Faye holding her latest book HALLEY and wearing the Moonbeam Silver Medal for Young Adult Fiction.
My latest book, HALLEY, awarded 2015 Jefferson Cup Honor for Historical Fiction. Awarded the Moonbeam Silver Medal for Young Adult Fiction. (see the following web address for more information) http://www.newsouthbooks.com/pages/2015/10/20/halley-wins-moonbeam-awards-silver-medal/ Available at: NewSouth Books: www.newsouthbooks.com/halley and Amazon
In mountain Georgia of the nineteen-fifties women did not wear pants. It was considered almost indecent. Girls could get away with regular jeans until maybe twelve. So you can imagine how stunned we were when my father’s cousin Floyd showed up with his new yankee wife. Dorine had on skin tight, red jeans with rolled cuffs and a white blouse tied at the waist and unbuttoned enough to reveal cleavage. She wasn’t a small woman either. She was half a head taller than Floyd and must have been at least two hundred pounds. She carried herself confidently, however, and I think my mother resented that. Mama had always been pretty and she knew the basic rules of ladylike attire, and yet she never dared present herself as confidently as Dorine.
As soon as Dorine and Floyd were out of hearing, Mama commented that Floyd had sure picked a big one. “Well, I always have liked women with meat on their bones,” Daddy replied. He liked stirring up Mama’s jealous heart.
As kinfolk on hard times felt free to do in those days, Floyd soon made it known their stay would last a few weeks. “I’ll take a look-see at jobs around Dalton. Dorine can look too. She’s done about everything.”
“Is that so?” Mama said, which meant she didn’t doubt it one little bit.
It turned out that Dorine’s most recent job had been cooking at a boarding house. She watched with a keen eye each time Mama cooked. “I put more lard in my biscuits,” she’d say. Or, “I cook my cabbage longer.” Mama didn’t have a refrigerator and except in gardening season, lacked anything more than basic grocery staples like flour, coffee, sugar, meal, and evaporated milk. Still, she was a good cook with what she had, and nobody could beat her biscuits.
“I guess I cook different than where you’re from,” Mama answered several times, more coldly each time. Dorine ignored hints.
Several days into the visit, Dorine said she would make biscuits. She did. They were nearly as big as saucers and as crisp as pastry. Grease oozed from them onto the platter, but to my surprise, they didn’t taste bad. Daddy bit into his biscuit while Mama watched expectantly.
“Now this is good,” he declared, and Dorine smiled at Mama.
“I’ll learn you how I do it,” she offered.
Dorine wore the same red pants and white blouse every day she and Floyd went out job-hunting. Friday evening rolled around with no jobs in sight. At supper I could tell that Daddy and Floyd had been doing more than just talking. I could smell liquor on their breath. Daddy was in a good mood.
When Dorine joined us at the table she had on more lipstick than usual and she had a huge button pinned on her right breast. “I like Ike,” it announced and showed the smiling face of the Republican presidential candidate. When Dorine plopped down next to Floyd the button bobbed up and down with the cleavage.
The bobbing bosom seemed to hold the attention of everyone around the table except Jerry and and John, whose eyes were glued to the fried bologna platter in the middle of the table. They were waiting for company to serve themselves first.
“I warned you ‘bout that button,” Floyd muttered. “This is ain’t Dudleyville, Michigan.”
“Too bad,” Dorine hissed. “I’ll wear what I please.”
Grinning, Daddy leaned closer to Dorine’s bosom and suddenly his smile vanished. “That’s an Eisenhower button!”
“You exactly right,” said Dorine, reaching for a biscuit and two slices of bologna with one hand and grasping her button with the other. “Ike’s got my vote.”
“Not as long as you’re in my house. I ain’t having no Hoover-loving, Depression-loving Republican under my roof.”
“That so?” said Dorine, standing. I noticed she kept a tight hold on her biscuit and bologna. “Reckon I know when I ain’t welcome. Let’s go. Floyd.”
Floyd turned beseeching eyes to Mama. “I hate to have hard feelings in the family.” he said, playing his trump card. He wanted Mama to smooth everything out. I could tell Mama was struggling with the hospitality expected of a southern woman as opposed to getting rid of Floyd and Dorine, perhaps forever. “Pass the bologna,” she said at last.
Dorine and Floyd left in a huff. In a few minutes they had gathered their stuff and were throwing everything into the car. As they got in and and started the motor Daddy yelled, “By the way, them greasy biscuits give me a heartburn!”