Oh, I ain’t the first one up, not by a long shot! More ‘r less’n a short shot, you ask me.
This here’s Liam. Liam Goodwell? Of the Denton County Goodwells?
Well, right like an unwritten game me an’ Mama an’ Grandpap plays, we all races to be first body in the kitchen. Mama’s first? She’ll be quiet like, puttin’ coffee in the pot atop the stove. Grandpap’s first? He’ll be a’worshin’ his hands and dryin’ ever’ finger over the sink. Me? ‘F I’m up first, I’m sittin’ over to the door, tyin’ up my boots. Don’t nobody do nothin’ but grin ‘thout makin’ eye contact.
An’ it shore is good to win, I tell you what!
Now, it ain’t never long till the rest o’ the Goodwells finds they way to the kitchen come mornin’. We, all us Goodwells, be a hardworkin’ bunch. But don’t nobody else have the sense we got to enjoy these little victories ever’ mornin’, both fer ourselves and whosoever else gets first that day. An’ it ain’t so much the risin’ at daybreakin’, it’s the little fire what gets lit in our bellys, jest sharin’ a minute, us three.
An’ it ain’t sappy, neither, whatever Luce might say.
Well, my mornin’ went thus.
I slid myself out from under my black n’orange blanket, slept in my dungarees to be quick, then added the toppin’s, creepin’ up to the door of our leanto.
Now the full on definin’ of a leanto is just that there, it’s triangle shaped construction, why, leaned right up against the wall of a buildin’, in this case, our little white-worshed house on top the little knoll at the base o’ Shiloh Mountain. We Goodwells, we kep’ expandin’ and expandin’, and well, we big boys, we convinced Daddy n’ Mama we needed us our own boy room.
An’ law! If they didn’t say “Get after it, then!”
An’ law! If we didn’t do jest that, grabbin’ timber from here’n there and the brooder house and the barn attic, and law if we didn’t ‘ttach it to the west side of our little house, jest by a plum forgot side door what’d been nailed shut ‘fore we even moved in, out the west side o’the kitchen.
Took us most of two summertime weeks, seein’ as we had our reg’lar chores to see to. But done it was, and we been livin’ like kings ever’ since, nigh on a couple or three years now.
That our leanto enters the house through that forgotten side door right smack dab into the kitchen, jest the other side the black coal stove, why, that ain’t all bad.
Not that we sneak in, day nor night nor afternoon time, sneakin’ out food. Wouldn’t even ‘ccur to us, and didn’t till some renegade cousin come up from Kansas City, thought it’d be fun after watchin’ Mama and the girls bakin’ pies fer the church potluck the next day.
We, us big Goodwell boys, well, we convinced him in our own parti-cu-lar way that’d be next to stealin’.
Let’s jest say, he was truly and contritely convinced.
An’ moved on down the line next day, skippin’ even the potluck down to the church.
We Goodwell boys, we can be convincin’.
An’ that pie, it was worth waitin’ fer!
But I digress.
Our leanto has its benefits, the “No girls ‘llowed” rule bein’ the best. But I’ll admit, its got itself a few flaws, too. Like we built it on the west side o’ the house. Dang! If it ain’t hotter’n heck (pardon my French) in the summer come afternoon, and with the little winder on the west, it near to blinds us when we go in late in the day. An’, we failed, us big Goodwell boys, to remember in the buildin’ durin’ the warmth of the summer sun that come winter, why, we might jest need us some insulatin’ an’ some chinkin’ to keep us from freezin’ plumb to death, meetin’ St. Peter at them pearly gates all froze like Goodwell icicles!
We spen’ half our winter evenin’s tackin’ up ol’ quilts (not Grandmama’s. That’d be blasphemy, God rest her everlovin’ soul!) an’ horse blankets, what ones the horses can spare, all over the walls n’clean up to the slanty ceilin’.
Ain’t never once Daddy nor Grandpap nor the other Goodwells do nothin’ more’n cheer us on. Figure they figure we’d figure it out.
Figure they’d be right.
Now Mama, though, she’ll slip us a hot water bottle fer our feet, thinkin’ she’s bein’ sly. ‘Course she ain’t, an’ Daddy and Grandpap, they know, and Mama, she knows they know.
But it don’t keep none of us from keepin’ us impressions.
Law, I’m so hungry I could eat a horse and chase the man on his back!
“Mama,” fer she was first this day, “Mama! Them biscuits ready?!”
I do love myself mornin’s…..an’ a good, fresh “rose from the oven” biscuit.