[ K ] [ T ] and Family
Chapter 17: Singing
Copyright© 2014 to PocketRocket
Drama Sex Story: Chapter 17: Singing - This is formally the third book of a trilogy. The first two parts are: "[K]itten and [T]eddybear" then "[K]&[T], LLC". Be assured, this is a complete work, not one in progress. The universe of the story is another matter. Many more stories are possible.
Interlude: 25th Anniversary
At this point there is some conflict. Most people talk of an Amish barn dance in the Ballroom. Dad just shakes his head. Dad only talks about the food, typical guy, and the whiskey. Dad was very proud of his keg of "American-Irish". He had it driven down from upstate New York somewhere. I never understood why. Whiskey's whiskey, right?
While the women and children cleared the dishes, the men moved to one side and pipes came out. I never started smoking, so I never learned the niceties. This was a perfect chance. I waved at some of the men, to stop them from filling their pipes. It took a few tries, but I was able to get across that I had some tobacco I wanted them to try. The few who had loaded a bowl knocked it back into their bag and we went inside.
At the time, I did not notice that the dance floor was full of chairs. Since I had given permission for them to use the Ballroom for a dance, this should have raised a flag, but I was too focused on my plan. The men followed me through the Ballroom, up the hall, to the smoking lounge. From there on, the plan was self evident.
I unlocked the humidor and removed a tray of pipe tobacco in jars, plus a tree of pipes. There was a table next to the French doors. Someone opened them and two others carried the table outside. Outside is a small banistered porch, surrounded by shrubbery. Some tall, weather-proof tables were already outside, each holding a large ash tray and some odd ceramic things, which turned out to be pipe rests. The men greeted these with appreciative exclamations. Then I opened the jars of tobacco.
Having never smoked, I delegated the choice of tobacco to Goeffry Winston. One of my ongoing challenges was to get him to stop smoking in his office. He claims he always steps outside, but the scent lingers too heavily for me to believe him. Annoying as that was, it made him the perfect person to pick loose leaf for my guests. The labels were no help: Solani 656; McClellan Wilderness; Gawith Virginia; Galashiel's Macedonian. To me, they all smelled like tobacco. The Amish men thought otherwise.
Soon, the only ones not smoking were myself and the two Elders Neufeld. I invited them to the bar. There was no coffee brewed, which was a pity, but the keg of whiskey was in it's sling. I had not yet tested the batch, so I was unsure if the bung was even set, but luck was with me. I poured three drinks and passed them out. It may be locally made, but American-Irish knew something about distilling spirits.
This was excellent. The batch was single malt and aged in this keg for eight years. It was a medium amber, slightly dry, with good complexity. I hear and read whiskey described as having honey or pastry notes. I never cared for that. The notes were a little of chocolate and a hint of fruit. The beauty was the finish, which went on and on. I savored it. So did Elder Isaiah, but Elder Josiah stiff wristed his.
I added a splash to each glass, then we returned to the smoking room. It was the most relaxed I had ever seen any of the men. Evidently this was their idea of a good finish to a fine meal. They chatted among themselves. I had trouble following their dialect, but the subject seemed to be wood for the boat and which finishes to apply. Presently I heard singing. I must have looked surprised. Elder Isaiah said, "The jungen a singing are having." Singing? I thought there was going to be a dance.
I went to the Ballroom and located Evaine Schaefelker. She came over and explained what was going on. The Amish do not dance as a rule. Though there are exceptions, even instrumental music is not common. Dancing is not becoming and instruments are not plain. To socialize, the young people were singing. Afterward there would be more food and soft drinks, with the opportunity for some semi-private conversation. Evaine dimpled, saying that three of the boys had promised to bring her food.
When I decided that I had an adequate understanding, I told her that there was a ladies parlor up the hall, if any of the matrons wished to use it. Evaine bobbed her head in understanding and went to tell the dragons. Not long after, a clutch of the older women started moving in my direction, so I went back to the smoking lounge. When that did not hold my interest, I poured some more whiskey and went to the Library.
I was looking through the titles when a voice startled me. It was Elder Isaiah. He said, "You have a wonderful collection of gardening and husbandry books. The collection is collecting dust." His accent was still there, but his syntax was much improved. "Do you not make use of the land?"
