Miss Laura Mae’s House Part 7

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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

https://nutsrok.wordpress.com/2016/04/25/miss-laura-maes-house-part-8/

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Miss Laura Mae’s House Part 6

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“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.”

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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.

https://nutsrok.wordpress.com/2016/04/24/miss-laura-maes-house-part-7/