Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Chapter 38

Saturday. November 28, 1964

"Why are we in a bookstore?" Sissy wanted to know.

"I thought I might get your mother a book."

"Dad, she's a librarian," said Sissy. "Get her something personal."

 "Good point," I said. "But if I'm going to get her something personal, I'm not going to do it in front of you."

Sissy giggled. "Well, maybe not that personal."

Maybe the kids knew more about what was going on than I did. I made a motion to leave, but Butch resisted. He was over by the nature-and-gardening section, thumbing through a book on trees and shrubs.

"Look, Dad. There are a couple of pages about yew trees. They are a pretty common shrub."

"So they are," I said. "If you want to find out about yew trees, ask your mother."

"What's the deal about yew trees?" Sissy wanted to know. 

Butch, ever the quick thinker. "It's for me to know, and yew-w-w to find out."

Sissy just looked puzzled. 

I laughed. "Let's get out of here."

We headed toward Penney's, where Butch and Sissy each  found something for their mother.

I took the kids back home for an early but light dinner, in consideration of taking the two to a soiree and a movie at the seminary. On the way, Butch and I took bets on who was going to sit on either side of Sissy, much to her embarrassment. After a gap in the conversation, I suggested to Sissy that she might use her powers for the good, by turning her favors to two of the shyer boys.

"Oh, Dad."

She was embarassed again, but I was proud that she did exactly as I suggested for the movie. The movie was Heaven Knows Mister Allison, but the two favored boys hardly noticed. 

We got home late, and the two kids retired to their rooms. That gave me time to talk to Sarah before I retired, at her invitation, to the couch. I told her about my talk with Diane Johnson and my hunch, better than a hunch I thought, that a relative or a close friend had used her to deliver the anonymous threat to Hank's mailbox. She thought my logic was good and pushed me to think about where the threat might lie. I had to think some, but it occurred to me that it might lie in Chicago, somehow related to the slander against Father Fox associated with the high school. 

"If so," Sarah said, "We're looking for someone who is related to Mrs. Johnson."

"Sounds good, but how do we figure that out
if she's not talking?"

"She's not talking
yet. She might down the road. Didn't you get the name of the Niles boys who were disciplined for bullying the supposedly homosexual boy."

"I didn't, but I know where I can get it."

"Look there for a relationship."

I had no idea how to do that, but it occurred to me that a librarian might. I told Sarah so, and she told me to get her the name of the parents involved in the mess at Notre Dame high school and Diane Johnson's maiden name. I told her I could do the former, probably not the latter. Not easily. 

"That makes it harder, not impossible."

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