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Chapter Thirty-two
Adam's Big News

"Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted."
~ Matthew 5:4 ~

The day of Ruth Clark's funeral was pleasantly warm, as if the cooler spring months were struggling to have just one last day of bearable weather before the long hot summer began.

The funeral service at church was attended by many of the prominent citizens of Twin Yucca, for the Clarks had been fixtures of the small community for over fifty years.

Ruth and Matthew Clark had first settled in Twin Yucca along with many other families after World War II, in a population boom that had never been matched since. It was a peaceful community where one could raise a family without the influences of hectic city life. It was here that Adam and Shirley had been raised, and it was here that everyone assumed they would always stay.

"Adam's the last member of the family to bear the Clark name," Charlie overheard someone say as the church service was waiting to begin. She turned her head to see the mayor sitting in the pew behind her.

"Such a shame," added the mayor's wife. "Poor Ruth never lived to see Adam settle down. I wonder how much longer he's going to make poor Constance wait. It was Ruth's dying wish that they marry-- or so Mrs. Jacobs told me."

Vera, who had also overheard the mayor and his wife, leaned over and whispered into Charlie's ear:

"I wouldn't be surprised if Adam finally sets a date with Constance soon," she confirmed hopefully. "Wouldn't that be nice? To follow such sadness with a wedding?"

The very idea made Charlie inexpressibly sad. Wiping a stray tear from her cheek, she wondered why it disturbed her so much.

"I'll miss Ruth, too," comforted Vera, not comprehending the true cause of her granddaughter's sorrow.

The pastor began the ceremony with a tribute to Ruth and what she meant to the community.

"In this time of great sadness," continued the pastor, "we can take comfort in the Holy Scriptures, for in them we have hope. 'For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.' Oh blessed day, when we shall see our loved ones who have passed on before us into the Promised Land, and to stand before the Son of Man! Let us temper our sorrow with this sacred consolation."

The congregation agreed in unison, "Amen!"

"And now," announced the pastor, "I understand that Adam Clark would like to play a song for us in memory of his mother."

Adam rose up from the pew and solemnly walked over to the church piano at the front of the room. The congregation whispered in surprise, for this was the first they had ever heard of Adam's ability to play the piano. For a moment, he sat on the piano bench in silence. Then, placing his hands on the keys, he began to play a composition he had written several years ago. The church echoed with his touching and poignant music. The congregation, who had been expecting an unskillfully played favorite hymn of Ruth's, was in hushed amazement, for it was a technically demanding piece.

Charlie could see the bewilderment on everyone's faces and wondered if Adam had ever told Constance of his secret. Curious, she glanced to where Constance was sitting across the room. Adam's "intended" was in evident disbelief. Just then, she looked toward Charlie's direction.

Constance's intuition recognized the fact that Charlie was not surprised by Adam's ability at the piano. The woman was puzzled. Had Adam been practicing this piece just for the occasion, or was it part of a bigger secret?

continued on next page...
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