The Inveraray Compound
The short trip from Montreal to Charlottetown was a quiet and uneventful flight, arriving in the late afternoon. Adam was waiting for Evelyn at the arrival gate along with half a dozen others. The flight had been delayed due to the stormy overnight weather and had only been half full when it finally arrived.
Adam saw her through the dusk and blowing snow heading for the entrance. She was wrapped in a heavy plaid shawl with her head bent to the wind. Even though he couldn’t see much through the snow she appeared even lovelier than he had remembered from two years ago. As she entered the waiting area she spotted him and her face broke into a beautiful smile. His first instinct was to rush up take her in his arms and kiss her. Instead he moved to meet her with a gentle hug and a brotherly kiss on the cheek. She was the first girl who had ever attracted him in such a way. In the brief moment holding her in his arms his heart had missed a beat. He was struggling to find suitable words of greeting while hoping his nervousness wasn’t too obvious. Evelyn had no such inhibitions; by the time they reached his car she was talking up a storm. He drove out of the parking area slowly, the snow was slippery and in some places quite deep. The main roads had been plowed so he didn’t think he’d have a problem getting back to Hunter River. He blushed slightly trying to explain; that as she hadn’t mentioned accommodations he’d prepared the spare room at the manse. “That will be lovely Adam, I can’t think of a safer place for a wee single girl than in a church manse alone with a handsome minister”. They both burst out laughing; this was indeed the lovely wee Scots Lassie he remembered.
Twenty minutes later they pulled into the driveway of the manse, shut the car off and made a dash for the front door. A swirl of snow blew off the eaves invading the hallway before he could close the door. Adam took their outerwear and hung them in the hall closet, they kicked off their snowy footwear then Adam guided Evelyn into the warm living room. “You must be hungry, I have clam chowder simmering on the stove” “Maybe a drink first Adam, we have much to talk about and I’m sure you are just dying to know why I’m here”.
Adam laughed, “Yes that question has crossed my mind”. He poured two glasses of Bushmills and handed one to Evelyn. I hope offering you an Irish whiskey wont cause any rebellious trouble with the Highland clans? “No trouble at all, however, when I explain why I’m here you might need a real Scottish single malt”?
Evelyn began telling the long saga of what had brought her to Adam’s home. Adam slowly sipped his whiskey not interrupting, even though he had many burning questions to ask. Evelyn was explaining how when she was about to leave for Canada the capsule had arrived. It came in the night quietly delivered by a British submarine almost to their doorstep in Inveraray. She couldn’t hide her enthusiasm while describing the capsule and comparing its shape vaguely to a goldfish bowl, explaining the cockpit and the highly advanced equipment contained within the tiny vessel. She explained the importance of the mission and how all Christian denominations and governments supported it across the world. The unbelievable amount of money required to fund this enormous project. She weighed the risks and dangers of the mission against the perils the world was facing. She stopped to catch her breath and take a long sip of her whiskey.
Adam said, “Okay let’s go to the kitchen and eat. I don’t know about you but your almost unbelievable story has given me a raging appetite.
Between mouthfuls of chowder Adam waited to ask the question he was most curious about. “Evelyn, Of course I’m delighted to have you visit, but I have to confess I’m somewhat baffled to learn of this fascinating story of time travel. However, I’m completely in the dark as to why you are here and why you are telling me this. Adam paused for a second. This is an aah, obviously highly classified story of which I’m about to learn”. “Oh! Adam, I never could fool you could I Smiled Eve. “No you couldn’t, so please enlighten me” he answered.
“Adam, if everything goes as planned the capsule will travel back two thousand years to the time when Jesus walked the earth. The travelers that land there will need a comprehensive knowledge of the people the culture and the language. That’s where you come in; you are fluent in both Hebrew and Latin. You have a good knowledge and understanding of the history during those times and you are a theologian. I need your expertise, but more importantly I need you. I want you to be my co-pilot on this, the greatest adventure ever undertaken by the human race”.
“My Goodness Eve, I don’t know what to say or believe, is this really possible”? Do our church leaders believe we can actually go back in time to ask Jesus to advise us what we should do about the world situation? I need another drink this is insane. You have just turned my world upside down; everything I have ever believed in is down the drain. No, Eve it’s just not possible, it can’t be. What became of asking the Lord for guidance through prayer? We can’t just drop in on the last supper and ask the Lord for a few pointers. Christians are taught they must follow and trust in the Bible, do those things and we will find the answers. Besides Eve, I can’t just up and leave my church and the people who need me. “That has already been taken care of; a replacement minister will arrive tomorrow. The United Church have approved your involvement in this project and transferred you to us. I really need you Adam, without you we can’t proceed and we must. The future of the world depends on the success of this mission. I’m so sorry Adam, I wish I could just say okay and go find someone else, but I can’t there just isn’t enough time. Adam, if I’m truthful and there was someone else qualified for this mission, I would still want you. This is the most daunting, dangerous and perilous thing I have ever contemplated in my entire life. But it is also the most exciting project that has ever been attempted by the human race. Without you at my side Adam, I don’t think I’d be able to confront the risks and dangers that might unfold on this mission. I need you Adam, more than just for the mission, but because I long ago fell in love with you. If the capsule fails to reach its destination or fails to return, or we are stranded in another time, it is you I want at my side, no one else”.
