The Jewel of the Eye.

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The farmhand held the burly sheep tightly by its head and rump. The farmer lay his two hands flat, side by side on the sheep’s back and pressing, spread the dusty coloured fleece to reveal the glowing, creamy fibres beneath. The thick, smooth fleece seemed to glow with health. You could smell the lanolin. The farmer looked up at the helper, “That’s the real McCoy!” He smiled. “Look at those fibres. It’s a real beauty!” He let go of the wool and the gap in the fleece closed up and the animal was released.

The soft wooly clouds parted on that November day and the sun beamed down on the creamy limestone road of the small mallee town of Sedan.

“Hello,” his smile beamed out from a ruddy face, and the storekeeper lay his hands flat on the wooden counter. “I know now,” the storekeeper snapped his fingers. “You’re the new bloke in town,” he offered his handshake, “I’m Hans Bulmer.”

“I see you’ve taken up Schirmer’s old place.” The storekeeper continued “not a bad site in the town.”

“What? Oh don’t worry about fitting in here, I reckon it’s more a matter of you accepting us rather than us accepting you.” Hans Bulmer pulled over a stool and made himself comfortable and crossed his burly arms. His brow knitted thoughtfully:

“In my experience, the people who don’t meld into these small towns and end up leaving are the ones that won’t accept us for what we are. Oh, I’m not saying we’re faultless, just the opposite rather. But you have some that see us country people as a backward, you know…hayseeds behind the ears and they like to have a little giggle at our naivety. Well, like I said, those people don’t fit in … don’t want to I think, for once the giggles wear off they get bored with the place and move off to giggle at other people…you know?”

“Here, have a glass of orange..No! No! on the house, welcoming gesture..cheers!” The storekeeper belched: “Pardon!”

“Well, I’ve been here my whole life.  Was born down the road there, and I can tell you we’ve had some beauts in this town. Probably no more than any neighbourhood, but still..Now take old Willy Meister, silly as a wheel, harmless, but still  they put him “away” for a while you know, used to get around town in women’s dresses, and if you made a remark at him, why he’d up and double over like this…lift his dress and bare his ugly hairy old bum at you..gawd it was a sight..some of the chaps over the road there at the pub would jibe him just for the spectacle of it all, ha!  still, the local copper got him certified for a while, just in case . ”

The storekeeper broke off the conversation as a customer came in. He served the “local” and then resumed his seat behind the wooden counter.

“Funny thing was though, when they let him out they gave him a certificate of sanity..ha! Ha!  he got the last laugh on all those blokes at the pub when he come back.

I can see it was a warm evening, around dark when this side of the street is in shadow and the kiosk over there gets the last bit of sunlight so that it and the house next door glows a sort of pink…’long with the road. Well the chaps are sittin’ and standin’ along the verandah havin’ a beer an’ along comes Willy, still with his dress on, mind and the chaps give him a few snickering jibes and giggles, you know. Well, Willy doesn’t show them his arse no more, he just digs into his bodice an pulls out a large piece of paper like this..unfolds it and says to the assembly:   

“So you think I’m crazy eh? Well this piece of paper from them doctors at the hospital declares me sane and I’m the only person in this whole town ‘as got a certificate that says he’s what does that make you lot?!! ha! ha! ha! ” and away he runs laughin’ his head off and them all swearing at him and chuckin’ stones after him what a sight never forget that,” and Hans Bulmer gave a rumbling laugh.

“But then we’ve had sad cases too.” Here the store-keeper thought for a moment..

“Janet Green for instance, but that wasn’t any fault of hers, it’s hard enough as it is to keep yourself together out in the bush without the bad luck as some people have. Some people curse drink for ruining people, but I tell you; if it wasn’t for the country pub in these Mallee towns, a lot of those hard working farmers would’ve ended up in the funny-farm long ago.”

“Drinkers and dreamers they used to say the mallee was made up of. Well, I reckon drink can drown a man’s sorrows better than any teapot, and dreams well, dreams are the carriages of new ideas..”

“But I was tellin’ you about Janet Green..old Mrs Green now. But she was young then. My father ran this store then and I was twelve and helped him out here. Janet had only been married early that year, ’bout lambing season, autumn, and she had a kiddie in December..they didn’t muck around in those days… I’m going back sixty year or so, gives my age away eh!  a little boy it was and oh she was struck on that child. Happy as a lark she was, showing it off to everyone that first month or so. But then after that first flush of newness she sort of got a bit worried about something with the child. I remember she was in here one day and she says to my Dad: “Kurt?” (that was my Dad’s name) “Kurt, don’t you think his colour is a bit off?”

