A Man for Honor

By: Emma Miller

CHAPTER ONE

Luke Weaver lifted the collar of his lined jean jacket to his neck, pulled down his still-wet black hat and made his way toward the exit of the convenience store and the raw December morning.

“That is you, isn’t it?” the college-aged boy behind the register called after Luke. He pointed to the TV screen mounted above the snacks section. “Look!” he proclaimed to several customers. “That guy’s the mystery cowboy they’re looking for! He’s the hero that rescued those people from the bus wreck in Pennsylvania last night!”

Luke kept walking. The last thing he wanted was to be recognized in his hometown of Dover, Delaware. When a tractor trailer had skidded on an icy highway the previous night, causing a multivehicle collision, he’d been in the midst of it. The bus he’d been riding had flipped on its side and slid down an embankment into a deep drainage pond. With icy water fast pouring in and people panicking, he hadn’t considered that his photo might end up being plastered all over the national news.

Luke had acted without thinking. He’d pulled the unconscious driver to safety and then broken a window to assist a mother and several small children out of the sinking bus. He’d gone back into the rapidly submerging vehicle twice to help other trapped passengers before state troopers and paramedics arrived. One of the officers had asked who he was, but not wanting to draw attention to himself, he’d refused to give his name. And that had only made things worse because the news media had made a big thing of it. Now everyone was hunting for the mystery cowboy, calling him a real-life superhero.

“Hey, mister! Are you the super cowboy?” a woman headed toward the doors to the convenience store asked as he stepped out. “You look just like him.”

Luke strode down Lepore Street. He was supposed to meet someone from the Seven Poplars Amish community at the bus stop, but he wasn’t hanging around. He’d find his own way to Sara Yoder’s home.

Beads of freezing sleet stung his face and hands, but he kept walking. Winters in Delaware weren’t as cold as those in Kansas, and he could dry off when he got to the matchmaker’s. He hoped someone had some spare clothes he could change into, because the trousers he was wearing were ripped and stained, and his duffle bag with spare clothes was still in the bus’s luggage compartment, probably resting at the bottom of that drainage pond.

Luke had just crossed the street and turned onto North State when he caught sight of a mule and buggy coming at a sharp pace. Guessing that that must be his ride, he waved the driver to a stop. To his surprise, the only occupant of the buggy was a plump, middle-aged Amish woman with dark curly hair, a nutmeg-colored complexion, and eyes as dark and shiny as ripe blackberries. “Sara?”

She nodded. “You must be Luke,” she said in Deitsch and then switched to English. “Jump in before we cause a traffic jam.”

He glanced up and down the street. Not a single vehicle was coming in either direction. He looked back at Sara as he swung up onto the bench seat. The interior of the buggy was plain black, neat and well maintained, pretty much what he’d expected of the woman he only knew from correspondence. “Dover hasn’t grown all that much in the time I’ve been gone,” he said.

“Atch. According to my neighbors, it has grown. They say the traffic has increased,” she replied. “I moved here from a rural area of Wisconsin a few years back, so Kent County still seems busy to me. You’re certain you want to trade the wide-open spaces of the Midwest for our little state?”

He nodded. “Ya, I do.”

“You said in your first letter that you grew up here.”

“I did, and I’ve always thought of Kent County as home,” he answered. “Kansas can be pretty dry. I miss the green and the rain.”

A line of cars slowed behind them, but Sara didn’t seem to notice. “Rain we have aplenty,” she said after a bit.

“And a strong church community.” He stretched out his long legs and rubbed absently at his aching shoulder. When the collision happened, he’d been thrown violently against the corner of the seat frame across the aisle. Nothing seemed broken, but he guessed he was going to have quite a bruise. “At least, that’s the way I remember it,” he finished.

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