Uncle Joe’s Gift


Draft – Rev.4

It was March twenty-eighth, just two days after Bengi Shindler’s twenty-ninth birthday. Outside of his apartment the sun was shining brightly but the outside temperature was scarcely forty degrees. He would soon be saying his goodbye’s to his only known living relative.

As his uncle was packing for his flight back to Seattle, Bengi was thinking about the visit from his dad’s older brother. Some interesting facts were shared with him on this visit; his dad had been born two years after his uncle. The brothers were as different as night and day from what his uncle had recently told him. Joseph Shindler, the older of the brothers, had taken over the majority of the family shipping business when he was twenty-three; Bengi’s dad had spent eight years in college getting his doctorate. The brothers were from a Jewish family who had lived in Brooklyn all of their lives until the two sons had left for different colleges.




What eventually killed the formally close Jewish family unity was that Bengi’s mother was a Christian. She had spent five years in Romania as a Missionary’s kid from her seventh through eleventh grade years; eventually going to college while her family returned to the mission fields.

Sadly for Bengi’s dad, it had not been a joyful time once he had announced his intent for marriage. Their family was extremely strict as Jews and utterly disowned him once he had married the Christian girl, as they had referred to her. An incredible fact was; both of his parents were his present age when they had married.




Five years ago, on his twenty-fourth birthday his uncle Joseph had shown up at his door step. He remembered that it was a Saturday morning about seven, when he was introduced to a Mr. Joseph Shindler. It was a shock since he had always thought of himself as an orphan after his parents were killed in the automobile accident; that was back when he was just a week shy of his tenth birthday.

Those were some bad years as he recalled. When he was just six, the family had moved to Georgetown where his dad was employed at the college until the day Bengi was told the tragic news. He had no family that anyone knew of and he became a ward of the state until he turned fifteen; that is when he finally ran away, he had hoped a train going west, and lived on the streets of Dallas the majority of those years. He had become a computer whiz by the time he was seventeen and was able to get jobs here and there in some of the smaller business locations. The odd jobs brought him enough income for an occasional hotel room and a good meal every now and then.

At twenty-two he packed his few belongings and traveled across several states until he arrived back in Brooklyn; close to the area he was born. With his incredible technical knowledge he soon landed a good paying job. He lived in a three room studio apartment; not much to look at but he kept it clean. As far as worldly goods there wasn’t many nor was there much clutter that needed dusted.

Bengi was able to save a good portion of his biweekly paychecks over these past seven years. As he continued thinking about his past, his uncle walked from the small bathroom and placed his suitcase near the apartment door. Bengi commented, “Thank you for the visit. I always enjoy the time we have when you come to Brooklyn to visit, for my birthday.” His uncle told him it was a joy to visit with him over these past few years. It was good therapy for the both of them. Joseph’s only child, a son, had been killed in the war six years earlier; at the time it was just two weeks prior to him returning home from the war.

Joseph said, “You remind me of your dad at about the same age. He was slightly darker, as far as complexion, but the same cheek bones. These visits cause me to shed a tear as I ride to the airport for my flight to Washington. Promise me that you will come visit me next year for your birthday; I sold the majority of my business a few months ago to my old friend Rick Dowty. I have plenty of time to putter around on my four-hundred and forty acre farm now.” Bengi told him it sounded nice and he would seriously consider it. They walked down the flight of stairs and Bengi watched as the cab pulled away.




It had been three months since his uncle had visited. The large business he was working for was having a serious financial crisis and the outcome from a government investigation was ongoing. It looked like two of the finance exec’s were in hot water and the fallout was going to mean some downsizing in each department. It looked like a very stiff fine in the area of five-million dollars was on its way, so cutting cost was an issue, for keeping the business open.

Bengi was told by the department head that there would be two or three employees in each of the work groups furloughed on the following Friday. After work, he went to the park to think over his future possibilities.

As Bengi was thinking, a thought came to him concerning his uncle. “If he was one of those that lost their job, maybe he would contact Uncle Joseph.” The more he thought, the better he liked the idea.

The next morning, minutes after reporting to work, the executive members walked out of the largest of the conference rooms. Bengi thought, “Looks like the process has been escalated.” The word was that each of the departments would be briefed by the executive team in separate meetings. Information technology would be the first. As they were about to meet, he learned three of the ten would be gone from the department by the next day.

It was a serious looking crew as they entered the conference room. Eight of the ten were married with families and three of them would probably be the ones to leave. The chairman didn’t waste time with a joke, he looked serious. He said, “If any of you want to volunteer to leave the company before I say another word, I’ll give you six weeks pay. If no volunteers, then I will resend the offer and give two weeks pay to the three that will be leaving.”

Bengi didn’t know where it came from but he responded, “I’ll go, it will save a job for someone with a family.” This was unexpected since Bengi was the most skilled of the group. “No, we aren’t including you on the list,” the vice-president responded to the entire department. Bengi replied, “Sir, I’ve decided to leave the city and spend some time with an uncle in Washington State. I’ve thought this over since the bad news started circulating.” The HR department representative looked at the Executive, commented to him, and then told Bengi that he could leave the meeting. As Bengi stood to leave, he was told to return in the morning for his check and any personal belongings.




Joseph Shindler was opening the kitchen door from doing his morning chores; that’s when he heard his phone ringing. His nephew was on the other end of the line. They talked briefly and as Joseph had been hoping, he would be having a visitor for an undetermined amount of time.

Bengi started packing. He had purchased three good sized duffel bags and a larger sized trunk. Besides his seventeen inch notebook computer, his only luxuries were a classical guitar and a tennis racket. He would leave the TV and the few plants for the next occupant. Once he was settled in at his uncle’s farm, he would take care of his bank accounts.


Chapter 1

Bengi Shindler was about to make a three-thousand mile trip. He wasn’t sure where the journey would eventually lead but something from within told him there had to be something more than working forty-five to fifty hours a week for a corporation who allowed greedy executives to play havoc with their employees’ lives. He had no idea what it would be like to sit back and just enjoy a few calm days. As far back as he could remember; there hadn’t been one day where he could lay his head on a blanket and look up at the blue sky with a smile on his face.

It was slightly overcast and beginning to rain as the plane started the approach to the runway. They would be landing just east of the harbor which extended south all the way to Tacoma. Bengi chuckled as he thought of the possibility of the plane landing in the water; it would seem normal if something like that happened to him. Just then something like a wind sheer hit the left side of the plane. Screams were heard as the plane dropped two-hundred feet and tilted toward the starboard. Within seconds though, the pilot was on the runway and the plane’s tail was whipping back and forth as it continued down the runway. He could see that one of the airline stewardesses had a bloody lip and was crying. It took several seconds for the pilot to slow the plane and get it near the gate. Bengi felt drained as he took a deep breath.

Joseph met him at the gate and they walked together to locate his few possessions. Once they found an empty space at the curb, Joseph went for his vehicle. A truck as large as a limo pulled up in front of Bengi, then Joseph honked. Bengi was impressed as he looked at the full sized truck which had a double cab and an eight foot bed. He had been worrying how his entire luggage was going to fit but it would be easy to load all of it.

“I bought this new truck yesterday. I’ve wanted one for the farm since I retired and this one should do. Don’t you think?” Bengi had never owned a vehicle but he could tell the dash had several gadgets that he would like to figure out. Joseph commented, “It’s a good five hours to the farm and an hour more if we stop to eat. An option is to stay in my condo up the road, which is located in Everett, and get an early start in the morning. What would you prefer?” They talked it over and determined the drive would get them to the farm about sundown, so that was the plan.

At about three hours they took the exit for Moss Lake. They decided to get food to-go to save some time. Bengi said, “Wow, what a change a couple hours makes. There was the city, then the mountain range, and now a long deserted freeway.” His uncle replied, “This super highway goes all the way to Spokane and then into Idaho. We will go north once we arrive in Spokane.”

“Do I have an aunt, Joseph? I don’t think we ever talked about it.” Joseph told him that he had a wife once but when he moved his Shipping headquarters from New York to Washington she only lasted about a year in Seattle before she left. “She moved back to Brooklyn but unfortunately she died in a car accident a couple years later.”


The sun was setting as the truck drove up a lane that measured close to a quarter mile. The house and barn were tucked behind a hill and not visible from the road. Bengi was thinking, “What a view I’ll have when the sun comes up in the morning.”

The house couldn’t have been over two, maybe three years old and probably close to four-thousand square feet. Tile, wood, and a splendid fireplace were all Bengi saw when he entered from the kitchen door; then Joseph showed him to a second story bedroom. It had carpet and included a full sized bathroom and a large walk-in closet. In fact all three upstairs bedrooms, though slightly smaller than his, included their own bathroom.

They walked back down to the kitchen, which was larger than any he had ever seen. Joseph continued the short tour. There was a nice front entry with an eight foot door, a study, a good sized Family room, and Joseph’s bedroom, which he did not show Bengi. There were another four doors, probably closets but they weren’t mentioned to him.


Bengi was up early. His internal clock was still on East coast time as he opened his eyes to see darkness starting to give way to a grayish dimness through the window. He found the bag with jeans then pulled out a long sleeve polo shirt. As he ran down the stairs his uncle was in the kitchen making coffee. They talked for a few minutes and walked outside to sit on the porch swing and watch sunrise. It was brisk outside but gorgeous is all Bengi could think. It was nothing like looking out a second story apartment with eight more stories above you on all sides.

Bengi commented, “Do you have something like a daily routine to keep you motivated to get up? I guess what I’m asking is there something that I could be involved in, as far as work goes?” His uncle told him that was something they could discuss as they toured the farm later that morning. He said, “Do you know how to ride a horse?” Bengi laughed and told him that he had never been on a horse in his life.

The horses were saddled and they walked them northwest toward a gate that would lead them to an open field. His uncle pointed out mountains in different directions and said things like “Indian Reservation” or “Government Land”. Bengi tried to remember all that he had been told. “Out here on the farm there is plenty of snow in the winter but back in Seattle, it’s mostly a cool drizzle of rain.” There were several mountains that he would like to climb if he was in better physical shape, but that would have to wait. He mentioned his thought to his uncle and Joseph told him they could take a two-man tent and camp at the base. “Let’s wait a week or so until the remainder of the winter snow melts.”


This would be his first adventure. He had learned to do a few of the jobs his uncle had showed him each day, that first week, but today they were going to set up a camp just south of Mt. Spokane. They planned to spend a few days away from the house. Of the two, Uncle Joseph was probably in better physical shape. He was sixty-three but could pass for fifty. After the first day they returned to their small camp completely tuckered out. Bengi had his guitar with him; he had intended to play for an hour or so but after playing and singing three songs he quit; he settled into his sleeping bag. A feeble “good night” was all either could mutter.

Both were sore the next morning. Bengi commented, “I played some basketball games in the park but never did I have muscles that moaned every time I moved.” His uncle told him that in a few weeks he would have a reformed body and the muscle tone would start to show. On the third and last day of camping, Bengi tried a steeper climb. He had been cautious but still he slipped and landed about five feet down the incline and bruised his knee. It was painful as he slowly descended the mountain.

It was a good first outing for the pair. They talked about several topics and Bengi was surprised that his uncle had owned a dozen large cargo ships and twenty-one mid-sized ones. Over the years he had purchased each at prices well below the market value and made low cost improvements. With forty years in business and then selling the majority of the business, his uncle was worth a good seven-hundred-million dollars. Joseph was not flashy or cocky; just a humble fella who still kept up with some of the old Jewish traditions. Bengi had almost forgotten that his dad had once done the same but as he recalled, after his parents had died, his life had changed drastically.


Joseph told Bengi he would be driving into Spokane Saturday evening for some groceries. He mentioned there was an indoor climbing arena that they could stop and look over. “Maybe you and I could get a tip or two on how to actually climb a mountain the correct way.”

It was Saturday afternoon and the truck was on its way to town. It was about six p.m. when they arrived at the climbing arena and the main crowd of people had left for the day. They looked on the bulletin board and read where there would be a couple more climbs prior to the official season ending. Bengi noted the dates on a piece of paper. There were two workers talking to a couple high school boys. One of the instructors was a fairly tall dark haired beauty. Bengi could tell she wasn’t Jewish but she was one of those that the guys back in Brooklyn, would have called tall, dark, and beautiful. He wouldn’t argue with them on this one.

Joseph approached them and asked, “Is there a chance we could have a little tutoring on the correct way to climb?” The girl told them she could help. They asked several questions and then she gave some additional advice when they asked about the two remaining mountain climbs. Bengi noticed her name tag; it was spelled “Eveitta” which he had never heard of before. He asked how she pronounced her name. She told him her mom had come up with it. “She calls me Eve-et-tah.”

He looked into her dark brown eyes and commented, “I like it, especially for someone tall and beautiful like you; now I’m just telling you this as a compliment.”

She was staring him down for the comment but he didn’t bat an eye. He said, “I said it as a compliment and I intended it as a compliment.” He stepped a foot closer looking directly into her eyes and smiled as he said, “I want to tell you something weird about me. My dad was Jewish and wanted to name me Benjamin but couldn’t bring himself to spell it like the last son of Jacob, so he spelled it “B E N G A M I N” but pronounced it normal.” She didn’t smile or bat an eye as she looked into his face. Joseph finally spoke up and wanted to know if she would work with them on some the climbing techniques. A few minutes later they had ropes around their waist and starting up the training slope. After an hour they called it quits. Joseph nodded at her and told her that she had done well. Bengi reached into his pocket and handed her a twenty, then remarked, “Thanks crabby, a smile from you and I would have doubled the tip!” and he turned and walked away not looking back to check her expression.

While they were driving toward the grocery store, Joseph wanted to know what had happened back there. He told his uncle the story, “I’ve not had more than five dates in my entire life but somehow I’m going to get this Eveitta girl, out on a date.” His uncle told him good-luck and reached his hand over to pat Bengi’s thigh and commented, “You know she isn’t Jewish don’t you?” He looked over at his uncle and told him that he was only half Jewish. We should talk about these differences one day. Bengi responded, “I can remember vaguely that my mom and dad had many-many discussions on the topic and mom would always have her Bible handy to point out some paragraph. It usually sent them off in a different discussion. I remember they were kissers and dad would always say, ‘I see your point,’ and he would stoop and kiss her.”

Joseph told Bengi that his dad loved Maria more than any man he had ever known; had loved a woman. I was probably the only one in the family who ever spoke to him after they were married. “You know, a brother is a brother, no matter what they have done. You lov’em for who they are, not for what they have done.”

Bengi asked, “Do you have any idea what happened to the personal things mom and dad had when they died.” He told his uncle he had not actually spent any time thinking about those things until this very moment. My dad had a violin that he played a couple evenings each week and mom had that bible that started with an ‘S’. Joseph whispered through a Froggy voice, “I have everything in storage, hoping that one day I would find you and present it in a special way. That is if it meant anything to you.”


It was a quiet drive back to the farm. Each was into their own thoughts as the truck pulled up near the kitchen door. They each made a couple trips with their arms loaded and then put the items in the pantry or refrigerator. Next, Joseph cut the end from the watermelon for a snack.


Bengi was up at six; he dressed, and walked out on the back porch to look at the view. His uncle joined him and commented, “I need to make a couple phone calls. Then after lunch we need to drive back to Seattle for a couple days, to take care of some business. Why don’t you saddle up the horses so we can take a ride out to the north windmill? It was acting up the last time I checked it. When the cattle are in the north pasture they will need to have water.” The horses were saddled as Joseph made his phone calls. Just prior to mounting, Joseph told Bengi to get the black saddlebags out of the barn. It had most of the tools needed to work on the mechanical machinery located around the farm.

Each time Bengi rode he was getting more familiar with the horse. Joseph had four of them at the moment and they would alternate them to make sure they had the necessary exercise to keep them healthy. Bengi had a favorite saddle after trying each of them and his uncle had a special custom made one that he used each time. There’s was a new modern barn with six stalls on one side in case additional horses were to be bought.

Sure enough, the windmill was stuck and not rotating. The water level was low and would be empty by tomorrow if not repaired. As they looked up, they both saw the problem. Someone would have to climb up and repair one of the fan blades. It was bent! Bengi volunteered to make the climb. He tied a rope to the saddlebag and the other end to his belt so once in position; he could pull up the tools.

It took awhile to properly fix the problem. He looked around while he was up at the top and told his uncle there were some bolts missing that held the motor on the frame. He pointed his finger at the spots. “I didn’t put any bolts in the bag so you will have to use some of the wire and twist it tight until we can come back another day and properly repair it.” Once done, he looked around one last time prior to descending.

Joseph showed Bengi how the fan was locked in place and released for use. As a gust of wind came up, the fan started to rotate and a minute later, some water started to pour into the storage tank. It appeared that in half an hour or so there would be enough water for the cows until they returned from Seattle.

It was going on eleven o’clock when they rode into the coral. Bengi pointed toward a car next to the house. Joseph remarked, “Ms. Hawkins is here. She tidy’s up the house every other week for me. It needs a woman’s touch to look like a home.” He told Bengi that in case he was gone sometime, when she came, to give her a hundred dollars for the work. Come on in and meet her.

Bengi was surprised, the lady was probably close to sixty from the looks of her gray hair but moved around at a frantic pace to make sure she completed all the expected work. His uncle told her they were going to the city; to lock up the house and to lock the gate down by the main road when she left. He placed the money on the table and she smiled at him and nodded.

It took twenty minutes to load a shaving kit and a few clothes and then Joseph was driving down the lane.


Chapter 2

It was about six p.m. when Joseph drove his Lexus sedan into the parking garage of his condo. “This was my home the last seven years while managing the business here in the city. When Rachel and I first moved here we had a house, which I kept several years, but finally sold it for this smaller condo.” He told Bengi that he built the farm house and barn a couple years ago; once he finally decided to actively step down from his business and sell the majority of it to an old friend who was also in the shipping business.

As they walked up the external stairs to the second floor, Joseph told Bengi that tomorrow he had a ‘BOARD’ meeting and the next day he had business with his lawyer. Joseph unlocked the door and as they entered, it looked like a New York penthouse. Bengi commented, “Wow, what a nice apartment! Do you come here often?” He told Bengi that it was kind of backwards from what it used to be. “Then I lived here and went to the farm; I stayed in a fifth wheel camper a weekend out of the month; now I only come here a couple days a month.” He told Bengi he was on the Board of Directors and still owned twenty-five percent of the business, but that he was not actively involved with day to day business decisions. “The next two days you are on your own. Here is a set of keys and a block over you can catch a cab and go anyplace you want to. There are museums, parks, a zoo, and ferries to take you across the BAY. Do you need some money?” Bengi showed him his credit card and smiled.

For two days he hardly saw his uncle but he did get to see several sights in the area. When his uncle came back the following month he would do a few other things.

It was late afternoon of the second day when Joseph returned to the condo. He had some updated folders in his satchel that he would need to cover with Bengi one of these days soon. Joseph took a shower and changed his clothes; opened the door to the covered balcony and then set on an easy chair overlooking the street. Less than ten minutes had passed when he saw his nephew carrying a couple bags. He stood and walked to the edge and asked, “Did you get something for that pretty girl at the rock climbing arena?” Bengi looked up and commented, “I didn’t but before I go see her again that’s exactly what I’ll do.” Joseph laughed and told him that it would be a good idea. “Let’s go out and talk some business over dinner tonight. I like a quaint place down near the docks.”


As they were driving from Seattle back toward Spokane Bengi commented, “There is the rock climbing event in ten days. I wouldn’t mind being involved. What about you uncle, are you up for it?” Joseph told him if they were going to give it a try they needed to spend some time practicing. “Can we drive by and get the application on the way home?” Joseph laughed and told him that if he was a betting man, that he was probably wanting to get a look at the pretty lady working there.

As Joseph pulled into the parking area he said, “Wait here, I’ll get the application and you can drop it off tomorrow evening. I think she works from one until closing then. She isn’t working here today; I saw the schedule the other day.”


Both of them practiced climbing the rougher terrain of the mountains for the next five days. Both had improved and as they talked about the event, they had some hope that they would do alright.

The night before the mountain climbing event Joseph asked, “Do you have a couple minutes? I want to go over a few items with you just in case.” Bengi looked at his uncle but did not respond to the statement, he just listened.

Joseph had a couple folders on the desk in his Study. He explained about the stock investments in several other company’s and that he was also still a twenty-five percent owner in ‘Shipping Star’. He had added Bengi as his beneficiary and he also had changed his WILL. There was charities etc. but Bengi was the high percentage person on all of Joseph’s many assets. He went through several pages of assorted items and finally looked Bengi in the eye. “You are my only living relative but besides that you have your head screwed on right. I am proud of the way you were knocked around as a young guy but you have come out of it with integrity and of good moral character. I don’t plan on dying anytime soon but just in case, this is all settled.” He was looking for words to respond to his uncle but he was speechless. Finally he smiled toward his uncle and said, “What if I fall in love with this GENTILE woman at the rock climbing arena?”  Joseph winked and told Bengi that he would be his best man.


The climb was good for both of them. It was not terrible difficult but the last climb of the season was supposed to be the test for good climbers. Bengi stayed clear of Eveitta since she was busy making sure everyone was using safety precaution. It paid off since no one was injured. Bengi overheard some of the climbers asking her when she was going to find a good man and settle down; one of them even told her she was close to becoming an old maid. He did notice she wore a small necklace with a cross on it but he supposed many women wore them.

The next week they were busy each day with farm chores. The wind mill in the North section was still working. They did finally remember to take some bolts to make the repair permanent their next trip out. Friday afternoon they quit work at four p.m. and went to town. “What about swinging by the rock climbing arena,” asked Joseph? He told Bengi he wanted a pair of the gloves like the others used when they climbed. Not a person was climbing at the moment so they looked through the merchandise shop and found a couple items. Their shoes had small rubber cleats and gripped the rocks better. Between the two of them there were nine new purchases. Bengi gave his credit card and the cashier asked for an id with a picture. He didn’t have one so the clerk called Eveitta over. She looked Bengi in the eye and asked, “We normally ask for a picture id for first time buyers. Do you have one?” He told her he did not have one, “I’ve lived in NYC the past seven years and my badge for work had the picture. Since I resigned from my job a month ago and moved here, I have no picture id.” She asked if he had a driver’s license with a picture. He told her that in NYC most people take the subway or a train so he did not have an automobile. She started laughing, “I’ve finally met a man who truly has no identity.” She looked at Joseph, “Is this your son, Sir?” He told her he was his nephew and that he was telling the truth. She looked at the credit card and commented, “This expires next month Bengi, what are you going to tell me then?” He told her that by next month she would have had a nice date with him and would know that he was an ok guy. The clerk standing next to Eveitta snickered. “What was that for,” he asked? The clerk responded, “She doesn’t date; she goes to college three mornings a week and studies after work. That’s her routine, right Eveitta?”

Bengi looked into the eye of Eveitta and asked, “How about a date this Sunday afternoon? My uncle has a farm north of here and has some riding horses. You could join us for a ride out through some pasture land. What do you think?” She told him it sounded like fun but that she didn’t know him well enough. She asked, “Are you trustworthy, someone who has good moral values, and will you be respectful toward me?” He told her that his family was of both the Jewish and Christian faith. He told her that he would certainly be respectful of her wishes. “Do you have a phone that I can call you on?” He told her that he deactivated it when he moved but would have it activated soon. “Have you ever been married,” she asked? He told her nope and then said, “You only get one more question Eveitta?” She looked into his eyes as she asked, “Do you have a girlfriend back in NYC that is waiting for you?” He kept his eyes glued to hers and told her there wasn’t another girl waiting for him anywhere except maybe here in Spokane. She didn’t bat an eye but she shook her head then replied, “I’ll come because I believe you are a truthful man.” He lipped a thank-you toward her.

He handed her the credit card and told her they would have lunch ready to eat when she arrived. He pulled a piece of paper from his pocket and handed it to her. He told her the directions would get her there.

As the two men left the arena Eveitta thought, “Is this guy actually different or is he like Charlie, nice for a while but then when you’ve lost your heart to him; he isn’t what you imagined?


Chapter 3

It was a great week. Bengi had a few extra things to do to spiffy up the exterior of the house and barn for his first date with Eveitta. Joseph was helping and by Friday mid-morning everything was finished. Bengi asked, “Can we make a trip to town this afternoon? I need to transfer my bank account to Spokane and apply for a new credit card. If you know where the library is at, maybe I could get a card with a picture id.” Joseph told him he could get a picture id with a credit card through the local bank. They cleaned up and were off to town before noon. Joseph told him they would pass the arena if he wanted to stop but he declined. By four his business was finished but he wanted to purchase a gift. Joseph told him there was a fine woman’s shop over a couple streets. He asked, “What are you looking for?” Bengi told Joseph he didn’t have the slightest idea.


Eveitta must have followed the direction ok because she pulled up to the house at about twelve-forty. Bengi had gone to the gate and unlocked it at eleven since he didn’t know exactly when she would arrive.

Bengi walked out the front door of the foyer as the car came to a stop. She opened her car door and he was surprised to see she had a nice casual dress on. She had looked good to him in jeans at the arena but she was downright beautiful in the dress; it was more like a breathtaking moment to him. He said, “Wow-wee, you sure look nice in that dress.” She smiled and told him “thank-you”.

He led her to the front door since she was a guest. As she entered she smiled and told him that his uncle had a nice home. She saw the table was just set for three as Joseph met them near it. As Bengi tried to be a gentleman and seat her she asked, “Is your wife joining us for lunch?” Joseph took a breath and told her that his wife had died back in New York a few years earlier. It was sort of the truth without going into a lot of explaining. “Oh how tragic that must have been,” exclaimed Eveitta!

The fellows had tried their best to come up with something eatable for their guest. They put about everything they could think of in a tossed salad, then they had some large baked potatoes, and finally they had baked pork chops flavored with mushroom soup. She told them it was delicious but too much for her to eat.

When finished she asked if she could change before they rode the horses. Soon they were walking to the barn. “Nice barn you have, sir,” she commented. Joseph had their two horses out and saddled in minutes and told her she could choose from the two remaining horses that were still in the stables. She chose the black one and Joseph with the help of Bengi saddled it.


The threesome walked the horses as they decided where they were going to ride. They started off by riding toward the mountain Bengi had first climbed. As they looked around near the base of the mountain Eveitta asked, “This looks like a place that the climbers might want to climb next year; you know, the steeper area. Would you consider letting us come across your property, sir?” Bengi responded, “It would be just fine and I could join in.” She laughed and told him she was asking his uncle. He told her it would be nice to have the climbers out. “You know this farm will be Bengi’s one of these days down the road, so he can speak in response to your request. Until that time comes, we are just going to be partners.”

Next they rode out to the North pasture and counted the cows. There were a couple new ones that were walking a little wobbly. Joseph commented, “After those two have gained some weight, we are going to have to sell a couple older ones when there’s an auction at the Sale Barn. I try to keep the herd down at twenty-four so there’s plenty of grass available.”

