LITTLE ADELINE KINDER
Copyright June 19, 2011 By L. E. Leonard
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The postman Bill Hearty stood by a little white schoolhouse relaying his tale of one very bad delivery to the teacher. School was out due to summer break and a great deal of young adults had gathered for the afternoon ball game at the baseball diamond.
“I tells ya, was the scariest day of me life. There was a hurricane fast aproachin’ an I was needin’ some shelter. Since them Kinder’s were out-o-town, I didn’t figure they’d mind if’n I’d wait out the storm in their house.”
“I musta been there fer about twenty minutes or more drying off when there was some huge crash. Scared the living daylights out of me it did and sounded as though a whole cabinet full o dishes had fallen over. I could hear the glass shatter an even the sound of tin pans and lids spinnin’ an making that clattering noise.”
“So what did you do Bill? …Dale, stop trying to look up Alice’s knickers before I tell yer pa.”
“Well I went to see what-in-tarnation had happened an…”
“The house was in order. No broken dishes an nothing out o place, just some squeaking varmint runnin’ across the hard wood floors. O bout the same time them horses of mine started whining. I’d always thought them Kinder’s moved in too close to that cemetery across the way. My beating heart couldn’t take too much more o’ that so I scurried on out of there. Hurricane or not my horses got me and the mail wagon clear across the county in less than a half-an-hour.”
“That’s very amusing Bill but please remember, the proper term for those kind of storms are tornadoes and not hurricanes.”
“Ever since my family settled here it’s been called a hurricane an I’m not changing it now.”
Frantic an out-of-breath, Delphine Kinder ran up to the teacher interrupting their conversation. She was sweating from head to toe and was obviously concerned about something.
“Teach, teach, ma’s going to jail an pa’s out of town. What are we gonna do?
“Calm down Delphine, you need to calm down.” After letting her catch her breath she continued even though the tales were a little out of the ordinary today. “Now tell me what happened.”
After grabbing a handkerchief and wiping her moist and dirty face she added, “Ma got into an argument with our neighbor yesterday an went an threw a rock at her. I’m guessing she cracked one of her ribs. I don’t think our neighbor appreciated it all that much cause she done went an told the sheriff on Ma.”
Over by the baseball diamond, three more shadowy figures emerged at the top of the hill. Geraldine, Laura Ada, and Adeline Kinder were making their way to town as well. Adeline who was seven at the time had been walking slightly lopsided. She was carrying her sister Lourie the baby.
Laura Ada had been sobbing as Geraldine, the oldest of the girls called out to the clustered group and waving. She was flashing a crisp sheet of paper as she called. “We need to get a hold of Pa Mrs. Harris, it’s an emergency.”
Clearly agitated by now, Mrs. Harris slapped her hand on her hip and protested. “You mean to tell me that our new sheriff dragged your momma away and left you girls to fend for yourself?”
“Can you call our pa for us?” Adeline pleaded while whipping strawberry curls from her eyes and bouncing Laurie on her hip.
Geraldine added “he’s somewhere in the next state over working but he left a phone number for emergencies. Ma told us where to find it before being dragged away.” Laura Ada held back another sob and wiped her nose with the sleeve of her dress.
“I’ll be happy to help and while you girls are waiting, you should go back home and clean up. I can stop by tonight to check on you but only after the sheriff and I exchange a few words.”
“Are you gonna yell at him for us?” Laura Ada added.
“Don’t you worry about that just head on home and take care of each other till you dad gets back.”
Geraldine indicated that they should take the short cut through the woods.