Saturday, August 31, 2013
Dear Jon - Chapter # 5
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 daughter who is seventeen, a herd of dairy goats, chickens, geese, ducks, turkeys, two dogs, two cats, and a partridge in a pear tree. For more info and links about me and my work, check out the Bio tab up above.
Being a fan of music – and many other things - from the 40`s I thought it would be keen to include the links to the songs mentioned in this story. Here`s Bing Crosby and The Andrew Sisters singing Don`t Fence Me In. Feel free to play them as you read for atmosphere or wait until you’re done.
They say confessing is good for the soul. I`ll confess that I had thoughts of putting my nephew in the rumble seat just so I wouldn`t have to deal with him looking at me with Betty`s disapproving green eyes. I didn`t let him ride in the back though. He was sitting on his calves turning the radio knob. His bow tie was crooked. I wondered if Mrs. Bartlett had dressed him. The kid looked uncomfortable. Just like me. Our ties were choking us. I tugged mine off and tossed it to the floor. Andy paused in the musical selections.
“I hate ties,” I said, pulling onto Main Street. It was after six and the sidewalks had been rolled up. “You want yours off?” I asked, pulling up to the only traffic light. Andy nodded and hastily tugged the clip-on from his stiff collar. I nodded approvingly. The dark green tie joined mine on the floor. Andy went back to searching. We left the bustling town behind, weaving along on dirt roads shaded by apple, black walnut, white birch and oak trees. Bing and The Andrew Sisters were lamenting fencing. I knew how they felt. I could feel all kinds of barriers starting to be built around me.
Andrew slid off his legs, his shiny dress shoes bouncing up and down on the seat in time with the western tune. I cleared my throat.
“You like cowboys?” I asked, the Ford bouncing along like a clown jalopy, her suspension ill-suited for country roads. Route Six would look – and feel - really good once we got to it. The kid didn`t reply and I didn`t push him. He had just lost his mother to-
I didn`t know what killed her. I hadn`t asked. I threw a look at Andy. No, I couldn`t ask him. I reached into my breast pocket and tugged my pack of Pall Mall`s out. I couldn`t get the smoke lit fast enough. My exhalation was large. Andrew coughed lightly. I rolled down the window. Betty didn`t smoke, or hadn`t anyway when I left Hannity Hills. She found it distasteful. I guess even the righteous tumble from their pedestals. Andrew was living proof that my older sister wasn`t the Virgin Mary she always tried to come off as being.
Route Six appeared and none too soon. My poor coupe was close to losing a fender. The highway was smooth under the worn tires. Neither of us spoke. We passed a long white barn with hundreds of small glass squares. The stench of manure rolling in the window made my eyes sting. The memories of driving past this place to head to the lake to fish with dad rose up like a Kodiak bear in the road. It was unexpected and huge and ferocious. The warmth of those outings with dad and Betty (mom`s uterine cancer had taken her a few years before our yearly fishing trips began) clawed at my guts with the same veracity as a bruin. Another match found the end of another Pall Mall, the flame quivering violently as I battled that emotional bear.
“So, Uhm, where`s your house?” I asked after the poultry farm fell into the distance, nothing more than a withered memory in my rearview. If I was right this stretch of Route Six was nothing but old mining camps that had been renovated into homes or hunting lodges.
Andy pointed at a small blue house with white shutters. I crept off the highway. The yard was tidy and surrounded with a nice white picket fence. Flowers were planted on the outside and around the base of the mailbox. Ground stone crunched under the tires as I pulled up under a weeping willow whose drooping branches skimmed over the car roof. Andrew was out before I had the car parked, his door left open but his steel toys clutched to his skinny chest. An overwhelming urge to sit here and smoke and weep overtook me, but I pushed my door open and stepped out.
Two white geese appeared from the rear of the house, wings out and necks low to the ground. I had seventeen seconds to climb up onto the hood of my car before the web-footed attackers waddled over. There I sat, legs tucked into my chest, waving my hat at the miserable birds when Andrew came running around the side of the bungalow. He stared at my predicament. I called for assistance. The fucking geese were making so much racket a Panzer unit could have rolled up and not been heard.
“Can I get a little help here?!” I shouted louder, swatting at the bigger of the two. The gander ripped my hat from my hand then ran away, honking and shaking my Fedora as his wife honked in goosey praise of his accomplishment. Andy didn`t seem to fear the geese. He waltzed up and snapped the hat back from the gander. The goose nibbled at the seam of his pants then they moseyed back to whatever hell spawned her and her mate.
“Thanks,” I murmured, sliding down to the nicely mowed little yard.
“George and Gracie don`t like strangers,” Andrew said, threw my hat at me and then ran inside without a backwards glance.
I had to think the geese weren`t the only ones not fond of strangers.