Joseph asked, “Are you getting tired or sore?” He told her that when he first started to ride after so long in the saddle he had to fidget to find a comfortable position. She responded, “From about twelve until eighteen I rode almost everyday but a year into college my dad died and I had to get a job to support myself; that’s what I’ve been doing since then.” Bengi commented, “How long has that been?” She told him it was close to ten years. “Do you live with your mom now,” Joseph asked? Eveitta told him it was a long story but that she lived alone in a small apartment over the old five n’ ten store. The rent is cheap enough and leaves me enough to make ends meet. Joseph told her that Bengi had a story similar to hers.

A cool but damp breeze swooped down on them suddenly and they each looked up about the same time toward the northwest. It looked like rain was heading their way, fast. “There’s not a shelter near here so we better get these horses moving fast. Just ride them into the barn and we can rub them down before putting them in the stalls.” The race was on and each of them seemed to be a competitor trying to get their horse into the lead.

They beat the rain but not by more than a couple minutes. The lighting and thunder rumbled until it shook the barn. Eveitta had taken her saddle off the horse and was softly talking to it and rubbing the sweat with an old blanket. Next she took a brush and smoothed out the hair as she continued talking softly. “Wow,” Joseph said, “You sure know how to settle ole Black Jack. He probably won’t let either of us ride him again.” She looked at Joseph with a smile on her face and said, “If that happens, just invite me out again and I’ll ride him.” He replied, “Anytime, you have an open invitation; come anytime.”

The rain continued its onslaught for another thirty minutes before it even let up. “Do you want to make a bee-line for the house or wait this out? I think it’s going to be an all-nighter.” It was two-hundred feet to the back door of the house. Bengi told them he would go first and get the door opened for them. He was drenched by the time he stepped into the kitchen. He opened the laundry room door and picked out three good sized towels. He went to the door and motioned for them. Eveitta started running and he held the door as she ran in. He took the second towel and wiped her face then handed it to her. Her eyes met his with a look of thanks and then she smiled at him. He almost forgot about Joseph but he heard the sloshing and quickly opened the door and handed him a towel.

“We should get out of the wet clothes or we will be sick tomorrow.” Joseph pointed to the guest bathroom on the first floor and told her to use it. Bengi took off his shoes and then ran upstairs. Bengi was the first to return. He had on some nice slacks and a long sleeve polo shirt. Joseph was also sporting some nice clothes as he returned. They waited another ten minutes until they heard Eveitta’s voice from the bathroom asking if there was a bag that she could put her wet clothes in. Bengi went to the pantry and found one. He knocked on the bathroom and she opened it wide enough that he could see she had her Sunday dress on and the other clothes were stacked on the sink. “See you in a minute,” he said.

Another round of lighting and thunder started its onslaught. They talked for a while and Bengi exclaimed, “I’m a little hungry, how about either of you?” They had a snack and continued to visit. Two hours later it was still storming hard. Joseph asked, “Did you have plans for this evening? I’m sorry to say it but I don’t think it’s safe to drive back to Spokane. The road is going to have water standing three to four feet in some areas.” She told them that normally she would be going back to church for Sunday evening services but she knew that would not be a safe thing to try. “How about a game or something,” asked Bengi? “How about you getting that guitar of yours and playing a tune or two?” Bengi had starting playing musical instruments when he was about eight. Then when he was in Dallas and homeless, he had a beat-up guitar that he played every night when a crew of them met under the bridge. He played several different tunes until it was late and then he commented, “What time is your class in the morning? Maybe we better get some rest so that beautiful face of yours doesn’t have rings under your eyes.” She looked down for a moment and spoke without lifting her eyes toward either of them, “This dress is all I have to wear and I sure could use something to ware as PJ’s.” Bengi walked toward the stairway and commented, “I’ll be back in a minute with something, or if you want, you can look over what I have and make a choice.” She didn’t look up but she told him to pick something for her. He had watched a little TV over the years and some girls wore boxer shorts and a polo shirt. He had several.

Bengi brought his best down the stairs and handed them to her. She still was not looking him in the eye but she did look at the clothes. She could tell they were expensive and the cloth was nice and soft. He said, “Hey, look at me. I could never wear these again so keep them for a remembrance of our first date. Someday after we are married you can tell our children about our first date and show them the proof.” Her face turned red but she looked up at him eye-to-eye and said, “I’ll just do that buster, that is, if you are the man that the Lord puts in my path!” Then she lowered her voice and asked, “Where is the bed you are planning to let me sleep in?” Joseph commented, “I liked you the moment we met back at the arena and I like you more now. Just give my nephew a chance and I think he would make you a happy wife. Goodnight.” Joseph walked to his bedroom and closed the door.


A minute later Joseph opened his bedroom door and said, “Bengi, have her sleep in the guest bedroom at the end of the hallway. It has a large bathroom for her privacy and there is a clean spare towel. Don’t stay up late; you have a lot of work tomorrow. There is going to be a mess outside when we get up.”


Bengi smiled toward Eveitta and said, “Do you need a bottle of water for the night? I usually take one so I don’t have to come down the stairs if I get thirsty.” She shook her head indicating yes.

As they walked toward the stairs she looked him in the face and asked, “How many girls have you left heartbroken Bengi? Are you one of those handsome love’em and leave’em guys?” She told him she didn’t want to get emotionally hurt. He told her that he was not planning to be a love’em and leave’em person. He stopped her just before they took the first step and turned her toward him, “I have never had a true girlfriend. I was either to poor or too busy for a girl. I don’t really know all the right things to say or do around girls.” He told her that over the past seven years he was probably in the guy classification of ‘geek’. “I’m one of those computer guys and have been a stay-at-home person saving my paychecks.” He told her that he had saved several thousand dollars over the past seven years mostly because he did not date anyone. “I have a guitar, a tennis racket, a high-tech computer and one of those geekie cell phones.” Then he looked down at the floor and commented, “My mom and dad were killed in an accident when I was ten and Joseph is my only living relative.” He continued his rambling and told her that he hadn’t seen his uncle since he was nine or so until five years earlier. “What do you think?”

She leaned toward him and put her head on his shoulder. Talking just above a whisper she told him that she was very sorry he had a tough life; soon, when a little more comfortable around him, she would tell him a little about herself. He didn’t know what to do. Never in his life had a girl leaned her head on his shoulder.


Bengi was up just as the sun was coming up. For such a bad night of weather the morning was beautiful. He went to the kitchen and boiled some water. He decided to make half a dozen boiled eggs in case she needed to make a hasty getaway. He also started the coffee brewing. Joseph was coming into the kitchen a few minutes later and asked, “Have you looked outside yet?” There was a tree limb on the roof of her old car. It looked bad for driving out on the road; the back window was busted with glass inside on the back seat.

“Do you think she is awake yet,” asked Bengi? He heard a voice coming down the stairs, “Yes she is awake and thanks for the comfortable bed. After my mind stopped racing I slept sooo good.”

“Eveitta, there is a little bad news to tell you. Look outside at your car,” Bengi exclaimed! They walked outside to consider what should be done. Joseph told them that the car wasn’t drivable. “Do you have insurance to cover something like this?” She told them that the value was not worth having anything but comprehensive to cover the other vehicle.

Bengi told her that he was planning to purchase a used pickup and she could use it until he learned to drive and then passed the driving test. He looked at his uncle and asked, “Could I park her car behind the barn and practice driving it out in the pasture until I’m good enough to take the test?” Joseph looked at Eveitta and remarked, “There is a nice car in the garage that I only use when driving to Seattle. Until we get to town and get this truck Bengi is talking about, you can use mine.”

Joseph pulled it out of the garage and drove it close to her. She exclaimed, “I can’t drive that! It is way too nice and I’d be afraid something might happen to it.” Joseph said, “It is insured so don’t worry about it, besides it is replaceable.” She told them that they were so nice and somehow she would repay them. Joseph told her to visit once in awhile and it would be pay enough.

Bengi and Joseph spent two days repairing items around the farm. On Wednesday a little after lunch, they showered and took the truck to town. As they were driving they talked about what kind of truck Bengi would get. He told his uncle he liked the looks of the Dodge Hemi. They talked about it and finally the real reason came out that he liked the sound of the engine idling. He bought just what he wanted. It was an automatic, a short cab with a single seat, dark blue, with a six-foot bed. It wouldn’t be worth a hoot as a farming truck but it looked cool to Bengi. He chuckled, “Now if only I had a license to drive it.”

Before they left Spokane, they traded Eveitta the Lexus he had loaned her for Bengi’s cool looking truck.


Chapter 4

There was a message on the phone recorder for Joseph when they arrived at the farm. The decision making board members were needed in Seattle at once. Part of the message mentioned the computer system had been hacked and a virus had spread through files.

Joseph thought a second and exclaimed, “This is an area that I worried about. The fella we put in charge of managing the technology was not real experienced and has had problems from the get-go. I hope they have backed up data every night like I asked for.” Joseph told Bengi they would be there a few days and to pack extra clothes.

Bengi checked his cell phone; then plugged it in to charge. He also charged his computer battery overnight. This sounded like it might be a fun experience for him, that is, if he could become involved with the computer challenge going on at ‘Shipping Star’ Headquarters.

Joseph said, “I’m sure glad we have the Lexus to drive. I hope Eveitta can manage with two trucks to choose from. Ha-ha is that crazy or what?” Bengi told him he was really beginning to like her. “My heart beats fast when I see her and I feel weird. I feel stupid when it comes to girls. I don’t think that I’ve ever kissed one and wouldn’t know how to if I had the chance.” Joseph chuckled a little and then said, “Watch this and then try it.” He raised the back of his hand to his lip and puckered a little; then made a smacking noise with his lips on the back of his hand. Bengi tried it but it wasn’t real good so Joseph did it real slow and then Bengi tried it a couple dozen times until it started getting better. “Slow down lover boy,” his uncle teased and they both started laughing.

“Did you get her phone number?” Joseph told him that he had the Arena number at work in case he wanted to make a call one evening while he was at the office in meetings. Bengi said, “I want to talk to you about that subject. I would like to hang-out with you on this visit to your office. I have an interest on the topic of the Main Frame Computers, which you were called about.” Joseph told him he was welcome to tag along and learn a little about the shipping business since we still own a portion of it.

An hour later Bengi had his computer bag draped over his shoulder and they were walking into a conference room. There were nine others in the room who all seemed to be talking at once. Joseph asked, “Who is in charge of this uncontrolled meeting anyway? I would like to hear from him about this major computer malfunction and then what is needed for the solution. Let’s have it!”

The majority owner and CEO said, “Joseph, it appears that someone was meddling with the information in our Main Frame computer and has it infected with a virus.” Joseph asked, “Wasn’t there supposed to have been one of those high-tech FIREWALLS installed. It seems like I got a bill for it several months ago. One more question, didn’t we have an A’ something software put in before I took a back seat to the day-to-day operations?”

“Yeah that’s right, exclaimed Rick! The AS-400 was installed and was running great a few days ago but someone must have accessed the main frame through a server or a terminal. We can’t tell yet what happened!” Joseph raised his voice and asked, “Who is in-charge of checking on it and how long until this dang computer is functional. We have thirty associates sitting on their thumbs not being able to help a single customer.”

Bengi stood at the door where he had entered. He raised his voice as he asked, “Uncle Joe, where is the Main Frame located. Let me check a couple things and maybe a starting point can be established.”

Joseph looked at his nephew with a startled look. Bengi commented, “We are wasting time in here; let’s look at the Main Frame.” Joseph raised the palms of his hands and looked at the ceiling, and then he looked at his nephew. “This is what I worked on the past seven years, let’s go check it out.”

In a few minutes Bengi was hooking his computer to a cord and he reached down under a shelf and inserted it into a special jack. A minute later he was typing certain code names and data was flashing on the screen. He walked over to one of the hardware frames and pulled one circuit card out; then he typed a few more codes and some more data came across his screen. He asked, “Which one of these frames is ON-LINE and which is STANDBY?” He looked up and there was nothing but silence. He smiled to himself and then typed in a couple more commands and then told them he had figured it out. He switched the back-up system to on-line processing and then started up-loading the latest backup data. Joseph felt dumbstruck but every once in awhile he noticed that Bengi would push something on the computer keyboard. It caused all kinds of data to flash across his monitor.

Fifteen minutes later Bengi commented, “Someone intentionally caused this problem. The FIREWALL is working properly, so it happened in this building. I suggest your security department get involved, that is, if you have someone in that job function. You can go back to the conference room while I work on the virus in the original system. I want to see the Information Management team and the manager. Would that be o.k. with you, Uncle Joe?” Joseph raised his left palm about shoulder high and told him he could do whatever he needed to do and walked toward the door.

There were two IM employees; one a male and the other a young female working the day shift. A third worked the midnight shift when most of the updates and backup work was done. The manager of the team was not a person who knew much about computers. He was just a supervisor who had been given the three employees on his org. chart. Bengi learned that the person on the late shift was the most experienced with some AS-400 programming knowledge. After talking with the two day shift workers he knew their knowledge and skill levels were low and they probably wouldn’t know how to even infect the system.


Bengi walked back to the conference room and told them he would like to come back around midnight and check out a few other software challenges. “You shouldn’t have any problems the rest of the day.” He looked at his uncle and said, “I’ll catch a cab and go to the condo. I expect you will be busy for awhile.” He smiled and waved as he exited the door.

The board members all wanted to know where this nephew had been hiding. They told Joseph that he should have had him working at the office, with him, all along and wanted to know if he could head up the work in the main frame room. Joseph finally said, “We never have talked about what he did for a living. He’s my nephew, my brother’s only child and I invited him to live with me and get out of the rat-race in NYC. He came and now we work together at the farm.” They wanted to know if he would consider a consultant proposition. Joseph said, “I’ll ask him and let you know. Hey guys, how about us getting into our regular BOARD meeting agenda now that the associates can work with our customers?”


It was about six when Joseph opened the door to the condo. Bengi had a coke and his notebook computer was on. All kinds of strange flashes were coming from his monitor and once in awhile rows of data would zip down the screen. Joseph commented, “Thanks for bailing us out today. The BOARD was real impressed that I have a genius for a nephew and they want to offer you a job. Would you be interested?” Bengi told his uncle that he had a job and he liked being a farmer. “Ha-ha-ha that’s a good one. Anyway they wanted me to offer you a consulting job.” Bengi responded, “Whoa now. Doing a little consulting might be o.k. with me and most of it I can do from the farm. If I could do that and come to Seattle once a month when you do, I think I’d like it.” He told his uncle he planned to talk with the third worker that night to see what he knew. “Would you get me access to the Main Frame room? I would actually like for you to escort me; could you handle a couple hours later tonight?”

“Have you called Eveitta yet?” He told his uncle he didn’t know what to say. Joseph told him that he sure knew what to say today when they were in utter chaos. He told his uncle he was good in that kind of situation but girls made him uneasy, and to impress his uncle he raised the back of his hand and kissed it. His uncle laughed and told him that he had a good sense of humor.


The late night was successful. Bengi was pretty sure the guy working late was the one who planted the virus. His name was Ramon who had moved to Seattle from the Middle East three years earlier. He worked for the company just a little over a year; he had danced around any questions directed at him. While Bengi was displaying the data changes taking place he also set-up a back-door access with a password so he could monitor MAIN FRAME activity from the farm. He also added a login activity session for whenever one of the three accessed the computer.

They slept until nine a.m. and went back to the office one last time prior to driving to Spokane. Bengi was officially employed as a consultant and he briefed Joseph and his direct reports on the status of the MAIN FRAME.

After they had left and were about an hour out of Seattle Joseph pulled into a truck stop for lunch. As they came out and walked toward the Lexus, Joseph flipped the keys to Bengi and said, “Drive us to Spokane so I can pick up my truck. Just keep your eye on the road and keep the speed under seventy. Also, when there are no cars around, use the brake to slow down every once in awhile to get the feel of it.” It was his first driving lesson and pretty simple.

When they arrived at Eveitta’s apartment Bengi’s truck was gone but Joseph’s was just where he had left it. “Let’s head for the farm before it gets dark. We have some chores to do.” Bengi had hoped they could swing by the arena and talk to Eveitta but he was supposed to follow Joseph to the farm.


When they finished the chores and unpacked Bengi asked, “Where is that phone number? I would like to talk to her.” A few minutes later he started to dial then he remembered he shouldn’t call tonight; she had to study for a test the next morning.

The next morning, just after sunrise, Bengi took the wrecked car out in the pasture and drove it. He made turns and pushed on the brakes several times. He even put it in reverse and backed it until he was able to get the hang of how it operated. Half an hour later he fed the horses some hay that he found in the barn and then headed for the kitchen where Joseph was buttering toast. There were half a dozen eggs scrambled and ready to be eaten. Joseph told Bengi that he wanted to move the cows to the east pasture after lunch. They were saddled up and about to leave when Bengi’s truck came up the lane. Eveitta ran toward them and asked. “Am I too late to join you for a ride?” Joseph turned toward Bengi and said, “I’ll saddle up her horse, you go say something nice to her.”

Bengi took a couple steps toward her as she was running. “Hey, how was the test this morning?” She told him it went pretty good. She said, “Your truck is the talk out at the arena. My friends have asked me whose it is and I tell them it belongs to a special friend.” He looked into her eyes and told her that he missed her so much. “I feel the same Bengi. I just like to visit with you and talk with you about whatever. It doesn’t really matter.”

A few minutes later Joseph was returning with ‘Black Jack’ and his ears perked up when he saw Eveitta. She walked toward him and rubbed his forehead and whispered in his ear. That horse was in love with her and both of the fellows could sense it. Bengi wanted to know if he was in good standing so he commented, “What does a fella have to do to get his forehead rubbed and have a pretty lady whisper in his ear. That’s what I would like to know?” Eveitta put her hand over her eyes and turned toward him. She had a troubled look on her face but she responded, “This horse isn’t going to break my heart but mortal man has a way of breaking many a young woman’s heart. I like you a lot but I was left broken hearted once and it hurt, so Mr. Bengi, have patience with me.” Joseph mounted his horse and told them that he was ready to ride toward the north pasture. He put his horse into a trot. Bengi looked her directly in the eye and commented, “I want this to work out more than anything but if I can’t make you the happiest woman in Spokane, I would be failing you.” She responded, “Bengi, I had a boy friend about four years ago that I thought was perfect until I got to know him better.” She told him that his name was Charlie and that he was arrested for armed robbery. He was presently in jail serving a five year sentence.

She told him that Charlie had written her a few months earlier about getting into some trouble. He told me that he was going to escape and come back to get me and move to Canada. She sighed and said, “I wrote him and told him I would never go away with him, which is true. He sent another letter and told me if I knew what was good for me; I would go with him when he came.”

Bengi mounted up and waited for her. They were silent for several minutes. Finally he put his hand toward hers and told her that he was sorry that Charlie had tormented her. She said. “I need to know you better but what I do know, I like. Do you understand why I need to go slow and really get to know you?” He told her that he did but he was different; he had been a loner and had kept to himself, “I wish I knew more about how to make you happy and what makes you sad so that you never had to be sad.” He told her he had been around married friends who didn’t know how to communicate and made each other miserable. It did not work for them and for some reason they always ended up in professional counseling about this or that. She responded, “I think the guy and gal should have the council prior to marriage so they both know what lies ahead and to go a little further, most couples should probably have a couple sessions on divorce and how it wrecks a family.” Bengi asked, “How do you know so much about these topics?” She told him that she was majoring in ‘Family Crisis’ and some day hoped to have her own small business.

They could see Joseph a couple hundred yards ahead. Bengi asked, “Do you want to catch him or talk for awhile?” She told him it was up to him. He told her that someday soon he wanted her as his wife but only after I know what you want in a husband. “I’ve never wanted a wife before you but I guess I never met anyone that made me feel like I do when I’m with you. I’ll take the classes during evenings with you and learn what a man needs to know but I have a job again and on occasions will have to travel with Joseph to Seattle.” She was surprised and wanted to know what he was going to do?

She told him she wanted to know more but they needed to catch up with his uncle.

They trotted up beside him, one on each side and then began to walk the horses. He didn’t look left or right but asked, “How is it going with you two? Is everything o.k.?” She told him things were good and would get better. He told her that sounded real good. Joseph asked, “Did Bengi tell you where we’ve been the last few days?” “He didn’t but I have a feeling you went to Seattle since he has some kind of a job there. We didn’t get a chance to spend time on that subject. So what is his job going to be?” He told her that it seemed like over the past couple months it’s just one surprise after another. He said, “He just saved the company untold lost revenue. I didn’t know he was one of those genius computer geeks, did you?”

She looked around Joseph at Bengi and asked, “Are you a computer geek, Bengi?” He told her he knew a few things about computers and it was her turn to tell him some things about herself.

They were at the North pasture and started the herd walking toward the East pasture. It was easier with three riders to get them going. A couple hundred yards from the gate to the East pasture, Joseph rode ahead and opened it and stationed his horse to where they would gradually have to walk through it. A couple of the cows didn’t want to cooperate and Eveitta circled around and finally had them moving in the correct direction again. Both of the fellows were impressed with the way she handled Black Jack to get the cows back moving in the right direction.

The cows were in the pasture and Joseph shut the gate. “How about some nice steaks tonight, cooked out on the grill?” They put the horses to a trot and headed for the barn. As they approached she could see her old dented car behind the barn. “Why don’t I drive that back tonight and park it at the junkyard? It still runs so they would give me a hundred dollars.” Joseph told her that it was an accident waiting to happen and he would call a wrecker when Bengi was done with it or it ran out of gas.

The meal was great. While Joseph grilled they joined in and fixed three large salads. After cleaning up the kitchen Eveitta told them she needed to get back. Bengi walked with her as the sun was going down. He told her to drive careful since a couple spots on the road needed repaired after the big rain. He opened the door but didn’t actually move so she could get in. “When can we start those classes? I’m twenty-nine already and want me a bride before I turn thirty.” She replied, “I was twenty-nine a couple months ago myself and it would be wonderful to have a husband before thirty but I’m frightened a little about the idea.” He reached toward her and pulled her head to his chest and whispered in her ear. “Really,” she responded without moving her head from his chest. “It’s the honest truth.”

“We have one major difference that could end your courtship, Bengi. I’m a Christian and I want a Christian for a husband and someone to attend church with our children and me.” He wasn’t expecting this comment. Finally he told her that his dad married a Christian and it never affected their love. “I need more, Bengi. I believe Jesus was the Messiah and that the majority of the Jews did not understand that truth, then or now.” “Wouldn’t that be hard to prove,” he asked? She told him that he had to make a choice if he intended to be her husband, which was to study the bible together and take the classes on pre-marriage council. “I agree,” he said. He pulled her closer and tightened his grip. “I’ve never been in Love or for that matter even kissed a girl but my heart is beating fast and I feel like you are the one that I want to be married to when that day finally arrives.” He could feel her starting to cry and he was wondering what it was that made her sad.


“Uncle Joe, would you happen to know if my mom’s bible is in storage, wherever that is at?” “I know exactly where it is at BUT what is this Uncle JOE stuff?” Bengi told him he was sorry but it sounded so weird calling him Uncle Joseph. He told Bengi that he actually kind of liked it. “There is a large half basement under this house and one special room has all your parents’ personal belongings. We will check it out tomorrow.”


Chapter 5

Eveitta was restless as she tried to sleep. She knew she was falling for Bengi and it was not what was supposed to be happening in her life. She felt like everything could be worked out with the exception of him not being a Christian. He was a great guy, very nice, even sharing his truck with her to use. “Lord,” she prayed. “Teach me your truths and when I read “ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE AND CAN BE WORKED OUT”, what is your Word telling me? I want to be in YOUR Will as I live my life, but I also want a husband that will be blessed by you.”

She knew that several passages in the Old Testament read that the Hebrew nation was the chosen of God but then they rejected the Christ that was sent from God. She knew Bengi’s family tree started with one of the twelve sons of Jacob but somewhere they turned their back on Christ, who she believed is the one and only Messiah.

She had read about, but never talked with a Messianic Jew. They were still Jewish by birth but became believers that Christ was the true Messiah and the Son of God. If only something like that could happen, she would become Bengi’s bride in a heartbeat. That would be her prayer.


Out on the farm Bengi was having a restless night as well. In the morning he was going to the basement and looking for his moms Bible. Just having it could make a difference in his life; at least he wanted to believe it could.

He finally fell asleep and when he woke it was close to seven-thirty. He hadn’t been in bed this late for many months. Joseph was sitting at the kitchen table when Bengi came down. His uncle scratched his head and commented, “Your mother was responsible for my brother converting from strict Judaism to the Christian belief. Do you know the difference?” He told his uncle that he wasn’t totally sure what it meant. “I’ll tell you in a nutshell the difference. The old strict Jews do not believe that Jesus was the Messiah but Messianic Judaism teaches that Christ is the Messiah and the only begotten Son of God. Your dad became a believer and that is a fact. As for me, I don’t know what the real truth is so I just ride the fence, tolerant of all that any of them say about it.”

“Whoa Joseph, that is something to think about isn’t it. Let’s go find my mom’s bible, ok?” Joseph went to the closet under the stairs and flipped a switch above the inside door jam. A hidden door opened; it showed an opening going down a stairway. He took two steps and then reached under the first step and flipped another switch; then a light came on. Bengi was watching in amazement. “Cool, real cool,” he exclaimed! Joseph looked at him with a smile on his face. There was a large safe along one wall, a couple real old pictures on a wall of a man and woman and a metal door on another wall. “The combination is 111944, the month and year I was born.” The room was about sixteen by sixteen and had some old furniture, two bookcases full of books, and several storage boxes stacked high. Bengi walked to the bookcase and started looking. There were two Bibles side by side. On the inside of one cover was written “Marie Jackson” with the year nineteen-sixty, the year it was published, and the other had “Bernard Shindler” with the year nineteen-eighty-one as the year that Bible was published. Bengi asked, “Do you care if I take both of these up to my room, Uncle Joe?” After a pause he asked, “Do you know anything about these two Bibles other than the names in them?” He told Bengi to look through both of them over the next few days; then to ask him the question again.


Things in Seattle took a turn for the worse again. The computers were functional but only one of the thirty employees could process with out overloading the system. The two technicians had worked on the symptoms for the past three hours and they hadn’t found the cause that had the main frame processor limping along.

“Somebody call Josephs nephew, now,” the chairman exclaimed! He told them in the future when they had a problem that persisted over thirty minutes to escalate it up to their supervisor.

Bengi had just gone upstairs to start sifting through the pages in his mothers Bible when he received the call. His computer was on and within minutes he was using his back door access. The system was slow even for him but he was finally able to switch to the back-up processor and the speed improved. It took ten minutes to determine that a PATCH in the software had been inserted on the previous midnight shift. Bengi pulled the report he had set-up. He looked at every entry Ramon had entered. There were several things that needed corrected after he had evaluated the other entries. He would check everything that Ramon had done and then make his report.

Half an hour later Joseph had dialed the private line of Rick Dowty. As soon as he answered, he would use the speaker so Bengi could join the conversation. Joseph talked for a few minutes and then announced Bengi would join them. Bengi gave Rick the low down on Ramon and suggested they have the police on location when he arrived at work later that night.

Joseph said, “Call me tomorrow with an update on how it goes tonight, Rick.”


