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Posts tagged ‘Arkansas’

Movin’ On

Tuesday TalesIt’s Tuesday Tales! This week we’re writing to the prompt ‘abrupt’.

Here’s a scene from my WIP, Fat and Sassy. Bea and Casey arrived back in Arkansas with a carload of kids in the spring of 1942. They stay with Papa, in the shanty in the ‘holler’ that Bea grew up in. Not finding work, Casey arrives home with an announcement.

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Fall 1942

1930 chevyBea heard the old Chevy chugging along the dirt road towards the house. She shifted Tom to her other hip and reached for the percolator, holding it out of his grasping hands. She placed it on the wood stove to warm up.

“Hush,” she murmured to the baby. “Daddy’s home, now be a good boy. He’s had a long day out looking for work.”

“Mae,” she hollered out the open doorway where the children chased chickens in the dirt yard. “Bring Bill and Helen in and git ‘em washed up. Daddy’s almost home.”

Before the little ones gathered, the car pulled up, gave one last rattley cough and silenced.

“Daddy … Daddy ,” the three children gathered around the car. Little Bill jumped up and down as if springs were under his bare feet.

The children were excited to see Daddy. And young. They didn’t notice the weariness etched in his face, nor the defeat that settled around his shoulders as a cloak.

Casey stooped to embrace the children in his arms. A smile crossed his face and a glimmer of delight shined in his eyes. The world hadn’t defeated him yet. He had his wife and his children.

He picked up Helen, the smallest, and grabbed Mae’s hand. Bill bounced alongside of them into the wooden shanty they called home at the moment. Bea handed him a hot mug when he entered the doorway. He settled down into a rickety chair, careful not to upset the steaming coffee. He bounced Helen on his knee. “We’re moving to Misery.”

“We’re moving to Missouri, just like that?” Bea asked, a frown making it clear what she thought of the idea. “Isn’t that kind of abrupt?”

“I got word from Uncle Scott. He said there’s work up there. He said we can stay with him until we get on our feet. There’s plenty of room on the farm and I’ll help out with harvesting until I find work.”

“When do you intend on moving? I’m about ready to drop this baby. I don’t want to be birthin’ it on the road.”

“Then, we’d better get a giddyup in our step and get there sooner rather than later. We’ll go next week.”

“Humph”, Bea muttered under her breath. “That’s one good thing about not having a pot to piss in. It doesn’t take nuttin’ to pile it all in the jalopy and move on down the road.”

Fat and Sassy: The Honey Tree

Tuesday TalesIt’s Tuesday Tales! This week we’re writing to the prompt ‘sweet’.

Here’s a scene from my WIP, Fat and Sassy. Bea and Casey arrived back in Arkansas with a carload of kids in the spring of 1942. Staying with Beas father, Papa, and her younger brother Sam, keeps Bea busy. Besides the household chores, Papa still likes to find ways she can help.

The Honey Tree

Summer 1942

honey treePapa tipped up his saucer full of coffee and looked at Bea. “I need you to gather honey with me today.”

“Why me? I’ve got my hands full. Take Sam with you.”

“You know those brothers of yourn’ aren’t any good with the bees. You’re the one I always took with me because you have a way with them.”

“I was going to wash today.”

“Wash tomorrow. Those overalls ain’t gonna go anywhere. We’re outta honey and it’s a good day to harvest honey. Sunny and dry.”

Bea resigned herself to the change in her plans. She threw the flour sack dishtowel on the table. “Do you know where the honey tree is? I can’t be traipsing all over the holler in my condition.”

“Honey, honey …” Mae sang out. “Can we go too?”

“Naw, you can’t go. You’re too little to go hunt honey. You chillin’s stay here with Uncle Sam.” She poured some milk in a bottle and handed it to Mae. “Here, go give this to your brother.”

As Mae headed out of the kitchen, Bea hollered out, “Sam. Git yourself in here.”

Sam poked his head in the doorway. “What sis?”

“I’m huntin’ honey with Papa today. Keep an eye on the kids while we’re gone.”

“I’d rather do that than mess with those ole’ bees. They’s nasty creatures … Bea.” He laughed at his joke. Bea glared at him, no laughter in her face. She’d heard that joke too many times growing up and wasn’t in the mood to hear it again.”

“I’m a fixin to git the oil and the rags,” Papa said, standing and heading towards the door.

Sam started singing, “Honey, sweet, sweet honey … gonna have you on my biscuits tonight.” Bea threw the dishtowel at his head and followed Papa out the door.

The chickens got excited and started their clucky serenade as Bea and Papa passed by on the way to the barn. “So how far is the honey tree? I caint be climbing too much with this belly.”

“Just down the road a piece. It’s in that grove that’s midway to the crossroads. I spied ‘em flying back and forth yesterday and followed ‘em. The hollow is only a few feet off the ground, not too high.”

They ambled along the dusty lane towards the grove. “Should be a nice amount in there right now.  Earlier in the year when you got here there prolly wasn’t too much there after getting’ thru the winter. The honeycomb should be filled back up by now.”

Approaching the bank of trees, Papa motioned to stop. He pulled out a match and lit the oil soaked rag. Holding the smoking beacon in front of him, they entered the grove, stepping over limbs and leaf litter towards their goal. Bees buzzed back and forth on their mission. The duo eased up to the hollow, ignoring the bees swarming around the mouth of the hollow in the old oak. Bea stepped quietly behind him, holding a pail ready for the golden harvest. The smoldering torch filled with air with its pungent smoke. The buzzing slowed and quieted. Bea slipped up to the hollow, stuck her hand in and pulled out a sweet, sticky honeycomb mass. She dropped in the pail and went back for another. A few curious bees swarmed her head. She held still as they investigated then headed back to their home unconcerned.

“Got enough?” she asked.

“That should hold us for a bit.” They backtracked toward the road where Papa stepped on the rag extinguishing the fire.

Bea held her gummy hand out in front of her. It had been so long since she’d been honey hunting she’d forgotten to bring a wet rag with her. “Guess I guess the first taste,” she said, starting to lick her hand.

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