from The Whiskey Bottle in the Wall
He was in his kitchen the next morning ready to go to work and just waiting for the milk to boil so he could make hot chocolate to take with him. The day was silent but it was early. Snow had stopped falling but there was not much traffic. He stirred the chocolate into the hot milk and, as he was doing it, he looked up at the clanking of a snow-plow turning down the street. He glanced out of the window and recognized Sister Ursula's truck. She was driving slowly, neatly pushing more snow into the already well-heaped banks along the curbs. Henry turned off the burner, rummaged in the cupboard until he found a thermal travel mug with the word Sheetz printed across it, filled it with the hot chocolate, and snapped the lid on.
“Hey.” He waved as he carried the warm cup through the cold morning.
Sister Ursula rolled down her window and leaned out. “Good morning!” Her breath made clouds of frosty air that drifted around her face like the glory on an old icon.
“Been plowing all night?”
“Yes,” she said. “I'm beat but it was a great night.”
“Here.” He offered her the mug. “I brought you some hot chocolate.”
“Oh, thank you, so much! I was dying for something warm.” She lifted the mug and took a long, slow sip. “Oh, that is so good!”
“You need to go home and get some sleep.”
“I will. I'm going to give St. Walburga's one more pass and then go home. I'm going to ask Sister Adelaide if I can teach Sister John-Paul to plow so we can take turns next time.”
“That's a good idea.”
She took another swallow of the chocolate. “Chief Werner, thank you so much for what you did. We made enough money last night to fill the oil tank at the convent. All the sisters will be nice and warm this winter thanks to you.”
Henry shook his head. “I didn't do anything. It's Peeper that deserves the credit.”
She smiled. “He's a good man. All of us are praying for him. He'll find his way eventually.”
“Well,” he said, “you finish up and then get yourself home to sleep.” He chuckled. “You don't want to get careless from being over-tired. You know how happy that would make Patrolman Ginther.”
She laughed. “Okay. Thanks for the chocolate.”
“You're welcome.” He turned to go back to his house.
“God bless you.”
He waved as she rolled up the window.
Thanks for reading.