Margo smiles her Miss Perfect Teeth smile. “How do I look, Jill?”
She stands straight and flounces her hair all around her face. The sun coming through the feed room door has her in its spotlight. Her eyes are green today, my favorite of the colors they change to. They’re flirting with me, asking for the right answer.
“You look like a beauty queen,” I say.
The smile turns real. “Thanks. Do you mean it?”
I curve my elbow out like an usher did for me at Cousin Betsy’s wedding. “May I escort Miss Feed Room to the gate?”
“What about my horn?”
“Beauty queens don’t tote French horns. I’ll come back for it.”
We walk off, arm in arm, toward a house with skunks under it. But we wouldn’t be arm in arm if it wasn’t for those skunks. (p. 19, 20)
Mama notices me still standing there and gets this lost look, like I’m somebody she met a long time ago and can’t quite place. Finally she says, “Jill?” She picks up the letter and waves it at me. “Soon as the dew’s gone, let’s see if we can find enough blackberries for a couple of pies. My cousin Hershel is coming for a visit.”
Mama’s kin are pale, educated people. They don’t visit us much. When they do, Mama scrubs and carries on and gets out a tablecloth. We stay out of her way. (p. 95)
Somewhere Along the Way
Printed by CreateSpace
[originally published in The Daily Herald newspaper]
The writings in Somewhere Along the Way were originally published as columns in The Daily Herald in Columbia, Tennessee. Whether read cover-to-cover or ten minutes at a time, the book’s gentle humor, down-home nostalgia, occasional serious ponderings, and quirky characters provide a life affirming and uplifting look at everyday existence.
Excerpted from Biblical Ecological Activists
According to my calendar, Earth Day is near. I both practice and applaud efforts to be considerate of the flora and fauna we share our planet with. But one wonders how current sensitivities might have affected events in Biblical times.
Could environmental awareness have divided the ranks of Noah’s family? There they were, afloat in an overcrowded boat, up to their elbows in orangutans. And with no land in sight, what they smelled was not the roses…
While we’re still in deep water, let’s see how Jonah would have fared [onshore] in the company of animal rights activists:
“Thou beast!” one of the women screeched. “How darest thou give yon big fish a tummyache…”
“Humans,” a prim voice said, “art not listed on the preferred diet for big fishes...”
Farther along, imagine what would be missing in the Old Testament had the era’s Protectors of the Natural Order of Things gotten into this picture:
“I saw it with mine own eyes,” one Protector vowed to another. “Though he be a mere slip of a boy, he sleweth the wolf with one stone…”
…a friend of David’s family said, “he is a shepherd, and ‘twas piteous bleats that hied him to the site, and the wolf did have a leg of lamb in its jaws, and David’s job is to…”
“What hath this younger generation come to,” interrupted the Protector, “that one amongst them hast senselessly slain a natural predator!”
An ordinance to confiscate David’s slingshot failed solely because a large number of his kin were on the County Commission. Hence…
— April 2012