Miss LauraMae’s House Part 15

nosy 2Miss Laura Mae was out of flour, so there was no biscuit for me, just toast. I didn’t like toast much. I had Ol’ Blue’s complete attention as I tossed him bits.  Chickens crowded around the steps, hoping to snatch a crumb. They didn’t enjoy a lot of success since Ol’ Blue snapped, causing one to to protest, “pluck!” flap her wings and flutter off a few feet, though none of them had much respect for his toothless gums.  Occasionally, he got up the steam to chase one and another was encouraged by a tiny reward while he was busy.  Even so, I did notice when the ladies lowered their voices.

“So, Myrtle insisted on dropping by Jackie’s after he said it wasn’t convenient?  That’s not right,” Mother whispered.

“Yeah, she’d been itchin’ to see Jackie’s place, an’ he kept a’tellin’ her it wasn’t a good time.  Well, that Sunday she just insisted on takin’ me to lunch at her sister-in-law’s in Dallas an’ said, ‘ as long as you’re with me, we’re just gonna drop in on Little Jack. I ain’t seen him in a while an’ I know you want to see his place.’  I didn’ especially care about  goin’ to see a woman I ain’t never met an’ sure didn’ want to go a’bustin’ in on Little Jackie of a Sunday morning.’  I’d a’heap ruther cooked at Myrtle’s and had a slow Sunday.  We’d been a’goin’ all week.

I told her ‘I’d love to see Little Jack, but I ain’t gonna be yore excuse for buttin’ in where I ain’t invited.  I’ll just wait in the car.  He’s coming over Thursday to see me.  Little Jack’s allus been standoffish an’ I ain’t goin’ in on nobody, grandson or not.’

‘Well, he’s a good boy an’ I wanna see his place.  Wait in the car if you want to.’

“She was purty het up,” Miss Laura Mae said.  “It was a real nice place, flowers in the yard, an’ all fresh-painted.  Myrtle prissed herself up to the front door, rung the bell.  She’s a hefty gal an’ looked plumb ridiculous in them high heels and short-tailed skirt.  You’d a’thought she could’a looked in the mirror before she left home.  Anyhow, Jackie come to the door in a robe an’ she pointed to me a’settin’ in the car.  They talked just a minute an’ Jackie waved to me an’ shut the door.  In just a minute, Myrtle was back in th’ car.  She moved purty fast for a tubby woman in high heels.  She was just a’sputterin’ when she got in the car.”

‘Well, don’t that beat all.’ Myrtle spewed.  ‘Little Jack said he was gittin ready for work an’ didn’ have time to visit.  That just ain’t right.  I know good an’ well he ain’t got to work Sundays.  He owns that store.’

“Well, I guess today wasn’t a good time for Little Jackie. neither.  I’ll just see him when he comes Thursday night for supper.’  Miss Laura Mae laughed.

“It kind’a ticked me after she tried to pushed in like that,”  she chuckled.  “You know he had somebody in there he didn’t want her to see.  After all, he is a man, full-growed.”


to be continued







Miss Laura Mae’s House. Part 11


I got my biscuit and settled on the back step, singing the alphabet song.

Mother launched right into her conversation before Miss Laura Mae got the coffee poured.
“Laura Mae, I just got the strangest letter from Mama. You remember I told you my brother in the army got married not long ago and his wife was expecting.”

“Sure do. How’s she doing?”

“Well, Mama got a letter from John saying Wanda, that’s his wife, had gone back home to stay with her mama till the baby came. He didn’t say anything at the time, thinking she’d be back. I don’t know if she’d left him, or what, but he hadn’t let Mama and Daddy know. Her daddy was high up in the military on a base up in Nebraska. Anyway, the first thing anybody knew was that he’d gotten a letter from Wanda’s daddy saying she’d had twins, a girl and a boy, and that she and the babies had been crossing a railroad track and hit by a train. He said her daddy said they’d all been buried and to never contact him again. He said he just let it be.

Mama and Daddy, of course, were all upset, and Daddy caught the first bus to New Orleans to see about John. When he got there, John said he was fine and insisted Daddy go straight back home. He said he didn’t have any leave coming and didn’t even want Daddy to spend the night. Daddy came on home, like he asked. My sister, Annie came in that weekend. When she found out what happened, she told them something strange she had kept quiet about since it didn’t seem right. She’d gotten a letter from Wanda announcing their marriage. She wrote and told her and John she was coming over for the weekend. Well, when she got there, John met her at the bus station and told her she couldn’t stay. Wanda had gone off somewhere with her mama and daddy and he had to work. Annie couldn’t imagine what was going on. She went back home and reread her letter from Wanda, and thought it looked like it might be John’s handwriting. Mama went back and pulled out a letter she’d had from Wanda and thought it was possible John had written it, too. They don’t know if the whole thing was made up or what. I don’t know what to think. It all sounds too crazy to be true, doesn’t it? Have you ever heard such a thing? Please don’t repeat what I told you. I haven’t told another soul, but I just thought I’d pop if I couldn’t talk to somebody. I sure don’t want Bill to find out. He already thinks my family’s crazy. He’d never let me forget it.”

