The groceries unpacked and the Christmas surprises tucked away, Ina was now ready to get back to the usual business of keeping house and getting ready for Christmas – except that (panic time!) Bertha had just called to remind her that the circuit minister would arrive this afternoon for church tomorrow. How could she have forgotten?
The minister was a young man with a pretty wife and two very well-behaved little children. When he came to Gilbert, he always stayed with Ina and used her house as a base for his activities. Ina was grateful that Bertha had called to check on her readiness, but she didn’t let on that she had forgotten. Oh no—she covered very well. Fortunately the beds upstairs were ready and as always, they had plenty of food. No harm done.
The community always looked forward to the minister’s visit. While he stayed at Ina’s, he called on his parishioners and often the family had dinner in another home. But -- what with Christmas coming and the winter weather, they wouldn’t stay long this visit – just overnight.
So, Ina put away her writing materials while Jack hid the wrapping paper and boxes under the stairs. Then she began preparations for dinner – stewed chicken with plenty of vegetables. She would make rolls, and she drained a jar of cherries she had canned last summer in preparation for a pie.
Everything would work out just fine, she told herself. Yes, she could stand this just fine!
[Junius and Julian Dobson with their wives, Bertha and Ina, in the '30s.