by Thea McKee

                I thought I'd try to make the Niamh/Sean story a bit more understanding, since in a more perfect world, she'd have had Assumpta.

                Something was definitely wrong, but Assumpta couldn't put her finger on it. There were undercurrents in the village, and she could usually sense what was going on, but not this time. Since Orla had been working at the pub, she needed Niamh less, and that might explain some of the disjointed quality of her conversations with her old friend. Orla too seemed sullen lately, and finally, one quiet, rainy afternoon, Assumpta looked at her helper and said, "What is wrong with you?"
                "Aside from the fact that there isn't an eligible man for miles around in this benighted place? None that's interested in me, anyway!"
                "Orla? Come on, what's going on?"
                Orla sighed. "I've made a bit of a fool of myself for starters." When Assumpta just went on looking at her, she went on, "Ah, I made a pass at Sean Dillon, and he really put me in my place. Made it very clear that he wasn't interested."
                "And you are?" Assumpta asked.
                "I guess not. I'm more put out with him that he rejected me. I'm not used to that happening!" She laughed, but went on, "and I don't think it's that he's still mourning his wife, though that's kind of what he said. I had the definite feeling that he was ready to move on. And who else is there 'round here for him? Emma thinks he's mostly lonely. Now, SHE and I get on real well."
                Assumpta shook her head. "Maybe he's still coping with the nastiness. I can't believe how people are fighting these old battles. I mean, Sean hasn't done anything to bother anyone. It's his father they still hate, and they haven't given Sean a chance."
                "Small towns!" said Orla. Assumpta often said the same thing herself, but she'd always resented this kind of statement from relative strangers, so the conversation ended, but the feeling persisted that something was definitely wrong.

                A few days later, she had put Josie down for a nap and had come back downstairs to look over the bills and ponder a menu, when there was a rap at the door. She went to open it and found Niamh, her arms full of packages. "Come in and show me...Niamh!" she said, suddenly noticing something different in her friend. "You've cut your hair! Oh, let me see!" She turned her around. "Wow! It really is different!"
                "D'ya not like it?" said Niamh. "I think it looks great, but then, what do I know?"
                "Oh, I do like it!" Assumpta said. "I love it! It's look so grown-up, sophisticated." She laughed. "And here I am, still with the same hairdo I've had since we were twelve, and barely time to comb it!" She hugged her. Niamh opened he boxes she'd brought in, and the two of them looked at the new clothes Niamh had bought, really stylish things, lovely ones. "They must have cost a fortune!" Assumpta said.
                "Yeah, they did," Niamh said ruefully. "Don't tell Ambrose."
                "Well, he'll see them soon enough and wonder, won't he?"
                "Ah, what makes you think he'd notice!" Her eyes filled with tears.
                Assumpta whisked the boxes and Niamh into the kitchen, sat her friend down and started the kettle. "Okay then, what's going on?"
                "Oh, Assumpta, I don't know. I'm just not happy. I get so mad at Ambrose, even when the poor fella isn't doing anything! I find myself wondering why I ever married him."
                Assumpta tried to keep the surprise out of her voice. "Weren't you crazy about him, then?"
                "You know, I don't think I was," Niamh said sadly. "Not the way you were about Peter. When I began to realize how you felt about Peter. I remember feeling a bit...wistful, like. I knew I'd never felt that overwhelmed by love! I think I was just ready, you know? For a boyfriend, for marriage. And who else was there?" She smiled. "I wasn't smart enough to look outside the obvious, like you." She sipped her tea. "Ambrose and I hardly ever talk. I feel he just wants me to be more like his mother all the time, the two of them are so cozy. And I...well, I don't know what I want, but I know it's more than himself, and the house and meals. Even Kieran doesn't need me so much anymore. Maybe I need a job!"
                Assumpta felt a bit guilty. "I know I've kind of pushed you out of working here, since I've had Orla. Would it help, d'ya think, to work here a bit?"
                "It might," Niamh said hesitantly.
                "Or another baby?" Assumpta asked, and flushed a bit. She took Niamh's hand and pressed it to her own belly. "I've got another one on the way," she confided. "And Josie just a year old."
                Nimah stood up and went to hug her. "Oh, that's wonderful! I'm so happy for you! Gosh, maybe you will need me more, to help out here."
                Assumpta noticed that the didn't say anything about her other suggestion.


