by Judith Allen
Short story about trying something new, and in the long run deciding the old I’d better.
|Our Millie and Pearlie Gates Nearly Have An Adventure
Our Millie used to say that sometimes it is best to turn around and run the other way. You might not want to know what the future brings and the money in your pocket can best be spent on ice cream
In which Our Millie and Pearlie Gates go to town, a new adventure is barely evaded and a banana split is a just reward.
Idy Clare came back from visiting her cousin in the city, all full of tales of the things she did while she was there. She went shopping, got her hair done in a real fancy place where they even did something called manicures and pedicures, too. She ate in a real restaurant with white table cloths and flowers on the tables. But the most exciting thing of all was she had her palm read. Now she knew exactly where she was going to be in five years, and when she would meet that tall, dark, handsome stranger who would take her away from the holler. She found out she had a long life-line, an interesting love-line and lots of exciting things were going to happen. They might even begin happening this week. She laughed and bragged so much that Our Millie and Pearlie Gates were beginning to feel left out. They looked at their own hands, and each others hands, and just couldn’t see anything that looked so exciting to them. Our Millie saw some callouses and a blister on her little finger could couldn’t quite remember how she got. There was a cat scratch from one of the kittens. It was right in the middle. Was it on her life line? It sure did hurt. Pearlie Gates thought her hands were smoother than Our Millie’s. She thought she found a life-line. She was real interested in finding a love-line but couldn’t be sure sure it was there even when she got a magnifying glass and looked real close. Idy Clare took a quick look at their hands. She laughed a bit as she traced a line with her thumb. Then she frowned. She dropped their hands abruptly and whispered that she wasn’t an expert but she thought it’s as real important they saw somebody who knew what to tell them ignite away. Then she decided it was time for her to go home, jumped on her bike and pedaled down the dusty road leaving Pearlie Gates and Our Millie just looking at each other not knowing what to do.
Our Millie had an idea. She knew they had a telephone book somewhere. When they had the phone on the wall installed the company gave them a book with lots of numbers. They said it was complimentary. It was buried among the papers in the kitchen drawer. They never used it because they knew everybody they called. But, once in awhile Big Mil would pull it out and look for stores in town. Maybe there was a Palm Reader listed. She and Pearlie Gates took the book out behind the barn and started looking. They found Madame Serena on 3rd Street. They were so excited. That was just around the corner from the feed store Pa and Grandpa went to on Saturdays. Sometimes Our Millie went along. She was sure Pearlie Gates’ Ma would let her go if they were with Pa and Grandpa. Our Millie had some money left from a birthday present from Aunt Selma, and Pearlie Gates said she had saved some up from sweeping out the Beauty Parlor. They were all set to go.
Saturday came and they were waiting for Pa to get started to town. He and Grandpa were on their second cup of coffee and talking about getting new baby chickens and all the things they needed to buy. Our Millie had scrubbed her hands over and over and she kept fingering the coins in her pocket. Pearlie Gates had come early and she and Our Millie were giggling about their new adventure when they climbed into the back of Grandpa’s truck. When the truck was parked in front of the feed store they jumped out and started to run down third street. Pa yelled for them to be back in half an hour, but they hardly heard him.
The palm readers house looked like it needed a lot of work. It was kind of dark and drab but Madame Serena seemed nice enough. She looked a little like Grandma but with a bright red scarf holding her grayish hair back. She had dangling earrings, red lipstick and eyeliner. They had never seen anybody so made up. All her fingers had long red nails, and heavy rings. Our Millie wasn’t sure about putting her hand in Madame Serena’s. Pearlie Gates was hiding behind our Millie and kind of shaking. Madame Serena told them to take a seat on the screened porch and she would be with them in a minute. They sunk into the cushions on the porch swing and held each other’s hands. They waited, and waited and then a pretty young girl came out of the house gripping her own hands and sobbing. Our Millie jumped up, pulling Pearlie Gates behind her as they heard Madame Serena calling for them. They passed the sobbing lady and made for the feed store. Since they were early they went to the Mr. Johnson’s drug store and bought banana splits to calm down.
They shared ice cream smiles and knew that sticky banana split fingers were better than read palms anytime. When Idy Clare asked what happened they just said it was a sweet adventure and let her wonder about it all.