AN EXCERPT FROM THE LEAVING FIELDS BY GARY D. HENRY

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“A very happy man, Sam spent the next few months with Loryn and his happiness prevented him from noticing that the corn in his fields had stopped growing. It had been months since the planting, and the following day’s three-foot growth spurt, but now it seemed that the corn had stopped maturing. Two hundred acres of still six-foot cornstalks with no hint of corn on any of them haunted him. He walked the fields searching for just one ear of corn, but there were none. He checked the soil and found the morning dew supplied sufficient moisture, even though it had never rained once since he had come to the town. It appeared to be late fall, but the temperatures didn’t get any colder. The whole growing season for corn appeared to be out of whack with no reasons as to why. Loryn didn’t have any answers, and her only pressing concern was planning the wedding. She told Sam that she wanted to talk to Pastor John about presiding over their wedding. Pastor John Moses was the most influential man in the town. Even the mayor, Jed Bailey, bowed to his recommendations. She left the farm to go see the pastor, and left Sam wondering what he did wrong in growing his corn. He pulled a stalk from the ground and saw no problem with the way the roots grew. He wanted to go talk to Charley, thinking that maybe an experienced farmer could tell him what he did wrong. He started his car and it immediately died. He figured that the leaded gas he put in it had finally destroyed the engine. Loryn came back to tell Sam the good news that the pastor agreed to marry them. She found Sam under the hood of his car covered with oil and grease. She ran to him and wanted to hug him, but he was filthy, so she refrained. “Oh, sweetheart, what is wrong with your fancy car?” Sam, irritated that he couldn’t fix it, angrily declared, “I knew it would die sooner or later. Do you suppose Silas could fix it?” She had known Silas for many years but didn’t think that he could fix it, knowing what kind of problems he encountered with more simplistic cars. “You can ask him, but my car doesn’t have this many hoses and wires on it. I don’t think that he will know where, to begin with this, but he did tell me about a week ago that he had a Plymouth for sale. Do you want me to ask him if he still has it?” Sam, having seen the classic cars in town, was interested and asked her to ask Silas, given that she knew him better than he did. Loryn and Sam walked back to the house. He cleaned himself up while he listened to her excitedly talk about having the wedding in the same park where they had the celebration for Sam arriving in town. They decided that they wanted to marry the following spring when the flowers were blooming. She declared that the pastor wanted to meet Sam, so she planned a visit with him the following week. Loryn talked about the wedding to many of the women in town while Sam asked the other farmers for suggestions as to why his corn stopped growing. The farmers didn’t appear to understand what Sam rambled about because they all viewed his fields as having normal growth. He knew from his family farm in Virginia that something was amiss, but he didn’t tell them that they didn’t know what they were talking about. He just let it go and joined the ladies talking about the wedding.”

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