Thursday, July 06, 2006

Faith Temple

Faith Temple was a wiry woman that moved continuously, and particularly when she was agitated. As Fred came into the kitchen she looked up and said, “Fred! I thought you was going out in the garden to pick me some peas. Now, here you come an hour later and without a pea!”

Fred moved his lips in contemplation and scratched under his cap. He shuffled his feet. Then his eyes twinkled and he said, “Faith when you get to be my age you don’t always take a pee when you mean to.”

A dishcloth missed Fred by inches and landed harmlessly in the corner. He grabbed a colander and headed back out the door, chuckling to himself as he went, knowing that Faith was good and agitated. He went to the garden where his pea vines were and started tossing fresh, crisp, English peas into the colander. Fred loved peas because they were one of the first vegetables of the season, and they tasted good straight from the vine. He split a couple open and recalled a time long ago while he chewed. He could remember being young and foraging in his father’s garden, and eating peas like these. He remembered how they tasted, their texture, and how the earth felt beneath his bare feet. Sometimes when he placed his hands in live soil he could feel an emotion and he was never sure whether he was the object or the recipient of it.

“Fred!” slammed into his nostalgia like a thunderclap, “There better be some peas going in that pot! We got company coming.” Patience was not a virtue to Faith Temple, who equated it with toleration of sloth. Why if people sat around all day contemplating their navels, who’d chop the wood or fix supper? Fred felt moderately sorry for their guest, even though he didn’t care much for Harriet Mackie.

Harriet was the type of person that would notice a particular car in a particular driveway, cross reference it with a mental list of out-of-town spouses, then disseminate innuendos from one end of town to the other. Harriet was not quite as advanced in her operation as the chief political consultant to the president of the United States of America, but she did use some of the same tactics and would probably make a reasonable substitute. Her most trusted tool was to float trial balloons and adopt the storyline which received the most attention.

Fred knew that Faith was under tremendous pressure to be hostess to an unreformed gossip, but he knew too, that she was anticipating the latest gossip with unrestrained eagerness.

“Fred! I’ve got to get those peas cooking. Are you almost done?” cracked its way through his earlobes as he tossed his last handful into the colander, picked it up and headed back towards the house. As he neared he thought it would be a long evening. He entered the house, put the peas on the counter, passed Faith, and made his way to the living room where he took a seat and flipped on the television.

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Foot Quotes

"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge"

Charles Darwin