‘Tween a Crock an’a Hard Space

Hey, ho!  Here we be goin’!

Liam here, Liam Goodwell, amongst a passel o’ Goodwells an’ Mickelwaits, sweatin’ shoulder to shoulder and thigh to thigh in the bed o’ Grandpap’s big ol’ International pickup!  We’re a’bouncin’ and bumpin’ over ruts and potholes deep enough to sink a fat sow, (Grandpap don’t aim t’miss a’one!) an’ we’re a’beamin’ and a’screechin’ fer joy, pure and true!

‘Cause we Goodwells, and near all the Mickelwaits), we’re off on a vay-cay-tion!

Ain’t never been on one o’them before this!  Oh, sure, we go off on the odd fishin’ trek over to the Mississippi, or closer to the Big Platte, an’ we’ll camp under the stars fer the night, build us a far, smoke us some marshmallers and brewtime coffee in a tin can.

But this here time, this here, this is a fer real, durned tootin’ actuality of a git-away gone!

All the way to St. Louie!  Saint Louie!  Clear to the other side o’ our blessed state of Missouruh!  Why, if we play ar’ cards right, we may get us across the Ol’ Miss and his Illinois!  Law!  Law!  We’re movin’ on down the line, all us Goodwells ,and near all the Mickelwaits, on the road right this very minute caravannin’ three ve-hicles off to a new adventure!  We aim to drive till we git there, ’cause when we do?   When we do?!!!!

We’re, all us Goodwells, and near all the Mickelwaits, we’re checkin’ ourselves into a MOTEL!

A Blessed Hallelujah Praise Jesus MOTEL!  With indoor plumbin’ an’ wood on the inside walls an’ a swimmin’ pool with painted blue tiles under the water!

Lord!  Lord!  Fergive my blasphemation, but Jesus, Lord God, you shore are blessin’ us Goodwells, and near all the Mickelwaits!

My e-magination, it’s fairly takin’ over my brain with light and joy and visions o’ swimmin’ in a hole jest meant fer that there!  Ain’t no horse been slobberin’ in it, ain’t no fish been feedin’ in it, nor floatin’ dead on the top.  Ain’t no skeeters buzzin’ along the hazy slip o’ air skimmin’ jest above.  Ain’t no mud on the bottom, ain’t no green slime on the top.

Ain’t gotta watch fer no copperheads, neither.

We all got us swimmin’ at-tar from the Montgomery Ward down to Kansas City, brung to us special seein’ as the catalogue order would take too long.

We are some lucky ducks, ain’t we?

An’ more’n that?  As if we could handle the un-abated de-light of any more’n that?!

We ain’t payin’ fer one bit, not one iota!  Not a’ one!  Even the swimmin’ at’tar, it was a gift.

Grandpap, he been makin’ hisself scare of late, since Daddy an’ Leston Pike been conspirin’ on the down low, come stompin’ int’ the kitchen week before week before last, fair shoutin’.

“I’m a’doin’ it!  I’m a’doin’ it!  We takin’ this family away fer a spell!  We’re takin’ us on a sojourny jest fer the fun o’ the doin’ it!”

Why, he went on an’ on’ an’ we all, well, we was all jest froze in our tracks.  Well, we was froze until we lept out our skins in un-di-luted rapture!  

Hallelujah an’ Hark the Herald an’ Hosannas to the High!  We be takin’ ourselves, all us Goodwells, an’ near all the Mickelwaits, on a va-ca-tion!  Law!

 

‘T’wudn’t till some time later we was to chance upon the fact this here was orchestrated by, and paid in full by, the Judge.

 

But Katy bar the door, we wudn’t figurin’ on no conspiracy, no how!  We was a’singin’ and a’wavin’ at passersby and bein’ as gleeful as a pig in a mud puddle!

Any menace a’brewin’ in the real world didn’t mean much to us Goodwells, and near all the Mickelwaits this day!

We was goin’ swimmin’ in a pool meant jest fer that there!

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“Tween a Crock an’ a Hard Space”

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.

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“Don’t Set Under the Apple Tree With Nobody Else but Me”

Ain’t seen hide or hair nor a whiff of a sniff of Liam all afternoon.  Blindsided by the horses loosin’ themselves from the pasture, he skedaddled right now, leaving these folded up sheets of Big Chiefs tucked under his plate when he jumped to it from the noonday meal.  Mama didn’t bat an eye when I slid them into my dungaree pocket whist I helped her clear.  She knows all about my tendency to “collect” odds and ends.  She also knows about the certainty I return them all once I’ve investigated and perused them.

