Tour Date: March & April, 2017
Available in: Print & ebook, 256 Pages
Praise for Question of Devotion by Anita Kulina
Buy Question of Devotion by Anita Kulina
See the first part of this excerpt here: https://staceyschneller06.wordpress.com/
Father Sean Flaherty was as young as Father Clancy was old. He was handsome and pleasant and eager and, in Mrs. B’s opinion, a little too good to be true. She stepped carefully over the doorstep with Father following patiently behind her.
“It looks like it’s going to be a lovely day, Mrs. B, doesn’t it? And I hear we have fish fingers on the menu for lunch.”
What did he mean we? She didn’t like that royal we. It reminded her of nurses and hospitals and things she’d sooner not think about. In an attempt to be polite, she forced a little smile.
Mrs. B didn’t like Father Sean. He wore an earring. He did have a lovely Irish brogue, and he was always perfectly nice to her, but she had trouble getting past his earring, and the fact that he asked everyone to call him by his first name. She preferred her priests to be like Father Clancy. Father Clancy was an old-fashioned priest. Father Clancy had the good grace to be grumbly once in a while.
One of the men from the Senior Center walked over to Father Sean and started talking to him about money Father wanted to raise for an Irish organization. Father pulled him aside and Mrs. B made her way toward the coffee urn, stopping to set her purse on a chair at the card table on her way.
She shook some creamer into a blue mug, then filled it almost to the brim. Taking a spoon from a handful of mismatched silverware in a yellow mug, she gave the brew a little stir and carried it to the card table. From the corner of her eye, she could see Vic Mathews approaching.
Mrs. B hung her sweater on the back of her chair and sat down. She took the pinochle deck from the center of the table, snapped off the rubber band and began to shuffle the cards. Vic took a seat and then got up again and came back with a little tablet and a pencil just as Don Cermiani reached the table. Don wore a blue ball cap that said United Steelworkers on the front in white letters.
She nodded toward him. “Don.”
He sat down to Mrs. B’s right with his coffee, then blew on it and took a sip. Vic got up again and got a cup of coffee. Old Mike Rafferty pulled out the chair across from her.
She didn’t look up until she’d finished shuffling. She set the cards in front of Don. He cut them and set them in front of her again. She began to deal. Because of the way they were sitting, it looked like she would be partners with Mike. She was glad. Yesterday she had partnered with Vic and he bid too high without the meld. Mrs. B secretly thought she and Don were the best players, but Don always seemed to have better luck.
Brushing her white bangs away from her eyes, she sat back and fanned her cards. A decent hand. Not great, but good.
People were still filtering into the Senior Center, mostly women headed toward the crafts table in the back of the room. No sign of Myrtle. Not yet, anyhow.
When her cards were all in order, she sat back to study the faces of each of the three men at the table.
Mrs. B didn’t like any of these men. She didn’t dislike them either, though it was tough sometimes not to. Vic could be surly and you had to watch so he didn’t cheat, and Don was always double-checking her math when it was her turn to keep score. Don had been a laborer at the steel mill, and Mrs. B had been a bookkeeper. Which of them was likely to be better at math? And Don never took off that darn ball cap. Everyone knew he was bald. It wasn’t like it was a secret.
But there was no one else at the Senior Center who played cards seriously. The women at the next table were playing 500 Rum. Mrs. B taught her kids to play 500 when they were in kindergarten. If she wanted a challenging game of cards she had to put up with Don’s controlling attitude, Vic’s constant complaining and salty language, and Old Mike.
Actually, when she thought about it, Old Mike was alright. Everyone called him Old Mike because he had a son, Young Mike, who was probably 65 now. Old Mike didn’t talk much. He played cards well, so you knew he had a lot going on upstairs. Though he wasn’t the best player at the table, he was good. A challenge. And Old Mike never ticked her off.
They played one hand. Without any of them speaking, Mike picked up the cards, shuffled, and handed them to Vic to cut just as Myrtle walked through the Senior Center door. Mrs. B caught her friend’s eye and received a big smile and a wave. Mrs. B waved back as Myrtle headed toward a group of women at the crafts table. By the time Mrs. B picked up her cards, Myrtle was busily chattering away. She looked happy, almost giddy. What on earth was going on?
This excerpt continues on April 18th here: http://turningthepagesx.blogspot.ca/
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