George Ella Lyon
Copyright Date: 1989
Pages: 64
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    " "I don't agree with all the choices people make," says the author. "You probably won't either. My job is to let them tell their stories." And so she does in these thirteen warm, funny, and sad short stories about people making hard decisions for themselves and for their families: · Like Iona, who accidentally accepts a marriage proposal · And Daryll, just about to graduate from high school, whose mother is eager for him to "make something" of himself. · And Lexie and Jeb, deep in debt and already struggling to feed their six children, who find out a seventh is on the way.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-3625-7
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-5)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. 6-6)
    Ramona Lumpkin

    The New Books for New Readers project was made possible through funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Kentucky Humanities Council, andThe Kentucky Post.The co-sponsorship and continuing assistance of the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives and the Kentucky Literacy Commission have been essential to our undertaking. We are also grateful for the advice and support provided to us by the University Press of Kentucky. All these agencies share our commitment to the important role that reading books should play in the lives of the people of our state, and their belief in this project has...

  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 7-7)
  5. Dear Reader
    (pp. 8-8)
    George Ella Lyon
  6. Getting Away from It All (Lena)
    (pp. 9-11)

    I’m going to tell you what happened at the supper table tonight. I had made meat loaf, and it turned out real good, firm but not packed tight. It had a red cast where I’d put in the catsup. I don’t like a meat loaf gray or brown. It wasn’t too greasy either. Jimmy is always after me to put in sausage. I’m not about to. His mother did, and it shows. I put corn flakes or bread crumbs or grits left over from breakfast. Jimmy and the baby gobble theirs down, but Lyndon just pushes his around in the...

  7. Working (Joe)
    (pp. 12-15)

    The other day there came this fellow, sent by the folks up at Lexington, I guess, to hang around the mine and ask questions. He was there when I got done with my shift. Puffy boy in fancy jeans. “Why did I choose mine work?” he asked. “How did I settle on mining as a career?”

    If I hadn’t been so dadblasted tired, I would have laughed. But if I’d had the strength to laugh, I’d have been mad, too.

    “Where are you from, son?” I asked him.

    “Down around Dayhoit.”

    “You mean you grew up in this county?” I...

  8. Singing (Jeanie)
    (pp. 16-21)

    I’ll be 40 in the spring. It’s one of those can’t-be-true things that’s really going to happen. All I have to do is breathe through three more months. Most of the time I don’t care. Shoot, I say, time is just a hallway to Heaven. Who cares about the numbers on the doors?

    But there are other times when I look at my kids. Clyde is 14, Jessie is 11. I looked at them Sunday getting ready for the Martin Luther King march. I’m 40 years old, I thought. My momma scrubbed floors so I could get an education. I...

  9. Family Planning (Agnes)
    (pp. 22-25)

    If you don’t believe what I’m going to tell you, it won’t surprise me a bit. My daddy and mommy were the best people ever was. He didn’t drink, he didn’t hit, he didn’t run around. Every week he had work he brought home his pay. Every week Momma tried her best to stretch it, but it was useless, like trying to fit a crib sheet to a double bed. Not that she had crib sheets. Too many babies.

    There were six of us younguns born fast and hard, not two years apart. I always thought my Momma was old....

  10. Falling (Dexter)
    (pp. 26-32)

    The first time I laid eyes on Shirley Tackett, I said, “Whoa! I’m going to fall in love with that woman, and I don’t even like the looks of her!” She was skimpy somehow, like the Lord hadn’t had enough dust on hand when He made her. She wore lime green pants, too, and they were baggy in the seat.

    What made me want to meet her then? The set of her shoulders, pure and simple. Here was a woman who had seen hard times and kept right on looking.

    Sid Shepherd knew her, and he took me over to...

  11. Marrying (Iona)
    (pp. 33-34)

    You’re going to laugh at this. That’s all right. I quit worrying a long time ago about making a fool of myself. The Lord did that for me, just like He does for us all, from the get-go. So this story won’t tell you a thing that you don’t know.

