The door dinged once more, and this time the cold air swept in Elder Thane and his young son. The tattlers at the Miller’s Wheel couldn’t decide whether Elder Thane’s boy was backward, or just another ‘queer one’. As always, the boy stared bright-eyed all about the room on some private journey of exploration.
“Have a seat, Elder,” Elan said. “I won’t be long. The vicar is just finishing.”
“No, Tendril. I came to hear what you’ve decided.”
Elan let his scissors fall to his side. How could he describe what had happened at yesterday morning’s worship? It had been so momentous, so personal, that words failed him.
Words didn’t fail Ferney: by the time the news had reached the Miller’s Wheel it had been condensed into a set of easy-to-remember quips. “His pastor up and said he ‘saw the light’ and become one a’ those jumpin’ penta-costal fellers,” he said.
“Is that so?” the vicar said, carefully avoiding condoning or condemning what Ferney had said.
“The church board gone and de-frocked him right then and there. Now they got no pastor. I always knew he was a queer one.”
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The bell on Tendril’s Barbershop dinged as a gust of cold air swept in, followed by an elderly man in a ragged brown coat. He paused at the entrance, not heeding the cold behind him, while the lenses of his spectacles turned white with fog.
“Good morning, Mister Ferney,” Elan said, as he stepped over to shut the door.
Devon Ferney managed to untangle his spectacles from his weathered face. He started wiping them against his old wool scarf, blinking all the while like a newborn kitten.
“God sure gone and mixed himself up this year!” he snorted. “Thaw in January to wake garden bulbs, now this! in March!”