Sitting on the old front porch swing, Julianne waits for the arrival of the unfamiliar, for the seventy-year-old-woman who gave her life. Gently pushing the toes of her left foot against the floor in rhythm with the suspended motion, Julianne is struck with the profound comfort of her own immobility. In the midst of the constant procession of life, I wait here, she thought. Had always waited, it seemed to her now, while her environment ripened around her, touching her, sustaining her, as the patterns of living changed routinely, yet predictably, through the years. Continue reading The Family
Esta, old and dying, stood at the gate. She had lived from the beginning to the end. She had come from the place of perpetual bliss to this planet of death, but she had not come freely. She sank to the ground, her wizened old fingers clutching the dirt, as she summoned the great wings of thought. Come, take me back to Ova, she willed. As her head fell to rest upon the brown parchment remains of the garden’s dying trees, Esta remembered. Ova was gone. Continue reading The Last Ovalian
“He came with her. Mary said it didn’t matter what anybody thought.”
“Mary’s the daughter?”
“No-o-o-o. Mary’s the mother. I can’t remember what the girl’s name is, but she’s the one that lives up north, someplace in New York. Anyway, that’s where she met that nigger man she married.”
“What? Why, I have to watch everything I say to you, Lana!” Continue reading Down Home Sickness
I’m concerned I may be developing Attention Deficit Disorder. Does ADD only afflict children? Some days my inability to remain focused runs me ragged. Before I can accomplish an intended task, often before I even get started, something invariably distracts me, demanding my immediate attention. Today has been one of those days, and it all began with the phone book. Continue reading ADD, Or What?
Jo had planned to spend the weekend in Dallas with friends, until Sean walked into the house early that Saturday morning completely unexpected. The guest he brought with him set off alarm signals, activating motherly instincts Jo had never experienced. Continue reading Mother of The Groom
Dub used to be handsome. The eighty-year-old ex-horse trader knew some quality stories about the price of land, about grappling for catfish in hollow logs, about going out with married women. He always drove a new Chevrolet truck. A lock of curly hair still brushes his forehead, falling forward softly, more gray now than black. Not long ago, he wore his flannel shirt opened at the neck, the first two buttons undone to reveal curly chest hair and a couple of gold chains. Now he keeps it buttoned all the way to the collar. Continue reading Dub’s Loss
Every Thursday evening Harrison’s mother played Bridge, either in their own living room, or in the home of one of the other club members. Regardless, Harrison had time on his hands, free time for a few hours, time he could spend doing whatever pleased him. And time spent away from his widowed mother pleased him tremendously. It wasn’t that he didn’t love Lucy, but—being her only child—that weekly freedom from his mother’s short leash was the best part of Harrison’s life. Continue reading A Full Grown Man
The first meal Jill remembers, not home cooked, came from an isolated bar and grill somewhere between Dallas and Phoenix. Traveling in the family car, a 1949 black Fleetwood Cadillac her father probably won in a poker game, Jill and her sisters rode in the back seat, their parents in the front. Lady, the beloved German shepherd, lay on the floorboard, her head on Jill’s feet. On that night, in the summer of 1951, that unforgettable hamburger supper changed her family forever. Continue reading Burgers and Blue Neon
Jackson, the superstar of Gayle’s hometown, was everyone’s James Dean, Buddy Holly, and Roy Orbison, rolled into one. He drove a ‘57 Chevy painted a shade of plum mist purple the locals had never seen in real time. He introduced drag racing, glamorized lethargy, and intrigued everyone with stories about his friendship with Elvis’ bodyguard. He excited them all, bringing a kind of agitated disturbance slightly out of sync and somewhat intimidating. A distraction from the Dairy Queen routine of their small town existence, he aroused suspicion in all the parents.
Jackson went out to West Texas in May of ‘61 with a seismograph crew that had come through town. He returned in the middle of August, much sooner than anyone expected. His unannounced homecoming, typical Jackson theatrics, did not surprise Gayle, his girlfriend’s sister. No, his unexpected return did not surprise anyone, but the news that he had come back married stunned them all. Continue reading April’s Fool?
Nell, investigative reporter for the local paper, sat in her usual place in the corner booth facing the courthouse. The coffee shop, eerily quiet this morning, might as well have been draped in black. Shocked and saddened by the death of the restaurant’s best-loved waitress, the customers drank their coffee in silence, remembering Suzanne. Still numb four hours after receiving the call, Nell shook her head in disbelief. Her friend had died overnight inside her burning house. Continue reading Death of A Waitress