I was brought to a solemn moment by the news. Even as a man of cloth, a ferryman from this world to the next, the awareness of someone's crossing over still snatches away one's breath in this mortal time of ours.
"Colonel. What happened? In battle?"
There was a reluctance in his eyes to answer, but I believe my calling assured him to ease his burden. "Reverend, he was a casualty of war, but not in the classic understanding. He was a casualty of power."
"I do not follow."
"He was murdered," the Colonel offered bluntly, "he was murdered by an unknown someone behind a pub in Glasgow."
"May God have mercy."
"Yes, indeed, Reverend, may God have mercy on Gordie and those who did him in. But please, let us these details to this private conversation. The record will read that he died in service to his God and country. Nothing more. We can at least give the lad such honor."
I wasn't sure of the wisdom or even the reasoning of such deception, but from the steely intensity in his visage, I sensed that there was far more to this matter than I should probably ever know."
In the midst of that silent consideration, Billy returned to check on our satisfaction with the tea. "All's well, gents?"
I returned but a nod and the Colonel a half-salute.
"Parson, would you mind escorting me to the McFee home? I feel a bit bold in making such a request of your time, but I would assure appreciate any comfort you might provide."
I gave a quick recollection of my schedule for the day and could see no problem. "It would be my privilege to be of such service."
With finished our tea over details of the war. I paid for my copy of Keats and the generous Colonel, our tea. And as we left, the pretty Miss Kathleen with her auburn tresses and emerald green eyes, entered the bookstore. And I thought for a moment that she gave me an extra share of becoming smile.
The doorbell tripped for her coming in and our going out. And the mist, I took note, was all but gone.
"You must be a harbinger of fair weather, Colonel. You've brought with you a most beautiful sky."
I would learn that those words were the stuff of some mighty powerful irony.