that's here complain, and that's all they do. Annette says her
daughter and son put her here, and she'll never forgive them no
matter what they say, no matter how much they visit, which she
says isn't very much.
says he rung up Ray yesterday and told him to muzzle that dog
of his or he was calling the law. Fred says Ray never did pay
him any mind, just let that dog of his keep barking, and when
the law hung up after his eighth cry for help, he decided he'd
just take the matter into his own hands. Every time Fred tells
it, he points his left index finger and thumb at my face, goes
"psssst," and sprays spit up my chin. He slaps the arm
of his wheelchair and cackles, "I fixed him. I squirted Raid
for Insects into the phone, and I hear tell Ray's hearing has
been dead as a hammer ever since."
claims it's nothing but laziness that keeps the cook's hand away
from the saltshaker, and wouldn't those mashed potatoes taste
better with some salt? He says his mama knew a thing or two about
seasoning, that she always used salt and fatback in the beans,
and just a tablespoon of sugar, along with some butter, salt,
and pepper in a skillet full of summer squash, and if it wouldn't
make you slap your pappy in the creek, he'd just jump in himself.
who lazes in her bed twenty-four hours a day, hates the plain
white bed sheets, says they're not the red satin ones she's used
to, and she's going to rip them up soon as she gets her strength
I say things are about the same no matter where you are. I walk
just as much and just as fast as I ever did.
was a church service today in the activity room. At least, I reckon
that's what it was, and I just walked through the room, right
in front of the guy in the gray suit, plopped down in a chair,
and then moved on a few minutes later. I walked through that room
three more times and sat down once or twice more, and he didn't
pay me no more mind than daffodils do to a late winterjust
kept on talking about that hope we all have, provided we all Christian.
reckon I've been walking all my life, at least since I was nineteen
months old. Mama says that's when I started, which is later than
most, so I must have been afraid of something back then. Later
though, I must've got my courage up because I walked to school
every day, walked through those halls, down to one room one year
and down to another the next, till Id walked into ever
teachers classroom there was.
I walked straight on over to the local garment factory, became
a floor girl, and near about walked my legs off toting bundles
of pajamas to those girls sitting on their butts and sewing cuffs
on the end of each sleeve all day, ever' day. Yes, I walked up
to that punch clock for forty-five years. When I retired, I walked
on over to the Social Security office and then over here a few
I'm still punchin' the clock. My name is on a blue card right
outside the door, and though the machine don't work right, I punch
it just the same as always by pressing my right palm against it
hard as I can. I punch it once in the morning and once at night,
walk past it each day, and then walk up and down these halls and
into the cafeteria, and I don't pay a bit more mind to what people
think about it than that guy in the suit paid to me. I don't see
any reason to complain about anything either because everything's
just the same as it's always been--as far as I can tell.
Rachels works as a tutor in the Writing Center at the University
of Tennessee at Martin. She also freelances and has published
articles in Draft Horse Journal, Country Handcrafts,
Back Home in Kentucky, local newspapers, and Hometown
(a northwest Tennessee publication).