The school curriculum went very well through October and November. The students were picking up things really well. Peggy helped out Jonah with the arithmetic and with his English, also. He asked me a few questions in how to show his affection for Peggy, and I made a few suggestions, which I think he utilized.
To celebrate the progress the pupils were making, I organized a dance at the school house. All the students chipped in to decorate our humble one room school, and they all made sure their parents would come also.
I invited Mr. Throckmorton and asked him to invite Caleb, Joshua and the Widow Throckmorton. I even surreptitiously got an invitation to Daphne Jane Newcomer via a telegram to Captain Mosby. I asked him to present the invitation in private.
I even got Mr. Hentz, the livery stable owner to bring his two boys to play for us. I learned they were adept on the banjo, Jews harp and fiddle. We called it the Harvest Dance.
Guess what? Jonah asked Peggy to go with him and she consented.
Of course, we got a little hassle from the local Methodist Minister, Jake Chambers, who thought a dance was unbecoming of the town’s youth. But Mr. Throckmorton put an end to any comment quickly as one of the Elders of the church.
I believe Minister Chambers’ comments were due to my not picking his church to attend on a regular basis. It all began back in October. He visited me and requested that I attend his church service, which I reluctantly agreed to do. His sermon was a Wesleyan ranting on the sins of the flesh that harkened to the old hell fire and brimstone preaching back in my youth. Needless to say I attended other churches including the Church of the Brethren, the Episcopal, the Catholic and the Presbyterian Churches in the local area. I finally settled on the Presbyterian Church and the teachings of Calvin. The only reason was the minister, James Hardin, didn’t rant and rave, and he let us out before 12 noon on Sundays. I even got Hattie Gray and her two brothers to accompany me. Of course, Poppa Gray disdained to attend any religious service. If he was anything like my great grandfather in my Universe, he must have had some kind of run-in with the Clergy at one time or another.
Anyway, back to the dance.
The place was decorated with paper flowers and corn stalks; which were painted yellow, green and blue with water colors; gunny sacks full of leaves to signify wheat; and cutouts of cows from the paper I had used for a blackboard. The students did all the decorating during their lunch period, and I must admit, the room looked homey.
Two days before the dance, I heard through the local grapevine that Daphne had arrived to visit her cousin, the Widow Douglas in Sharpsburg, Maryland.
I was elated.