Her smile widened, arranging her wrinkles into rays o delight.
“Yes, a wie, Karl. Te Good Book says, ‘Seek ye rst the kingdomo God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added
unto you.’ A blacksmith owning his orge and livery couldn’t have a
steadier job, and you have a home and dog. Te only things that’remissing are God’s peace and a wie. Sure as we’re standing here, you’re going to nd both. You’ve started coming back to church,and that’ll set your eet on the right path.”
Unwilling to respond, Karl chugged down the lemonade. He’d
emptied hal the glass beore the sheer bitterness made him cometo a shuddering stop.
“What’s wrong?” Mrs. Whitsley swiped the glass rom him and
took a sip. “I orgot the sugar! I do apologize, Karl. Tis is terrible. Just terrible. I don’t know what came over me.”
Karl stooped and placed his hands on his knees, then tilted
his head and tenderly kissed the old woman’s cheek. “Tere.” Hestraightened up. “Tat was sugar enough or me.” He grabbed thehandles o the oversized wheelbarrow he used to make coal deliv-eries and walked o. Within a ew strides, Karl mued a groan as he realized he’dprobably been too bold and shocked the poor old lady.
What was I thinking?
He stank at trying to gure out women, and the proo o that very act was that at the age o twenty-eight, he’d not yet
married. Ater a box social or a ew ater-church strolls, he’d inevi-
tably scared o the ew eligible young women he’d met—and i he
couldn’t handle a woman near his own age, how was he supposed to
gure out how to treat a woman double, maybe even triple that?
He steered the wheelbarrow around a large jagged rock and
toward the mountain o coal next to the railroad tracks. Lyricsrom Sunday’s hymn stole into his thoughts.
“When peace like a