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When Adam had finished playing the last note, he returned to his seat beside Shirley and her family. His sister squeezed his hand, saying, "Mother would have been proud."

After the funeral service, the pastor and congregation went to the cemetery to bury Ruth Clark in the consecrated ground beside her husband.

Adam watched as the casket was gently lowered into the ground. The death of his mother had been a turning point in his life. God had been preparing him for a big change, and now he was ready.

Before dispersing, friends and acquaintances filed past Ruth's family to pay their condolences. Thomas Garner had flown in for the funeral, as did two of Ruth's cousins. Sandra stood faithfully by Mike's side, while Chad remained close to his parents. When the line progressed to the Overholt's, Vera, Jerome, and Charlie expressed their sympathies while Chuck remained silent.

"If there's anything we can do-- anything at all," said Vera, "please, let us know."

"Thank you," replied Thomas, his wife Shirley echoing his sentiments.

"We will remember your family in our prayers," consoled Vera.

As the line was about to move, Adam called after Charlie. Shirley gave him a disapproving look, but he didn't notice his sister.

"I need to talk to you, Charlie," said Adam. "It's important. Will you be home tonight?"

"Yes," replied Charlie. The strange urgency in his voice gave her an uneasy feeling. Was this about Constance? or prehaps something connected with his music? Charlie was about to ask what it was, when she noticed that everyone was staring at them.

The Overholts went to their car, and the procession line continued to move once more.

"What was all that about?" questioned Jerome.

"I don't know," was Charlie's reply. She looked back only to see Constance eying her suspiciously.

Constance did NOT like being kept from secrets that she felt she should have known. She feared the questions people were going to ask later, concerning Adam's sudden skill at the piano, and the strange importunate request to see a sixteen-year old about something "important." To her, Adam was suddenly full of secrets, and she did not like it! It was so unlike the man she was accustomed to.

But even more, Constance resented Charlie's closeness to her friend. The girl had somehow managed to wheedle herself into Adam's life. He was confiding in a teenager and not the woman he had been dating for the past nine years! This, she felt, was definite proof of Charlie's negative influence in Adam's behavior. It had been a growing concern with her for some time, but now it was coming to a head. She must speak to him later concerning Charlie.

That same day, Jerome dropped Chuck and Charlie off at the house while Vera accompanied him back to the nursing home to visit awhile with Arnold. Chuck sat down in his favorite chair and watched television. Charlie pulled off his dress shoes and undid his tie.

"Do you want some orange juice, Daddy?" she asked. Chuck continued to stare at the TV. "Daddy?" she repeated. Chuck looked up at his daughter and then back at the television set. "Okay," replied Charlie. "I'll be in the kitchen making dinner."

A little before dinner, Vera returned home. After the family had eaten, Charlie cleared away the dishes, and settled on the living room sofa to wait for Adam. With all the speculation of Adam's marriage to Constance, Charlie wondered if that was the important thing he had to tell her. And yet, the glaring look Constance had given her at the funeral suggested that it was something else. Surely, Constance wouldn't have looked so displeased if she was about to be married.

Vera put Chuck to bed, for the stress of the crowd at the funeral had exhausted him. Afterward, the grandmother returned to take back up her knitting. Charlie watched as the metallic knitting needles clicked away, forming rows of neat columns in their wake.

"Grandma McEntire knits also," mused Charlie, when Vera had caught her watching.

"Does she?" asked Vera, casually.

"Uh-huh," yawned Charlie.

"You've got school, tomorrow," reminded Vera.
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