Linda Wood Rondeau

Snark & Sensibility

THE AMISH MENORAH AND OTHER STORIES
Friday, August 21, 2020 by PATRICK E. CRAIG

PLEASE WELCOME

PATRICK E. CRAIG

TO

FICTION FRIDAY

 

Hello everyone, I’m Patrick E. Craig and today I’d like to share about my latest story, currently published by Elk Lake Publishers in an anthology by the six men who write Amish Fiction. The book is titled The Amish Menorah and Other Stories. We feel like we are a unique voice since there are hundreds of ladies who write in the Amish genre. We put together this book to display the talent and perspective of some very dedicated male writers. The group includes Willard Carpenter, myself, Jerry Eicher, Thomas Nye, Murray Pura, and Amos Wyse. All of us have been writing Amish books for years and are multi-published authors.

ABOUT THE AMISH MENORAH

Let me tell you a little about my story, The Amish Menorah. Gerd Hirschberg is an Amish farmer in the village of Ixheim, Germany in 1936. His congregation is the last Amish community in Europe and Gerd has been designated to be the next elder. His family has been farming the same land for over two hundred years but Gerd is dis-satisfied with his life. His secret dream is to raise horses, but his father, who is now passed, considered that too worldly a profession, one that would take Gerd outside the boundaries of the Amish world. So Gerd continues in his mundane existence, getting ready to court the girl that has been chosen for him, and putting aside his dream… until he finds Emily hiding in his barn.

Emily is a Jewish girl whose father, a communist, has been arrested by the Nazis. Emily is trying to escape across the border to France. That the two should come together is interesting because Gerd believes that following the Ordnung, the verbal law of the Amish, gives him right standing with God, and Emily thinks the same about The Law of Moses, but neither of them know their Messiah. Emily has a wonderful handmade golden Hanukkah Menorah, the lampstand that the Jews use to celebrate the miracle of Hanukkah. She offers it to Gerd to help her, but Gerd refuses, opting instead to hide Emily until it is safe to take her to France. While they are waiting they fall in love. When Gerd asks the elders for permission to marry Emily, he is shunned. The girl he was to marry betrays him and he and Emily are sent to Dachau. On the way, A Jewish man named Joshua shares Isaiah 53 with them on the train and when Joshua gives his life to save them, they understand at last who Yeshua is. They escape to America and end up raising horses in Colorado. Here’s an excerpt from the story:

 

AN EXCERPT FROM THE AMISH MENORAH

Emily

It was dusk and Gerd was walking his fields as he always did when he needed to think something through. To the east, the twinkling lights of Ixheim sparkled like fireflies among the rills and swales that marked the sloping hills of the Saar valley. Below him spread the Amish farms of Ixheim. From his knoll he could see the lantern light coming on in the windows of the Oesch farm, and on the farm beyond, Hans Gingerich led his team of black Friesians toward his ancient barn.

Gerd chuckled.

Hans’ blacks are a good team but my Gunnar can out-pull both of them together, Ja!

His steps turned toward his own barn for his nightly check of all his animals. The old door creaked open at his push and he stepped into the dark mustiness of the rambling structure. His great-great-great-grandfather Hirschberg had built the barn when Gerd’s ancestors first came from Switzerland almost two hundred years before to settle in the Rheinland-Pfalz. Huge, hand-adzed beams held up the walls and the loft, and the many stalls and storage rooms stretched back into the darkness. He took the lantern from the shelf by the door, struck a match, and lit the wick. The soft light spread into the gloom and he could see his cows chewing their cuds in their pen. Back to the left, he saw Zwingli the goat’s horns peeking up over the boards of her stall and he heard the tiny bleats of the new kids as they nursed.

When he came to Gunnar’s stall, the great horse was standing still with his ears up. Instead of nuzzling up to Gerd, looking for the apple Gerd kept in his pocket he snorted and stamped.

“What is it, Gunnar?”

Gerd looked around then reached up to stroke the animal’s neck, but Gunnar pulled his head up and stared into the darkness at the back of the barn.

Then Gerd heard a small sound, like the rustle of mice in the corn bin. “Mice again, Gunnar, Ja? I thought my traps had rid us of those pests.” Gerd turned and walked to the corn bin. He waited and then jerked open the lid, hoping to catch the little störenfriede at work, but the bin was clear, full to the brim with last fall’s harvest and not one dropping to mark the presence of field mice.