So she didn’t give me no nevermind.

Now, all us kids know Miss Meadow, our young and glamorous and just a little too shiny teacher from the Raymore School, a white-washed, one-room, crowded little building snuggled in an elbow of  Mill Creek.  We all know she has high hopes for him, like bein’ a judge or a business man or a general, challenging him to write down his thoughts every single day.   We all know she’s partial to Liam, smart as whip, he is, clever, too, and quiet-like, and everybody’s friend.  We’re all, all us kids, partial to Liam.  Not a lick o’nonsense or cruelty or avarice or low-minded skunkiness in him whatsoever.  He speaks clear and true and is honest as the day is long.  Me and him and our cousin Marie-France Mickelwait, we always call ourselves the Three Musketeers and share and share alike, thusly.

All us kids, we go to the Raymore School.  Even Daddy, he went there.  I think Grandpap helped build it away back in the olden days.  Mama, she grew up on the other side of town.  They had their own school, but it burnt down some time back.

So all us Goodwells, we’re well acquainted with Raymore School, visitin’ on a daily basis.   Well, excepting Livvie and Lincoln and Lawrence.  They take the truck half an hour to Os-burn to the high school there.  They come home of an afternoon all decorated in orange and black and hollerin’ “Tigers!” most days.

I surely cannot wait until my turn comes.  I’ve been labeled, and rightly so, I suppose, as the mean-spirited desperado of the Goodwell family.  Smiles don’t come easily for me, nor do kind words.  Nor do friends or birthday parties or all-round happy days.  My jumping off place, my changing of the tide, comes in a year or so,  when I aim to pile in the ol’ truck with the big kids, singin’ and smilin’ and wearin’ pretty dresses and plantin’ Victory gardens with the spirit squad and shoutin’ “Go Tigers” to one and all.

My name’s Luce.  Luce Goodwell.  Lucille Madeline Mickelwait Goodwell.  I’m older by one year of dear brother Liam, on whose tablet paper I am documenting this.  I will swear him to secrecy, and vow to break his pitchin’ arm if he spills one word.

I have faith in Liam, and trust him to the ends of eternity.  But secrets, we all got ’em.  (We, us three, we got a big German one hid out the other side of the bridge and then some.)  And these secrets, well,  I’m trusting Liam, and you, with mine.

 

Best I haul on out and help with them horses.  Daylight’s a’wastin’.

***************

 

 

“Don’t Set Under the Apple Tree With Nobody Else But Me”

He ain’t bein’ mistreated, I seen to that.

Cousin Marie-France, she ain’t got it in her, though once she’s a daydreamin’, she be plumb lost to this world and fully stepped in the that.   But now Luce, she is a whole ‘nother case in entirety.  That she got into this here sit-ia-tion, well, I got to keep my eyes peeled!  I made her swear (and Lord help me if Mama finds out! She’d like t’tan my hide!), she ain’t touched him nor bully-whipped him, nor even spit his di-rection.

Luce may be a load o’things, but she ain’t no liar, says I.

To date, that is.

Hey Lo.  Liam Goodwell here.  Third son of the Goodwells, the Denton County Goodwells.  You heard tell o’ me, I’m shore.

R’ at least, the Goodwells, I reckon.  (Lord, forgive me my prideful and elevated spirit, amen!)

As always, these here are true as true can be, the livin’s and dyin’s and shoutin’s and hollerin’s and eatin’s and singin’s and workin’s and playin’s of the Goodwells o’Denton County and furrer flung, my kin fer generations come and gone and them on ahead, as I live and breathe, so help me Lord Jesus. (An’ like I said, forgive me my shortcomin’s, like pride and arrogance.   Fer Lord,  I ain’t quite feelin’ the warmth of forgiveness jest yet.)

Well, here’s how this here story went….

Cousin Marie-France , she went and foun’ herself a soldier.  Now, being aged thirteen, and long-legged and lean and runs like a gazelle, I never doubted once she couldn’t ketch a feller, r’ hightail it from one, when the time come.  I jest never ‘spected the time was commencin’.

And yet, that there, it sums it up.  Marie-France, she went and caught herself a soldier.  It’s the furtherin’ of the tale is what confounds me, to this very writin’.

