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The Good Book

This is where she sits, out on the back porch. My sweet mother, now in her eighth decade.

She wouldn’t allow a photograph, she never will, even without curlers in her hair.

She loves to see her grandkids, even great grandkids, running through the tall grass, on the beaten paths, between the berry bushes, and the ancient apple trees. She ran those same lanes, when the trees were much younger. There are so many good memories, here, on the old homestead.

Her Grampa’s Grampa built the place, back before the Civil War. Mom was born here, right in the living room. Walking through, you can almost feel the history, in the cozy, drafty rooms, with sloping floors. She’s perfectly content, even as she finds herself alone, now. She’s happy here, it will always be home. My mother is old fashioned, for sure. No computer, or cell phone, she’s never been online. No dishwasher, or clothes dryer, for that matter. She sees no need, for any extravagance.

This strange year has been extra lonely. She was thrilled, when nice weather finally arrived, and she could spend some time outside. Her famous gardens are too much work, these days, but she enjoys mowing, and yardwork, at her own pace. She’s afraid to go anywhere, until things ease up, a bit. She has passed up her beloved trips to the beach, and her Church services, she travels only to the grocery store. She shrugs it all off, as ladies will, not wanting to fret. There’s always next year. She’s fine, just sitting here, in the shade.

When my book arrived, I thought of Mom. She’s always been a reader, and I figured The Detective in the Dooryard would be right up her alley. She was tickled, to receive it, and dove right in. Here, on this quiet back porch, she’d sit, and read, while sipping an iced coffee. Not a silly, store-bought, doughnut shop beverage, like you’re envisioning, but a tall, Tupperware tumbler, with a yellow rim, and basket weave fabric, entombed in the base. Black coffee, left over from the morning brew, fairly strong, but not too rugged. Homemade ice, big and square, from a tray.

My prediction was right on. The very next time I stopped by, she was all smiles, and gratitude. She had loved it. She asked if I’d order another copy, one that she might give, as a Christmas gift.

A great idea. That, alone, is a five star review, that you can take to the bank.

She gave me a pat, on my shoulder, before she told me about her favorite part. For the first time in ages, she had actually laughed out loud, while reading this book. It was no mere LOL, she wouldn’t know about those, but she had burst out, with a hearty chuckle. By herself, on the back porch.

She had been embarrassed, in a way that only a vintage lady might, and it still brought a blush to her cheeks. Feeling foolish, for laughing, with no one.

I would never correct her, but I’m afraid Mom was mistaken. She hadn’t been alone, at all.

She had shared that laugh, that scarce, joyous moment, with Mr. Tim Cotton.

We’re both quite grateful, and looking forward to his future work.

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