Joseph and Bengi had finished breakfast and were discussing what they would tackle for the day. Before they determined it, the phone was ringing. Joseph answered and it was his business partner. He told Joseph they had Ramon in custody and a search warrant on his apartment revealed several suspicious documents. It would take a week or more sorting the information. There would be serious charges brought against Ramon including the sabotage of the company computers. It looked like he had a couple other people in on the deal and the others worked in large businesses as well. “Bengi will have to testify on behalf of our company and it may not be for several weeks. We talked it over in the office and would like to have Bengi come this weekend for a week or so and check everything on the Main Frame. Can you handle that for me?”

-Minutes after the conversation ended the phone rang again. It was Eveitta and she needed to talk. She had one more test tomorrow and her summer session would be completed; then just fifteen more hours to complete her degree. She told Bengi that she had a real challenge. The owner was going to shut down the ARENA for three months and all the staff was being sent home without pay. “I won’t be able to keep my apartment if I don’t find another job. I looked in the paper for jobs but nothing looked like something I want to do for the next three months.” Bengi asked, “What are you doing after tomorrow? Can you pack a suitcase and spend a few days in Seattle with Joseph and me?” Bengi looked at Joseph and kind of shrugged his shoulder. She told him she would call him back.

“Uncle Joe, her last class is tomorrow and she just lost her job for the next three months while a contractor remodels the arena. Would you mind if she tagged along if she decides she wants to come along?” He told him it was a three bedroom condo, with one being small that only had a twin sized bed in it. Bengi told him that he hadn’t been thinking right and she might turn the offer down anyway. “Oh me,” he exclaimed!

Joseph told Bengi they needed to bring in five cows and load them for a trip to the Sale Barn. “A couple more calves have been born and I want to keep the herd down so I don’t have to buy hay to feed them this winter.” Bengi laughed and commented, “Like it’s going to break the bank Uncle Joe.” Joseph told him a good businessman tries to turn a profit on all their dealings and Bengi replied, “You are right in your thinking.”

They picked out five head of cattle and then tried to separate them from the remainder of the herd. It took over two hours just to get the five out the gate and then they scattered in two directions. Bengi had to get two of them and his uncle the other three; then somehow move them back to the farm and put them in the coral. It was two more hours before they accomplished the feat.

All told a two hour job had taken then a little over five hours. Bengi checked the answering machine; nothing had come in since they went out to the pasture.

They had an early meal and Bengi took the two Bibles and started going through his moms first. She had written several notes beside various passages. He took a tablet and wrote some of them down to check out later, maybe even talk with Eveitta about them. Some of the verses had also been highlighted with a yellow pencil. He put her Bible down and picked up his dad’s. On the first page he had a paragraph written, “I believe that the Christ the Christians worship is the true Messiah. We Jews would call him Yeshua in the Hebrew language. I confessed that I was a sinner and accepted HIM as my Lord. I wish every Jew would be enlightened and make that same choice.”

Bengi asked, “Uncle Joe, did you see this note in dads Bible?” His uncle told him he had read it and he had thought often about it. “Your dad was a smart person and he wasn’t easily swayed away from things, but being raised a Jew for all those years wasn’t what he determined was totally factual, at least in his mind. As he got older he used our Torah and other passages to try influencing me that only the Christian Christ could have been Messiah.” He told Bengi that his dad may have been absolutely correct.

Bengi still had not heard back from Eveitta and it was just past noon the next day. Joseph told him to pack for a good ten days unless you want to laundry at the condo. There is plenty Rick and I can do, even though he is CEO now, he consults with me on most major decisions. Packing was almost completed when they heard a horn honk out front. Bengi walked to the window and looked out. His truck was parked in front of the house.

Bengi took the stairs two at a time and was out the front door a few minutes later. Joseph was walking toward the front door as well. Eveitta was out of the truck walking toward the front door of the house when Bengi came to a stop on the porch. “I want to talk with your uncle a few minutes Bengi; then I want to talk to you.” Joseph was in the doorway listening and responded, “Let’s take a little walk up toward the barn. Bengi, why don’t you wait here on the porch a few minutes?”

Joseph extended his elbow out and Eveitta looked into his eyes and reached her hand toward his arm. When they were out of Bengi’s range to hear she spoke, “Sir, my mind is whirling in circles. I really like Bengi, maybe on the verge of loving him and I have these convictions in my life. Deep in my heart I believe there is a plan for my life that the Lord has predetermined for me if I will just follow HIS leading; then there are our choices that sometimes interfere with what we selfishly want to do. Sometimes it’s hard to tell if it is from the Lord or just one of my wants. Do you follow what I am trying to explain?” He told her he knew exactly what was on her mind because he had wrestled with his own circumstances. “I think what you want to hear from me is do I think Bengi could become a Christian, am I on track?” She told him that would solve her dilemma if it were true. He told her that Bengi was going to learn a great deal about his mom and dad over the next week or two as he read their bibles.

As they approached the barn she stopped and asked, “Is there something I need to know or am I supposed to have patience and wait and see?” He chuckled and told her to give it a little time and the main worry might just take care of itself. She told him that now she wasn’t sure what to tell Bengi. “I had this speech made up in my mind but now it is not what I want to talk to him about.” He told her to just go with the flow for a few days. Bengi was looking at them as they walked the stairs to the porch.

She commented, “Am I still invited to make the trip with you men to Seattle?” Joseph replied, “I think it would be a good idea. Bengi, make sure you bring both of the books you were reading. They may come in handy.


Five hours later they were pulling into a condo that Joseph owned. They each had a good sized duffle bag with their belongings. As Eveitta walked through the door she was amazed at the stylish furnishings. “Where in the world did you find this beautiful apartment, sir,” she questioned? He told her it was his home for several years while he ran a big shipping business. “Since I’m still a minority partner I still come to the city and need a place to stay. Now that Bengi also does work for the company we both have a need for a roof over our head when we are here.”

“Here is a semi-schedule that we will be on for a few days; I will be at the office starting at about seven and finishing about four. Bengi will go in around nine p.m. for about five hours and do his thing so you have the week to do whatever.” She told him that for sure she wanted to hang out with both of them a couple times just to see what it was they did. Joseph told her that he would make sure she could have access to the business office when she wanted.

She went in with Bengi the second night. Every thing he did and told her about was way over her head but she could tell he was super smart. She preferred the visits with Joseph; they talked mostly business about the cost to run the business, the profit, and some of the areas where orders and distribution took place. On the fourth day they didn’t go into the office, Rick the CEO was having clients from out of the country visiting.

Bengi was not expecting them to be at home that morning. When he woke he started reading through his mom’s notes; prior to going to the kitchen. He wasn’t dressed and walked out with just his boxers and the Bible opened. As he opened the refrigerator his uncle exclaimed, “Hey buddy, we are sitting here on the couch and maybe you better get dressed and come back for some food.” He ran to his room and he heard them laughing. Eveitta saw that he had left the book behind and she asked Joseph if that was a Bible. He told her it looked like the one Bengi’s mom had used for years. “Go get it and see what you think of it.” The leather was worn somewhat but it had a good feel when she lifted it. She opened it and saw a name she was not familiar with. She read the words Marie Jackson out loud and asked, “Was Marie Bengi’s mother?” Joseph told her that Marie was a wonder woman and that his brother was so in love with her that he gave up his family to have her. Our parents were strict when it came to Gentile and Jewish relationships. Once Bernard married, our parents never spoke to him again and he was not accepted into the family. I was the only child then and the small business flourished after I left Brooklyn and moved here. She noticed some of the notes written on the edge of pages. All truths and exactly how she believed. She read “Do not be unequally yoked….” And she saw the note that was written. It read, “Unless the Lord knows that you are going to be the instrument that leads your mate to HIM. Who without hearing the word proclaimed, will have a conviction and then turn to the Savior?” At that moment Eveitta felt convicted that she had not had the Faith to believe she could be that instrument with Bengi.

She looked at Joseph and asked, “Did you know this Bible was used by Bengi’s mother?” He told her that he had read every note and every highlighted verse, “She was a beautiful woman, both physically and spiritually. After they were married, I saw them maybe once a year but I knew Bernard was a changed person after having had her as his wife. He was a fortunate man.”

Bengi had opened the door to return but when he heard a conversation he stopped to listen. He had not planned to eavesdrop but he did not want to barge in as they talked.

As the conversation continued Eveitta asked, “Why do you say that he was most fortunate, sir?” Joseph told her that they married for true love on the other hand many Jewish couples have hardly any say in the matter, “My marriage never had that one and only soulmate love that my brother had.”

Just then Bengi opened the door so it made some noise and he walked into the room. He told them he was sorry for the way he was dressed before but he had thought he was the only person here. Joseph told him it was o.k. and while he was gone they were looking at his mom’s Bible. Bengi replied, “There are some interesting things that I’ve read in both the Bibles. I was going to ask Eveitta what she thought of some of the notes written by both my parents.” He told her there was one in Acts 3:18-19 where the note written mentioned that someone who wanted to be a follower of Christ must REPENT. Eveitta told him that all humans were sinners by nature and a sinner must confess that fact to the Lord and turn from it. I will show you a few passages to help. She took the next hour explaining several of the highlighted passages. “The way I think of it is that either have Faith the words in the Bible are true or you are not a true believer.” She told them that she had never understood how some people call themselves Christians and don’t believe that ALL of scripture is God’s Word; they pick and choose what sounds good to them.

They spent the day on different excursions about the city and as they journeyed, both of the fellows asked curious questions about a verse they remembered seeing. By the time they returned, Bengi had time to eat a snack and change into his jeans before going into work later that evening.

Both Processors and both Main Memories needed updated and the system needed the offline configured. This should be his last evening and by now the two techies on day shift knew Ramon had been arrested. They also knew Bengi had cleaned up the system and they were responsible for maintaining it. The supervisor was supposed to narrow down three candidates for the vacancy and Bengi would interview and select one of them the next time he was in town.

Joseph told them they had a choice; they could spend the next night in Seattle or drive back to Spokane after lunch? He told them they could visit a couple places and then dine at a favorite five-star restaurant. It was the one he took some of his International clients too when they came to Seattle.


Bengi awoke about ten and he didn’t waste any time getting cleaned up for the day. They took a Ferry trip and had lunch at the Wharf near the water front.

Eveitta asked, “Joseph you seem so down to earth but I have noticed you know all about the finer things in life; this is none of my business but are you one of those rich guys who has a million tucked away for a rainy day?” Joseph chuckled and even had a short laugh before he answered, “I may have a million tucked away for a rainy day but money is only good when you use it to bring someone happiness.” He told her he had not always felt that way. He told her that he had known at least half a dozen of his old friends who worried about the money they had invested to where they couldn’t enjoy the next day, let alone their every day family life. Bengi kept silent and looked into his uncle’s eyes as he spoke. They took the Ferry back to downtown Seattle and walked to Kerry Park. It was large and very relaxing to each of them as they finally settled onto a park bench.

Bengi asked, “Have you set us up a premarital class yet? Just looking at you takes my breath away; don’t keep me waiting to long, please.” She looked him directly in the eye, “Be patient, we haven’t talked about important things that have to be mutually thought through. For one, neither of us even has a decent paying job that will keep a roof over our heads.” Joseph commented, “You can live at the farm if you would like. I love you both; everything I have is yours to use and someday own. When you start a family, I’ll just build me a smaller cottage on the other side of the lane and come beg for a meal now and then.” She responded, “You are joking with me, but I am serious about being prepared for a journey that neither Bengi nor I know much about.” Joseph told her he was serious about the offer and I expect my only living relative to consider my humble offer as just a beginning of other gifts to come.

Bengi coughed and cleared his throat, “Eveitta, here it is! I want to marry you sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Your priority assignment is to get me the training you know I should have and the rest will take care of itself. I’ll hire a wedding planner if needed.” Her eyes got big and she told him he was stressing her. Bengi said calmly, “I have fallen in love with you Eveitta and I want you to become my wife. If you love me please say yes.” She told him that her heart was his but I’m fearful we are rushing this. “Bengi, have you even tried to give me a kiss?”

Bengi put his right hand on her closest shoulder and cupped her chin with the other, and then he leaned forward pressing his lips gently to hers. A couple of seconds later he made the little smack like he had practiced on the back of his hand. “Wow!” Uncle Joseph exclaimed, “That’s what I’m talking about!” Eveitta was in a daze, she still had her eyes closed and her heart was almost pounding out of her chest. Her mind was not functioning, but she could tell her heart was smiling from within. “Ok Bengi, I will be your wife,” she finally responded.


Chapter 6

Halfway across the world, in a Romanian village a thirty-nine year old woman was teaching teenage girls how to read a first grade book. Mary Ann Jackson had lived all her life in Romania. She was almost eighteen when she had found out about an older sister, her only sister, and she along with her husband had been killed in a tragic accident. That had been twenty-one years ago. As missionaries, the family had no savings; there was no money for expensive tickets back to New York. She remembers the sadness all of them felt but her dad had finally told them that it would have been days after the funeral; even if they could have borrowed enough money for the trip.

Six years ago, her father, John Jackson had died and then four years ago her mom, Kate, had passed after months of suffering.

Mary Ann had never met a single member of her American family. She wasn’t even sure anyone would still be living if there had been family.

From her earliest remembrances, she had been a Christian in a family who were missionaries. It was the only life she knew. There were occasions when she would wonder the WHAT IF statement and think how nice it would be if there was a relative she could write and correspond with. Two years earlier she had asked her mission board to find out about her former family in America. They had found that her sister did have a child but it was suspected he was adopted after her death and probably had a new name. They told her there was always a chance something more might turn up.

Mary Ann still had her light blond hair and looked like someone who should have been on a TV show giving a commentary about a people who lived poorly but amazingly had content lives. Over the years she had gifts come to her through the mission board and she had close to five-thousand dollars saved. One day she hoped to visit America and actually see her sister’s grave. She had read a newspaper clipping with the few details and the name of their son. She would be an aunt to him if he were alive and could be located. She knew his name was Bengamin Shindler and he should be somewhere around the age of thirty by now.


The very next day there was a letter from the mission board in her mail box. She wasn’t expecting anything earth shattering from them so she walked back to her small room before opening it. It was formal and type written with a header and the works.

It read…..


Miss Jackson,

 Recently we were able to gather information in the NYC area on a Bengi Shindler. He is twenty-nine and recently worked for a firm in the IT department. A month or so ago he terminated his employment and told them he was going to visit an uncle in Washington. They couldn’t tell us if that was Washington D.C. or Washington State. He did not leave a forwarding address with the firm. We also ran a search on the name Shindler, which had lived in the Brooklyn area and several years ago the family had a shipping business. From what we could gather, from the records, it was moved to Seattle. Months ago the majority of the business was sold by a gentleman named Joseph Shindler who now resides near the city of Spokane Washington.


The letter continued and it gave an address in Washington. It concluded with a greeting and a hope the information would prove useful.

Mary Ann’s mind was suddenly in turmoil and she asked herself if this could be her sister’s child. She walked to her bed and knelt and began to seek her Lords compassion. After close to thirty minutes she got to her feet and went to her table and began a letter.


Dear Bengamin,

 I’m sure you don’t know of me but I am hoping you may be the child of my sister, Marie. Marie would have been a much older sister and the daughter of my parents, who were John and Kate Jackson. My parents were missionaries and they came back to Romania in the late nineteen-sixty’s. I think that I was not an expected child but never-the-less I was born healthy and I have lived here my entire life.

 I have been searching for several years concerning the only son of my sister. My parents did not hear of Marie’s death until over two weeks after the accident and they thought the state must have taken custody and given their son up for adoption.

I am praying that you are my nephew and that if so, we might become friends and get acquainted through the postal services.

 If you are the son of my sister, it would be nice to see you; that is if I ever have the chance to visit America. I’ve never been there and would like that opportunity some day. I would especially like to visit the grave of my sister.


She concluded the letter and left her address.


It was after seven p.m. as Joseph pulled up to the locked gate at the entrance to the farm. He told Bengi to check the mailbox before they drove up the lane. There were over a dozen letters and several flyers of various sale items.

They unpacked the Lexus and took everything inside. Eveitta told them she should be leaving soon. Tomorrow she needed to talk with her landlord about rent money. “When is it due,” asked Bengi? She told him it was due the first of the month which was just two days and she wouldn’t be able to scrape the total amount that was due, which was four-hundred-dollars a month. She said, “I’ve been stretched as it is and now no pay check for the week.” Bengi told her he could give her the money but what about the next two months. She told him she had to find a job or she would end up homeless. “What do you think Uncle Joe, could we use a live-in maid to take care of the house for a couple months?” He told her that Ms. Hawkins needed the money he gave her for cleaning the house every other week. “I think we could use a cook most days and on occasions a third hand at rounding up cattle.” Bengi laughed and brought up the trouble encountered last time they tried to get the five cows in the coral.

Joseph said, “Why don’t you spend the night and then go into town tomorrow and move your belongings out of the apartment. Do you need Bengi to help?”

Joseph reached over and picked up the pile of mail. He thumbed through each one and stopped and looked a little startled. “This one is addressed to Bengamin Shindler and it’s from Romania. Do you know someone there?” He told Joseph that unless someone from his old work group was visiting there, he wouldn’t have the foggiest idea who it could be.


It had been several days since Mary Ann had mailed the envelope to America. She was thinking it might take weeks for it to get from the village just to a ship that was traveling across the ocean.

Hope was what she was counting on; to actually put her in contact with someone who might have known her older sister. She sighed and then started getting her material together for a special convocation being presented by two ladies coming to the orphanage. One taught in a school nearby and the other was from America. She would meet them in the small library prior to introducing them to the children.

Adriana was from Gergi and taught English at the Jr. High School. In fact she spoke many languages. The other lady was from Dallas, one of the larger cities in America. This was her seventh missionary journey to Romania and she loved and did special things for the people.

They started the program by singing the words, “Lord, I lift your name on High…” it was sung in the Romania language. As they finished the song, they began to sing it again in English. It was such a blessing to Mary Ann that tears ran down her cheeks and a lump formed in her throat. Not since her parents were alive had she heard the English words sung.

Together they spent over an hour singing and talking to the students about having a good education and trusting in the Lord. The American spoke and the lady, Adriana, translated the words to the students who did not understand English. Each of the students wanted to hear more stories about Jesus, the Lord.

After the activity was completed the students were given a time of recess and Mary Ann was able to have a nice conversation. She found out the American was named Alicia and had worked for a large corporation. She was taking her vacation time and spending it visiting several villages with her friend, Adriana.

Before they left Mary Ann asked them to pray for her. She said, “I may have a relative in America that I’ve never met. My older sister had a son prior to her being killed in an accident. I was not able to attend the funeral being over here but I hope that someday I’ll get the chance to visit America and meet him.” She told Alicia his name and what she knew. Alicia told her that she had a friend in the FBI and perhaps the location could be verified.


Bengi had just finished reading the letter out loud so the others could hear. He was seriously choked up and speechless for several seconds. Finally Joseph spoke, “Let’s locate the mission board she represents and find out exactly what they can tell us. I knew your mother and I knew that her parents did go to Romania as missionaries. It was sometime after your mom married Bernard. I don’t think I ever heard about them again.” Bengi took a breath but gasp as he thought he could have an aunt on his mom’s side of the family and Joseph on his dad’s side. “That would be great,” he thought.

They talked for half an hour and Bengi finally commented, “I don’t mean to change the subject but I should drive to town tomorrow with you Eveitta. I want to help you pack and I also want a Drivers Manual to learn the rules needed to pass the test.” She finally told them she needed some beauty rest and if they would excuse her she was going to the room that she slept in the last time. “It is yours anytime you want it,” Joseph exclaimed!

The next morning the fellows were at the breakfast table waiting for her appearance. They didn’t expect her to be so prettied up just to join them but she commented, “I believe that it was a Yes that I gave you, to your loving proposal, a couple days ago. I want to make you proud Bengi for choosing me as your soon-to-be bride. From now on I’m going to make a special effort to look nice when I’m with you.” He looked into her gorgeous eyes and told her she had looked great that first day at the arena but this morning you added that little extra that put you in a category known as ‘ten’.


It was mid afternoon before they were leaving Spokane for the farm. His truck was packed and tied down firmly with all that she owned. It was mostly just clothes and a few boxes of items she had as keep-sakes. Bengi was actually driving and she just looked over at him as they drove along the road. She was having a hard time with this whole thing. In just a few months she would be a wife; that sounded funny as she thought about it. There had been a few boys along the way who had wanted to date her but she just wasn’t ready for someone to be a part of her life at that time. As she thought, she didn’t actually care if she went back to work at the arena, but she did want to get her degree and have a make-a-difference-career someday. As her mind wandered the thought hit her, “What if I get pregnant?” A laugh came out of her mouth that she wasn’t expecting. Bengi said, “What’s that for?” She told him it was nothing, just a happy girl thinking about the future.

Her personal things were stored up in the room; they started down the stairs in time to see Joseph coming in the kitchen door. She said, “Show me the pantry Mr. Shindler so that I can start working on the evening meal. Do you have anything you would prefer that I make for the first meal?” It was a large pantry and had a lot to choose from. She asked, “How would you like me to make out a weekly menu tomorrow and see if it meets your expectations?” He told her they could talk about it as they ate a little later.

Two hours later they were enjoying their meal together. Joseph told them he had made a few phone calls and had some information on Mary Ann Jackson. It looked like she was actually the younger sister to Bengi’s mom. She had never been outside the country of Romania and she was a poor but a saintly woman. Joseph said, “Why don’t I arrange to have her flown here for a couple months for a good long visit?” That was soon settled so they moved on to the cooking duties for Eveitta. Uncle Joe told her to keep the majority of her meals healthy and not too heavy with carbs; then he smiled her way and told her that one or two evening meals a week could be a little excessive.

She told him that he was her kind of man and that most of the families she knew overate at every meal. “Besides, I’m soon going to have a man, who probably doesn’t want a chubby woman, as his bride.” That brought out a good laugh from them all.


It was only a matter of two days and Joseph had contacted the mission board. Mary Ann Jackson would be leaving Romania in a week and flying to Seattle Washington; at least that is what he had arranged with the mission board.

It was one of those things that seem to happen on paper before the person making the trip finds out about it. It took four days for just the news to get to Mary Ann. The next two days were totally confusing as she tried to pack her few belongings and also arrange for someone to take her place at the school.

She would have to be in Bucharest by four p.m. the next day to catch the plane. As she boarded the plane she could tell she was underdressed for the occasion. She was wearing what amounted to a house-dress; the others in her section were dressed in extremely nice clothes. She did not own anything, even close, to what the other passengers wore.

The trip was long; the plane stopped in London and she had to get off the plane and find another one traveling to New York City. She was helped and finally was on her way. Once landing, she had to change planes again for one going to Seattle. She found it but would have to wait three hours. She was confused, tired, and hungry.

Bengi, Joseph, and Eveitta were at the Seattle airport waiting for the plane to arrive. It was already seven-thirty and it was running late. Joseph commented, “I had thought we might just drive to Spokane tonight but it’s getting late and no doubt Mary Ann is exhausted from all the flying. I think we will stay at the condo.” Bengi told them he would sleep on the couch. “Would you mind sleeping on the twin tonight, Eveitta? I think our guest should get the larger bed.”

Half an hour later the plane was starting to let passengers exit the plane. They were close to the door and Joseph remarked, “There she is, she looks exactly like Marie did prior to the accident, Amazing.” Eveitta raised a small sign with Mary Ann written on it and all of a sudden a smile went across the face of the one they were watching.

She walked toward them and her eyes went toward each of their faces. She knew that they would become great friends just from looking at the kind eyes. Joseph took the lead and stepped forward. He greeted her as he extended his hand like she was some important friend arriving. He introduced himself and commented, “I would be almost like an extended brother-in-law and a relative, Miss Jackson.” Then he introduced Bengi and Eveitta. She stepped toward Bengi and put her head on his chest and hugged him.

They waited another fifteen minutes for baggage and Mary Ann’s luggage was not to be found. Joseph took them to an office and made a claim on missing luggage, “Sometimes when a person transfers planes the luggage gets misplaced for a flight or two. Maybe we can come back before we head toward Spokane tomorrow.” Joseph inquired if she had eaten. She had a sandwich and a cold drink in New York but it had been the first since she left Romania. Joseph commented, “We need to stop for a late snack before we get back to the condo.”

Mary Ann and Eveitta had hit it off and were talking in the back seat as they rode to the restaurant. Bengi was laughing on the inside, as he overheard them chattering…he heard her reply to Mary Ann, “Yes, he has asked me to marry him; I think it’s so soon but I do love him. He is the nicest man I’ve ever known.”


The meal was like something I would never have imagined Mary Ann told them as they started to enter the condo. “Thank you,” she commented. Her jaw dropped as they entered. She stopped and looked around slowly taking in everything in the room. She said, “I’ve heard and read that America is where the wealthy of the world live. This is a beautiful home Mr. Shindler.” Bengi replied, “Oh it’s not all that grand, just a place to rest your head for a good night of sleep.” He looked at his uncle and he was shaking his head with a wide smile on his face.

Joseph and Bengi went into work early in the morning. The business known as ‘Shipping Star’ was doing well, in fact, profits were up again this year. They had a few items to finish up before they drove back to Spokane. Bengi had selected the new employee, which went by the name of Jason Wright. He would go through a final interview before he escorted him to H.R. He had arranged to go over his to-do list and the company’s casual dress code.

Just prior to going back to the condo, Joseph called the airport. The missing bags had not arrived. By two p.m. they were on the highway driving toward the farm. Mary Ann was wearing the same wrinkled dress and feeling self conscience about it.

Joseph was letting his mind think about what Mary Ann would wear until her bags arrived. There was a large Super Center that was opened until ten p.m. and it wasn’t too far out of the way so he decided to stop there. He pulled into an empty space and exclaimed, “I need a new pair of jeans and some socks. My boots are half a size large and some thick wool socks should work.” He told Eveitta to have Mary Ann look around at the ladies things; in fact he whispered in her ear, “Pick up several things that she would need for the next week or so, including tooth brush and hygiene articles.” He told her he was paying for it so find her plenty.

Eveitta had filled two shopping carts that were overflowing. Each of the ladies was pushing one as the men approached them. Joseph commented, “Now that’s what I call shopping. Do you have all you need? How about some pj’s, do you have any?” Eveitta told him she missed that isle so she turned her cart down a wide isle and Mary Ann followed her.

It was time to check out and Joseph put his credit card on the checkout counter when the clerk finally finished. It was just a little over four-hundred dollars. When they started out the door Mary Ann asked, “When do I pay for all of the items?” Joseph told her it was taken care of.


The sun was coming up in the village that Mary Ann had just left. There was lots of talk about Mary Ann and her first visit to America. Several of them wondered if they would ever see her again.

The older ladies all knew her. She had been born there almost forty years earlier and had been there with the exceptions of when she had gone to boarding schools in Bucharest for the missionary children. She was loved by everyone.


Chapter 7

A trip to New York City was in the planning stages. Joseph and Bengi were talking about the places they had visited and the different sights to see. They would also plan the visit to the cemetery that Mary Ann wanted to visit. The two men had developed a ten day itinerary and it was loaded with all they thought would be interesting.