Hmmmm, what was that noise?

Then Gerd heard it again, a movement in the hay, back in the dark.

Cat, maybe…

“Hansli? Hansli, are you hunting for dinner?” But no answering yowl came from his mother’s big tomcat.

He walked toward the back of the barn, lifting the lantern and looking in each stall. Nothing. He was about to turn back when he heard another sound, like the whimper of a small, trapped animal about to meet the hunter. Gerd walked around the last stall and lifted the lantern again. There—a movement in the hay mount, something dark, almost hidden by the pale straw. Gerd stepped forward, holding the lamp high.

“I see you in there, come out.”

There was a sigh of resignation and then the hay stirred and there was a face looking up at him. Long dark hair, with bits of straw stuck in it, large luminous green eyes, pale lips, a slender neck rising out of a dark sweater.

A girl!

The girl stood. She drew her shoulders back. Gerd could see she was trying not to be afraid. Her chin lifted, her eyes blazed up as though a fire had been lit behind them. Her thick black sweater clung to her trim form, rolling down over her hips and hiding the top of her black skirt, which reached down to the tops of her walking shoes. She was lovely.

“Come out of there.”

The girl stepped into the light, her movements graceful…

Like a dancer!

“Who are you? What are you doing in my barn?”

“I am Emily. I am hiding.”

“Emily who? And who are you hiding from?”

“Emily Weissbach. I am hiding from the Gestapo.”

“But why?”

“I am a Jew.”

Gerd stared at the girl for a long moment. Christian's words from the night before came back to him and he felt a strange rush of… fear? … premonition?

At last he spoke, almost to himself. “A Jew! But I am forbidden to associate with Jews.”

A wince passed over the girl’s face and then she shrugged. “I know you are. That is why I am hiding.”

“Where did you come from?

“Nuremberg. I am trying to get to France.”

“You cannot get out of Germany. The border is closed. You need a pass.”

“I was hoping to sneak across.”

“Impossible. The Germans have already strung barbed wire, and they started patrolling the border day and night. They do not want the French army to come in and throw them out of the Rhineland so they are extra vigilant. No one can get through.”

For the first time, the girl’s face lost its bravado, and she stared at Gerd with those enormous eyes, as though beseeching him for something. Then without a sound, she sunk back down in the straw and put her hands over her face. She was quiet for a moment then her muffled words came out from behind her hands, a whisper, a sob.

“What am I to do?”

ABOUT PATRICK E. CRAIG

Amazon Best-Selling author Patrick E. Craig, is a lifelong writer and musician who left a successful music career to become a pastor in 1986. In 2007, he retired to concentrate on writing and publishing fiction books. In 2011, Patrick signed a three-book deal with Harvest House Publishers to publish his Apple Creek Dreams series. His self-published books, The Amish Heiress, The Amish Princess, and The Mennonite Queen, as well as the reprinted Apple Creek Dreams, are now published by Patrick’s imprint, P&J Publishing. In 2017, Harlequin Publishing purchased The Amish Heiress for its Walmart Amish series and released it in April 2019.

Patrick and co-author Murray Pura have just released Far On The Ringing Plains, Book 1 in a nine-book series that will take in the whole sweep of men and women at war from WW II to the current Desert Campaigns. They have also collaborated on an anthology of realistic Amish stories written with the four other men who write Amish fiction: Willard Carpenter, Jerry Eicher, Thomas Nye, and Amos Wyse. The Amish Menorah and Other Stories was published by Elk Lake Publishing in May of 2020. Patrick has also recently released two books in his YA mystery series, The Adventures of Punkin and Boo, with Elk Lake Publishers. They are The Mystery of Ghost Dancer Ranch and The Lost Coast. Patrick and his wife Judy live in Idaho. They have two daughters and five grandchildren.

WHERE CAN READERS FIND PATRICK ONLINE?

www.patrickecraig.com  Webpage
https://www.facebook.com/PatrickECraig  Facebook

https://twitter.com/PatrickECraig  Twitter

WHERE CAN READERS PURCHASE PATRICK’S BOOKS?


https://tinyurl.com/y3j3bcqf
Amazon

Also on any of the other online stores.

 

 

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