Friday, June 12, 2009

Prayers for Sale

After the war ended, more than one widow of her acquaintance began entertaining, trading an evening for a small coin or sack of flour, or even a handful of potatoes. Hennie was disdainful and asked, "What will your little ones think?"
"I expect they like to eat," came the reply, and Hennie felt put in her place.
She realized then that morality was for folks with full bellies, and she came to realize that if things had been different, if Sarah had lived and they had been destitute, Hennie herself might have "entertained." She'd have done anything to keep that precious baby from starving. So when she moved to Middle Swan and learned that some of her neighbors were soiled doves, as they were called then, Hennie wasn't shocked, wasn't even surprised.


She'd had a good life, Hennie reflected, but there were things left to do before she went below. The girl Nit needed help if she was to become a mountain woman. Hennie had a lifetime of stories she wanted to tell one more time. Then there was that other matter that pricked the back of her mind, just this side of consciousness. It ought to be resolved before she moved on.


She chuckled at the memory. She and Jake and Mae would go there on a Sunday, after churc--back when Hennie attended services--and pick the raspberries. Once, when Mae had stayed home, Hennie and Jake had gone raspberrying by themselves and fooled around up there, not realizing until they were finished that their skin was stained red from where they'd lain on raspberries that had spilled out of the bucket. Hennie glowed at the recollection that her marriage had been good in that way.

The sun was warm on Hennie's bones, and she was not anxious to leave. "Can you stand another story?" "I can. I wouldn't like it half so well in Middle Swan if it wasn't for you and your stories." p. 190-191

1 comment:

  1. These are great passages. This sounds like a great book.