1. Wash the lunch and dinner dishes. Take a pinch of snuff from the tiny glass jar in the pantry. Ride out to the pasture in the pickup with your husband, listening to Willie Nelson and wishing you had time to go dancing. Put feed out for the cows. Afterwards, sit in your recliner with the Avon and Fingerhut catalogs. Dream until it is time to go to sleep.
2. Get out of bed when the rooster divides nightdark from morningdark. Put on your britches. Smooth out the quilt and arrange the fancy pillows.
3. Make Folgers in the percolator. Bake a pan of whop biscuits (named for the sound the can makes when you bang it open). Fry some sausage patties, then use the grease for gravy and scrambled eggs. Get up a full plate for your husband. Eat a biscuit or two at the sink while doing the dishes.
4. Feed the good scraps to the dogs and the notsogood scraps to the hogs. Toss dried corn to the chickens. Hunt for eggs in the pole barn. Watch out for snakes.
5. Water your garden and pick what is ripe. Pull weeds from the flower beds. Run the push mower around the storm cellar and under the lowhanging mimosa limbs. Swear at the dogs when they get underfoot.
6. If your husband comes in for lunch, give him a ham sandwich with Fritos and some of your homemade chowchow. Reheat a cup of coffee for yourself.
7. Dust figurines, plastic greenery, oil lamps that are never lit. Straighten doilies and floor runners. Scrub your hands with Irish Spring. Consider putting on some lipstick or face powder, but decide against it. Your hair will be flat until Friday and you are missing a breast.
8. Gossip with your daughters, sisters, or whoever picks up on the partylines. Everybody needs something to do in the hot part of the day.
9. Start dinner: fried steak and mashed potatoes. Your husband no longer has to be dragged out of a bar or another woman’s bed in the evenings; he will come home on his own. Pour a big glass of buttermilk for him to chunk up his cornbread in.
10. Brew fresh coffee for yourself. Set out a plate (but not silverware). Add lettuce and quartered tomatoes from your garden. Drizzle Wesson oil over top, and shake a little salt. Take a bite from your plate, then from the raw onion in your other hand. Your eyes never water. Who says you can’t eat a good onion just like an apple?
- Amy Nixon is an award-winning poet and songwriter whose work is included in the anthologies Begin Again and To the Stars Through Difficulties: A Kansas Renga in 150 Voices. She lives in the Kansas City area and spends as much time as possible antiquing and eating guacamole with her best friend, Olive.