Read A Baby for Hannah Online

Authors: Jerry S. Eicher

Tags: #Christian Fiction, #Amish, #Christian, #General, #Romance, #Fiction, #Religious, #Love Stories

A Baby for Hannah (3 page)

BOOK: A Baby for Hannah
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“Did I hear you mention supper?” he asked. “So you will at least feed me before this evening trip?”

“Of course I have supper ready,” she said. “I wouldn’t think of starving you.”

to hear. Let me tie Joel, and I’ll be right in.”

“I’ll help you,” she said, taking the tie rope out from behind the seat. Attaching the snap to the horse’s bridle, she led him to the hitching post, where he dropped his head, looking longingly toward the barn.

“Looks like he doesn’t want to visit anyone tonight,” Jake commented.

“He’s not that tired, and Betty isn’t too far away. He’ll get over his disappointment.”

“If I feed him, he’ll take it better,” Jake said with a smile. “Just like a man does.”

“You spoil him.” Hannah laughed as she moved the tie rope to Joel’s neck and fastened the rope again. She slid off the bridle while Jake went into the barn and returned with a bucket partially filled with oats.

Hannah stroked the horse’s neck while he lowered his head, chomping greedily. Jake left for the barn again, returning quickly with another bucket filled with water. Setting it down within Joel’s reach, he took Hannah’s hand, leading her toward the house.

“So you want your supper too?” she asked, glancing back at Joel busily chewing the oats. “Didn’t I pack a large enough lunch?”

“You packed a fine lunch,” he said, pulling back on her hand, and stopping to look toward the mountains.

Hannah turned with him, following his gaze to where her eyes had gone earlier in the day. The last of the sun’s rays had set the clouds hanging on the ridges on fire with a blaze of golden light. Stretches of dark gray and brown ran into the valleys, with the dark blue of the sky above them. A three-quarter-sized moon hung over the wooded tree line of the highest peak toward the south.

“It’s so beautiful,” she said.

“Yes, it is,” he said, his fingers tightening on hers.

“I was looking at the mountains earlier,” she said stepping closer to him. “I was thinking about our child. Do you think everything will be okay this time? I still feel like last time was my fault. Eating the infected meat surely was the reason. But this time, I’ll try not to do anything wrong. Do you think
Da Hah
will bless us with His grace?”

“He already has,” Jake said, pulling her close to him, his arm slipping around her shoulder. “He gave me you, and that’s already enough. And it wasn’t your fault. It could have happened to anyone.”

“But it happened to me—to us. I so want this child to be born. He’s yours Jake, yours and mine. I don’t think I could stand it if something went wrong again.”

“We can bear what
Da Hah
wishes to place on our shoulders,” he said, his grip on her shoulder still tight.

“But Jake,” she said, drawing far enough away to see his face. “You don’t think that something

“No, I don’t,” he said, kissing her gently on the forehead. “I think everything will go very well. And you will be an absolutely wonderful mother.”

She ran her fingers through his beard, and he kissed her again.

“You’re just saying so,” she said. “To make me feel good.”

“No,” he said, his face growing serious. “I really do think everything will be okay this time.”

“Thank you,” she whispered, running her fingers down the length of his beard again. “When are you going to trim this again?”

“Why?” he asked, laughing. “Is it getting too long?”

“It makes you look so wise. I don’t want a husband who’s too wise. Not while I’m still so…unwise.”

“Then I will clip some of it off,” he said, laughing again. “It helps me feel—well, not quite so young and inexperienced—especially with the preaching and all. It’s been so sudden.”

“I know,” she said. “And please don’t trim your beard. I like it just the way it is.”

He laughed. “We will see, and now, where is that supper before I starve completely and faint dead away from hunger?”

“Warming in the oven,” she said, leaning against him, soaking in his strength. She stood looking at the mountain range again. He was so strong, so steady, and so sure of himself. He never wavered regardless of the storms they faced. How blessed she was to have such a husband. He would not falter in the months ahead, regardless of how things turned out.

