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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

The Telling

By Beverly Lewis
June 6, 2010

“I grew up an Assemblies of God minister’s daughter in Lancaster County, Pa. — literally, on the second pew!” says New York Times best-selling author Beverly Lewis. “However, my keen interest in Plain culture comes from a close family connection to Old Order Mennonites.” Lewis’ books have brought the Amish community to life for readers across the country. The following is an excerpt from the final book in her latest trilogy, Seasons of Grace.

If the tables were turned, and I was the fancy young woman walking into a truck stop with my Amish friend this morning, I’d be choosing the table set back against the wall. Away from curious eyes. But Heather Nelson was the one deciding where we would sit. Wearing a loud pink short-sleeved blouse and pencil-thin blue jeans, she never once blinked an eye as she pulled out a chair and sat down … smack-dab in the midst of so many Englischers. Nearly all men, too.

Maybe she was oblivious to them — I can’t really say. After all, this was a familiar world to her. As for me, my neck was mighty warm as I lowered myself into my chair, painfully conscious of the stares. I could just imagine what they were thinking about the two of us — different as rosemary and sage.

I reached for the menu right quick and hid behind a long list of sandwiches, soups and milk shakes. But my appetite was diminishing all the while my uneasiness was increasing. I lowered the menu and peered over the top at Heather. She leaned her ivory cheek into her fisted hand, her bare elbows on the table as she looked over the options. “See anything good?” she asked, her pretty blue eyes twinkling.

My mind was hardly on food. The upcoming reunion with my mother weighed heavily on me. We had driven for more than four hours and had just crossed into Ohio. Only about an hour and a half till I see Mamma again. My heart pounded at the thought. “I’ll have something light to eat, if anything.”

“A sweet roll?”

“Uh, prob’ly not.” In a place like this, the sticky buns most likely came out of a box.

Heather glanced at her wristwatch. “Do you still want to arrive in Baltic by early afternoon?”

I nodded and turned to look out the window at the parking lot. I dreaded the thought of getting back in the car, nice as it was.

“Grace?” She was frowning now, and the waitress was hurrying toward us. “What if we just ordered something for the road?”

I agreed as the waitress looked sideways at me before jotting down my order, her blond hair all schtruwwlich about her round face. “You two . . . um, together?”

Heather nodded, eyeing my prayer cap. She ordered some coffee and a cinnamon roll, then stopped, shook her head, and quickly asked if there was any fresh fruit. “Strawberries … an apple or two?”

After the waitress scurried off, I noticed two men still staring at us, their sleeves rolled up to their muscular shoulders.

There were markings up and down their arms — a set of tiny baby footprints and a red rose with a black, thorny vine trailing clear down to one man’s elbow. I’d never seen anything like it, and now I, too, was staring — at them. Had Mamma encountered similar worldly sights during her recent travels?

Heather squeezed my arm, tilting her head. “You all right, Grace?”

“Frankly, I’m feelin’ all in.” I excused myself to the washroom to splash cold water on my face. I reached for the paper towels, which were not secured to the dispenser but stood on the ledge of the grimy sink. Quickly I tore off a piece and dried my face and hands, my fears rising. How will Mamma react to seeing me?

From The Telling by Beverly Lewis (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Bethany House Publishers, 2010). Excerpted with permission.

BEVERLY LEWIS is a graduate of Evangel College, now Evangel University, in Springfield, Mo.

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