Love and Hope in Lake Derry

Ralph Ames was uneasy.

No. No, perhaps that wasn’t quite strong enough a word to describe the sensation that the fattest woman in town’s bawling on his shoulder brought.

“Can ye go on, ma’am?” He requested of Pearl Ridgway, as politely as he could.

Pearl nodded weakly.

“Caleb loved me sumpin’ powerful,” squeaked the giant creature. “He even proved it las’ I talked to him.”

“How’s that?”

“He called me Friday night – said his ship had come in. Said he an’ my Junebug was goin’ inta business with the mayor and that dreamy Fred Coomer. Said he had somethin’ was gonna change this here town.”

Her eyes shone with a love and a hope so pure that Ralph was ashamed to look.

“He said he was gonna put me in one of them fancy fat farms. That I’d git better, and it’d be jes’ like before I got so big and ugly. An’ he’d divorce that lil’ Yankee thing he hitched up with.”

Ralph was at a loss for words. Could she be right? Could Caleb have loved this … thing?

And if so, what was his gift to her?

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