Orchard Hill Residents - lock up your hearts! Pansy Parker and Misty Green are rivals in romance. Each believes she is the town's best matchmaker. Now, they're going to settle the question for once and for all. They're keeping track to see who can make the most matches in a year's time. No heart is safe in Orchard Hill - not even their own. School secretary Faith Fielding has been in love with her boss for years. She's waiting for him to move beyond his late wife's memory. But when he finally does ask someone out--and it's not her--Faith decides she's had enough and gives her notice. School principal Andrew Thomas can't imagine life or work without loyal and efficient Faith, and he doesn't understand why she's quitting. Faith's last day is the big end of school Memorial Day Picnic. By then, will Andrew figure out how to keep Faith, or will she be gone for good?
Pansy Parker paused in pushing her cart down the grocery store aisle. She scanned the produce section in front of her, taking in the range of customers. She needed a new “project” to work on.
Pansy and Misty Green, her nemesis in matchmaking, were keeping track of all the matches they made this year. The one with the most matches at the end of the year would be acknowledged by the other as the best matchmaker in town. Pansy didn’t intend to lose.
Of course no one knew about this except for herself and Misty. But that was enough. No one else needed to know. She couldn’t wait to see Misty’s face at the end of the year when they totaled everything up and Pansy came out the winner.
Now, who needed her services?
Another cart turned in and crashed into her while she stood there lost in thought.
She was startled to see a stranger—a man of about her age pushing the offending cart. Her heart skipped a beat.
“Excuse me,” he said, backing up. “I didn’t see you there.”
She smiled at him, noting his full head of gleaming silver hair. Not many men their age still had all their hair. Okay his hairline had receded a bit, but not much. “That’s quite all right. I was just sitting here wool-gathering. I’m Pansy Parker.”
The man returned her smile and extended his hand to her. “I’m Arthur Green. I’m in town visiting my daughter. I love her dearly, but she’s such a health nut. I’ve got to have some real food or I’m not going to last until I go back to Florida.”
“What a shame. Now I’ve always thought that a man needs the kind of food that sticks to his ribs. I’m making pot roast for myself and my son tonight.”
“Now that sounds heavenly.”
“Would you like to join us?”
“Oh, I wouldn’t want to intrude.”
“Not at all, we’d love to have you.”
“Well, in that case…”
It wasn’t until Pansy had given Arthur her address and told him to be there by six, that she realized his last name was Green. There was only one health food obsessed woman in town with that last name—Misty Green! She’d just invited her rival’s father to dinner.
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
—Hebrews 11:1 NIV
“Dad, you have to listen to me. You need to get out.”
“I get out,” Andrew Thomas protested, irritation lacing his voice. He didn’t want to spend this phone call with Robin talking about his social life—or lack of one.
“Sure you get out—to school board meetings and PTA pot lucks.”
“What’s wrong with PTA pot lucks? Besides, as principal of the elementary school, I really do have to attend.” He swore he could hear the nineteen-year-old’s eyes rolling.
“Dad, I really appreciate all the attention you gave me when I was growing up. I know being a single parent is tough. But now that I’ve moved out, don’t you think it’s time for you to find a new focus?”
Andrew frowned. “Like what? A hobby?”
“A date, Dad. Go on a date.” Robin sighed. “I know how much you loved Mom, but she’s been gone a long time. She wouldn’t want you to be alone.”
“So that’s what this is about? You don’t think the old man can take care of himself now that you’ve gone away to college.”
“I know you can take care of yourself,” Robin said, as if she were talking to a very slow child. Andrew’s annoyance meter went up a notch. “I just don’t want you to be alone. You deserve to get out, enjoy yourself a little.”
“I like my life the way it is.”
“Then, why don’t you find someone to share it with?”
Exasperation mingled with affection filled him. Robin was a great kid, the best daughter he could ask for. She was only acting like this because she loved him, he reminded himself.
“Okay, if I promise to ask someone out on a date, can we talk about something else?”
“Will you really do it?”
Andrew shrugged. “Sure.”
“I think we both know who you should ask.”
“Really? I don’t have any ideas.”
“Oh, come on, Dad.”
“I’ll give it some thought.”
He was grateful when Robin allowed him to steer the conversation to more normal topics then, such as her classes, her grades and her social life. When he finally hung up the phone, he had a smile on his face.
He was so proud of his daughter. She’d hinted that he’d given up things for her, but Andrew couldn’t imagine anything else he’d have rather done than spend all the time he had with her. Now she was grown, and he’d probably only see her on holidays and over the summer. A wave of loneliness did sweep over him then.
Maybe Robin was right. Maybe he should try to develop a bit of a social life. A date, though? Well, he’d promised. She’d reminded him of it before they had said good-bye.
Now who was he going to find that would go out on a date with him? His administrative assistant, Faith Fielding flickered into his mind. Faith was far more than just a secretary to him. She’d come to him, a widow with a young son, trying to rebuild her life after her husband’s unexpected death in a work related accident, and she’d been there for him when his own wife had died after a short illness. Over the years they had become close friends. She’d helped him out when he needed a woman’s perspective for Robin, and he’d helped her with her son, Kevin. She was, in fact, his best friend.
Yes, Andrew reflected, he should definitely talk to Faith. She’d know who he should ask.