“Oh I don’t know Janet, what do I know about babies, I haven’t grown up myself yet!”

“Well,  I feel he’s not that well…I feel it,” she spoke tensely.

“Take him to the doctor then.” My Dad said.

“Oh I did..he said the baby was perfectly well and I was just upsetting myself for nothing.”

“Well there you go then.” My father encouraged.

“Yes,” she looked uncertain “but something’s not right..his colour..”

Well she bothered that doctor again and again over the next couple of weeks till he sent her off to the hospital who sent her back to the doctor who sent her home and that little boy died at six months and she was so struck on the child.”

The storekeeper wiped his hands up and down the thighs of his trousers as he sat on the stool. He seemed to be thinking.

“People thought it strange she showed so little emotion at the funeral.. shock, they said, shock, she’ll get over it. I dunno how it went at home but her husband wore a lot of it for a while I reckon, he looked terrible. He’d come in here and Dad would ask “How’s it going Ted?” an’ Ted would nod his head on and on and sigh and say “alright I guess, but Janet doesn’t even talk about it.”

And she didn’t talk about that little boy to anyone in town, wouldn’t say a word..till one day about six months or so after the death, she’s in here an’ the old man asks her how’s it going and she looks all perky and bright and has this little smile on her face and says:

“Guess what, Kurt?”

“What?” says the old man while he’s packin’ the groceries into a box.

“I’m expecting.” She blushes and smiles that little smile.

 “Well that’s grand!” Says the old man and he slaps her on the back gentle like and gives her encouragement like on the turn around in events and that’s that…Till we find out it’s all a tale she’s invented in her head..the shock people said…the shock…and she’d get around town telling everyone she was expecting a little baby boy in the summer and she’d pat her swelling tummy only it was a pillow she’d put under her dress and she’d smile and say she was expecting a baby boy in the summer.”

The storekeeper sighed and shook his head.

“I take me hat off to some people, the way they carry hurt around with them. Some can shake it off quicker than others, though it doesn’t hurt any less, but others stretch that hurt out over months, years till it becomes almost a habit…I don’t know where some people get the strength.” He sighed and rubbed his thighs again.

“Well she got about like that for months so that we all got used to her and just used to humour her along in sympathy, it’d been a real shock to her and we could sympathise…all we could do really, I ‘spose…

Anyway we were in here one day and Janet Green was shopping down the aisle there with her pillow under her dress and her green string bag on her arm. I was stacking the shelves just over there an’ my old man was at the counter serving Mrs Turner who’d not long before had a baby herself. She and the old man were laughing and chaffing each other and she had her back to the store while she rocked the pram to and fro with the baby inside and a bundle of fresh nappies folded at the end of the pram. She and the old man were giggling over something when Janet Green comes out of the aisle between the rows of shelves and spots the pram and she stops and stares an’ a puzzled look came over her face, I could see it all as I was just there, but I don’t think she even saw me. I don’t think she saw anyone in the entire store. She stopped and looked with that green string bag hangin’ from her arm and she went slowly to the pram so I thought she was going to touch the baby, instead she slowly, gently picked up one of those folded nappies, puzzled like, she gazes at it and then raised it slowly up to her face with her hand and then with both hands like this she caressed her cheek with it, just rubbed it over her cheek like this as though she was in a trance..well the old man happened to look over his shoulder sort of and stopped talking suddenly and then after a sec’ just touched Mrs Turner gently on the shoulder to get her attention and not to alarm her at the same time an’ Mrs Turner looked around slowly and the old man stared and Janet Green was there with her eyes closed an’ that fresh soft nappy pressed against her cheek and then a big tear slowly crept out of her shut eyes and then another till she seemed to go weak all over an’ started to shake in the shoulders like people do when they cry but she wasn’t crying out loud, just shaking in the shoulders so the old man comes quickly around the counter without a word and just took her in his arms and she just sort of broke down in great big breathless heaving sobs, her mouth agape but not a sound, just a sort of gasping for breath and she held her arms around Dad with her fists clenching and unclenching behind his back and her head on his shoulder and she just kept on saying over and over..”Kurt…oh Kurt…oh Kurt.” like she was trying to tell how much it hurt and the old man was saying “It’s alright Janet, it’s alright now.” and I was behind the old man and I watched as a big tear rolled down her cheek and dropped onto his shoulder and ran down the back of his vest and then stopped and stayed there and glowed like a little shining jewel in the middle of his back. 

