Begin early in your arranged marriage to your farmer. Sprinkle a little bit of soda, literally on top of the newly growing corn stalk, ruining the whole row, but not the field, before he stops you. Misunderstanding the difference between sprinkling around and on turns out to be just the thing to ensure you’re put out of the fields forever.
Now the kitchen is your domain. Be sure to always have cornbread cooked and greens simmering in the pot in case time gets away from you. Pile high all of your books, various versions of the Bible for cross-referencing, sheet music you never use, several years of yellow pages, cookbooks full of recipes you can’t get the ingredients for, and cartons of cigarettes. All balanced in precarious columns. Spend moments between preparing meals ordering items you don’t have the money or space for.
Find relief out of the hot kitchen by spending afternoons on the back porch reading and smoking, or playing melodies you heard on the radio, by ear and without sheet music, on the tiny upright piano you convinced your husband to buy. It entertains your children and the neighbors through the porch screen.
Make sure to do all of this in your house dress, bra off and no shoes, because none ever fit just right. As you’re rocking and reading on the porch, be sure to make notes in the margins of your thoughts and reactions, even in the Bible. Feel secure that they will always see your thoughts scribbled around passages, like a frame. Who would throw out a Bible? Surely, not your children.
- Leah Rosa O'Donnell is a native New Orleanian and Licensed Professional Counselor. She remains fascinated with observing people and occasionally writes about what she sees.