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.”