The sky lights up, and the Mississippi air slips through the wooden floors of Miranda's room. Curiosity pulls her up from bed and wooden planks below cradle her calloused feet. The dress Miranda slid over her head is another hand made dress from one of her grandmother's prettiest flour sacks. Her Ma made it when she first learned to sew and fold clothes. Each seam is tight, and the texture dances along the tips of her fingers. Wearing it is a joy, and Miranda loves to show off one of her mother's greatest achievements.
In her mother's room Miranda joins Angela and begins getting ready to go in to town. In Angela's bedroom stands a great mirror made from Louisiana pine that had been scooped from the winding waters where it had fallen from a logging boat many years ago. Light of faces reflect crystal clear off of it's clean surface any time of day, even though the wood is a bit dusty.
Miranda twirls in front of the timeless relic and asks, "You think I'll ever grow out of it?"
Her mother looks up from sliding one of her dainty feet into her most new, and clean shoes, "I never did." and giggles.
"I'm gonna wear memaw's gardenin' hat. I'm sure she aint gonna mind none." Miranda opens her Ma's closet to find it.
A round box sits in the back of a shelf and is accompanied by a stack of photo albums. She pulls it off and brushes the three-year-old-dust off the top. The lid of the box is velvet smooth and elaborately designed with slightly worn embroidered silk.
"I think I'm gonna wear her yella hat. The flowers on it is small, but means a lot." Miranda looks over to her Ma.
"I think if it means anything to you, it means the same to me, darlin." Her mother smiles and peruses the flowing dress and delights in seeing her mother's enjoyed just as much.
Miranda does a quick spin and sees her mother smiling and watching, "I'll pick you out somethin' to wear, momma." Miranda continues in the closet.
Down stairs, James and his Pa are already dressed and waiting. Daniel never delights in waiting. Like most men, he wants to get out and be done with everything. Most of the time James sits on the porch watching the dragon flies perch on weeds, and the pine cones fall so he doesn't have to hear his Pa and sister argue, but today is different. Neither of them say a cross word.
Daniel marches to the bottom step of the stair case and yells, "You two almost done in there?" He sighs.
"Momma is gettin' herself together so you two can hush." Miranda replies as a disembodied voice promulgates through the house.
"We'll be in the car!" Her father grabs his dark brown fadora and walks away from the stairs and to the tall front door that has seen many of violent slams and tantrums.
Miranda's Ma is putting her shoes on when she leans too far and falls to the ground. "Damnit!" She tries not to say it loud, but anyone in the room could have heard her cursing under her breath.
"Ma, I aint never heard you swear before," Miranda says in awe as she helps her back in her wooden rocking chair, "are you okay?"
Miranda takes a step back and sees her Ma sitting in that rocking chair as vulnerable as a calf in a snow storm. "Miranda, I want to tell you something that I have learned from my short time here." She looks back to Miranda.
"Momma, I'm listentin." She steps back and sits on the edge of the bed.
"I have learned through the years of being with your Pa that the only person that will truly ever be by your side is yourself," She lifts Miranda's hand and looks her into her deep eyes, "and you gotta love who you are or you'll never get along in this world."
With all the things that have been going on in the past few months in her head, Miranda embraces her mother with both arms and smiles.
"Don't be thinkin' crazy talk like that, Ma." Miranda smiles.
She thinks back to feeling her Grandma by her side every time her memaw's elvis tape plays, or when she's cleaning the scuffed porcelain elephant models in the living room.
"I feel Memaw real close when I am messin' with her old junk around the house." Miranda tries to console her mother after hearing that gloomy bit of wisdom.
Within the next hour, the Salk family is already looking for a place to park on Main street. James looks to "Barney's Barber Shop" and exclaims, "Look at that!" He points to an empty spot right next to a truck.
Daniel parks the car and steps out. James quickly slides out to walk around and open the door for his ma.
Angela steps one foot unto the warm Mississippi concrete and stands up beside the car just as a noble lady would. Miranda opens her door, and fumbles out smiling.
Pa looks to James and puts his shades on, "James, we're gonna head to the feed shop while they do what they want." He begins walking and James follows.
"Where are we going to go, Momma?" Miranda asks and looks up to her Ma.
"Would you wait right here," she walks back to the car and opens the door "you don't tell your daddy. He wouldn't like this." Angela lifts a wooden cane from under her seat, and closes the door.
Miranda looks at her, puzzled, "Momma, if you need help walkin, I can help ya." She steps back as her Ma walks by with the cane making a second click in unison with her right foot.
"One thing we learn as ladies is that appearance is more than what you're wearin'," Miranda keeps pace beside her Ma as she goes on about womanhood, and being the best mother you can be.
Miranda smiles and holds her ma's free hand as they continue walking through the open doors of the flower shop.