                As the months went by, Assumpta'spregnancy becsme obvious, and there was the usual teasing. The tourists hsd begun to arrive, and there were evenings when she and Orla and Peter were rushed off their feet. She waited for Niamh to offer her help, but her friend hardly ever came by. Ambrose, when he came to the pub,seemed to be thinking of something else. She had told Peter about her talk with Niamh, and wondered if she regretted it. "She's definitely avoiding me," she said.
                Peter shook his head. "It's not just you," he said. "Kieran seems to be with either Ambrose or his grandmother. I don't know where Niamh is keeping herself."
                "Surely if she's got herself a job, she'd have told me."
                Peter put his arms around her. "Come on, you've got enough to deal with without taking on Niamh's troubles. You're sure you're not working too hard?"
                "No, I'm fine," she said, leaning into him.
                Suddenly there was a loud clap of thunder, and the rain that had threatened all day began in earnest. The pub, already full, became even more crowded, as people came in to get out of the rain. Thunder and lightning and pouring rain were making the pub seem even cozier. The door banged open, and Eamonn came in, with a big grin. "Retribution," he exulted. "I say it's retribution at last!"
                "What are you talking about, old man?" asked Siobhan as he came up to her.
                "Sean Dillon's place! Lightning struck that big tree in front of his house and it fell! Crushed the roof in!"
                "Oh. my God," Assumpta said. "And he's just gotten the place all fixed up. It was looking beautiful!"
                "Yeah," Eamonn gloated. "I tell you it's retribution!"

                An hour later, the rain let up and people began to drift out. It seemed that everyone was headed out to the Dillon place. Peter and Assumpta decided to close up, and they went to see the damage for themselves. As they got out of the van, carrying Josie, they met Emma, in tears.
 "I can't believe it!" she said. "Everybody's helping! My Dad was so fed up, he said that was it, he wasn't meant to be here, we were going to get out of Ballyk, make everyone happy. And suddenly, people began to turn up. Look!"
                They saw most of the townsfolk, and even some tourists, working together. Men with heavy machinery were moving the fallen tree, and others were on the roof, covering it with tarps. Someone had started a bonfire, and there was a chain of people throwing broken furniture, pieces of the tree, chunks of the roof into it.
 "Let's get some food and drink here," Assumpta said, and they headed back to the pub.
                When they returned, almost an hour later, it felt more like a party than a wake for the old house. Most of the work was done, and a fiddler had started to play. Someone else took out a whistle, and another fellow was beating the rhythm on a bucket. Peter and Assumpta started handing out sandwiches and coffee, and someone else passed around a bottle of whiskey. Sean just stood there, looking dazed.
                When Peter handed him a sandwich, he said, "I don't believe this! I never thought they'd do this for me. Look,even Padraig and Eamonn are helping!"
 Peter patted his shoulder. "Sean, when trouble hit, the people of Ballyk saw you as a neighbor. They're really good folks, you know. I've had my own experience with their forgiveness." He went back for some more food, and when he reached Assumpta, they became aware of a bit of a hush. People were dancing, but more of them seemed to be on the sidelines, watching. They walked over to see what was going on. Assumpta took a deep breath. Sean and Niamh were dancing together, and it was clear by the way they held one another, by the way they looked at one another, that there was something between them.
                "Oh,my," she said.
                "Yeah," he answered, then nudged her. "Look," he said. They saw Ambrose standing at the edge of the property, watching his wife and Sean, with a look of despair on his face.

