Miss Esther held Carrots closely in her arms and moved quickly down the street.
“Meow!” Carrots was clearly relieved to be found, but Miss Esther could tell he wasn’t feeling very good.
“It’s okay, Carrots. We’re going to get you to Susanna as quickly as possible.” Miss Esther caught sight of Danny Dog helping a customer out of his Air Basket. “It looks like we might be able to go right up.”
“Why, Miss Esther, so soon?” Danny Dog’s blue eyes were surprised. “Ah, you found Carrots!”
“Yes, and Danny, I’m afraid he’s hurt badly.” Miss Esther paused to catch her breath after walking so fast.
“I’m so sorry!” Danny Dog shook his head. “Well, there’s no one else in line, Miss Esther. I can send you straight up, if you like.”
“Oh, yes, please! Thank-you so much, Danny.”
“No trouble at all, Miss Esther.” Danny Dog held out his paws. “Here, I’ll hold Carrots while you climb in and then I’ll hand him to you.”
Miss Esther carefully gave Danny her cat and then scrambled as best she could into the Air Basket. She tumbled the last inch but was delighted to land upright on her seat.
“There!” Miss Esther straightened her hat and held out her hands for Carrots. “All set.”
“Very good.” Danny Dog handed Carrots to her with great care and then sprang back down the steps.
“Yes, Carrots. We’re going up. We’ll be home before too long.” Esther gathered Carrots close, being careful not to hurt his injured leg.
“Up we go!” Danny Dog rang his bell and gave Miss Esther a warm smile.
Miss Esther felt the basket lurch and then lift off. She concentrated on keeping Carrots still and didn’t look to see how very high they were getting.
There was a quick jerk and Robby Raccoon’s face came into view.
“Ah, Miss Esther, you found Carrots!” The raccoon smiled broadly and then looked concerned. “Is something wrong?”
“I’m afraid he’s hurt himself by mistake. We’re going to find Susanna.” Miss Esther tried to keep her voice calm.
“Here, I’ll take Carrots while you climb out.” Robby held out his paws.
In no time at all Miss Esther found herself once again on the carpeted street of the upper village. She paid Robby for their fare and then took up Carrots.
Soon she was walking quickly past the university, the lighthouse, the Bethany Bread House and the library.
“It’s okay, Carrots, we’re not too far from the hospital.” Miss Esther saw with relief that they were at last on Woodland Street. “Just a little ways now.”
Miss Esther passed her own front door and Sarai’s TeaShop. Then down another flight of shelves to Bubble Lane. At last she raised a hand and knocked at the white entrance.
“Come in! Good afternoon…why Esther!” Susanna looked up quickly from her stand beside a long table. “What is wrong?”
Miss Esther almost laughed with relief. “It’s Carrots. He tried to walk the heater grating and hurt his leg. Can you make sure it’s alright?”
“Of course! Come here, Carrots.” Susanna reached out and took the small cat in her strong arms. “Let’s see what’s wrong.”
Susanna laid Carrots down on her long table and gently felt his tiny legs.
“Meow!” Carrots let out a cry as she felt his right foreleg.
Susanna felt along the bone and then moved it gently. “Praise the Lord, it’s just a sprain! His bones seem fine.”
Miss Esther leaned against the table and took a deep breath. “I was going to wait till tonight but he seemed to be in such pain I thought I’d bring him right to you.”
Susanna nodded. “I’ll bandage it up.”
Susanna rubbed some healthy salve on Carrots injured leg and then tied it up carefully so he wouldn’t move it by mistake.
“There!” Susanna scratched under the cat’s chin. “That should help! I’ll put a new one on in a few days.”
“Thank-you so much, Susanna.” Miss Esther reached into her purse and drew out a couple pennies. She dropped them into the tin on the corner of the table. “We’ll enjoy the afternoon so much more.”
“A pleasure.” Susanna smiled. “Are you okay going back by yourself?”
“Yes.” Miss Esther lifted Carrots up easily. “It’s not that far.”
“Stop and get a cup of tea at Sarai’s.” Susanna began cleaning up her table. “Her peppermint tea is the best.”
“I might do that.” Miss Esther gave her sister a warm smile. “Thanks again, Susanna. I’ll see you at dinner.”
Miss Esther stood to one side as another patient came through the door.
“Ah, Dilly Dolphin, how are you? And how is little Dubby?” Susanna was on to her next nursing project.
Miss Esther moved out into the street. “Susanna is a good nurse, isn’t she, Carrots? God has given her a real gift!”
Miss Esther climbed back up the shelves and found herself at Sarai’s TeaShop.
“Good afternoon, Miss Esther! Can I serve you in any way today?”
