Off course, this isn’t the “going to bat” I mean, but as an aside, they did have baseball in 1864.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about Maggie’s encounter with Josiah Norton in The Good Community. I have added to my work-in-progress since then and now Josiah goes to Eli’s office to complain about the way Maggie has treated him.
I love Eli’s respect and love for his wife. He stands up for her when necessary, encourages her to follow her heart, and literally has taken a bullet or three for her.
I don’t have much time to write a full blog, as today was rather full. But I hope you enjoy this rough snippet from The Good Community.
Eli looked up. Josiah Norton was standing in his office doorway. Danny was behind him, looking anxious.
“I’m sorry, sir,” Danny stammered. “He wouldn’t wait for me to announce you.”
Eli smiled reassuringly at the boy. “It’s fine. You may return to the reception desk, Danny.”
With a nod, the boy left.
Still smiling, Eli folded his hands and rested them on the desk. “Well, Mr. Norton, to what do I owe the pleasure? Or did you come over just to upset my receptionist?”
Josiah glowered at him. “Mr. Smith…”
His voice was booming. and Eli was sure it could be heard through most of the building. Not an accident, he decided.
“I understand that you have a somewhat unconventional family.”
“I do, indeed.”
“But have you no control over your wife?”
As he continued to smile, Eli stood, took his cane, walked to the door, and shut it. When he turned, his smile had vanished. “Mr. Norton, I understand that you enjoy charging about like a bull moose, but I need to educate you about something.” His voice dropped to a low, controlled tone. “This is my newspaper. You are in my office. You will never come in here again and throw your weight around as if I am your inferior and this is one of your buildings.”
“Point taken.” Josiah’s posture was stiff. He seemed to expect a fight.
“Secondly…” Eli took a step toward the other man, knowing full well that Josiah could take him down. And yet he let his voice drop lower, so it rumbled in his chest. “You do not tell me how to treat my wife. She is not my employee, nor is she my servant. She is an intelligent, compassionate human being, and she is my partner through life. My partner. Do you understand?”
When Josiah opened his mouth to speak, Eli held up a hand.
“I know how I appear, Mr. Norton. I’m portly. I wear spectacles. I was shot three times almost three and a half years ago. One bullet struck my leg and left me dependent upon this cane.” He chuckled softly. “You know, I’m starting to feel a bit like Saint Paul.”
“I have been given a thorn in the flesh. But don’t be deceived by my apparent weakness. I am learning to live with my infirmity. Perhaps someday I will glory in it. As Saint Paul said, ‘when I am weak, then I am strong.’ And just maybe I will learn, as my dear wife hopes, that God’s grace is sufficient.”
“I don’t understand.”
Eli took a breath. “In short, don’t test me, sir. I am not what I appear. And I have a pen. Do you take my meaning?”
Josiah’s eyes narrowed as he nodded.
“Fine.” Eli indicated the sofa. "Please sit." He returned to his desk, and sat down. “Now, why don’t we discuss your issue like the rational men we are?”
Hmmm.... I wonder how that turns out! More later.
 2 Corinthians 12:6-10
Janet Stafford, Squeaking Pips Founder