Nora awoke as when her rooster, Chespeake, crowed. The sun was just coming
over the hill. She could see it out the bathroom window. She could also see her garden. The garden had greens,
onions, tomatoes, and potatoes. She was still planting the squash and melons. That would be her project for this
morning. Then the watering, and of course the feeding. It was 6:30 now and if she timed it right, she might make
it to Shefbi's market in time tor Butch to throw out the bones.Sometimes there was also bread and milk too. She got
it all for the cats and dogs. It was hard to feed that many on a retired teacher's salary, but; she could not bear to
see a starving animal.At that moment ,Harriot, her grey striped tabby jumped onto her batyhroom vanity for a drink.
"What you up to this mornig Harriot? Sleep well? 'Bout ready for brakfast.? Me too. Get your drink so I can get done."
Nora rinsed off her teeth and rinsed out her mouth and lastly
put her teeth in. She combed her hair staring at herself in the mirror. She still had her auburn hair--well maybe strawberry
blonde now, but; it sure didn't look grey. Folks said she didn't look her 88 years. Some of those laugh lines ,
but; that just made her look happy. No one believed it when she told them how old she was--acted surprised if she said
she was retired. She did not take any pills, not even aspiren. She ate good, except the bacon and the fried egg
every morning. She had gotten that far eatting that way and she figured she's get further. Nora had never smoked,
only drank a small toddy at Christmas to celebrate.Her family was known for longetivity. Everyone was gone now tho,
Maw, Paw, Sister Ellen and her husband Dub, Brother JP and his wife Sophie and even "Baby Sister" Ilene had died at 86.
Nora cried when she thought of the last year. Ilene had succombed to Alzheimer's. She laughed too as she
remembered the day Ilene hid in thebathtub. Theyhad searched the whole farm. The girl had asked her "What you doing
here Ilene?" "Hiding from Nora!" Ilene had giggled. "Why?" "To get her dander up!"
The family lay at the plot out west of the barn now.Along
with Grandpaw, Grandmaw, Old Paw and Nanny, and all the Aunts and Uncles. Nora kept it up good with everybody's favorites.Some
red rose bushes for Ilene,beautiful grape hyaciths in the early Spring for Maw,some larkspurs for the late summer for Paw,
and for Ellen an Sophie Texas bluebonnets,Indian paintbushes,and evening primroses. A beautiful mix there on the hill west
of the barn. "I think they'd all be proud and God took care of them, just a bit of re-seeding on a occassion and tending
to Ilene's rose bush.
Nora looked into the mirror again but she didn't just see
herself--she saw Billy. "Your a beautiful girl Nora. Prettiest hair of all the girls in the county. I wish you'd
wear it down. I like to see those waves down your back. ." He held her to him and caressed her. "Smells good too--I
think that is just natural beause you are pretty as a lilly. And those sky-blue eyes, I could swim in them." Billy
leaned her back and kissed her sweetly. "Please let me marry you? We can go to Capitol City together. You
can go to school. I'll take care of you. I'll find work. We don't need our Maws and Paws, They will
get over it when the grandkids start coming" "How can I go to school and have grandkids? Where will you work--you
can only farm and work at the gin. I don't want you to live that city-life--you won't be happy Billy. Paw said he'd
disown me. All Maw does is cry. She is upset enough that Ilene and I are going all the way to Capitol City for school
much less that I'd disobey Paw. No I'll go on to Teacher's College and do my 4 years and we'll be back on weekends and holidays.
We can get married and start a family when I am finished." Billy got mad and stormed away. He eventually married Mavis
Parker. Ole Man Miller feuded too much. If it wasn't water rights it was whose cow landed on whose side of the creek or whether
or not to let the county put a plumbing line thru their land. If one wanted it the other didn't. If a barbwire
fence got torn down--it was always the other's fault. Sometimes if it rained when it needed to be dry it was the other's fault.
Nora wasn't quite sure how it all started. Somewhere way back with the settling of the claim and the first Ole Man Miller
and Old Paw. Something about the piece of land by the creek. Billy tho wasn't that way and even if he married Mavis--think
goodness that feud died with their Paws.
She heard Billy died last fall. He was still
good-looking. Tall and handsome as he lie there in his navy blue suit in the casket. Mavis wasn't around so she gave
him a kiss on the cheek at the viewing. It was between her and God. Mavis she had heard was in the Gracious Oaks
Rest Home. She hoped nobody got that idea about her. She was going in the four poster bed she had inherited along with
the farm because she didn't marry Billy. Suddenly she came to as she heard Paw's voice "Your burning daylight girl.
You better stop daydreamin' and get your chores done!"