M oe’s eyes popped open at the sound of loud thunder. Disoriented for a moment by the darkness, he looked at the clock on the mantel and was surprised to see that it was just half past three. His eyes moved to the window, and he watched the rain fall. He’d have to push off his visit with his niece and nephew with whom he shared the large property. He’d been looking forward to a nice, long chat, but would wait until the rain let up before walking over to the house on the front grounds.

He groaned as he stood, and rubbed his stiff neck. Sleeping on a rocking chair hadn’t been a good idea. After setting a kettle on the stovetop, he washed his hands and face, changed into a clean starched shirt, then looked in the mirror. Back at the Matthews’ residence there was no mirror in his room. When he noticed how white his beard and hair had become, he chuckled. Maybe it was better not to have a mirror. Seeing his reflection made him feel his age.

Thinking about the Matthews’ place made him think of Jacob. He hoped he’d be warm enough in the bunkhouse. It got pretty cold on stormy nights like this. Then he dismissed the thought. Mrs. Sommers was sure to look after Jacob’s needs.

The kettle whistled and Moe prepared a cup of tea. He sipped it slowly while the rain continued to pour outside.

Jacob ran to the bunkhouse and removed his wet jacket. He hung it near the heater, then warmed his hands. When he no longer felt chilled, he reached for the light to pull the cord. His hand instantly sprung back as though it had been burned. With the sun’s hasty vanishing behind the clouds, he had no idea if it was Shabbos yet. Not wanting to take a chance, he opted to leave the light on. Jacob didn’t know much about Shabbos, but Idy had instilled in him a sense of devotion for the sacred day, and she had taught him everything she knew about its laws and traditions.

He sat down on the bench near the heater and pulled off his boots and wet socks, glad that Mrs. Sommers had given him a dry pair. Jacob looked at the warm blankets on his bed, and on a whim slid beneath them. Within minutes he was asleep.

The sound of the door banging shut woke him several hours later.

“Oh!” Mrs. Sommers exclaimed. “I didn’t mean to wake you.”

Jacob stared at her groggily.

She shook out the umbrella she held, then closed it and set it against the doorpost. In her other hand was a tin bucket with a red-and-white checked cloth over the top.

“I brought you dinner.”  (Originally featured in Issue 654)