Thursday, October 7, 2010

Miss Teensy and the December Snow

Everyone in Blue Falls, Alabama thought winter would never arrive. Here it was, December, and the temperatures were in the high 70’s and showing no signs of cooling down. Air conditioners were running on overtime and tempers were short. The ladies at the beauty salon fanned themselves as they sat and gossiped.

“I declayah, Pat,” Mrs. Viola McNally said as the color was being washed off her new blonde hair, “it is nevah gonna get cool around here. Just the othah day I saw the Booker twins swimming in the crik. Can you imagine?”

Pat, the proprietress of Pat’s Set and Curl, just nodded and wrapped a pink towel around her customer’s head. “That ain’t nothin’, Viola. I swannee, my garden thermometer was so red, I thought it was a redbird.”

“Well, my car overheated comin’ back from the Piggly Wiggly, and y’all know that it is only a block from my house,” piped up little Mrs. Suddeth, whose 90th birthday had come and went a year before.

“Oh pshaw!” Jackie, the receptionist, scoffed from her side of the room, ‘Y’all are jest makin’ all that up!’

“I am most certainly not!” Pat snorted.

“Well, I declayah!” said Mrs. McNally with her nose in the air.

The front door bells announced a customer with their tinkling. Pat looked up and smiled. “Well, mornin’ Miss Teensy, and what can I do for you today?”

Teensy Kilbraken, the town’s most eccentric child, nodded solemnly and closed the door with another tinkle of the bells. Miss Teensy, as everyone called her, was known for the strange things that happened whenever she was around.

“Miss Pat?” her faint voice emerged as she looked down at her scruffy tennis shoes, “My momma wants to know if she can have her hair cut tomorrow.”

“Why, sure child. You tell your momma to come on in around eleven, Okay?” Pat said. Behind her, the ladies were beginning to argue over the hot weather again.

“Now, go on ovah there and get yourself a Coke, sweetie.” Teensy shuffled over to the 50’s-style refrigerator that was filled with two six-packs of Coca Cola and some leftover sandwiches that had been forgotten and no one was brave enough to throw out.

“Jackie, now you should know by now that I don’t say anything that ain’t true,” said Mrs. McNally loudly.

Jackie snorted. Mrs. McNally was the Town Gossip and everyone knew to keep their secrets away from her big ol’ ears.

Mrs. Suddeth cleared her throat. “Uh hum! Now Viola, I beg to differ. There was that time last summer that you went and told everyone that Mayor Wolford was going to AA meetin’s…”

“…and look what he went and did!" Mrs. McNally interrupted,"He got so skunked that he ran over poor little ol’ Miss Teensy’s dog,” Mrs. McNally said as she gestured over to the girl. “Didn’t he, honey?”

“Shush now, Viola,” Pat whispered, “Don’t upset the girl. You know what happened last time.” Pat had cause for concern. Last time someone had upset Teensy Kilbraken, he had ended up with a tick on his head.

Miss Teensy walked to the center of the room and looked at the ladies one at a time, finally landing on Mrs. McNally as she sat in the cutting chair having her hair blowdried. The ladies looked at her like a deer might an 18-wheeler going ninety.

“It’s gonna snow,” she said flatly.

Pat stopped the dryer and stared at the girl. “Honey, it don’t snow in Blue Falls. What makes you say that?”

Teensy just smiled and continued her strange prediction, “Mrs. Suddeth, you might want to cover your roses. They are so pretty and I don’t want them to get frostbitten.”

She turned to Pat. “Miss Pat, my momma won’t need her hair cut after all since you won’t be able to open the store.”

“Now that is jest preposterous, Teensy Kilbraken. Your momma ought to whip your hide for tellin’ tales like that,” Mrs. McNally blustered. “You know we ain’t evah had no snow and ain’t nevah gonna.”

Miss Teensy just smiled again and walked to the door. After she had left, the ladies sat around wondering at the strangeness of the girl, but eventually shrugged it off as another one of her eccentrics.

Later that afternoon as Pat was locking up the Set and Curl, she looked up at the clouds building up in the west and felt a bit unsettled. She felt downright scared when she woke up the next morning and, in the middle of making her Red Diamond coffee, noticed her grass had been covered in white overnight.

Little Mrs. Suddeth had taken no chances, as she herself had been known to have “the sight”, and had covered her prize roses the night before. Her tired old eyes welcomed the snow and it never occurred to her to question why it was there.

Mrs. Viola McNally, however, couldn’t believe her eyes when she awoke and saw the glistening white snow covering her backyard. In fact, she slipped navigating the slippery front steps and fell smack-dab into a snow-covered bush face-first.

Miss Teensy? She enjoyed the day like every other child in Blue Falls that morning; by throwing snowballs and building small snowmen and then falling into bed with a smile on her little face.

No one in Blue Falls ever knew why the weather turned so drastically that day, but the ladies at the Set and Curl knew and declared that day never to doubt Miss Teensy ever again.

© 2005 Dana Sieben