Georgia on My Mind/ 8
This is my Grandmother’s story. It’s Historical fiction based on facts I know for sure. You can start at the beginning by clicking HERE.
“Well, it’s done.” Grady said as he plopped heavily into his easy chair.
“Yes it is.” Maggie said in a whisper.
Neither said another word for most of the chilly fall afternoon.
Maggie busied herself in the kitchen, her sanctuary. She didn’t want to think about her daughter marrying a man she just couldn’t bring herself to like, let alone trust.
Grady had gone to his shed. Maggie could hear hammering and wasn’t sure if he was fixing something or just taking out his frustrations. It should have been a day of celebration not a day to release their frustrations quietly and separately.
“Mother?” Maggie snapped out of her reverie and looked at Elizabeth who had just come home from school.
“Mother what’s wrong?” Elizabeth asked.
“What makes you think something’s wrong?” Maggie asked.
“I know that look.” She replied. “I also know Jewel got married today.”
Maggie turned back to the pie she was about to put in the oven and said, “Then you know what’s wrong Elizabeth so why did you ask?”
“Oh mother! They love each other and you know it. Why do you and Daddy have to act like this is the end of the world?” Elizabeth said, plopping into a chair at the table.
“I never said it was the end of the world.” Maggie replied. “I just didn’t want her to jump into marriage and children so young and…”
“Young?!” Elizabeth said sarcastically. “She’s two years older than you were when you got married and that didn’t work out so bad, did it?”
“You better not be talking to your mother in that tone girl!”
Grady filled the doorway and he wasn’t in any mood for Elizabeth’s smart mouth.
“Go change your clothes Elizabeth then you can set the table for supper.” Maggie told her.
When she gingerly slipped past her father he said to Maggie, “You can’t let her talk to you like that. She is too big for her breeches as it is.”
“Oh, she’s just trying to make sense of it all just like we are. I wish I had someone to holler at, too.” Maggie said and went back to the stove.
Months passed and Jewel settled into married life in their small apartment behind the church. It didn’t have its own kitchen but she had access to the church kitchen. She was as good a cook as her mother and discovered she could lose herself in the process. It was helpful to have a mental escape.
Despite her huge belly nothing seemed to dissuade Bobby from wanting sex daily. She couldn’t call it making love because love couldn’t possibly be that utilitarian. Slowly she had become numb to it and let her mind drift away for those brief moments of physical contact.
“It’s really warm for early April.” Maggie said as her sister Dottie poured their coffee.
“Let’s go sit on the porch and you can tell me about the place up north Grady wants to drag you away to.” Dottie said.
“Oh Dottie, it’s not like that and you know it.” Maggie said.
They sat silently for a while just soaking in the faint scent of honeysuckle and trying not to think about life without each other.
“Everything’s changin’ Dottie”, Maggie said. “We can’t survive on Grady driving cars from state to state part-time and being away so much. The kids need their father more and so do I. There’s just more opportunity up north.”
“Well you know what they say”, Dottie replied, “If you want to keep your hand in the pocket you gotta move with the pants.”
They both laughed.
Maggie stood up and said, “That’s Jewel coming up the street.”
When she reached the porch they could see she was pale and in distress. As Maggie reached for her Jewel fainted in her arms.
Grady was due home around suppertime and Maggie wondered how she was going to tell him the news. She had stayed at the hospital with Jewel for three days while Dottie saw to the other children.
Worried and confused about their future Maggie wondered what it would be like up north. She didn’t want to leave her daughter behind with Bobby Bradshaw and she couldn’t imagine leaving her best friend and sister Dottie.
“You look like you just lost your best friend.” Grady said from the doorway. She hadn’t even heard him come in.
By the time she started to tell him the news the tears were flowing. He just held her close until the sobbing stopped. Maggie didn’t cry easily or often. He knew something terrible had happened.
He pushed her arm’s length away and asked, “What in the world is going on?”
“Jewel had a stillborn baby and I can’t leave her here with Bobby. I don’t think we should move right now. Nothing seems normal around here anymore. I can’t leave Dottie. I never would have managed this week without her, how can I move hundreds of miles away?” She would have gone on if he hadn’t shushed her.
“Where are the children now?” he asked.
“They’re staying with Dottie and Eugene tonight. I knew we had to talk about this without them here.” She sobbed. “Grady, we can’t uproot the family right now…”
“Mother hush.” He said.
“I already signed an agreement for a beautiful place to live. We can move in July so the kids will be able to finish school here and get used to their new place before they start back in the fall.”
“What about Jewel?” Maggie whispered.
“She’s married now and that was her choice, Mother. Let it be.”
They talked into the night but when Maggie went to bed she was still trying to figure out how to change his plan.