                The gossips had plenty to talk about the next day. Assumpta watched for Niamh, not wanting to call the house. What would she say if Ambrose answered. Finally, in the middle of the morning, she saw Niamh walking down the street, wheeling Kieran in his stroller. Assumpta called to her, and beckoned her over. They went inside and Assumpta looked at her friend. "Do you not want to talk to me about something?" Niamh looked back and said coolly, "No, I don't think so."
                "Niamh, I was there! I saw!"
                "Niamh, stop this act! This is me, don't you think I know when something is happening to you?"
                "I don't know what you're talking about," Niamh said, getting ready to leave. Assumpta barred the door.
                "Niamh, if you can't talk to me about this, who, then? I'm not gossiping like the dragon across the way, who I've heard has had plenty to say all morning. I'm worried about you!"
                "Okay," she said.
                They set the children in the sitting area, and talked quietly where they could watch them. Niamh put her head in her hands and sighed. Assumpta just waited. Finally, Niamh looked up and said, "What do you think you saw?"
                "I saw the way you and Sean Dillon looked at one another. I think I saw why you've been cool to Ambrose. You tell me what I saw."
                "Assumpta, do you think you could understand if I told you I was falling in love with another man?"
                "Try me."
                "Okay, I've fallen in love with Sean. I'm not even ashamed to say it. It's totally differnt from what I felt for Ambrose. I was a girl it then, and full of curiousity. I wondered what it would be like to have my own house, to be the boss of it. I wanted a baby. I wanted to know what sex would be like. What I feel for Sean is...different."
                "How different?"
                "Well, he's a grownup, and when I'm with him, I feel grown up too.I talk to him and he listens. And I like when he talks to me, about growing up here with thst mean old man, about England, even about his wife. His mother died when he was young, and he told me that my mother was the only person around here who was interested in him. I don't know, Assumpta, I feel connected to him, in a way I never felt with Ambrose." She started to cry, and Assumpta reached over and took her hand.
                "What are you going to do?"
                "What can I do?" she sobbed. "Can I break Ambrose's heart? Can I disrupt Kieran's life? I'm not even sure what Sean wants, though I think he loves me. I don't know what I want!" She cried for a while, then stopped, and smiled tentatively at Assumpta. "Thanks, girl. It did help to talk about it." She got to her feet, collected her son, and left. Assumpta went on sitting at the table, her heart heavy, her mind full of questions. She took Josie in her arms and hugged her, remembering how it felt to love someone she wasn't supposed to love.


                Assumpta went on worrying. Niamh didn't come around, and she was in the dark as to what was happening in her friend's life. She wasn't comfortable keeping Niamh's secret, and she longed to talk to Peter, but she had promised.
                One afternoon, she looked out the door of the pub, hoping to see Peter coming home from work. She was getting near the end of her pregnancy and standing on her feet was a bit too much for her. She saw Peter walking with Ambrose, the two men talking, and he didn't come home for another hour. When he got there, he kissed her tenderly. "You look done in," he said.
                "Yeah, I'm a bit tired."
                "Well, come on upstairs and we'll get you off your feet." He put his hand on her shoulder and urged her up the stairs to their bedroom. Josie wanted Peter to play with her, but he settled her in her own room with her favorite dolls and returned to Assumpta.
                "Are you too tired to talk?" he asked.
                "No, of course not. What's up?"
                "I've just been talking to Ambrose. He's very upset, says that Niamh is drifting further away from him all the time. He thinks she may be....involved, with Sean Dillon. He's really frantic, and he asked if we would talk to her."
                "What could we possibly say?" She was not comfortable with the turn this conversation was taking.
                "Assumpta, come on! We could find out what's going on, try to talk some sense into her."
                "Peter, sit down," she said. He did, and she looked at him for a long time before speaking. "Peter, I have talked to her. I promised not to tell you this, but I think I must. She's in love with Sean."
                "Yeah. I don't think they're having an affair. She's in love, and thinks he is too. I'm not sure what she's going to do, but it's more serious than an affair."
                "What about Ambrose? What about her marriage, her vows? I remember her telling me once that she didn't hold with divorce."
                "I don't know!" she turned on her side, her eyes filling with tears.
                "Well, can you talk to her? Make her see what's at stake here?"
                She turned back to stare at him. "You want me to tell her what Father Mac told my mother? To stay with her husband and be miserable?" What he would have told me, she thought.
                "Assumpta..." he began.
                "Peter, if we can't understand what she's feeling, who can? I keep thinking what it was like for us! We had made vows too! Things change."
                "But Ambrose is our friend," he said. "We can't abandon him."
                "Niamh is my friend, my oldest one in the world, and I know she isn't happy. I can't tell her to stay with a man she doesn't love."
                The tears were flowing now, and Peter held her as closely as he could these days. "Don't cry, sweetheart. I just agreed to talk with her, and I promise I won't tell her what to do."
                "No," she said, "I don't think it should be you. She still tends to see you as her priest, an authority figure. I'll talk to her, try to find out what she's going to do."
                They lay side by side for a while, then Peter got up to tend to Josie, while she rested.

