The first author with a recent review is N.A. Granger with her book Death by Pumpkin (A Rhe Brewster Mystery Book Three). About the book At the annual Pumpkin Festival in the coastal town of Pequod, Maine, Rhe Brewster, an ER nurse and Police Department consultant, responds to screams at the site of the Pumpkin […]
Geneva was tearful as she bade goodbye to Birdie. Birdie had been with her forty years, since the day her own mother, Ella, had brought her to work with her at Geneva’s house. Ella’s healthwas failing and she had wanted to see Birdie settled before she died. Birdie cooked, cleaned, and helped Miss Geneva raise children, living in till she married and started her own family. In turn, she’d brought her own daughter to help Geneva out with the girls during their mother’s illness. Her Josie had married Bobby, one of Geneva’s farm workers and was raising her family on Genva’s farm, so he families were deeply interconnected. Birdie grieved, knowing the life they shared was ending, even though she’d see Geneva had on visits to her daughter and grandchildren at the farm. Birdie had three children and a husband at his me, so she was staying on to take care of whomever Charles found to lease Geneva’s house, though Geneva gave her a handsome check and references should she decide to move on. The women had spent more time and shared more of life than most people ever do. Birdie held her tears till Charles’s car drove out of sight, then wept her loss.
Geneva took her last look at her home and the town she’d known so long, and felt a brief, but possibly the most important part of her life was starting. She prayed God would give her the time and wisdom to guide Charley into his new life. Ginny was one of life’s fortunate s who saw joy in every day. Charles’s black Lincoln was piled high with the family’s belongings. Robert and Bessie met them at the car to welcome them home. Their grandchildren ran to get hugs and peppermints from Geneva. While the men carried bags in, Bessie put fresh coffee and tea cakes out on the bright oil-cloth covered kitchen table. “Miss Geneva, I got you a pitcher of hot water and some fresh towels in your room. I aired all your house dresses if you want to slip one on, ” Bessie said. “I got lemonade here for you young’uns.”
“Thank you, Bessie. I believe I will freshen up. Ginny, can you come brush my hair and powder my back?” Geneva asked.
In about ten minutes, the two were back. Geneva smelling of Cashmere Bouquet Talc. “It’s so good to be back home. Makes me wonder how I could ever stay away.”
“It’s so good to have you back, and me and Bessie are sure proud to be stay in’ in the house with you. Them wild chillun’ was ’bout to wear us out. That little ol’ house was Justin’ tighter and tighter.” Robert said. ” I love ’em, but they sho wears me out.”
“You ain’t gone off far enough to do no good. You know they gonna follow you right over here, don’t you?” Bessie reminded him.
“It’s good to be home.” Geneva said.
Grandmother Geneva’s heart was failing. “How much longer do I have, Charles? I’d like to go back to Cousin Jean’s farm to spend what time I have left.”
Charles’s heart was breaking dreading Geneva’s loss, but he didn’t insult her by covering the truth. “Maybe three months to a year, but you’ll need someone with you. You don’t need to be alone.”
“I’ve already talked to Robert and Bessie. They’ve agreed to move in with me. Their youngest son and his wife and three babies live in the house with them and it’s bursting at the seams. Robert and Bessie would like to turn the farm over to them and take it a little easier. They’d love to stay on after I’m gone and keep the place up for Charley. Of course, hat’s Charley’s decision.” She still had a hard time saying him when referring to Charley.
“We’d all miss you, but I know you love that place. Robert and Bessie will take good care of you. We’ll be out to see about you every few days.” Charles told her. “They can do anything I’d do.”
“Then it’s settled. I’d like to go out as soon as you can take me. I’ll call Robert and Bessie to get ready,” she said. “and Charles, I’d like Charley and Ginny to spend as much time as possible with me. School let out yesterday.”
“I thought you might want that. I’ll let Cora know the plan. Would you like to go tomorrow? I’ll get all your medications refilled and instructions for Bessie,” said Charles.