Out north o’town, other side from the Goodwell place, there lay an ol’ abandoned quarry, sheer cliffs and piles o’ gravel and chat.  Out on past, once upon a time a secret, is what’s been come to be called, a “Holdin’ Camp.”

What is a “Holdin’ Camp?” you ask? (That there, that’s a writin’ technique called personalization, made to engage the reader personal-like in what I happen to be sayin’.  Miss Meadow, down to the school, she encourages me to write more authentic and true, an’ while I shore do believe in my heart o’hearts that be what I BEEN doin’, Hellfire! I do want to please Miss Meadow, sure!)

(An’ Lord, forgive me fer my cursin’.  It slips ever’ now and then.)

I need a great deal of forgivin’, it ‘ppears.

But I digress.

This here “Holdin’ Camp,” why, it is a camp, and it shore is fer holdin’ somethin’.

Somethin’ like fellers!

Somethin’ like soldier fellers!

Somethin’ like GERMAN PRISONER O’WAR soldier fellers!

Ain’t many weenie roasts out there, I reckon!

Well, push come to shove, my wiry, head-in-the-clouds girl cousin Marie-France Mickelwait, out to pickin’ flowers over the bridge, she come across this big ol’ half man, half boy, half starved, and half lucid, hear her tell it.  Though truth be told, she only tol’ me and Luce, her ever’ready partners in adventure and crime.  Needed some help and comeraderie and someone to share her secret.  But by herself, ‘fore we even knew, she done subdued this feller, knocked him upside the head, tied him up rodeo-style and plucked him under a tree, ‘fore promisin’ to come back and look to his comfort and safety.

Marie-France, she ain’t got a bad bone in her.  But I ain’t found a day yet when I’m bound nor eager to cross her.

Suspicions arose, twixt Luce and me, though, when we caught sight of that girl a’sneakin’ slices o’ham’n cornbread into a bag at her feet durin’ dinner, the giant midday meal couple weeks back. Our families, bein’ family, we share all sort o’chores and plantin’s and harvestin’ and big ol’ giant repasts, they come along as a bonus!

An’ there we was, a ‘repastin’ to who laid a chunk, when Luce, she hauled off and kicked me somethin’ fierce under the wood plank table.  Lots of practice ‘llowed the upper half of me to remain stock-still and stone-like, while the bottom part of me writhed in pain.  Luce, she don’t hold no punches, nor kicks.  Law!

Well, whist I was fixin’ to stomp them girly feet with my hard-soled boots, she give me the look, slidin’ her eyes Marie-France’s way.  And sure as shootin’, that girl was a’stealin’ and a’stashin’ food!  Now there was plunty to go ’round.  We let it go till the watermelon spittin’ begun, then we grabbed that girl and her stolen loot, and wrested her behind the smoke house.

“You fin’ some new stray dog?”  Luce fairly hissed.  Marie-France was always savin’ some stray or injured animal.  An’ while that be a noble endeavor, says I, the loft  she shares with her sister and the Mickelwait twins (they got a set, too!) can smell like a pigpen, if she ain’t careful.

Marie-France scuffed the dirt some, “No, it ain’t like that.”

Luce hissed some more, “You tryin’ to put you on some pounds?”  Luce always did think Marie-France was on the frail side, though I ain’t never seen them go after it beyond a couple o’pushes and shoves and little kid dustups long past.  Don’t know just who I’d put my money on.  If I was to bet.

Which I don’t.

Hardly never.

(Lord Jesus, bless my soul, I am a sinnin’ fool!)

Them dark brown leather shoes with which Marie-France was shod, and what was once upon a time my sister Livvie’s,  was dirtied up so much now they was the color of Missouri red clay.  Her cheeks was gettin’ to be the same color.  She rubbed them real hard, took her a deep cleansin’ breath, then clinched her fists and pulled herself up to her full height.  Which was near as tall as me and Luce.  When’d she sprout up like that?

But then, she laid in.

She tol’ us ’bout the whole shebang, how she found this feller, feared this feller, then trussed him and promised to return and save his life.  Or his soul.  One and the same, I reckon.

An’ she aimed to keep her promise.  She also vowed she would not be returnin’ him to the “Holdin’ Camp.”  This here’s where the story broke down, fer this feller, he was the enemy!  He’d jest as like to kill us as look at us!