“Well, that was sixty year ago now and she had a couple of kids after that and lived to regret it like the rest of us I ‘spose eh! But she was crook for a while there but she came good again.”

Hans Bulmer stood up and strolled over to the window looking out at the sky.

“Looks as if the weather is going to close back in, we might be in for another wet night.”

Outside, the big wooly clouds gradually closed over and shut out the afternoon sun. The storekeeper shot a glance over his shoulder.

“Didja fix that leak they had in the kitchen roof?” he asked.

On Empathy, Sympathy and our Pets.

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In these days of  the news of so much brutality in many places in the world, of  domestic violence, military massacres or social collapse in far away places or here in our own backyard, it may appear self-indulgent and facile to shed a tear or two for the loss of a domestic pet when we can but turn our gaze away from the hurt of humanity. An indulgence of sympathy some would say.

But there is the thing about a knowledge of love and affection. I believe we as humans are born with the innocence of love already in our self, while affection is a thing that can grow in our hearts..There is the interpretation that affection can be a stepping stone toward love..which is true, I’d say, but love is not a learned thing but a indelible emotion of the human be capable of love is to be human.

The same with empathy and sympathy..With all those suffering peoples we see every day on the news, there is both empathy and sympathy..I would say that the combination of those emotions as between the separation of those emotions is the major difference between the Right and the Left persuasions of societies…:

“To sum up the differences between the most commonly used meanings of these two terms: sympathy is feeling compassion, sorrow, or pity for the hardships that another person encounters, while empathy is putting yourself in the shoes of another.”

I recently finished a project I have been working on in fits and starts for many a year…the result gives little evidence of that time..and perhaps the quality of the finished product may be viewed as a wasted effort on my part!…But it had to be written..and some of you have read it to which I am very grateful…after all, it was directed to be read.

It is the story of the Italians interned in the 2nd. WWar to cut and burn mallee here near the Murray River..and the “play”..which I called a “reading opera” …”A Ukulele Opera”  describes a microcosm of their situation in those camps…The “opera” starts and finishes with a character named “Gemano” who is lamenting for his fiancé who he left behind in Italy when he came to Australia (with my father) to start a new life and then to go and marry the lady and bring her to Oz to start a family…It was a true event..But the war broke out and he heard nothing of her…whether she be alive or like so many millions more..dead..what were the odds?…Yet he held out with a belief and conviction that she lives…for five years!..five years of despair and internment…and then came the letter of joy…

In these days of “instant gratification”, how many can hold onto a desire or a commitment to a person to love or hold affection with for more than a “clickbait” moment?….We seem to live in a time more of “want” than desire…

Which brings us to the love of our pets and the loss felt at their parting. With the death of a pet, in most cases we are there at the dying, we touch the body and witness the fading life and say a gentle goodbye with the stroke of the fur..or a gentle twist of the pet’s ear or some other favourite touch or word..I would think, in that moment of death, we are MORE in sympathy to that loss of  mute, innocent love with the parting than with the empathy of a loved one. But once we are parted from that unconditional continuity of mutual company and aware of that loss of mutual confederacy between two close companions…I believe we then feel the sympathy of camaraderie so much that the weld of empathy to sympathy can become seamless, a stepping stone from affection to love is complete and that knowledge learned through the companionship of our love toward a pet takes over as instinctive behaviour into our adult relationships between fellow citizens, is what guides decent and civilized attitudes toward our fellow humans no matter WHAT their circumstances. And it is fairly said that one can judge a person by their treatment of their pets or animals. It is a pity our leadership cannot seem to travel far enough down this route to become civilized barbarians!

It has to be fair to ask ; Where would we be without our precious pets?

