Julia's Last Hope

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Book: Julia's Last Hope Read Online Free PDF
Author: Janette Oke
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    “The lumber mill has run out of trees to process in this area and is going to move on to—to somewhere else.”
    Jennifer could not bring herself to look into her father’s eyes. Felicity stirred again, and Jennifer placed a cautioning hand on her arm.
    Julia remained silent, allowing John to say what he had to say in his own words—his own time.
    “That means there will no longer be work for me here,” he finally managed.
    If he expected an explosion of some sort, he was mistaken. The room was silent.
    He waited a moment and then went on. “We might have to give up our home here and move to another town,” he added.
    The girls sat rigid.
    “Do you understand what I am saying?” John asked the girls.
    They both nodded.
    “We will be fine,” Julia put in, giving the girls one of her special smiles.
    “What will we do till Papa finds work?” Felicity asked, directing her question to her mother. Julia’s eyes clouded.
    “It won’t take Papa long to find work.”
    “But everyone uptown says they can’t hire now. They don’t know how long—”
    Jennifer gave Felicity a jab.
    Felicity stopped short, her eyes filling with horror.
    John and Julia studied the two faces before them.
    “You knew?” asked John.
    Felicity nodded.
    “They went to the drugstore today,” explained Julia. “I should have realized—the whole town must be buzzing.”
    “How much did you hear uptown?” John asked.
    “Actually,” Jennifer replied slowly, “we—we knew before we went uptown. That’s—that’s why—”
    “We went uptown to try to find jobs,” blurted Felicity. “But everyone said they would be moving soon and couldn’t hire anybody. Everyone.”
    Julia’s eyes filled with tears. “You went uptown looking for work?” she asked.
    “We just wanted to help until Papa found work again,” Jennifer apologized.
    John looked shaken. “That was good of you,” he managed to say. “But I hardly think my little…” He hesitated when he saw their disapproving looks. “My two young ladies,” he corrected. “I hardly think that my two young ladies need to look for work—quite yet.” He managed a weak smile.
    “So how did you hear the news?” Julia asked.
    Felicity spoke again. “We heard Papa’s voice and wanted to see him, so we went to the parlor, but he was telling the news about the mill, so we left again.”
    “I see,” sighed Julia.
    “Let’s pray together,” John said, reaching for his wife’s hand, as he always did for family prayer.
    They bowed together. John had a difficult time voicing his concerns for the future and skirted the issue with a general prayer. He needed time to talk to the Lord alone about his worries. Maybe after he had worked through the situation he would be able to discuss the future more openly with his family.
    Julia’s hand tightened on his. She understood his tension.

    Two weeks. Two weeks of work remained for every mill worker in town. After that the mill would be no more. The machinery would be dismantled and moved to a new location.
    Two weeks. Two weeks to make plans—to bolster oneself for the many changes that were sure to follow.
    Some men handed in their notices, drew their wages, and left, hoping to find jobs elsewhere before the rush. Others stayed and put in the few hours that would earn them one last paycheck. Then what?

Chapter Five
    The Plan
    “Hettie, is the parlor set up for tea?” Julia asked her housekeeper.
    “Yes, ma’am,” the woman nodded.
    “Where is Rose?”
    “She’s in the kitchen making extra sandwiches.”
    “Good. Did she get all my invitations handed out?”
    “All but the one for Mrs. Pruett. She’s gone to see her mother.”
    “Good,” said Julia again. “Did Rose say how many we can count on coming?”
    “Said most folks seem right anxious to be here,” responded Hettie. “We expect most all of them.”
    Julia nodded. Her stomach was churning. She had never set out on such a venture before. She wasn’t
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