. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . where ImagInatIon comes to play

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Histoires de la rivière aux rats//Stories From the Rat River

JACK JONES, part iii:

When l’abbé R-- got wind of Jack’s fall, he wasted no time getting to work on his Sunday sermon. He penned lengthy words about Christian duty, of the obligation a congregation has of letting no sheep go astray. And though l’abbé had never spoken to the man outside of the familiar confines of his church, he made it clear that any man Mr. Jones should approach for drink was to turn him away. Mon oncle sat in the third pew on the right, listening and quiet in thought. He didn’t shake the priest’s hand on his way out the front steps that day. Ma tante followed, not feeling particularly sociable herself on that particular Sunday morning.

When Jack Jones found his way to oncle Robert’s farm that following Thursday, asking if mon oncle might have some whiskey to spare, the abbé’s sermon rang loudly and unpleasantly in his ears. Angered by such simplistic words and unable to get himself to close the door on the friend who now stood on his porch, his trip to town that morning quite suddenly and vividly came back to him. Mon oncle recalled a delivery truck backing up to the rectory door, and indeed, he had seen the boxes of bottled wine. They would not be blessed yet...

And so it was that Jack took his first walk to the rectory that night. Although no one can confirm what happened next, the parishioners never again heard mention of Jack in the priest's sermons.

That Christmas, Mr. Jones sat with the children while oncle Robert and tante Anne-Marie attended midnight mass in Saint-Malo, Manitoba.

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