Sammy had decided this was an exceedingly special occasion -- she had learned the word from Granny Simone, of course -- and had insisted on wearing her fanciest clothes. So what if the June morning threatened to be ninety in the shade, and humid enough to swim through the air? Her black velvet dress from last Christmas and her shocking pink Easter bonnet topped the outfit, with white lace leggings and her Mary Janes. The neon green net tutu Ginger from the prison ministry team had made for her last Halloween peeked out from underneath the black velvet skirts, puffing them out from her body.
Granny Simone would understand Sammy's reasoning, and she would be touched. And she would laugh.
Reason enough for Paul to let Sammy wear the outfit, though tongues would certainly wag. Not that he cared what anyone in Shiloh thought of him. He planned to leave Williams County and Lucasburg and get Sammy away from the gossips and the nasty stories and the speculations that still swirled around like the river at flood stage. His friend, Brock Pierson, had been as good as his word and found a job for Paul that more than filled his needs.
"Is Great-Granny going to Heaven today, Daddy?" Sammy whispered. "Can we stay here until the angels come?"
"I don't know. Let's see what Granny Simone says, okay?" Paul managed to say, despite the tightness in his throat. He opened the truck door and slid out, and then reached in, holding out his arms for Sammy. He was glad that she let him carry her. He needed to hold her when they were in Shiloh, to protect her, even if the threat of someone snatching his daughter away was only in his imagination.
"Oh, sweetie," Granny Simone wheezed just a few minutes later, her eyes disappearing in the nest of wrinkles of her face. She laughed silently at Sammy's question and request, her entire soft little bird-like body shaking. "I can hear the angels hovering over the house, waiting to take me away, but I don't think they'll let you see them. Angels are big and powerful and frightening, and they love you too much to scare you."
"I wouldn't be scared," Sammy proclaimed, shaking her head hard enough to dislodge her Easter bonnet.