“Marie-France!” She near always listened to straight talk comin’ from me.  I, truth be told, am known for straight shootin’. “It’s the law!  You’re bound to return this feller, and posthaste!  This is harborin’ a fugitive!  This feller, he’s a danger to you and yer family, and us and the whole of Denton County!”

“It ain’t like that,” she first mumbled, then louder and stronger, “It ain’t like that, Liam!”

“Well, you best tell me what it IS like, then, ’cause I find this German feller, and I’ll haul is enemy backside back to where he belongs, I tell you what!”

She grabbed my arm and pinched inside my elbow till I squealed.  “You’ll do no sech thing, Liam Elias Ephriam Goodwell!  I mean it!”

Now, Marie-France, she has her these flashin’ brown eyes.  Filmy and sweet like them of a newborn foal of a normal day, but pointy and poppin’ when it ain’t, an’ this day it ain’t.

And why in the name of the Heavenly Father Luce stood by and let Marie-France go, why, I’m still abashed.  Even more so when, “C’mon, then, let’s us go see,” said Luce, marchin’ with purpose ‘out back aimin’ for the bridge and beyond.

Well, the rest o’that day’s story’ll wait for another day, I ‘spect.  We found the bugger, left jest whar Marie-France said, under a crab apple tree t’other side o’ the bridge.  Trusses loosed but not discarded.  Been there all night, but jest like them stray dogs and broken birds Marie-France saves and nurses to health and devotion, this German feller, more boy than man, he’d waited fer her return.

Been a couple o’weeks, now, an’ twixt the three of us kin, we been stealin’ out to beyond the meadow other side o’the bridge, bringin’ odds and ends of comfort, and bigger’n bigger stealin’s from the dinner table.  We built a leanto fer the feller, sat in silence, a’watchin’ the Choctaw river amble by, stood calm as Mama’s cukes when the sheriff come by, queryin’.

An’ still he stayed, quiet and mute now, bump from Marie-France’s cold-cock near fully undiscernible.

An’ still he stayed.

We, us three, are in a spot.

What DOES a body do with a ex-caped German soldier prisoner o’war?  One we hid in the woods and fed and made comfortable for more’n two weeks?  One who was satisfied to stay put, as his lot is durned near next to re-fined?

We, us three, we are in a spot.

***************

If Mama Ain’t Happy….

…..heck, you know the rest.

And rest assured, my Mama, she ain’t nowheres NEAR happy!  I been layin’ low since nigh on breakfast yesterday.  That there’s when Daddy, him and Grandpap, ‘long with Linc and Lawrence, the big boys, they headed off to the ol’ Smoot place, down in the bottoms, hour ‘way as the crow flies.

An’ why they deigned not to be takin’ me, Liam Goodwell, third son and fifth chil’ of the Denton County Goodwells, and durned best mushroom hunter this side o’ God’s own heaven, why I’ll never know.  I can fair sniff them delectables out half mile ‘way, I can.  Them brothers o’mine, why, they ain’t got the sense the good God give ’em when it comes to mushroom huntin’.  They be right now stompin’ ’round in they big ol’ boots, smooshin’ and smashin’ greens and growths what could be hidin’ the most succulent, delicious treat known to man!

Oh, they think they know.  Oh, they be sure of it.  But durned if my gleenin’s ain’t always near double theirs.  They do consider themselves blessed I willingly share once we get back to the house with our lip-smackin’ treasures.

And true, ain’t nobody I’d rather have rustle up these heaven-sent prizes than my Mama.  Now, ain’t possible to spoil a mess of them delights, but when they done right, it’s right spiritual.   ‘Specially when my Mama, she makes ’em.  All slathered in cornmeal, salted and peppered and fried crispy brown and golden, blackened a bit in the insides, poppin’ in fresh o’l in Mama’s biggest cast iron skillet.  Takes a big ol’ mess to feed a family big as us Goodwells, but my Mama, she’ll stand hummin’ at that ol’ skillet till they all be fried and crisped to perfection.  I note she always saves the extra done ones, fairly burnt black, off to the side, slippin’ her a taste ever’ now an’ a’gin.  Cain’t blame her none.  Them morels is hard to resist.

Law, my insides be turnin’ summersaults and the memory of that mouthwaterin’ woodsy flavor is leavin’ me faint.  I can smell ’em cookin’ and taste ’em as I sit here, itchin’.