“Now, Honey, I hate to hear all that, but don’t be worryin”bout me tellin’ yore business. That whole story doesn’t sound right, but I didn’t git to be this old without learnin’ when to keep my mouth shut. Besides, since I’m the only one you tol’you’d know where it come from, wouldn’t you? Has your brother ever done anything odd before?”

“No, he’s always been steady as a rock. He went in the CCC when he was fifteen, then on his off time he took any job he could get, and always helped Mam and Daddy as much as he could. He finished high school in the Army since our little country school only went to tenth grade. I don’t know what to think. I’m just worried to death about him.”

“Well, I know you are, but folks deals with trouble in all kinds of ways. You’ll just have to let him be.”

“You’re sure right about that. I’ve got three little kids and I couldn’t go see about him if my life depended on it. I do feel bad for Mam and Daddy worrying about him.”

“I know you do, but they’ll have to make their own way, just like he will. Things have a way of workin’ out.”



Miss Laura Mae’s House Part 7


We could hear laughter as we opened the screen door. Miss Laura Mae and Miss Oly were dawdling over coffee when we walked in, tears running down their cheeks.

I stared, having no idea people could laugh and cry at the same time. “You ladies are having a great time. No don’t get up. I’ll get my own coffee. What in the world is so funny?” Mother wanted to know. They both took hankies out of apron pockets, wiping their eyes before cleaning glasses.

“It’s just so good to be together again after twenty-five years apart. Ory was just tellin’ me about her ol’ man comin’ in drunk an’ blackin’ her eye one night. Once he went to sleep acrost the bed, she took a bed slat to ‘im an beat’im black an’ blue.”

She gave me my biscuit as Mother shooed me out to my roost on the back step.

Miss Ory broke in, “Yeah, Harvey was a Holiness preacher but it didn’t keep ‘im from gittin’ loaded an’ chasin’ anything in a skirt of a Saturday night. After I beat ‘im, he was so sore he could’n’ hardly move the next mornin’when it was time for preachin’. He got up in the pulpit an’ said he’d been a’cuttin firewood an’ a tree fell on him. It was only the Lord’s mercy that saved him. I wasn’t gonna let him got away with that. I got up an’ testified askin’ to Lord to forgive me for tyin’ ‘im up in a sheet an’ beatin’ ‘im up so bad for tomcattin’ around.

I was gonna leave ‘im after that. I wasn’t gonna take no whoopin’ from no man, but his brothers come by after church. They was deacons an’ their daddy had been the preacher there till he passed. They said if I’d stay, they’d see Harvey did’n’ never lay a hand on me agin’ but I was still set on leavin’. Then all three of ’em’said they’d church me if I left, an’ I’d go to Hell. The little fellers was listening an’ set up a howl. ‘Don’t make my mama go to Hell!’

They was a carryin’ on so, I didn’t have the heart to git up an’ leave, with them a’scared I was ‘goin’ to Hell. No youngun ought to have to worry ’bout somethin’ like that.

They was good as their word. If Harvey got out ‘o line, they’d straighten ‘im out. Harvey was still a Heller,but he ain’t whooped on me ner the younguns no more an’ that’s all I keered about.

One time after we had a row, all of a sudden he calmed down an’ took me fish in’. We left the little fellers with his mama an’ walked down to the crick. He wanted to go out in his ol’ boat, even though he knowed I’d ruther fish off the bank. I could’n’ swin an’ I was a’scared o’water. He said he’d been gittin’ them fine white perch just off the point. I do love white perch. Anyways, when we got a ways out, he stood up an’ was a’rockin’the boat back an’forth till he tipped us over. I knewed he meant me to drown.

I heard later he was a’slippin aroun’ with that Garrett woman. I let his brothers know an’ they told him nothin’ better happen to me. Not long after that he had a stroke an’ needed me to take keer o’ him. Couldn’t of planned it better myself. He never was no more trouble to me, so it all worked out fine. I didn’ git churched an’ worry the kids, I still had my home, an’ Harvey could’n’ worry me no more. Things was peaceful after that, but I shore don’t miss puttin’on up with him ner makin’ them durn biscuits ever’ mornin’. I don’t aim to ever make another biscuit!”

To be continued