Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Pine Boxes

Pine Boxes.

“Don’t need nothin’ more than a plain ole pine box to meet your maker. We all be naked at them gates, Janey Girl.”

Papaw built pine boxes. For Christmas one year he made me a small pine box for under my pillow. For my worries.

The next year a bigger one for my night table. The older a person gets means the bigger the worries. I decided I didn’t wants to get too old, ‘cause the pine boxes Papaw made for old Mr. Fellows were always man sized. ‘Magine all the worries you could fit in there.

“He be coming Janey—you best be getting on now.”

Mrs. Hubbard always said, “He be coming.” Only I don’t know who he is. Her hair was white like Christmas snow. She always wore her black button-up sweater backwards. Everybody said she was crazy. My mama told me once never to point and whisper.

“Be bad manners Janey-girl.”

I wondered if “bad manners” and “He” had any connection.

“Janey-girl – He be coming for sure--this time. Feels it in my bones.” Mrs. Hubbard wheezed as she swept the snow off the walk.

I nodded.

I still didn’t know who “He” was and settled for myself it’d be bad manners to ask.

The next morning I rode into town with Papaw, a pine box, fresh and pale, in the bed of his old Ford. We pulled up in front of Mrs. Hubbad’s. Boot prints matting down the snow on her walk.

“He came for her Janey-girl. Her maker came for her last night.”

I look at the pine box. I guess once “He” arrives you’s gots no more worries to carry about.

I stayed in the truck.

Glad my worries still fit in the small pine box, clutched tightly in my hands.

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