Katy Yoder skimmed a white-gloved finger across the edge of the fireplace mantel. The holiday decorations, such extravagance forbidden at her own home, slowed her task. It wasn’t just the matter of working around them; it was the assessing of them. Feeling a bit like Cinderella at the ball, she swiped her feather duster, easing it around the angel figurines and Christmas garland. A red plastic berry bounced to the floor, and she stooped to retrieve it, poking it back into place with care.
Her mother, like most members of her Mennonite congregation, shunned such frivolity. Gabriel of the Bible, the angel who visited the Virgin Mary, probably looked nothing like these gilded collectibles. Nevertheless, the manger scene caused warm puddles to pool deep inside her heart, a secret place of confusing desires that she kept properly disguised, covered with her crisp white blouse and ever-busy hands.
The pine-scented tree occupying the corner of the room moved her with wonder. Not the ornaments, but the twinkling white lights, little dots of hope. The cheery music jingling in the background was not forbidden. She mouthed the words to “Silent Night.” In December they often sang the hymn at her meetinghouse. But her singing was interrupted mid-stanza as her employer’s gravelly voice brought her out of her reverie. Instinctively, she lowered her arm and whirled.
Mr. Beverly’s lips thinned and his white mustache twitched. “Katy. We need to talk.” Bands of deep wrinkles creased his forehead. “I have bad news,” he said. His petite wife stood at his side, twisting her diamond ring.
Apprehension marched up Katy’s neck. Could it be a terminal illness? In their late seventies, the couple kept active for their age, always off on golfing vacations. Katy had grown fond of them. Smiles softened their conversation, and their hands were quick to hand her trusted keys and gifts. They even bought her a sweater for her birthday, made from some heavenly soft fabric. Katy gripped the duster’s handle with both hands. “Oh?”
“We’re going to have to let you go.”
Her jaw gaped. Never had she expected such news. “But. . .but I thought you were pleased.” Her mind scrambled for some slipup, some blunder.
Dianne Christner writes light-hearted Christian Fiction. After writing historical fiction for Barbour Books since 1994, they recently published her Mennonite three-book compilation called The Plain City Bridesmaids. It has been on the EPCA Bestsellers list since its April 1st release. Raised Mennonite and having Amish relatives—her grandfather was a preaching Beachy-Amish bishop and her husband’s parents were once Amish—she brings authenticity to her Amish fiction. She now worships at Christ Church of the Valley—a nondenominational church.
Dianne resides in Phoenix, Arizona, with her husband of forty-one years. They have two married children and five grandchildren. She says, “Writing is a lonely job so I LOVE reader interaction.”
Purchase Dianne’s books here.
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