Village Vigilantes, Part 2

A blessed Thanksgiving!

Here’s part 2 of the Valley Vigilantes. For Part 1, go to the November 19 post.

Geoffrey stared at the headline: Valley Vigilantes Formed. A file photo of the elders around their table at Ma’s followed. Far as Geoffrey could see, the story was what he had submitted to Byron Wilson, publisher and editor of the Voice. Geoffrey looked up at Miss Beth: What? Exasperated, Miss Beth snatched up the paper and headed for the  Voice office, leaving a bewildered Geoffrey.

Crime was rare in Vintage Valley; the County Sheriff and State Police provided protection; so when word circulated that a travelling insurance agent had scammed Widow Morrison out of a thousand bucks, anger ran high. Miss Beth convened the elders.

We must be more vigilant! she said. Poor Mrs. Morrison! That was her life savings. Vigilant, yes, echoed Betsy, Lem Johnson’s wife. Amen, murmured Pastor Wells, retired minister. I move we organize. How about the Vintage Valley Vigilants? Geoffrey Strom seconded the motion, and the elders’ first-ever motion passed unanimously. Geoffrey offered to write a piece for the Voice.

Miss Beth found Editor Wilson at his desk. Miss B! How nice to see you. Don’t nice me, Byron Wilson. You had to know I would never allow Vigilantes. Wilson fished in his center drawer and shoved a handwritten note to Miss Beth. The heading read, Vintage Valley Vigilantes Formed. Miss Beth’s voice was cold: You know full well Geoffrey can’t spell; you’ve been repairing his writing for years.

I thought Valley Vigilantes had a nice ring, said Wilson. Our town needs a watchdog, and who better than retired seniors, who know the community and its people so well? Be assured: you can count on the Voice for full support.

This was not Miss Beth’s first go-around  with the Byron. As the  staunchly conservative town clerk, there were several brush-ups with the younger, liberal editor at Township Board meetings.  Sometimes she suspected he was teasing her.

This time, she knew she had lost. Valley Vigilantes would endure. Seeking consolation, she headed for Mike’s Hardware to seek consolation from old friend Mike Turner. Entering briskly, she ran smack into a tall stranger who was exiting. The man grabbed Beth to stabilize her.  A thousand pardons!

Mike hurried over. Miss Beth, meet Hap McPhee.  He just leased Jack Steven’s old place! Miss Beth could not know she was shaking the hand of the Vigilante’s first challenge; or that she would be the victim.

Old Grandpa Lloyd