“Kathleen, I hate to bother you, but Oly is comin’in on the bus Friday. Would you mind takin’ me to pick her up?” I listened in as Miss Laura buttered my biscuit.
“Sure, I’ll be glad to. Is that the one whose husband just died?” Mother asked.
“Yes, he’d been sick in bed a long time,” replied Miss Laura. “I was poorly when he died and couldn’t make it for the funeral, so Oly told me to just wait an’she’d come stay awhile after she got him buried. We never got to visit much. She was just a baby when she married an’ and I only got to see her once in a great while.”
I was fascinated with the idea of a baby marrying and couldn’t wait to see her. Maybe we could play together. As I stood on the step with my biscuit, I was lost in thought. imagining a pig-tailed girl my age steeping off a school bus, the only bus I knew a thing about.
Mother pulled in at Mitchell’s Cafe out on the highway on Friday. We sweltered in the July heat as Billy and I tusseled in the back seat. Mother and Miss Laura Mae fanned themselves as heat monkeys danced on the pavement. Dust fogged in the open car windows as a long gray vehickle with a picture of a skinny dog pulled up.
“Here she comes!” Miss Laura Mae clutched her big black purse and heaved herself out of the car as the bus door opened.
I sat up and watched for a little girl in a wedding dress to emerge, but no one got off but an old lady in a flowered dress. Miss Laura Mae hurried over, catching her in a huge hug smashing their identical pushes between them. Her curly white hair was caught up in a hair net and she wore the same black lace-up old lady oxfords as Miss Laura Mae. The bus driver pulled her bag from a bin on the side of the bus. Mother helped her load it in the trunk.
“Kathleen, this is my sister, Oly.” Sadly, I abandoned my hope of a playmate.
“Nice to meet you, Miss Oly. How are you doing?”
“Oh, I couldn’t be better,” said Miss Oly. “I ain’t baked a biscuit since June 6th, the day my Ol’ man died!”
Miss Laura Mae and Miss Oly laughed out loud as Mother replied, “Oh, that’s nice,” as she cranked the car.