Chapter Eleven, The Farm, of A Love From Above - Free Christian E-Novel

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THE FARM

Chapter 11


The late evening sun appeared to be playing hide-and- seek with the earth, causing long shadows from the trees to appear, then soften to nothingness on the narrow dirt road to the farm. Denise, comfortably seated in the still "new" little convertible, relaxed as the breeze combed through her long. softly curled hair.

The stereo was playing a tender love song and Denise began to sing along. The many questions that had occupied her mind gently subsided, the questions she dared not actually face, were pushed into the background.

The farm on which her grandparents lived wasn't far from home, but driving on the narrow dirt roads gave one a lot of time to relax and think pleasant thoughts, Denise realized. Maybe it would be good to make this drive often. It seemed to make one feel more positive about life, Denise thought, as she watched a small cottontail rabbit scampering across the road not far ahead. It's just so peaceful out here, she thought. So different from the house in town or at the hospital.
To her left, she noticed a lightly wooded area that she recognized as the beginning of Papa's farm. It looked so pretty, as if it were a painting done by a master artist, especially with the low, fading sun. What a perfect place for an afternoon picnic! Yes, that's it! We'll have to have a picnic out here, me and Jon, soon! He could meet Nana and Papa. She knew he would love them.

Driving up to the small white frame house. Denise noticed a pickup truck in the front drive, a familiar looking truck, but not Papa's. Denise knew Nana and Papa always parked at the back of the house. So whose was it? Probably just a neighbor she had seen in town, she concluded as she pulled to a stop behind it. Looking around the place as she gathered her overnight bag, purse, and keys, she thought warmly how little the place had changed since her childhood when she had often visited here. Many fond memories returned to her mind, making Denise feel childish and giddy, with a sudden excess of energy. She could go horseback riding, and gallop across the fields and pastures or visit the great tank not far from the house, and fish for catfish! It had been a long time since she had tried fishing. Then she remembered the tangles the line usually wound up in, and decided maybe just a long brisk walk would be even better!

But, Nana, standing at the door, called out to her as she came near the long white porch. "Oh, honey, I'm so glad you came to visit with us. We've missed you and Todd so much. And I'm glad you came before dark."

Denise hugged her grandmother in the doorway. "I have to work tomorrow and I wanted all the time I could get to visit with you two, so I left right after supper." Nana felt so soft and warm, Denise thought, as they turned to walk into the living room.

"Where*s Papa? I haven't seen you two in so long. I wasn't aware of how much I've missed you until this afternoon."

Papa stepped around the corner from the kitchen and spied his granddaughter. "Well, there she is! Where have you been keeping yourself, girl. Don't you know you're supposed to come look in on the old folks once in a while?" Papa laughingly scolded her as he hugged Denise tight.

"Roger! Here's my pretty, little granddaughter!" Papa called proudly, as he manuevered Denise into the kitchen, and over to the table where, evidently, all had been visiting over cups of coffee.

"Hello, Denise. How are you?" Roger asked politely, looking directly into her brilliant, sky blue eyes.

"Oh, fine, Roger. I didn't recognize your truck out there." Denise lowered her gaze with embarassment, realizing she should have known that truck immediately, since she had not long ago ridden in it. A flush crept up into her cheeks at the memory of that awful night.

"I've been missing you in Sunday School, lately. Everything OK?"

"Yeah, it's just that I'm doing volunteer work at the hospital all week, and my boyfriend is at college and only comes down on weekends." Denise answered, looking around, searching anxiously for a change of subject.

It was amazing that Mom and Dad finally had got off her case about going to Church all the time. Denise decided they had considered how little time she had with Jon, with him away so much. But, lately, there had been opportunities for her to attend Church, when Jon couldn't make it down, and she still hadn't been forced to go. It had been really neat, too, to have the whole Sunday to goof off, at least, until Roger mentioned it. Was this guilt she was feeling? And why should she feel guilty?

"How about a glass of milk, Denise?" Nana asked, standing at the refrigerator in readiness.

Grateful for a new topic, Denise accepted the offer, turning to Papa seated at her left. "Have you been fishing lately. Papa? I was trying to remember how long it's been since I've gone fishing. A long time I know."

Papa proceeded to tell about some of the fishing he and Denise had done when she was young, and progressed to his latest catches, always demonstrating the size of the fish with his hands spread apart, and Nana reminded him, laughingly, that he was always prone to exaggerate!

Denise and Roger joined in the fun and laughed as the large hands came somewhat closer together at the demand for truth!

During the visit, amid the laughter, Denise noticed the changes since she last had really looked at Nana and Papa. Nana's hair was mostly gray, now, Denise thought, where it was formerly a salt and pepper color. She looked slightly more rounded than she remembered, more grandmotherly. Denise remembered how comfortable her lap had been as Nana had rocked her as a young child, too old to be rocked probably, but rocked nonetheless.

