Sleep came easily that night, but I missed my Testament to read. Instead, I went over some of my favorite scriptures that I had memorized during the years, and drifted off to sleep as I was remembering them.
Awakened by a knock on my door, I had to familiarize myself with where I was. When I heard Katy's voice, I smiled.
"Mr. Zeb, it's time for breakfast; do you want to eat?"
I knew then where I was, and answered in the affirmative. Rolling out of bed, I stretched my arms and touched my toes a few times, then quickly dressed for the day in khaki pants and shirt, picked up my Yankee's cap, and headed for the washroom. Within a few minutes, I was headed down the stairway to the lower floor.
As I stepped into the dining room, I saw a couple of new faces. It was a middle aged woman, and an elderly gentleman. The woman looked up at me, then back down at her plate, not saying anything. The elderly gentleman gazed at me curiously, and said, "Hello, Sonny! I guess you're new here, eh?"
He arose from his seat and reached out his hand. "My name is Perkins - Sam Perkins - what's your handle?"
Shaking his hand, I replied, "Zebulon O'Hanlon, nice to meet you sir. You don't sound like you're from around here, if you don't mind my saying so."
"Yep, yore right at that! I'm from out Texas way, out here to look for someone that's gone missing."
Lifting my eyebrows in interest, I pulled out the empty chair next to him. I removed my cap and placed it on my knee, to be polite. The middle aged lady was seated across the table from me and I smiled across at her. She simply continued to look down at her plate. The Walsh family, except for Henrietta, were all seated as well. Henrietta stood ready to place the food on the table.
"Ma'am," I spoke up, "do you mind if I say Grace?"
"Of course not. I was just getting ready to say it myself, but I'll be glad for you to do so."
After I prayed, Mrs. Walsh began carrying in the food and her oldest daughter, Clara, got up to help her. Pretty soon, eggs, biscuits, bacon, jelly and butter were all on the table. We had coffee cups near our plates and Mrs. Walsh poured coffee for us. It was a wonderful meal.
Sam kept me in stitches with his stories of his life back in Texas. I wondered how many of them were actually true and how many were from his imagination. My curiosity, though, kept me thinking about the mysterious lady across from me. What was her story, anyway?
I glanced across the table in her direction and noted that she had a rather sour-looking disposition. I wondered why she was living at a boarding house and not in a home of her own. Her hair was a mousy brown, sprinkled with gray, styled like a grandmother's hair, and her clothing looked almost like it was from twenty years earlier. Wonder what she did with her days? Did she work somewhere?
(To be continued)