“Another thing, Charles. You’ve grieved long enough for Ellen. You might think about marrying your lady friend. You’ve been seeing her long enough.” Geneva smiled at him m.
“Miss Geneva, we are fine the way we are. She doesn’t want to complicate her life any more than I want to complicate mine, but I appreciate your blessing. Ellen was all the wife I’ll ever need. You and Cora have picked up and helped my family so much. You’ll never know how much that means.” Tears came to his eyes.
“Charles, you are the best son a mother could want, even though Ellen picked you for me.”
“You couldn’t have been better to me if you’d carried me,” answered Charles. “We are fortunate to be family.”
Brenda was a mean girl. We were thrown together because we were all Sunday School together. She was snooty but tolerated me the best she could in Sunday School because I was preferable to Mary Bragg, an overweight girl who constantly complained other girls were “talking” about her. We usually weren’t, because we’d already done that and moved on. I guess I was a mean girl wanna be.
At any rate, Though Brenda could tolerate me at Sunday School, it was a different story at school. Sometimes I tried to buddy up to her, only to be rebuffed when a real friend came along. The thing about Brenda was, she was mad about horses. I had a horse. From time to time, her yearning to ride a horse got the best of her and she’d ask to come ride my horse. I was would have played with a rattlesnake if…
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All marriages are happy. It’s the living together afterward that causes all the trouble.” -Raymond Hull
“The total amount of undesired sex endured by women is probably greater in marriage than in prostitution.” -Bertrand Russell
“A husband is what is left of the lover after the nerve is extracted”
“Marriage is a matter of give and take, but so far I haven’t been able to find anybody who’ll take what I have to give.” -Cass Daley
“Marriage: A legal or religious ceremony by which two persons of the opposite sex solemnly agree to harass and spy on each other for ninety-nine years, or until death do them join.” -Elbert Hubbard
“The husband who wants a happy marriage should learn to keep his mouth shut and his checkbook open.” -Groucho Marx
*“Do you know what it means to come home at night to a woman who’ll give you a…
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I love Andrew Joyce’s work.
I had just left an Apache Reservation in Arizona after having spent a night there. I was hitching west and had been picked up by a guy named Jimmy. I never did learn his last name. He was a full-blooded Apache and he invited me to crash on his couch. I didn’t get much sleep because we stayed up most of the night and talked … well … he did most of the talking. He told me of the Denéé—The People—as he referred to the Apache. I learned of their history, their medicine, or religion, as we would call it. I even did some peyote with him and spoke with God. But that’s another story. Today, I want to tell you about Hank.
Jimmy was still asleep when I left. I didn’t have it in me to wake him and ask for a ride back to the highway. The sun…
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It was impossible to stem the gossip that flew after Charley’s surgery. The tittillating story excited the town’s small minds. Charles’s prominent position in the community only made it more fascinating……….this misfortune on top of a crazy wife? “Maybe that was what drove her crazy.” “Weird stuff like that runs in families. “Dr. Evans acted interested in me for a while after his wife died. I am so glad now I didn’t get involved with him.” “My daughter always said Charley didn’t look at her right!”
A few good friends reached out to Charles. Their sympathy was almost worse. No friends came to see Charley. Charles was glad Charley had requested no company, so Charley didn’t know no one called or asked to visit. Geneva, Cora, and Charles took turns staying with till Charley went home from the hospital and worked hard to start thinking and referring to Charley as a boy, a difficult change to make.
Charley was thoughtful, but denied depression. He lounged around with in Charles’s baggy pajamas for a week or so before approaching Charles. “Dad, I need new clothes. I’ll never wear my old stuff again. Can we go to Dallas and get me some things? I don’t want to be stared at here at in a men’s store here in town.”
“We can go Wednesday afternoon if I can get someone to cover my hospital load. I’ll get the office nurse to cancel my patients Thursday so we can stay overnight.. You can help yourself to the things your brothers left here in the meantime. I could use a few things, too. It should be fun shopping together.” Charles actually looked forward to the trip with the new Charley.