Papa seemed to have changed the least. His shoulders were now slightly stooped, and he was perhaps thinner than she remembered. His hair had been white for years, and his skin now was a leathery brown with pleasant, long, laugh lines. Such a dear man, Denise thought to herself.

Papa and Roger had somehow gotten on the subject of cows, Denise realized, as her attention returned to the conversation. As she listened to them, good-naturedly arguing about the quality of the different breeds of cattle, her mind again began to wander.

Why had she never noticed Roger's hazel eyes, with the brown specks on the green background, or the mysteriously long, dark eyelashes that looked as though they should belong to a girl? His hair was a medium brown with red highlights, and the overhead light danced on his hair with the movement of his head, while he was deep in conversation. Stylishly cut. and brushed away from his face, it perfectly complimented his boyish oval face. His straight, white teeth, (which did not remind you of braces), fitted perfectly with his small, but very attractive smile. And the muscles in his arms! They were accentuated by the T-shirt he wore. Denise realized she had never seen him in casual clothes before. She had never really looked at him before! Well, who ever pays attention to their Sunday School teacher anyway, especially when there's someone like Jon around!

Roger was good-looking, Denise admitted to herself, but he couldn't compare with Jon! Besides, he was too old for her, and probably a fanatic at that.

"I read in the paper that you made cheerleader, again, Denise." Nana said, interrupting her train of thought.

"Yeah, and we already went to camp right after school was out. We learned a lot of new routines, but the head cheerleader this year, you know Joyce Peterson, don't you, she's really bossy! I don't know how it's gonna work out, but maybe we can get along until the season's over. I hope so anyway." Denise responded doubtfully.

Oh, yes, that's Mike Peterson's daughter isn't it?"

"Yeah, that's her. She's pretty nice, and she's good at the moves and all, but I can't stand the way she tries to take over everything. She's always been that way of course, but last year wasn't so bad. Now that she's Head though, it could be a real pain!" Denise confided.

"Sounds like maybe we need to pray about that. You know, the Lord can handle this girl, Joyce, don't you think, Roger?" Papa challenged, teasingly.

"I sure do, Charlie. I haven't found a problem too simple or too big for Him to handle," Roger answered with a twinkle in his eyes.

"You're kidding me, aren't you?" Denise asked laughingly. "You wouldn't really pray about a thing like that, would you?" A curious look came into her eyes as she was seriously trying to understand this thing.

"You bet child!" Papa answered enthusiastically. "You know, the Lord said to ask and receive, that our joy may be full! We have to be careful not to ask selfishly, of course, or to pray for things that are out of line with the will of God. But strife between friends is not God's will, and if we ask, I believe we can trust him to take care of it."

"The Bible says that where there is strife and confusion, there is every evil work. So you know that God is not pleased with that," Roger added.

Nana sat quietly listening, but nodded in agreement as Denise looked from one to the other incredulously, still not convinced they all weren't just 'pulling her leg*. "You sound really serious about that," she replied hesitantly.

"Oh, we are," Papa reassured her with a twinkle still in his eye, and the smile about his lips, that left still a small doubt as to his sincerity.

Roger took it from there. "According to Matthew 18:20, the Lord is right here with us," he said as he took her hand unoffensively. "He said that whatsoever we ask believing shall be done for us. Is it OK if we just pray right now?"

Denise nodded, a curious light remaining in her eyes. How could he be so sure about these things, she wondered, and Nana and Papa seemed convinced,too. Wishing she could be sure, too, without being a fanatic, she bowed her head as Roger prayed a brief prayer asking that God intervene in the situation and bring peace and joy into the relationship instead of the strife that seemed inevitable, closing with, "That You may be glorified, and our joy be full, in Jesus name. Amen."

Looking up, Roger announced since it was getting late and they all had to get up early tomorrow morning, he'd better get home.

Something quickened within Denise, as if she hated to see him go, but quickly rejecting that feeling, she thanked him again, refusing to hold his gaze.

Soon after Roger left, Denise made her way to the guest bedroom for the night. Papa followed behind her in the little hall, turning out the lights as they went.

"Sleep well, Denise," Nana called from the master bedroom.

"You too, Nana. Goodnight Papa," Denise said as she turned and hugged Papa at the door of her bedroom.

"The Lord gives his beloved sleep, so enjoy it Denise. See you bright and early in the morning," Papa said sweetly as he released his granddaughter.

"Am I His beloved?" Denise asked herself quietly in the darkness of the night, feeling the cool breeze from the east window, open in the room. Pulling up the cover and making herself comfortable on the soft cotton mattress of the bed, she quickly drifted off, peacefully to sleep.


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