What could I say? "We did. For over a century, almost two, this land was tended and farmed. Now, as you have seen, much farmland is covered with houses. Still, some use might be made. My father was not a Richards—I take my name from my grandfather—and my mother had no such interests. I think Sheila will change some of that. She believes in things that last, like the land and the house above."
Elder Isaiah nodded. "Gut. Ganz Gut. I have seen little of your intended, but Mistress Jo speak highly of her. Jo, I think, is not easily impressed." That got me. I laughed so hard I was glad to be sitting. Isaiah merely looked at me with the twinkle of a practical joker.
When I finally managed control, I wiped my eyes and nodded the point. "Jo made a challenge out of defying everyone. It takes a great deal to impress her. Jo will not even attempt a battle of words with Sheila. How much reluctance has she shown with everyone else?" Elder Isaiah acknowledged my point. There was a pause. I have been in enough business negotiations to recognize the situation. "You have a proposal."
Elder Isaiah still hesitated. Finally, "You have heard of Rumspringa, yes?" I nodded. "Young men must go out and find work. Cousin Josiah is reluctant to acknowledge it, but the world is much changed since the Amish move to Pennsylvania. Wearing a handmade suit is no longer plain. Today, plain is blue jeans and blue shirt. But, that is our argument. As one who knows the Amish ways from birth, my advice is sought concerning Rumspringa. I would like your permission to guide young people here."
It was one of the most flattering things anyone had ever said to me. It would also be useful. Sheila was going to need a supply of domestic help. Having live-in Amish maids made perfect sense. At one time, this area was famous for its orchards. Apple trees were a common christening gift. That was the kind of thing Sheila would love. So would fresh fruit and vegetables for the table. Elder Isaiah saw agreement in my eyes and let out a breath he had been holding.
I said, "The young women also. Miss Schaefelker has indicated an interest in such placements. The University may be willing to set up an outreach program, but finding jobs will still be necessary. Sheila and I desire children. The rooms upstairs were constructed for cooks, cleaning women and such. The position of child care is already filled."
To my surprise, Elder Isaiah nodded. "Yes. The one who watches but does not speak. She is an interesting one—wise beyond her days and a joker. You are blessed to have such loyalty." Elder Isaiah was no slouch at watching, or joking.
I nodded. "I am doubly blessed, because Sheila is worthy of such loyalty. You understand that I will defend my family fiercely? In this community, I am sometimes referred to as the Bear. It is not a reference to my size and strength." This did not have the usual result. Elder Isaiah laughed.
He said, "I have heard of you many years. I always wondered what sort of man you were, to such stirrings cause. It is good that you will have family. Generations give focus for such things. Come, let us inform my cousin." So we went. Of all my dealings through the years, that one always stuck in my mind.
There is a grandfather clock next to the door of the library. I was shocked to see that it was almost nine o'clock. Where had the time gone? We found Elder Josiah at the Ballroom door, keeping an eye on the jungen. It turned out that there was music and dancing after all. One man played an harmonica and two others were doing a jig. I'm Irish enough to know one when I see one. When I smothered a laugh, the Elders wanted to know what I found funny.
I turned to the hall so that our conversation would not bother those in the Ballroom. "That dance is appropriate for this house. Many of my ancestors were Irish, some of them Catholic. I always wondered what old Thomas—that is Thomas Aquinas O'Brian, the first settler—would have thought if he knew we are all Lutheran. He dug the foundation for the boathouse." This led to a discussion of the work on the boat, which led to a discussion of living arrangements.
When I said there would be work renovating the house for baby, Elder Isaiah had his cue. "Ja, und who will the work be doing?" I said, "We have not yet drawn the plans, though I talked to an associate that specializes in such work. Plans are easy. Getting a good crew is harder. If you are interested, I can put you in touch." This led to a general discussion about when and what sort of work. It was a bit of a shock when I mentioned cooking and cleaning. That was women's work.
It did not take long to penetrate. Before long they were reminding each other of sisters and cousins who would need employment. Elder Isaiah caught Elder Josiah's eye. There was a curt nod and we had an agreement in principle. That was good enough for me. I thanked the Elders for the meal and their company and excused myself. I forced myself to walk to the stairs, though I went up three at a time. I arrived in Security to learn that George was just entering the Holland Tunnel.
I had over two agonizing hours to wait. I wanted to get Sheila up on my massage table. Perhaps I would relent my earlier stricture and allow her to come from my massage—if she could. It seemed like a worthwhile goal.
