Thursday, August 18, 2011

Lottie Trude


My Dad didn’t dowse water - drummed up advertising clients for that local news weekly maybe - but that little old lady from Texas who helped raise me did. She kept a black widow in a jar for us to recognize, too, warned us beware of snakes and she did wield a mean fly swatter ‘cross my backside when I was bad - she was my nanny, I guess you call it, Mrs. Lottie Trude, and I was just a little boy.
She carved "little" people's faces from green apples, set them aside to dry, eventually to wrinkle, wizened and lifelike with age, set qtop baked and glazed fifures their bodies clad in overalls and house frocks handmade. A little family and figures fashioned from clay. Country people, folk art with American themes, some of it from before WWII, some as far back as the Depression. I believe some of them figurines were made right there in Clay County, Missouri.

She had a garden patch in the back of her acre lot, with a small house built into the hill before the city became too big. We rented the upstairs. I walked a mile every day to school. When school was out we'd go to an old country store for supplies and a treat. I fell off the deck once, got stuck by a nail. Mrs. Trude fixed me up. Other times we'd run around the house when we got hurt. Sometimes the blue jays would chase us, too, or the chiggers would catch us wallowing in the dirt sweaty from play. In the height of summer the earth would fissure and crack it was so hot, in some places so deep we'd drop a pebble in and wonder if it fell all the way to China.

Still, a pair of black walnuts flourished, dropping their unripened fruit all about with that hard green skin and aroma piercing as a katydid's call. She would gather them, sticky and cloying, staining your fingers the same as a grasshopper trying to get away. Those long, hot days seemed never to end. At least until your name was called and you'd run, dodging lightening bugs and into your bed to dream of things that had gone before.

so very long ago
` in language meant for a child
I can hear their voices,
` the tang of green walnuts
the depth of red clay



Wrick said...

oh. i know this scent. ...and the scent of green apricots - spring.

and black walnuts. musty. autumn.

and... cool ku, Bandit. - aloha.

pat n said...

hi, bandit,
always enjoy seeing what you are posting!
especially like this "green walnut" ku. scented with the upcoming autumn air.

bandit said...

Thanks, guys.

sanjuktaa said...

green walnut...lovely!

Melissa said...

Wait...did I really not comment on this before? Love. Still waiting for that memoir. You can do it all in the form of haibun if you want.

bandit said...

It's, uh, really a private sort of reflection, sweet, yet somewhat melancholy.