Which brings us to the love of our pets and the loss felt at their parting. With the death of a pet, in most cases we are there at the dying, we touch the body and witness the fading life and say a gentle goodbye with the stroke of the fur..or a gentle twist of the pet’s ear or some other favourite touch or word..I would think, in that moment of death, we are MORE in sympathy to that loss of  mute, innocent love with the parting than with the empathy of  the loved one. But once we are parted from that unconditional continuity of mutual company and aware of that loss of mutual confederacy between two close companions…I believe we then feel the sympathy of camaraderie so much that the weld of empathy to sympathy can become seamless, a stepping stone from affection to love is complete and that knowledge learned through the companionship of our love toward a pet takes over as instinctive behaviour into our adult relationships between fellow citizens, is what guides decent and civilized attitudes toward our fellow humans no matter WHAT their circumstances. And it is fairly said that one can judge a person by their treatment of their pets or animals. It is a pity our leadership cannot seem to travel far enough down this route to become civilized barbarians!

A Study in Scarlet.

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Can we see a pattern emerging?…

Do we see a certain!..wrong word..not “fear” but rather a wariness in being seen to join in any seemingly “suggestive” activity, even if only looking or reading something that may hint of impropriety?

Recently..a couple of weeks ago..I put up a post here ; got several hundred clicks on it..that’s alright..but only one actual comment on the piece from the reliable and perceptive Anne Byam…who correctly observed what I was trying to convey in the writing…;

“   Anne Byam  October 10, 2020 at 2:42 pm

A delightful read again Joseph, with great visual imagery which sent me to a place I believe I might have been many decades ago – but certainly to the people and their actions, speech and body language etc.

An excellent portrayal of people and not so much of a by-gone day, either. Just as relevant today, as far as whispers and rumours, as it was in the yesteryear.

Cheers ~~”

No…not so much of a by-gone day…You see, I drew inspiration for that modest social observation from a story by Guy de Maupassant…: “The Piece of String”  , where a thrifty peasant stops to pick up a piece of string from the road, and in doing so is spotted in the action by a person he dislikes and the coincidental loss of a wallet is misconstrued and reported by that peasant’s enemy as the action in picking up that piece of string and the consequences thereof…no spoiler alert from me!..a great story…

In the story, the peasant ends up dying of the stress to clear his name and there are none who believe his simple explanation of the piece of string…in my story, the main character is already deceased before her good name is put under suspicion..indeed, the simple mention of the one word..; “Erotic”..was enough to throw suspicion on the innocent Hildegarde Hempel, and so the rumour mill grinds on…certainly the same today as of yesteryear…on nothing but the strength of one little word or action..

And I’ll tell you why I can say that with a degree of certainty..

I put my stories up on my facebook page, where I have a modest readership of relatives and frenemies, who usually place at least a “like” to my posts..yet this particular post drew absolutely zilch “likes” or comments..even no “visits” to my blog where I first placed the story from Facebook ..unusual…I then experimented and put up a picture of  little consequence with no explanation at all to accompany it..and almost immediately there were the usual suspects gracing the post with likes…So I have to conclude that with the insertion of the word “Erotic”, that previous post was just that little bit “over the line” of acceptable decency to warrant a look…a “blush” of modesty?

I confess that the use of the word “eroticism” was a deliberate choice..rather than ..”innocence” or “mistake”..or even “guilt”…to name a few considerations for the title that passed through my mind..I chose “eroticism” for the hidden voluptuousness and suggestiveness of that word..that directed the mood of the story…vis : that people are more driven by salacious rumour than actual fact…that gossip and suspicion can play a greater part in a person’s demise than actual action..and to this end I feel I was proven correct..and the fact that it was only Anne Byam who dared to make comment on a perfectly straight story as against any number that comment on the most banal posts everyday shows a bent toward avoiding being drawn into social commentary that could mean taking sides.

Truly..a “Study in Scarlet”…if not the scarlet letter..

And this is why I think many people now are over-cautious in such a degree concerning matters of women’s eroticism..

I suspect that the image of heterosexual women has become captive in a web of perceived fraudulent “ownership” of the gender by extremist feminists and dominant political “identity queens” so that a manufactured image of what THEY perceive womanhood should look like and what should be looked at, is the only one permitted on the “stage of life”…Any perception of the “erotic” or “sexualised” heterosexual woman is verboten and as a result, about the only “permitted imagery” we see these days of attractive women is of either sterile anatomical observation or “soft” pornography…even those moments on screen of men and women in a lovers sexual embrace are so wooden in the enactment as brutal, sharp and brittle, that the sensitive male has to wince and turn one’s eyes away..”that’s no way to treat a lady..” more room or allowance of admiration, fully clothed or otherwise, of the curvaceous  classic lines of female beauty for beauty’s sake in itself, lest one attract the condemning eye of ferocious accusation demanding remorse or guilt for any act of visionary delight!

