"Oh, I forgot all about it. I'm not used to the times always changing yet. I guess I'm getting old. I'm sorry, son; I already have dinner on the stove. You go ahead and come back by here after you're done. Y'all can eat with us tonight and catch me up on the news. Besides," Frank said with a wink, "that'll give me an excuse to eat twice."
Jake chuckled and replied, "If the Misses knew of your plans, she'd send you with us and finish dinner herself."
"That's why we're not going to tell the Misses, Jake."
"Okay, okay; we'll be back in about two hours. See y'all then."
As Jake turned and walked off, Frank leaned outside and said, "Looks like a storm's coming tonight."
"Yeah, I think we might get some rain, but the storm's already here, Frank."
"I s'pose you're right."
Jake stopped for a moment and considered his next words as he had a dozen times over the past few weeks. He decided now was as good a time as any.
"Frank, I don't mean to offend you with what I'm trying to say. You've weathered some tough things in your life and I know that, but why don't you and Mrs. Thames move in with us for a while? We've plenty of room. Geram and I can put up some more fencing and move all the livestock closer in. Our house is much more defensible, and you know Kate just adores you both." Jake shrugged and looked down, "I guess what I'm mean to say is we're worried about you."
Frank struggled for a moment to maintain his composure, before speaking, "I'd like that, Jake. Let's talk about it more tonight."
Jake smiled and nodded, before turning and walking towards the Bronco.
Frank stepped out on the covered front porch and spoke once again. "Jake, thank you. You're more of a son than my own blood. I'm glad you're here."
Jake looked back one last time and said, "That's what we do, Frank; take care of our own. We'll see you in a couple hours."
Jake thought Reverend Lenton was in perfect form. His sermon had been on the dangers of idolatry. The reverend identified idolatry as a good thing that becomes the ultimate thing. Idolatry causes men to jump out of windows when stock markets crash. It causes decent people to kick a chair out from underneath them when they lose their job or home. The symptoms of idolatry were everywhere, and Jake reasoned they were likely the cause of much of the current suffering in the world.
After the service, the ladies prepared coffee while the men talked of community-wide defensives. It was Geram's first meeting, and the men were particularly interested in hearing the opinions of the young soldier. He reared back in his chair as he typically did before speaking his thoughts.
"We've several choke points that the community should consider reinforcing so that we can keep ourselves safer. We've got Miller's Creek that crosses the road to the north and then hooks down to the east. A few miles
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