1635: THE DREESON INCIDENT — snippet 60

 

1635: THE DREESON INCIDENT – Snippet 60

 

 

Chapter 29

 

Grantville

 

Susan Logsden was happy at Thanksgiving dinner. Grandpa Ben Hardesty, Grandma Gloria, Pam, Cory Joe briefly back from Magdeburg on leave. All with her; all at Cory Joe’s dad’s cousin Gerrie’s. She was Gerrie Bennezet now. Her husband was a Walloon Huguenot who had come to work at USE Steel and then set up his own blacksmith operation here in Grantville.

 

When they went around the table saying what each of them was thankful for, Grandma Gloria said that she was grateful to Gerrie that she didn’t have to cook the dinner this year.

 

Susan suspected that she was also grateful not to be at her daughter Betty’s, this year since things were still a bit strained between Aunt Betty and them – Velma’s kids. Grandma and Grandpa weren’t at Aunt Betty’s because Aunt Betty and Uncle Monroe Wilson had gone to Fulda last month to be Mormon missionaries. Joe and the two adopted children had gone with them.

 

Grandpa and Grandma would be having pizza for supper with the other Wilsons, the Nisbets, and the Sterlings, leaving the three of them on their own.

 

Most of the people here were Gerrie’s family. Her daughter Paige was married to Derek Modi. She was here, with the kids. Derek had gone to Lübeck. Paige said she was thankful that he had arrived safely.

 

Gerrie’s daughter Marlo worked at Cora’s as a cashier. She had married a Scot, a guy named Malcolm Finlay, back in February. She was going to have a baby. Marlo said that she was thankful for the baby.

 

Cora Ennis might be Grantville’s worst gossip, but Marlo was catching up to her fast. Before dinner, she and Paige had been talking about the fact that Chandra Prickett’s husband hadn’t even stopped by in Grantville on his way from Suhl to Frankfurt. That he wasn’t seeing anyone in Suhl, though.

 

And Paige didn’t think it was likely that he would be seeing anyone in Frankfurt, either. Paige said that if Nathan Prickett ever went straying off the straight and narrow, it wouldn’t be with some German woman. It would be with Bryant Holloway’s sister Lola. He’d been dating her before either of them ever got married. But Lola, like Chandra, was right here in Grantville. She worked as an assistant in the optician’s office, she had been working there ever since she divorced Latham Beckworth back before the Ring of Fire, and she sure hadn’t been going down to Suhl and she wasn’t going to Frankfurt for visits.

 

Actually, Marlo pointed out, since Bryant was married to Chandra’s sister Lenore now, Lola was part of that family, in a funny kind of way.

 

Mr. Bennezet and Sergeant Finlay had been talking about Huguenots, spies, and other topics of common interest. Pam and Cory Joe had been listening to that, since their mother Velma had married a Huguenot. Then Cory Joe asked whether Bennezet had experienced much in the way of anti-immigrant sentiment among the up-timers. Bennezet said that it varied. He did quite a lot of specialized work for Grantville-Saalfeld Foundries and Metalworks. Some of the people there were very friendly. The boss was not, but although two of the men had married down-time women, he had not fired them. But Bennezet understood from conversation that several of the friendliest up-timers working there would not be averse to finding other employment if an opportunity arose. The main obstacle was that none of them wished to uproot their families by leaving Grantville.

 

Now they were talking about the same things again. Susan listened to the grownups for a while and began to wish that she had brought a CD player and earphones along.

 

She was mostly glad that her mother was somewhere in the Netherlands instead of here. It hadn’t been much fun growing up as Velma Hardesty’s daughter. Maybe she could be thankful for that, but she had a feeling that it would be better not to say so when her turn came. Grandma Gloria thought tact was important.

 

She’d say that she was thankful that she would have Cory Joe and Pam to herself this evening. That was true enough.

 

***

 

The Jones family always had Thanksgiving dinner late, because Simon and Mary Ellen were busy with the services at the Methodist church in the morning. For the same reason, they had it at his brother’s house, since David’s wife was a teacher and always had the day off, so she could do the cooking. And she had the next day off, for that matter, so she could clean up. Nobody ever asked Susan what she thought of this arrangement. The rest of them took it as a given.

 

David Jones, the assistant principal of Grantville’s elementary school, looked around the table. At the other end, his wife. All three of their children were home. Austin with Alison and little Susie, the new baby due next month. Ceci’s husband Harry Ennis – and they just got married earlier in the month – was already back in Magdeburg with the army. Ceci had already gone over to Cora’s, her home, not the café, for lunch with his mom and Melinda, his brother Joe’s wife. And Steve and Phoebe.

 

It wouldn’t be long, probably, before Ceci went to Magdeburg herself. As soon as Harry found a place for them to live.

 

He wasn’t so happy with Caroline’s pick, Trent Dorrman. Less education, fifteen years older than she, divorced, a grown son, what had to be a dead end job at Grantville-Saalfeld Metalworks and Foundries, Baptist rather than Methodist. Not what he had hoped for his older daughter.

