~Momma’s Rain~ (excerpt – chapter four)

WordWulf By WordWulf, 20th Sep 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Personal Experiences

Staying with grandparents, nine-year-old Timmy defies grandmother’s orders. He receives a scolding & her hand on his back side. He turns his back on her, just walks away.

~Children ... It’s Elementary~

~a man on fire~
~in an empty room~
~six ways out~
~indecision rules~

Chapter Four
~Children ... It’s Elementary~

Denver, Colorado
Fall, 1959

There was nothing Timmy could do to rectify the situation but he couldn’t stop thinking about it so he ignored Grandma’s voice, sobbed and kicked stones, and continued to feel sorry for himself. He enjoyed a bit of relief from his problems as the larger stones jarred the bones in his toes and gave him something else to think about. He knew they were right, Grandma and Grandpa. They shouldn’t have to take care of Daddy and his family. He wondered if he really was a dirty little bastard. As they always said, Grandma and Grandpa, they had worked hard and raised theirs. This should be a time of peace and rest for them. Grandpa was employed as a baker afternoons and nights and Grandma was a cookie packer for the Bowman Biscuit Company. They were trying to lay a little money aside for their retirement. Grandma had varicose veins and her legs hurt. She stood her place on the assembly line six nights a week, two to eleven. She rode the city bus to work and back home with the midnight crazies. Grandma didn’t drive.

Timmy blinked his eyes in surprise when he realized he had reached the crossroads at the bottom of the hill. Cars swished back and forth on Hampden Avenue a few steps away. He turned to his right, squinted his eyes, and stared at the building where his mother worked. Coors and Pabst Blue Ribbon neon signs winked at him and, his favorite, Hamms ... the beer refreshing with the big smiling bear and the blue running water. He wasn’t so sure about his decision to walk down the hill now. He felt a tight fist form in his chest and knew he was between a rock and a hard spot when he recognized Daddy’s truck parked by the front door. There would be hell to pay for leaving Grandma after she had ordered him to turn around and come back home.

Timmy was in a quandary. He had never seriously considered running away before but this might be just the situation for it. He wished for Jerry. His brother wasn’t very good at getting along with Momma and Daddy but he knew all about running away and making it on his own. What would Peter and Lisa and Leda do without him, Timmy wondered ... and Momma. He didn’t have long to worry about the problem as Daddy came staggering out the front door of the bar. He started to climb in his truck, then noticed Timmy standing by the side of the road.

“Get yer ass over here!” he ordered. When they were both seated in the old truck he administered his favorite punishment where Timmy was concerned, an open handed slap to the top of his head. “What in hell gets into you, Timmy? Ma’s all shook up now. She thinks you’ve run away. She really got pissed when she called here to talk to your mother and they called me to the phone. I’m afraid you’ve messed it up for all of us with that bullheadedness o’ yours. She don’t want me drinkin’, y’know?”

The top of Timmy’s head smarted and he winced in anticipation of another slap as he replied sadly and truthfully, “None of us do, Daddy.”

Daddy surprised him by rubbing his head affectionately. “’S okay, son. You sit tight while I run in ‘n tell your mother you’re all right. I think I found us a place to live. We’ll pick up your brother and sisters and go have a look. I’ll talk to Ma when we get to the house but you’re gonna have to apologize to her for your behavior.”

Daddy went into the bar and came right back out. He drove his old Ford truck up the bumpy dirt road and parked in front of the little house on the hill. There was a clothesline set up at the back of the driveway just in front of Grandpa Webber’s car. He kept rabbits in hutches against the rear wall of the house and was busy outside tending to them. He waved nonchalantly and walked behind the house as Daddy and Timmy came up the driveway behind his Packard. “Go see your Grandpa while I go inside and have a couple words with Ma,” Daddy ordered. “I don’t even want her to see you since you took off without her permission. You hurt her feelings and there’ll be hell to pay.”

Spending time with Grandpa Webber would never find itself on the list of things Timmy would like to do. He knew better than to argue with Daddy. His head still smarted from the slap by Daddy’s hand, so he walked slowly past Grandpa’s car toward the rear of the house. “Don’t walk so God-damned close to the car!” Grandpa warned, “You God-damned brats are bound ‘n determined to scratch the shit out of it!”

