Monday, November 10, 2014

Chapter 63


“Open the screen door, quick!  I gotta set these two pails down and go get the rest of that stuff in.  If I’d known it was gonna rain I would have put the camper top back on.  Dammit!” 

Sawyer set two five gallon buckets inside the front door and then ran back out to his truck where he started bringing things in.  I started to go down the steps to help him but he waived me back.  “No.  I can do it faster and I don’t want you sliding and taking a fall and making more work.” 

Why fight the truth?  But it wasn’t said the way I would have liked to have heard it and when Sawyer got everything out of the rain including himself he kissed me and said, “I didn’t mean to be so rough.  Just irritated and wasn’t thinking.” 

“Don’t worry about it,” I told him.  “Neither one of us can change the way I am.  Let me get you a towel.” 

“Kay-Lee …” 

I turned and sighed.  “I’m not upset or pouting.  Just frustrated you always seem to have to take the kicks because of me.” 

He made a face then asked, “Aw hell, who done run their mouth and tattled?” 

“Don’t get mad at anyone, I’m pretty sure I wasn’t supposed to know.  I just over heard them talking about it.” 

“Who?” 

“Just some of the women that came by to pick up their jars.” 

He snarled, “I asked who?” 

Suddenly getting angry I snapped back at him, “I’m not gonna list their names out for you to go snarling at them the way you’re snarling at me.  If you didn’t want it to get back to me then you shouldn’t have gotten into the fight in the first place.” 

I turned and walked to the kitchen and felt like throwing something. 

A minute later Sawyer stuck his head in the door and said, “Uh … Kay-Lee?  Are we fighting?” 

“Not ‘cause I picked one,” I told him slamming a skillet onto the stove top a little harder than I meant to. 

“Uh … wanna see what I brought you?” 

“I’ll look as soon as I finish fixing supper for you.” 

“Kinda early to …” 

I snapped, “I said give me a second.” 

“I guess I really have stuck my foot in it.  You gonna make me sleep on the porch with Davey and Harley?” 

“I’m thinking about it.” 

He sidled up behind me and slowly bent and whispered on the back of my neck, “Anything I can do to fix the spot I’m in?” 

I sighed.  “Sawyer will you stop doing that?  I don’t need anyone, especially not you, acting like I’m a bomb about to go off that constantly needs sweetening or worse, act like I’m glass that’ll break over the least little thing.  I know what I am and what my personal deficits are.  I’ve tried real hard not to let them define who I am even if that’s the way everyone else tries to make it.  I just didn’t expect you to define me that way.” 

“Hey!  I don’t …” 

“Then tell me why on earth you would get in a fight with a guy that obviously doesn’t know me, or you for that matter.  He certainly doesn’t know us … as a couple and stuff.  We find work arounds for things when my deficits slow us down, or at least we do as much as possible.  Why you gotta let some person that doesn’t know us and who apparently can’t keep his brain in gear and ahead of his mouth get to you I don’t know … at least not after all this time we’ve been together.” 

“Aw Kay-Lee … Honey … I just couldn’t stand there and let him say things that would hurt you.” 

“That’s the thing Sawyer, I wasn’t even there to be hurt by the things he said; and even if I had been I probably would have laughed at him.  Fighting over something that is the truth … that I walk funny and that we sometimes have to do things differently in the bedroom because of my pains … was just … just … stupid!  What if they’d called the cops?!  You took the ever loving first swing!  Took the idiot out in one swipe but that left the idiot’s two brothers to tag team you.” 

“I won.”

“Of course you did but you didn’t have to fight in the first place!” 

“Wait … Of course I did?” 

“Sawyer!” 

“Well … I thought you were angry ‘cause I might have gotten hurt.” 

“Oh for …” I said slamming a wooden spoon down so hard into the jar of mayo that I was digging out to make Mayonnaise Biscuits with that I broke the handle.  “Sawyer if you can survive all the things you’ve had to go through of course I know you’re strong.  No, the idea of you getting hurt doesn’t thrill me but you’re a guy and guys are going to get banged around because that’s what the male of the species apparently thinks is the way to resolve conflicts most of the time.  Guys are like goats … get two in the same pen and eventually they are going to knock horns over something.  However, I don’t have to like it at all that the reason you got banged around this time was because some stupid, good for nothing, jumped up, son of a donkey used me to push your buttons!!” 

“Wow.” 

“Wow what?!” 

“Just … wow.  I’ve never seen you this mad.” 

“Well duh.  You’ve never given me reason to be this mad before and I can’t believe you did it this time.  I don’t consider no one else worth expending this much energy on.  I swear!” 

“No swearing.  I really would start to feel bad if you went that far.”  I let him pull me back against him though I kept making the biscuits.  “Kay-Lee I couldn’t let it slide.  I’m not asking you to understand if you can’t, but … this is something you are just going to have to accept.  Sometimes you have to fight.” 

“I know that.  But this wasn’t a good enough reason.” 