“What are you thinking?” he asked, lifting her chin with his fingers. They smelled of hickory wood and varnish and felt calloused yet gentle on her skin.

“How wonderful you are,” she said, meeting his eyes.

He laughed again. “Now, now, you’ll have my head swelling soon, and my hat won’t fit anymore.”

“You are still wonderful,” she repeated, walking toward the house, pulling him behind her.

He didn’t resist, following her willingly to the wash basin, where she poured in warm water from the woodstove, waiting while he washed his hands and face.

“There!” he said, drying with the towel Hannah handed him. “Now I’m ready to eat.”

“Come,” she said, taking him by the hand again.

“My, I am getting special treatment tonight.”

“You will soon be a father, and you deserve it.”

“I think mothers deserve the praise,” he said, kissing her on the cheek. “They are the ones who have the babies.”

Hannah pushed him away, motioning with her hand. “Sit down.”

Jake sat down as Hannah removed the chicken and fried beans from the oven. The bread she sliced quickly, and took the cover off the salad. With the butter and blackberry jam taken down from the lower cupboard, Hannah sat down across from him.

“Ready,” she said.

Jake nodded, bowing his head, and speaking in German, led out in prayer. Hannah lifted her head when he was done, passing him the mashed potatoes before filling her own plate.

“I have been thinking about something,” he said, pouring on the gravy.

? About us?”

“Sort of. It concerns us.”

“The baby perhaps?”

He spoke slowly as he said, “I think we ought to build a new cabin further up on the hill.”

For a moment, Hannah couldn’t speak. “A new cabin? But we have a cabin—a nice one.”

“I know. But it will become crowded with the baby and has only one spare bedroom. What happens when we have visitors?”

“But we hardly get any visitors. My parents came last year, but yours have never visited. When they do come, surely they will understand. Young people don’t have a lot of money, and you are a preacher now.”

“That should have nothing to do with it,” he said. “I want to take care of my family.”

“But you are,” Hannah said, pausing to butter her bread. “I’m perfectly happy with what we have. This is a wonderful cabin and so full of memories. Of us, and of the time we have had together.”

“That’s exactly why you deserve better. Just look at you. You’re still cooking on a woodstove when hardly anyone else in the community is. And we still don’t have a refrigerator.”

“But the money? Where’s the money coming from?”

“I’m making some good money now—with Mr. Brunson’s help, of course. I never could do it without him.”

“Enough to build a brand-new cabin?”

“Maybe not yet,” he admitted, staring at his food. “But I would like to. Especially with the baby coming.”

“Maybe then we should wait until the baby comes to decide,” she said, searching his face.

“Dear heart,” he said, stroking her arm. “The baby will be okay.”

“I don’t mean that,” she said. “It’s just that I can make do for a little while yet. That way you don’t have to spend money unnecessarily with the business starting up the way it is.”

He thought it over for a moment and then said with a sigh, “It might be for the best. But maybe I can buy you a refrigerator at least. That doesn’t cost that much.”

Hannah laughed at the look on his face, reaching across the table to touch his face. “The springhouse is fine. It’s good and strong, and it suits me. I get to walk outside in all kinds of weather, which is good for one’s health. Besides, where would I put a refrigerator?”

“I don’t know,” he said. “See, you need a new cabin with a larger kitchen.”

“It can’t be fancy now, you know that.”

“Log cabins aren’t fancy,” he said. “That’s what I like about them. They are just nice.”

“Anyplace would be nice with you,” she said, touching his face again. She rose to bring a cherry pie back from the plastic pie container on the counter.

Setting the pie on the table she said, “I hope you don’t mind, but I invited Mr. Brunson for supper next week.”

“Of course not. I would love to have Mr. Brunson down.”

Hannah caught a look of concern on his face as he spoke. “You seemed to become so sober looking when you mentioned his name. Is something wrong?”

