In Preacher's Creek, Ch. 1 (first 550+ words)
There are fragments of memories that float around in my head, things from the earliest years in Preacher’s Creek. Smells and sounds of a big family dinner, ham with scalloped potatoes. Being surrounded by giants, and seeing only their knees, or looking up their noses. My father’s soft aroma, being nestled into the crick of his elbow, while he read the newspaper. The security of my little sweaty hand in my momma’s warm hand, her fingers caressing the top of my fingers.
These quick snap-shot float through my brain with no words attached to them, only deep reactions of emotions to events that swirled around me, before I had learned words and could attach meaning.
But then, almost overnight, all those images settled like lime Jell-O in a refrigerator, going from hot sweet sticky liquid to a jiggling solid. All those fragments became a moving picture in which my family was the stars and Preacher’s Creek was our stage.
It was Memorial Day, I was told, and we went to the Hunter Cemetery. We spent a lot of time there, visiting headstones, laying out flowers, and telling stories about the dead people who were lying peacefully under the grass.
I had been given some pretty straight forward instructions, a face to face with Momma, where she looked deep into my eyes, with her hands on each side of my head. “Now, Ellen Jo Carter,” she had said. When she used the whole name, it meant serious business. “You are going stay right here, in this spot, and you will keep your clothes, your shoes, and your socks on.” Momma had covered all the bases here, which was important when dealing with a legalistic four year old.
I had tried her out, just to see if she was really paying attention to me when she moved on to another headstone, leaving me on that spot. Took off my shoes, and was just starting in on the socks, when swoop Momma came down from the sky, like a giant eagle snatching up a helpless baby lamb. SMACK! her hand descended on my scrawny cute little butt, leaving a pink hand print under my panties, the ones with little yellow chicks.
Tears never worked with her, I would learn over and over in the years I was with my mother. She pointed dispassionately, wordlessly, to my discarded shoes and lone sock. Whimpering and looking up at her with big pleading eyes, I went ahead and put them back on. I had been so close to clothes-free romping through the vibrant green grass of Hunter Cemetery. I would have left panties on, but everything else would have been tossed behind my great-grandmother’s headstone.
Placing my hand-pink butt on that spot, I gazed longingly at my two brothers, Ron and Kent. Ron was almost a giant, since he turned nine years old, and he knew absolutely everything, and he could even read. Kent was only a year older than I was, but he was a big kid. His slicked down black hair never moved a hair as he chased Ron, “I’m gonna get you this time!” His glasses were steamed up, so I don’t know how he thought he would have any luck catching Ron.
I swiveled around tenderly, the prickly grass grinding into the little yellow chicks, and faced my great-grandmother’s headstone. Tracing the carved letters, I had no idea that my name was the same as hers.
After the W.I.P. blogfest, I received so much feedback, that I felt invigorated to approach my book from a different angle. This is the result.
Many thanks! again to the A-Z Blogfest team.
Please hook up to the link below, to access the other entries!