Dear, Sweet Tallulah (Friday’s free for All)

Lay your grammar obsessions aside, let your jaw relax, loosen your ears, take a long deep breath as you let your mind drift to the deep south and listen in to the privy conversation between Maggie and her dear, sweet Tallulah.

Happy #Friday y’all!! 🍻 #SouthernProud

Chapter Eleven

From Book 1 of the Clan Destiny Series

“Are you gonna sleep all day Mizrez Lafont? Best try to git up a bit.”
It was the voice of Tallulah attempting to rouse the exhausted Maggie. She tapped the rail of a lump beneath the bedding and continued,
“Ima open these shades now missy, better make yo eyes ready cuz it’s a mighty fine mornin’.” Tallulah warned. Her bedraggled vernacular seemed to come from every direction at once.

Maggie pulled the Egyptian cotton over her face and murmured,
“Thank you Tallulah but for the umpteenth time would you please call me Maggie, okay?”
“Okay Miss Maggie.” The drapes flew back and light filled the room. Maggie lifted the cover from her face and squinted at the morning sun.

Tallulah studied the woman’s face which was no more than a shade darker than the snowy sheets. She planted her hands on her hips and stared into the hollow eyes of her mistress.

“Mr. Ray is comin’ home today. He’s gonna be here in time for supper, you gonna tell him?”
“Yes Tallulah, I am going to tell him.”
“Is you feelin’ sick this mornin’? I can fetch you some dry toast and warm tea. That was always a help to me and to Mr. Ray’s mama too.”


“Yes please.” Maggie strained to sit up and suppressed a gag as she spoke. “That would be nice.”

When Maggie heard the door shut she scrambled to the restroom, turned the cold water on and splashed her face. The wave of nausea subsided and she raised her head to inspect the figure before her. She hardly recognized the drawn, insipid person in the mirror.
Maggie had been ill since the last night of her honeymoon when Ray carried her from the beach. She barely recalled the long flight home and blamed it on the rum but there was something wrong and she knew it.
The illness quashed her plans to redecorate the beautiful old plantation house. It had been in the Lafont family for close to two hundred years. There wasn’t much Maggie wanted to change about the historical mansion, just a few personal touches to make it her own, their own. The home of Mr. and Mrs. Ray Lafont – Ray didn’t care one way or the other.
Mrs. Turner had kept her word and came to visit at least once a week, usually staying for several days, though Maggie hardly noticed with most of her days spent between the bed and the bathroom of the apartment sized boudoir.
Maggie wasn’t surprised when she noticed her collar bones protruding like bowed timber at the base of her bony neck; after all should could not recall the last meal she had been able to keep in her stomach. Lifting her gown she could see the distinct outline of every rib – then letting her eyes drop she observed the only thing that wasn’t recessed was her belly. Her abdomen looked like a basketball had been shoved beneath her flesh. “Ohhh god,” she moaned as her emaciated frame convulsed and heaved. Green bile splashed against the marble sink.

“Awe honey child!” Tallulah cried, rushing to Maggie’s side. “Let’s get you back to bed.”
“I’m sorry Tallulah,” Maggie swept a trembling hand across her mouth; “I’ve made another mess.”


“Don’t you worry ‘bout that none. That’s what I’m here for.”
Tallulah helped Maggie back to bed and softly washed her face then held the cup steady while Maggie sipped the chamomile tea.
Tallulah was a thick framed black woman who reminded Maggie very much of Aunt Jemima, though she never said it out loud for fear of offending the angelic lady.


“You have gots to tell Mr. Ray Miss Maggie! You shoulda done told him a month ago. You done let this go too long, way too long.” She fretted, dabbing a damp cloth at Maggie’s face.

“There is nothing to tell Ray that he doesn’t already know. You know how he feels Tallulah – how we both feel about this. Now please…”
Without warning tea colored liquid spewed across the fine linens.

“He don’t know the doctor said you need to be shed of this or it’s gonna kill ya. It caint be he knows and let you lay up here wastin’ away.” The old nurse insisted, talking while she put a fresh damp cloth to Maggie’s neck and replaced the soiled sheet, “Mr. Ray is gone all the time, he don’t see what I see and when he calls you makes like ever little thang is fine.”

