Today, we are happy to share the next chapter in our online novel, Elizabeth: A Holy Land Pilgrimage by Cheryl Dickow.
Elizabeth: A Holy Land Pilgrimage was a true labor of love for author Cheryl Dickow whose own passions for the Holy Land and the Jewish roots of the Catholic faith are almost unquenchable. Elizabeth is the first work published by Bezalel Books which Cheryl established in late 2006; it centers on a woman whose life is at a crossroads and her realization that the only way to get back on track is to get to the roots of her faith—in the Holy Land—if it isn’t too late. Since the release of Elizabeth, Bezalel Books has published 40 additional titles that are perfect for the Catholic home, school or parish. Elizabeth is available in paperback or in Kindle format. Cheryl is also the author of the recent non-fiction book Our Jewish Roots: A Catholic Woman’s Guide to Fulfillment Today by Connecting with Her Past.
Trust in the Lord and do good that you may dwell in the land and live secure. Psalm 37:3
Luke was startled out of his daydream by the intercom. "Mr. Gantry, there is a call for you on line two. It’s Mr. McFarland regarding this afternoon’s meeting. Did you want to take the call?"
"Thanks Meghan. I’ll take it." Luke had been waiting for this call for three days. He had offered McFarland quite a deal on the computer equipment that McFarland’s company was interested in purchasing.
"Hell-o, John. How are you today?"
"Excellent, Luke. Thank-you. I was hoping you and I could go over some preliminary data before our meeting this afternoon. I would like to leave with a contract signed. I assume you have no objections?"
Chuckling, Luke responded, "As long as there are no major hurdles, I believe we will have a long and productive relationship. I look forward to helping you meet all your computer needs and know that you will be more than pleased with our commitment to quality and service."
"Well, I have to admit that is why it has taken me a few days to get back to you. I wanted to make some phone calls before I signed over our hard earned money." Both men felt a great sense of relief at having come to an agreement. They were now moving into Luke’s favorite part of being a business owner; becoming friends.
Luke’s business ethics were a direct result of his father’s teaching through example. Having arrived in the United States with only enough money to rent a small room, Luke’s dad had worked long and hard to save enough money to send for his bride and their children. Eventually Luke’s mother and older siblings moved to America to join Luke’s father. By then he had established himself as "an American" and had started a small business as a tailor. He made beautiful suits and dresses and coats. Of course, as a youngster, Luke never appreciated his father’s talent or the amount of time his dad gave to his work. Luke just took it for granted that everyone’s father worked as hard as his did and, to this day, was dumbfounded by lazy men.
Luke was the last of Norma and Arthur’s children. Luke was the baby of the family and, as such, was always very special, as babies of the family often are. Beth thought of Sammy and understood how the last child took a special place, representing the end of an era for the mother, so to speak. Luke was doted on more than any of the other Gantry children, a practice that never stopped. To this day Luke was clearly Norma’s favorite.
After Luke finished his conversation with John McFarland, he hung up and returned to his thinking of Liz. What he had always taken for granted, long hours and numerous business trips, Liz had started to regret. It was as if she wanted all the trappings that accompanied his success without any of the sacrifices. He long ago stopped trying to explain to her that she couldn’t have both. He felt like he was talking to a wall. Then, one day, her frustration with his work schedule stopped. At first he was delighted and felt that a real burden had been lifted off his shoulders. But it soon became apparent that her grumbling ceased because she was moving her life in a different direction. A direction that didn’t include him. All of a sudden her complaining didn’t seem all that bad and he began getting worried.
Whereas she used to limit her visits with her friends to the daytime, so as not to interfere with their family dinners, she was now getting together with her friends whenever it suited her. Luke hated to admit it, but she was becoming selfish and he didn’t know what to do. He knew when she proposed taking this trip to Israel that there was really no stopping her. Although he had felt like he had been punched in the gut, he kept his reactions to himself. He wasn’t sure what she was looking for from him but he was getting exhausted trying to figure it out. It was almost ironic, but he was looking forward to this reprieve from the emotional demands of their daily relationship.
No one in Luke’s family had been divorced and he was seriously wondering if he was going to be the first. He felt almost numb as he contemplated such an idea. And, he told himself, if that was going to be the case, he was glad his father wasn’t alive to see it.
Luke had to shake himself out of this depressing way to think and focus on putting the finishing touches on the contract. He was pleased that John had decided to pick up the warranty for the computer systems. Luke knew many businesses who made a great deal of money from warranties but his company wasn’t one of them. He used the funds collected from these sales to provide on-going maintenance that seemed to keep long-term problems at bay.
Luke smiled as he thought of his dad encouraging his customers to pay a few cents more for finishing tape along the seams and hems of a garment. That was the warranty work that his father had provided. The clothes lasted longer and customers returned again and again, knowing that they were getting more than their money’s worth when they had a suit or dress made by Arthur Gantry, tailor extraordinaire.
Copyright 2010 Cheryl Dickow
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