by Judith Allen
Life can be bad, or exciting, or ordinary. You never know when you start your day.
|Our Millie and the Ordinary Day
Our Millie used to say that when you get up in the morning you never know if it is goin' to be thunderclaps and lightening bolts for you, makin' you want to dive back under the covers and hide with the old dog 'til they all pass over. Or will it be at the end of the day you are sittin' with the pot of gold, countin' out all the shiny pieces and enjoyin' the glow of the rainbow on your shoulder. Then again, it could be just an ordinary day.
In which Our Millie is feelin' itchy, Grandma garners a prize and Billy Bug meets his nemesis in a painful way.
Our Millie woke up that mornin' with her mind in deep thought. She stumbled into the kitchen and hardly spoke to anybody. When they said good mornin' she only grunted and furrowed her brow. The thought was so strong that it seemed to take away all her joy and make her want to be alone to figure it all out. It all came from a book she had been readin' under the covers that night about disasters comin' to some people and rewards to others, and how sometimes you can have both and not know it, and what can you do about it.? She was all mixed up about what kind of day this would turn out to be. Then her ankle started itchin' and she scratched it without lookin' or givin' it much more attention.
Our Millie took her book and went out to sit out on the front porch and read. She was goin' to figure out the melanin' of life that morning and then she could let it go and enjoy goin' to the store for an Orange drink with Idy Clare and Oearlie Fares that afternoon, and mayb even ride her bike to town and get some gumdrops at Mr. Miller's drugstore.
She scratched her ankle again and opened the book to the page she had left off before and began to read.
It was awful quiet that mornin'. Old Tri-Pawed was snorin' a little under the steps. Mama Cat was givin' her kittens a bath and they were mewin' some, but real soft. She could hear Big Mil movin' around in the kitchen and Pa had already gone over to Grandpa's to help with the hayin'. The chickens were cluckin' in that musical language they have, and scratchin' on the ground and Pickin' a bit at where they had scratched. And, speakin' of scratchin', Our Millie scratched her ankle again.
Our Millie was just startin' page ten when Grandma came over all excited and movin' faster than Our Millie had ever seen her. She had even driven the car herself and not gone off the road or anything.. The last time she ended up in the ditch by Uncle Fuzzy's house and the car got all wet and soggy, and so did Grandma. So Our Millie decided that Grandma's day must bt startin' pretty good. By the. She had yelled for Big Mil and was wavin' around somethin' on a blue ribbon and they were huggin' and havin' a high old time. Then Our Millie saw somethin' gold hangin' from the ribbon all shiny and new. She saw Grandma's big old smile and heard Big Mil laughuin' and sayin' somethin' about her winnin' the grand prize at the county fair for her fancy weddin'-ring quilt. Most of all it was beatin' out old Miz Nelson who had won every year for the past ten years.
Our Millie looked at her book and then at Grandma and decided that it may not be the end of the rainbow, but the quilt did have many colors. And it may not be a pot of gold, but it was a round piece of somethin' that was go,d colored and there seemed to be quite a glow on Grandma's face when Big Mil put the ribbon around her neck.
Our Millie closed her eyes and tried to figure it all out. Her ankle itched again and she scratched again and this time she took a little look. There was a red circle on her ankle just above the knobby bone and 'though it didn't look like much it was beginning to. R a real bother.
She shows it to Big Mil who said it looked like a spider bite that she must have gotten duerin' the night. She out rubbin' alcohol on it and said to just leave it alone. That stung a lot and for awhile Out Millie forgot the itch. But then she got afraid that there might be a spider web buildin' under her bed and they sent out scouts in the night to bite her and take home fresh blood to feed their babies. She decided to bring a pillow and a blanket and sleep on the screened porch that night.
