Summary: One good turn begets another.
Category: The Clayton Chronicles
Word Count: 879
The sound of laughter rippled around the table and Dave Clayton pushed his chair back a little to lay a hand on his stomach with a groan. “Mrs. Timbers, I don’t know when I’ve eaten so much,” he said, laughing again. “That has to be the best meal I’ve had in a very long time.”
“Well, thank you, Reverend; we’re glad you could join us for Thanksgiving.” Mrs. Timbers smiled at him. “A man shouldn’t be alone on a day like today and we had no other family to enjoy it with.”
“Thank you, it was kind of you to invite me.”
“So Reverend, how are you liking Flowing Wells?” Mr. Timbers asked.
“It seems a nice, peaceable town; I think I’m going to like it very much.”
“We’re so glad you’ve decided to start a church here, Reverend.” Mrs. Timbers smiled across the table at her husband. “Andy and I have been praying for that very thing for a very long time.”
“We can certainly use one. It seems like all we been getting lately are saloons and more saloons and all the riffraff that comes with it,” Mr. Timbers added with disgust.
“It’s coming to where a lady can’t even walk down the street without some drunk accosting her,” Mrs. Timbers said sadly. She smiled at Dave. “I always feel so sorry for them, Reverend. They seem so lost and alone and as if the only way out of their misery is to drown it in that bottle. I always want to tell them there’s hope.” She turned a gentle smile on her husband who smiled back at her.
“We know all about that, don’t we, Mother?” Mr. Timbers said and Mrs. Timbers nodded.
As Dave looked from one to the other, he couldn’t help thinking there was a story there and he smiled questioningly at Mrs. Timbers.
“Our son, Reverend. When he was a teenager, he got into the wrong crowd. He wanted to be a big man, I guess. Started hanging around with some real rough boys. Took to drinking.” She stopped and Mr. Timbers reached forward to lay a hand on hers. “It was a hard time for us,” she went on, her voice breaking a little. “There was nothing we could do to stop him. The drink took aholt and he just went all to pieces. Then one day he just up and left. Didn’t even say goodbye.” Mrs. Timbers reached up and furtively wiped a tear from her eye.
“We didn’t hear from him for the longest time,” Mr. Timbers went on “Then one day we got a letter from him, saying he was fine, that he’d met a man who’d showed him there was more to life than being a bum and drinking himself to death. That he was reading the Good Book and finding out all sorts of things that finally made it all make sense.” Mr. Timbers smiled, his own eyes misty. “Found himself a job and a pretty wife. We visited them in Carver’s Junction not long ago. Saw our new grandson.” Mr. Timbers’ smile widened with pride and Mrs. Timbers’ eyes shown.
“Wait.” Dave cocked his head at him. “Did you say Carver’s Junction?”
“Yep, that’s where Anthony and his family are now.”
“Why yes, how did you know he’d changed his name?” Mrs. Timbers smiled at him puzzled.
Dave chuckled quietly. “Did Anthony ever tell you the name of the man he met?”
Mrs. Timbers looked at Mr. Timbers who shook his head. “No, I can’t recall he ever did. Some minister, he said. Just stayed a week or so, did some preaching there in Carver’s Junction and then moved on. Said he went around starting churches…” Mr. Timbers’ words slowed and stopped as he looked up wide-eyed at a now grinning Dave.
“Oh my! Oh my!” Mrs. Timbers exclaimed softly as she held her hands to her mouth, her eyes brimming with tears now. “It was you.”
Dave nodded. “Guilty as charged, I’m afraid,” he laughed.
“Nothing to be guilty about!” Mr. Timbers’ voice was husky. “We owe you a great debt of gratitude.
“We do,” Mrs. Timbers agreed and reached out to lay a hand on her husband’s arm, smiling at him through her tears.
“Well,” Dave said, a little embarrassed, but pleased also. Traveling as he did, he didn’t often get to see the results of his labors like this. “I really didn’t do anything much. Like Paul said, ‘I have planted, Apollos watered, but it’s God that giveth the increase.’ If you thank anybody, it should be Him.”
“We do, Reverend, we do every single day for giving us our son back,” Mrs. Timbers said fervently.
“And today we have even more reason to be thankful; we finally got to meet the man who God used to work the miracle.” Mr. Timbers held Dave’s eyes. “And we get to pay you back just a little for being so willing to do the job.” It was all he said, but Dave understood and he smiled gently, nodding at him in acknowledgment. It was indeed a day to be thankful.