Georgia on My Mind /6
This is an ongoing series based on my grandmother’s life. You can type ‘Georgia on My Mind’ into the search box at the right to read the prior posts. I consider this a first draft of the book so any critiques and comments are welcome. Thanks.
The fall was hectic for Maggie with four children in school and Grady gone for long stretches of time. He’d found a job driving cars from Georgia to Ohio. Carpentry work had been very slow and this job paid really well. She appreciated how hard he worked at whatever he could to support their family but she missed him terribly when he was gone. Jewel and Charles were in high school now and school supplies were more expensive for them. Extra income was welcome.
October began very calm and temperate. The garden was so lush with vegetables she could barely keep up with harvesting. The church was always grateful for the donated produce but no one ever offered to help.
As Halloween approached Maggie’s sister, Dottie, had been busy helping the children choose their costumes and creating patterns to work her magic. Maggie couldn’t imagine how she would get by without her sister. She thanked God for that blessing every evening when she dragged her tired body to bed.
One evening as Maggie was cleaning up the kitchen and getting lunches ready for the next day Grady startled her. “What are you doing here? You scared me to death!” she sputtered.
“Well ain’t that a fine howdy do?” He responded with a big grin on his face.
“You said you wouldn’t be home until the weekend. You’re lucky I didn’t whack you with a pan mister!” she snapped as she dropped into a kitchen chair.
“I’ve got some good news so you’ll feel better in a minute.” He said as he kissed the top of her head, still with the big grin.
Before she could respond he jumped right into his news. “They offered me a permanent position and twice as much money.”
“But won’t that mean you’ll be gone…” she began.
He cut her off. “Mother, let me finish telling you about it before you think the worst.”
She sat back in her seat with her arms folded on her chest and a look of, “this better be good.”
“They want us to move to Ohio and the traveling will be much less.” He continued until she leaned forward and grabbed him by the arm.
“The traveling is bad enough, now you want the whole family to pick up and move to a strange place? Have you lost your mind?”
“I know it will be a lot of work, but I swear it’ll be worth it. There are more opportunities up north and the schools are better, too. It won’t be long before Charles will be looking for work and there’s nothing here for him.” He said as the grin left his face.
“This will kill Dottie.” She mumbled looking at the floor. It would kill her as well, she knew it. How could she manage without her sister who had become a second mother to her children? The tears welled up and Grady said, “It will be all right, mother, I promise you.” As he patted her arm.
She didn’t want to talk about it anymore. She got up and finished the lunches then went straight to bed. Grady was right behind her. He wanted to reassure her but knew better than to utter another word.
The next morning Grady left after breakfast. He had some church work to catch up on and wanted to let his brother know they would be leaving Silver Creek fairly soon.
Maggie got the children off to school and headed to Dottie’s. How could he even think about leaving their home? There had to be something Grady could find here. Dottie would help her figure it out.
It went much as she had anticipated. First the shock, then the denial, then the resignation followed closely by anger.
As Dottie paced in her kitchen she said, “I can’t believe he didn’t come home and talk to you before he took the job. That’s just disrespectful Maggie!”
“I know Dottie, but he’s done everything he could think of to keep us afloat. It’s not easy when there isn’t anything here anymore. You know that’s true.” Maggie said. “Maybe he’s right, it might be better there.” Then she said, “Maybe you’ll move up there too.”
Dottie doubted that very much. Then again, she didn’t see this coming so maybe anything was possible. Suddenly she remembered her conversation with Jewel and thought this might be the perfect time to tell Maggie of her suspicions.
Jewel had been helping Dottie with the younger kid’s costumes for Halloween. She was a good seamstress and Dottie never failed to tell her how well she was doing. The two of them were very close.
One afternoon she noticed Jewel seemed out of sorts. “What’s the matter hon?” Dottie asked.
“My stomach is bothering me. I threw up in school today and I’d hardly eaten a thing. It must be the flu, at least that’s what my teacher thought.” She said.
“How long has this been going on?” Dottie asked.
“It kind of comes and goes.” Jewel said. “Elizabeth said I’m probably pregnant.”
“What in hell does Elizabeth know about that?” Dottie sputtered. “Don’t pay her any mind.”
Dottie wasn’t sure she should even tell Maggie about this but now, with the news of an impending move, she felt it was important. The Lord works in mysterious ways and this could change everything.