartment in New York. It was a cold January day just over a year ago when Cassandra woke up with a fever. I was grateful that there was a free clinic in town and I knew they would be able to help Cassandra but it was three trolly car rides away and Cassandra was such a sick little girl I didn't want to take a chance that the cold would be the worst thing for her at that time. There was a small medical office three doors down from our apartment building. I bundled Cassandra up in blankets, held her as close to me as I could to protect her from the howling wind. I was so relieved when I made it to the doors of the office. The nurse was very pleasant and told me to have a seat. I tried to explain that I only had some change in my pocket but that I would visit the pawn shop as soon as I was able. I had a pearl ring that was found with my mother after the accident. One of the attendants at the orphanage gave it to me as a keepsake. She told me to hide it and I kept it inside a hankie all the years I was in the orphanage. I never thought of selling it even when I was down to my last few pennies for the week. Cassandra's health was more important than any ring and I knew that was what I had to do to pay the doctor's bill.
I could hear the nurse explain my situation to Dr. Pike. He glanced my way and I heard him tell the nurse that they didn't accept charity cases and to send us to the free clinic. At that point, a man with the kindest of faces walked through the doors. I think he heard what Dr. Pike said and came over to Cassandra. He sat down next to us and then asked that we come into his office. I told him I didn't have very much money and he told me about his children at home and that if they were sick he would want someone to help them too. He gave Cassandra some medicine and she was so much better the next day. I asked Mrs. Coleridge, our neighbor to watch Cassandra while I took my ring to the pawn shop. I stopped in the medical office and asked to see Dr. Springer. He was making a house call at the time so I left the money with the nurse. That very afternoon there was a knock on the door. It was Dr. Springer. He said he was checking on his favorite little patient and then handed me my pearl ring. His nurse had told him that I had mentioned pawning my ring and this wonderful man searched the pawn shops until he found it and brought it back to me. You can understand why I mentioned Dr. Springer as a possible addition to our hospital. I'm just happy he agreed to join the hospital and our community.
Margie could feel the tension slipping away as Lucinda told her story. She didn't doubt for one minute that Clay would do as he did. She always knew he was an exceptional man.
After the applause settled down, Clay asked “Maybe it isn't my business but in one year's time how was that poverty stricken young lady able to build a hospital?”
Doc laughed “To make a long story short....”
Mary interrupted him “It's a lovely story and I will tell it. You will leave out all the details Doc.” Mary began at the beginning and ended with the happiness Lucinda found in Camden Corners with Nick Rossi. Clay listened intently to every word. He was ashamed of his previous distrust of Lucinda. She could have lived a life of luxury with money left to her but instead donated it to the building of a hospital. Any doubts he had about moving his family to Camden Corners were dispelled that evening. Clay and Margie were born and raised in a big city but they were both small town people at heart and Camden Corners won both their hearts that evening.
Young Peter Springer found himself glancing in the direction of the pretty young girl seated at at the table directly across from him. She would look his way and turn her head as soon as their eyes met. He hadn't met too many people just yet. Mostly the boys from his classes at school. This girl looked familiar but he couldn't place her and then he spotted another boy sitting at the table. He was playing ball with the kid with the great pitching arm he saw earlier that day. It turned out that kid was a girl. He suddenly realized this was that girl, the one with the curls all over her head.
Peter never thought much about the opposite sex until his sixteenth birthday just three months ago. He remembered noticing the red haired girl in his history class in New York. One day she was just another girl and what seemed to be overnight she was transformed into a beauty. He wondered what she would do if he tried to hold her hand but he never would find out since his pa moved them to this little town. Pete wasn't sure he was going to like it in Camden Corners. It was always so quiet. His little sister, Abigail had already made friends and had forgotten all about New York. Samantha seemed to be happy wherever she was as long as she had a book in her hands. He heard Mama tell her about some antique shop and how the owner said she could work there a couple days a week. Samantha was excited about that and couldn't wait to start. Maybe he should think about getting a job after school. He thought of the art gallery on Main Street and wondered if they needed someone to sweep and empty trash. He wouldn't even ask for pay. He liked looking at the artwork and he liked to draw and paint. He stopped in the gallery earlier in the day and met the owner, Jack Mackenzie. He liked Mr. Mackenzie, he always thought painters were a little unbalanced like Vincent van Gogh, but Mr. Mackenzie seemed like a normal guy. He told him he could come into the shop anytime he wanted to. He even told him to bring over some of his work and he'd take a look at it. Pete wasn't sure he was ready to have an artist look at his work. He'd have to think about that.
