Monday, February 19, 2007

A little something for Barb.

No matter how much flour Etta put on the counter it wasn't enough to keep the pie crust from sticking to the rolling pin. The humidity was high enough that the pie crust wasn't working and it seemed that very little else in town was working either. The fan over head moved in a lazy rotation, but it wasn't working to keep the air stirring. Air this thick wasn't going to stir. The black Philco fan on top of the Coke Cola case wasn't doing it's job, if it had been it would have blown the flour off of the counter and onto Etta's perspiration saturated apron. The apron created another layer of clothing that had it been winter would have been most welcome, but in the sweltering heat and humidity of Anderson on this summer day, it was just another layer to add to the warmth, Missouri in summer didn't need to help anyone with warmth.

The ice in her tea glass had long since quit working at keeping her drink cool, it had changed jobs and was working at diluting her refreshment, though now it was anything but. Nothing seemed to be working in The Cove, the line cook who worked in the kitchen was sitting in the alley on a stack of vegetable crates with a smoldering Lucky Strike between his lips. The temperature and humidity wasn't any lower there, but there was a little shade behind the building at this time of day and the shade might be working at making Leo think it was cooler there. Etta didn't believe it, but maybe Leo did. Maybe cool and comfortable was all in your head, a state of mind, she thought. She worked up a chuckle and said out loud to herself, “if your personal thermostat is in your brain, then I guess that all of this is in your head.” With a sense of disgust Etta balled up the pie dough, wrapped it in waxed paper and put it in the red Coke cooler. The cooler was working, in fact it seemed to be working overtime.

Etta soaked a dish cloth in the sink of hot water and cleaned the flour from the counter. She swished the cloth about in the sink in an effort to rinse the newly made paste from the old dishrag. “I'm all in,” Etta thought as she redirected a trickle of sweat that was running down her forehead. Heat waves as bad as this one didn't come often, but when they did they immediately brought to mind the one before. Was this one as bad? Maybe a tad worse, they were always a little worse in the minds of adults, kids didn't seem to mind. The numbers on the thermometer and barometer didn't lie, this one was about the same as the last and none of them were good.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Barb said...

I don't know if I just had a hot flash or really absorbed that piece...and I don't know if I'm the Barb you intended, but Don, that was wonderful. I have been checking to see if you have anything new. Was that new or part of the manuscript? In either case, what a gift. You have so many gifts, but they all center around creativity and communication, a gift of words. Thank you, Don...

8:16 AM  
Blogger Don Jerome said...

You're the Barb, I've finally started toward the book again, this character is one of the people in the book, patterned after my Great Aunt Etta, who truly lived up to her title.

Thank you for your kind words, I treasure them.

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