“It was to me.  I’m not going to let people talk about you like that.  I’m just not.  And them doing it in front of so many other people … well he needed taking down a peg or two.  I can’t be sorry for it … but I am sorry you’re upset over it.” 

I shook my head.  “Sawyer someone is always going to be that way about me.  They’ve been that way for eighteen years, they’re going to keep being that way for eighteen more … and probably eighteen beyond that if I live that long.  That’s just the way it is.” 

“I don’t accept that.” 

“Oh Sawyer … eventually you are going to have to.  And the more you let them get to you the more they’ll try to get to you.  If you act like what they say doesn’t matter, most of them will eventually get bored and go on to something else.” 

“I’m telling you I just don’t accept it.” 

I shook my head again but I knew that holding onto being angry about this was just as senseless as the anger that Sawyer had let rip him up and get into a fight in the first place. 

“Oh Sawyer.  Just try and not let people get to you.  They may have said it to be hurtful but what they said was the truth.  Next time just disarm them with more truth and say that when a man is a good man he does what he has to for his wife.” 

“I’ll disarm him all right if he is stupid enough to come at me again.  I’ll dis-leg and dis-head and then tear his ass off too if that’s what it takes.”  There was no talking sense after that and Sawyer went to go clean up and I finished supper. 

Supper, when it was finished, was a little quiet but not in a completely bad way.  To cut the silence I said, “I’m sorry I didn’t ask you how your day went.  I should have.” 

“Day isn’t over with,” he said with a grin.  “Think I could sweeten you up by showing you what I found when we were at them two houses?” 

“You don’t need to sweeten …” 

“It was just a saying Kay-Lee and I’m playing.  I know you don’t think about things that way.  Let’s just move passed it.  OK?” 

“OK.  I just … I don’t want to hurt your feelings and … ok, ok.  Moving passed.” 

“Good.  Now come look and stop thinking so hard.  You’re steaming up the house and it’s too hot for it.” 

Well, it can’t be said that Sawyer didn’t like having his way so I decided to follow his lead and let it go … or at least stop thinking about it out loud.  I followed him into the front room and he said, “These two pails are honey … and heavy so don’t even try and move them.  I’ll move them to the pantry before we hit the sack tonight.  It looks real dark but Uncle Donnell says it’s good.  He came with us because Burt wanted his opinion on the best way to remove some bees that were in the wall of one of the houses.  This is where the honey came from.  We’ll get more, this was just the easiest of the sticky stuff to get to.  Uncle Donnell said he’ll remove the bees for free so long as he gets to keep them.  They aren’t Africanized which is better than he expected because a lot of the wild hives are these days.  Burt is happy as a clam just to be able to mark that problem off the list I can tell you.  We’ll have some clean up and repair but not as bad as it could be since the hive is only in one wall on the first floor.” 

“How old is the honey?” 

“Oh this honey isn’t old.  Uncle Donnell says it is from this season.  The color is because the bees got their nectar from the fields of buckwheat the old guy planted.  Buckwheat generally makes honey so dark you could mistake if for sorghum.” 

That cheered me up.  “Well I’ll use this for baking and save the sugar and lighter colored honey that we have for canning.” 

“So do I get a kiss for being a good husband?” 

I rolled my eyes.  “You’re pushing your luck Hartford.” 

Sawyer grinned and said, “The rest of this stuff is kinda … well … Burt thinks I’ve lost my mind but Uncle Donnell gave me a wink.  Take a look.” 

He stepped back out of the door way of the front room and at first all I saw was a jumble but then I started picking things out and I yipped in surprise and stumbled forward. “Whoa there.” 

“Oh Sawyer!  These are just like the ones we saw in that book on Shaker furniture.  Real ladder back chairs!  And … and there’s eight of them!” 

“Yep.  This winter I’ll strip them down to wood and get all these layers of paint off … damned if I’m gonna sit on a chair that is Pepto-Bismol pink and old refrigerator green and try and eat.  We can then get rid of those metal monsters in the kitchen that try to pinch your butt every time you sit in them.  I know they look in rough shape right now – they were stacked on a back porch – but they don’t creak.  You like ‘em?” 

“It is called avocado green and you know I love the chairs.  It’s one of the things we said … Oh Sawyer.”  Then I bit my lip trying not to get my hopes up.  “But didn’t you say that some of the others need furniture?” 

“Then they can get their butts out there, get a job, and get them some furniture.”

“Is Burt going to want something for these?” 