Timmy sidled over next to the house. When he came to the corner, Grandpa was standing next to the hutches holding a large rabbit. “Get a handful o’ clothespins out ‘o that bag,” he said to Timmy. Timmy stepped over to the clothesline and did as he was told. Grandpa was right behind him with the rabbit clutched close to his chest. It was kicking and clawing furiously with its rear feet. Its nails were long and blood oozed from a deep cut on Grandpa’s wrist where it had scratched him. “Nice bunny, bunny,” Grandpa cooed. He scratched the rabbit behind the ears and rubbed the back of its neck. “Bastard bitch scratched me,” he muttered to himself. “Gimme a couple o’ them pins,” he said to Timmy.

Timmy handed them to him while Grandpa lifted the rabbit up and bent one of its ears over the thick clothesline wire. He clipped the ear to the wire with the pins and held his hand out. “Gimme two more,” he ordered. He took them from Timmy with his free hand and fixed the other ear to the line while gripping the animal close to his body. It was struggling madly, its eyes wide, wet, and full of fear. Grandpa hugged the rabbit close and made purring sounds deep in his chest. He massaged the back of the rabbit’s head and neck while slowly releasing it until it was hanging sedately by its ears from the clothesline. With a deft flick of his right hand he dealt it a blow to the base of its skull. The animal shuddered, kicked a couple of times, and then slowly relaxed into its death.

Grandpa winked at Timmy. “That’s tame meat right there. It’ll be tender in the pot, melt in your mouth. She died real good, didn’t she? Kill ‘em fightin’ an’ the meat’s gamier ‘n hell. Ever had rabbit stew, boy?”

“No sir,” Timmy replied. Watching the slaying of the rabbit, he was reminded of Grandpa Jim’s rooster in Missouri and hoping he wouldn’t have to partake in the meal soon to come. As it turned out, he didn’t have to eat rabbit that evening. Daddy called him over to the house to help gather up his siblings and their belongings while he and Grandpa Webber said goodbye. Timmy’s emotions were all screwed up. Being walloped by Grandma, head-slapped by Daddy, and witnessing the death of the rabbit by Grandpa Webber was just about all he could take. Not quite, he thought, now he had to face Grandma.

“Don’t you ever turn your back and walk away from me like that again,” she admonished sternly when he entered the house. Her eyes always looked like they were swimming behind the lenses of her thick glasses. They were wet now, full to the brim with tears soon to be spilled. She pulled Timmy to her, hugged him to her breast and wept for a moment. Her tears ran down her cheeks and onto his forehead, then into his eyes. He imagined they burned more than his own did. She took a deep breath and pushed him away, held him at arms’ length, her hands on his shoulders. “You look out for Peter, Lisa, and Leda, hear me? I’m sure gonna miss all of you around the house.”

Timmy was struggling with tears of his own. He felt as if he was abandoning Grandma Webber. After her complaints, he couldn’t understand why she was crying when Daddy was doing what she had asked, taking them somewhere else to live. It was difficult to believe they’d be missed in the Webber household. “You have to stop drinking,” Timmy heard her stern rebuke of Daddy as he and his siblings piled into the truck.

“I’m tryin’, Ma,” Daddy replied, “Doin’ my best.” He hugged her, waved at Grandpa and the dead rabbit, climbed into the truck, let out the clutch and pulled slowly away from the curb.

© artwork & words conceived by & property of Tom (WordWulf) Sterner ©


Inquiries: tracy@traceliteraryagency.com
& ~Tom (WordWulf) Sterner~
Revues at Amazon &

~Momma’s Rain~ (excerpt – chapter one)
~Momma’s Rain~ (excerpt – chapter two)
~Momma’s Rain~ (excerpt – chapter three)
~Momma’s Rain~ (excerpt – chapter seven)
~Momma’s Rain~ (excerpt – chapter eight)

Tags

1959, Alcoholism, Art, Brothers, Colorado, Denver, Fathers, Killing Rabbits, Memoirs, Mommas Rain, Mothers, Novelist, Parenting, Philosophy, Photography, Poetry, Poverty, Sons, Survival, Tom Wordwulf Sterner, Writer

Meet the author

author avatar WordWulf
I write novels, poetry, songs,nonsense & lies. Sometimes truth sneaks in when I ain't lookin'.

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Comments

author avatar Buzz
20th Sep 2011 (#)

Excellent page, Tom. Thank you.

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author avatar WordWulf
20th Sep 2011 (#)

Thank-you, Buzz:-)

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author avatar Maria Malone
22nd Sep 2011 (#)

awesome writing!

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author avatar Songbird B
22nd Oct 2011 (#)

Powerful and vivid as always Tom...

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