Joseph was thinking, “I sure am glad that I went behind the Family wishes and had my brother and his wife buried in empty lots close to the old family area.” He had been the only one to attend along with a few of Marie’s elderly aunt’s, who long since had passed. There were just a handful of his brothers close friends.

He had placed on the tombstone ‘Bernard and Marie Shindler’ with a second line ‘Faithful and Devoted Lovers’. He would have liked to have said more but that pretty much summed up their lives. He had not been to the cemetery since.

Eveitta had never been out East. Idaho and Oregon were the only two states she had ever visited besides Washington. Seattle and Portland were her idea of a big city; she had gotten lost in Seattle more than once so she could imagine what the large cities out close to NYC must be like.

The ladies were going shopping for some more fashionable things in Spokane. Eveitta commented, “I’ve never been to the nice stores in town so it is going to be a new experience. You know I can’t afford but one dress and probably not even that if I thought about it.” Joseph told her that he never had a daughter to spoil so the shopping spree was on him. “Get everything you want to take along on the trip.”

Three days later they were on a plane going toward New York. As they flew Bengi told them he was born in Brooklyn but lived near D.C. until his parents had died.  It was a long flight and it would be late when they were settled into a hotel. They would be on the fifteenth floor. There were four time zones across America and they were traveling across all of them, in just one day.

The first day they took the Ferry out to the Statue of Liberty. It was a little breezy as they looked at the sights but they were so excited no one actually cared. Joseph pointed out Ellis Island and gave a little history on it. They went up the famed Empire State Building. It was a little old but was a thrill to see all the work that made it famous.

The second day they visited Bengi’s old work place and other places near. They were saving the cemetery for the last day since it might be emotional.

Joseph’s wife was out there in the same cemetery. Rachael had loved him for all the early years but when he had moved the company headquarters, it was a different Rachael. After she left him she never asked for a divorce and he had never mentioned it. He wrote her a check each Christmas for two-hundred-thousand and sent it in a card. Joseph was Jewish, but it just seemed like the right time to send her a gift. Rachael’s brother had called him when the funeral was over. He told Joseph the details of the accident and had told him he had taken care of the funeral.

Finally, the next day would be their last full day. Mary Ann had taken at least two-hundred pictures with a small digital camera. Someday she would share them with her school children in Romania. She had gained five pounds, at least, she told Eveitta. She told her she was eating more than what she normally would have.

They were up early and took the subway across town. Bengi told her that he had taken the train, subway, and on occasion a cab wherever he had to go if it were over five blocks from his apartment. Uncle Joe commented, “That was almost anyplace but a local store for groceries or the old guitar store.”

About forty minutes later they were walking up a slight incline. The cemetery was just beyond the slight curve in the sidewalk. When Eveitta finally saw it she exclaimed, “Oh, how beautiful.” There were large old trees across the landscape and several bushes adding to the beauty. There were all sizes of gravestones. Some were very-very large and some were no larger than a cereal box.

Joseph led them right to the spot. They put the flowers they carried against the stone. Bengi read the inscription and a sob came from deep within. It was more than he had expected and tears flowed down his cheeks. Eveitta reached her arm through his and laid her head on his shoulder. She didn’t have to say a thing; just giving him support was exactly what he needed for the moment.

Before anyone could say a word, Mary Ann was praying a heartfelt message to her Lord; it was prayed like her sister was in his presence. This was no ordinary person praying, this lady knew how to speak to her Lord. That one sob from Bengi was now a good cry. He could not remember ever crying like this. The bodies of his mother and dad were just below his feet. Joseph had tears running down his cheeks as well. A younger brother had lost his life close to twenty years ago. “What a pity,” he thought.

Moments later Mary Ann was crying hard. Eveitta stepped forward and took her arm and said, “They are both with Jesus. Their Spirit and Soul are not in the grave. Isn’t that a precious promise from our Lord?” She told Eveitta it was, but at the moment she would like to be able to hold her sisters hand and talk with her. There were others in the cemetery looking at them. Someone started walking toward them. He was an elderly man and looked a little familiar to Joseph. It didn’t seem possible but he thought it was Nathan Goldman who was Rachael’s older brother.

“Is that you Joseph? You look good for an old geezer. When did you get to the city?” Joseph took a few steps toward him and shook hands. They talked for several moments.

Nathan commented, “What you did for my sister was something sent from heaven. She worked at an orphanage as a counselor and didn’t accept a wage because of your generous heart. She was a good woman, Joseph. I don’t think she ever went out with a man after she returned from Seattle. She told me once that this was home and she needed to be near us, her family.” Joseph shook his head and said, “I know. She told me she loved me when she left but couldn’t live away from her New York family.” He introduced his guest to Nathan and then Nathan left the cemetery.

Joseph walked toward the area he had seen Nathan; he looked at the stones and saw the gravestone of his wife. He had a life insurance policy that he had never taken care of and maybe he would send the proceeds to the orphanage where Rachael had worked.

It was time to start back to the city. Joseph told Mary Ann to take a picture, then he commented, “Why don’t you give me the camera and you go stand by the stone so I can take your picture.” She reached her hand toward Bengi and told him to join her in the picture.

It was a quiet ride, each were in their own thoughts.


Chapter 8

The plane had been in the air for just over an hour and it was flying westward. Chicago should be to the south in another fifteen minutes.

The ‘Fasten your Seat Belt’ sign came on and a moment later the Captain was speaking to them. There is a dangerous storm ahead and it was suggested that we land in Chicago. “Here is the problem, folks. There is a back-up of forty-five minutes ahead of us for planes to land and the storm is set to hit in thirty-five minutes. We can’t possible land in Chicago. What has been suggested is that we take the plane up to maximum flying altitude and stay above the worse of the storm.” He told them that over a dozen tornados were coming their way and that as the plane ascended above the cloud cover the temperature would become cooler. “If you have a jacket or a blanket you need to get them.” The plane started to ascend immediately.

None of them had brought a jacket on the plane and all their luggage had been checked in for the flight. The flight attendant only had two blankets left. They were given to the ladies. The outside air was cold and it wasn’t long until the cabin temperature was in the low sixties. Turbulence was getting worse and the plane was moving around to where passengers were beginning to scream when the plane took a hit from the turbulent weather.

Temperature continued to drop a few more degrees. Both Joseph and Bengi were shivering from the cold. Eveitta said, “Take this blanket Bengi and share it with Joseph, Mary Ann and I will share the other one.” They each moved closer for body heat and the warmth of the blanket. The plane was flying directly into the opposing wind and it must have hit a wind pocket because it dropped over two-hundred feet in just one second. All of a sudden Eveitta was praying out loud, “Lord Jesus, please calm these winds as you did on the boat when you were with the disciples, on that lake. Help us to have courage that you are going to deliver us…”an AMEN came from the lips of Mary Ann as Eveitta continued to pray.

It seemed to Bengi that within a minute the plane quit rocking. The Captain came back on the speakers and said, “We seem to have had a miracle folks, the storm is below us and we should be completely past it within fifteen minutes.” A tear slid down Joseph’s cheek; he knew the Lord these ladies were praying too had provided the miracle.

Joseph whispered to Bengi, “You better hang on to that lady, she is like your mom was. She has a close relationship with the Lord.” Bengi didn’t turn his head but he did shake it up and down to acknowledge his uncles comment.

The remainder of the flight went well. It was close to midnight when the four were driving up the lane toward Joseph’s home. Joseph didn’t mention it but the gate was unlocked when he got out of the car to unlock it; he never went out of town without making sure it was locked. Only Ms. Hawkins knew the combination other than the construction crew who worked on the barn a few weeks prior to Bengi arriving.

They were tired, actually beyond tired but they made it in and unloaded the baggage. It didn’t get much past the kitchen floor but that only made it closer to the washing machine for the next day.

It was a late wakeup call for all of them. It was a few minutes past eight when Joseph was finally able to drag himself out of bed and into the kitchen. He started the coffee and looked in the refrigerator for anything that might offer nutrition for them. Mary Ann was the next to come down the stairs. She seemed perky and picked up her luggage and pulled it toward the laundry room. Joseph took the others in the general direction and left them outside the laundry room.

Mary Ann commented, “Thank you Joseph for the special trip you provided. I feel I should be going back soon because I don’t want to impose on you and your generous heart. I have a small savings and think you should resume your normal life.” He looked into her eyes and told her that he did not think she was imposing. “You know, I’m the one who is being blessed by you being here. You remind me of my only sister-in-law; she was a kind, loving, and godly person. We didn’t talk but on a few occasions but she was a person who left a positive impression on anyone who ever met her.” Mary Ann told him she would have liked to have been one of those who had been able to talk with her.

Joseph told her to stay a month, six months, a year or whatever. You can go and come as you like. It won’t hamper anything that goes on around here. I go to Seattle once a month for a few days of business. Bengi has a job as a computer whiz in the company and he comes along. You ladies can come or stay as you like.

She told him she would like to contact her mission board and see if there were a few things she could do for them here in America. He told her that whatever she needed, that he would help her in any way he could.

Bengi was next down the stairs. He smiled and told them he needed to saddle up and check the cows. The voice behind him said, “I want to saddle up and go with you.” Joseph said, “Maybe we could all go since I want to move them over to the south pasture.” Mary Ann told them she would stay and start laundry. “It will wait until later,” replied Joseph. Eveitta asked, “Have you ridden before?” She told her many times but not the last couple of years. Eveitta told her it would be fun and to change into a pair of jeans.

The horses were saddled and they were about to mount when Ms. Hawkins drove up the lane. Joseph went over to greet her. They talked awhile and he asked her to throw in a load of laundry every once in awhile throughout the day. He told her Bengi’s aunt was visiting and she was using the fourth bedroom. He asked, “Will you want more pay for the extra room?” She told him, No, that he paid her more than she was worth as it was.

The horses were ready to go. They had been in the stables for those ten days and needed to move around and run a little fat off. They had to hold back on the reins to keep them from a gallop. Mary Ann commented, “This is the first time I’ve ridden with a saddle. No one owned a saddle that let me ride in Romania. It is much easier to let the horse run fast and not worry about sliding off the side.” Soon Eveitta and Mary Ann were racing toward the windmill. The fellows put their horses to a gait and were soon beside the ladies. Mary Ann told them she felt sort of guilty having fun when she knew there were so many who were poor and suffered with bad health. Eveitta reminded her that Jesus told the disciples that there would always be poor among them; then she mentioned that it was not a sin to have fun.

They were almost to the west pasture gate. The cattle were all near the water trough but no one drinking. Joseph exclaimed, “There is wind blowing but the blades on the windmill are not moving; let’s check that out Bengi!” There was less than an inch in the bottom and it was mostly mud. As Joseph looked up everything looked good so he rode closer. He could see that the lock had been set. He reached over and unlocked the pump and the fan started rotating at once. This was puzzling but he didn’t comment on it.

The cattle walked toward the water as the tank started to fill. Joseph said, “We will let them drink before we move them to the next pasture.” He rode around the windmill and he saw some recent boot tracks. It wouldn’t have been theirs since no one had dismounted.

With the four of them riding, the small herd was soon in the south pasture, which was closest to the barn. Bengi checked the windmill and it worked as it should. There was plenty of water flowing but he planned to ride back out in the morning.

As they rode toward the house Eveitta moved her horse over next to Bengi. She told him that she had a great time in New York. “Your aunt had such a wonderful time; it was probably the most fun she’s had in her entire life.” They talked a little and could see Joseph talking with Mary Ann. She smiled a couple times as she replied to his questions.

At the barn Joseph told them to take care of the horses; he needed to talk with Ms. Hawkins. He walked into the kitchen and she was busy putting clothes into the dryer. He talked with her about seeing anything out of the normal at the farm and she hadn’t. He told her he was going to change the combination on all the locks because there was an uninvited visitor while they had been gone.


By the time the evening meal was ready to eat, it was an hour past their usual time. It was general talk around the table for the most part. Eveitta had a letter beside her plate and picked it up. She told Bengi that the church had an opening the next week for pre-marriage counseling. She asked, “Will your boss let you off of work. If he will, then we can complete the entire session. Then the next step would be to get a license to marry and plan a date. What do you think?” He jumped out of his chair and hollered, “Hot dog! Will you let me off of work early on those days, boss?” Joseph told him that he didn’t want to see his face around the farm for a week. They talked some more before Joseph told them they needed a best man and a bridesmaid to help prepare the occasion. Bengi looked toward Joseph and commented, “My best friend is my uncle. How about being my best man?” He told Bengi he would be honored. Joseph smiled at Eveitta and then looked at Bengi. He said, “Both my brother and you are most fortunate to have found a priceless woman to love.” He told them the way of the old Jew was hard on the new generation. It is said that very few of my generation married because of a passionate love for the other, but they married because it was arranged by the father’s of the family.

Bengi looked toward Eveitta and asked, “Do you have a special friend that you plan to have standing beside you?” She told him that any good friend she had in the past, drifted away over the years. There were a few younger ones at church but they were just acquaintances. She looked toward Mary Ann and asked, “If you would agree to be my ‘Maid of Honor’ I would appreciate it. Soon we will all be family in one way or another.” Mary Ann’s face blushed a little, then she told them she would be honored but didn’t feel she had the knowledge to know what to do. Bengi said, “I’m going to employee a wedding planner to make sure all we need to have is taken care of.”

Eveitta said, “Before the end of next week, you will be a Christian Bengi so by the time we actually become husband and wife, you will be a member of my church. We could be married in the sanctuary and I’m sure several members would attend.” Joseph took a deep sigh and looked toward the floor. “Are you saying that I’ll be the only Jew at the church? Maybe it’s time I followed my brother’s footsteps and choose Jesus as my Messiah. I’ve thought of it often. As my brother once wrote, the only person that could have been Messiah is Jesus, but my pride in being Jewish has been the struggle I’ve not overcome.”

Mary Ann told Joseph that she would like to talk with him after all the dishes were cleared and she could spread her bible out and cover the salvation plan.


Mary Ann and Eveitta were finished with the kitchen. Mary Ann was walking up the stairs to get her Study Bible. It was large and there were several papers folded with notes written inside the back cover. She paused a second to lift a prayer heavenward. She wanted the right words when speaking with Joseph; that was her prayer.

“Joseph, I’m ready,” she said. Bengi and Eveitta were sitting on the couch listening and quieted their voices. She told Joseph she was going to pray that they would have a special blessing as they studied the scripture. She closed her eyes and prayed a short prayer. She pulled a note from the last page and it had ‘old prophesy’s’. She showed the list to Joseph and it looked like close to thirty. She went through each passage and read it out loud as he looked at the page and read the words in silence.

Eveitta and Bengi were silent as they listened intently. She would ask Joseph a question now and then. All of the passages were familiar to him. Until he had moved to Seattle he had been a regular attendee in the Synagogue along with Rachael.

Once finished with the old scriptures she turned to several passages in the Christian Bibles New Testament. She would discuss it and reference the old passage. An hour later she asked, “Would you agree that this Jesus fulfilled the old prophases from the Prophets of old?” She told him that in this day and age it would be very difficult for someone to actually meet all those requirements that were mentioned in the Bible. He agreed. She went through the ‘Romans Road’ verses and pointed out the scripture that was needed to become a Christ follower. She told him that more and more Jews were accepting the fact that only Jesus could be the Messiah. She asked, “What do you think Joseph; could this Jesus that many Jews refuse to accept actually be the Son of God?”

He told her he thought so and that was what my brother came to believe. “Could you accept Jesus as the Messiah, Christ the Lord?” He told her Yes. She asked him to pray with her. She led him through the sinner’s prayer. When finished, she told him that he was now ‘Saved’ from the wrath to come, which will be the judgment seat of God. She told him that only the blood that was shed by Jesus was payment or the atonement for earthly sinners; all of us fall into that category.

Eveitta stood and walked toward Joseph. She hugged him and said, “Joseph, you are a brother in Christ for all eternity. This is what true conversion is all about.” She walked back to Bengi and spoke softly, “This is what you must do before I marry you. You could do it now or on one of the days we are going through our training.” He looked her in the eye but could not speak. His heart was beating fast but something was holding him back. She put her forehead on his chest and whispered, “I’ll wait.”


The week of marital training was just what Bengi needed. It would give him groundwork for success with his future wife. Eveitta also learned a few things about what submission actually meant. She learned that as a wife her body was not just her own but the two of them would become one.

Every day she prayed that Bengi would have the courage to take that step toward Jesus. She could tell that there was a war going on inside of him and he was in torment about it. They completed the training and both had learned so much. She was a little dejected about the fact that he could not ask Christ into his life but she was going to be patient and not pushy.

As they drove to the farm she talked about everything except the one thing he must do before she would become his wife. She knew that being pushy or a nag was just not going to convince him to change. This would come when he was totally overcome by the Holy Spirit speaking to his inner heart.

Mary Ann and Joseph were working in the kitchen when they arrived from the last session. Both only had to take a quick look at Bengi and they knew he was dejected about something. Mary Ann knew in her heart what it was. She walked to him; put her arms around his waist, and her head on his chest. That’s all it took, he started to cry softly; and then he cried a little harder. His heart was broken and he whispered out, “I need Jesus in my life, help me.” Mary Ann just talked softly and asked several one line questions that only required a Yes or No. Right there in the kitchen she led him to the Lord. He felt like a burden was lifted from his back and there was some real joy and relief from within.

It was pretty quiet for awhile but both Joseph and Eveitta hugged him. Joseph finally commented, “Not only do I have a nephew but I have a new brother in Christ. That is something great!”

The food was starting to get cold but there was more joy and laughter as they ate than any of them could remember.


Chapter 9

Rick Dowty, Chairman of “Shipping Star’ was about to hold a meeting briefing his senior team on financial results for the previous Quarter. Joseph had driven to Seattle with Bengi and the ladies had stayed back on the farm to make some preparations for the upcoming wedding.

The three additional departmental VP’s were walking through the conference room door when Rick coughed and then fell forward. Joseph, who was already sitting beside him exclaimed, “Call 911; this is an emergency. Something just happened to Rick!” Rick’s secretary, Joan, left the room immediately and made the call. Joseph moved Rick into a sitting position and checked his tongue to make sure he had not swallowed it. He had to prey his jaw opened and reach his middle finger in as far as it would go; he felt the tongue and he pulled it forward. He had learned the tactic while taking a First Aid class several years earlier.

Rick was now breathing but not good and his skin looked the color of a corpse. Joseph asked for a wet cloth to cool his face and Joan had one in an instant. Joseph wiped his face and talked to Rick, asking small questions like; count to five, raise your hand, stick out your tongue, and a few more. He wanted to see if it had been a stroke.

A few minutes later the EMS team arrived and had Rick on a stretcher. Half an hour later he was in the emergency room and the Doctors were busy checking the vitals. After two hours it was determined that he had a blockage and should have an operation. The doctors wanted to know about his next of kin. He was divorced but had one daughter, Silvia Dowty, who was in the middle of a one-year jail term for using drugs. She was thirty-one and had graduated from U.C.L.A. with her degree in finance.


The ‘Shipping Star’ office was a concerned place at the moment. The department heads were meeting at the moment with Joan. They were discussing the upcoming schedule on Rick’s itinerary to see if optional plans needed implemented. Rick and Joseph owned the company together, with no other investors or partners.

As Joan concluded everything she knew, Joseph commented, “I’m going to the hospital and visit Rick for a few minutes. I want to meet with you and the Leadership team at seven a.m. in this room. I will have an outline of a temporary solution to our shipping operations.”


Joseph was at the head of the conference room table when the department heads entered the room. “I’m going to be acting CEO temporarily until Rick is back on his feet. We are going to function normal, business as usual. There are no changes in anything, except for me running the show. This was a short retirement.” They all laughed.

After lunch Joseph called Bengi and told him the situation. He asked, “How were the results of the Main Frame audit last night?” Bengi told him everything looked good and the system was performing extremely well. Joseph told him that he was to work along side of him the rest of this week and then next as well. He told him that it looked like he would be acting CEO for six to ten weeks if Rick comes out of the operation in good condition.

That evening Joseph gave him a brief outline of the next ten days of work. He told Bengi that Rick had scheduled four international visits. “What we have is a chance to add close to fifteen percent more business if we can land these large contracts. I want you to DRAFT me a plan on how we support these businessmen with reports on whatever they ask me for. You will be in the meetings.” Bengi told Joseph to give him a few ideas on what they might be looking for and he would set-up a few pseudo reports. He told Joseph he could provide a generic landscape report with the numbers or take it a step further with pie charts; along with a few bells and whistles.

Joseph looked at him a few seconds and commented, “I wish that I would have invited you to visit me five years ago. More than likely we would have had some more clients.”

Bengi called Eveitta prior to hitting the sack. She was still up wondering if he would call her. He told her all the news and that he and Joseph would be spending the following weekend in Seattle. He asked about Mary Ann and what they were doing?


Eveitta hung up the phone and smiled at Mary Ann. He told me that he loved me and that he missed seeing my beautiful face. He also told me to say Hi to you.

She said, “In my classes, most experts agree that a new husband and wife should wait a couple years before having children. They say that it takes a while just to get adjusted to each other without having a baby. What do you think?” It sounded like good advice to her. Mary Ann asked her, “Where will you and Bengi live?” She told her that Joseph wanted them to live on the farm and one day when we have a family, he will build a cottage on the other side of the lane. “I think Joseph has a million dollars tucked away for a rainy day but at the moment he is sharing what he has with us. He told me once, that one day, Bengi would have all that he owned.”

Mary Ann told her that she wished she had a little more money saved so she could help some of the poor needy people she knew in Romania. “It seems like in ways, they are fifty years or so behind America in just normal living.” They talked about the wedding plans and that the church would be having a small dinner after the ceremony. She told Mary Ann that the Pastor at the church had a thirteen year old daughter; the wife and son had died tragically two years earlier. A large truck had driven through a red light and hit two cars killing all the passengers. “Pastor Joe and his daughter, Tina, have come a long way since the accident. I think he is thirty-eight, almost your age.” Eveitta asked, “Did you get a chance to speak to him after Church service last week?” She told Eveitta that there was several people trying to speak with him and so she missed him.

Eveitta asked, “Do you ever get lonesome and wished there was a special person you could talk with?” She responded, “Yes, sometimes I wish my sister was alive and that I could share our thoughts together.” Eveitta told her that they could be sisters if she wanted and if she shared something it would be confidential. “I would like that,” she responded.


Bengi pulled up a chair, just to the side of Joseph’s desk. It was close enough to see and hear what Joseph was doing. The phone rang; his assistant told him the first client would be in the office at three p.m. the next day. There were several items needed shipped to Hong Kong from Kao Chung, Formosa and there were a dozen questions his client needed answered. Joseph wrote them down and handed his note to Bengi and told him he needed answers on everything listed by nine in the morning. He knew how to figure a couple of the items but the others were out of his league. He talked with Joan and she gave him a name who could give him answers for the results on each question. He just finished with the last of the concerns when he looked up at the clock. It was six p.m. and the time had flown.

They left the office at six-thirty and went directly to a restaurant. It was almost eight when they entered the condo. Bengi changed and then turned on his computer. He listed the questions and entered the responses his uncle had wanted. He built a few links and then provided some fancy charts and also listed the back-up data for the other challenges he had worked on that day. Joseph asked, “What are you checking?” Bengi told him he had a report for a tough ole CEO that he wanted to finish that evening. He wants it for a client that was coming to the office the next afternoon. His uncle lifted his eyebrows a little and nodded his head.

It was almost nine the following morning when Bengi handed Joseph four copies of a report. “You can check this document over and if you want any changes mark up your copy. If not the other copies can be used for the meeting with your clients.” It was a five page report with more than Joseph was expecting. He told Bengi to make sure he made one more copy so he could follow along. Bengi told him he could just make notes in his computer. Joseph responded, “No, I want you making notes on paper. Sometimes a client gets a little concerned and a little side tracked, so I prefer hand written notes. Everything is about making the customer feel at ease and happy when we are talking face to face.”

Bengi told him that he understood, “I was looking at it from a technical view and you from the client, the person wanting to do business with us.”

It was a long day and a late evening. The normal meeting with the client’s lasted past seven and then Joseph took everyone to dinner. It was a couple minutes after ten p.m. when they walked to Joseph’s car. As Joseph pulled out onto the main road he commented, “It’s been several months since I had a long day like this. You did a great job today. I think they bought off on ninety-nine percent of the information you gathered. We have another one of these next Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.” He told Bengi they wouldn’t be able to leave for Spokane until the following Saturday. “Eveitta will probably forget what you look like, boy,” he teased.

At noon the next day the client called. They were impressed and told Joseph they would be in to make the deal. They wanted the few minor changes made that they had asked for the previous day; the agreement would be signed if their request was met. Joseph told Bengi what he needed changed and to have it completed, with five copies, and it was needed in two hours; just prior to the client’s arrival.

Bengi hadn’t eaten any breakfast and there would have to be a late lunch today. Business with Uncle Joe came first; food or pleasure came later.


Saturday morning they decided that a nice walk through the park and some physical exercise would be nice. Joseph told him they needed to call Eveitta and have the ladies check the pastures and the cattle. “I’ll call her and see if they know the padlock codes. Is there anything else?” He told them to check the grass in the East pasture and if the cows needed more grass, to move them.

Eveitta said, “Are you sure that you want Mary Ann and I to take a chance?” He told her to lock the gate as they left the barn and everything would be all right even if the cows didn’t cooperate. She told him they would go after lunch.

They rode through the south pasture toward the gate to the East pasture. The grass was tall so they opened the gate and put a stake in the ground to hold it opened. As they approached the cattle they were spooked and started to scatter. It took about half an hour just to get the cows moving toward the opened gate. They tried to move the herd along the fence line but there was a couple who wanted to stray. It was over an hour before they got the first cow through the gate. After another hour they had all but two of them locked behind the gate. Eveitta dismounted and walked to the windmill. She knew it was locked so she tried to figure how it was supposed to be unlocked so the water would flow.

It was going on six p.m. when they started back to the farm. Both of them were physically tired; as they talked it was apparent they had not brought even water to hydrate themselves. “Remind me to never come out here again without bringing a bottle of water. My lips are sticking together,” said Eveitta. Mary Ann commented, “You and me both.”

They were up before seven the next morning. This would be the first Sunday Mary Ann helped Eveitta in the youth department. She was a leader in the girls group. For half the class time she would speak with just the high school girls and then both genders came together for a lesson from the youth pastor. Her girls were from fourteen through eighteen and all had worldly challenges.

After the youth were finished most of them would gather to the left side in the sanctuary. Eveitta normally would seat herself a row behind them. Today Mary Ann joined her so they could keep an eye on them.

The Pastor was teaching a short series of messages on ‘What is Faith’. He was one of those who used the Bible passages to back up what he preached. As the last word was spoken that completed the service, the youth jumped up and headed for the door. The ladies commented on the message and Eveitta said, “I took some notes to share with the men when they return. This message had some important verses, don’t you think?” They walked toward the door where Pastor Wener was greeting people. This would be the first time Mary Ann actually spoke to him. They stalled a little until only one person was left in the line to greet him.

