What Mama’d say, was she alongside, and thank the Good Lord in Hallowed Heaven she ain’t, is when you got something in your headlights not particular to your likin’, why, just look at it like a journey ‘cross a bridge. A journey cross a bridge. Ain’t no rights, no lefts, no maybes, no turnin’ ’round, just a journey ‘cross a bridge.
Well, what me’n Marie-France had lying up there in front of us somewhere’s, you can be dang sure it wasn’t to my likin’. Though, truth be told, my neck was prickly and i was breathin’ with my mouth open, like some dang fool.
But on up there, beyond that line o’ ashes and maples, Marie-France had hid herself a prisoner. Tol’ me she’d right tied his leg to the biggest ol’ tree she could find. Tol’ me he nigh on busted a gut a’laughin’ but let her go on and do it.
Feller ain’t never tangled with one o’ Marie-Frances’ double loop, triple switch nooses. Especially one where, once it’s tight, she squeezes her face into a prune, then nails that knot, spittn’ with all the vim and vigor and verve she’s got.
She’s got a lot.
I hid myself my own faint grin. Could o’ tol’ him he wudn’t goin’ nowhere.
Marie-France, pluggin’ persistant along to my left, why, she never could leave a thing alone. Wudn’t no give up in her. Stomping high through the tall grass, never mind the sticktights a’stickin’ tight to her saggy socks, she had her that “gotta get me to the other side” look. She never once didn’t see a thing through. Couldn’t spell “sassafrass?” Practiced it at the breakfast table, at the lunch table, at the dinner table, and in her prayers. Can’t tame that wild buck her big brother Macon brung home as rodeo winnin’s? Rode and fell and rode and fell and rode and fell till her arms and legs and side of her head was plum black and blue and scratched and maimed. Horse finally felt sorry for her, or else had enough, I reckon. He give it up after ’bout a week. She still rides him to this day to school come springtime. And he waits, untethered, till she appears to let him take her back home.
But now, this situation we got here, don’t this beat all?
“I kept him here three days, Luce! I been bringin’ him supper from the dinner scraps. You know Malene, she eats like a burned bird, and Paul and Prescott, I traded them marble money to snitch me seconds under the table.”
Then, lookin’ aside, a touch reddened, “Left him a bucket and an old Sears Roebuck so’s he could do his business. too.”
Well, now, I couldn’t hardly hold it in, not one minute more. My guffaw burst out my gullet like a horn!
“You takin’ care of his personal issues, there, Marie-France? Well, ain’t you just the best hostess this side the Mississippi!”
I’ll allow I deserved the quick kick in the shins she give me, but banter did lighten the load, just a middlin’ mite.
And now, here we are, just to the edge of the sunny meadow. We stop up short, lookin’ unseein’ at the deep green shadows what borders our next step. Me and Marie-France, we’re gatherin’ ourselves before we focus and peer in to see.
For one more step, we come to the end of the bridge.