Down To the Straits

This post is in response to Monday Moment with…Conscious and Breathing (plus a prompt!), which I thank The Blog Propellant for asking me to do! Two notes on this story: Besides some general southern slang, I am in no way attempting to capture the Down East North Carolina accent. I don’t know that it would even be possible to do with the written word.  Second, I am using the common last names of the area to make it a little more genuine, but the names used are pure fiction and do not in anyway reflect a real person, alive or dead.  That being said, there are some pretty fascinating real people that live Down East and it’s my pleasure to be friends with a few of them!

.   Jenny burst through the back door and slid across the kitchen, banging her shoulder against the wall as she grabbed the phone at the last possible second.  “Hello?”

“Sissy, what you doin’ girl?” Brian laughed into the phone.  “You sound like you just ran a marathon.”

“I am Pure-T mommicked, son, is what I am!” Jenny relaxed against the wall.  It was too soon for the call she was expecting and talking to Brian helped calm her nerves.  “Bubba, you tell me this: Why are four of my children home from school today? They say they had to cancel because the AC wasn’t working. Did we even have AC when we were in school?”

“No we did not, but you remember how God awful it was in June and September? You really want them in there sweatin’ all day? They ain’t gonna learn nothin’ that way.” 

“They’re learning a hell of a lot more than we did in school!” Jenny sifted through the contents of her older children’s homework on the kitchen table. “Jason’s class is learning all about Italy and he has to learn a new word everyday.  Today is bicycle, or “bee-chee-klay-tah”. Do you remember learning anything about Italy in school?”

“I think the only thing I knew about Italy growing up came from the couple times Daddy drove us to the Jacksonville mall and got pizza at Sbarros.” Brian was only half joking.

“And Chelsea’s vocabulary words!” Jenny plowed right on. “I was quizzing her earlier, and one of her words was ‘petrichor’! I’d never heard that word in my life, but my daughter informed me that it’s the smell of dirt after the first rain in a long while!  Have you ever?”

“You got smart kids, Sissy! And the school’s a hell of a lot better than when we were kids. They know their stuff, let ’em relax and enjoy a day off.”

“I know, but Brandi’s still sick, snottin’ mucus and what-not everywhere and instead of resting, she’s trying to keep up with her bigger brothers and sister, playing in the water and carrying on. Meanwhile, Jason and Chelsea both nurture a grudge against Tyler. Apparently he put salt in their Cheerios this morning!”

“You want me to come pick Brandi and Tyler up and take ’em  to Momma’s house? Brandi loves sleepin’ in the bay room with the wind chimes tinkling. The sound of them wind chimes are kisses from the air, just rockin’ and soothin’ her to sleep.  And Tyler can help me trim those hedges Momma keeps on me about.”

“Bubba would you really?” Jenny perked up a bit. Finally, something might go her way today. “You have no idea how big a help that would be!”

“Sure, Sis! But, ah, I got to ask a favor of you, actually.”

“I knew it! Brian Guthrie you ain’t never done nothing for me unless you needed something!” Jenny laughed. Jenny would truthfully do anything her brother asked, but she hoped he didn’t need money. The shrimp season wasn’t going too well and they needed to find someway to pay for the fiberglass repairs after the big storm last week.  If the next couple of catches weren’t good, they’d have to sell off some of the old farm machinery for scrap.  That would break Darrell’s heart.

“I need to borrow Darrell tonight up to town hall.  Marine Fisheries is holdin’ some debate or discussion or some other such nonsense where they try to tell us that they ain’t killin’ our ability to make a living.  Darrell’s the best at talking ’bout restrictions against commercial fisherman versus tourists and I got Mayor Styron to agree to back us; but only if I can get Darrell, Thom Willis, Daniel Midyette and Old Man Gillikin from the fish house all speaking up against the new restrictions.  Please, Jenny?”

“And you’ve got all the others to agree to speak?”

“Darrell’s the last one!” Brian announced proudly. “Well, I hope he is anyway. I was kinda hopin’ the family connection would make him a shoe-in.”

“You got it Bubba, I’ll have him dressed and ready by 7 o’clock sharp. And I’ll have Brandi ready for you to pick up a in twenty minutes.”

“See ya Sis! Love Ya!”

“I love you too Bubba.” Jenny cradled the phone and stared at it a few seconds in silence.  It was pointless. The doctor told her she wouldn’t know anything til later that afternoon.  Best not to think of it.

She strode back to the screen glass door and watched her children playing down by the water’s edge.  She took a deep breath.

“Jason! Chelsea! don’t yall be ganging up on Tyler, now! Tyler and Brandi!  Come on up here and wash up! Uncle Brian’s gonna come pick you up and take you to Meemaw’s!  Jason and Chelsea, y’all can play for another hour, then out with the skiff and check the traps! I want you home with plenty of time to clean up before dinner! Your Daddy has an important meeting tonight! Y’all hear me clear?”

Jenny watched her children scatter in obedience. It had to work out all right for them. Jenny would make it be all right for them, somehow…

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4 thoughts on “Down To the Straits

  1. I’ve seen so many references to Sbarro lately! Ours closed in February. 😢

    Great story! Plenty to get me emotionally invested in the characters. I hope it all works out for them!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I didn’t realized how much Sbarro was instilled in me as a child til there wasn’t one close anymore 🙂
      I want it to work too! I’ve not quite worked out why Jenny is so worried about what the doctor might say, but I’ve already have mapped out the town hall meeting in my mind…

      Liked by 1 person

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