Chapter Five

By the time dessert—peach cobbler with a dip of ice cream—was being served to the non-diabetic residents, the brewing storm boiled over. Rain pounded the length of windows in the dining room. The wind driven sheets cut visibility to only a few feet beyond the windows. The lightening and thunder synchronized their dance with the drum roll style thunder metamorphosing into the crescendo of cymbals accompanied by a spectacular light show. Not everyone appreciated God’s wild display, including Ruth who decided she’d be safer in her apartment than sitting in front of 20 feet of glass. She pushed away from the table. As she did, both The Reverend and the Colonel rose. However, it was the Colonel who offered to push her back to her apartment. Ruth gestured for both of them to sit back down and declined the Colonel’s offer.

“I need the exercise. See you all in the morning.” She waved as she wheeled toward the door.

Agnes and Thelma Louise watched her departure wincing as she steered right into an attractive young woman carrying a case of some sort, who was followed by Mavis Purcell. Apparently there was no damage other than the victim of collision had to extract a portion of her skirt from Ruth’s wheelchair. Mercifully, she appeared good humored about the whole thing, though both Thelma Louise and Agnes noticed Mavis’s heightened concern. An exchange of glances told Agnes that Thelma Louise had no more idea who the victim was than she did. Agnes started to ask the two males at the table if they knew who she was when Mavis stepped to the microphone at the front of the room.

“Good Evening,” Mavis began and then repeated as the room continued to buzz with conversation, including Mr. Penchant who leaned toward his wife and without benefit of amplification overrode every existing conversation in the room with, “WHAT DID SHE SAY?” Mrs. Penchant blushed a shade of purple and shushed him with both hands. Light laughter rippled across the area, but a crash of thunder and lightening and the flickering of the lights in the room covered it well, not that Mr. Penchant would have heard it anyway. Mavis smiled at Mr. and Mrs. Penchant and continued.

“As I said, Good Evening,” She leaned a little closer to the microphone trying to improve her volume without adding distortion. “I want to introduce you to someone who has come to be with us just this afternoon.” She pulled the young woman closer to her widening her smile.

Agnes could tell a lot from a smile. Mavis’s smile though genuine showed a little tension at the corners. The pretty young woman with what now Agnes saw was a music case, however, smiled the genuine smile of a guileless child. Agnes turned to her table companions only to find Pauline’s head bobbing on her chest. No wonder she complained of not sleeping at night. Thelma Louise nodded to her, evidently she found the newcomer interesting as well.

The Colonel and the Reverend were still contemplating the storm and paying not a bit of attention to what Mavis was saying. Agnes leaned toward them and hissed under her breath, “Gentlemen, we have a guest.”

Mavis continued the introduction at the front of the room. “Amy will be living here at Heritage Village. She is an accomplished violinist and has a degree in music therapy. She will be working with our rehabilitation staff in the East Wing, but at her suggestion, to take our minds off the storm, she asked if she could entertain in the dining room tonight. Of course, we are delighted.” Agnes watched as Amy opened her violin case and brought the instrument into view. Something about her movements captivated her attention. What was it? Then she knew. Amy had vision problems.

Mavis stood to the side until Amy stood ready to play. Agnes tapped the arms of the two gentlemen. They turned as Mavis announced, “Ladies and Gentlemen, please make Amy Davidson welcome.” There was a smattering of applause led by Mavis who slipped away from view. The Reverend turned smiling and joined into the spirit of the lively theme from “Fiddler on the Roof” while the Colonel stopped mid turn, color draining from his face until he was as ashen as a dingy sheet.

“Colonel, are you ok?” Thelma Louise asked.

“Of course,” he muttered, eyeing the patio doors, “It’s just stuffy in here. I think I had better get a little fresh air.”

He rose, excused himself and walked steadfastly away from the entertainment, through the doors and into the storm.

“But it’s raining,” Thelma Louise stammered. Agnes and The Reverend turned to watch him go, shrugged and returned to the delightful young woman who moved from fiddle to violin from show tunes to classical to bluegrass with the ease of one born to play.