The Sweetest Song: 2nd excerpt

Cont’d from August 14 post

Well, she would not let him do that to her again. The past was firmly in the past, and forgiven if not forgotten, and he was nothing to her now. 

The kitchen helpers departed during the last hymn to make their final preparations for the food to come out. After the bishop blessed the bridal couple, the service was over and Joshua and Amanda King were surrounded by their families and carried away outside so that the men could transform the house of worship into the dining room. 

Cora pulled her wool coat more closely around her as she and the other single women filed out behind the married women, and then from inside the tent came the familiar racket of benches being turned around and tables being set up. When the noise died down, she was handed a pile of neatly folded white tablecloths and she and Hannah Riehl and several other girls paired up and got busy laying them over the tables. Unfold—snap open—down. Over and over again, on dozens of long tables. Once that was done, the tables were set with the china and cutlery from the wedding bench wagon. At a walking pace, the young women moved down the aisles, laying down plates one after the other. Since this was her first time helping at an Amish wedding, Hannah followed Cora and her stack of plates with a basket full of cutlery wrapped in sage green paper napkins tied with royal blue ribbon—Amanda’s wedding colors—laying a bundle next to each plate. Then came cups and saucers, and jars full of celery, and last of all, every six places, the centerpieces. Amanda’s parents, apparently, had consulted with a candle maker in Whinburg, and the result was a beautiful pillar candle scented with summer and flecked with dried flower petals, resting in a ring of silk leaves. 

“I’m glad you’ve done this before,” Hannah said when they were finished, and surveying with pleasure their good work. “It looks beautiful, doesn’t it?”

“It does,” Cora said. “You’re a fast learner—good thing, because we get to wash all those dishes and set up again, as soon as the first shift of a hundred and fifty have eaten.” She grinned at Hannah’s oh-my-goodness face. “Don’t worry. We’ll eat with the first group. The Eck Leit have to wait until everyone is finished.”

Amanda’s closest friends were these helpers in the wedding corner, and even now were carefully placing crystal glasses at each setting, nestling them in among curls of royal-blue ribbon. Amanda was using her wedding china, a pattern that Cora thought was pretty, but not to her own taste.

Then again, at least Amanda had china. The chances of Cora being able to choose anything at all—including a groom—for her own wedding were slim to none. She knew every boy in the Wet Mountain Valley, and while she had dated one or two, she’d soon concluded that even der Herr would shake His mighty head at her for not waiting patiently for Him to show her His choice. 

There had been a time this past summer when she thought He’d done so.

How wrong she’d been. 

The Sweetest Song by Adina Senft

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