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"I'm Jeff Erickson," said Jeff, introducing himself. "I'm the police officer who pulled you over once because one of your taillights were out."

"I had it replaced right away," replied Adam, puzzled by Jeff's presence.

"I'm not here on police business," said Jeff, hesitating to glance around. He couldn't see Maggie anywhere. "My department is urging us to get to know the citizens better. It's part of Chief Niven's new community awareness policy." While that wasn't the direct reason Jeff was here, Chief Niven DID have a new community awareness policy.

"Well," said Adam, "I'm all for that." Adam put down his rake, and invited Jeff inside.

"Do you live here by yourself?" asked Jeff, as he accepted a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice from his host.

"All by myself," Adam replied, sitting down in a kitchen chair across from Jeff. "Do you have any family in Twin Yucca?"

"My Debbie," answered Jeff with the smile of a proud father, "is eight years old. She attends Galilee Christian School."

"Really? I have a nine year old nephew who attends the same school," said Adam.

"Small world," chuckled Jeff. "When we moved here two years ago, I quickly discovered that there weren't many Christian schools nearby. I was blessed to find one within driving distance."

"Mike, my oldest nephew, attended public school, but I'm thankful that Chad has had the opportunity to attend a Christian school. It's very important to 'train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it,'" quoted Adam.

"I agree wholeheartedly," replied Jeff, pleasantly surprised to hear someone applying Scripture to everyday life. It's one thing to claim you're a Christian, but it's another thing entirely to live as a Christian.

"So, how do you like our fair city?" asked Adam.

"It's small," commented Jeff, "but I can't complain. After my wife, Hayley, died of cancer, I became more aware of the fact that I was in a dangerous profession. We lived in Chicago and I didn't want Debbie to suddenly find herself parentless. Twin Yucca may be small, but I have a greater certainty that I'll survive to see my grandchildren!"

"Living in the desert does have it's advantages," pointed out Adam. "I can't imagine living anywhere else. The warm summer evenings are my favorite. I love to sit in my garden and watch the fading light on the horizon; to listen to the tune of the crickets as they serenade the evening. I even love the sound of the lawn sprinkler! I guess it's a sign that I've lived here too long, but nights like that make all the scorching temperatures worth it."

"You do love it here, don't you?"

"Except for music itself, I can think of no greater earthbound symphony," replied Adam, with a smile.

"I can," suggested Jeff. "When I was with my wife, there were more symphonies-- more silent raptures than ten thousand cricket-filled nights. I am reminded of the verse, 'the greatest of these is love.'"

"You know more than I on that topic," replied Adam. "I don't believe I've ever felt that way about a woman."

"You've never married, then?" asked Jeff.


"Until you've heard the inward symphony of love, everything else is 'sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.'"

"I'll never marry," commented Adam, pouring another glass of orange juice. "I figure if God hasn't shown me my soul-mate at my age, then it's not destined to be."

"You never know," smiled Jeff.

"Do you miss being married?" asked Adam. "Of course you miss your wife, but do you miss being married to someone?"

"I miss Hayley; I will always miss Hayley, but I have to admit that I do miss having someone to talk to on that level of intimacy. We were partners. We discussed everything with each other. I miss someone knowing me better than I do myself. I could come home from work in a bad mood, and without my having to say a word, Hayley would already be trying to cheer me."

"Would you ever consider remarrying?" asked Adam. "On second thought, don't answer that. I sound like my Mom: 'When are you getting married? How long are you going to deprive me of grandchildren?'"
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