Once in a life time one finds
their soul mate. Again in a life time we find a best friend. Something
about the time and place will give us a memory bank so strong the dark
forest of our problems can fall down like minor toothpicks, insignificant
in their disarray. More than once this happened to Brenda.
Brenda went along with her
friend, Erlene, to take care of an errand the young woman had to do. "It
won't take me long and be prepared."
"For what?" Brenda was always
interested in a new adventure.
Erlene wouldn't answer but
instead just dropped her head with that way she had of smiling with an
expression of quiet mystery. She pulled the pick up truck slowly into the
yard of a country home which was off the beaten track and somewhat
The two young women were
standing on the bare boards of the old front porch waiting for someone to
answer their knock. Brenda noticed the place was just on the edge of
needing major repair but was not put off. So many times folks lived in out
of the way places like this. Their love of the land, necessity to live
with conservation and sometimes large family caused them to pull away from
the mainstream of towns and cities.
Quickly and silently the
doorway filled with children's faces. They seemed of every size, shape and
coloring. Some were reddish faced, others of a strong tanned look. They
were steady with their interest in the two strange women.
"Is your Mama home?" Erlene
was pleasant in her ways.
Without a word the oldest of
the boys was swinging the screen door open for them and as they entered
the rather spacious country kitchen a large buxom country woman looked
toward them. There was nothing of a stilted city way or neither was there
a practiced country hospitality and charm. Sober faced and serious she was
without so much as one word to welcome them. Her dead level stare she
might have given to anything or anyone who was within her space.
Setting on the table was a
huge meal of fried potatoes, gravy, vegetables, and chicken fried steak.
The only thing to stop one from having a desire to sample the food was the
inordinate number of house flies.
Flies were every where. They
crawled over the food, over the table, and across the dishes. At intervals
a young woman setting at the table with a fly swatter would plop the
weapon down at them in a lazy way. The temperature of the kitchen was
excessive in July. The large belly of the girl told them she was expecting
a child and these two conditions made the young women visitors understand
her less than enthusiastic wish to attack the little pests, not to mention
their total numbers as to being overwhelming.
The women did not stay for
more than long enough to take care of what little errand Erlene had to do
as to paying wages for some work done.
As Brenda opened the door for
them to leave all at once a rush of flies seemed to run for the door. It
was such an unusual thing to see flies rush out of the house, instead of
trying to get into the house.
Brenda wasn't about to giggle
with rudeness but it was an effort to not do so. When they were safely out
of sight of the place the two women laughed heartily and long but never
mentioned the incident again, not even to each other.
Later that year the struggle
with her husband's attending school, caring for a new baby, and trying to
make ends meet wasn't unbearable but was at times a little tedious. Brenda
was a little in the dumps with the cold snowy weather upon them while she
was confined to the house.
All at once her thoughts were
interrupted by the thump, thump of the mail man's foot on the old hollow
porch while he dusted the snow off his boots. It gave her a reason to go
to the front door.
There in the mail box was a
letter. She could see it was from her friend Erlene. While she read of the
events to do with what was going on at the Prairie all at once she had to
laugh out loud and chuckled for the whole rest of the day. Responsible for
her lightened mood was the last line of the letter.
P.S. "Oh yes! Smith's still
P.P.S. Jerry wrote in after
this story was published to say...
Not all stories hold my attention, and cause
me to think of other days past, but: Back in the 40s, we lived in a house
with no screens. The flies were terrible. At night we would light paper
sacks and burns them on the ceiling. Then we would sweep them out with a