“Nature will take its course.” Maggie argued.

“That it will.” Tallulah agreed, “And maybe yo life in the doin’. Y’all can make another baby ma’am.” Tallulah paused to weigh her words and put her hands on Maggie’s gaunt, ashen face, “They is somethin’ bad wrong with this one precious. I seen thangs like this here before. If ‘n it lives and you die…”

“I want to sleep now.” Maggie spoke abruptly to put an end to the conversation and disappeared beneath the cotton sheets.

You better take care of yourself and make sure this baby gets born healthy, do you hear me young lady? The words of her mother ran through Maggie’s mind. It wasn’t as if Maggie had any control over it. If she did, if she could will her misery out of existence, the life sucking parasite would have been expelled weeks ago.

Maggie had just dozed off when the rumbling in her gut stirred her. It was not the usual churning she was familiar with and there was no nausea accompanying it. She lay still waiting for it. She placed her hand on her belly and felt it again, a flutter followed by a tiny thump.
It’s kicking! Maggie stretched out on the bed and exposed her naked stomach. When the flutter started again she could see a slight rise in the protrusion on her withered frame.
“Hello in there.” She said quietly. It seemed to respond to her voice so she spoke again. “I’m gonna be your mother little man.” The communication went on for about ten minutes and when Maggie felt the thumps diminish she whispered, “You go back to sleep now, it’s going to be okay, your mama loves you.” A single tear of relief tickled the corner of her nose and she rang for Tallulah to bring her a full Sunday breakfast.

Tallulah entered a half-hour later with a smile and a tray loaded with soft scrambled eggs, bacon, French toast, grits and juice.
“I never seen you look so good Miss Maggie.” She laughed as the starving mother-to-be inhaled the platter of food and kept it down. “May be you gonna be alright after all. You and the young-un, yes indeed, may hap.” Tallulah practically danced out of the room with the empty tray and soiled linens in tow.

The fact that she had consumed every morsel without regurgitating bolstered her confidence as well as her energy. Maggie stood beneath the shower-head, stroking and lathering her stomach as she sang nursery rhymes to her unborn child. After showering she realized her endurance was not yet up to par and returned to bed for the best sleep she had had in months.
Two hours later Maggie awoke feeling exuberant and summoned Tallulah.

“Would you like to take a walk with me Tallulah?” she inquired.
“Not looking like you look.” The lady laughed, “`S’pose I comb them rats outta yo hair first.” Tallulah guided Maggie to the balcony. “You sit right here while I get a brush and lay out somethun nice for you to wear. You done got so po ain’t likely nuthin’l fitcha but we’ll make do.” Tallulah chose a light yellow poly blend dress from the wardrobe, laid it on the settee and shoved a brush inside her apron pocket. Before stepping back out onto the terrace she made the bed and turned down the covers.

“Here we go Miss Maggie.” turning Maggie so her back was to her, “Lawd child yo head is nappy!”
Maggie didn’t bother remarking on the comment. She knew she looked a fright in her current condition.
“How long have you known the Lafont family?” Maggie asked, as Tallulah stood behind her on the sun drenched veranda brushing out a mat of blond tangles.
“All my life.” Tallulah answered, “My Mama was maid to Mr. Ray’s Mama.”
“Really?” Maggie asked in surprise.
“Sho nuff and her Mama was employed here fo her. See my peoples was once owned by the Lafont’s.” Tallulah stated matter of factly with what sounded like pride to Maggie.

“Why on earth would you stay after the abolition – I mean why would your family stay on? Didn’t they know they could leave? Did anyone ever say?” Maggie asked, thoroughly intrigued by the information.
“Yessum, my mother told me what was told her — that they was no cause to leave. Said the Lafont’s made sure they had money, land and educated um too. Said they always gave um Sunday off and Saturday if need be. Wuddint no beatin’ and rapin’ goin’ on here like in tha other parts I heard tell of. I b’lieve her too cause they paid all three of my sons through college – called it my bonus. I couldn’t a got that nowhere else.”

