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Judith Anne Lyden
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Anne Lynch is back in town and wants to sink the Dwenglesmyth ship. She and the old guard teachers are convinced the little cockroach principal demolished their parish school teaching careers. Something has to be done to stop his running/ruining the parish school and reverse the decision to fire all the over forty ladies – just because - who gave their teaching lives to their beloved parish. So in a moment of questionable bravado, Anne infiltrates the parish complex as chief cook and bottle washer and moves into the parish palace to smarm her way into the affections of the priests who live there - one pork chop at a time. Relying on a totally Catholic set of rules, the bad habits of some spurious parish perennials, and two terribly hungry priests, Anne and her ladies storm the church walls with a hilarious roller coaster ride of fun and frolic.
Moving into the rectory was a snap. I had a suitcase and a computer. Father Grimbald met me at the door looking surprised I hadn’t come with a moving van filled with female stuff.
“Is that it?”
“The cat arrives later.”
“I was only joking, Grim.”
“Well, it’s not funny. Fulbert has a dog I wish would get hit by a car.”
“I thought you liked dogs, Grim.”
“Not this one.”
As I followed him to the back of the house carrying my suitcase and my computer, I mused about the cat. “No cats” in any woman’s interpretation meant at least one. It would come to the door ill, wounded or suffering from some fated disease, and then in a tearful quandary I would grieve over it until relenting on the no cat rule seemed not only gracious but the pious thing to do. In the meantime, I would make friends with Fulbert’s dog by way of its natural sense of greed. Animals were easier than men but just.
The living arrangements were easy too. There were two guestrooms and a bath downstairs by the kitchen. I was offered either one. I was enchanted with Grim’s generous offer since neither one seemed large enough to hold both a bed and a desk comfortably. He, of course, didn’t see that, but then Grim didn’t see a lot of things and I was counting on that. I took over both and thanked him profusely as if it was his idea.
There was, however, the small catch of no desk. My mind wandered over the house, the parish complex, and the school in hopes I would discover a spare. What was the possibility, I thought, of confiscating a small desk from the school? Perhaps Yoyo might have an extra one in his office, or maybe it would just seem like an extra one to Ellen and the ladies when we moved his to my room on Saturday.
“What’s wrong? “ Grim was hovering.
“I’m just thinking about the furniture and if I should rearrange it.”
“Oh. Well, do what you want.” Were we playing red light, green light?
“I usually do.”
It was then that he gave me one of those cannon ball poses. I was sure because he flinched and squinted, and I thought he made a motion to take cover. Maybe I was wrong.
Upstairs, the men lived in regal suites complete with library, sitting rooms, bedrooms, private baths, and verandas. They said out of modesty that it was off limits when they were home, and I wondered how long that would last. They made their own beds, so housekeeping amounted to running the vacuum and dusting, cleaning the bathrooms and doing the laundry.
Downstairs, like the upstairs, was all very grand too for two men holding vows of poverty. The broad foyer opened onto the living room and dining room on one side, and the playroom on the other. A series of lush French doors greeted the visitor and would have made the house seem splendid and imposing except for the placement and style of the furniture that made it seem like a dump. The dining room seated twelve, and the kitchen had another table for six. All together, the house was large enough to ignore a lot.
“Is there a calendar, Grim, where I know who will be here and when?”
“No, but that’s probably a good idea.”
“I suppose you two want to eat in the dining room every evening.”
“So far, we’ve been eating in the kitchen.”
“Well, it’s up to you, Grim.”
He didn’t answer. Like any decision, it was tough to actually decide. He fiddled with his coins, and I focused in on his side pocket and said, but not slyly enough, “Why don’t you ask Yoyo?”
Grimbald glared at me with his “going to be mad” face.
“I meant for dinner, Father. He’s not married again, is he? He’d probably like an invitation to something besides…what ever it is the bachelors eat.”
“That’s a good idea. That will be three men for dinner. Fulbert arrives from the monastery about five, and we will be eating in the dining room. By the way, what is for dinner?”
“What do you want?”
“Broiled, fried, baked, how do you want them?”
“How about stuffed?”
Book Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
No. of Pages: 440
Paper Weight (lb): 18.2