Meeting New People
Angel sat with Joel as he drove the matched chestnut geldings while Fawn and Nana sat inside the carriage.
Nana fluttered the lace ruffle on her blouse front. Then she tapped her cane on the floor of the carriage and patted her hair with her free hand. “I do hope I’m presentable,” she murmured to Fawn. “Goodness, what will they think of a country bumpkin like me?”
Fawn hugged her grandmother. “They will love you, just as I do.” She smoothed her own skirts and squared her shoulders. “You will see, Nana. These are kind people who do not judge others based on their circumstances.” Her smile was wide, her eyes alight with joy. It was going to be a grand day. She would not allow herself to be nervous about meeting the other families.
The calls of whippoorwills trilled through the trees whose branches made a canopy over the road as the foursome traveled. A light breeze sent the fragrance of wild peas and juniper wafting through the carriage. The blue-sky day seemed filled with promise. Fawn could almost forget her troubles, the ones that nagged for attention in the recesses of her mind.
Upon arrival at the Wiley residence, Deanna greeted her guests as if they were long lost friends, with friendly hugs for the ladies and a handshake for Joel.
She greeted Joel first. “And who is this striking young woman by your side?”
“Deanna, I would like to introduce you to my dear friend, Angel Browning, daughter of our illustrious senator.” It was at this point that Deanna greeted Angel with an affectionate hug as she would a church member.
“And this,” continued Joel, “is Mrs. Jackson, Fawn’s grandmother.”
“Please come in,” Deanna bade the group. “We have punch, cookies, and sandwiches in the library. The Donnellys are here as are the Campbells, the Fraleys, the Brookses and the Snellings. It is a bit crowded but there is room for everyone. May I take your wraps?”
The ladies’ shawls were handed to Deanna who then left to deposit them in another room as she bade her guests to make themselves comfortable.
Once inside the library Fawn’s nerves attacked. She had tried so hard to keep a positive attitude but many of the faces looked skeptical at her while their appraisal of Angel seemed to be more accepting. Perhaps they thought Angel should be the one being interviewed.
Calm down, she willed herself. It is natural for them to assume that the one with the poise and charm would be the person being considered for the position. It doesn’t mean they won’t accept me. She stilled her hands, straightened her back, and forced herself to smile. Nana patted Fawn’s hand in a gesture of support.
Fawn decided this was not the time to indulge in delicacies. The chatter had stopped when she entered the room, or so it seemed. An awkward silence fell until Michael Wiley spoke up.
“Friends, our prospective teacher has arrived with some friends who have come to offer their support.” He made introductions around the room, then continued. “The floor is open for questions.”
Mr. Campbell was the first to speak. His thinning dark hair and long beard made him look every bit the typical hillbilly s...