“No ma’am I don’t believe you could have. So you’re fond of the family?” Maggie asked.
“Love um like they’s my own. I got one son is a doctor thanks to Mr. Ray’s daddy.” Tallulah beamed with pride and added, “The other two boys is teachers. Good teachers too.”
“I bet they are. You must be so proud of them Tallulah– all three of them.”
“I am Miss Maggie, I really am.”
“So tell me about Ray when he was a little boy.” Maggie urged.
“What’s be you wanna know?” Tallulah asked admiring and grooming the now smooth golden tresses of hair.
“Everything.”

The first memory that came to Tallulah’s mind of the young Lafont conjured cruel pictures. Images of the puppy Ray had found in an old grain silo. Tallulah could not bring herself to tell the ailing lady of how her husband had broken the legs of the tiny cur at every joint and tied its muzzle so it couldn’t cry out. She diligently searched her memories for something more pleasant.

The imposition was cut short when Maggie abruptly slouched forward grabbing her waist.
“What’ a matter Miss Maggie?”
“I’m not sure.” Maggie replied, straining to speak through the enervating cramp, “Can we go in now?”
“Yessum. But you gots to tell ole Tallulah what’s wrong? Is you hurtin?”
Maggie nodded her head and tried to stand but found her legs would not support her.
“Let me help you.” She said, lifting Maggie to her feet.
“Oh lawdy lawd child, better let me carry you.” She swept Maggie up and carried her like a child back into the bedroom, laying her gently on the bed. “Ima get some towels – just you lay real still now.”
Maggie pulled her knees toward her chest, a natural maneuver to relieve the unrelenting spasm.
“Oh no.” She whimpered, “No, no, no little baby.” She cried when she noticed the bright red stain on her gown.

“Up here Mrs. Turner.” Tallulah yelled. Maggie lay motionless staring up at nothing as the nursemaid removed the bloody towels from between her legs. “Looks like that’s all of it ma’am.” Tallulah told her.

“Good lord have mercy! Look at all the blood. Tallulah were you able to stop it?” Mrs. Turner spoke frantically as she stood at the doorway and stared at the sharp contrast of crimson against the white bed sheets.
“Tha bleedin’ is slowed to nearly nuthin but she ain’t with child no mo ma’am.”

“Are you sure. Maybe we’d better call an ambulance and get her to the hospital.”

“For the girl may be, but look here.” Tallulah said, opening a towel for the grandmother to be, “Woulda been a boy by tha looks of it.”

“Dear god, that thing is hideous! Throw it away!” Mrs. Turner screamed as the salty rivers ran from her daughter’s silent face.

Get a copy from your favorite retailer here. Google has the series lined up for you here

Round Here

You can’t quite tell it (unless you can smell it) `round here but Autumn has officially arrived.

It’s a balmy 95 degrees today. I have the shades drawn, the AC turned down to 70 degrees Fahrenheit and some sort of orange-cinnamon-pumpkin-fake-cake concoction baking into thin air.

Lord why don’t they make a more comforting smell to compliment fall? Why?! I can hear the atoms colliding in the space around me! Why is this room spinning faster than the earth?

Whew! I don’t know why I’m in such a state. Maybe it’s the fake cake that’s baking. Maybe my hands cramp too much for typing. Maybe I need another nap?

Maybe? The truth is I am rather erratic today and maybe I lied. I suspect I’m in such a state because…

Well… You see…

Deep breath and confess.

I’m nursing a hangover. A post bachelorette weekend party hangover but I can explain.

You see we went to this place and had some drinks…

And then some more places and some more drinks…

I couldn’t stop `em, the girls and the drinks just kept coming…

And then…

Hmm. I don’t remember much after that but I hear we had fun. 😉

I know! What the heck?! I must be insane, mad as a hatter to party like that at my age but you know what? I do not regret it. Not even if an unknown photo surfaces. Not even with a hangover. And you know why?

It was a great way to end the summer but most importantly …

sniff, sniff. I wish I felt well enough to write 1000 words.

