I dawdled a bit to talk to Miss Laura Mae one morning as she put plum butter and a piece of bacon on the hot biscuit she’d split for me. “Floyd died twenty years ago today. It shore don’t seem like it?”
That caught my attention. “Who shot him?”
She and Mother both burst out laughing. “Why nobody shot him, honey. He just got sick and died.”
“Looks like she’s been watching too much ‘Gunsmoke’.” Mother said, but I could tell she wasn’t really mad. “Linda, don’t be asking stuff that’s none of your business. Get your biscuit and go stand on the top step!” Mother sputtered. I certainly knew better than to ask nosey questions, but sometimes my curiosity got the best of me.
“She didn’t mean no harm,” Miss Laura chuckled, “But I tell you who I could’a shot.”
I lingered on the top step to listen in. I needed to know who Miss Laura Mae could’a shot.
“Floyd come in awful sick after work one Friday evenin’. He had a pain in his groin an’ it was all swole up. I couldn’t get him to let me call the doctor, but he was ready to go long before daylight. Betty Lou and the baby come to stay with the kids while me an’ her ol’ man Roy took Floyd in to the doctor in his truck. They done surgery soon as we got there, but Floyd had done got gangrene in his intestines. They wasn’t a thing they could do. I stayed with Floyd and Roy went on home to tend to stuff. I told him not to let on to the kids that Floyd was a’dyin’. I figured they’d find out soon enough when I was there to tell ‘em. Glomie was a’goin’ with Mack Thompson to the pitcher show that night like she’d been a’doin’ Saturdays for a while. They’d been a wantin’ to git married, but she wasn’t but sixteen and I told her she was too young. I got married at fifteen. I knowed what it meant to be tied down too young.
Well, Floyd died along about ten-thirty Saturday night. It was up in the morning before I got home. I let the kids sleep, and had biscuits in the oven before I went to wake ‘em up. When I went in the girl’s room, Glomie hadn’ ever come in. Myrt said she slept so hard she didn’ even know. I was scart to death. I didn’ know if her an’ Ray had had a wreck or what. Seems like we would have heard somethin’ though. Well, I had to go ahead an’ tell the other kids. O’ course they took it somethin’ awful. I was worried about Betty Lou. She was about four months along with a new baby, but she done alright. There wasn’t nothing to do but wait. After a while, Myrt came in a squallin’ an’ tol’ me she thought Glomie and Mack might’a run off and got married. Glomie had been talkin’ about it. I could’a shot her and Mack Thompson fer pullin’ such a trick.
Sure enough, about eleven-thirty that morning, just as neighbors was a’startin’ to bring food in for the mourners, here come Glomie and Mack, all nervous-like. Glomie thought all them folks was there to look for her. She was hurt that while her daddy was a’dyin’ she had slipped off and got married. I told her, ‘Well, you done made your bed. Now you got to lie in it.’
Mack turned out to be a purty good feller. He works and goes to church with ‘er ever Sunday and breaks up my garden ever’ spring. They been together ever’ since an’ had three kids. The oldest one is ‘bout to graduate, valedictorian of his class. You just can’t never tell how things is gonna turn out. Sometimes, it’s good God don’t let us run things.”