Marzell dropped by after school, bringing Charley’s books and assignments. Cora was so glad to see her. She showed her in without asking Charley. “I didn’t want to see anybody. I’m not the person you thought I was. Didn’t you hear about me?”
“I heard. That’s why I came to see you. I didn’t call because I didn’t want to give you the chance to say no. You are still my friend. Nothing changes that. Your were the first person who was nice when I moved here. I loved you like a sister then. Nothing has changed for me.” Marzell said.
“Everything has changed,” Charley said. “I am a boy now. I always thought I was but now I know it’s true. Boys and girls can’t be best friends. You can’t spend the night anymore. I always wanted to touch you in the wrong way. Now, I know why. I have a man’s feelings. You need to leave me alone. I am a mess! I don’t know what’s going to happen to me.”
“I don’t know what’s good to happen to you either, but I will still be your friend. You aren’t the only person who has a hard time. If I couldn’t come over here, I’d have to put up with Old Melvin learing at me twenty-four hours a day. I’ll be by tomorrow to pick up your work and bring assignments.” She left without saying goodbye.
“You don’t need to bring my assignments. I am not going back to school . Everybody at school knows I am a freak.” Charley said.
“They already thought that. Big deal! You only have two more weeks of eleventh grade. I’ll take your work in. You can worry about going back next fall. See you tomorrow.”
“I knew it! I knew it! I always knew I ain’t a girl!” Charley felt like a prisoner freed from jail. Now at least I don’t have to pretend. Can you fix me?”
“We have to go in and explore your belly to free up that testicle and check the other side, but can’t change what’s on the the outside.” Just want to make sure you understand before surgery. If the testicle is healthy, do you want to save it? The hormones are beneficial to men, and you’ll need it if you want to father a child. Who knows what’s down the road for you?” Dr. Farmer asked.
“Yes, I need it. I want to be a man. Can you take out my female parts? I ain’t never gonna have no baby and I hate the curse!”
“I don’t know about that. I’ve never heard of taking out a healthy uterus. Do you need a little time to think about this?” asked Charles. “It’s a big decision.”
“Dad, it’s not a decision. I’ve had sixteen years to live with this. I have always known I’m a boy in a girl’s body. Think of how had it would be for you to try to be a woman. Now I don’t have to pretend. It’s over.” Charley looked relieved.
Charles felt awful for his part in Charley’s troubles, knowing his decision had and would cntinue to effect his child forever. “Well Dr. Farmer, I guess Charley is ready to go to surgery. I’ll be here when you get back, Charley.”
“Dad, you’ve always been here for me.”
“Okay, Charley, while I am in there, I’ll look for the other testicle. We don’t want to have to put you to go through this again,” Dr. Farmer’s positive attitude encouraged them both.
The two hours of Charley’s surgery were the longest of Charles’s life as he mourned the troubles he and nature were putting Charley through. He prayed for guidance to be able to support Charley down this difficult road. He’d never known anyone who went from female to male and knew it would be rough.
Charley was back in two hours, groggy but fine. Dr. Farmer gave her a few minutes to rouse before visiting. “Good news, folks. Charley has two healthy testicles. There’s also an undersized uterus, which I didn’t disturb. I wasn’t able to examine the ovaries without making a much larger incision, so I left that alone. If you ever have gynecological issues, we can take care of those as the need arises.
“So I can expect to become more male?” Charley asked.
“I’d expect so. You already have a lean, muscular body type, much like your father. I do see signs of a sparse beard sprouting. The testicles are now resting in what was your labia. Your vagina appears normal. Your urinary tract in normal position for a female, so that here’s no change there. Intervention would be a painful and the outcome uncertain, and I don’t have the expertise to do that. I recommend you continue as you are. To sum it up, you are a healthy male with a few female parts thrown into in. It is possible you could father children, given what I see.” This is a lot to think about, so feel free to ask questions as you think of them. ” Dr. Farmer shook hands with them both before leaving.
Charles turned to Charley, “That was a good feeling,” Charley mused. “MY first time to shake hands, man to man.”