My paw would whip me if he knew I was talkin’ with you rights now. I’m supposed to be doing the warsh and the ironin’. It don’t hurt a soul to take a break now and then, I reckon. I gots to get Becky’s dress ready for this evening’s wake. Paw is out back diggin’ the grave and Momma’s just-a sitting on the bed staring out the winder at nuttin in particular.
Grams said this will be the best keening the Holler ever did see. Wiping at her eyes with her apron, Grams told me, “Should be lots of screeching and howling and crying and the likes. Everybody and their dog loved Becky.”
I don’t like wakes. I don’t like all the hollering and blubbering and such, even if Becky is my little sister. Paw said he don’t know if his heart is strong enough to bury his Lil’ Punkin. And I don’t like that Becky is laid out on our bed dead and all. It’s just creepy to knowed I gotta lie on it tonight after she’s been there all day.
How could something supposin’ to be a joke turn so sour? One thing is fer sure…ain’t nobody laughing now. No sirree. Ain’t no one in all the Holler thinking this was funny. Just a sec, somebody’s knocking at the door.
“Yes, ma’am. Can I help you?”
“Hello, Suzanne. Is your momma here about? I brought her some bread and plum preserves. Baked the bread myself just this mornin’.”
“Why thank you, Mrs. Johnston. Momma ain’t feelin’ real well right now. I’d invite you in but we’re all kinda busy here and all. It shore was nice of you to bring us’n the food. I’ll be sure to tell Momma you dropped by with your howdys. Bye, now.”
I knowed people mean well but can’t they just leave us alone ‘til tonight? My feelings are all broken to pieces and every time someone comes, they break even more. If they wanna help maybe some of the fellers could get together and put the ol’ outhouse back up on its feet. Paw don’t have the heart to go near it since the accident. The Logan boys was just a foolin’ around last evening being Halloween and all. They thought it would be funny to go potty tipping. But they just got plum carried away. There goes someone else a-knockin’ at the door.
“Hello, Mr. Sawyer.”
“Howdy, girl. Say, me and the boys thought we’d come over before the wake and upright the outhouse, if your dad don’t mind.”
“We’d be much obliged, sir. Paw is busy digging right now and he still needs to make the box.”
“We’re real sorry about Becky. Those Logan boys sure thought they were being funny last night. They tipped ours over too. My old lady fergot to bring the lantern back to the house after she got done doing her duty. Burnt the outhouse right to the ground.”
“Uhm, I’m so sorry fer your loss, Mr. Sawyer.”
“Yeah, well, me too. I won’t keep you further. Me ‘n the boys will get right on the outhouse.”
You know, this isn’t the first time the local Holler boys got carried away with their tipping. But I have a feeling it will be eons before anyone tries it again. Those Logan boys are onery cusses and in a lot of trouble with the law. Not only did they knock down our outhouse with Becky in it and burnt down Mr. Sawyer’s outhouse, they locked the preacher in the one by the church.
Some people don’t take to Halloween and so they take to prayer meetings instead. Once folks had left the church, the preacher went to the privy before headin’ home and the boys nailed the door shut with him still in it. When folks went lookin’ for him after Becky was kilt, no one could find him. He fell asleep sitting on the hole, wearing hisself out from yelling fer hours. That’s where they found him at dawn this morning after one of the Logan boys confessed to their night of folly. Just a sec, some folks are comin’ up the front porch. Oh boy, this cain’t be good.
“Howdy, Mr. Logan. Mrs. Logan. What can I do you fer?”
“Is your paw and ma at home? We really do need to talk to them before the wake tonight. Last night was a horrible night of errors. Ain’t nobody laughing about it now, fer sure.”
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