We all piled in Daddy’s GMC truck and headed for Mr. Rose’s house as soon as my sister caught the school bus. I was normally jealous she got to to school, but today, I was glad to be going to the Rose’s. I was in hopes I’d get to ride in the back of the truck with its tall cattle frame but Mother shot that down. Billy and I bounced along on the seat between Mother and Daddy, dust fogging in the open windows as we made our way down that red dirt road way back to the Rose’s farm. Even though it was hot and hadn’t rained in days, its deep, dried ruts made for slow.going. From time to time, Daddy made a point to hit a bump harder, just to give us a delightful thrill. I was amazed to see a young doe and her fawn step out of the deep woods and cross in front of us. I’d heard of deer, but never seen one. I was hopeful Santa’s sleigh might be right behind her, but Mother assured me he’d only be around at Christmas.
Eventually the Rose’s neat farm and unpainted house came into view. Billy and I trailed Daddy and Mr. Rose to the barn, where they were loaded up a few squealing pigs to take to the auction. Daddy always did such fascinating things, while Mother stayed home to cook, clean, and take care of the kids. It didn’t look like much of a deal to me. I decided early on I needed to figure out a way to be a boy, an idea I abandoned later. The pigs didn’t seem happy at all about their ride in the truck, even though they did get to ride in the back.
Pigs loaded, the men disappeared on their journey. At the time, a trip to the auction with a truckful of squealing pigs seemed as epic as setting off to search for the Holy Grail, had I heard of such a thing. Even though I’d been told I wasn’t going, my heart broke anew seeing them drive off with that load of pigs. Life just wasn’t fair! I needed to ride in the back of that truck with those pigs and maybe see another deer.
Heartbroken, I staggered back to the house where I found Mother and Miss Bessie having coffee at the oil-cloth covered kitchen table. Salt, pepper, a jug of syrup, a sugar bowl, a jar of homemade jam, and one of those cute, tiny cans of Pet Milk sat in the center of the table. My feelings were greatly repaired when Miss Bessie set a plate with a jam-filled biscuit and two slices of bacon in front of me. Then, wonder of wonders, she asked if I wanted a cup of coffee. At our house, no coffee or tea for children was a moral issue. My parents frequently remarked how wrong it was that one of my aunts allowed her children sips of coffee. Unbelievably, Mother allowed it, “Just this one time.” Miss Bessie poured a little coffee, mixed in a lot of milk, and two teaspoons of sugar. That was the best cup of coffee I ever had. That heavenly elixir totally cured my heartbreak.
to be continued