Eveitta said Hi to the Pastor and then introduced Mary Ann as her soon to be Aunt Mary Ann. Pastor Joe shook her hand and told her he was delighted to meet her. Eveitta told him that she helped her in the youth group that morning. They talked for another four to five minutes until Mary Ann commented, “We are sorry to have kept you. I know Tina is probably waiting for you.” He told them that they only lived four houses down and that Tina had gone home to take a roast out of the oven. “That is our Sunday ritual. I have it prepared before I come to the church and she puts it in the oven just before she leaves. It is usually just about perfect when I get there after the service.” He paused a few seconds and then asked, “Wouldn’t you join us today? I don’t think we have had the opportunity to have you as a lunch guest?” Eveitta told him “Yes” before Mary Ann could open her mouth.

They walked together and he opened the door for them; then announced to Tina that they would have two guests for lunch. Tina couldn’t see who it was but she told her dad she would add two more plates. He told them they could use the guest bath room to wash the fellowship from their hands. They laughed but knew what he meant.

Tina was surprised to see the two ladies but she was happy. Her dad had not invited just women to their home since her mom had died. Normally it was some older couple that had been in the church for years.

The Pastor prayed, then Tina got up and dished out four helpings of Pot Roast and served the guest, then her dad, and lastly herself. Mary Ann was thinking how mannerly and polite the young girl was. The food was prepared just right and Mary Ann told Tina she had prepared a delicious meal. The topics included the soon coming marriage, where the Shindler men were at, and finally to the topic of the Romanian missionary. The host was all ears at the story Mary Ann was telling. After two hours the pastor told them he needed half an hour to put the finishing touches on his message for the evening. As he was about to walk toward his Study, the phone rang. “Bad news, the piano player for the evening service had taken ill.”

“Tina you may have to play this evening. I’ll tell the worship leader to keep the songs simple. What were the three you did for the youth rally?” She told him and just before he entered his Study Eveitta exclaimed, “Pastor, Mary Ann plays the piano like an angel, if you were to ask her, I bet she would play.” He looked at his daughter and asked, “What do you think? Do you want the night off or do you want a shot at playing in the big church?” She told him that she would be nervous and she would rather observe Miss Jackson tonight.

As Pastor Joe was editing the message for the evening he could hear the piano playing. His door was shut but he could tell it was not his daughter playing. Someone who had a feel for how the music should be played was at work. He made just two more changes and opened his door a few inches. It was good and he hated to spoil the fun but he was going to crash the small party. He stepped into the room and could see her face. Her eyes were closed as she swayed her head ever so slightly with the rhythm of the music. He just watched as he thought, “What a lovely woman and to think she was a missionary in a far off land serving their Lord.” As she finished the music, she opened her eyes and saw Pastor Joe looking at her. She was not used to a man looking at her like he was; it caused her face to flush.

She stopped and stood. “I’m sorry the music disturbed you…” He cut in and responded, “Miss Jackson, the music was lovely, it did not disturb me at all.” Eveitta told them that they should be going otherwise we won’t get home and back again in time for the evening service. Pastor Joe told them to stay and not rush off.


The following week went by slowly for Eveitta. Joseph and Bengi’s week was fast paced with the clients coming in for meetings but Bengi couldn’t wait to get back to Spokane. Mary Ann was grateful that she could be used by the Lord in such a way as just playing the piano. Tina could see a twinkle in her dads’ eye that had been missing for two years and wondered what put it there.


It was Friday afternoon and the clock was about to hit three p.m. Bengi and Joseph had packed prior to driving in to work and would leave early afternoon. The nine o’clock appointment was history and they had a new client who had signed a contract. Joseph had talked too Rick and given him an update. Joseph wasn’t driving back until Monday afternoon and Bengi was staying in Spokane the following week.

Eveitta had talked to the fellas prior to the drive and was having ribs, baked potatoes, and a dinner salad. It would be ready for them by eight-thirty. Mary Ann was preparing a short lesson for the girls’ class, on the role of ‘A young missionary in a foreign land’.

It was twenty after eight and dusk had set in. The days were getting shorter and though not totally dark, it was close. Eveitta could see a flash of light coming up the lane. She put the mitts for the oven on the granite top and brushed her hair back with her hand. She hollered to Mary Ann that the men were home and then started for the door.

As Bengi closed the passenger door she was running toward him. He could see her and turned toward her just as she leaped. With full force she flew into him and almost knocked him over. His arms circled her waist and their lips met. It was by far the most awesome thing that either had experienced. Joseph exclaimed, “Take a breath before you pass out!” Mary Ann laughed and told them to come inside before the food in the oven burned to a crisp.


It was a chilly morning as Bengi walked out on the porch. He could see two cows just past the fence and he remembered that the ladies couldn’t get all the cows in the East pasture. That would be something high on his to-do list.

While they ate breakfast Bengi brought up the subject of the cows. Joseph told him to go ahead and take care of it. Joseph said, “I have to be in town by noon prior to the bank closing. I have some business to attend to. After that I’m going to the store; that pantry is looking kind of low.” He looked at Mary Ann and told her she was welcome to ride along. Eveitta looked at Bengi and smiled at him, then said, “Are you going to need some help with those cows?”

It was a cool morning still in the lower fifties. The forecast was showing a high for the day in the low sixties with possibly rain by evening. They each had decided a lined jacket would be needed for the day.

Joseph was driving down the lane as Bengi and Eveitta walked to the barn. Once in the barn Bengi turned to her and pulled her close as his lips softly touched hers. She kissed him back with all the passion she had ever felt. They stood motionless for minutes as their lips clung to the others. Bengi’s hand went from her waist to the middle of her back and pulled her tightly to him. She exclaimed, “Let’s stop, right now!” He stepped back and took a deep breath and she reached over and took his hand. She commented, “Let’s saddle the horses and get these cows back where they belong.”

Once they had the two cows back with the regular herd they rode to the tank holding the water. It was a galvanized tank twenty-eight inches high with a diameter of ten feet. It had overflowed and the dirt around it was now slippery mud. Just then a burst of wind came up and the windmill started pumping water again. Bengi told her that Joseph usually had the tank about two-thirds full; then he would put the brake back on the windmill. He told her it didn’t hurt anything but Joseph had told him that the cows would have plenty if filled about two feet, once a week. He reached his hand into the cool water and flipped a little toward her face. She looked up into his eyes and could tell he was messing with her. “Do that again and you will be real sorry, Bengi Shindler,” she said with a smirk. He couldn’t pass up the challenge and did it once more. Eveitta reached her hand in and cupped a handful of water, which she intended to throw toward him. Bengi expected it and put his hand out to stop her motion. She was thrown off balance and tumbled face first down into the cold water; she screamed from the shock of the water temperature. She was soaked from her hips upward. He reached for her arm and pulled her out of the water; she was shivering violently within seconds.


Mary Ann was walking beside Joseph as they entered the bank. This was the first American bank she had seen from the inside. It was much larger than she expected and more employees were helping customers than she would have imagined.

Joseph talked with someone a few moments and then a door opened; a tall grey haired man named Luke motioned for him to come in. He reached over and touched her elbow and escorted her to the office. Joseph introduced Mary Ann and then told the bank officer what needed done. Joseph was making changes and had a substantially large Debit Card fund set up for Bengi and the drawl would be coming from Joseph’s checking account each month. He also provided a checking account for Mary Ann. He said, “What I want you to do is use this fund for traveling to and fro on mission conferences. To me it is a worthy cause that I want to invest in it.” She was speechless as their eyes met but her heart was saying thank you Joseph.

The banker told him to stop back the middle of the week and all the paperwork would be completed.

As they walked out of the bank Joseph told her they needed to visit the store across the street. It was a store that only the wealthy bothered to shop at. Once inside a lady greeted them. He told her that they were in the market for three dresses and for what occasions. She showed them some that were in the four-hundred dollar range and Joseph commented, “These are nice but something just a little nicer is what I had in mind. How about a dress that a maid of honor would wear, a lady speaking at a conference would wear, and then something that is modest but beautiful lady would wear to church at Christmas?”

It took some time and Mary Ann kept saying ‘No’ to him as she was shown several beautiful ones. He urged her to try on half a dozen of them; finally selecting three of them. She exclaimed, “Mr. Shindler, you can’t keep spending your money on things for me. I am a simple servant and you are being too generous.”

They were boxed with soft tissue and Mary Ann looked toward Joseph with a tear starting down her left cheek. “Thank you, sir,” she commented.

The next stop was the grocery store. Joseph wanted the pantry filled up. He told her that once in awhile they might have visitors and he wanted to have a good supply to offer them. “Maybe you and Eveitta can have a youth gathering now that cooler weather is on its way. I remember an uncle used to have hay rides and hang out in the barn back when I was just a kid.” She told him that it sounded like it would be wonderful and she would talk to Eveitta about it that evening. The offer he had made caused her heart to smile as she thought what a grand time could be had by the youth from church.


Eveitta was cold clear to the bone as she was pulled from the water tank by Bengi. She said, “Bengi, I’m going to be sick, I’m freezing.” He unzipped his insulated jacket and exclaimed, “Why don’t you turn your back and take off your wet clothes, you know, your jacket and shirt. You are going to wear my warm jacket.” She told him ‘No’ but he told her it was an emergency, “Quit arguing with me, you know it is the right thing to do.” She told him ‘No’ again so he put his hand behind her neck and pulled her lips to his and he kissed her. “I love you, I care for you, please don’t be stubborn; just trust me a wee bit. Take everything above your waist off and put my jacket on.” She could see pain in his eyes as he pleaded with her. Finally she turned her back, commented, “I’m trusting you Bengi,” and did as he had asked.

Within minutes the chill started to ease. She looked up and commented, “You were right, this jacket feels so warm. Thank you for loving me and wanting the best for me.” He told her that when they returned to the farm to take some Vitamin C; it will help your body fight the effects of getting ill. She responded, “That and a bath as hot as I can stand.” He rubbed her back a few seconds and told her they needed to finish up the work and ride back to the barn.

As they dismounted he asked, “Do you want to go to the house now. I can take care of the horses?” She walked to him and stood toe to toe. She raised her lips and he met them with his own. It was a long kiss that made him weak at the knees. She thanked him for being considerate. She said, “Some guys would never think to offer a girl the chance to get into a warm bath tub until her horse was put away. Thank you Bengi,”


It was late afternoon when Joseph was driving up the lane. He thought as he slowed the car, “The day had been productive indeed. He was feeling happy inside that he could do something for others.” He knew even if he tried, it would be hard to spend most of his money in a normal lifetime. He was going to share with this small family and when he was gone someday, they could share the gift he would be leaving, with several others.

Eveitta had started the evening meal but it would be close to an hour yet. Bengi had helped her set the table. Joseph walked through the door with Mary Ann carrying her three boxes. She put them on the end of the large table. Joseph told Bengi he needed some help bringing in several bags of groceries.

It was a pleasant evening. Mary Ann brought up the subject of a youth activity in the barn later when it was cooler weather. They liked the idea and added some things they could do. Bengi suggested a little music like guitar playing or a couple games he had played before he ran away as a kid. He said, “If we could borrow a portable piano for Mary Ann she could play something jivie as well.” They decided to invite Pastor Joe since his daughter would be there. As they were about to finish the meal Mary Ann commented, “I have never had the chance to model clothing before but tonight if you would allow me; it would be nice to share what Uncle Joseph did for me today. There are three beautiful dresses in those boxes.” She told them she would be back in a couple minutes.

As she finished her little show, Eveitta had a tear that was streaking down her cheek. She tried to clear her throat but there was a lump. Finally she was able to speak, “Uncle Joe, this was so thoughtful, it makes me happy from within.” He nodded her way to accept her thanks.


Sunday morning services were just starting. Mary Ann made the short presentation on being a missionary in Romania. At the end of the session, Eveitta asked, “Would you girls like to help plan an activity with us? We are thinking of having an old fashioned ‘barn’ party with some games and music.” The entire group replied with a ‘Yes’ and then Eveitta asked, “Should we invite the boys or is this just something you want to do alone?” It was silent for a minute. All the eyes turned toward Jana, she was a senior and had gone to the church since middle school. She looked at Eveitta and replied, “To be perfectly selfish and not considerate, I would ask for just girls but the guys would have hurt feelings so I think we should invite them.” The other girls agreed with her answer so when they met in a few minutes as a group, the fellows would get invited.

Bengi and Joseph had visited an all men’s class that morning. There were close to five-hundred members and they had seven adult bible classes to choose from. Four of them were for couples, and they had two separate ladies and a men’s class for those who preferred them. All had different topics to choose from. The men were using the Book of Daniel for study of the scriptures, at the moment.

Joseph preferred the Old Testament studies. Being Jewish he had studied them for several years, that is, until he was working so many hours at his job. The Leader would cover a chapter each week. Today they were in Chapter eight and the prophetic verses were read. It was a thought provoker as verses were compared to New Testament verses, which was the outcome from the original prophecy.

They sat a few rows behind Eveitta and Mary Ann when they went into the sanctuary for the sermon message. There were some older teens that walked in late and sat next to Eveitta. As the service ended, Eveitta motioned the men to come meet some of the students. She introduced her two fellows to several of the teens as Uncle Joseph and Bengi, the man she would be marrying in a few weeks. As they were walking up the aisle she heard one of the girls say, “That guy is a hunk. Ms. Martin sure deserves him, don’t you think?” That brought a smile to her face as she left the worship center.

Pastor Joe was greeting as usual. Joseph told him that he enjoyed the services. “Sometime I would like for you to bring your family to the farm for dinner. What do you think?” He told Joseph that he appreciated the thought and would make plans with him. He talked with the ladies and then with Bengi. He told him that he had heard of his recent conversion and would like to have a good talk with him soon. Bengi told him he would look forward to the visit.

Chapter 10

The mission board had arranged for Mary Ann to speak at a Christian college in Florida. There were eight-hundred students in the college and close to five-hundred were women. What she had to say might be the right words for a handful of the students; several were border line on their commitment to taking a job on the mission field? Mary Ann had been born on the mission field and until recently knew no other life.

It was a good life for someone who could do without the luxuries of the modern world and wanted, more than anything, to serve the Lord. She wanted to present a proper and truthful message. She would leave on Tuesday and since Joseph was driving to Seattle on Monday she would ride with him and catch the plane across the USA the next day.

It was a pleasant drive and they had many things to talk over. Joseph listened as she took her intended message and shared it with him. When it was over Joseph asked, “Are you wanting to WOW them or frighten them with your message?” She told him to give an accurate account. He told her that if he was a modern, everyday person, it might make me think twice because it sounds like an overwhelming hard life to endure. “Compared to the average American life, it would seem extremely hard, but if the intent was to serve the Lord with your whole being, it is secondary to how you have lived here in America.” She told him it would be harder for even me now that I have tasted the good life of America, but I could do it with joy because of knowing who it is that I serve.

Joseph told her that if there was someone who heard her message and needed to raise some funding for their support, count him in. It wasn’t long until the car pulled up to the condo. Joseph carried her bag and unlocked the door. He told her he would be back at six-thirty and they could go to dinner.

She decided to look over her message to the students again and break it into two segments and talk about each; Joseph had hit on something she had missed as she prepared what she was going to say. When she finished the edit on her message she changed into the dress she would wear. Even to her, after she knew what it looked like, she was awestruck as she looked into the mirror.


The college was in the area Floridians called the pan-handle. She had never heard it spoken of that way. It was a pretty campus and not far from the ocean. This was only the students second day since returning to fall classes. Students were filled with the attitude of making the semester a productive one. She received first-class attention from the staff and she was taken to the auditorium for her lecture, as they called it.

It was a well-spoken lecture and afterwards she was taken to a reception area where the students could ask her one-on-one questions. It surprised her that close to thirty students lined up to ask questions for almost two hours.

The chancellor and half a dozen staff members took her to dinner that evening. Before the evening was over she thought that surely they must know her almost as much as she did herself. She had not realized they would be so interested in her life.

She was alone in her room about to go to bed but she wanted to lift up her prayers to her Lord before closing her eyes.


Three-thousand miles away at the farm, Bengi and Eveitta had finished eating and were cleaning the kitchen mess together. Their eyes met for a second and Bengi took a step toward her. He cupped his fingers under her chin and lifted her face upward. His lips met hers with a passion he had just come to know. He felt as though his whole body ached as he continued to linger on her lips. He could hear the slight moan she made. It was more than mortal man could stand as he lowered his hand to her hip and then raised his lips to her forehead.

What was that noise he just heard? It was the phone ringing and it had brought him to his senses. He didn’t want to answer but it could be an important call. “Hello,” he said into the mouth piece. Mary Ann replied, “I hope I didn’t get you at a bad time Bengi but I was missing you two and as I was praying, something from within caused me to stop and to call. Are you o.k.?” He told her ‘Yes’ and that it was nice hearing from her. They talked a few minutes and he handed the phone to Eveitta.

When they hung up Eveitta said, “That was a God-call Bengi. I was on the verge of doing something I didn’t want to do until we are married. God knows my heart and HE sent us an angel in the form of your aunt to stop a wrong from happening.”


Joseph was visiting his friend, Rick, The doctor had told him two more months and then a week of half days before he could start back full time at the helm of the company. Joseph told Rick that he wanted to bring Bengi back with him every other week to learn the business. He said, “Maybe one day after he has enough of the farm and doing contract work, he may want a challenge in the business world. What do you think?” The conclusion was that anytime he was ready, he could have a full time executive job. As an independent owned company, they were making several million dollars each year and could afford the additional salary of another person.


Mary Ann was packing her bag when her phone rang. One of the seniors would graduate at mid-term, which was only a few months away. She had heard the lecture and wanted to begin her mission work shortly after the Christmas holiday. They asked Mary Ann to speak with the young lady named Savannah; then provide some helpful hints on what would be needed for a good starting point. A few minutes later she was on her way back to the Administration building.

Savannah had a beautiful complexion, with dark brown hair, and beautiful brown eyes. Mary Ann liked her at once. She told Savannah that the majority of Romanian people were poor; but mostly content people. “You will need to take a language class, which will be on your own time since the college doesn’t offer Romanian as a language.” They talked some more and Mary Ann had to leave to catch a ride to the airport. Savannah handed her a paper with her phone number and an email address so that she could be contacted.

Mary Ann was not ready to return overseas as a missionary just yet. She wanted to observe a Thanksgiving, a Christmas, and a few more holidays as an American. She wanted to observe what the freedoms of America had cost those early heroes of the seventeen-hundreds. “What an exceptional people they must have been,” she thought.


Savannah was from the Dallas area and her aunt had recently returned from a visit to Romania. She intended to talk with her soon and find out if there was something special she should do for preparation. Savannah wanted to get started on learning the language. She wanted to contact her parents and tell them of her plans but she did not want her mom to worry about how safe it would be in a foreign country.

Tonight she would make the call to her parents. As the day was concluding she was a little nervous about the call. She wondered what they might think of her decision. She made the call. Her brother, Blake, answered. He was a senior in high school and was surprised to hear his sister’s voice.

Savannah’s dad was handed the phone after just a few minutes. Savannah was excited as she told him her plan. He wasn’t excited like she had hoped. He responded, “I want you to come back to Dallas and find a job near us. Has your aunt been talking to you?” She told him that she hadn’t talked to her but she did plan on it, and quite soon. Rex, her dad, told her she better talk to her mom before making any decisions. She told him that she was twenty-two and could decide for herself. Rex commented, “Yes you can but sometimes a little advice from a parent goes a long way. Do you know how hard a life most missionaries have; especially in third world countries where ninety percent are poor?” She told him that was part of the reason she wanted to be a missionary, “I want to help people. I don’t want to just be a ‘taker’ in life when I have so much to give.”

He finally told her that her mom would call her when she got home. As she hung up the phone disappointment flashed through her mind.


It was mid afternoon on Thursday when Mary Ann’s plane touched down in Seattle. She had several things on her mind. It was like a to-do list that needed noted on paper. Joseph had told her to call when she arrived and he would get away for awhile and pick her up.

She just wanted to think for awhile so she took a seat and looked out the large window. There were planes everywhere; some were coming and some going. She started comparing this to the peaceful days at the farm. She thought, “How hectic it must be for these travelers who had to meet a business schedule, running to catch a plane, or having to wait for hours to catch another flight.” Her mind wondered again and again as she gazed up at the sky. Earlier it had been bright with sun and now it was growing overcast like rain might be coming any moment.

Mary Ann looked at her clock and was surprised that three hours had passed. She needed to call Joseph.

It was five-thirty and Joseph was beginning to worry. He had checked on the flight earlier and it landed on time. He left the office and started to drive toward the airport. Just as he was entering the gates, his phone rang. It was Mary Ann telling him she was at gate 11 whenever he had time to get away from work. He told her he would be there in two minutes. He said, “I began to worry so I decided to drive to the airport. I’ll see you in a minute.” She picked up the bag and walked toward the door.

He took her bag and put it in the trunk then said, “I was wondering if you missed the plane or if something happened. Are you o.k.?” She told him of her thoughts as they drove back toward the condo. He could tell she had been down a little. He wished he knew what would help lift her spirit but what did he know about being a cheerleader for an intelligent woman. He asked, “Would you like to freshen up or just have dinner and then go to the condo?” She looked at him and responded, “Joseph thank you for being kind. I’m not really hungry but since I haven’t eaten today, I should. Please, let’s just have a light dinner before going back to your home.”

As they drove his mind was working; where was a nice place that would lift her spirit? He finally chose a place and started toward it. He told her that he was looking forward to the youth group coming for the activity. She told him that she wasn’t sure about finding a portable piano, at a reasonable price, for the activity. He told her that he should have a piano in his home, “It would make it a little cozier; don’t you think?” She told him that Bengi mentioned something like an electronic keyboard, “Have you seen something like that?” He told her that he had and for the price they aren’t half bad. “After we eat, let’s look in a music store for some ideas.” Joseph thought that if he could keep her mind on something other than what she had been thinking, it might perk her up.

After the meal he stopped the car at a good sized store that had several musical instruments in the window front. There were four different models of keyboards. Each was powered up and Joseph commented, “You can play a tune on all of them. Do you know a few spunky cords to try them out?” Mary Ann had been young once and knew more than her share of spunky music. Joseph led her past all of them for a quick look and commented on how there was a small, medium, and a couple large ones. He told her to start with the small one. She played them all and the patrons in the store gazed her way. Joseph was thinking, “WOW, what talent she has.” One of the clerks came over and asked if she wanted more base added. She shook her head, indicating yes, and he pushed a key on the keyboard. She liked the sound and asked, “What are all of these extra buttons for? I have never played a keyboard before.” He flipped another key and a little chime sounded once in awhile. She stopped and looked at Joseph. He asked, “Which of these do you like the best?” Mary Ann told him that the small one had the best feel when she played. The larger ones make me feel masculine. He nodded his head that he understood. Joseph asked the clerk, “Do you have any additional models that are small?” There was one in the storeroom but a little more costly than the small one that was on display. Joseph asked to see it.

The clerk went to his manager and told him what the customer requested. He told him to show it to them. They had to walk to the storage area in the back. There was a cloth over it as they approached. As the cloth was lifted, Joseph could tell it was the one he was going to purchase. It had style and beauty. The keys were inlaid with pearl and the additional keys looked like diamonds. “Can you plug it in and let us try it out,” he asked.

Mary Ann started playing a favorite melody. It had an awesome sound but she stopped and asked the clerk, “How is it that you know which of the keys, adds the little melody with the music?” He reached behind it and showed her the pamphlet. It showed what rhythm each key would produce. She played another melody and then thanked the clerk for showing them the keyboard. She asked, “What would something like this cost me?” He told her he did not know but the manager would give them a price.

As they walked into the main store the manager asked, “What did you think of that keyboard? You know, that was a special order; the person was my special friend. She left me hanging and ran off with another guy down in L.A. so if you are interested, I could make you a deal on it.” Joseph told Mary Ann to look around a few minutes and he would talk to the manager. She told him ‘No!’ Then she said, “You cannot purchase something that valuable and then give it to me.” He smiled and told her he would decide if it was something he wanted to get for himself; he smiled again and walked away with the manager. The manager told him twenty-five-hundred and that was a bargain. Joseph told him fifteen-hundred and he would help him cut his losses. They finally agreed on an amount somewhere within the original two mentioned figures. Joseph told him to box it up carefully. As he walked back he commented to Mary Ann, “How about some music sheets. Is there something you’ve always wanted?”


Joseph left work at three on Friday and picked up Mary Ann for the drive back to the farm. It would be a late dinner but Eveitta told him she would have it ready at eight-thirty. She had bought a chicken, peeled some potatoes, and put a couple cans of green beans in a pan. She boiled the chicken for the broth and put a package of Amish noodles in the boiling broth. The potatoes were boiled and all she had to do was use the mixer to fluff them up once the traveling duo walked in the door.

They had a great evening visiting. After everyone had gone to bed Joseph unloaded the Keyboard and set it up in front of the television. It would give them something to talk about while having breakfast the next morning.

Joseph was up making coffee when Bengi came down the stairs. He spotted the Keyboard and commented, “Uncle Joe, where did that awesome looking keyboard come from? Do you care if I play it?” His uncle responded, “Do you know how? This is a fancy one.” Bengi told him he used to play a toy one as a child with his mom but then jammed on a few keyboards as he played with older fellas back in Dallas. “Back in Brooklyn I played for a few years with a small band” Joseph told him to go ahead.

Before Joseph could stop him he was jamming and the house almost shook from the vibrations. He heard two bedroom doors open and he about bent in half laughing as he listened to his nephew turn some tunes. “What is going on down there Eveitta hollered?” Bengi told her that his uncle bought a big boys toy and he must be planning to learn how to do some jammin’ with us.

Both the ladies were laughing hysterically as they walked down the stairs listening to Bengi play. Eveitta exclaimed, “I didn’t know you played the keyboard; when did you learn to play it?” He told her that was something he grew up with. He said, “My mom played the piano and she bought me a toy keyboard when I was real young, then I had a better one just before they died. I learned it before I could play the guitar.” He motioned Mary Ann over and told them to hang on. He ran up the stairs and was down with his guitar. Joseph cut in on the conversation with a little history from the day before. Bengi looked at his aunt and told her to start playing. After a couple of seconds he had the tune and was strumming along with her. He said, “Sing it, come on family; let’s have some fun.” Joseph and Eveitta were clapping their hands and enjoying the morning. They played half a dozen songs and then wrapped it up. Bengi looked at his aunt and told her that with a little practice they could play together for the youth activity.

While they ate breakfast Joseph told then what the plan was for Monday. Bengi was going back to Seattle with him. There were two more foreign visitors scheduled. The ladies were going to make plans for the activity, which would include some decorations for the barn and some good food.


The Sunday service went well. As they were leaving church they talked with Pastor Joe and he commented on what his daughter had told him. “I hear you are going to have a youth activity soon. That is wonderful and I’m sure they will all have a great time.” Joseph replied, “The ladies are making the plans and from what I saw, they are going to have some special music as well. You are planning to come aren’t you?” The pastor told him that if he was invited that he would be there. Joseph told him they would be looking forward to the visit. Eveitta asked, “Would you like fifteen minutes to bring a short devotional, Pastor Joe?” He told her it would be great to have the opportunity. Pastor Joe looked at Mary Ann and asked, “I heard you had a mission conference in Florida, how did it go?” She told him it is a long story maybe I can tell you when you come to the activity.

