CHAPTER FIVE HUNDRED and FORTY-EIGHT
Monday evening — 5:45 p.m.
“You can understand why I am concerned,” Jacob said to Nelson’s neighbor Mr. Matchel. “I was out of town. My wife and daughter said that you were very angry in their direction regarding my cousin and your next door neighbor.”
Mr. Matchel shifted back and forth.
“Just a bad night,” Mr. Matchel said.
“That’s what I want to understand,” Jacob said. “Because Blane’s been over here — every single Thursday this summer — making sure that your grass is moved and edged. If you think that you’d rather not have ‘his kind’ around then he can spend his time doing something else.”
Mr. Matchel swallowed hard. His head went up and down.
“Now, Blane, Nelson, and I planned to get after these leaves in your yard this weekend,” Jacob said.
“Because you can use them for your own compost,” Mr. Matchel said. “For that farm, you’re running in the backyard.”
“Actually, this is too much for us,” Jacob said with a nod. “We’ve never put your leaves in our compost. We do get them to the city so they can use them.”
Mr. Matchel scowled with mistrust.
“So what’s it going to be?” Jacob asked. “Are you going to get over this petty issue you’ve developed with my cousin and your next door neighbor? Let us help you. Or would you rather sit in your judgments on their lives?”
“Petty?” Mr. Matchel sniffed. “It’s in the bible as an offense against God!”
“It’s also in the bible that you should love your neighbor,” Jacob said. “There’s an entire New Testament about that. Are you loving your neighbor when you vented your rage on my wife and child? When you say awful things about my cousin and your neighbor?”
Mr. Matchel shifted back and forth. Before Jacob and Blane started mowing his yard, he was always in trouble with the city for his unkempt yard. The elderly man was simply incapable of keeping up with his yard and house.
“Is hate so important to you?” Jacob asked.
“It’s not like I hate Blane,” Mr. Matchel said.
“Then what is it?” Jacob asked.
Mr. Matchel blinked at Jacob for such a long time that Jacob nearly gave up. After a moment, Mr. Matchel took a breath and then another. Jacob glanced behind him and saw Heather standing at the fence of the Castle.
“I just get so angry these days,” Mr. Matchel said finally. “I didn’t mean to scare your little girl. It just came out of me.”
Jacob nodded in understanding.
“Seems like maybe you haven’t had a chance to meet Nelson,” Jacob said.
Mr. Matchel shook his head.
“He’s coming to dinner tonight,” Jacob said. “Why don’t you come over? Do you have dinner plans?”
“Me?” Mr. Matchel asked. “Just what they bring from the service.”
“Why don’t I ask Nelson to come get you?” Jacob asked. “You can come over together. Share a meal. We can get to know each other better.”
Mr. Matchel gave him a distrusting look but nodded.
“Good, then it’s settled,” Jacob said. “You’ll like Nelson. His family is one of France’s oldest families.”
“I was in France in the service,” Mr. Matchel said.
“See, something in common already,” Jacob said.
Mr. Matchel nodded. Not sure of what to say next, Mr. Matchel closed the door. Jacob walked next door to tell Nelson the news. Nelson simply nodded. Smiling, Jacob went back to the Castle.
Passing Heather, he said, “Thanks.”
“Don’t thank me yet,” Heather said.
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…
This work, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.