Just when Our Millie got to page twelve of the book and was find in' out about how bad things happened to good people, there was a lot off commotion comin' from the field along the fence line of Mr. Roth's farm. There was bellowin' and stompin' and yellin' and finally a scream and then all went quiet. Big Mil went runnin' anf Our Millie followed just in time to see Billy Bug tryin' to crawl under the fence and get away from the hooves and horns of Tornado, the biggest and baddest bull in the county. Everything about him was mean and sharp and loud. His hooves thundered, his bellow roared sometimes could hear it miles away. When he lowered his head his horns could catch anything in his path and throw it over his hear in one big swoop. Mr. Roth was mighty proud of Tornado and said he was better than any snarly guard dog to keep anybody off his land. Of course Billy Bug took that as a challenge and sneaked over the fence many times. He always climbed the sycamore near the fence and would sit there and laugh while Tornado circled the tree and got madder all the time. Only his time Billy Bug slipped and fell right on top of Tornado on one of his circles around the tree. Like a bull rider at the rodeo he tried to hang on. The ground was mighty hard when he fell.
Our Millie yelled and jumped around actin' like a rodeo clown and Big Mil charge at the bull with her broom hittin' and her apron flappin'. She managed to pull Billy Bug under the fence all the time yellin' at him for scarin' her so and hugin' him close to her at the same time. Later when things calmed down Our Millie thought that she wasn't sure Billy Bug had been good, but a bad thing sure did happen to him. She looked at the cast on his right arm and knew he wouldn't be pitchin' baseball that summer. She didn't know what a compound fracture was but she sure didn't want one.
Our Millie thought too that she now knew what old Tornado was scared of. WhenBig Mil and her broom came his way he ducked his head and tucked his tail and galloped for the far siide of the field. She would have to tell Billy Bug that when he stopped cryin'.
By lunch time the itch on Our Millie's ankle was gettin' more fierce. She just couldn't leave it alone and got awful whinny about it. Pa said maybe it was from one of those sticker bushes down by the creek, or it might be a chigger or a flea bite. None of those sounded very good to her but she decided she was just wastin' her day and maybe if she walked down to the store to get her orange drink and saw Idy Clare and Oearlie Gates they would know what it was.
Idy Clare wasn't really very interested, but Oearlie Gates examined it under the little magnify in' glass she always carried 'cause she had bad eyes and liked to,see things up close. She hemmed and hawed and kind of clucked like hen and gave Our Millir a very mournful look. Our Millie
was gettin' tired of all this and demanded to know what was goin' on. Oearlie Gates said she had a cousin in the City who was studyin' to be a doctor. He had all these books about diseases and maladies and she had spent a lot of time lookin' at them when she visited last week. She was sure this was the bite of a French mosquat. It would be quite painful buy didn't usually kill you or anything.
Our Millie was gettin' pretty scared. She wanted to go home and look it up in her dictionary but was afraid image moved her ankle now it would make it worse. She had never heard of a mosquat and was almost afraid to ask what it was. Finally she took a big swallow of her orange drink and whispered, "What's a mosquat?"
Pearlie Gates had a way of lookin' superior that irritated Our Millir almost as much as her itch. Idy Clare put her arm around Our Millie' shoulde and they both watched As Pearlie stood tall and announced that a. Mosquat was a very rare French mosquito only found on deserted islands, but somehow one of them must have gotten to the holler. Since the Frenceh people don't speak English very good they just called it a mosquat.
Our Millie and Idy Clare held on to each other and looked at Pearlie Gates in amazement. Then they started to,laugh. They giggled and fell on the ground and rolled around and couldn't catch their breath for the longest time, and everytime they looked at Pearlie Gates they laughed again and it started all over. Pearlie Gates became more indignant. She dumped the last of her orange drink in the trash and stalked off mutterin' as she went that she just couldn't hang around with someone so ignorant and if Our Millie did die just don't say she wasn't warned,
Later Our Millie,decided the itch on her ankle wasn't so bad after all. It might be fun to have French mosquats around, but she was sure the ones by the creek were just plain country. She hadn't won a prize, but she didn't get a compound fracture. She and Idy Clare had shared gumdrops from the drugstore and continued to laugh. All Iin all it had beens pretty good ordinary day.