Because the bachelorette just happens to be my baby girl and I will never [never ever never] be too old nor will I grow too weary to make memories with that beautiful soul.

Life on the Farm (With Boudro the Fearless Boar)

While I was away, the husband renamed our dog. Buddy now wags his tail to Boudro.

The truth is, Buddy, ummm — I mean Boudro wags his tail to nearly everything. He is such a social creature. Life on the Farm (9) (1280x1085)

This morning I introduced him to my new pets.

Shhh, I know they may grow up to be BLT’s but let me have my moment, okay? Thank you.

Life on the Farm (5) (1280x931)

As I was saying, I introduced Boudro to Charlotte, Wilbur, Charles and Wilbur II. Now this crazy Chihuahua (who originally told me his name was Patrick) insists on being addressed as Boudro the Fearless BoarLife on the Farm (11) (1280x849)

Really?

Well… in this day and age, why not?!

Crazy Conversations (Christmas & Kitty)

Cotton, peas, your friends, your seat, your nose… There are a lot of things you can pick. Family isn’t one of them. Disclaimer: Life is crazy, people are crazier and my family… well they get the crazy award if there is one. This is a work of ‘true fiction’ inspired by family. The names have been changed to protect the guilty

(Ring, ring)

Me: Hello.

Bea: Did you get anything nice for Christmas?

Me: I’m fine thank you. How are you?

Bea: I didn’t ask how you were doing. Did you have a good Christmas?

Me: Yes I did. Did you?

Bea: I got the same old junk I get every year. Why do people ask you what you want if they are not going to give it to you?

Me: Did everyone make it home this year?

Bea: I have house shoes stacked waist high in my closet and enough gels and lotions to open my own Bath & Body Works.

Me: Hey that’s an idea. Maybe you could open a little shop and call it Foot & Body or Bea’s Bath & Slippers.

Bea: Don’t be absurd!

Me: It was just a thought.

Bea: Well it was a tacky little thought and besides they make perfectly good gifts for friends and in-laws.

Me: By the way thank you for the foaming cranberry soap. I love the smell and-

Bea: How is your dog? Did you get the dog anything for Christmas?

Me: Which dog? I have three.

Bea: The Chihuahua! I am not concerned about the ones that live outside.

Me: The dogs are all fine and they each got a bone for Christmas. The kids are fine too.

poor dingo dog (1024x845)

Merry Christmas you poor dumb dingo.

Bea: A bone?! That’s not a decent gift.

Me: They were happy with it.

Bea: Who – the children or the dogs?

Me: Both.

Bea: Well the dogs don’t know any better. You should get a cat. My Kitty would never settle for a lousy bone. Isn’t that right Kitty Kitty? Yes it is. You’re mommy’s wittle princess; her itty-bitty baby. Mommy wuvs her sweet Kitty Kitty yes she does.

Me: Did you ever consider naming her something other than Kitty Kitty?

Bea: That would be ridiculous. Her name has been Kitty Kitty for six years. Her won’t answer to anything else will you baby? No her won’t. She wuvs her name and she wuvs her mommy. She’s not like mommy’s other babies – no she’s not. She’s a good girl. Aren’t you a good girl?

Me: Should I let you go so you can talk to the cat?

Bea: Why don’t you get a cat? They are a lot smarter than dogs and they don’t stink.

Me: You know I am allergic to ninety percent of the domestic feline population.

Bea: Well you need a cat. Real writers have cats. Surely you could find one in the ten percent of the populace you are not allergic to. Have you ever tried?

Me: The other ten percent smell worse than dogs.

Bea: Malarkey! Cats do not stink.

Me: Dead cats do.

Bea: That was a cruel thing to say. She was just being facetious Kitty Kitty. She’s jealous, that what she is. Dog people are mean aren’t they? Yes they are. They are meannie weenies but mommy will protect her pretty Kitty oh yes she will. Do you want mommy to make her apologize? You do? Okay I’ll tell her –

Me: Put the cat on the phone.

Bea: Here she is.

