Notes from my Knapsack – Granville Sentinel 9-12-13
A story on the way home (pt. 4)
(The fourth installment of an ongoing story)
Looking along the wide expanse below, Nelson liked the view from the restaurant's balcony. Scraps of lawn and green canopy edging into the streetscape below framed the main intersection to his right, and on the left the broad avenue narrowed out of sight into trees and roofs to the east.
"Can I get you anything to drink?" The server looked sharp and professional, cheerful and attentive, and he almost hated to shorten the conversation by asking directly for a glass of red house wine and a plate of guacamole and chips.
When the young man came back, glass in hand, they talked about the town, and the search that had brought Nelson to this village he'd never seen before. His late sister had a connection here, but he just couldn't figure out what it was.
"Did she have any other community activities she got into here? A church or group or event that we could connect you with?" Appreciating the "we" that made him feel already included, Nelson shook his head slowly.
"No, that's part of what puzzles me. She was a nurse, but she didn't work in any Ohio hospitals, I've confirmed that. She and I never lived here as kids, and our mom never came here even after we both left for college. It's just that she listed Granville as her hometown on employment paperwork in Las Vegas, before she died, and a few receipts that tell me she'd been here on and off over the last few years. CVS, Ross Market, the Certified station."
"Where did she stay when she was here? That's where I'd start."
"You'd think that would work, but I've had no luck even with some co-operation from the folks at the Cherry Valley Lodge, the Buxton Inn, and the Granville Inn. She seems to have been here long enough to need lodgings, but so far . . ."
The waiter looked thoughtful. "I guess she might have gone over to Newark or Heath and found a cheaper room. I can give you some likely candidates to check out; it's not that long a list." If she stayed by the Columbus airport, though, you may be out of luck in that department. Give me moment to check my other tables…"
As the waiter dashed back inside the upstairs dining area, Nelson looked again across at the gold-topped, double-pillared church directly across the way. Where did she go to pass her time? What activities would have given her reason to keep coming back other than atmosphere and charm?
As if anticipating his thoughts, the white-aproned server darted back into the sunshine filled balcony from the gloom inside, and leaned over Nelson, pointing down through the railing. "If you want, I can hold your nachos a bit…" As he looked up, puzzled, the explanation continued: "If you follow that fellow crossing the street right below, us, between the church and the bank, he's the editor of the weekly paper here, and he might be able to run a search on your sister's name. Their office is just the other side of that block."
Nodding as the jacketed figure below disappeared between the designated buildings across the way, Nelson jumped to his feet and made his way down the stairs inside and back around to the door back onto Broadway. It was a bit of a gamble, but he'd come here from Las Vegas, hadn't he?
Jeff Gill is a writer, storyteller, and pastor in Licking County; tell him what you think happens next at email@example.com, or @Knapsack on Twitter.