21 March 2007

The Fastidious Ebenezer Hill

The Fastidious Ebenezer Hill (an original essay by Granpappy)

Ebenezer Hill, or Mister Hill, as he was known to us who lived in these parts, occupied a one-room cabin that he said was built on land that belonged to his family since “way back when”. No one disputed the claim because none of us had ever been here way back then to see the cabin being built, or by whom. He was a very fastidious person, keeping the cabin and surrounding area clear of all dust and debris. At least, that was the story told from time to time, whenever his name crept into the conversation, or when Mister Hill came striding into view. No one of recent acquaintance had ever set foot in the cabin, so there were no eyewitnesses to the fact of the fastidiousness of his domicile. But eyebrows were raised at the mention of the claim.
I remember not too long ago that Jonathan Whitehall reported a close encounter of Mister Hill, stating that his fingers had the look of a permanent brown stain of nicotine and that he (Mister Hill) was surrounded by the stinking aura of burned tobacco. Jonathan, apparently, had seen Mister Hill without his usual formal grey driving gloves, a rare occasion indeed. And to catch the odor of anything other than his bay rum toilette water was a near miracle in itself. Everyone down at Brinkman’s General Store wondered if perhaps young Jonathan hadn’t dreamt the encounter. However, we were soon to learn the truth of the matter.
It was the following Saturday that Constable Pike walked into Oliver’s Barber Shop for his usual beard trim and haircut. When he entered, Constable Pike looked as though he was just about bursting with some kind of news, so it didn’t take Mr. Oliver long to question it out of him. The way it came out was that a group of men, acquaintances of Mister Hill, arranged to meet at Mister Hill’s cabin to discuss some kind of business proposition. Against Mister Hill’s wishes, several of the men began to smoke cigars inside the cabin. Despite the importance of the business being discussed, Mister Hill insisted that the gentlemen smoke their cigars outside. Well, as happens occasionally, one thing led to another and finally Mister Hill ushered them all out, but not before he had crushed their cigars in his sink. Needless to say, that left his hands stained, and cigar smoke permeating his clothing. Shortly thereafter, Mister Hill arrived in town to consult with Constable Pike about possible repercussions over the incident at his cabin. It was during that trip that young Jonathan had had his brief encounter with Mister Hill and had made his report to all and sundry. To top off the incident, Constable Pike, in response to further questions, admitted the he had accompanied Mister Hill to the cabin to ascertain the gentlemen had indeed left the area, and was delighted to report to one and all that the cabin was certainly kept in a fastidious manner. Needless to say, not a few were disappointed to find their suspicions laid to rest.

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