Joseph was taking them to lunch and then afterward they picked up ten bails of straw. It would be cleaner on the barn floor, than the hay he had available. It had been a cool morning but it was warming up a little. It was supposed to reach seventy by afternoon and they needed to clean the barn together so the ladies didn’t have to do it by themselves during the following week. Mary Ann and Eveitta were planning to go back to the evening service.

After they had organized the barn, Joseph commented, “I think we may need a few more bails of straw to sit on. There won’t be enough seating when the singing starts. How many kids do you think will come?” Eveitta told him that if all the regular youth came, there could be forty or so. Joseph told them that they needed to plan for at least that amount, just in case. Joseph wanted to know when the event was going to take place. Eveitta looked at Mary Ann to see if she wanted to respond. She didn’t so Eveitta told him that it would be two weeks from yesterday; a Saturday from six until nine-thirty. She said, “We can eat early and then have the fun stuff. I was thinking about a couple games, the pastor’s short message, and then the fantastic music.” Joseph told them he would clear his schedule so he could leave Seattle by noon on that Friday.


The owner of the Arena in Spokane called Eveitta and told her that he would be opening the business back up in two weeks. She told him that she would not be coming back to work, “I’ll be getting married and going to school full time trying to complete my degree.” He told her he would make her the day manager if she would work for him. She declined but thanked him for the offer.


Savannah had talked to her Aunt about Romania. Both were excited and Alicia told her she would do some checking for her. Savannah told her that she had met a missionary who was there for several years. Her name is Mary Ann and she just came back to America for the very first time. They talked some more and Alicia suddenly realized Savannah had spoken to the same lady that her and Adi had met. Now she was excited because she wanted to know how to contact her.


Chapter 11

It was six-fifteen on a Saturday evening. There was a youth rally, which was scheduled to have started fifteen minutes earlier. Jason, the youth Director and Pastor Joe were riding the bus as chaperones’. They had seated the boys on the right side and the girls on the other; Jason was sitting in the back row and Pastor Joe about four rows back from the driver.

They were running a little late; with about one mile to go, one of the rear tires blew. It caused the bus to lurch to the right and go off the road into the brim. None of them were injured but the bus was stuck and leaning to the right. The exit door would not open and there was a little panic by a few of the teens.

Pastor Joe asked Jason if he had any ideas. He commented that he would be afraid to let anyone crawl out the window on the right in case the bus tilted completely onto its side. Jason told him if they had a ladder they could climb out the left window and get down to the road. The big word was IF.

Let’s call the Shindler’s and let them know the problem we just ran into. No one on the bus knew their number but Jason had Eveitta’s so he called it. Fortunately she had the phone with her and answered. She listened to the story and told him to hang on. She motioned for Bengi, who was up a ladder hanging the last of the streamers. They talked for a few minutes and finally had Joseph come talk. Joseph had a large wagon that he could hook to his truck and Bengi had his truck so they could pick the students up. Both trucks and the wagon were overloaded but everyone arrived safe at the barn. The bus driver had a wrecker on its way and he would ride with him back to town, then bring a new bus to pick them up around nine-thirty. There was twice the food needed but somehow it was all eaten.

The girls outdid the boys in Charades. It was comical to watch some of the ways they tried to get the correct answers. Pastor Joe gave a short devotional on respecting the opposite genders. He pointed out several things that had the students thinking to themselves. The music was the best. They had decided Bengi would play the keyboard on the first selection. Before he finished the entire group was clapping hands and singing along, that is, the ones who knew the words to the song. Mary Ann took over and played a beautiful assortment. Bengi and Mary Ann performed together and everyone joined in on singing. A couple of the older high schoolers wanted to play so Bengi and Mary Ann gave up their instruments. Pastor Joe walked over next to where Mary Ann was standing and told her that she was a remarkable musician. She looked toward his face and noticed his gray eyes for the first time and responded, “I’ve had a little over thirty years of practice pastor and I need more to be as good as I would like to be.” He told her that he was thirty-eight, “Are you older or younger?” She laughed but did not respond.

Joseph happened to see the communication between the two and he smiled inwardly and thought, “That would be a fine man for Mary Ann to get better acquainted with.”

It was nine-thirty but the bus must be running a little late. Pastor Joe talked with Jason and then Jason made a call to the bus driver. He was on his way but it would be at least twenty more minutes. He walked to the center of the group and got everyone’s attention. He told them the scoop and asked if they needed to call some parents. He told them they needed one parent to drive to the church parking lot and let the others know when they would arrive. It looked like it would be close to ten-thirty.

Pastor Joe walked to the center and asked them to pray with him. His words were just exactly what were needed for the moment. He thanked the youth for the good manners they had used all evening. He mentioned Joseph and thanked him for opening up his home for the youth to have the function.


Sunday morning service was special in the youth department. The individual lessons were short and then the entire group met together. Jason asked for a few of the seniors to give a short testimony about the function from the previous evening, which most of the group participated in. It was heartwarming to Eveitta and Mary Ann as they heard the good reports from the older youth. Prior to the class being dismissed, there was a knock on the closed door.

The senior music director was at the door. The piano player was ill. She had come to church but her head was spinning and she was very pale looking. The pastor told him to check with Miss Jackson and see if she could play this morning. Jason motioned to Mary Ann and she walked to him and then they stepped out in the hallway. She agreed promptly and walked away with Brother Jim, the music director. There was one special and three congressional numbers scheduled and fortunately she knew the music for each of them.

Eveitta was sitting alone behind the youth when Bengi and his uncle entered the sanctuary. Their class had run a little late with all the questions the men had. Bengi whispered, “Where is Aunt Mary? Did something happen to her?” Eveitta pointed toward the front and he could see her at the piano playing some soft introduction music.

The service was good. The pastor’s message was about, “Are the fields ready for harvest.” He asked the congregation to look around them in their busy schedules. “See if there was someone they crossed paths with who needed to be told about the Savior.” It was a thought provoking sermon.

Mary Ann stayed at the piano playing until everyone had left the worship service. She gathered the music and put it on the bench and then walked up the aisle. Her nephew and the family were talking with Pastor Joe so she joined them. He told her ‘Thank you’ for coming to the rescue and that it looked like Ms. Trudy might be out for awhile. “I heard that the doctor thinks she had a gall bladder attack and may need surgery.” He asked Mary Ann if she could contact Brother Jim by Tuesday; the status of Ms. Trudy would be known by then. He thanked them again for the youth activity as he was shaking their hands. It looked like, to Bengi, that he lingered a little as he shook his aunt’s hand. As he watched them talking, he thought, “It sure would be awesome if they could get together as a couple.

As they walked toward the car, Bengi put his arm over his aunt’s shoulder and said, “I think that preacher boy kinda likes you, what do you think?” Her face flushed a little and she tried to tell him there was nothing to it. He teased her a little until Eveitta told him he was ornery and needed to stop embarrassing his aunt.

After eating their lunch all four of them went to the barn. It took a couple hours of work to get the barn looking like a barn again. Bengi and Joseph loaded tools in the truck; preparing for work on the fences the next morning. The ladies baked cookies and then left for evening church.


Chapter 12

Bengi and Joseph were on the road and planned to arrive in Seattle by noon. Joseph told Bengi that business was going better than ever and he had expanded the Customer Center operations to seven days with twenty-four coverage. He said, “Some shifts only have two employees working but contractual customers are able to make a request any time of the day, no matter where they are located.” Joseph told him that with their fleet of ships scattered in major areas of the world most commitments were met to the customer’s satisfaction.

As they drove Joseph asked Bengi if he would ever like the opportunity to work in Seattle on a full time basis. There were several comments made back and forth but the fact was that Bengi wanted to have a family. He told Joseph that Eveitta wanted to have a small business, maybe just part time, when her studies were complete.

He told Joseph that he would like to take fifteen to twenty acres and put in an orchard up near the front of the property. Then maybe take an acre or two and have a large vegetable garden. Eveitta told me that she used to help her mother can fruits and vegetables years ago and would like to train our children to do the same someday.

Joseph told him that it sounded like a wonderful way to live a life. He put his hand over on Bengi’s thigh and squeezed it and said, “I think we ought to do both of them soon, you know, before I’m too old to have the fun of helping. When we get back, I’ll do some checking on it.” Joseph told him they could put a small hut with a roof, down by the road, where they could sell a few things to the local neighbors. They were each dreaming of something else to add to the garden area; soon the size of it was up to a three acre tract.

Before they knew it, the outskirts of the big city was in sight. Joseph commented, “After you check out the AS-400 and those other things you do, I want you to spend some time working with the Customer Center. Observe the way it’s operated and how the customers are taken care of. After you get the hang of it, take a few calls yourself and see what all it entails.” Joseph told him that they were part owners and just in case something would happen to him, that Bengi needed to know the overall business.

The week went well for both Bengi and Joseph. Thursday afternoon Joseph invited Bengi to join the meeting he was having with their small Marketing team, which doubled as the sales team. There were just four employees and they reported up through the Customer Center Director. With the three dozen ships available; the group was required to go after potential customers within the already established shipping routes. It was not Rocket Scientist Marketing but they normally paid their own wages and more; with enough new business each year.

As the men drove back to Spokane Joseph told Bengi that Rick wouldn’t be back to work until the week after Thanksgiving. He asked, “Did you and Eveitta nail down a date yet on the wedding?” Bengi told him it was going to be the second Saturday in December. Bengi commented, “I told her it might be cold and snowy by then and a bit cool for a honeymoon.” Joseph told him that the husband is supposed to plan the honeymoon, “Why don’t you take her to Key West and hang out on a beach. Down there she can wear a skimpy negligee and up here it would be flannel PJ’s. What sounds the most romantic to you?”

He looked at his uncle and smiled, then looked out the front window with the smile still plastered on his lips. Bengi was still looking out the front window and said, “You know I don’t know a thing about sex. What am I supposed to know?” Joseph made a sound something like a small cough and said, “Be gentle and slow. There is no hurry because you are going to have her for the rest of your life. If it were me, I would take a shower and get cleaned up so there wasn’t any BO; do you know what I mean?” He told him a few other detailed things, which could make their marriage consummation more intimate.


It was chilly and dark when the men walked from the car to the kitchen door of the house. The lights were dimed on the inside and neither lady had opened the door to greet them. It was puzzling but Joseph opened the door and walked in ahead of Bengi. The odor of a nice meal in the oven was apparent but still no ladies to greet them. Joseph turned on the main overhead light so they could see. The table was set but still no ladies to greet them.

There was a note on the table that read “Emergency – my mom was shot and is in the hospital. Please eat and then come to the hospital in Spokane”

The oven was off but the food was warm. Joseph said, “I wasn’t paying much attention but I thought your truck was coming my way about fifteen miles back. They must have passed us on their way to the hospital.” Joseph told Bengi to make a couple of sandwiches out of the meat and put the rest of the food in the refrigerator. They were back on the road five minutes later.

At the hospital they asked for directions. It wasn’t long until they found Eveitta and Mary Ann. Eveitta’s mom was pretty badly beat-up but there was not a bullet wound like the note had indicated. The guy she had run off with years ago had been drunk and slapped her a few times and then drove off and wrecked his car a couple miles down the road. He was in jail for drunk driving and leaving the scene of an accident. Eveitta’s mom only had minimum health insurance and would be leaving the hospital as soon as she could physically walk out the door. Eveitta said to them as they arrived, “I’m so sorry you have to be a part of this mess. My mom is so different than when I was growing up.” Bengi replied, “I would like to meet her, can I?”

When Bengi walked into the room he could see that there was a bruise with a knot just above her eye. Her eyes and nose were red from crying but she still had a natural beauty despite being close to middle aged. Bengi nodded and then talked to her. He commented, “I’m going to be married to your daughter soon, did you know that?” She replied that she didn’t and that she had not spoken to Eveitta for a few years. She said, “We are estranged and don’t speak. She doesn’t approve of the way I live my life. She told me that women who shack-up with ungodly men need Jesus. I know I need Jesus, she don’t have to tell me but I also need a man to help me survive in this world. I wasn’t able to support myself after Jesse died.” She rambled on for a while and Bengi listened.

Joseph, Mary Ann, and Eveitta stood outside the room and heard everything she said. After Eveitta’s mom quieted down Bengi told her that if she would like to come to their wedding that he would arrange for whatever was needed. He told her that he would like to become friends and she started crying. Tears were streaming down her face and she couldn’t speak. Bengi told her that she had done an excellent job in bringing up her daughter. “She is a lady in every way but she also has enough tom-boy in her to be the ideal mate. I can tell she has your features and has the same natural beauty.” She was really crying hard by now.

After a couple of minutes she settled down and took a deep breath, then called for Eveitta. “Honey, I know you are out there in the hall. You don’t want to talk to me, which I understand but just so you know; I do love you.  I just lost it when Jess died. I was a sorry mess and still am, for that matter. If I knew how to get out of this mud hole I’m in, I would. Can you help me?”

Eveitta was also softly crying and Joseph whispered, “Go talk to her honey. You can help her tonight. She is ready for whatever you have to offer.” They reconciled that evening at the hospital. It was mother and daughter hugging and telling each other they loved each other but daughter had made it plain that some changes were needed. Eveitta told her she would be back the next afternoon and have her discharged.

As the four of them walked out the hospital toward the vehicles Eveitta commented, “I’m not sure what I can do but I can’t let her go back to that man.” Mary Ann told her that the Lord would provide a way. She stopped walking and lifted up a verbal prayer to the Creator and told him what was on her heart. Joseph thought, “Mary Ann pretty much summed up what was needed in the prayer.” He planned to help with the financial needs until Jenny Martin could get a new place to live and be on her own, supporting herself. Joseph asked, “Is there anyone interested in a small ice cream before we start back to the farm?”


As breakfast dishes were being put in the dishwasher Eveitta told them she was going to pick up her mom and then find a place for her to stay. She said, “I don’t even know if she has a job, some cash, a credit card to use or what.” Bengi told her he was coming along and that he had one. She told him that he couldn’t spend his money on her. He interrupted and replied, “She’s going to be my mother-in-law real soon. Remember Eveitta, when I marry you I also marry your family to a degree. O.K.?” He looked at Joseph and asked, “Would it be o.k. if I took the big truck in case there are a few personal things to load.”

They were driving toward Spokane by ten a.m. and the first stop would be the hospital. Eveitta told him that she felt funny about helping her mom. “When she finally left after my dad had died it was on bad terms. We had some verbal arguments and I know she wasn’t acting like the mom I had bringing me up for those first seventeen years.” She told him that her mom had a new guy in less than six months after her dad had died. She was going to lose the house because she had not made a payment in those five months after her dad had died so she found someone to take care of her. He asked. “What about life insurance? Didn’t your dad have any?” She told Joseph that she didn’t know anything about records like that.

Jenny Martin was cleaned up the best she could; she was ready to leave when they arrived. She didn’t have a purse, a suitcase, or a clean change of clothes but she had a nice smile on her face when she saw them coming for her.

They stopped at CHECK OUT and Jenny told them they would have to check with her work about health insurance and told them “good bye”. She looked at Eveitta and commented, “I don’t have any insurance except Major Medical and what cash I have is back at Dave’s house in my purse.”

Eveitta told her they were going to find her an apartment, then go to that man’s house and get her personal things. Her mom told her that Dave was going to be mad and make some trouble. After we find the right apartment we will have the police escort us if you think it is necessary.

The second apartment had all appliances, washing machine and dryer and a single bedroom. She liked it and the payments would be affordable. Her job paid her twelve-fifty and hour which amounted to twenty-five thousand a year. The rent was six-hundred-fifty including water. The other utilities were hers to cover.

They drove by Dave’s house and his car was in front. Bengi turned at the next intersection and drove to the police station for some help. Dave was standing out front talking to a neighbor when they returned. Jenny had the policeman escort her to the front door and told him what all was hers. He motioned for Dave; then told him he had a citation allowing Jenny to get her possessions. He told him not to make any comments and things would proceed faster. Eveitta went in to help her mom. She had purchased a lot more, than could be put into the apartment, over these past ten years living with Dave.

The truck was loaded to capacity. Bengi asked, “Is this all of the personal things you want to take with you? How about old pictures or important papers you might have in storage?” She asked him to go back in and help her. There were two lock boxes about eighteen inches wide that were in the corners of the spare bedroom closet. Her treasures from years before were locked in them. Jess had a manila folder with “Important Papers” hand written and it was in one of the boxes, the family pictures were also in one of them.

He picked up the first one and told her it was pretty heavy and he would have to come back for the second one. Dave swore at him when he walked out to the truck. The police told him to keep quiet. Bengi walked back in and took the second one out. Jenny told the police that she had most of the important things but would like to come back once this truck load was unloaded and safe in her new apartment.

The police was still there when they came for the second time. This time she took her good dishes and other things that she knew would be gone if she ever asked to come back at another time.

This part of her life was over. As they left she exclaimed, “This was ten years that should have been spent in a better way. Dave was an o.k. guy but he had a temper when things didn’t go his way. He beat me at least a dozen times over the ten years but yesterday was the last.” She drove her own car away and followed Bengi toward the apartment.

As they helped Jenny unload the last of the articles Bengi commented, “Get a restraining order against Dave. He will stalk you and make your life horrible otherwise.” Eveitta told her to listen to what Bengi had said. Eveitta asked, “Do you need me to come back tomorrow and help you pick out some additional furniture?” She told her ’No’ but if they could go purchase a mattress before leaving town, it would help her through the night. An hour later Bengi and Eveitta were setting up a bed on a metal frame.

Jenny looked into her daughter’s eyes and told her that she didn’t deserve the help but that it was greatly appreciated.  “You have chosen a great guy. I can tell just by the few hours we have spent together. Don’t ever take the good ones for granted; that is one thing I have learned.”

It was just after six that evening when they arrived back at the farm. Both Joseph and Mary Ann were wondering how the day had gone but neither wanted to ask.


It was raining and the wind was blowing from the north causing the windows to sound like hail was falling. This was the first cold rain since summer and if the temperature dropped much more they would be having snow. Thanksgiving was just in a week and then not much longer until the wedding.

It was still early, just seven-thirty, and the phone was ringing. Joseph answered and the call was for Mary Ann. He asked who was calling, then told the person to hang on while he went for her. She was in her bedroom and it took a couple of minutes.

Mary Ann answered, “Hello, this is Mary Ann.” Alicia Garrison told her who she was and they talked a few minutes. Alicia asked, “Would it be possible for you to come to Dallas and speak at a women’s retreat the weekend of January seventh?” She would be needed for a Friday evening and a second message Saturday morning. Alicia told her that they could cover the cost for travel and a room but there wasn’t much in the budget to pay for her time. Mary Ann replied, “I couldn’t accept anything for my time, it would be a mission for the Lord. Besides I have a generous person who has agreed to sponsor me in this ministry. But before I commit there are a few schedules I must look at.” She told Alicia that she worked with the youth and played the piano at the church she now attended.

It was the first lazy morning for the four of them. Bengi was on-line checking the computer status in Seattle, Eveitta was writing out the last of her invitations, and Joseph had been reading in his brothers Bible. All that he had done so far was make the morning coffee in case the others wanted a cup.

After the call, Mary Ann started mixing the ingredients for some oatmeal cookies. The oven was preheated and it would just be minutes before the first batch went in. The good aroma soon was all through the house. It didn’t take long for the others to meet in the kitchen for a plate of warm cookies and Eveitta poured a glass of milk. They were yummy and Mary Ann was thanked. She told them about the phone call and asked them what they thought about the offer to speak in Dallas. They told her to do it.


Joseph had invited Pastor Joe and his daughter Tina for Thanksgiving well before any of the other members had thought about it. They also invited Eveitta’s mom to join them. It would be a full table where they could each be blessed by the others seated at the table. They planned to make a full day of it with some games and sharing in some music.

They were up at five-thirty putting the turkey in the oven; with the lunch set for one p.m. it should be just right. The two pies had been baked on Wednesday and the side dishes were coming along. If all went well they could have about an hour break to shower and then be ready when their guest arrived.

The meal was awesome and Eveitta and Mary Ann received such kind compliments it made them blush. None of them could eat the dessert, they were so full. It would be a snack for later in the day. They had prizes for the winners of the games that were played and that seemed to be a special treat, which was unexpected. The music was wonderful but to keep it lively Bengi provided some performances only a professional might have been able to do.

Joseph was happy indeed. He watched and took in all the joy that was being shared among the guest. He thought of Eveitta’s mom and what she might have been doing had not her daughter befriended her. Pastor Joe and his daughter were having more fun than they had in the past couple of years, just being around a nice family atmosphere.

It was going on six-fifty when Bengi and Mary Ann finished their last piece of music. Bengi exclaimed, “Is there anyone who could use a turkey sandwich! I’m getting a little hungry, how about you?” After the sandwich, they finally got to taste the pie of their choice. It was eight p.m. when the guest finally left after saying, “Thanks for the great time.” There was a tear running down the cheek of Jenny as she looked at her daughter and spoke, “It’s too bad that I wasn’t wise enough to make the past ten years fun like this. I’m so sorry I let you down.” Eveitta told her the past was the past and the future was what was important.

All four of them joined their efforts together to clean the house. Working together and sharing a remembrance from the day until everything was clean as a whistle. They crashed on the living room furniture and talked a few minutes until Eveitta asked, “Would you mind if I gave a little prayer to thank the Lord for this wonderful day?” As she spoke her heartfelt prayer, each of them would agree with the word she spoke and in turn would whisper out an AMEN, to let the Lord know they had agreed with her words.


Chapter 13

It was late Friday afternoon. This evening would be rehearsal time for tomorrow’s wedding and they were getting nervous. Each had something on their mind to think about and they each wanted to do their job perfectly.

Eveitta had asked Bengi if he minded that her mom be the one to escort her down the aisle since her dad could not do the honor. She said, “I haven’t asked her yet because I didn’t want her to freak-out but she plans to be here when we practice and that’s when I want to mention it. Would you support me if she accepts?” He told her it would be wonderful if she accepted.

There were a couple dozen people talking in little groups when the pastor walked to the pulpit area and asked if they were ready to get started with the rehearsal.

The wedding planner motioned for Eveitta and Mary Ann and told them a few things that she would have ready the next afternoon. She had an organist who would play the wedding song and the two additional pieces that Eveitta had asked for.

Pastor Joe asked, “I don’t think we discussed this but who is going to walk you up the aisle tomorrow?” She looked up at the pastor and calmly spoke, “My mom will have to fill in for my dad since he can’t be here.” There was total silence in the sanctuary for a couple seconds until everyone heard a moan and then a cry coming from her mom. “Come on mom, since daddy can’t do this I want you to be beside me.” Her mom walked toward her, now completely composed, and lipped a Thank you as she continued to approach. She moved to Eveitta’s left and extended her elbow toward her daughter.  As they walked slowly toward Pastor Joe, the others were amazed at how much mother and daughter looked alike.


Wedding day was here for Bengi and Eveitta. Both were a little nervous but ready to become husband and wife. Eveitta had spent the night with her mom so that she could follow in the tradition of not seeing her man until she marched up the aisle on her wedding day; only her mom would be at her side.

Her mom had answered many of her unasked questions on what to expect on her wedding night. Things that hadn’t crossed her mind with what to expect, for a happy marriage, would be important for her to know. She was glad they had been able to talk together.

At the farm Bengi, his aunt, and his uncle were having a quiet breakfast. They weren’t talking about the wedding since they had covered about all there was to talk about the previous evening. Finally Joseph asked his nephew, “What are your plans for tonight?” Bengi told him they were flying from Seattle to Niagara Falls on the two-thirty flight the next day but tonight they were just planning to come back to the farm and then leave in the morning. Joseph laughed and exclaimed, “Son! Tonight is your wedding night and I’m going to call for the best suite at the Hilton. You are staying there. Don’t even think about driving out here tonight.” He looked at Mary Ann and asked her if she would get something for Eveitta to sleep in before they left for the church.

Joseph said, “I put a little money in your bank account. I know you are a wise man and don’t make foolish decisions but while you are on your honeymoon, do what sounds fun.” He told Bengi to make it a remembrance and to take plenty of pictures.

Mary Ann excused herself to check on her dress. While she was gone Joseph told him there was seven-hundred-thousand dollars in the account. “Once you have a balance of one-million I’m going to double it. I have a few other things on my mind that I’m going to do as well.” Bengi looked at him and asked, “Why are you doing all of this for me, Uncle Joe?”

Joseph lowered his head and paused to get his composure before responding. With moisture around his eyes; then told Bengi that he had a humble heart and that someday there would be someone who would need a little break in life. He said, “You will help that someone and maybe that someone will help another someone. That is what I am hoping. This is just between you and me, is that o.k.?” Bengi told him it was wonderful. It sounds like a gift that never stops.


The wedding was set to start at two-thirty-one. An old ‘wise tale’ had once said the weddings that start on the upswing of the clock were long and filled with love.

Pastor Joe, Joseph, and Bengi walked to the short stage of the church where the pulpit normally stood. They turned and looked toward the rear of the church and moments later the music started to play.

Mary Ann looked at Eveitta and her mom and said, “That’s my queue to start up the aisle. I’ll see you in a few minutes.” She reached over and squeezed Eveitta’s hand; then she turned and started through the door and up the aisle. Every eye was on her as she slowly made her way toward the front. Pastor Joe watched as she was walking. “That is a beautiful lady,” he thought; “both external as well as internal.”

It was time for the bride to enter. The music was playing but Jenny was crying and trying to gain her composure. Eveitta said, “O.K. pops it’s time to walk me to the altar.” Her mom laughed and gained control and they entered the sanctuary of the church.


Bengi and Eveitta were the last to enter the reception area. A few of the bold ones would holler out, “Kiss – Kiss” and the crowd would join in and embarrass Eveitta. Bengi was all for it but she told him that she wanted to go from table to table and greet the guest. “I want to make sure they feel that we appreciate them being a part of our day.” He told her that she was a kind hearted sweet lady.

The last guest had left. Pastor Joe and the immediate family were there with the newlyweds. The gifts would be loaded into Joseph’s truck and taken to the farm. Jenny was going to follow the truck to the farm and then help unload everything into the room that Eveitta had been using. The newlyweds would both move into Bengi’s large bedroom when they returned from the honeymoon.


The wedding night… Eveitta didn’t want anyone to know about their special night together. She had heard about some Jewish traditions where the bride and her new husband had a room beside the festivities. The tradition was that they immediately went there and consummated the wedding vows with each other. “How embarrassing that would have been,” she thought.

Their night in the bridal suite was special to her and that is what counted. It would be her and Bengi remembrance for the remainder of their lives.


Chapter 14

As the plane proceeded down the runway, Bengi had a bad feeling. He looked around the plane and tried to figure what each of the passengers might be thinking. A few of them looked eerie to him and it made him wonder if any of them could be a hijacker. This was an altogether new feeling to him. Never in his life had he wondered like this before.

Once they were at altitude, one of the people who he had thought might cause the plane some harm went into the rest room. It was ten minutes later and the person had not come out. He looked to his right and Eveitta had her eyes closed and looked like she was going to be sound asleep soon, if not already. What Bengi did not know is that she was praying that the Lord would provide a safe passage for them as they traveled.

