Thursday, June 4, 2015

Chapter Nine

It’s not that I didn’t understand because I did.  It’s not that I didn’t think that Aunt Rachel has the right to order her life as she sees fit because I did.  It’s just that, like always, things came at me from left field and I had to argue with it a bit until I could accept it. 

“Haven’t I been doing a good job Aunt Rachel?!!” 

“Oh for land sake Winifred don’t shout.  I thought you liked the boy well enough.” 

“I do.  Just not the way Uncle Carmichael and Mr. Montgomery are trying to make things work.  They’re finished up with Christine and Chris and must have gotten bored so now they’ve decided to try the same thing with Cliff and I.” 

“Pay attention to your driving.  You wanna borrow my glasses?” 

“I’m serious Aunt Rachel.” 

“I know you are and I understand some of why your feelings are hurt.  But before I make my final decision I wanna know what you got against the boy.” 

Sighing I admitted, “I don’t have anything against Cliff; not really.  It’s just … they’re meddling.” 

With a slight grin she said, “Ah, so you do like the boy.” 

Sometimes Aunt Rachel sees too much.  “I … no.  Ok, I could like him but I’m not stupid.” 

“And what may I ask does that bit of nonsense mean?” 

Irritably I ticked off my reasons.  “One, guys like Cliff go for the high maintenance girls … girls like Mr. Derringer’s granddaughter Penny.  They do not go for girls like me.  Two, even if he did ask me out I’d never know if it was him asking because he wanted to or if he was doing it just to get his dad and Uncle Carmichael off his back.  Three, even if I lost all commonsense and thought he might ask me out for my own sake I’d still run hard in the other direction because I don’t ever want to be a checkmark on someone’s list of things to do.” 

“Little young to be so cynical Winifred.” 

“Ha!  He’s got a lifetime habit of sampling a flower then just passing on.” 

“Boy’s barely twenty, he’s not old enough to have a lifetime habit.  And child, women are not flowers and I shouldn’t have to explain that you can only be sampled by putting yourself out there.” 

“Exactly.  I refuse to put myself out there to get hurt.” 

“You can only get hurt if your heart is involved.” 

I sighed.  “Cliff could be a good guy, maybe a great guy, if not for the …”  I shook my head.  “I don’t think he means to hurt them, he just doesn’t want to be hurt either.” 

“You sure he hurts them?” 

Honestly I told her, “Some of them, but I know some were just … out for a good time too I guess.  I just know I’d be hurt if he did me the way he’s done the others.” 

“That all?” 

“I know it sounds selfish but with Christine going off and being all wrapped up in her life … Cliff is just about the only real friend I have left and … and he’s at least honest with me.  And if we … dated or whatever and things ended the way he normally ends things I wouldn’t just lose a date, I’d lose friend.” 

“Hmmmmmm.  Doesn’t sound selfish so much as you got a bit of the same problem Cliff does … only it isnt’ ‘cause your momma can’t find no love for you.” 

“Uh …” 

“Don’t stutter and pull in here.  It’s as obvious as the nose on your face the boy ain’t got the kind of mother love a boy needs.  Since the other brothers seem just about smothered with the stuff she must have rejected him early.  But that ain’t my business unless he makes it my business.  Now I’ve got me a taste for a bologna and mater sandwich.  This butcher cuts it extra thick just the way I like it and we might as well get enough to feed that bunch fried bologna sandwiches for lunch.” 

I pulled in as instructed and then ran around to get her cane out of the back seat.  She asked, “You remember to hang my tag on the rearview?” 

Since it stayed there all the time I just said, “Yes ma’am” rather than upset her by pointing out her faulty memory. 

“Now before we go inside I want to tell you I’m leaning to letting the boy stay.  Uh uh uh …let me finish.  There’s things that need doing that we can’t.  Not much but some, and what those things are make a difference.  Boy has proved he knows engines … my truck, the lawn tractor … even the big tractor.  And Carmichael says he’s a gifted carpenter and I’m ready to believe him after I saw him fix your great grandmother’s brick-a-brack cabinet.  You can’t even see where he cut out the rotten wood and mended the cracked spindle.  I’ve a mind to give him some scope to build those skills he’s showing even more.  Plus the boy has some muscle and size to him.  I’d like to see the storage barn cleaned out and it’s gonna take someone like him to do all the lifting and tugging and pulling it’s gonna take.  And if that get’s done before he has to go on back to school I’m thinking on the attic and basement as well.” 

“You could hire someone local for that.” 

“True, but I’m not of a mind to have too many know the straights I’m in.  They might get ideas that I need to move into an old folks home.”  It was a common theme since the storm so I let it pass rather than agitate her and spoil her mood. 

“It’s your place Aunt Rachel.  I won’t let anyone push you around.  They don’t have the right to.  And since it is your place I won’t make a bunch of noise about Cliff staying.  I just don’t want Uncle Carmichael and Mr. Montgomery to think they’ve won this round.”
She cackled a laugh and we walked into the deli and oh Lord I wished we hadn’t as soon as I figured out why the place was so quiet.


  1. OH a cliff, but thank you for the chapter.

  2. Thanks, great chapter Kathy, now all you need to do is give cliff the boot.

  3. Goodness, this is another good one!! Loving it, thanks so much!!!