But I am fully aware that any heterosexual woman, confident of her own sexuality and capacity to attract attention to themselves to fulfill her social needs does not need to heed or make acknowledgement of those more fanatical elements of society…and more power to them for it!

I wrote on this situation a long while ago and the article was taken down after protest from some of the above-mentioned cabal..I post the link to that piece here…  ..(lurve those 40’s fashions and hairstyles!)..

I again write of this conundrum to provoke some commentary on such an important subject, lest we all become too accepting of an artificial construct of the gender issues that only suit a small percentage of us all.

The Eroticism of Hildegarde Hempel.

An incident borne out of an innocent remark can inflame old resentments among a confined people. ‘Folk will have their ways’, goes the old saying. Such was the occasion of the spread of the accusation in the little parish of Saint Paul’s in our little mallee town of Sandleton a long while ago and it became for a time the mainstay of undertone gossip did the eroticism of Hildegarde Hempel.

I have to say that the suspicion of Hildegarde Hempel’s eroticism did not become talked about until after her passing..indeed, it was a slip of the tongue of Pastor Noske at Hilda’s funeral that started the chatter…the slip came at the mention of a collection of Spanish veils, mantillas and combs, that Hilda had proudly collected over the years and would put out on display at times of community shows or church fundraising events.

Having survived her husband by more than a decade, Hildegarde Hempel devoted her time to church events and fundraising. Being childless, she was capable of devoting many hours of volunteering to that end..and her tireless activities were held in high esteem by the Pastor of that church…even if she did have a certain wearing effect upon those more taken up with family life and farm than she herself..some even found her requests upon their valued spare time a little tiresome and wished she had found another husband to occupy herself with..But it was also with a certain sadness and shock that her death by heart attack was announced one day around the gossip pools of the small town.

It was in the eulogy that Pastor Noske was waxing lyrical about Hilda’s achievements and works for the church community that the mention of her being proud of her collection of Spanish veils and the combs that went with the veils that the slip of the tongue was made…

“Hilda can also be remembered by us all with her generosity at fund raising, where she would proudly put on display her collection of seven Spanish veils and combs..Hilda was very proud of her veils..and it had to be said the she had a taste for the erotic….pardon…the exotic…” and the Pastor went on to further deliver his panegyric…but it was too late…the voicing of the word “erotic” just after the mention of the seven veils conjured up in more than one mind of those whose bible was closely studied in prayer and Bible classes as a testament of blind faith, the story of John the Baptist, King Herod and Salome’s dance of the seven veils…a most lustful evocation mistakenly, but believed to derive from their most holy book…and no matter the trying, the image of Hildegarde Hempel doing the dance of the seven veils could not be removed from the thoughts of many of the congregation.

So the idle chatter began among the hatted and gloved men and ladies of the congregation outside St. Pauls church on that Sunday morning.. their heads all leaning in to hear while the ladies taffeta skirts and soft silken scarves floated on the rising air of the spring day, their corsages of new blooms dancing with each excited opinion..

“A slip of the tongue is no fault of the mind”…Silvie Tempke judiciously remarked..”none the less, you have to be wondering just where pastor’s mind was wandering to.” Other members of that little gathering pinched their lips and nodded their heads in cautious agreement.

And it wasn’t long before the memory of certain moments concerning Hilda were recalled with a leaning toward the possibility of salacious intent. And one has to keep in mind that those veils of Hilda’s were not just any old veils, but rather exquisite pieces of the finest silken Spanish lace.. seven mantillas of the finest quality with their accompanying combs.. peinetas of finely carved ivory..a world of conjured images of dark-haired Spanish ladies dancing a lustful flamenco with swirling abandon..Whenever they were on display, many visitors to her stall couldn’t help but touch those finely carved combs or run the soft flowing silken veils over their hands..the electric sensation of the finely laced craftmanship sending a thrill through the skin…

There was that time at one of those shows where Hilda, in a moment of delightful abandon ala Isadora Duncan, upon a request did throw one of the veils across her body and did a pirouette and a snap of her fingers held high so that she made to be a Flamenco dancer in an exotic pose…a picture of just this moment was taken by the enthusiastic Norman Ziedel with his “Kodak Brownie” camera that was brought out of his archives and passed around, now that there was an interest in more than just the everyday display of veils…and as is sometimes the unfortunate situation with such candid snaps, they can capture one in a most undignifying pose or facial expression..and in this photo too, was Hilda caught expressing a most vampish look in her eyes coupled with an alluring twist of her body..while suitable for that particular moment as wanting to demonstrate the voluptuousness of the pose, the ramifications of that picture spread even more the luridness of the rumours.