“I guess it’s because of the other news he mentioned.”

“Bad news?” Hannah asked, passing him a piece of pie.

“I’m afraid so. Ben Stoll is setting up a tent in Libby this summer and bringing in a Mennonite Evangelist. I would guess it’s the same one who ensnared him and Sylvia last year over in Kalispell.”

“Surely not, Jake. Are you sure Mr. Brunson has his facts straight?”

“I’m afraid so. Apparently Ben has no plans to leave us in peace.”

“But that won’t affect us,” Hannah said over her own piece of cherry pie.

“No,” he said. “But I’m worried about the other people in the community. Who knows how many of them will fall for this revival wave that’s sweeping the area. Bishop John has been worried about it ever since we lost Ben and Sylvia.”

“I know, but as long as it doesn’t reach us, we’ll be okay…won’t we?”

“I hope so,” he said, smiling thinly. “At least we have a
bishop to guide us through the rough waters. For that we can be very thankful.”



Jake slipped the bridle over the horse’s ears in the glow of the dim buggy lights as Hannah climbed up on the seat. She held the reins, while Jake threw the tie rope in back and then stepped up to sit beside her.

“Get-up,” Jake called to the horse after taking the lines.

The horse jerked his head, protesting the trip, and turned to walk slowly out of the driveway. Jake slapped the lines again, and Joel took up a slow trot toward the main road. At the blacktop, Jake pulled him to a stop and looked for traffic before turning east toward Libby.

Hannah settled back into the seat, pulling the buggy blanket over her knees.

“It’s a little chilly tonight,” she said as Jake lowered the storm front.

“There’s nothing quite like Montana though,” he said. “Even if the spring and fall are a lot shorter than back East.”

“I like it,” she said, snuggling up against him. “And I like you.”

He snapped the reins, and the horse moved into a trot.

“You sure are sweet tonight,” he said.

“I’m always sweet, but maybe it’s the spring weather, or perhaps it’s just being with you. We ought to take drives more often in the nighttime. I miss them from our dating days.”

“Like driving home from the singings,” Jake said with a laugh. “Like taking you home and staying till midnight. I think we’re a little beyond that, don’t you?”

“I suppose,” she said, her head on his shoulder.

The silence of the night wrapped around them as the sound of the horse’s hooves beat steadily on the pavement.

“Do you think Bishop John can do anything about Ben setting up that tent in Libby?” Hannah asked.

“I don’t think so. There’s not much we can do. If Ben sets it up, then he does.”

“But surely Bishop John can speak with the Mennonites. They ought to respect our church and not have their meetings so close to us. There are lots of other places to have meetings if they want to save souls.”

“I’m afraid they’re trying to save
souls,” Jake said. “That’s why they’re setting up so close.”

Hannah jerked her head upright and sat up straight. “
? They are trying to save us?”

“Something like that.”

“But we don’t need saving.”

“Remember what Ben and Sylvia said at the meeting we had with them last fall? They both said they felt like sinners for the first time and now felt cleansed. It has something to do with that.”

“But we are saved. Aren’t we?” Hannah asked, searching his face in the dim light of the passing
yard lights.

“We have our hope set on God’s grace,” Jake said. “No one can be saved without God’s grace.”

“Then I’m saved,” Hannah said, nestling back against him. “But I wish Ben and Sylvia would leave us alone. I don’t think it’s nice of them to set up this tent in Libby, right on our back doorstep.”

Jake didn’t say anything, and when Hannah glanced up, his beard was a dark shadow in the darkness. His hands tightened on the reins as he pulled back, guiding Joel into Steve and Betty’s driveway.

“There’s no one in the barn,” he said. “We’d better go straight to the house.”

“Are you saved, Jake?” Hannah asked softly, climbing down the buggy step in the darkness.

“I hope so,” he said, not turning around from tying the horse to the hitching post.

BOOK: A Baby for Hannah
4.5Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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