 

When he’d brought it up before the marriage, she had answered a little bitterly, "Are you fishing? Pushing? What do you want me to say? That I left it too long, up-time? That the pickings are slim these days for a woman my age?" Since then, he had kept his mouth shut.

 

Dorrman was a quiet type. The two of them had been married a little over a year. Caroline was pregnant now; she planned to keep on working at the accounting firm after the baby was born. She and Trent seemed to be getting along with one another well enough. The less said the better, probably.

 

Next to Ceci, his sister Sandra Prickett and her husband. Their son Nathan was in Frankfurt now, of course. Their daughter-in-law Chandra had run in with the four grandchildren earlier in the afternoon before going over to her mother’s family for supper.

 

His brother and wife, the Reverends Simon and Mary Ellen Jones, with children. Though, of course, Vanessa’s husband, Jake Ebeling, was down in the Upper Palatinate with the army. He laughed to himself. While Simon was away in Italy, the Reverend Mary Ellen had unabashedly started a campaign for ensuring the future of Methodism in a time line in which John Wesley had never been born and never would be born by matchmaking among the church’s younger generation. She had done more weddings in those nine months than First Methodist normally held in three years.

 

Then Mary Ellen’s whole crew of Sebastian relatives. Well, except that Allan Sebastian’s two girls by his first marriage had both gone up to Erfurt to spend a long weekend with their husbands, who couldn’t get away to come to Grantville.

 

Finally, his sister Laura Ann had been left up-time, but her son Bill and family and Bill’s Furbee grandparents were here. Bill’s brother Johnny was out of town, gone back to his station with the army over in Fulda, where he had married a German girl. He’d brought Antonia to meet the family earlier in the fall. Their baby had been born and died last spring.

 

It was odd, in a way. Of all the families in Grantville, theirs had about the least marrying back and forth with down-timers. Only Johnny, of all of them, and that while he was stationed away for so long.

 

Even Jarvis Beasley had remarried to a German girl; he met her while he was in the army. That had sort of given his father Ken and the others who haunted the 250 Club a black eye. Jarvis wasn’t welcome there any more.

 

So many people were more or less permanently out of town, now, because of the war effort.

 

First Methodist had done a lot of charity work among the refugees, of course. But it hadn’t done much in the way of outreach, so far. Not much evangelism. A couple of down-time wives, like Farley Utt’s Maggie, had joined the church, but most of them hadn’t.

 

Maybe he ought to talk to Simon and Mary Ellen about evangelism. Being ecumenical had been all well and good in the twentieth century. If they relied entirely on growing their own in the seventeenth century, though, Methodism would be doomed to remain a minority sect. A tiny minority sect, if you looked at Europe as a whole.

 

***

 

Minnie Hugelmair had received her promotion from sixth grade to seventh the day before Thanksgiving break started. She was determined to have that eighth grade diploma by next spring. She didn’t see any reason why she couldn’t finish the other two grades of middle school in six months. School stuff wasn’t exactly hard. All she had to do was read the books, fill out the assignments, and turn them in.

 

She owed Benny. She ate her Thanksgiving dinner with the Pierce and Coffman families like a proper lady, as Louise would put it.

 

Then she went up to the storage lot. Denise’s dad had faith in her and she owed him for it, too. Denise had gone off somewhere, flying in a plane with those losers Lannie Yost and Keenan Murphy, chasing after defectors. Which had to be hard on Buster and Christin, not having their daughter here on a big, important, up-timer holiday.

 

So she ate Thanksgiving dinner again.

 

Rudolstadt

 

Count Ludwig Guenther of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, aged fifty-three, looked proudly on the son he had never, during his long bachelorhood, expected to have.

 

Countess Emelie, aged twenty, smiled up at him, beatifically exalted in the realization of a job well done, a duty superbly performed, and having made her kindly husband possibly, at this moment, the happiest man in the USE. In addition to which, of course, she had a baby. The most wonderful baby ever born.

 

"What are you going to call him?" his widowed sister-in-law asked.

 

"Albrecht, I think, for our father. And Karl, for my brother."

 

Anna Sophie of Anhalt-Zerbst smiled. She was the widow of the late Count Karl Guenther. "And, of course, naming him for your father will also provide a suitable opportunity to reach out to the Crown Loyalists by inviting Duke Albrecht of Saxe-Weimar to lift him from the font. An excellent choice of godfather, by the way."

 

"No Ludwig?" Emelie asked. Then with a little laugh, "No Guenther to join the forty or more previous Guenthers who have been counts in Schwarzburg?"

 

He smiled again. "Not this time, I think. God willing, there will be other sons to bear those names." He leaned over and placed the baby back in her arms. "But, I think, it is an opportune moment for a little ‘cultural borrowing,’ as they call it. I shall proclaim that this day of the year will henceforth be a Dankfest in Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, too."

 

 

 

 

About Eric Flint

Author and Editor
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