Tonight let’s watch Star Wars and Indiana Jones. Man, I love the way that guy swings that whip around.
We should be in a movie.
Yeah, we should. Let’s play Robin Hood. You can see the whole valley from our house. It can be Nottingham and our house is the castle on the cliffs.
This is how you shoot my bow, but don’t aim it at mama’s cats no more. If you hit one of the dogs, papa will take it away. Only use the arrows with the yellow feathers, ‘cause I like the blue ones the best.
I didn’t miss that time!
See how many marshmallows you can fit in your mouth. I can get thirty-two. Breathe through your nose. Aunt Linda said if they get stuck in your throat, you can’t breathe at all and you’ll die.
Remember when we built a fire with granddaddy and burnt them big sticky ones on hangers? We ate them with chocolate. Remember when papa burnt up that big tree? The one that got hit by lightning?
That was a bad storm.
So was that one last night. Did you hear mama crying last night?
Yes. It rained so much. There’ll be deer tracks in the road! There’s plaster in the garage papa said we could have. Let’s make molds of them and be archeologists, like Indiana.
It will be just like in the movie.
My cheek hurts. I have a loose tooth, but don’t tell papa, ‘cause he’ll yank it out. It always hurts when he does it.
I’ll do it, if you want, but let’s be doctors. Maori can be a nurse, but don’t step on her paws. Remember how to make a splint? Two pieces of wood and some cloth rags. Remember when Andrew broke his arm? He had a splint. And when mama fell down the stairs? She had one on her leg.
Yeah, and a bruise on her eye. I remember that. This patient is going to need an injection…
Let’s play cowboys.
Let’s play airplanes.
Let’s play pirates.
We’re going fishing now. I’ve got your cane pole and we’ll get some bugs in the grass for bait. We can take Maori, but don’t step on her paws. Mama said for us to wear shoes.
I don’t need ‘em. They’ll get wet and heavy in the creek. Let’s catch enough fish for supper. Hurry up, ‘cause papa will be home soon.
We’ll catch the biggest catfish in the county!
Yeah. We’ll get the biggest one in the state! This is what quicksand looks like. It’s only around this part of the valley, but not all the time.
Where’s Annabelle? Why is mama crying?
Aunt Linda took her. Did you see papa hit Annabelle? I didn’t, but she said he did hit her in the face and Aunt Linda took her away. She was angry. She was yelling at papa and Annabelle was crying and I hid in the pantry. Here, I stole some cookies.
But he said to never hit our sisters…
This is how you hold the guitar. Here’s where you put your fingers to make this sound. This is the way to move them when you want to play this song. It’s Granddaddy’s favorite. He taught me how and he’ll teach you, too, when you’re ten.
One day we’ll be famous.
Mama’s crying again. We should go outside. We can go beat the okra plants so they’ll make, like granny says to do. Let’s pick the pears – but granddaddy said not to – from the tree in the back. We’ll pick them all – but we’ll get a whipping.
I told you not to pick them! Don’t cry. We can play cowboys like you wanted. Please don’t cry.
Let’s be in a movie. One with cowboys and John Wayne. Maori can be your horse, but don’t step on her paws. Those dogs are wild mustangs and I have to catch one so I can have a horse, too.
We’ll sleep outside tonight. I made a tent with Annabelle. She can’t sleep with us, though. It’s boys only. I’ll tell you scary stories and you tell me some.
What about Richard’s ghost? It lives in the valley, right through those woods. It haunts the river. Granddaddy says it steals fingers, but it won’t getmine.
We can’t go back inside now. It’s too late. Papa’ll be mad. Don’t think about Richard. What was that? Did you hear that? Where’s Maori?
Did you hear mama crying last night? I didn’t. I heard her laughing. Mama is happy. Let’s go inside. We can help her can the peppers.
She wants us to get more jars from the basement. I’m scared to go down there. Come with me.
See mama smiling? Mama’s singing and she’s happy. Let’s stay in the kitchen with her. Mama, we want to stay here with you. Let’s build a fort under the table. Push the chairs in and they’ll be the walls. I have a shotgun. Here’s you one, too.
We’re at the Alamo.
Mama, we killed them all.
Let’s be at Bull Run. You be grey and I’ll be blue, like always, but this time it can be at Manassas so you’ll win instead of me. I think I win too much. Just so long as you remember it’s me that’ll win the war.
Mama says she doesn’t want us playing war no more.
But what will we do when we grow up?
We could just be famous, I guess. Let’s be in a movie.