Adam poured a glass of whiskey and drank it down in one quick swallow. Smiling he turned to Eve and said “I guess my choices are limited to one so I suppose I had better go pack. As he stood Eve came into his arms kissing him in a long and passionate kiss. Adam holding her tightly in his arms whispered in her ear, I love you too and wherever you go I shall be there with you. After what seemed like hours they separated and stood smiling at each other. As Adam took her hand she said, we don’t need a spare bedroom tonight. Hand in hand they walked into Adam’s bedroom and closed the door.
They rose early the next morning; they had to be at the airport by eight o’clock. Packing had been very simple, after all, where he was going he wasn’t going to need much in the way of twenty first century fashion.
A small RAF jet was waiting on the tarmac for them when they arrived. Within a few minutes they were at thirty thousand feet and racing through the air at an incredible speed. The plane would land in Glasgow at approximately 1300 hrs. But remembering the time difference it was only 9 am in Scotland. An RAF helicopter would be waiting to rush them to the final destination of Inveraray. Adam sat back in his seat staring out of the porthole at the empty sky. His mind was in a tumult, he was struggling with the realization that he was going back in time to meet Jesus. It was a crazy idea and he must be just as crazy by going along with it.
Women! That’s why he was here, Eve could always twist him around her little finger, he knew it, and she knew it. He decided he might as well accept it and stop worrying, whatever would be would be. Feeling the plane dipping abruptly toward the City of Glasgow he inched his seat belt tighter and awaited the bump as the wheels touched down. Just a few hours ago he was in bed and making love to Eve, now he was a couple of thousand miles from home and about to land in Scotland.
Waiting for the plane to taxi to the arrival area Adam wondered how he had come to be in this situation. Was this something ordained by a greater power? What had motivated him to study Hebrew languages and Latin and enter the ministry? Why in this day and age did he choose to studies a remote language like Aramaic? Did God have a special purpose for him? If that was so, was he about to discover what that purpose was. A blast of cold air shocked him out of his reverie as the cabin door swung wide. Snow was swirling around just outside the door; he zipped his parka and offered his hand to Eve. As they stepped onto the frozen runway the full force of a Scottish winter hit them. An airman ushered them across the tarmac to the waiting chopper. Once more they were airborne within minutes, whoever was running this show certainly was well organized. It was impossible to see the take off through the windows; the downdraft from the rotors and the blowing snow had created a blizzard. Adam had never flown helicopters during his time in the RCAF, but he understood the difficulties the pilot must be encountering in the dreadful weather. Gusts buffeted the craft in waves pushing them from side to side as they were gaining height and trying to make headway. Evelyn seemed calm and unfazed by the drama-taking place in the cockpit as the pilot struggled to get above the storm.
Once they reached their cruising height and they were out of the snow the flight settled down to a steady forward motion. Adam’s headset crackled to life as the pilot came on line. He informed them the trip would take approximately forty-five minutes to reach Inveraray. He suggested they keep their seat belts fastened, as they would soon be descending into the storm again for the landing. Adam might have dozed off, for in what seemed like only moments later the pilot was talking again. ”Hold on tight folks we are here and going down is likely going to be a bumpy ride, but not to worry I’ll soon have you safe on the ground”.
Fifteen minutes later they were back out in the blinding snow and racing toward the headlights of a waiting Land Rover. Eve and Adam clambered into the back seat flinging their few belongings over the seat and into the back. The driver said, “Okay folks, belt up and hold on tight we have a twenty-minute drive ahead and the roads are not good”. Adam was attempting to peer through the windshield with each sweep of the wipers as they cleared the snow. He came to the conclusion the driver must be guiding the Land Rover by instinct; he surely couldn’t see the road they were supposed to be following. After bouncing and skidding over a rough and winding trail finally dim lights appeared through the heavy snow. Slowly they grew brighter as the vehicle climbed the last few yards to the main entrance of the base. They had arrived safely; Adam’s watch was still running on the Atlantic Time zone, it was 4 pm. While here in Inveraray people were sitting down to a late supper.
Since they had not eaten since breakfast they were both hungry and hoped a good hot meal had been laid on for their arrival.
They were led into the main lounge at the camp where it was warm and inviting. A marvelous aroma of something delicious cooking invaded their nostrils. Mary anxiously waited beside a crackling wood fire as the pair shook the snow off their bulky winter clothing. Eve was hardly out of her parka before her mother rushed up to embrace her. “Eve I’m so glad you are here, I thought you might be delayed by this dreadful weather. No mother we are fine our flight was very smooth, please let me introduce you to my very good friend the Rev Adam Craswell. I’m so pleased to finally meet you Dr MacIntyre; Eve has told me so much about you”. “Adam! You are in the Highlands now; we have no titles here first names only.” Please call me Mary”.
“You both must be famished after that long journey; our cook has been working all day preparing you a very special meal. While we wait for her to lay the table lets have a drink to celebrate, you do take a dram don’t you Adam”? “Mother, Adam prefers Irish whiskey; I don’t suppose you have any around do you? Of course I do, only the best for our Irish Canadian volunteer. I’m greatly relieved Mary, because it was through the drinking Irish whiskey last night that caused me to volunteer in the first place”. Eve laughed. “Surely not just the whiskey Adam, what about my irresistible charm? “Do you see what I mean Mary? I didn’t stand a chance against your beautiful daughter!”