Wednesday, November 17, 2010

LISTEN TO THE MOCKINGBIRD


LISTEN TO THE MOCKINGBIRD

"Maw, Maw, come quick! Me 'n Paw's been cuttin' firewood down by the river 'n a big limb done rolled off'n the wagon and falled on him. We got to get back quick 'cause he's hurt bad," Lucas yelled, as he collapsed onto the porch.

I came out of the warm kitchen and into the blustery wind which had picked up a might strong since dawn. When he saw me, Lucas sat up, but was still breathing hard.

"Did you try pullin' it off him?" I asked. "Yessam, but it be too heavy for me to move it, ev'n a bit. 'Sides, if'n I could 've got Paw loose, there'd be nary a way to 've got 'em onta' the wagon."

I ran back into the house, and started getting things together: a blanket, some rags, what little water I had without having to go to the well, and smellin' salts, just in case.

"Lucas, go put on one of your Paw's shirts under your roundabout. The wind's comin' up somethin' fierce," I said, as I wrapped a shawl around my shoulders and tied on my bonnet. "Bessie Mae, Abigail, you two 'ave got to stay here 'til we get back wi' your Paw. Jus' be sure an' keep the fire goin'. I 'pect it's goin' to be gettin' colder as the day goes by."

Lucas and I started out afoot in the direction of the river, but I knew it would be some time before we'd get to where my Jonathan was. We didn't talk much, both of us lost in our own thoughts, I suppose, but over and over I prayed, "Oh Lord, please don't let 'im be hurt bad, or worse, dead."

It was well past noontime when we reached the place where Jonathan was lying alongside the wagon, a huge limb from a water oak tree pinning one of his legs. When I bent down over him, he was pale and still. "Jonathan, darlin', I'm here," I said, as I poured some water onto a rag and mopped his face, then tried to get him to take a drink. He didn't swallow, so the water just ran down along the side of his face.

"Lucas, go unhitch th' horse an' ride full chisel to Doc Wall. Tell 'im he has to come right away." So Lucas rode into town to look for Doc Wall, while this time I prayed, "Please don't let him be drunk like he was when Abigail was bein' birthed."
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I set about covering Jonathan with the blanket the best I could, then sat down and put his head in my lap. Rocking him a bit, I started singing his favorite song.

Listen to the mockingbird,
Listen to the mockingbird,
The mockingbird still singing o'er her grave;
Listen to the mockingbird,
Listen to the mockingbird,
Still singing where the weeping willows wave.

Finally, along towards dusk, Lucas and Doc Wall came riding up full tilt. Doc was off his horse in a split second, carrying his black bag and an axe. Lucas tried his best to bend a few of the smaller branches out of the way so Doc could get a good look at Jonathan.

"You know, we jes might hav' to take his leg," he said. I moved closer and watched as Doc Wall listened to Jonathan's chest. Then slowly standing up, he shook his head and said, "I 'pect now, though, there's not that much of a hurry to remove the limb as I might've thought."

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Carol Rhodes’s widely published works, including short stories, essays, poetry, non-fiction articles, and plays, have appeared in such publications as newspapers The Houston Chronicle, Christian Science Monitor, Stroud (England) News & Journal, and The Houston Press; magazines Country Home, Good Old Boat, and Texas; as well as numerous journals and anthologies.

Carol has won many literary awards for poetry and prose. Her play, Comin’ Home to Burnstown, was showcased in a summer play festival of an off-Broadway theatre.

She continues to write while occasionally presenting business writing seminars at two universities and for several corporate clients.

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