                There didn't seem to be an occasion when she could talk to Niamh, but one morning, she saw Ambrose grimly ticketing every car on the street, and she went over to the Garda house. She found Niamh sitting at her kitchen table, looking forlorn.
                "Why haven't you come to talk to me?" she said, taking Niamh's hand.
                Niamh took a deep breath. "Sean has asked me to to to London with him, to just leave."
                Assumpta found herself shaking. "Are you going to?"
                "I don't know. I don't know if I can face what's involved. I could never come back here for one. The whole town would hate me. What of Kieran? Can I take him away from his Daddy? His home? And what about my Dad? Could he ever forgive me? Could you?"
                "Oh, Niamh, how can you doubt that? Didn't you forgive me? I may not like this, but I do understand. I would juat want you to be very sure." She stroked the hand she was holding. "Are you?"
                "I don't know. Part of me just wants to run away, to be with Sean. But there's another part that says maybe this is too much to ask. Assumpta, I do love him. I want you to know that."
                "I know." She got clumsily to her feet. "Please don't do anything till this baby is born. I may be able to think more clearly then."
                "Oh, I won't! I want to be here for this baby. Please, Assumpta, don't worry about me. Conserve your strength!" She walked Assumpta to the door and hugged her.

                It was only a few days later that the baby was born, a boy, whom they had decided to name after both their fathers, as Josie was named for their mothers. John Matthew Clifford, a strong, healthy baby.
                The pub seemed to be running smoothly with Orla and Peggy in charge, and Assumpta was trying to stay away from the business, devoting herself to the children for a while. The four of them were sprawled on their bed one afternoon, and Assumpta suddenly thought about Niamh. She had come to see John after he was born, but had only come by one other time since then. "Peter," she asked. "Have you seen Niamh? I have the oddest feeling..."
                Before he could answer, the phone rang. He was back in a moment. "Assumpta, I have to go over to Niamh's and get Kieran. Something's happened to Ambrose."
                She waited apprehensively, and after a while, he brought the little boy up to see her and the baby.
                "What?" she asked.
                "An accident. Some kind of accident."
                By the time Niamh came, with Brian, the news had spread, and Peter heard it in the pub. Ambrose had tried to help some tourists trapped by the rising tide, and he'd fallen down the cliff. Supt. Foley had taken them to him, but it was too late. He was dead. Niamh looked stunned, lost. They persuaded her to lie down in the other room, and Brian took her there. When he returned, he sat down heavily, "She's asleep," he said. "What a tragedy. What's my girl going to do?" They didn't answer,and finally he got to his feet. "I'm taking Kieran to my house. Call me when she wakes up and I;ll come and get her."
                Peter saw him out and came back to Assumpta. He found her shaking, crying, and he took the baby from her, put him in his cradle and sat down next to her, holding her in his arms.
                "Peter, I can't bear this! I can't! Who is your God punishing?"
                "No, no," he said, "God doesn't do that."
                "That's what we were always told! 'It's God's will,' my mother would say!"
                "No, I don't believe that," he said. "I don't think God decides to punish or reward us in this life." He held her even closer.
                "I'm afraid," she wept.
                "Of what, sweetheart? What are you afraid of?" He stroked her hair, trying to calm her.
                "Promise me you won't die!"
                He didn't answer, just went on holding her, but she persisted. "Promise me! Promise!" What could he say? She was in no state for a rational discussion. "I promise," he whispered, adding a silent prayer.

                Somehow, they got through the wake and the funeral. Niamh kept Kieran close to her, and seemed to get comfort from Father Aidan. But they knew her grief was compounded by guilt, by shame, by regret. Emma came to see the Cliffords and told them thaty Niamh was refusing to see Sean. The townspeople, who had often thought of Ambrose as a joke, suddenly realized how much they had depended on him, how much they had loved him, and a makeshift shrine appeared at the Garda house, flowers and cards and hand-lettered signs. "I hope Niamh comes to see it," Assumpta said. "And I hope Kathleen gives her some peace."
                Peter shook his head. "If there is anyone in this town that Kathleen loves, it's Niamh, you know that. She won't make any trouble."
                "Ah, you always see the good in people," she said, and smiled for the first time in a week. "If I only had your faith that God was good."
                "I wish you did too," he said. He broached the subject gingerly. "You saw Ambrose's dying as God punishing Niamh, didn't you?"
                "Possibly," she said, looking down at her hands.
                "And that made you afraid?"
                "Of what?"
                She hesitated. "Peter, don't you ever feel guilty?"
                "For us?"
                "No!" he said. "I came to see that God was giving gift. Look at the blessings we've received, the life that we've made, the family we've created. Doesn't God smile on that?"
                "If He can smile, can't he also frown? Be dis-pleased?"
                "Sure, but punishment? Revenge? I don't see God that way!"
                "I know," she said softly. After a moment, she tapped his chest. "Would you say we've just had our first theological discussion, Father Clifford?"
                He smiled, and found another reason to take her in his arms. "I guess we have, MOTHER Clifford," he said.


