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Andrea and the preacher visit a lumber town:on line story
It's spring breakup in 1896, lumberjacks broke camp for the season. The river ice was breaking up, and the woods were muddy, slushy and wet from melting snow and ice. It was time for lumberjacks to go on a spree. Whiskey and beer will flow like water. Lumberjacks will fight just for the hell of it and sporting houses will be busy.
“You're going to a logging town to do what?” Jay asked Roald in astonishment.
“I said I was going to preach temperance.”
“In a logging town? They don't know the meaning of the word. When lumberjacks get time off they drink, fight and visit prostitutes. They won't want to listen to sermons. Why in the world would you want Andrea and Karolina to go to such a place?”
“I want help with the services. They have wonderful singing voices and can sing for the services.”
Andrea had come in the room and caught most of the conversation. “I'll go with you Roald but. Karolina will have to stay here and work. We can't both go at the same time and I can't be gone more than two or three days. Don't get any ideas that I'll sleep with you though.” Andrea knew that Roald used to have a reputation as a womanizer.
“All I want is your help. You made it clear before and I respect you for it. Jay, can you come along?”
“I'll see if someone will fill in for me at work. In a lumber town better make it clear that Andrea's there strictly for the religious service. Andrea, better wear some conservative clothes to make it clear that you are not available to the loggers.”
“Don't worry. I have fended off boys since I was a young girl. I don't think these lumberjacks are much different than the farm boys or preachers sons back in Sweden.”
The three of them arrived in the small town which consisted of the railroad depot, three saloons, a blacksmith, a central park, town hall, and three houses with a red light above the door. Residential houses were off the main road. “Where are you going to preach?” Andrea asked.
“I'm supposed to check in with the mayor when we get here.” Stepping down from the train Roald brushed the wrinkles from his black coat and put on his hat. He wore a clerical collar. Jay had dressed less formal. He wore work pants and a mackinaw as it was still fairly cold.. Andrea wore a tan hat that still let some of her blond heir show around the rim. She had chosen a dark tan coat with brown trim, but very few frills anda coat with roomy pockets because she didn't want to carry a large purse. Her boots were plain black.
A short heavy man wearing a light colored cloth coat and brown derby approached them. He introduced himself as the mayor and escorted them to his buggy. After letting Jay help her into the carriage, Andrea asked where the church was. “Well,” the man hesitated. “It's not exactly a church. In fact we have never really had a church here. The building is a school which was abandoned when the town built another school at the other end of town. “
Setting up church
Andrea frowned and pursed her lips. “Roald, are you going to rebuild the church everywhere you go?”
The mayor spoke up in defense of the building. “we had someone clean the floors and fix a few broken things like a window.. Please take a look before passing judgment.”
Andrea felt guilty for not being more patient and apologized. When they got to the school house they found a stone building with wood floors. She was glad to see there was a stove for heating. Being early spring they would need heat..
“What now,” Jay asked. “I don't think the lumberjacks will just come streaming to your church. We got to get out and persuade them. Not an easy sell.”
The day was a bit chilly but the sun shone bright on the town square.There was a bandstand there that looked like it hadn't been used for awhile. Jay knew some lumberjack songs which were not too vulgar and started to sing. Andrea joined in following his lead. A few loggers gathered around. After the end of a song, Roald Invited them all to come to the school building for his preaching..
“Hey preacher.” The call came from a tall lumberjack in a plaid shirt and laced boots.”We go hear your preaching if you can beat us in the games or a fight.”
Roald was always open to a challenge. “I'll take you on. What's your game?”
“How about starting with ax throwing?”
They went behind one of the saloons where there was a pile of small logs. The lumberjack picked up a double edged ax. Another logger put a log on a tree stump. The first lumberjack hefted the ax over his head and let it fly. It hit the log and knocked it off the the stump. A sigh came from the crowd, a quite a number of people had followed to see the outcome. It was Roalds turn and he also knocked the log off the stump. Jay decided to take a crack at it and also missed. “Can I try?” Andrea asked.
The lumberjack laughed good-naturedly. “Why not?'
“Will any ax do?”She asked.
When he nodded, Andrea picked up a hatchet laying nearby. She checked the edge and asked to have a grindstone to sharpen it. With a fresh edge on the blade she hefted the hatchet and threw it at the logs. The log split down the middle and the crowd looked in disbelief. “This farm girl had to have some fun when it was wood chopping time,” she said.
The lumberjack ,who said he was known as Big Ole, burst out laughing. “A girl beat us all. Come. We go to your church.”
At the church Andrea and Jay led them in singing hymns like “onward Christian soldiers.” and the men joined in with enthusiasm. When Roald gave his talk about temperance they listened politely. When he was done they applauded and Andrea and Jay sang another song..
As they all started leaving the building Big Ole said,”That was a nice sermon. Come on over to the Saloon reverend and I'll buy you and your friends a drink.”