Miss Esther suddenly realized her legs were very tired. “A cup of tea would be lovely. It has been a very full day.”
“Peppermint as usual?”
“Yes, thank-you.” Miss Esther sank down on a tin stool and let Carrots rest on the floor beside her.
“And how is Carrots today?” Sarai poured a dish of milk and set it down beside Carrots.
“Better.” Miss Esther looked up with a weary smile. “There was a bit of an accident, but Susanna has bandaged him up. He should be back up and about soon.”
“I’m glad to hear it!” Sarai pushed a small teacup across the counter. “Some cake with your tea? It’s gluten free, sugar free, dairy free and all natural!”
Miss Esther chuckled. “That sounds lovely, Sarai. Thank-you.”
“Yes, Carrots.” Miss Esther ran a hand over Carrot’s back. “I’m hungry too. Shall we pray and thank the Lord for our tea?”
Miss Esther bowed her head and was quite sure Carrots did too. “Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for watching over us this morning and for Susanna’s help. We pray that Carrots leg would heal quickly and that you would give us the patience to wait in the meantime. Thank You for our tea and milk, and the tea cake too. In Christ’s Name, Amen.”
“Meow.” Carrots obviously agreed.
Carrots buried his nose in the dish of milk and Miss Esther turned back to her tea.
The cake was delicious and so was the peppermint tea. She and Sarai chatted about the upcoming concert, the newest book at the library and what they were reading in their quiet times.
“I’ve been so impressed with the selflessness of Christ in the book of Hebrews.” Sarai wrapped her hands around her own cup of tea. “That He would leave His glory in heaven and come to live on earth with us is amazing.”
“It is!” Miss Esther politely licked the last of the cherry topping from her fork. “In between looking for Carrots I’ve kept thinking about what I read in John this morning. Jesus found doing His Father’s will very satisfying. More satisfying than eating.” She chuckled. “More delicious than even strawberry shortcake. This was scrumptious as usual, Sarai.”
“Thank you.” Sarai smiled warmly. “It’s my Aunt Melissa’s recipe. She has the knack for anything sweet.”
Miss Esther nodded and slid a couple pennies across the counter. “It’s been lovely chatting with you, Sarai. You’ve helped make my day.”
“Aw, thank-you.” Sarai slid the pennies into a jar. “I’ve loved talking with you too. I’ll be praying that Carrots feels better soon.”
“Thank-you.” Esther reached down to claim Carrot’s empty milk dish and set it back up on the counter. Then she picked up her cat and rose to go. “Have a wonderful afternoon, Sarai!”
“I will! Princess Ella has asked me to bring tea up to the castle tonight. King Teddy-O-So-Grand is having company.”
“How wonderful! Enjoy.” Miss Esther made sure she had everything. “If you think of it, do pass on my greetings!”
“I’ll do that!” Sarai waved and then turned to serve her next customer.
“Oh dear! I must have left my basket at the side of the road!” Miss Esther pressed a hand to her head. “When sisters get home I’ll see if one of them can go find it.”
There was a gentle tap on the door.
Miss Esther hurried to open it and was surprised to see Less, the grocer’s son, standing on her door step.
“Why, Less, what a pleasant surprise!”
“I found your basket when I was returning from an errand and heard about what happened to Carrots.” Less’s green ears flopped in his eagerness. “Dad filled up the basket with your usual order and I just brought it up. Hope we didn’t miss anything!”
“Thank-you so much!” Miss Esther motioned the bunny in. “Let me get my purse.”
“Hi ya, Carrots!” Less waved a paw as soon as he caught sight of Carrots resting in the basket near the stove. “Sorry you’re not feeling the best. Mom said potato soup is always good when one is feeling poorly.”
Miss Esther found her purse and turned to pay Less for the groceries. “I was thinking vegetable soup would be just the thing for tonight. With your delivery, I can do just that.”
Less beamed and took the coins between his paws. “Our pleasure. While Carrots is getting better, just call and we can send up the groceries. I come up this way to deliver to Sarai anyway.”
“Thank-you, Less. I’d be so grateful. Priscilla and Susanna have their hands full with work right now.”
Less nodded. “Alright! I’ll see you soon. Got another basket to deliver to Sarai! Have a good one!”
Less hopped away before Miss Esther could say more. She shut the door and then knelt beside Carrots to make sure he was still comfortable.
“Isn’t the Lord good to us, Carrots? He just looks out for everything!”
“Meow!” Carrots sounded sleepy.
Miss Esther smiled. “I’ll take that as a ‘yes’.”
Then she rose and turned back to her kitchen table.
It was time to make dinner.