                So many changes in Ballykissangel in the last six months. The tenants who lived in Assumpta's grandmother's house, which belonged to her, had grown old, and were moving north to live with their daughter, so the house could be theirs. Peter and Assumpta had gone over their finances and decided that they could afford to hire someone to manage the pub, at least for a few years.
                "Peter, you do understand that I can't sell it, let it go?" she asked.
                "It's all I have of my family, my past...." He assured her that he did, and showed her the figures again. Even paying a salary, they could afford it and live on what he earned.
                She had offered the job first to Orla, who refused. "You know, Assumpta, I've been here for more than two years, and I don't really see myself staying much longer. I'll help out for a while, but I don't want you counting on me."
 Several other young women came in to talk to her about the job, but no one seemed right to provide the kind of warmth and relaxed humor that she wanted. Then an older woman came in, with the ad in her hand, and they talked easily, as she demonstrated that she did know something about pulling pints and chatting people up, and she mentioned that she was a pretty good cook too. There was something familiar about her, and when she spoke of her children, and how she wanted to give them a solid home, a good base for them to grow up in, Assumpta suddenly realized who she was.
                "You're Oonagh Dooley, aren't you?"
                "Yes, I am," said Oonagh, her head held high. looking intently at her. "Is that a problem?"
                "It depends," Assumpta replied.
                "On whether your husband will be joining you."
                "No," she said firmly, " he will not."

                They talked a while longer, and Assumpta began to feel she'd found the right person. The regulars seemed to agree that evening, so it was settled. She and Oonagh talked more of Paul, about how Oonagh had come to see how little he cared for his family, getting caught up in one rotten scheme after another. She didn't want her children thinking that was the way to live, and she was determined to make a good life for them on her own. Once the Cliffords moved into the house at the end of the street, Oonagh and her kids could move upstairs over the pub. Liam and Donal had a lot of work to do, painting and repairing both places, and Brian was being surprisingly generous in the low prices he had quoted them.

                Niamh had left town, and had taken a flat in Dublin, sure that she couldn't live down the memories of Ambrose's death and her relationship with Sean Dillon. Assumpta had gone to see her several times, taking her children and Siobhan's daughter, so that Kieran could play with his friends from home. Niamh told her that her mother-in-law came regularly, that they'd had a big argument in which she had told Imelda how she resented her criticisms and unwanted advice, and that since then, the older woman had been wonderfully supportive and helpful.
                "What about Sean?" Assumpta had asked, and Niamh had turned away. "I'm not ready to think about that yet," she said, and changed the subject, asking about the news and gossip back home. It wasn't hard to see how homesick and lonely she was, and that Kieran wasn't happy either. He sobbed when they left, and driving home, Aisling asked why he and Auntie Niamh had to live so far away, wasn't there room in Mr. Quigley's house for them.. Assumpta asked herself how she could explain what she couldn't understand herself.

                Life in the village seemed to go on. After a time without their own Gard, a young woman had arrived and moved into Ambrose's old place. Frankie Sullivan looked a mere slip of a girl, but she apparently had good credentials and was settling in. She had an aunt in the village, which helped them to accept her as almost one of their own, less a fish out of water.
                Sean rarely came into the pub, but one day he came to talk to Assumpta. Sitting across the bar from her, he asked, "Have you seen her?"
                "Oh, yeah."
                "Does she ever mention me at all?"
                "She said she wasn't ready to think about you----yet."
                "Assumpta, I have to tell you that Brian gave me her phone number. And my daughter is pressing me to call her. But it's been only six months since Ambrose died, and I don't want to intrude on her too soon. But I miss her so. If I turned up at her flat, would she be angry, or glad to see me? What do you think?"
                "I don't know, Sean. I can't quite read her on this. She keeps it to herself." She sighed. "First time in our lives she hasn't asked my advice!" Not that she knew what that would be, she thought. This relationship confused her, but she realized that it was probably a good thing for Niamh that she wasn't involving anyone else. It seemed to be just the two of them. No girlish discussions, no long talks.
                He nodded. "Okay, I'll just have to decide on my own."

