Dispatch from Forbearance Presbyterian Church
Nell and the No-Fault Exchange
by Charlotte Johnstone
When Marge Paley came to Rev. Hustisford
in late spring with her concerns about 17-year-old Nell Dorsey,
her intentions couldn't have been clearer. Marge, who ran a small
farm some distance outside of town, was not one to beat about
the bush. "Persuade Nell's parents to give me Nell for the
summer," she said. "I've known that girl since she
was a baby. I've watched her grow up in this church and I can
tell you right now that she's in trouble. Her parents are good
people, but they're not the right people for her right now. Nell
is disappearing, wasting away from the inside out and no one
is doing anything about it. I know the Dorseys love their daughter,
but Nell needs me this summer and, more importantly, she needs
my farm. I want you to make her parents see that."
Rev. Hustisford, who well knew Nell's situation, was startled,
yet intrigued. Working on a farm for the summer was not, he was
sure, what Hugh and Evelyn Dorsey would consider appropriate
for Nell, but he also knew that they were so baffled by their
daughter that they might just agree to what could be construed
as a respite, a change and a timeout.
Nell, you see, was her parents' perfect
girl and, as people of considerable means, they had given her
a fine home, the best schools, beautiful clothes, numerous
travel opportunities and lessons in everything from etiquette
to ballet. Every advantage, that is, except their own listening
hearts-and they hadn't, even yet, realized what was missing.
Their aspirations for Nell came naturally to them and Nell's
obedient nature had only confirmed their priorities for her.
Nell was a good girl, well-mannered, intelligent and lovely,
but she had always known that she was not the person her parents
thought she was.
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