My words and I are still too far apart to trust that I will find the ones I want and need to express my thanks for your warm, generous comments.
What I am able to report is that members of Gloria's circle did arrive as I was falling asleep, with hints at some progress in their storyline, though there remain gaps to be filled, as soon as I can.
Well before her normal opening time, Gloria's silhouette appeared to Mr. Guscott and Mr. Apotienne as they approached the shop's kitchen door. The wind had not yet risen, weighty fog muffled sounds and dampened potted flowers on the back porch. Having behaved as though all was holiday and leisure for the two balmy days, Cove dwellers and visitors now took up their ordinary labors with barely audible harrumphing that suggested they were recovering from collective truantism.
Mr. Guscott was launching himself onto the next phase of his journey that would eventually carry him back to Asian tea-growing regions, as close as he had come in a long time to calling a place home. He insisted that Mr. Apotienne join him and Gloria for their tradition of a quiet, customer-free morning meal before his departure. The warmth of the past two days seemed to have stuck the men together like a box of Junior Mints left in a parked car. Each knew he had found, at the very least, a fine, reliable and mature pen pal. They had scarcely begun to consider all that they had in common for Cove high-jinx had taken up most of the talking hours, which neither of them regarded with the slightest regret. Here and there around the Cove residents wore their Hawaiian shirts over long-sleeved tees or even hooded sweatshirts. It was too soon to relinquish every trace of summer madness.