Claire got up as she heard the rooster crow, wanting so badly to stay under the warm covers on such a cold morning. She saw Daddy leave out the front door with his hunting rifle. She watched him walk out into the woods, as a dim crack of light peeked through the curtains.
Padding as quietly as she could over to where her younger sister Ruthie lay, Claire shook her. "Ruthie, get up. We have to get started."
Ruthie moaned into the covers, the best moan her 8 year old body could release at the rude awakening. "No, Sissy, I don't want to," she whined.
"Get up now, girl! You know we have to get going."
Today, the family was expecting company. Their their mother insisted that the house be scrubbed from top to bottom. They knew they would have to chase down their four brothers, once awakened, to make sure they were scrubbed too, even behind their ears.
Since all 8 of them lived in a one room shack, the noise of their bustling housecleaning began to awaken the family one by one. Since there was little the girls could have done to prevent from waking them up, they went around completing their chores with a non-so quiet determination.
When Mama woke up, she gave them a big smile. As they washed her face and put on her prettiest bedcoat, they sprinkled some eau de toilette water on her. Mama remarked how she smelled just like the lilacs that bloomed outside.
The company’s knock came on the door sooner than they thought. Ruthie rushed to open the door for the company, looking around first, proud that the house was so clean, and that everyone had stayed so tidy.
The people at the door, the men and ladies of the local Christian Society of Relief and Aide to Mankind, came in grim faced, their arms laden with sacks.
With a gesture of distain, they tossed the bags on the floor, spilling some of the items that had been held within right onto the newly mopped floor. A little boy who had come with them stood wordlessly staring at the Drummond children.
“Howdy, Miz Drummond,” a relief worker bent down across the bed, “How’s you all doing?” She grinned at Mama, and touched her hand.
”We just fine, Missus Taylor,” Mama answered. “You see how big the boys are now? They’s growing up so fast.” The boys turned red and tried to hide behind each other.
“How’s the ailing, Miz Drummond?” Mrs Taylor asked, “is you feeling any better, any better a’tall?”
Mama’s smile was faint as she answered, “I’m ok, Missus Taylor. the chillrens be helping me a lot. I shore appreciate you’se a asking and all.”
“We be bringing you all some food Miz Drummond. They’s some beans, and taters, and a handsome piece of a hambone in there for some soup. We got some oranges all the way from Caleforney; For the babies.”
The Drummond kids stayed as still as they could, but it was hard with thinking about having food to eat. They hadn’t ate anything for three days now, and their bellies were growling already.
Noticing all of their eyes staring at the bags, the relief worker took pity on them, and stood up to leave. As she and the others left out the door, the little boy with them turned around and kicked a bag of the food, causing its contents to spill out all over the newly washed floor. Bright round oranges flew to all corners of the Drummond’s home, and the boys scrambled to scoop them up like toy balls.
As the men and women stood on the Drummond porch waiting for the car to come around for them, the family could hear their conversation through the paper thin walls.
The little boy asked, “Is it true those Drummonds ain’t nothing but white trash, Miz Taylor?”
“You hush up, boy.” Came the harsh reply, “These folks may’n be poor, but ain’t nothing trashy about these people. Hiram lost his job like lots of fellers in this here depression, and with Frances coming down with that multiple sclerosis thing, well, it’s tough for them. Tougher than most.
But you remember boy, the Lord Jesus told us the poor would be with us always, but there ain’t no human being alive that God considers trash. He sees each and every one of us as a treasure.”