                He had apparently done just that, because two weeks later, he drove up to the pub with Niamh and Kieran, and what looked to be most of the stuff she'd moved with. Niamh ran in, hugged Assumpta and told her they were going to her father's and she'd be back later with news, big news.
                "Come to the house, then," Assumpta said, "we've moved to my Granny's house, did you know? I'll put the kids to bed and we can talk." She thought she knew what the news might be. She was right, there would be a wedding.
                "So, Assumpta, will you be my maid of honor again? Or 'matron'. I guess it's called. And Sean says he'd like Peter to.....what's the matter?" she said, seeing the look on Assumpta's face.
                "I don't think that's a good idea," she said. "You won't be wanting reminders of the past, and that would be really weird, all of us at the altar again! I think you should ask Emma, and Sean could have Brendan, I mean they knew one another when they were kids."
                "You know, you may be right," Niamh said thoughtfully. "Well, I think Emma would be pleased. But you'll be there for me, won't you?"
                "Of course, you eejit! I'll even cater a feast for you!" The two women embraced, holding one another tightly.
                There was a lot to do, and with no shortage of bombshells in their lives, Sean threw another, He felt he couldn't live in Ballyk, where he'd always be "one of those Dillons". He wanted to go back to London, where he felt he could be his own man, but he promised Niamh that she could come to visit often. "And you come to England, don't you," he asked Assumpta, "to see Peter's family? Well, Manchester's not that far from London." Niamh seemed very happy, despite this turn of events, and she and Assumpta and Siobhan spent a good bit of time together, watching their children, reminiscing, enjoying the special friendship of women. It was like old times, with the bittersweet knowledge that it would soon be over.

                The wedding went smoothly, and Oonagh and Assumpta had put together a really festive wedding feast. Brian seemed to have accepted that his daughter and grandson would be leaving. It was as though he too had come to see Niamh as a grown-up woman, and he toasted her and Sean with a beautiful speech that brought tears to many eyes. "If you love someone, and are fortunate enough to be loved in return, it doesn't matter where in the world you are, what matters is that love, and not the location." He lifted his glass. "To love." Everyone chorused, "To love!" and Peter took Assumpta's hand as they toasted.
                The rain started just as Niamh and Sean were getting ready to drive off, and the guests all fled amidst laughter and joking. Peter and Assumpta gathered up their children and raced to the pub, with the cleanup job ahead of them. "Like old times," she said, watching him dry the dishes she'd washed.
 He put down the towel and bent to kiss her. "My girl," he murmured into her ear, "those times have never left." He held her close, and they began to laugh as Josie came to hug their legs, saying, "Me too!"
                They had so little time to be alone together these days. When Oonagh saw them in the kitchen, she sent them home, assuring them that she and Orla and the girls she had hired for the day could finish up. When they got out of the van, each carrying a child, Peter asked, "Are you ready for another bit of news?"
                "Oh, my God, what now?"
                "Aidan is leaving."
                "What? Can this place not hold onto a priest? Where is he going?"
                "He's been telling me for a while that he misses the monastic life, that living here has been great, but the world is too much with him. No time for contemplation, he says, too many temptations. So he's going back to the monastery."
                "Well!" she said, "I wonder if Orla knows this, if that's why she's not staying."
                "She can't follow him to the monastery!"
                She was changing John and looked up. "Peter, she may have come in the first place to see her brother, but she stayed for other reasons. She had a place here, y'know."
                "Yeah, she did fit in, especially at the pub. I thought she might have been ready to settle down somewhere, stop wandering."
                "Maybe," she said reflectively, "or maybe there is someone here."
                "Conor? I thought that was over."
                "No, she said he wasn't enough of a shark for her."
                "I'm not sure. I've had an idea that she and.....never mind. My suspicious nature at work."

                Later that evening, she asked, "Will you miss him then, Father Aidan?"
                "I guess. He really is a good fellow, and he's a decent priest. I'm not sure how much he'll be missed. People don't see how much he's done, because he's quiet and low key. The chorus and the youth group now, they'll miss him."
                "I wonder who they'll get next," she said, raising her eyebrows at him. "Good thing they can't recycle priests!"