Iím going back to Barker City next month. My cousin Doyle lives there, and he just got married. He called me and said, ďPenny, get down here and meet my wife. Youíll like her.Ē So I took the bus down the next weekend, and he was right. Me and Emmie hit it off right away, even though she is smarter than me about what really counts.
Doyle went to bed early Friday night, and Emmie and me stayed up till all hours drinking sweet tea at the kitchen table. Turns out Emmieís had a pretty rough life up until recently.
Her daddy left when she was two, and her mama had to raise Emmie and her two brothers alone.
Emmie started helping her brothers tinker with cars. She was good at fixing engines, so the three of them started doing auto repair in their garage. She claims she was the best mechanic of the bunch. She never went on many dates, and she sure didnít go to any dances or proms. Her mama never had any money for prom dresses anyway, but Emmie said that was okay. She said she just spent any money she had on overalls, because she liked them better.
My family usually had enough money for pretty dresses. We werenít uppity at all, but I did love wearing organza and taffeta now and then. Itís funny how Emmie made me see that stuff wasnít even important.
When Emmie and her brothers got tired of working on cars, the three of them went their separate ways. She moved off and went to work at the carpet mill. The one good thing that came out of that is thatís where she met Doyle. He was delivering soft drinks to the mill, and saw her sitting in the break room. She said he took one look at her wearing her steel toed boots and gave her a free Dr. Pepper. One thing led to another, and now Emmie stays home and makes buttermilk pies for him.
Emmie and me got to laughing so hard about stuff her and her brothers had done, that I thought weíd wake Doyle. He just kept snoring, though, so I guess we didnít bother him. Listening to him snore put us in a silly mood. Emmie decided her lace tablecloth would make a good party dress. She yanked it right off the table and wrapped it around herself, strutting up and down like the only rooster in the hen house. She said she still liked her overalls the best, but it was fun putting on lace for a change. Pretty soon, I was standing up, dangling two napkin rings from my earlobes. When Emmie saw that, she laughed up a storm. Next thing you know, we were putting hot pads on our heads and having us a regular fashion show. Emmieís going to have to buy some more vanilla too, because we dabbed it behind our ears, and emptied the bottle.
Now this might sound kind of strange to you, but Emmie really did look pretty in that lace tablecloth. Her eyes sparkled, but I have to say I donít know if those sparkles were just from looking pretty, or if some of it was mischief. Whichever it was, she sure was having a good time. The thing is, she was showing me how to have a good time right along with her.
I told Emmie I was real proud she married Doyle. Iíve always felt a little bit sorry for Doyle, being so serious and all. Since he met Emmie, heís smiled a lot, and even chuckled a little bit. I think he just didnít know how to relax, but Emmie was changing all that.
Me and Emmie went shopping the next morning. We went to a thrift shop and found some really good bargains. She claims she got her living room rug there for just twenty bucks, and itís a pretty rug, too. I never knew you could buy something that nice in a thrift shop.
When we got home, she showed me how to make sugar cookies. Of course, we had to replace that vanilla first.
Itís pretty plain to me that the good Lord gave Emmie a gift. Sheís doesnít even know it, but sheís tutoring me and Doyle in some pretty important things. Emmie may not be a fancy schoolroom teacher, but sheís fancy on the inside, and thatís all that matters anyway.
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