· Episode 3 ·
Previously, in Episode 2 (Deputy Jennings and the Black Buggies), Jennings worried if the Old Order Amish were upset with him for his response to a 911 call.
Rosannah knew everyone, even the babies. She watched as the familiar buggies moved up the driveway and parked by the barn. Tractors stopped on the shoulder of the road as if they were prepared to participate in a farm auction. Like marching soldiers, a few teenage boys carried rakes and shovels over their shoulders. Women carted picnic boxes. Children of all sizes, momentarily at least, held each other’s hands upon seeing the big English man with a holster and gun.
Jennings phoned Sgt. Hunter. He described the actions he had taken in preparation for his written report. He had only asked Mrs. Yoder the standard questions required—nothing else. Then, Jennings told Hunter that Rosannah’s father, Jacob Borntrager, was nearby with his daughter.
Sgt. Hunter’s voice was loud and excited. He repeatedly declared that he’d never heard of anything like this happening, if in fact the Amish were gathering due to one deputy asking a few standard questions. There had to be more to it. What had Jennings done?
“I’m calling our captain,” said Hunter, “he likes to hear the bad news as soon as possible. Are you sure you didn’t say or do anything offensive to her?”
“Nothing, except ask her age, date of birth, weight, color of hair, and phone number. I’ve heard that some Amish have phones. I can’t believe that would cause an uprising. I mean, I didn’t ask to see her driver’s license or social security card. I didn’t ask her out on a date! By the way, she’s thirty years old with five children. I’m guessing she’s committed to her marriage and pretty busy with cooking, canning, cleaning, sewing, and doing laundry, although I’m sure she’d consider me a whale of a catch in her spare time.”
“Have you ever considered that your odd sense of humor may have caused this trouble in the first place?” asked Hunter. “I’ll be there in a minute. Don’t do anything stupid.”
Jennings’ stomach growled. He found a candy bar, ripped the wrapper open, and shoved the sweet into his cavernous mouth. He wasn’t happy. He felt like a scapegoat.
Yackel, the department’s K-9, whimpered. He was hungry too, and he needed to pee. But he also wanted out of the car so he could meet the woman.
Meanwhile, the farm was getting as crowded as an Old Order Amish family reunion.
Hunter told Jennings that they’d find out soon enough what was going on, but the captain wanted this incident to end as soon as possible. If the Amish gathering was about Rosannah Yoder reclaiming her garden’s dirt from the culvert, then the whole thing was a big, unfortunate misunderstanding. The 911 call would be no-cased, Jennings would apologize, and things would get back to normal.
The two deputies approached Rosannah and her father, Jacob Borntrager. Anna had relocated to the barn with the grandchildren where she welcomed and thanked her neighbors for their help.
“Mrs. Yoder,” said Deputy Jennings, “this is Sgt. John Hunter, my supervisor.”
“Hello,” replied Rosannah. “This is my father, Jacob Borntrager. My husband is returning from Prairie Grove. He should be here shortly.”
The uniformed deputies held out their hands and greeted Borntrager. Rosannah offered her hand, too, and the men shook it.
“After speaking with my sergeant,” said Jennings, “I’ve learned that there’s no need for me to make a report about the dirt being collected and returned to your garden. I made a mistake and I apologize.”
Rosannah and Jacob hesitated before responding. They needed an extra moment for the words to make sense, to be sure they understood the correct meaning in English—their second language.
“So you’re saying we can help Rosannah and Adam with the job of repairing the erosion?” asked Jacob.
“Yes, that’s correct,” said Sgt. Hunter. “The Sheriff’s Office wants you to know that we value you as good, responsible citizens. If we had more people like you, we’d have a lot less work to do.”
Without a word, Jacob gave a nearly imperceptible nod towards the house. Five teenage boys, relaxing on the front steps of the porch, stood in unison, grabbed their shovels and rakes, and headed to the ditch, ready to work.
“We do our best to mind our own business and not cause problems,” said Jacob. “We also appreciate your concern when we’re involved in car accidents and have large funerals. Those big trucks can create problems beyond blowing our hats off. One buggy accident is too many.”
“So, Deputy Jennings, I have a question,” stated Rosannah.
“Please, go ahead,” said Jennings.
“All the information I gave you earlier, that you requested, will that remain in your computer?”
“Well . . .” Jennings hesitated.
“It will be deleted,” said Hunter. “It’s what we call a ‘no-case.’ There’s nothing to investigate. It’s over.”
“Thank you,” replied Rosannah.
“Yes, thank you, added Jacob, as he nodded.
The incident was over.
Jennings handed out a personalized departmental business card to Mrs. Yoder and another one to her father, Mr. Borntrager. “If I can ever be of help to you, here’s my business card, just contact me,” he said, using his standard closing phrase as he prepared to return to service. A moment later he realized his error. He had just given his business phone number and email address to people without a phone or a computer! Well, they had his name in case they wanted to complain to the sheriff about his sense of humor or inappropriate cultural interaction.
Jacob invited both deputies to the barn to meet people and to sit down with them to share a community meal.
Jennings’ stomach growled.
Rosannah touched her cheek.
Jennings excused himself, “I need to take care of Yackel,” he said.
Two police radios squawked.
“422, 431, 10-48 at K96 and Orchard Rd. Ambulance responding.”
“Sorry, we’ve got to go to a nearby injury accident,” said Hunter, as he acknowledged the radio assignment with his walkie-talkie.
Rosannah was silent as her face turned a deathlike ashen gray.
To be continued.
Until next time, happy writing and reading!