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 In her early forties and still unmarried, Faith Thomas continued to dream and wish. She pushed aside one of those nervous curls that escaped her knotted hair and stood before the fireplace mantel. Contemplating the well-arranged array of wooden bowls, she smiled.

     Each one was filled with a gift, a reason, a proverb or remedy. Faith’s collection had grown since she had arrived in Worthforall. Tenderly, Faith chose the one that had brought her to this rather desolate village hidden in the Rocky Mountains. The bowl with a past, a mission the bowl that was answering her longtime wish for some excitement, a change, something new. Softly she removed a yellowish envelope and gently slipped out the letter and read it again: Letter

     Snugly, Faith put her aunt’s words back in the envelope and replaced the letter next to the will and hand-drawn map. She hugged the bowl tightly to her breast and reminisced. Only four months had passed, but it all seemed so long ago.

     Her square Chicago apartment and cubicle office where she had lived and worked since twenty years. Carrying the grief of her departed parents as an only child. The monotony of every day as the subway scooped her up each morning to dump her back home every night. The crabby doorman she healed with her special cookies. Her hot Friday night date with the oven as together they baked little oatmeal treats, guaranteed to bring a smile. The arrival of her first wooden bowl, her aunt and uncle’s gift and their wish for Worthforall. Leaving her best friend Pearl had been difficult. Saying goodbye to would-be suitor Kent a relief. Gerald’s last coffee offer was almost tearful, just as leaving her neighbor of twenty years.

     All those endless miles with her patchworked beloved old car, which she called Rubbish. Faith brushed a tear aside from her large green eyes as she remembered the first image of her aunt and uncle’s village. Worthforall looked like a gray ghostly hole in the middle of a green fertile valley. She shivered and recalled her words as if it were yesterday, “If that’s Worthforall, then I’ll paint it.” Faith picked up her head proudly. She was doing exactly that, painting the village.

     The bowl warmed her hands. She thought back to her late relatives. “Aunt Maud left me her kitchen window and Jed all his wooden bowls. Their animals have adopted me and the house on the hill has become my home.” She touched the letter. “Could a small piece of destiny be missing?”

     She picked up the diary bequeathed to her by the village founder’s daughter; dear Mrs. Hightstown’s path into the future. Faith read out loud. “Renovate, paint the village yellow, bake, and sell your sweet and savory village treats, open Worthforall to the world. Invite and receive.”

     She focused on her cookies; they were selling by the dozen-faster than she could bag them. Working at home with Luke, the man she loved, was a dream come true. His mysterious appearance in her life still raised unanswered questions, but she remained steadfast in her hopes. Making new friends in the village had been complicated but rewarding.

     “I have made it happen. Worthforall is about to be put back on the map.” Content, Faith sat down; she again plucked up the envelope as on her knees the bowl wobbled. Thinking of the yellow diary, its exquisite words and pictures, she mused, “Is there something I have overlooked?”

     Catching the bowl with one hand, the letter fell to the floor. She watched it shimmy into place beside her white flour-dusted shoe and then swiftly picked it up. Gently Faith set the yellow diary inside the bowl, beside the map, letter and will, on a bed of cookie crumbs. Snatching a warm cookie from its cooling sheet, more crumbs sprinkled into the wooden bowl. Faith inspected the cookie, closed her eyes, took a bite, and said, “Little cookie, I sure do hope we can keep our secret.”