    When Jake and I was courting, back in 19 and 26, he’d come in from Virginia on the weekend. I looked forward to it. Friday evenings we’d sit on the porch. Saturdays we’d take a ride in his Ford and maybe go to a picture show that night. Sunday meant...

  12. Making Something of Yourself (Daryll)
    (pp. 35-39)

    I’ll be 18 next month (the day before Thanksgiving), and I’ve got to make some choices. It looks like I will graduate in May. By some miracle, my mom says. Then what? I can’t go to college—it would be like high school only worse. Besides, there’s no money, and I didn’t do anything to win financial aid. Not only were my grades LOW LOW LOW, I can barely get a basketball through a hoop. In Kentucky that’s a crime.

    But I never liked chasing things that bounce. Or roll. Or fly up and hit you in the face. I’ve...

  13. Cutting the Pie (Morris)
    (pp. 40-41)

    All my life I have heard how this is the Land of Opportunity. It don’t matter, they say, what your background is. You can be poor, you can be black. By God, you can even be a woman. Hard work fixes everything.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying Americans aren’t better off than some folks. I’ve just got questions. The other day I heard a kid, nice kid, privileged, say, “Sure I know the Golden Rule. It means the Gold rules. Right?”

    Is that right? I want to talk about Equal Opportunity. I can’t cover everything, so I am...

  14. Pleasing (June)
    (pp. 42-45)

    I don’t know when Bill quit talking.

    I am not perfect. I will not pretend to you I am. My figure is not the best, and I quit being young a while back. Housework is not one of my interests. Going to garage sales is. Others include baking cakes, playing the guitar, and listening to sixties music.

    “You are such a child, June,” Bill says when he decides to speak to me. Usually this is when he’s caught me singing. “Next thing I know, you’ll grow your hair long and try to go back to high school.”

    Bill didn’t know...

  15. Trucking (Lige)
    (pp. 46-47)

    People are all the time saying that a dog is a man’s best friend. I say a man’s best friend is his truck. If he don’t have a truck, well, I feel sorry for him.

    The thing about a truck is you can haul almost anything in it and you still sit higher than the cars on the road. No offense, but I like to look down on people, see what they’re eating, see if their hair’s parted straight. And a truck ain’t like a car. You don’t have to keep it clean, just keep it running. Plus, there’s always...

  16. Crying (Lena)
    (pp. 48-51)

    I still remember the day I decided to quit crying. We hadn’t been married more than three years, and I had cried a lot. Oh, I’d go for weeks, months maybe, without a tear. I’d clean house only when Jimmy was asleep or gone because it made him nervous. I’d figure a way to keep us on our budget without letting him know. I’d fix meals he liked and then just eat yogurt. I was scared to death of fat. Should have been scared of something else.

    Anyway, we’d go along even as a tabletop until something would upset the...

  17. Baptizing (Herschel)
    (pp. 52-60)

    You been baptized? I been baptized three times. My sins have been scrubbed on a board. They’ve been bleached and hung out to dry. Jesus saves, but He didn’t save on me. I’m not sorry. I reckon I needed it.

    Here’s how it happened.

    I grew up on a little farm out at A-Jay, and we went to Beefhide Baptist Mission. I was a big cut-up, not really mean but not ready to say No to trouble. When I was 14, I found my papaw’s liquor jug in the barn and drank till I like to lost my eyesight. That was...

  18. Staying (Sarah)
    (pp. 61-63)

    Every day people gets married in the sight of God. They say “for better or for worse” and “till death do us part.” Then they go out and do as they please. It is just the times.

    On the creek where I live, there’s not a soul besides me and Levi that’s still married to who they started out with. Some ain’t married at all. There’s children all over, belongs to this one and that one. Step-daddies, single parents, boyfriends, we got it all. Sometimes I look down the road and wonder, “Is this people’s houses or a motel?” I...

  19. About the Author
    (pp. 64-64)