Falling For Mister Right
“Mama! Mama!” Celeste screamed, yanking the screen door open and racing inside to dive behind the sofa. “A terrorist is coming up the sidewalk.”
Stepping quickly to the front window Monique hooked the blind-slats with a thumb and yanked upward. Peering through the opening she said, “Aw, honey, that’s your Uncle Twister in shaggy-bark camo. The only thing he ever terrorized was a dinner table.”
“Wha’s he doin’ here?” Celeste asked, sniffing back a sniffle. “He looks like a terrorist.”
“Honey, figure it out. It happens every year when autumn leaves start falling. Twister and your Poppa get in a stew gearing up for hunting season.”
“Wat’cha mean, Mama?”
“Whoa! Twister,” Monique yelled, holding a palm up like a fearless school crossing-guard stopping a sand-loaded dump truck. “Don’t be coming in here wearing those boots. I almost never got your black heel marks off the floor last year. We aren’t doing that again. Rooster is in the shed out back.”
“Hello to you too, Monique. A beautiful day it is” Twister said, his dark eyes sparkling. Backing out and closing the screen door he grunted, “Don’t sweat the small stuff. I’m heading around.” Twister spat tobacco juice at a hound curled-up under the abelia. Laughing at the dog’s throaty-growl, he hiked away to find Rooster.
“What’s Poppa and Twister gonna do?” Celeste asked.
“Darling, they are going to sit on their rumps and discuss owning everything they don’t have four of already. There will be frost in Panama before they sneak buying it past your Aunt Sally and me. They might build a fire under that big black wash-pot and boil some water. Last year they stewed their hunting clothes with some high-dollar scent-killer to cook the man smell out. Weird isn’t the word for it, but its close.”
“Can I go watch, Mama?”
“No, Darling, you can’t. You don’t need to be hearing all those yarns about them being the next Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett. You would just encourage them if they had an audience. Some day you are going to marry and you might as well know some things.”
“What things, Mama?”
“Celeste, last month you were baptized. Obedient Christians tithe their income. That means give ten cents of every dollar back to God by bringing an offering to church. Your Poppa and Twister haven’t figured that out yet. They only have spare change left for God.”
“That’s not good, is it Mama?”
“No, Celeste, it’s not. Your Poppa doesn’t know but I tithe the grocery and clothes money he gives me. You know what? God blesses. We always get by and have enough. Those two don’t tithe and something is always breaking or going wrong for them.
“Last fall they were riding on your Poppa’s ATV. ATV means ‘All Terrain Vehicle’ but do you think those two know that? No! They came to a stream and Twister said, ‘Rooster, take her across – it ain’t deep.’ Well, it was and ‘A’ didn’t stand for amphibian. Those two don’t have the sense God gave a parakeet, sometimes. Rooster has been buying parts and working on that four-wheeler off-and-on all year trying to make it run right.
“I believe if you don’t tithe you don’t get to enjoy what you didn’t give. That may not be in the Bible but I believe it. They will figure it out one of these days.”
“Mama, the preacher said ‘Straight and narrow is better than wide and loose.’ Poppa believes that, doesn’t he?”
“He’s getting there, darling. He was the happiest man alive when you were baptized. He’s been paying a lot more attention to the preacher lately. His faith is growing. If your Poppa doesn’t rob your college fund to buy something stupid, my prayers will be answered.”
“Is that what you wanted me to know, Mama, about prayer?”
“Celeste, someday you may want to marry. Before you say ‘I do’, know how your sweetheart acts when autumn leaves start falling. The right kind of man will take you hunting with him, if he is a hunter.”
“But you don’t hunt with Poppa. Does that mean…”
“Oh, no! Sweetheart, I quit hunting before you were born. He didn’t appreciate Annie Oakley out-shooting him. I fell for a good man and I’m going to keep him.”
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