Book Series: IRISH BLUE Author: Sheila Willar Copyright: 2022 Sheila Willar ISBN #: 978-0-9867101-4-8 Book Title: THE CHAPEL Chapter #: 05 - THE CHAPEL
BOOK 1 - CHAPTER 5 - THE CHAPEL
Erin told Kelly about the note from Mrs. Mancinni.
“I could go with you,” offered Kelly. “I’ve been trying to contact her anyway. I’m supposed to ask her where she wants to sit at the wedding.”
“Good luck with that.”
“She’s Peter’s grand-mother and he wants to make sure his gran has a good seat.”
“Do you think she knows I’m related to Maggy?”
“I doubt it. Peter says that sometimes she barely knows he exists.”
Early the next morning a Mancinni company car, drove Erin and Kelly into the country, and after about an hour they arrived at a large iron gate, that graced a winding path through a tunnel of lush trees.
They stopped in front of a stone house and Mrs. Mancinni was already outside to greet them.
She was dressed in bright layers of lemon and lime, and she was not alone.
“This is my grand-daughter Errin,” announced Astor.
They all laughed that Erin and Errin had the same name, except for the “r’s”. They even looked alike.
Mrs. A quickly corralled Erin to herself and asked her grand-daughter to take Kelly to see the horses at the stables. Erin wished that she could go with them.
“Come with me!” commanded Aster.
Erin followed obediently as she listened to Mrs. Mancinni’s life story.
“My husband John is away with my son Alexander, circling the globe looking for new quarries.”
“When he returns next week, we are going to renew our vows. He doesn’t know that yet, but we are.”
Astor had plans for her absentee husband, and wanted Erin to help with a restoration project in the chapel that was on their property.
Together they meandered through a maze of gardens and trails, until they came to a tall rock wall, with a weathered wooden door.
Astor smiled and motioned for Erin to go through first.
Erin opened the door and drew in a deep breath.
The sweeping view revealed a rolling meadow, blanketed with amber wheat grass, and crowned on the horizon with a sapphire blue sky.
In the centre of the meadow, almost hidden by a family of oak trees, nestled the most lovely stone chapel that Erin had ever seen.
Its profile was so low that it could almost pass as a root cellar, but the central spire gave it away. Erin couldn’t hide her excitement and asked if she could run ahead.
“Go on!” encouraged Mrs. A with a visible sigh of relief.
When Erin reached the chapel it flickered in the dappled light from the trees, and wild flowers danced around its perimeter.
Yellow buttercups were spread randomly throughout the chapel yard and patches of ocean blue forget-me-nots filled the shadows that lay under the eaves.
A gentle breeze made the whole image sway back and forth as if to say “welcome.”
She had never seen such a beautiful example of a country chapel.
It was shaped like a cross and was built from large hewn grey stones, that looked as if they had been tumbled to soften the edges.
The window sills, cornerstones and mouldings were also a large scale and gave a solid feeling to the structure.
It looked as if nothing could unseat it from the land.
The V-shape slate roof lay gracefully under the soft shade of the oak trees, that stretched their limbs above its peak, and at the centre stood a weathered wooden cross that rose above a simple bell tower at its base.
Astor was out of breath as she made her way to the chapel.
“It was all brought here from Ireland. Every piece of it,” she huffed.
They went inside and walked down the centre aisle to stand at the crosshairs of the four sets of doors.
“Look down,” urged Astor. “This is why I brought you here.”
Beneath them lay the outline of a compass, beautifully carved into a layer of Irish Blue stone.
“I need you to repair it.”
“Repair what?” asked Erin, still not getting the whole picture.
“The Irish Blue of course,” stated Mrs. Mancinni. “It’s the original flooring that was brought over from Ireland. It’s damaged and needs to be fixed. Right away!”
Erin had no idea how to repair priceless stone-work, and was about to say so when a monk, dressed in a brown robe with an ivory belt, walked into the chapel from a side entrance.
“Oh Fenton. How are you today?” sang Astor. “Did you get the tea that Lilly left for you?”
“Why shouldn’t she have her very own monk?” thought Erin sarcastically.
Without so much as a nod, Mrs. A and Fenton disappeared out the south entrance and spent the rest of the day planning her wedding.
Astor and Fenton had met at a funeral in Rome a few weeks ago, where she chipped away at the armour of his calling, until he finally agreed to return to New York with her.
Erin did not know what to do next, so she decided to catalogue the damaged stone by taking pictures of it for her supervisor.
As she turned to leave, a wisp of dust fell on her nose and she heard a voice pronounce, “Look up!”
In a reflex response she peered up through the centre of a chandelier, and for one immeasurably small instant, she thought she saw a perfect white light.
It was so bright and pure and almost “living” that she wanted to scream out loud, but caught herself and held her breath instead.
She was shocked by the intensity of the moment and ran out of the chapel, and kept on running until she reached the rock wall at the bottom of the meadow.
Carefully she found her way back to the main house, by remembering the gardens and sculptures that she had seen earlier.
Eventually she saw a glimpse of the weathervane that was on top of the stable, and she felt a sense of relief in hopes that Kelly and Errin would still be there.
Friends and horses were exactly what she needed to soothe her rattled soul.