These here tidbits o’ de-vine deliciousness I be pinin’ fer?  Why, they be wild morels, fer ain’t nothin’ in the worl’ like ’em, and I be roiled with certainty they be the food angels will be servin’ when I pass through them pearly gates!  Finger length perforated and pleated, they resemble little white Christmas trees some,  clusters o’ sprouts what pop up in the most unexpected wooded places come springtime.  Lookin’ like mini-a-ture done eat corn cobs with little stumps what keeps mice and such dry durin’ spring rains, these rapturous morsels, they blind me fer near an’thin’ else what’s set before me on the dinner table.  They only come on ‘couple weeks o’the year, and some years, law, they don’t show ‘t’all.   Ain’t no rhyme nor reason. No cultivatin’ nor plantin’ nor plannin’.   Pop up ‘hind that stand o’ trees yonder this year?  No sign the next.  But go look down to the river, by them mossy rocks, and they they be, playin’ hide ‘n seek with those of us who has mouths a waterin’ for a personal pile o’ golden fresh mushrooms sizzlin’ and teasin’ on tonight’s plate.

Gotta step careful, light.  Keep your eyes peeled and your nose to the wind.  And, ‘course,  know the diff’rence ‘tween good ones and bad.  That there’s where brothers Linc and Lawrence, they fail.  They got they heads in the clouds half the time, be it rodeo (that’d be Lincoln) or runnin’ off to do some soldierin’ an’ be a he-ro (that’d be Lawrence).  Either path you choose, they be steppin’ all over my mushrooms and I’m near fit to be tied.

An’ this year, why, all I kin do is set and wait ‘fer them all to darken the door.  An’ watch Mama fussin’ and flusterin’ at the stove, back stiff with exasperation and displeasure.

For my Mama, she loves her her mushrooms near on as much as me.   And that them fellers left me behind, why, she’s beside herse’f, fearin’ (an’ rightly so, by my thinkin’) they’ll come back empty handed.

‘Course, they woulda taken me, (me and Mama, we venture they shoulda!), had not Doc Allen been by the house ‘couple days ago, examinin’ me, stem to stern.  Mama coulda tol’ him, law, I my ownself coulda tol’ him, but after his checkin’ and proddin’ and pokin, he pronounced, to no one’s surprise, “Liam, son, you got yerself a fine case of the Chicken Pops.  Best you stay out the sun, best you stay inside and he’p yer Mama fer the next week or so.  Don’t want nobody else a gittin’ what you got.”

Well, for ’bout a minute and a half, that forced re-laxation sounded plumb like a va-cation.  Till I thought o’ how Miss Meadow down to the school would fluster herself gettin’ work home fer me to complete, how the horses out to the pasture would whinny and neigh, as I can fair speak their language, how I am the durned last of the Goodwells to suffer this malaise and would gleen the laughs and torment I bestowed on all my brothers and sisters whist they was spotted and runny.

So yesterdee at the breakfast table, when Grandpap ‘nnounced Raymond down to the Feed and Seed, he seen fer himself a mess growin’ out to his back forty, we all set right up.  

“We goin’, Grandpap?!  We goin’?!”  I sang out, joyous.

Grandpap turned his clear as the sky blue eyes to mine, blinkin’ only once.

“We goin’, Liam, but boy, you shore ain’t.  Not with them specks you got.  Doc said sunshine might make you blind.”

Don’t mind.  Don’t care.

“But Grandpap!”  I began, stunned.  Felt Mama step behind my chair, hands on my shoulders, “Now Daddy,” she begun, but Grandpap, he held up a firm hand, bade us both be silent.

“Won’t have it, won’t have none of it.  Liam, ” he looked me dead on, “Son, we’ll miss you, boy, but it’s ’bout time somebody else in this clan learn to sniff out them ‘shrooms.”

And with that, it was done.  Linc and Lawrence, they gathered they kit fer an overnight, and stomped out to the back porch, screen door slammin’ ‘hind.  

And so, I got me the Chicken Pops, and covered in oozin’ speckles and itchy like a house a’far, I ain’t s’posed to see the light ‘o day, ‘ccordin’ to Doc Allen.  So here I set, me and Mama, hopin’ and prayin’, but fair knowin’ we”re likely bound to be waitin’ till nex’ Spring.

That be be yesterdee.  This be today.  And me and Mama, we ain’t neither of us happy.

I am a’itchin’ in more ways’n one, I tell you what.

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