As he was thinking, a sound came from the bathroom. It was the bathroom he watched the fellow go into. A smell started to ooze out and a couple ladies near the door screamed pretty loud. The airline hostess hurried to her and there was loud talk. It wasn’t long and a man appeared and talked to the hostess. He tried to open the door but it was locked from inside. A few minutes later, one of the pilots joined their conversation. It seemed like several minutes later, but it was probably just moments, when he had a key in his hand and unlocked the door. Smoke came from the compartment as it was opened. The man inside looked dead! Then the pilot locked the door and hurried toward the cabin of the plane.

A couple hours later they landed in Chicago and the passengers were made to quickly exit the plane. Eveitta woke up and asked what had happened. Some federal agents boarded the plane and forty minutes later the passengers were allowed back on. The flight proceeded to Detroit, their intermediate destination, and where they would transfer planes.

Bengi didn’t mention a word of what he had seen earlier to his new wife. She would have been terrified and probably told him she couldn’t fly any longer.


Pastor Joe was picking up the phone from his study. He dialed the home of Joseph Shindler. Joseph was in the barn at the time and Mary Ann answered.

Pastor Joe asked, “How is it going out at the farm with Bengi and Eveitta gone for the week?” She told him that she would be cooking and helping Joseph manage until the newlyweds returned. He commented, “Would it interest you if I brought my daughter out to babysit Joseph for a little while and then you and I could go out for a quiet dinner; to get acquainted?” She was a little startled but it put a smile in her voice as she responded.

The next evening was scheduled for their first date and all she had to do is figure out what to wear and tell Joseph the news. “Oh Me.” she thought, “How complicated life could be.”

As they were finishing the evening meal Mary Ann was getting nervous about talking with Joseph but it had to be done. She told him about Pastor Joe calling and the dinner plan. Then she mentioned Tina and wondered if it would bother him if she hung-out while the pastor and her were gone. He told her it would be a pleasure to hang-out with the pastor’s daughter but it was getting a little chilly to ride horses and what would she suggest as far as activities. Mary Ann commented, “I think she was eyeing the ‘key board’ at the youth function but was too shy to ask if she could play it. Would it bother you if she practiced it a little?” It was settled, they would dine and then Tina could play as long as she wanted.

Mary Ann had on a nice dress that Joseph bought for her first speaking engagement. Pastor Joe and Tina could hardly believe that this lady they were staring at had been on the mission field for almost her entire life. Her mother must have trained her to be a real lady, was all the Pastor could think. Joseph looked at Tina and told her they had a special dinner planned as well. All of them walked toward the kitchen where the wonderful smell was coming.

The Pastor told them that they were going to a famous little café down the road a few miles that served a special batter for either chicken or fish. He said, “I’ve always wanted to try it but just never took the time.” He told them that people could eat all they wanted but they did not allow doggie bags to leave the premise. The pastor did not stick around and chat much after that; he and Mary Ann were soon on their way.

Joseph dished out a delicious meal that Mary Ann had prepared. It included a tender pork loin and the fixings. Joseph talked with Tina like she was a grown-up and she talked with him like she was a young lady, who was much older than the fourteen she would be in January. Joseph found out that she would have had a nine year old brother. Her mom and dad met in college and were married while he was in seminary and lastly, her dad had not dated since her mom and brother had died. “Tonight was the first time he had asked a lady to dine out,” she told Joseph. She continued, “She is a special lady that the Lord has blessed, at least that’s what dad told me.” He then replied, “Yes, she surely is.” He told her that he had a brother, Bengi’s dad, who had married a Christian lady. “He died in a car accident with his wife when Bengi was only ten.” He took a breath and then told her he had a son who would have been forty-one if he had lived, but sadly he was killed in the war overseas. They talked several more minutes; until they finished eating.

Tina helped clean the kitchen and as they finished Joseph asked, “I hear you are a musician and know how to play a keyboard. How about trying my keyboard out this evening, and see how it sounds to you?” She looked toward his face as her eyes got big and she told him that it would be great. He told her that there was music that Bengi and Mary Ann have been playing if she wanted to try some of theirs. “Yes sir,” she replied.

Joseph was seated on the couch and she was still playing when her dad and Mary Ann returned. She remarked, “I have had the coolest evening ever dad. Mr. Shindler has let me play this keyboard and he has patiently watched all evening.” Joseph told them it was a very pleasant evening and he would like to do it again sometime soon. He was hoping the young adults would take the hint and make additional plans to be together again soon.

Mary Ann’s heart fluttered when she heard those words. She would like to have the chance to talk some more with the pastor. “I would like that Joseph. This lady is a delight to be around and quite interesting to talk with.” Her heart fluttered once more when she heard those words.


It was a late evening as Bengi was checking into their Motel in Niagara Falls. Their room faced the falls and through the window there was a light mist falling with colored lights in the background; it caused them to look in awe at the wonderful view. He would have dinner brought to the room so they could watch the incredible view as they ate. He ordered the food and was told it would be forty minutes. It had been chilly outside as they arrived so the first thing he did was take a warm shower and then he put on some casual clothes for the evening. He started a warm bath for Eveitta so she could warm up prior to the food being delivered.

Tomorrow they were going to take the boat ride out close to the misting water as it came over the falls. From the shore it looked as if water sprayed everywhere.


Back in Washington, Charlie, who was Eveitta’s ex-boyfriend was on the run. He had escaped from prison and the authorities were in hot pursuit; in fact there was a team already in Spokane expecting he might go there. His original sentence had been armed robbery but now he also had murder to contend with.

He had planned to catch a ride from the truck that delivered frozen food to the prison galley. Everything was working for him until one of the guards stopped in the large refer where he was hiding. To make a long story short, Charlie had wrestled the gun away from the guard and had to shoot him to escape. He hid himself and rode out of the prison a free man. He was twenty-eight now and had spent the past four years dreaming about the day he would be set free. Now all he had to look forward to was an even worse sentence, if he was ever caught.

Charlie wanted to visit Spokane and get in touch with his old girlfriend but that would have to wait. He knew the authorities would be watching for him there. He was going to travel east and then north to the Dakota’s. He would slip across the border into Canada until the police were stumped and quit looking for him. He was thinking that after he was north of the border he would circle back west and live near Vancouver. Living in a larger city and growing a short beard and a mustache should help conceal his identity.


Word was out that Charlie Newkom had escaped prison and had murdered a guard. The authorities were on the lookout and would be interviewing locals in Spokane. He had worked in a few places and the businesses were being questioned about where and what he had done when he lived there.

A couple of the people had mentioned Eveitta as an ex-girlfriend.


Bengi and Eveitta had enjoyed their time away, being together all alone, but tomorrow would be their last day of honeymooning. They were both wore out and were turning in early so they would be refreshed for the flight back to Seattle the next morning. They were going to watch a little news and then turn the lights out.

Bengi’s cell phone rang and he looked before answering. He told Eveitta that it was Joseph calling. They talked a few minutes and then Joseph told him the latest news circulating around the city. From what he understood this fella, Charlie, was armed and dangerous. The prison officials had found some old letters from Eveitta in his cell and wanted to know what she knew. Bengi told him they would be back tomorrow evening and I’ll mention it to her just prior to getting back to the farm. He whispered, “I don’t want her to worry about it until we are safe and back home.”

Eveitta asked, “What was all of that you were whispering about?” He told her it was Joseph telling him that he had plenty of work lined up for him and not to wear myself out. “What does that mean?” she asked. She thought for a second and commented, “Bengi, he did not say that. What are you smiling about?” He winked at her and she threw her pillow at him and responded, “Funny Bengi.”


It was Friday evening just after six. Jenny Martin was being questioned about her daughter and Charlie Newkom. She could not tell the authorities anything since she had never heard of him and didn’t know anything about him. She had told them that her daughter had been estranged at that time and they hadn’t spoken. She asked if they had some photos just in case she spotted the man she would know who he was.

Several years earlier she had been a marksman with a pistol. She had a 357 hand gun locked away in one of the safes and she decided to find it. Both of the lock boxes were in her apartment closet hid under some other packages. If this guy came looking for trouble she wanted to be ready. It had been a long time since she had a good relationship with her daughter and no convict was going to harm her now.

It had been close to ten years since she had opened either of the heavy duty lock-boxes. After Jesse had died she just added a few items and had never looked through the contents again. It had been a sorrowful time then and she didn’t want to open up an old wound by looking through the contents. But now she had a reason to go through the contents. She had an old gun permit and also the papers showing ownership of the pistol.

She opened the first lock-box and looked through the contents of each envelope. The first one had savings bond written on the envelope. It was thick and she counted out thirty-five one-hundred dollar certificates. They had both Jesse and her names on them. She would have to find his death certificate and take them to the bank to cash and put into her checking account. She had long forgotten that these were supposed to be used for Eveitta’s college education, if she had gone after her high school graduation.

There were several pictures sorted into separate envelopes. These made her cry. On one of them it looked like Eveitta must have been fourteen or fifteen and they had a happy family. At the time Jesse was working at the phone company and was doing a little farming on their own property.

She finished the lock-box and the gun was not in this one. She put everything back in it except the saving bonds. The next box was heavy. She spotted the gun when she first opened it. It had a chrome metal barrel with a wooden handle. She checked to see if it was loaded; it was so she took the bullets out and looked it over. She planned to oil it and make sure it worked before getting a new permit to carry it.

She put it aside and continued to look through the papers. One was marked ‘IMPORTANT’ on the envelope. She looked at it; it was something from the phone company; where Jesse had been working when he died. It was a life insurance policy and looked like it had been worth one-hundred-thousand dollars. She read it again. She would wait until Eveitta returned from her honeymoon and have her look at it.

There was another envelope with stock written on it. There was a certificate that showed she had twelve-hundred shares of stock in the phone company. Whatever it meant, she would have to show this to Eveitta as well and maybe have a lawyer look at it.


Pastor Joe was reaching for the phone. He was about to make a call to Mary Ann Jackson and invite her to the district pastors annual meeting. Those who had wives always brought them for both the business and the fellowship. They would have several speakers and this year he was in-charge of special music. She was about as special as anyone he had ever met and knew the other Pastors would think the same.

Joseph answered the phone. They talked for awhile and he told the pastor he would get Mary Ann. She was at the kitchen table making a list of groceries that would be needed the next trip to town.

It was a three day conference and she agreed to provide the music for Pastor Joe. It was still two and a half weeks away and started on Wednesday at noon. The days always ran late; usually until seven on Wednesdays and Thursdays. On Fridays they finished up about two p.m. so that those who were from out of town could travel home. Most of the pastors lived within one-hundred-fifty miles and could be home prior to dark.

When she hung-up the phone she looked for Joseph. He was in his ‘study’ and he had his eyes closed as she looked into the room. It looked like he was praying so she did not disturb him. She went back to the kitchen and double checked the pantry. A few minutes later he was humming as he walked into the kitchen. He commented, “How is the pastor doing? He seems to be a very nice person.” She looked at him and told him that he had invited her to the annual pastor’s conference to provide the special music. She told him she wasn’t sure of what was expected; if it was sing or play music. He told her to practice for both and either way it would be wonderful.

They talked about the newlyweds and how it would be nice to have them back at the farm again. Joseph told her that he thought they should pull some kind of a prank to welcome them back. “What do you mean,” she said? He told her when he was first married that his wife’s brother had rigged the bed to fall apart when they first got in it. It was a little embarrassing with all the noise it made when we landed on the floor. She laughed and told him to leave it up to some jokesters to figure that one out. He asked, “Have you ever heard of a short sheet? What you do is take the sheet and fold it half way down; then bring the fold up and tuck it in at the top like it is normal. When they try to get in bed your feet only go half way down the bed and you can’t cover up. They have to remake the whole bed before they can get in it.” She told him she had never heard of either of the pranks.

Joseph looked at Mary Ann and commented, “Let’s go upstairs and have a little fun doing some decorating in their new room.” She replied, “Should we really do that?” He told her that he expected them home tomorrow, either late afternoon or early evening.

As they opened the door to Bengi’s old room Mary Ann exclaimed, “This is really a large room. I haven’t seen inside it before. It looks like a whole family could live in here.” Joseph told her he had it built so there could be a Master Bedroom both downstairs and also upstairs just in case something like this might happen. A few seconds later Joseph was pulling the bed spread down and checking the sheets. First thing was that the bed needed clean sheets just to start with; then Joseph showed her how to ‘short sheet’ the bed. Mary Ann started giggling and told him that she wished that she could see Eveitta’s face when she tried to stretch her legs.

They even put a sign in the bathroom that read ‘welcome home’. They found a pair of nylons and draped them over the shower head so it looked like they had just been washed.


The short flight from Seattle to Spokane had been bumpy. The plane they rode was only equipped with eighteen seats. The choppy ride had caused Eveitta to almost get sick; she was pale and totally wiped out as they headed for the farm.

Joseph and Mary Ann heard the distinct sound of the Dodge Hemi coming up the driveway. They started setting the table so the travelers could have a meal prior to turning in for the evening.

As Bengi turned the engine off he asked, “Are you feeling any better since you drank the soda?” She told him that the nausea was better now but she seemed to be weak. “I think I’m hungry or maybe pregnant.” Bengi responded, “Don’t say that, it might come true and I’m going to have a learning curve just being a husband let alone a father.” Joseph opened the door on Eveitta’s side and their conversation ceased.

It was a great meal and it was great to be back at the farm where they could relax. They talked for quite awhile. Eveitta was telling all the things they had done and saw. Joseph finally asked, “Bengi, what was your favorite part of the trip?” He looked down at the table and thought a couple seconds; he commented, “When I first moved out here I was unprepared to fall in love but it actually happened.” He looked back at Joseph and raised his index finger a little and then he exclaimed, “The truth, my favorite would have to be the intimate romance! I had no idea how awesome it would be!” Joseph snickered and Eveitta lowered her head as she softly giggled. Mary Ann was shell shocked with a startled look on her face. She started turning crimson and was totally speechless as she looked around the table at three smiling faces.

Bengi noticed her and told her that he was sorry if he had offended her but since it was a whole new experience he didn’t have anything to benchmark it with. He said, “Awesome is all I can use to describe it Aunt Mary.”

Bengi looked at Eveitta and said, “Are you about ready to turn in for the evening. It’s been a tiring day traveling and we both need some beauty rest.” Joseph told them he understood and tomorrow there was plenty of work on the farm. “I saved the hard stuff for you. I’ll help but I needed a strong man to help with planting several apple trees tomorrow when they are delivered.”

The newlyweds walked up the stairs and Bengi mumbled in her ear. She laughed and told him she had a headache.

Twenty minutes later Bengi opened the door a few inches and hollered downstairs, “Funny Uncle Joe, real funny!”


Chapter 15

Charlie Newkom had crossed the Canadian border illegally and was on his way west. He wanted to be in Vancouver the next day and find a job. He had some experience as a mechanic and he had worked at a lube joint changing oil. That is where he had met Eveitta for the first time. He changed the oil in her old clunker and had found her address in the glove compartment.

Now on the run from authorities, he had broken into a house the previous evening and stole clothes and a backpack. He also had taken a truck from a car lot after he had hotwired the starter to make his get-away. He ditched it prior to arriving at the border and then walked through the woods to make sure he was not seen at the border crossing. He was planning to take some of the back roads but he didn’t have a map to tell him where he was at; let alone how to get to Vancouver. At the moment he was going to try hitching a ride; then when it was close to dark, he would try to find another vehicle; then hotwire it. He was planning to drive west all night.

Charlie was in luck, at least for now. He was picked up by an old timer who was in no hurry from the way he drove. He had a whisky bottle beside him that was half empty and listening to his radio. It wasn’t in English so it must have been some French speaking station. Charlie just sat there looking out the front window. An hour later the truck pulled into a gas station and the old-timer filled the tank; they were on the road heading west again. The old fella’s eyes were getting droopy and a few minutes later he pulled off the road and stopped. He said something to Charlie and then he laid his head back and pulled his cap down over his eyes. A minute later his mouth drooped open and he was snoring.

This was Charlie’s chance. He punched the old guy in the jaw and then dragged him out the door and hid him behind a tree. He also robbed him; then determined the wad of cash was all Canadian, not knowing how much he had. Minutes later he was driving westward at a moderate rate of speed.

The sun was coming up from the east as he drove into the outskirts of Vancouver. First thing, he was going to stop at a half dozen places to see if he could get a job before ditching the old truck and renting a room for the day.


Jenny Martin was at work but when break time came she was going to call Eveitta and see how the honeymoon went. She would like to invite herself out to the farm but since she was mending the relationship she decided that might be to bold. She did want to talk with her about the Charlie fella and also what she had found in the lock-box.

It was finally nine-thirty and time for her break. She made the call and Eveitta answered. She had just loaded the washing machine with dirty clothes and was going to start lunch. They talked for a while about the honeymoon; then Jenny mentioned Charlie. This was the first Eveitta had heard that he had escaped from prison and it concerned her. Especially since he had wrote to her only a couple months prior to moving to the country with Bengi. Jenny mentioned her envelopes from the box and Eveitta told her she should show them to Joseph. He was a businessman and knew about those kinds of transactions, “I’ll mention it when they come in for lunch and when you are off work call me. I should know our evening plans by then.”

Eveitta looked out the window and the men were across the lane with a tractor. It looked like they were digging some type of hole in the ground and planting trees every twenty feet or so; it looked like a nice straight line. Mary Ann had started baking cookies earlier and was taking out the third batch and putting them on waxed paper.

At noon the men came through the kitchen door. They took their jackets and put them on the back of their chairs. Temperature was up to about sixty degrees now but had been about forty-five when they started planting the trees. They were both tired from the physical work. She had made a pan of soup with sandwiches for a side. They all ate together and then talked a little. Eveitta mentioned her mom and Joseph told her to invite her for dinner later that evening.


It was getting close to dark when the men finished working for the day. Eveitta’s mom had been there for about thirty minutes when the men walked in the kitchen door. Joseph told Eveitta they would clean up and then be ready to eat. He looked at the ladies and commented, “It smells good in here. I’m as hungry as a bear from all the work today. I hope you have a lot of whatever it is that we are eating this evening.” She smiled at him and told him that he would like it.

It was a good meal, just what the men needed. There was a large pan filled with beef stew, as the main course, and an apple pie to fill the last bit of room they had in their stomachs. The men were ready for a nap but Jenny needed some help with her papers. Joseph told Jenny that she should get a copy of each of them and then apply for the benefits through the phone company human resources department. He said, “Make a few phone calls to see exactly where you need to apply. If you have any trouble at all I use a lawyer at my bank for local issues; he could help you if there are any legal issues.”

“Mary Ann, I haven’t heard you play for awhile, would you mind?” She told Joseph that she would love too and started to walk toward the closet for the ‘keyboard’ but Bengi jumped up and told her he would bring it to her.

In less than half an hour; Joseph had his head back in the chair; his eyes were closed. Mary Ann noticed and asked Bengi if she should stop and he spun his finger in a circle to indicate, keep playing. After another half an hour Jenny indicated that she had to leave. Bengi walked her to the door and told her to come visit them at church on Sunday and then come to dinner. She looked up into his face and asked, “Would I be welcome at your church? You know over the past ten years I haven’t exactly been living a life that is pleasing to the Lord” He told her to try it. He remarked, “I was reading in the Gospel of Matthew where it said something like ‘Jesus came to earth and shed his blood so that ALL sinners could be reconciled’. Do you believe that?” Then he told her that everyone on earth was actually a sinner; that even once saved we all become saved sinners.

She looked up into his dark eyes and told him that she was glad that her daughter had found someone who would treat others with dignity rather than scorn. She put her head on his chest and squeezed him and said, “I love you Bengi. Please take care of my little girl. You are both special people.”


The next morning Joseph was up making coffee when Bengi came down. Joseph said, “Hey, looks like I was off dreaming for a while and missed the end of the concert. I was tired!” He told Bengi that he had twenty trees coming on Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays for the next two weeks but he had to be in Seattle the next day. “Can you get twenty of them in the ground each of those days? I was hoping to take a few days of vacation but I can’t take the time right now.” They talked some more and Joseph told him that he would call Ms. Hawkins to see if she knew someone who might need a few days of work to help get them in the ground before they had the first frost.

Joseph told him that when spring was near they would have a well dug so the trees could be watered a couple times a week. The trees they were planting were between six and seven feet tall and would take a few years before bearing much fruit. He said, “The peach trees may start bearing in a couple years but there will only be a small crop.”

“Let’s move the cattle into the west pasture this morning. I have a load of hay coming at two this afternoon and we need to stack most of it in the barn. I need to leave by five this afternoon so I can make the nine a.m. meeting tomorrow.” They talked a little more about the business and what needed to take place.


Charlie Newkom had landed a job working in a quick lube. The place was short two employees and they didn’t even ask him for an ID or fill out any questionnaire. The fellow left in-charge told him the boss would be back on Saturday and take care of the details. That was fine with him and he was hoping he could find a way to get an ID soon, which would show him as a resident. That would be his priority for the rest of the week.

He was at one of the larger taverns in the old part of town. It was half full already and in fifteen minutes they were going to have an open-mic for those who had scheduled a time to sing. He had a spot on the end of the bar and was still nursing his first beer. There were a few sassy lookin’ women sitting at a corner table and two more had just entered. One had a guitar and the other had a smaller case that no doubt held some kind of an instrument. “This might be an interesting evening after all,” he thought to himself.

At nine, the first singer walked to the stage. He wasn’t good but then he wasn’t as bad as some he had heard try to sing. He had a small following because there were two tables that were hootin’ and hollerin’ when he finished the third song. The next one was a tall blond. She told a joke and then tried to sing. She looked nervous and was a trifle off-key, even to him, as she sang the first song. The second one was much better and not nearly as loud and off-key.

Charlie looked around and couldn’t spot a table or anyone screaming for her and it made him a little curious. She finished her third song, which was actually good; left the stage walking over near the bar and asked for the manager. She was standing about three feet from him when the manager met with her. She had just moved to Vancouver and had started a job. She asked, “Can I sign up to come here weekly and get a little experience singing in front of people. This was my first try and I was a little nervous on that first song.” He told her that he wondered what was wrong with the first song; then he allowed her to mark some dates on his clip board. Charlie focused in and saw it was the next two Thursdays.

The singing stopped promptly at eleven and most of the crowd left. There were a couple guys in a booth who were snookered; they could hardly make it to the door. He watched them until the door closed and then he started walking for the EXIT. They weren’t more than twenty feet up the sidewalk when he stepped to the street. He decided to follow them and see what opportunity might open up for him.

The driver unlocked the door and started to get in. His buddy started to open the passenger door but slipped and fell. He banged his head on the concrete and couldn’t get up. As the driver came around the cab to assist his pal; Charlie punched him with a hard right to the jaw and knocked him silly. He put both of them in the bed of the single cab truck; then started the ole truck and drove off. “He needed some cash and a good ID so maybe he would be in luck and get both,” he thought as a snarling smile crossed his face.

He drove around for ten minutes until he found a deserted back road near his hotel. He opened the tail gate and pulled the sleeping driver near him. He found his billfold and took the cash and the driver’s license. He put the billfold back in his pocket. He did the same for the passenger. He had two ID’s and one of them was from Toronto, which he decided to use since the guy was only thirty-three. The other guy, the driver, was in his fifties and he would have a hard time explaining that one. Now what was he going to do to get rid of them. After riding around, he went by an incline with about a twelve foot drop. He put both of them inside the cab of the truck, released the brake, and pushed it over the side.

The newspaper had an article which read, ‘Two guys were driving drunk and drove off the road. They were in the hospital with injuries and all they could remember was going to the bar the previous evening. Everything else was a blur to them.’ Charlie chuckled to himself as he read the article while on a break at the quick lube.


The local police had found the deserted truck that Charlie had drove into Vancouver. It had been reported stole and they had checked for finger prints. They found them and then determined he was an escaped con from the United States. Within a few hours they had a mug shot of his face from the prison records. He was clean shaven and had short hair when the picture was taken. It wasn’t long until an APB was out and the police in the area knew that Charlie was in the vicinity.

A week later Charlie had on a clean pair of pants and shirt. He trimmed up his hair and groomed his beard and looked respectable as he sat at the end of the same bar nursing a beer. He saw the tall blond come in and she walked in his general direction. She asked the bartender if the manager was in and if he gave her the time slot she would be singing. He gave her the email and his number so she could check the schedule for the next week.

Charlie nodded at her and told her he had seen her perform the prior week. He told her she had done a good job, especially on the second and third songs. She smiled and thanked him. The bar stool was empty beside him and he asked if she would like to sit until she went on? She thanked him. He started talking and told her if she got tired of his questions to let him know. Her name was Lisa and had grown up fifty miles from Chicago. She worked in Marketing and had been transferred to one of the offices that had been acquired in a merger. She was the only one under forty in the office and didn’t fit in well with the older crowd who were into cocktails and big parties. Her job, as Director, didn’t require attending many meetings with them, but she could have if she wanted too. She would be in a hotel for two more weeks; that was when her apartment would be ready to move-in.

Ole Charlie was thinking to himself, “If I play it cool maybe I’ll have a nice place to stay instead of the dump I’m in.” They talked some more and then it was her turn to sing her three songs. When she finished she walked back and was going to talk. The seat was taken so Charlie offered his. She told him No and then said, “I have an early meeting with a client so I’ll just slip out when the next singer finishes.”

She was walking out and Charlie was a step behind. He asked, “Will you be here again next Thursday?” She told him she would but the following week she would be out of town on business. He asked if she was still at the hotel living and if so, would she like to have a cup of coffee before turning in. She told him her car was up the street and he could ride with her to the hotel. She knew her way and was there in fifteen minutes. The coffee shop had closed a little earlier; both were feeling weird trying to figure what to say next. Charlie commented, “Looks like we will have to take a rain check. Do you have a phone number I can call you on?” She gave it to him and he told her that he would give her a call sometime.

He decided to walk a couple blocks and then catch a cab. As he walked he determined that Lisa was probably a little out of his league. He thought, “What did he have to lose, someone like that was worth pursuing, especially if he got lucky; maybe even a free ride was in his future.” For a moment, just a short moment, he thought back about Eveitta and the cracker-box, little apartment she was living in. She was nice and a good looker but this blond was also a looker and had money. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to determine which he would go after.


Pastor Joe was in his study, with the door open, as he was finishing up on his sermon for the next week. He had been thinking of Mary Ann Jackson for the last fifteen minutes and wondering if there was a chance he might have something in common with her; at least enough that it might bloom into something; just a little special.

He had been a widow for over two years and though he loved his wife dearly, he would never see her again this side of heaven. She would probably want him to find a companion and fill the void left from her death. What he really wondered was what would his daughter, Tina, think if he were to pursue the friendship of Ms. Jackson?

He stood and walked out of his Study and walked toward Tina’s bedroom. She was at her desk working on math. It was a subject he could take or leave. Basic math, with algebra he liked o.k. but trig and anything higher were a waste to someone that worked in his career path. He always thought that as far as some of his studies were concerned; things that educators just happen to put in a certain curriculum, for students, were there so that students had to put hours of study that they would never use once out of school.