The drive home was fun, frightening, enlightening and daunting all rolled into one. The pictures from Christine turned out to be her own and some shared with her by other people at the party. Naturally the composition and quality varied widely. However, Christine had organized them into rough folders, with names attached. I was deeply involved in the images when some of the names registered.
I must have turned white, because Christine took my hand. I stared at her for a moment, but she only shrugged. Of course she knew. So had Francine, of course, but such sink or swim tactics are very much her style. I had no excuse. Susan Farwell introduced me to her Board. Exactly which Board was never specified, but I assumed her school, not of the Lincoln Center and Juliard. Face it Sheila, you did not want to know, because it would have spoiled the moment.
After my initial shock, I started looking at the pictures. In all modesty, I did not look out of place. I remembered meeting Edith Dryden. Angela Molinari introduced her as an old friend from her school days. Both ladies were in their seventies and still beautiful. Edith had hit it off with Siobhan, one egghead to another. Christine had captured some precious candid moments. I formed some of them into a small album, in case I had a chance to send it to her.
While they talked, Angela Molinari smiled indulgently at her lifelong friend. Though the fatigue of ill health showed, Christine had also captured Angela's fundamental kindness and concern. My album grew. There were so many good shots—Otto Preston laughing, Paul West looking devilish, Julie and Marcus Walton sharing a tender moment, Nicolas Prestidge looking outraged at a comment by Peter Miller. Another album grew.
I reached people I remembered. Lisl Rhinehardt was Queen of Ballet when I danced with Susan. I was honored she remembered my name. There were several good images of her regal bearing. I made another album. Rudolph Nerovsky had been in Ukraine when I played New York. At the party he and Giesla Kirtland, paired in life as they had famously been on stage, listened in fascination as Susan told her story, our story. Having Susan Farwell tell it made things much more grand than I remembered.
Before I realized it, we were pulling into the Residence. I glanced up a Christine, but she was smiling happily. She must like watching me fiddle with images. I put the notebook to sleep and climbed from the car. When Siobhan and Francine joined us, I reconsidered. I pulled out the computer and opened it on the hood of the car. For the next several minutes we scrolled through the pictures and recalled the evening.
When I reached the album of Edith and Angela, Francine said, "Holy fuck, Schwartz. You should do this for a living." Realizing what she had said, she clapped her hand over her mouth and turned bright red. In case you did not understand, Francine never blushes. I had to keep my mouth from falling open. Siobhan stepped over and patted her on the head. Even Christine laughed aloud.
When Francine regained her voice, she said, "Damn. Who knew I wore a size 15 EEE? Seriously, send those to me. Edith and Angela would appreciate getting them. In fact, send me everything you have. I have the emails of just about everyone and can get the rest." It was my turn to blush. I sent Francine the folders, hoping I would not be embarrassed down the road.
I wanted to see my Teddybear, so that could wait. As I turned to go, Siobhan pulled me into a fierce hug. "You did so well tonight. I'm not entirely sure you know how well. In case you did not notice, you have a legend, which is a hell of thing, because legends have no weaknesses. Pedro said it best on Tuesday, you did not disappoint." Behind her, Christine, teary eyed, nodded agreement. Francine's agreement was more sardonic, "Get the hell out, before what's-his-name forgets what you look like."
Rather than go through the the back to the new wing, I exited the garage onto the drive and went up the steps to the Ballroom. The remains of a gathering were being cleared. Several places I saw couples doing what couples do in semi-public. It was one of the dances I had expected to see. I did not see evidence of a band or of dancing. It seemed my assumptions were amiss.
Passing through, I noted the scent of pipe tobacco. The Lounge had been in use. A quick check revealed that the Parlor had been used as well. As I returned to the hall, Evaine Schaefelker was running toward me. Out of breath, she panted, "Is it true?" That could mean many things, but this had to relate to the Amish. Her mood was upbeat, so it would be good news. She was on the ladies side of the great divide, so here was one thing that would stand above the others.
I said, "If you mean the house staff, yes. We will be hiring. Christine will be the nanny, but we will need a cook, additional cleaning help, possibly laundry. It is late for a garden, but fresh produce would be good for the table. I would have to check with Sean and Mitchell, but housing upstairs could be included. Does that answer your question?" You would have thought she won the lottery. She literally skipped off. I found my mood had lightened.