Me: Kitty Kitty are you there?

Bea: She can hear you, go ahead.

Me: Did you ever watch a sitcom called Friends?

Bea: She has watched every single rerun at least once.

Me: Kitty Kitty do you know the song Phoebe sang?

Bea: ‘Smelly Cat, Smelly Cat what are they feeding you?’ We laugh at that every time we hear it.

Me: Well Kitty that song was written about your mother.

Bea: Don’t tell her that! Now you really need to apologize.

Me: Forgive me Smelly Jr. – I mean Kitty Kitty. I’m sorry you’re a cat – it’s not your fault.

Bea: Ignore her baby; she’s just a nasty ole dog hugger. So did you get a lot for Christmas?

Me: Are you talking to me?

Bea: Of course I am talking to you! Who else would I be talking to?

Me: I got everything I wanted.

Bea: That’s good. Listen dear, I’m already working on next year’s list and I have you down as a size 8/9 in house slippers. Do you have a color preference? I’m thinking red, blue or leopard print.

Me: The red or blue either one would be nice.

Bea: Hmm. I thought you would prefer the leopard print?

Me: I would but isn’t that what I gave you last Christmas?

Bea: Hello? Hello? The reception here is terrible. I haven’t heard a word you’ve said since your apology to Kitty. I’m sorry sweetie I’m going to hang up now – call me back in a day or two. Oh and Merry Christmas.

Me: Merry Christmas Bea.

(Click)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Happy

This weeks photo challenge is Happy.

What makes me happy? This gallery could go on forever with an endless list of small things that bring the greatest joy. It is probably a good thing that I am away from home right now, saving you from a trillion gigabytes of what makes me smile. I’ve narrowed it down to five from my hard drive.

Follow Me to Fame (The Numbers Game)

Everyone who is anyone has a twitter account, right? Well that’s what the promotional experts say. I want to be somebody, after all I am trying to sell books. But (for me) it’s not just about the selling I actually like people. I like to interact with them from time to time. I understand that is an outdated concept so call me old fashioned.

Anyway I opened a twitter account and for the most part I have met some interesting people and enjoyed getting to know a little bit about them and the work they do. A few of them just run naked down the twitter isles yelling buy my_____.

I suppose I am like any other tweeter who wants to be famous; I get a warm fuzzy feeling over new followers. As a matter of fact I check my mail first thing every morning to see if I have a new follower. This morning low and behold I do and there is more than one!

Yippee! I am pumped. From their profile [at least what shows up in my inbox] they look interesting. They’re acclaimed authors, bloggers, writers, photographers, anchormen, comedians, media moguls etc… so I hurry over to twitter to have a better look. I could click follow from the inbox but that would be too impersonal. I must go over in person and say hello, make them feel welcome and thank them. I mean, my gosh! These awesome upper echelons with thousands of followers want to follow a nobody like me?

My fingers are trembling against the keyboard as I log in. I nervously wait those 2.2 seconds for the page to load and all the while thinking Yes! Oh lardy yes, I already know I am going to follow them too!

Then the ‘hmm’ moment. I glance to the left at the double digit numbers that are the same as they were a week ago. That can’t be right so I hit the follower’s tab and guess what? They’re not there!? I’m devastated! My awesome followers have disappeared. How can that be? How could I have offended them before even saying hello?  Is this a cruel joke? Should I search them out and ask them what changed their mind? Should go back to my inbox and hit follow???

I seriously consider laying my head on the desk and crying but I can’t stop laughing long enough.

The numbers game that is being played to make one look important just strikes me as funny. To look good on twitter, to seem ‘sought after’ the number of people following you must be significantly higher than the number you follow. So how do you do that? You follow someone just long enough for the notification to be sent and then you un-follow them. Most of them will never notice because they’re too busy running naked down the twitter isles hoping you will buy something and follow them to fame.

[heavy sigh]

In closing let me say, thank you for that beautiful millisecond we shared but sorry Joe, Jim, Lisa, Dianne and all of you other fabulous, possibly famous, most popular peeps on the world wide web. I’m gonna sit this one out.