Another, a drinking mate of Hilda’s long deceased husband; Herbert Hempel, recalled being told by Herbert that Hilda was an excellent dancer in her day..but that “day” being so long ago, none could recall. And that left Hildegarde Hempel out on a limb with none to defend her honour or reputation..such is the form of small town gossip that relies on a healthy diet of rumour, envy and schadenfreude to thrive.

Layered on top of the salacious rumours now circulating among the congregation, was the curious fact that Hilda only had those seven veils…and a niggling reference to the Bible story of John the Baptist, King Herod and Salome dancing the “dance of the seven veils” was resurrected time and again and washed the whole episode with lurid colours and intense gossip..THEN, when it was heard that Hilda had bequeathed her collection of Spanish veils and combs to the church fete committee under the care of Pastor Noske..well..didn’t the tongues really start to wag!

Of course, Pastor Noske never heard any of the gossip or rumours surrounding Hildegarde Hempel and her collection of veils..indeed, he wasn’t even aware that he had started the whole thing off with his miss-reading of the word “exotic” for “erotic” in his eulogy, so was delighted to announce to the congregation one Sunday later that month of the fortunate and generous benevolence of Ms Hempel’s bequeath and those veils would be, as per usual, on display for public gaze the next month’s Strawberry Fete….a not too small rumbling of disquiet erupted from the pews of the church gathering..Pastor Noske took this as a murmur of approval and beamed a satisfied smile from the pulpit.

“I will ask Mrs. Appelt if she could arrange and attend to the display of those most exotic items on the day..” the pastor continued innocently..There was again a rumbling of turned bodies and all faces now fixed upon Mrs. Appelt in wide-eyed inquiry…Mrs. Appelt blushed and twisted her hands together in anxiety and blurted out..

”Oh..oh really, Pastor, I don’t know…I don’t think…”  the congregation turned as one to look to the Pastor..

“No, no..I can assure you, Mrs. Appelt, we have the greatest confidence in your capability to “man” the stall…after all, I believe YOU were one of the greatest admirers of Hildegarde’s collection.” The congregation instantly as one returned to gaze upon the hapless and now shocked Mrs. Appelt.

“Oh but Pastor…only in admiration of the craftmanship…I can assure you!”…she protested loudly and she gazed appealingly to all around her.

But in the end, it all turned out for the best, as the hint of eroticism now attached to those exquisite veils drew more visitors to the stall and by consequence, the sale of raffle-tickets from that one stall outsold more than several other stalls combined..and such an inquisitive crowd as gathered at Mrs. Appelt’s stall brought a cheerful smile to the cheeks of Pastor Noske as he did his rounds.

“Quite the interest in the veils today, Mrs. Appelt?” the Pastor enquired.

“ seems there has been an upshot of interest in them this year…and several strangers have commented on how they certainly DO have an erotic appeal.”

Pastor Noske blinked and squinted at the mention of “erotic”…and he looked deeply at Mrs. Appelt.

“I’m sorry…did you say “erotic”..I..I don’t understand..” and he stood there, hands clasped behind his back bending toward Mrs. Appelt with his right ear listening..

“Yes..erotic, Pastor”…and Mrs Appelt pointed to a small hand written sign that said : “ Erotic Spanish silk veils and peinetas, worn by Spanish women when dancing to attract their menfolk”…

Pastor Noske immediately stiffened in shock and surprise, his hands raised up in front of him…

“Oh good heavens, NO!..Mrs. Appelt…not erotic…but exotic!..EXOTIC, Mrs. Appelt!…good!”..and he snatched the sign away…and it has to be noted that on replacing the sign with  more subdued though accurate wording, the attendance at the stall soon dropped away…but that did not stop any future reference to those veils among the small congregation as being of the collection of the eroticism of Hildegarde Hempel.

Folk will have their ways. . .