Roots of the sun is my story about an unconventional family in Mississippi before the cell phones and video game consoles that ruined imagination and medicine that kept our loved ones cose to us.
Bolls of cotton were always a trivial concept to James Salk. What is in those pricky little things that made them puff out like that? At first, he would compare the plant to a strainer, dispatching strands of spirits calling out to the wind. The plant just strained the white fluff out- with light catching each string of cotton, but the thought of a biotic organism growing something so unique just to throw it out? Often, he would come home from working with his grandparents and lay in these open fields down the road from his house, and soak up the warm Mississippi sun. When the sky dimmed, and the light fell behind the pines, James would run home to his mother and sister. His father would follow shortly after, arriving home after a hard days work.
James reaches the porch just as the june bugs begin buzzing at the door, and the moths strike the warm porch light bulb. Miranda, his sister, is waiting in their small kitchen. It is quaint, and they still burn wooden logs to bake, and boil.
"James, Momma needs her tea." Miranda hands him a warm cup. "Get up there, boy." She orders her brother.
Miranda wipes her palms on her home made dress. After cleaning her hands, she flips the bread that's sizzling on the skillet. In an instant, she notices that one of the pieces of bread has fallen to the floor. Miranda pinches an edge and flops it back on the hot skillet.
"Hot damn!" her voice squeaks.
The kitchen heat pulls sweat from her forehead. Miranda lifted the front of her dress and wipes her face with it. She looks up to see her father, Daniel, standing in the door swating a bug with his hat.
"Ya ought ta not do that 'round here." he looks back cautiously so that he doesn't accidentally catch too much of a glimpse of Miranda's panties.
Miranda is silent, and looks back at the stove. "Dinner's almost ready, pa." she takes the skillet to the sink after slipping the toast to the three plates.
James comes down the stairs and smells the toasted bread, "Mm! Smells like someone's helpin' sis cook!" he smirks at his Pa.
"You cut that out son." Pa looks at James. "If a woman got dirty hands, she must've done somethin' right." he smirks.
James and his pa have the same devious smirk. It almost always means that one or the other is up to no good.
"You two can shut the Hell up." Miranda points her nose toward the ceiling and hands her dad the plate as if she is above the conversation.
"What's this stuff on my toast?" James demands an answer for the queer taste of his bread.
Miranda pushes her greasy blonde hair from her face, "That's a recipe that Mrs. Anne Lowery taught me one night at church. We was havin' us a good ole time an I was hungry, so she pulled out her mama's cook book."
She swallows a bite and continues, "It had this funky writin' that I hadn't seen 'round these parts, and when she started talkin' I thought she was crazy." Her dad chuckled as she continues, "She called it her Livre de Cuisine."
James' stare is blank after his sister finished her french impression. "I think you're damn near crazy." James says, jokingly.
"You two best get along better." Daniel puts his bread down and whispers, "I don't think Ma wants her yungins actin' like they don't love eachother. Ya'll best be angels next time she gets out and about." he looks down, wipes his face, and walks upstairs without seeking any retort or snide remarks.