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/

Blackie and the Great Diaper Monster

My grandparents, Roscoe and Lizzie Holdaway, a few months after her stroke.  She was about 4″8″ tall.  Note the large, black purse on her left arm.

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Grandma had a stroke when she was fifty-eight.  The doctor came out to see her and said she’d never walk again.  Ignoring him, she scooted around in an old desk chair for about three months because she wasn’t about to waste money on a wheelchair she’d never use again.  After that, she put up with a cane for a few days till she was sick of it, then it was business as usual.  Ever afterwards, she was a little weak on the right side and her gait was off a little, but she didn’t let it hold her back.  She just carried her gigantic old-lady black purse on the left side to balance herself.  She crawled in every time the car started, and made every trip anyone else did, be it the hardware store, grocery store, or vacation.  Her stroke just made it a little easier for us to keep up with her.

She lived far enough away that she always stayed a couple of weeks when she visited.  Upon her arrival, she insisted on taking over the family laundry, washing, hanging out on the line, and folding.  We always had mountains of laundry with five kids, including two babies in diapers, so Mother was glad to have the help.   Always afraid the neighbors would talk about her for letting Grandma toddle back and forth with the laundry, she always sent one of us to help.  I always volunteered, since Grandma was known to hand out nickels when she was pleased.  I endeavored to make sure the other kids didn’t stumble into this gold mine.

The whole time I was growing up, we had a sequence of gentle black dogs, usually named Blackiefamily6.  I have no idea how many we may have had, but we always had one.  Numerous though they had to have been over the eighteen years I lived at home, they all merged into one in my memory.  One hot summer afternoon, as Grandma tottered back from the clothesline to the back door, the poor dog must have awakened from his nap in the shade only to see a short-legged, top-heavy voluminous load of fluffy, white diapers advancing toward him, lurching from side to side.

Terrified, he leapt up barking and lunged at the terrifying diaper monster, pushing her over backwards, the diapers landing atop her.  Mother had seen the whole thing and rushed out to rescue Grandma from the jaws of the slavering beast.  As soon as the dog heard Mother coming for him, he took off.  We were all sure Grandma was dead.  Mother tore at the pile of diapers only to find Grandma laughing so hard she couldn’t get up.  She had to get her laughing fit over before we could pull her to her feet.  She was totally unhurt, except for the indignity of wet pants.  I can’t speak to the poor dog’s shocked condition.

The Funeral and the Big Hat Feud

Grandma Perkins always said she loved a good fight. Well, she must have died happy, because she and her daughter-in-law had a whing-dinger going when she had a stroke and keeled over. Ruby Nell was a sweet woman and didn’t usually get into it with Grandma, but hadn’t been able to avoid her that day. Her sons, Dave and Harry, and their Continue reading