Hard Time Marrying Part 22

Posting second edition on Saturday since people have extra reading time.alice-at-church_uncle-bud-charter-membmissgrovImage of couple in farm wagon taken from internet.


Joe was up by four every morning, making sure the goats were milked and the stock tended before he headed over to Fred’s place every morning.  The two nannies competed for the first spot on the milking block, eager to get at their corn.  Pesky as goats were, It might be a good idea to keep them from now on.  Between these two, he got a more than a gallon of milk a day, plenty for drinking, cooking, butter-making  and even enough for Anya to make cheese.  He should have gotten goats a long time ago.  These two ate far less than the cow.

He worried leaving all the garden-work to Anya in her condition.  Though they hadn’t talked about her pregnancy yet, he knew from the quiet of her manner she was troubled.  He’d seen evidence of rape in the early days as he cared for her, and felt resignation as he noted her nausea and swelling breasts.  Their fragile union was born of need on both parts.  There had been no feeling beyond pity for her upon arrival.  In the first days, he’d just hoped she’d stay to help with the children, but came to take pleasure in her tender care of Sally, her growing love for Little Joe, and the way she made the life they all brought to his lonesome cabin.  After her hearing returned they’d begun talking a bit, he began to hope she’d soon warm to him, despite assertions she would leave.  As her thin body began to swell with pregnancy, she was lovely.  He began to look forward to a life with her and a houseful of children. After all, a baby was just a baby.  Little Joe and Sally had brought so much love into his lonely life. What was one more?

He was going to have to bring this up with Anya.  It occurred to him she might have avoided mentioning her pregnancy  thinking he’d hold it against her.  It was time to set her mind at ease. Maybe with this out of the way, they could get on with their lives.

Miss Laura Mae’s House Part 9

gossip 1Once again, I was sitting on the back step of Miss Laura Mae’s house with a biscuit. Miss Laura Mae was all flustered. I heard the phrase, “female trouble” and my ears perked up. Anything about “female trouble” got kids shooed outdoors. “Complications” rated even greater secrecy.

I’d just heard both. I hummed a tuneless something just so they’d be fooled into thinking I wasn’t listening. Occasionally, I said something to Miss Laura Mae’s old hound.

“Bessie, Floyd’s oldest sister was wild as they come when she was comin’ up. She slipped off an’ married when she was fifteen, and just stayed long enough to have them two young’uns. She like to drove her mama crazy. You couldn’t believe a word she said. She’d climb up on top of the house to tell a lie when it would’a been easier to stand on the ground and tell the truth. It seemed like she settled down an’ was gonna do good when she married Ben. He was a good feller an’ treated her kids good. He had that nice house his mama left him, worked steady and put his pay in the bank. I never heard him fuss with her. She was even Sunday School Superintendent down at the Mount Lebanon Baptist Church fer a while.

One year right before Christmas, she went to work in her sister’s café, waiting tables to git a little Christmas money. Ben didn’t want her to, said he could git whatever they needed, but she was bound an’ determined to do it. Wasn’t long before she was runnin’ around. She dumped them kids on her mama and run off with a feller named Jett. ‘Course, that didn’ last till the water got hot.

Next thing we knew, Bessie was in the hospital, her kidneys ‘bout shut down an’ she like to had a stroke. She pulled through but wasn’t able to do anything for a long time. Her sister Marthy took her in an’ took care of her an’ them kids for a good while. When she finally got back on her feet, she went back to Ben. The crazy thing was, she told ever’ body she’d been the one takin’ care of Marthy, ‘cause Marthy had been runnin’ around an’ got thataway while her husband Joe was off in the service. She claimed Marthy had took a bunch of quinine an’ got rid of the baby but it like to kilt ‘er. The whole thing was crazy. Ever’body knew what Bessie had been up to and knew about her being so sick in the hospital. I don’t know why she tol’ that crazy story layin’ it off on Marthy after she’d been so good to her. They just wasn’t no need. That was just how she is.

From my perch on the back step, I listened in, making no sense of the story, but knew it was good. I made up my mind to remember when I got a little older and smarter, I could figure out what it was all about.