“Oh he’ll get his share but he really only wants some of the expensive antique pieces and some of the more easy to get rid of collectibles.  He actually hopes the family will take most of the stuff off his hands so he doesn’t have to make too many dump runs or fill his warehouse with things that won’t sell.  For instance, in that box there is a bunch of that funny colored glass junk like you found up in the attic … Vaseline glass or whatever the heck you called it … and Burt said last year he could have sold it all day long on Ebay and some other websites that caters to collectors but this year he said you just about can’t give the stuff away and it isn’t worth what it would cost to ship and insure it.  So basically he took some pieces for my sister and then told me to take the rest of it but keep it to myself because he don’t want the women on his side of the family to add more junk to his storage buildings cause they want something but have run out of room at their places to keep it.  That being said, we can’t just strip the place down to nothing.  Some furniture has to be left for the future renters to use but the new owner – some guy name Wilbur Holmes – only wants the bare necessities.  He’s going to be renting out to hunters in the fall and winter and college kids that go to the lake in summer primarily so it doesn’t have to be fancy and he really doesn’t want to have to worry about anything breakable or expensive and worth stealing.  In fact we’re supposed to bolt the furniture down like they do in hotels.” 

“Well my goodness,” I said unconsciously mimicking Aunt Pearl which made Sawyer grin.  “How much stuff are we talking about and if Burt doesn’t want it where are we supposed to put it?” 

“It depends on what it is.  There was a big ol’ cedar chest in one house that was full of old quilts.  Lots of linens and stuff like that in both houses though some of them smell funny … might be mothballs I’m not sure.  All sorts of dishes too but Holmes wants that kind of stuff gone because he’s going to rent it out so that people have to bring their own linens and dishes.  Apparently Holmes already owns some of these types of rentals and knows what he wants and what he doesn’t and plans on coming in later with some really basic and cheap items.  But see I have an idea if you aren’t against it.” 

“What?” 

“Most of the family and their connections already come here for canning days right?” 

“Yeah.” 

“Well after we get through taking what we want we can line stuff up in the barn and say that they have a certain day or two to come see if there is anything they need and haul it off.  If they don’t get it by then it’ll be their own fault if we decide to give it to someone else needy, donate it to charity, give it to the church, or whatever ends up happening.  You fine with that?” 

“Sure so long as Gramps and the Aunts have first dibs.” 

“Well that goes without saying.  And if someone in the family or from church are really hard up they’ll know.  In a way I’m hoping there is some of that.” 

“Why?” 

“’Cause it sticks in my craw that some of them sit around waiting for something to be handed to them.” 

“Anyone in particular?” 

“Jamison.  Thing is his wife is real nice and a go-getter.” 

Concerned that I’d been calling someone a wrong name all this time I asked, “Who’s Jamison?” 

“Uncle Forrester’s oldest grandson.  You’ve never met him.  I found out today he is supposed to be moving back here after having moved out to the oil fields with Bud who is his uncle though they ain’t that far apart in age.  Well Bud ain’t staying and in fact doesn’t even plan on visiting but going straight to his wife and in laws but Jamison figures to come back here and ‘get him a little place free and clear.’  Jamison always did like to take a short cut if he could find one.” 

“When … er …” 

“If he actually does move here it is supposed to be some time after the first of the year but with Jamison it is one of those things that when you see him that is when he decided he was supposed to show up.  According to Uncle Donnell who don’t favor too many of his cousins’ kids he told Uncle Forrester that would give all of us time to set him up a place.” 

It took me a moment to get up the nerve to ask, “Did he really mean to say what it sounds like he said?” 

“Knowing Jamison?  Yeah.  His wife’s name is Janet.  She’s a little hard to get to know because she’s forever moving and doing stuff.  Probably has to to make up for Jamison.  But she ain’t bad.” 

“But … you said he works - worked - the oil fields.” 

Sawyer sighed and leaned against the doorframe.  “Don’t get me wrong, when Jamison works he works hard.  It’s just he only works for Jamison’s benefit if you get what I mean.” 

“Oh.” 

“Enough of sour thoughts.  Look what else I brung you.” 

He pulled out a couple of boxes and my mouth fell open.  “That’s … that’s Carnival glass.  Oh my gosh … and so much of it.” 

“It was in a kitchen cabinet of the bee house just stacked all willy nilly and pushed back like whoever had it didn’t really care for it but didn’t know what to do with it.  I thought maybe you’d want it for that collection of that funny colored glass stuff you’re getting in that room on the third floor.  So did I do good?” 

“Oh Sawyer …” I said feeling flabbergasted.  “I’ve never had anything and suddenly now I have so much and you’re bringing me even more.” 

Sawyer bent down where I was looking at the carnival glass knick knacks and said, “Let me get this up off the floor.  That damp is going to make you sore.  And I’m happy that you like it … you do like it right?” 

“Oh yes.” 

“Well good.  But if you don’t mind waiting to mess with it could we go through our lists?  I was gonna mow the near orchard but that’s obviously out but I’d like to at least get caught up on this other.” 

“Of course.  And I already went over the inventory of the pantry stuff.  And guess what Burt Jr. taught me to do?” 

“Uh … that’s some grin so I’m kinda worried.” 

“I can shoot a sling shot.  He called it a wrist rocket but I hit the cans he put on the fence post almost every time after the first couple of tries.” 

Sawyer started laughing and kept laughing until we started going over our lists and notes, but even as serious as that was we both still did it was grins on our faces.

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