It was late in the afternoon as I approached the house. I eyed the dog, half expecting it to come off the porch with an aggressive rush but after suspiciously regarding me, he flopped down to nap. I got the same look from the young one as her mother motioned for me to have a seat on the step. The chickens scattered and we settled into the sort of random chit chat that women resort to when their children and men are listening.
As I absentmindedly listened and replied, I wondered for whom were the magenta colored leather boots. They were much too small for Lillianna. She told me Vaseline was going out and she was so tired. She had washed all day and the baby has a cold.
I wanted to get up and go inside and ask Vaseline where he was going and what he was going to do but thought better of it and stayed right where I was wondering if there was a future for Lillianna and Joyce Lynn. Then I got to wondering why that lady in Cleveland sent that magenta boot down to Belize in the mission box her church packed for the people of More Tomorrow.
Vaseline yelled at Lillianna and ask where his clean white shirt was.
Little Clive Jr. got to fussing. Lilianna pulled out a breast to feed him. I could hear Vasaline shuffling across the worn marley floor as he went to select a clean shirt from a bar spanning a corner of the room. Soon he was heading our way. He smelled like shaving lotion and was wearing a new pair of shoes which I noticed as he excused himself politely, stepped past me, went down the steps and headed on down the path. I thought about calling out to him that Lillianna was tired and also could use a few extra bucks to buy herself a nice dress.
I picked up the doll that was just behind me, smoothed out the matted hair and tickled Clive Jr’s instep with it’s plastic hand. A broad grin spread across his face as his mother’s nipple popped out of his mouth and milk dribbled down his chin. I hurt for her, a mother trying, faithfully minding her children and asking so little, giving so much. Her hope is her children I decided. Joyce Lynn might make better choices, have more opportunity.
Maybe the lady in Cleveland could make a difference. Some of those folks came once and helped the people in More Tomorrow repair their houses and ask for nothing in return other than for Johnny Cash to play ”When the Roll is Called Up Yonder” on his guitar. Maybe life will get easier. Maybe Vasaline will see the light and care more tomorrow.