Chapter Two: Courting Samuel
Samuel was day and night different from Ethan. After Josephine had been with Samuel, once they were married,
of course, she thought that all men must have been like him. Samuel would tell her where he was going and when he
would be back. He was concerned about them spending time together, being together as much as they could. Samuel
wanted to sit with her and just be near each other. At first, Josephine thought this was fine, even sweet in the beginning,
but then Josephine began to feel like she couldn't even breathe without Samuel being there to suck up half the air, like
someone was smothering her face with a pillow. She could never quite catch her breath once they were married. Josephine
always felt just short of being content.
She had met Samuel through church. The congregation at her aunt's church had been so good to her from the
beginning. Josephine had come to stay with her aunt and take care of her when she got sick. When Josephine's aunt passed
away, Josephine was left with the house, a little garden and a chicken coop. This was a great deal more than most people,
and she had nowhere else to go, so Josephine stayed in Hefner Falls.
Everyone at church talked about the Depression, but the only difference Josephine saw was that maybe there
were a few more hands out begging at the church. The congregation believed that Josephine gave gladly, but she gave
because she knew they expected that of her. Josephine stitched clothes and blankets and gave them to the poor people in
the church, which was almost everyone. Samuel told her he liked that about her, her trying to help people who needed it.
She and Samuel met at her church's revival. He was from the next town over, and he'd come with a man he
worked with to hear the visiting preacher. Samuel and Josephine had started talking outside the tent the first night of the
week long revival. He had sat in the row of chairs in front of her. Josephine had looked at him, studied him, because he
wasn't someone she knew from church. His neck wasn't red, so she knew he wasn't a farmer like her neighbors. He had on
decent clean clothes, so she knew he must have an income from something.
By the third night of the revival, when the preacher had warmed up and hit his stride, Josephine and Samuel were
sitting together. Josephine thought the preacher had done good. Fifteen people had walked the aisle to be saved that
evening. Lots more had walked the aisle to confess.
Josephine thought watching the confessions was the best part of any service, including the revival. She would sit in
the pew during church and watch all the people go to the front and kneel and pray and then whisper to the preacher. Then
the preacher, at their church it was Brother Richard, would say “God bless you child,” and he always said “you” so loudly,
“God bless YOU child!” Then, he would take a deep breath and say “Repent, walk the straight and narrow path of the Lord.”
At the revival though, it was harder to hear what the people were saying and what this preacher's response was, but
Josephine was pretty sure it was all the same.
Josephine would think about what each person could have done. “What in the world could old Mrs. Likeman have
done that was so bad she needed to confess it?” Or, “how could Nancy have done something else bad? She just walked the
aisle on Wednesday night's service, and this is just Sunday morning.”
Josephine spent quite a bit of that part of the service trying to figure out what each person had done. Sometimes,
though, she didn't have to guess. There were times when Josephine knew what the person had done. “I knew Bradley was
going to walk the aisle this morning. I knew it. He ought to be after drinking and carrying on in front of the movie house
last weekend. He ought to be too ashamed to even come to church.”
At the revival, Josephine and Samuel talked about the singing and the preaching and how great the Lord was and
how blessed they were. Josephine used almost every saying sh had heard from her aunt when she was alive. Josephine had
talked to Samuel about faith and strength and virtue.
Samuel told Josephine he thought she was a real Proverbs 31 woman, through and through. Josephine had to go
home and look that up in her aunt's Bible.
The last night of the revival, Samuel asked Josephine if he could come by some time after he got off work at the
General Store during the week. Josephine was only seventeen. Samuel was thirty. She lived alone in her aunt's house.
Josephine didn't want anyone in the congregation to think poorly of her, so she told him that should would see him Sunday
morning at church.
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