The dancing started and Pete saw his classmate, Marty dancing with that girl. They seemed to be having fun. Pete wasn't much of a dancer but he could see other fellas cutting in on the dance floor and wondered if he should do the same.
Come on, Samantha, let's dance.” He took her hand and Samantha didn't have much choice but to follow her brother to the dance floor. She didn't mind because she loved to dance. Even as a little girl she would dance around the house pretending she was a ballerina.
Samantha, I want to cut in on that kid over there. Would you help me trade dancing partners?”
Pete! I can't do that, what if he turns me down and I'm standing on the dance floor all alone, I would be mortified.”
Pete didn't listen to her and danced over to Marty and Jennie and tapped Marty on the shoulder. Marty turned around and saw Samantha standing there with a petrified look on her face. He could almost read her mind and asked if she would care to dance with him. She nodded her head in relief.
Pete held Jennie in his arms. She thought her knees were going to buckle. What was wrong with her and why was she acting this way?
Hello, my name is Pete. I'm the dumb guy who thought you were a boy. You sure don't look like a boy tonight.”
Jennie found her voice. “I'm Jennie”
Jennie's brother Ben tapped Pete's shoulder. He didn't want to give Jennie up but didn't have a choice when he started to pull away, Jennie pulled him closer.
Get out of here Ben or I'll sock you. Go dance with somebody else.”
Pete couldn't help but laugh. This was the girl he saw with the great pitching arm. She was going to be a lot of fun to be around. She turned back to him with a demure smile on her face.
So Pete, how do you like living in Camden Corners?”
I think I'm going to like it here just fine Jennie”
Samantha was enjoying her dance with Marty Mackenzie. He was an exceptional dancer and they glided across the floor. She didn't want the dance or the evening to end.
Samantha, where did you learn to dance like this? You could be in a musical. The high school always puts on a show in the spring. Mr. Lane was talking about doing the Wizard of Oz. If you can sing as well as you dance you should try out. I'm going to try for the straw man myself.”
That would be fun Marty but I'm not sure I would be able to perform in front of all those people”
Nonsense, we are all your friends or will be by then. Anyway, look around you now. All eyes are on the two of us.”
Samantha looked up and sure enough, everyone was standing next to the dance floor and watching them dance. They all started clapping and instead of feeling shy, Samantha found herself enjoying the attention.
Margie turned to Clay. “I don't think you have to worry about our children here in Camden Corners, I do believe they are fitting in very well.” She pointed to a table on the far side of the room where Pete and Jennie were talking and laughing. Margie chuckled as she saw Pete take hold of Jennie's hand. She noticed Jennie didn't pull her hand away.
According to Grace Evans' calculations, she should have given birth two weeks ago. Doc Julie told her not to worry, babies have their own schedules and her little one would be here soon. She had felt rather like a cow that evening while she dressed for the dance.
Maybe I should stay home” she told Ted “I'm so big and fat I'm not sure I'll be able to waddle up to the second floor of the winery.”
It will be fun Grace, and if we don't show up, your mother will worry about you. You know how she has been looking forward to this evening.”
Grace was enjoying herself more than she expected. She was very calm and almost forgot she had been with child for over nine months. She was in Ted's arms as they glided over the dance floor.
Suddenly she had the strangest feeling and then a suspicious pain.
Maybe you'd better take me home, Ted.”
Ted scooped her up and carried her to the carriage with her mother, Caroline and Doc Julie following behind.
The band began playing “Rock A Bye Baby” with everyone wishing the new parents good luck as they exited the building.

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