He watched her a moment and then cleared his throat and asked, “What do you think of Ms. Jackson. Is she helpful in your youth group?” Before he could ask anything else, Tina answered, “Dad, she is great. She knows the bible better than most people that I know. She and Eveitta are the best teachers that I have ever had.” She told him that everyone loved her.

He cleared his throat and told her he would like to ask her out again so he could get to know her better. Tina looked him in the face and said, “Do you like her a little dad? I like her if that’s what you want to know. Also, just so you also know, I think she would make a wonderful mom.” He walked toward his daughter and put his arms around her and told her she was much wiser than her years. “I would like to ask her out again but do you think we should invite all of them over for Sunday lunch again before I have a second date?” Tina told him she would call tomorrow and invite them. “What should we fix for lunch this Sunday?”

That night Pastor Joe was on his knees beside his bed talking with the Lord. He desired the Lords blessing and approval if he were to pursue Mary Ann Jackson any further. When he prayed it was as if the Lord was right there beside him.


Trees would be delivered today and Bengi was up early. When the delivery truck arrived he had it space the trees at about the distance he would need them planted; so it didn’t take so long moving them once the hole was dug. Ms. Hawkins would have help there on Friday but today he was on his own.


  Eveitta had left for town. She took classes three days a week as this would be her last semester. Her normal routine was to stay two hours after her last class and spend time at the Library on homework. Most of the time she didn’t have much to do evenings but tonight she had to pull information from the internet and make a report.

Mary Ann rode with her and was practicing music at the church with the director of music, or as some might say, the worship leader. He was older and many of the song selections came from the older song hymnals. These were the ones Mary Ann’s mother had taught her when she first started to play. They all seemed to have a message within the lyrics the writer had intended.

Pastor Joe was at the church along with the staff. They had a weekly meeting on the agenda, offerings to cover cost, and reviewed where they stood on the years short range plan. The music director came in late and as the door opened, the music that Mary Ann was playing came through the door. It made Pastor Joe think about the one who was playing it. He commented, “Ms. Jackson has a gift from the Lord, don’t you think?” He went on to tell the staff that many people possess talents but normally no more than a handful in each church use it for the Lords work.

She continued playing after she had practiced the ones that were scheduled for Sunday. Her fingers glided over the key board causing sweet sounds to be heard throughout the worship center. One of the doors was open at the rear of the auditorium; everyone who had their office door opened received a blessing as she continued with the music.

It was half past twelve when the Pastor walked into the sanctuary and asked her if she had time for a lunch break. She looked at her watch and exclaimed, “Oh me, I was so engrossed I didn’t check the time. I brought an apple with me so I will eat it.” Before she could get up, Pastor Joe asked, “Would you and your family join Tina and me for lunch after church on Sunday? She told him that she would have to check and then let him know. Her heart was jumping but she was trying to be calm.


Eveitta finally finished her studies and rushed out to Bengi’s truck. She had to get on the road so a meal could be prepared. “Oh No,” she said to herself just as she was about to leave the city limits, “I forgot to pick-up Aunt Mary.” She pulled to her right into a parking lot and made a ‘u’ turn, then drove back to the church.

Mary Ann was waiting just inside the door resting on a chair. She was reading a gospel tract and wasn’t aware Eveitta had stepped inside the door. Eveitta exclaimed, “I’m sorry that I am late but I spent more time on my studies than I had planned.” They hugged and then left.

Bengi was still working when his truck came up the lane. He looked at his watch and shrugged his shoulder. She was later than normal and he was hungry. He hadn’t taken time for lunch so he could get more trees planted. He only had one left to plant out of the twenty that were left for him; then he would head to the house and take a shower. He liked what he saw as he looked down the straight rows of the apple trees. Tomorrow he would pre-dig some holes and then on Friday put some more trees in the ground. He thought that in a few years it would be a fine orchard; maybe a little family business for all of them to take part in.

Later that evening the phone rang. It was Joseph just checking in. Bengi told him he had planted the trees and added a few other items to the conversation. Mary Ann asked if she could talk with Joseph. Bengi handed her the phone and she said, “Joseph, today when I was finished practicing at the church the pastor asked me if our family could join him and Tina for lunch on Sunday? I told him I should check with you before giving him an answer.” He told her he had to stay in Seattle because of a few problems that just came up, “In fact I’m going to need Bengi to be here early Sunday evening so we can make a game plan.” He told her to have fun but he would like a rain check later. He asked to talk with Bengi again.

There were two customers with complaints. One of the customer service administrators had mailed the wrong invoices and there were complaints from both customers. Joseph wanted all invoices automated through the systems and he wanted Bengi to make it happen. After he hung up he told the ladies he might have a challenge finishing the planting before Sunday but if not he had to make the trip to the city.


It was Thursday evening and Charlie Newkom had neatly trimmed his beard for what he hoped would be a nice evening with a beautiful blond. It took awhile to get the dirt from under his fingernails cleaned but he was ready. He was early and took the same bar stool he always did.

The place was getting full but there was no Lisa yet. Charlie could see the door and also the stage from where he was sitting. The first singer was underway when he finally spotted Lisa coming through the door. She had dressed a little nicer and had her hair up. She was wearing a brown leather skirt and a cream colored blouse. He hoped that she had gotten all prettied up for him but she was a woman; he had never figured one of them out yet. He had saved her a seat just in case she wanted to visit. She noticed and walked toward him. She said, “I don’t sing until the second hour tonight, do you mind if I hang out here with you.” He told her he had held the bar stool just in case, and she gave him a big smile.

He talked now and then but while singing was taking place on the small stage they were quiet and watched the performance. The talent was good tonight and the bar maids were busy waiting tables. As the one singer started singing there were some cat-calls and booing from one of the tables. The bouncer, who was big and mean looking took about five strides toward the table and grabbed the loud mouth by the shirt collar and drug him out the door. Most of the patrons were startled by the action and it took a little out of the crowd. When the song ended Lisa looked at Charlie and said, “Wish me luck. I think I’m going to need it tonight.”

Lisa was a little nervous and Charlie could sense it. The owner also sensed it so he walked to the stage and took the mic to make a comment. He told them that he didn’t want to keep anyone from having fun but causing a commotion and ruining the evening for those who were here to support and observe the talents of others was a priority. He turned toward Lisa and asked her a couple questions to help her settle herself. She told him thanks after a couple more minutes of him talking.

She had picked three good songs and the crowd could tell she had talent and a good range from the notes she pulled off. She got a standing ovation; it was the first of the evening and she smiled as she left the stage walking toward Charlie. They listened to the next singer and then she said, “Would you like to go for that cup of coffee now?” They left and she drove them to her apartment. She had moved in two days earlier and since it was furnished all she had to do was hang her clothes and fill the small pantry.

The coffee was hot and she pulled a creamer from the refrigerator. It was a good drink. They talked for awhile and Charlie was itching for a big whopping kiss from her. He said, “You are a beautiful lady. Is there a reason you aren’t married?” She told him that she had been married at twenty-one but it only lasted a week. He cheated on me and had another woman in our apartment when I came home early from work. “From that time on, I have had some friends but not a lover. People know what I expect and we stay friends, otherwise I dump them as friends.” Charlie looked at her and didn’t know how to respond. Finally he shook his head a little and told her he understood, “Being a friend is better than not getting to know you at all, at least for now.”

They had another cup and talked for awhile. Finally she told him she had to be up early for a client meeting and needed to get some rest. She walked him to the door and told him good-night. He shrugged his shoulders, looked toward her face, and said, “No kiss?” She told him No and closed the door as he left.

Charlie Newkom had not been one for getting brushed off like Lisa had just done but one mistake by him and he would be back in prison. He wanted a woman and if this blond he was pursuing didn’t work out maybe he would have to go back to his original plan; maybe he should head toward Spokane one weekend and bring Eveitta up to Vancouver. She was poor and didn’t have much as far as a career, at least, to make it on her own. One thing he needed was a vehicle before he could make the plan work. The job that he now worked, as a lube technician, only paid him enough money to have a small apartment and food, but nothing more.


Bengi was tired but he told Eveitta he was going to the Study and work on some software changes. He had a pretty good idea what was needed for Uncle Joe. He wanted to automate the Invoices going to the customer with specific data. Not every customer wanted exactly the same so it would take a well thought out program.

It was midnight before he knew it; his eyes were beginning to see double but he had made headway on the project. He clicked off the light and was barely able to walk the stairs. He was also physically tired and sore from the work out in the orchard.

It was after eight when he crawled out of bed the next morning. His body was still tired but he rolled out and was dressed in minutes. He put on old clothes and headed for the kitchen to eat a little before going out to the orchard. Mary Ann was in the laundry room and Eveitta was waiting for him. He kissed her parted lips and told her what he had to do. She told him she would be out in half an hour to help.

The power drill on the back of the tractor was working the way it was intended and holes for twenty more trees were dug before they quit for the day. Friday would be easier he told her. She told him Ms. Hawkins was sending help; did he have enough work to keep the person busy? He told her that two gates needed added to the fence line and it was more than they could get done.


Chapter 16

It had been an average winter for the central portion of Washington State with some snow here and there along with several days of cold winds. The month of May was just around the corner and everyone was looking forward to some warmer temperatures. Joseph was on the phone from Seattle talking to Bengi; he would be needed in Seattle for a week. Rick wasn’t back to work as of yet but was close to working a day or two a week. He had a set-back with his heart and had to have additional surgery. What had been a temporary job in Seattle was now several months for Joseph and he was looking forward to some time on his farm.

Bengi was thinking of the last few months, talk about some changes taking place in the family, there were more than any of them would have ever expected. For one, there were eight heifers carrying babies, about twice what was expected, as spring was around the corner.

Pastor Joe and Mary Ann were dating pretty steady and the rumor around church was that in mid-August they might have a ceremony of their own. The church board had determined they would give the pastor a housing allowance and use the parsonage for the full time youth pastor to live in. Tina was fourteen but would be fifteen prior to the start of high school in the fall and Pastor Joe wanted to be settled in a new home prior to the changes.

Mary Ann lived on the Shindler farm with the family who loved her and had brought her to America for, at the time, a short visit. She was the churches full time piano player and she continued to help in the youth department. She was totally in love with the pastor and if it was in the Will of God, she would be his wife soon.


Charlie had tried every way he could to win over Lisa but something went wrong. While she was getting results on a background check for a new employee; she saw the wanted posters, which showed pictures of several convicts believed to be in Canada. She recognized a younger face of Charlie and it caused her to feel betrayed by him. She thought about the image throughout the night; later she talked with the police chief. She helped set up the police sting on a Thursday night at the time she was to sing.


Jenny, Eveitta’s mom, was still working and had been promoted to a Customer Service Supervisor. The life insurance policy had been paid with an additional ten years of interest; with it she was going to purchase a small home most likely in the fall. She was attending church and had made several friends. Life was looking up for her and best of all; the relationship with her daughter was very good.


Savannah Jones, the college student, was back in Dallas. She was still making plans to visit Romania but it would be with her Aunt Alicia; then she would have the knowledge to make up her mind about becoming a full time missionary. She had two emotions and they seemed to be warring against each other. Time would tell what she would do.


Eveitta, the wife of Bengi, had graduated, at last, with her degree. She had set-up a small business that she worked out of her home. When she had an appointment, she rented a small conference room. She continued to manage the household of the Shindler farm and on occasions went to Seattle with her husband for business.


The apple trees across the lane weren’t large but they were in bloom and soon Eveitta would take the responsibility of watering and pruning them. She envisioned that one day her children would help her and it brought a smile to her face. She put the palm of her hand on her flat stomach and told herself that one day there would be a little one growing there. She wasn’t in a big hurry but there was a yearning to have that special child she could call her own.


Joseph Shindler was in Seattle at the moment. His friend and partner was on the mend from his last operation and although he loved the work, he wanted to be back on the farm the majority of the time with his family.


Rick had taken a few trips to visit his daughter. They were good visits and he could see she was gradually maturing. Life in a woman’s prison was not a load of laughs and she had learned many things about the majority of the other women who were now incarcerated. This was not the first time that most of them had been behind bars; it was for sure that she never wanted to come back again. Silvia had not taken a drug for eleven months and if it was up to her, it would never happen again.

Her dad sat across from her. This would be his last visit before she was released, which was just two weeks away. She thought to herself as she looked at Rick, “My dad looks older and doesn’t have the same energy that he had just a year ago.” He was talking about bringing her into his new business, possible having her trained to become the financial officer. He told her that she would have to become more dependable and learn how to become the leader of ‘Shipping Star’ one day. “How would you like to be the major owner and the person in charge of a growing company?” She told him it sounded like it would be awesome. He responded, “Honey, it’s not really fun all the time but there can be personal enjoyment in knowing you are making a difference in people’s lives and personally making a good living for yourself.” They talked business for an hour before he told her that he would be back in two weeks to pick her up and take her to his Seattle home.

Rick called Joseph from his wireless phone before he started his vehicle. They talked business for awhile and then he said, “We have talked about this before Joe; I want to bring Silvia into the company once she is out of prison. I think living with her mom the majority of the time was my fault. I should have been encouraging her as a dad. Do you know what I mean?” They talked some more and agreed to restructure finance and to bring it back into the company instead of contracting it to an independent group. Rick told him that he wanted to come back into work a day or two each week. It would be on Fridays so Joseph could leave by noon to have an extra weekend day. Joseph commented, “I have Bengi coming in this coming Sunday to work on your challenge. I was anticipating this and figured something financial would be needed in the system.”


Bengi Shindler loved what he was doing. What a difference one year could make in a person’s life. His uncle was an awesome person and had taken him into his home and provided him a family. He had an aunt who was very loving, beautiful, and a spiritual blessing to him. He had a job in Seattle and he was also a farmer on his uncles four-hundred-forty acres. The best was that he had a beautiful wife. He just couldn’t imagine any man on the planet having a wife more wonderful than he had. The Lord had been gracious to him. Maybe his uncle had been right when he had said that his brother, Bengi’s dad, had been most fortunate to have found that one true love.


Bengi worked into the wee hours on data base changes for a finance upgrade. He would have the major segments ready by Sunday but there were a couple hundred suppliers who needed to be added. He called his uncle and told him where he was at but he needed a couple weeks to finish the majority of the individual entries. Joseph replied, “Why don’t you plan to come to Seattle in a couple of weeks. Rick is bringing his daughter and plans to introduce her as the future CFO. We are bringing the work back into the company like I was thinking.” Joseph told Bengi her story and said, “I want you to meet her and help her set up a mini software package for tracking financials. I knew her ten years ago when Rick and her mom were married but she went to college and then lived with her mom for awhile. I think she made a left turn somewhere along the way.” Joseph told him that she went wayward and got into bad trouble doing the drugs and having the wrong kind of friends.

Bengi told him he knew a few like that from Brooklyn who had gone through the same experience. “Are you coming home next weekend? If so I’ll ride back with you for the week.” His uncle told him that he would be home and they would make some plans.


Rick Dowty had picked Silvia up just outside the gate when she was released; she spent the weekend in his Seattle home. They talked about her potential new job title, the wages, and the challenges along with headaches of planning the internal finance changes. He commented, “We aren’t planning to make these changes for at least three months, as far as daily operations. We presently have a binding contract, which is actually good. You and two additional administrators will be the staff that works the bugs out of the system that Joseph’s nephew, Bengi will provide. Reports will be based on our input for each customer, so think out of the box and be ready with all of the data prior to the time we actually want to go on-line.”He told her they would have to run some dummy invoices through their vendor programs mailed back to his company mailbox.

“One thing I don’t want is name dropping that you are the CEO’s daughter. I want you to work as a team and make a transition that makes ‘Shipping Star’ a leader in how we work through customer and financial solutions. You know the laws that need followed. Get a good book and refresh yourself honey. I want you to be a shining star and when I retire someday, you will move up the ladder. Joe and I are also considering, at least temporarily, a new position as President and that person will run the day-to-day business.”He told her that both him and Joe had over seventy years of business experience and would keep a finger on the business as co-chairmen but someone younger with more energy was needed to run the actual operations.


Bengi was in Seattle to finish his custom changes in the main computer, which would allow a financial package upgrade; a change to the present software. He had spent some time working on two different packages in the past. The last two weeks he had put some time into reading documentation on the pros and cons on a few others.

He was under dressed for the meeting, if comparing the other three. He wore some brown cords with a pull over polo shirt. The others had slacks and white shirts, even Silvia. His computer was hooked to the display on the wall and he had four short presentations he was going to show. They were financial packages with added bells’ and whistles’ for customer convenience. The other three persons in the meeting would narrow the list to two. He would then be added to the mix for feedback. He already knew which he preferred but this was what was best for Silvia as she set up her work group.

His presentation was superior! He had added links where MFR options could be accessed. He told them he had built two of them into the operating system while he had worked in New York and explained why one was superior. Rick and Joe made some comments but Silvia just listened. She had a little experience but she knew Joe’s nephew probably knew more about financial solutions than all of them as a whole. When they were about to wrap up the session she finally spoke, “Bengi, would you please tell me which package you would use and why? From what I’ve heard so far, you are a straight shooter and I think your input is valuable.” Bengi looked toward his uncle and then he replied to her. He told her the pluses and then compared the weak points of each of the other packages.

She asked, “What department are you over. I don’t think dad and I ever mentioned your name prior to today.” Bengi told her that all he did for the company was consult, “Actually I only consult on how the main frame computer works with the needs of the company.” Rick commented, “He is one of those genius kids, only he isn’t a geek like some companies have in the computer room. With his mind and a couple weeks of ojt, he could probably become that President we are looking for.” Joseph told them he would like it as well but Bengi would have to want it. Bengi shook his head ‘No’ and told them he loved coming in one week out of the month to perform his job function, but he loved his job as a farmer back near Spokane.

Bengi spent half days the rest of the week going through application upgrades she would need. He also showed her how to access the different screens through the terminal she had been provided. Friday morning the four of them got together once again and Silvia told them she had learned a lot. She told them over the next couple of months, once Bengi loaded the new software, she would get copies of all invoices being mailed by the outside contractor and compare them to her pseudo invoices; to make sure everything was processing correctly. She saw no need to hire the two support administrators for a month but she would work through job descriptions and other work related functions prior to going on-line live.


As they traveled toward Spokane Joseph was riding shotgun. He told Bengi that Rick had brought up the idea that within the year he wanted to locate the right person to take over the operations of the company. We would be owners and chief overseers of the company but only have to show up for the monthly board meetings.

He commented, “One day Rick and I will be in the grave and then Silvia and you will be co-owners; her with the majority. You will always get a minimum of twenty-five percent of the profit. That is the way our agreement was set-up. You will also get a salary while you work there.” He told Bengi that he would like to see him take on the title of Director of Information Management and then hire a knowledgeable Manager to run the three employees who performed the hands-on day-to-day job functions. You may have a few more responsibilities and spend a couple more days at it but mostly remote from the farm. “What do you think of that?” Bengi told him that he liked the idea of being a remote employee. He commented, “I can work with HR to have a technical recruiter line up a couple of candidates as manager. If it goes ok you can add me to the organization change along with Silva.” Joseph called Rick and discussed the plan. He told Rick he would be in to work on Tuesday; he had some personal things to attend to.

As they continued to drive Joseph commented, “I want to make sure your aunt and Pastor Joe get all the nice things added to the new home. They may have people over after church and who knows; maybe a baby will come along that is not expected.” He chuckled and told Bengi that was how she had described her entry into the world. He told Bengi he wanted him to spend Monday with him, as they talked to the General Contractor building the new house. Somehow there would be several anonymous Change Orders added to the Pastors Blue-print prior to the pouring of the new foundation and eventually its completion. He looked over at his nephew and commented, “I want you to help people who can make a difference in our community. There are poor people everywhere and if you gave most of them money, they would spend it unwisely and still end up poor. It is going to be your money someday so learn to spend wisely.” They talked all the way back to Spokane about a foundation he was going to put some money in and every year some of it needed to be shared with future difference makers in the community.


The summer days were getting shorter and fall would be coming to their area soon.


Bengi was getting ready to walk his aunt down the aisle. She was a beautiful Bride; the Pastor was getting a great woman to call his helpmate. They were a compliment to each other in many ways. Even their honeymoon could be called different. They were traveling to Romania to the places she had lived all her life. More than likely this would be her last trip over there and she wanted her old friends to meet the man she married.

The music started, Tina walked the aisle first, and then Eveitta was next. She was the bride’s maid and had helped prepare Aunt Mary, as they called her, for the wedding. In this case, it was the younger counseling the older on what to expect. Eveitta would also spend the dozen days at the new home with Tina while the newlyweds honeymooned in Romania.

Bengi looked into her eyes and said, “You are a beautiful bride. I am so glad that we were able to meet and get acquainted. I think of you more like a sister than my aunt. You are an awesome person to be around.” A tear floated down her cheek and she told him she loved him, “Let’s walk up the aisle now so I can marry my husband to be.” She walked slow and looked to her left and right to greet the many old church members who had come to witness the ceremony of their Pastor and his new bride.


The newlyweds had left. Bengi and Joseph, along with Tina and Eveitta had packed the gifts into the back of Joseph truck. Eveitta was spending the night with Tina. Bengi along with his uncle was driving back toward the farm. As they passed the city limits sign Joseph coughed hard, a couple times, and he whispered, “Take me to the hospital Bengi, my chest is hurting.” …………



What an awful ending?  What happened to Uncle Joe? It has been five years since the wedding of Mary Ann to Pastor Joe so let me give you an update on what I’ve observed. Below are a few things that has happened with or to some of the characters.


Savannah the young lady from college who studied the Romanian language and completed a four year tour, which ended just a few months ago. She is planning on taking a three month vacation with her family and then seeing where the future leads her.


Tina, Pastor Joe’s daughter is nineteen now. She finished her first year at junior college in Spokane but intends to start Bible College deep in the heart of Texas this coming fall.


Mary Ann, Bengi’s aunt and Pastor Joe’s new wife, has a two year old daughter and one on the way. She plays the piano for the worship services, and teaches a women’s bible study during each fall quarter. She is a spiritual giant in her husband’s church.


Jenny, Eveitta’s mom is single and happy. She sings in the choir at church and is still working. With the life insurance money she purchased a small home overlooking a valley and has both a flower and vegetable garden just a few feet from her back porch.


Charlie, He is serving a life sentence at the crossbar hotel. He made some unfortunate poor choices and is paying dearly. Not all bad people have to spend eternity suffering in Hell; remember one of the thieves beside the Lord on the cross did repent. Will Charlie consider that option?


Eveitta, Bengi’s wife of six years by now; still works only one day a week in Spokane helping those in need of her expertise. The remainder of her time she is the manager of the Shindler household. Just six months ago Bengi and she determined it was time to start a family but so far they haven’t connected.


Silvia, Rick’s daughter is now running the Shipping Star business. The second chance she received from her dad, did make a difference.


Lisa, The lady that Charlie tried to date in Canada worked two more years as Marketing Director and then packed her bags and moved to Nashville. She has not hit the big time but has sang backup for two of the many big names who have toured across the country.


Adriana,  The Romanian teacher; she continues to teaches the students in her hometown the subject of English. She travels to more than one school during the week. Salary for her skilled work pays less than one-thousand a month, therefore she lives in her parents’ home; her eternal home awaits her at some future time. Fortunately she has met her Christian friend Alicia on several occasions over the years; they travel together and glory in the goodness of their lord. She has on a couple of occasions visited the author of this book; a wonderful lady she is.


Yes, Joseph did have a heart attack but the swift action by Bengi was the difference. He pulled into the closest Fire Station and the crew was able to stabilize Joseph in just minutes. What could have been both a happy day and then a sad night was something they have talked about each year on Mary Ann and Pastor Joe’s anniversary.


Just like his friend, Rick, Joseph became inactive in the day-to-day business. He is just part owner and a lifetime Board member of the Shipping Company. He is presently helping with all the farm chores and his health is good.


Bengi Shindler has his plate full. He still goes to Seattle one week out of the month as Director of Information Management. Only twice over the past five years did he actually have to make an emergency run to the office in Seattle.


He is also a Deacon in the church. This just happened a year ago and he considers this as his ministry unto the Lord; it’s where he can help others. Quite often he has visited with widows of the church giving them a spiritual or physical helping hand.


He would consider himself a semi-fulltime farmer these days with the cattle and orchards taking up a good share of both him and Eveitta’s time. He is looking forward to that first son, so that one day they can work side by side like his Uncle Joe and him are doing.


The End




Characters of Interests



Bengamin (Bengi) Shindler                    1978  [29 as the story starts]

Joseph Shindler                                              1944  Uncle Joe

Eveitta Martin                                           1978  Jesse was her Dad who died when [18], Jenny=Mom

Bernard Shindler                                        1946  Bengi’s dad, Joseph’s brother

Marie (Jackson) Shindler                         1946  Bengi’s mom

John Jackson                                               1921  Marie & Mary Ann’s dad

Katherine (Kate) Shuster             1922  Marie’s & Mary Ann’s mom –  Missionary parent

Mary Ann Jackson                                                 1970  Missionary in Romania –  Bengi’s Aunt [37]

Adam (grandpa) Shindler                         1911  Joseph and Bernard’s dad

Ruth (grandma) Shindler                         1913  Joseph and Bernard’s mom

Rachael                                                         1947  Joseph’s wife who left him and died in NYC

Nathan Goldman                                        1943  Rachel’s brother – Brooklyn

Savannah Jones                                         1985  College student

Blake                                                            1988  Savannahs brother

Rex                                                                1960  Savannahs dad

Alicia Garrison                                            1968  Savannah’s Aunt

Adriana                                                        1972  Romanian school teacher

Charlie Newkom                                        1980  Ex-boyfriend of Eveitta; in jail

Lisa                                                               1975  Blond singer in Vancouver

Black Jack                                                    (a horse of Joseph’s)

Ramon                                                           (techie in Seattle)

Rick Dowty                                                   1947        (CEO in Seattle ‘Shipping Star’ a company)

Silvia Dowty                                              1977  Smart but a party girl for a while. [Rick’s daughter]

Pastor’ Joe Wener                                       1971  Preacher at Eveitta’s church in Spokane [36] Wife & son died 2 yrs earlier when he comes into the story.

Tina Wener                                                  1994  Daughter of the pastor [13]




Book titles by Dale Garriott



Aviator Wings: A Drew Kasey Chronicle *

Cool Mom.. 1a

Aviator Wings.. 1b

Navy Hero: A Drew Kasey Chronicle *

Pentagon Assignment: A Drew Kasey Chronicle – Draft

Family Warriors: A Drew Kasey Chronicle – Draft

Marine Friend: A Drew Kasey Chronicle – Draft

Last Mission: A Drew Kasey Chronicle – Draft

Undercover Sailor: A Drew Kasey Chronicle – Draft




Other Books

Virginia’s Conversion – Draft – 2009

Uncle Joe’s Gift – Draft – 2010

The Fiddler – Jesse Lee – Draft – 2013

Mr. Jack – Draft – 2015

Molly’s Story – Draft – 2017 [short story]

Book of Devotionals – Draft – 2018