Christmas Town: Chapter 4
Sadly, there are no references to Jordan’s food issues in this chapter, though it remains my primary interest in this book.
But hey, there’s more with the unlikeable child!
And first, some good old Christian condescension: Joella presents the first memo to the church—it’s short and only states that no decisions have been made so far. As Joella and her best friend, Claire, help the reverend fold up chairs, Joella complains about the shortness of the memo, and the good reverend asks her if she’s prayed about it.
Because nothing fails like prayer!
They finish and head out into the pretty night:
“It’s a shame everything can’t be as perfect as this night,” [Joella] said wistfully.
“Maybe it is,” Reverend Martin said. “Maybe God’s plan for us is as perfect as this beautiful night, but we just can’t see it as clearly.”
Stuff it, Reverend. You aren’t about to be let go from the soon-to-be-closed mill.
“I know we’re supposed to have that kind of faith. But it sure would be easier if God could see fit to let me in on His plan.” [Joella said]
Claire rolled her eyes…
Okay, y’know what, Claire? You can suck it, too.
…but Hat Martin just chuckled.
“If it was all plain as day, Joella, they wouldn’t call it faith, now, would they?”
Guess not. Hmmm…maybe this “faith” thing ain’t all it’s cracked up to be…
Ultimately, the reverend advises Joella to:
“Put Jordan Scoville in God’s hands, see what happens.”
Poor Jordan is right now making a deal to sell off the town’s Christmas decorations, some of which are antiques, and will fetch a good price. Venita is against this plan, but Jordan’s logic seems damn fine to me:
“When [the townspeople] realize that sale will keep them in paychecks through the end of the year, they’ll be grateful.”
“They’ll string you up.” [Venita responded]
“They’re reasonable people.”
“This is Christmas Town, U.S.A. Trust me, Jordie, there’s nothing reasonable about it.”
Holy crap, I guess not.
Paycheck…Christmas lights…paycheck…Christmas light…wow, what a hard decision!
Unfortunately, Nathan, who I guess is everywhere all the time, has overheard this decision.
“You are the Grinch!”
Oh, good grief. I don’t envy Jordan as he tries to talk down this
precocious bratty kid.
“My mom’s not gonna like this.”
Bet she’d like it a lot less not to get paid through December.
Jordan manages to get through to the kid by a two-pronged strategy: appeal to the business principle that it’s actually better to give people paychecks than to festoon the town with Christmas lights (go figure) and offer Nathan a gopher job.
(Please note: Nathan all but demands the job from Jordan: Jordan asks the kid not to spill the beans yet about the Christmas lights, to let Jordan do it himself, and the kid’s response is, literally, “What’s in it for me?” Nice kid. How Christian of him.)
Venita counsels Jordan on making Joella his friend, not his enemy, and Jordan sees the wisdom in this, while acknowledging (to himself) his attraction and his respect for Joella.
Dammit, Christmas novels, why do you always make the heroes so much cooler than the heroines???
Anyway, he seeks out Joella at church, and we are told in so many words who is going to convert whom in this story:
Things spiritual didn’t seem to have much place in the real world.
I hear ya, bro.
It’s choir practice, and Joella has a solo and an awesome voice. Jordan compliments her on it, but now it’s Joella’s turn to be Christianly condescending:
“My voice is just one of the gifts I’ve been given.”
Well, excuuuuuse Jordan, then.
Joella mildly (and I really do mean that; she doesn’t directly proselytize or anything) encourages him to pray for guidance, and Jordan thinks:
She had faith; so did he—in himself.
In Christian entertainment, this is never a good thing.
Anyway, Jordan walks Joella home, and they warm to each other and Jordan thinks about how much he likes Joella and it’s all pretty sweet. At one point, Jordan wonders “what it would be like to kiss an open, warm woman like Joella,” but this being a Christian novel, his wondering goes no farther than mere kissing.
Sadly, the mood is broken as they walk up to Joella’s house, where
cute, precocious little brat Nathan sees them out the window.
That is not a word, dumb kid!
Nathan, btw, is not home alone. He’s there with Claire and her two kids. Claire, we are told, is the only other single mother in the entirety of Christmas Town (her husband was killed in a car crash), and it seems that she and Joella trade off child-watching duties, which is a really nice arrangement.
Not that Nathan cares:
Like he needed a baby-sitter. He tried to humor them.
I do not like this kid. I guess it’s good that Jordan does. Poor guy.