Saturday, January 12, 2013
Wind In White Birch - Issue # 2
Hello all! My name is V.L. Locey. I am a self-published and traditionally published author that lives in the mountains of Pennsylvania with my husband of over twenty-one years, my sixteen year old daughter, a herd of dairy goats, chickens, geese, ducks, turkeys, three dogs, two cats, and a partridge in a pear tree. For more info about me and contact links, check out the author bio tab up above.
Enough about me, let`s get back to Wind in White Birch and our lovers Jonah and Dana.
Wind in White Birch
My ass met the stool soundly. There they were. The five women who had shaped me into the round-bottomed, halushki-loving person I am. First in the door, as always, came the leader of the Clairton Corp despite being the third youngest of the five sisters. My grandmother Helen: the woman that raised me when my parents were killed in a car crash. Grandma always entered any place first.
How do I describe my grandmother? Have you ever seen Endora on Bewitched? My grandmother could be Agnes Moorehead`s stunt double, right down to the waspish attitude, red hair and love of eye shadow and false eyelashes. She also has as much time for Rhick as Endora did for Derwood. Today she was dressed in purple from her eggplant hued snow boots to her plum eye shadow.
Next in the round little Polish woman parade was Aunt Anne. Aunt Anne is the tallest of the sisters (coming in at a gargantuan five foot four!)the second oldest and the one who bakes the best pies. Just ask, she`ll tell you. And if you don`t ask for some odd reason, she`ll tell you anyway. Aunt Anne is a stately woman with silver curls, serious blue eyes, and a rather gruff attitude. She was in varying shades of teal and white.
My aunt Elizabeth came in next, her elbow held by my beloved Aunt Josephine. Actually Aunt Jo`s dachshund Leopold G. Poopbottom came in next after wriggling out of Aunt Jo`s zebra skin tote bag (to match her zebra leggings and coat)on the way up the six outside steps. Four little feet hit the floor. Bongo Cat took one look at the dog and climbed the nearest wooden shelving unit like a streak, never stopping until he sloughed over above us like a vulture hoping for a wiener dog death to occur.
Aunt Bitty, as we call her, is the oldest of the Zajac girls and just celebrated her ninety-first birthday. Aunt Bitty weighs about eighty pounds, has glasses as thick as salt shakers and suffers from memory loss. Aunt Jo, the youngest of the sisters, is a tomato-shaped woman with the glint of Lucifer in her eyes. She is never happier than when she is tormenting the living piss out of my grandmother. Aunt Mary came hurrying in, short of breath and unable to see due to foggy bifocals.
“I ran out of nickels!” Mary said, stumbling towards the sounds of her sisters with one arm in front of her like a blind zombie. “Helen, do you have any more nickels?”
“There`s enough nickels in the damn meter, Mary. We could be safely parked out there until the end of days, I`m sure,” Aunt Anne sniped.
“Leopold, get your little ass back here!” Jo-Jo shouted. The dog was dancing on his back feet under the baleful glare of Bongo Drum.
“Josephine, for the love of God, would you get that dog under control before he pees on the floor!”
That last comment was from my grandmother. There is no worse happenstance than pee on the floor. Humanity as we know it will hang in the balance until the hypothetical piddle puddle is cleaned up.
“Oh lighten up, Helen, it`s only pee!” Jo-Jo said, leading Aunt Bitty past the bouncing dachshund in a hand-knitted yellow sweater. Herr Poopbottom had the yellow sweater. Aunt Bitty`s was green and inside out. Where Aunt Bitty`s coat was remained a secret.
“What if the police come and see our time ran out?” Mary fretted, pulling out a stool for Elizabeth. Aunt Mary was a lean woman, with strands of silver in her still dark hair. She was the bead worker of the group and made the most beautiful holiday ornaments for the church`s Christmas bazaar every year.
“I think I have bookwork to do,” Katie mumbled, grabbed another slice then made her escape just like her tuxedo cat.
“Coward,” I called over my shoulder as the office door clicked shut.
“I wager they`ll be more upset over Helen`s parking Mary,” Jo said, coming around the counter for a kiss and a hug. “You heard from Jonah this week?” she whispered when I bent down to hug her. I shook my head as I moved through the throng of old women, pecking wrinkled cheeks. “Well he`s probably busy with something. He`ll call, don`t you worry!”
“Who`ll call?” Aunt Bitty inquired, looking around the store in confusion.
“Some Indian boy from up North that Josephine fixed Dana up with. Are you sure about the meter?” Aunt Mary was back at the door, her mittens cupped around her glasses, staring at the lop-sided Caddy.
“Uncle Rodney played an Indian once in a movie, didn`t he Helen?” Bitty smiled as I patted her trembling hand.
“No, he went to an Indian`s game with Hans and Roy,” Grandma corrected, “I remember it because Hans kept saying the Pirates were going to beat the Indians, and my Roy would say no way the Pirates would beat the Indians.”
“What the hell are you talking about, Helen?” Aunt Anne snapped. I felt a large vein in my left temple begin to throb. “The Pirates are in the National League and the Indian`s are in the American League!”
“I don`t think so, Anne. See, this is why you get the football things all confused,” my grandmother argued.
“Me? At least I still have my Bradshaw jersey. Not like some people who gave it to Goodwill!”
“He retired almost thirty years ago! You want I should sleep in it like you do?” grandma fired back.
Annnnnnd they were off….
The vein was throbbing with more veracity. This was every day for me until I moved out of my grandmother`s row home after squeaking through high school. See, not only do the five sisters find no greater joy than arguing, one-upping, and busting each other’s balls, they all live within two blocks of each other. My Aunt Jo lives right next door to my grandmother just for pure spite I think.
They maintain that they all stayed in Clairton in case of sickness and/or emergency. While that`s part of it undoubtedly, I think the real reason they live so close is to ensure that they all know what the other is doing. Then it`s just a short shuffle down the hill to State Street for someone to bitch at.
Well, all except Aunt Elizabeth bless her. She spends more and more time with her husband Robert who passed away fifteen years ago. I made my way back to the pizza and the relative safety of the counter and the cash register. Maybe someone would come in and buy a book. That would be nice.
“Dana, did you find the stuff for Friday?” Aunt Mary asked. I startled from my fantasy of customers and muscular Seneca males.
“I`m sorry, what`s happening on Friday?” I asked, reaching down to lift Herr Poopbottom to my lap. He lunged at my pizza. I barely got my bottle of pop out of the way before the food was gobbled up.
“Damn dog,” Aunt Mary chided, looking at a book about southern cooking while she talked. “We`re renting out the church hall for Bobby`s sixty-fifth birthday. You did say you and Rhett would help decorate.”
Ah, yes, Aunt Elizabeth`s son Robert Jr. and his birthday extravaganza. How could I forget?
“Sure, we`ll be there. I`ll have to work until five but I can be in Clairton by six if traffic isn`t too bad. What did you need again?” I asked, pushing the dog`s pointed nose away from the remaining pizza in the box.
The store phone rang. I put the dachshund to the floor, wiped my fingers on my napkin which now was covered with brown Leopold fur, and grabbed the phone.
“Tomes A ‘Plenty. Your fiction is our addiction!” I shouted to be heard over the din of the Hobbits in babushkas’ gang and barking wiener mutts.
“Hey Dana,” he said. All the background clatter faded away.
“Hi Jonah,” I said with a smile.
“Anyone who`s a true Steelers fan wouldn`t give the Blond Bomber`s jersey away!”
Saints preserve me.