Authors: Fay Risner
Tags: #family relationships, #juvinile, #teenager girls, #children 10 to 17
Listen To Me Honey
Pleasant Valley Church picture taken by
All rights reserved 12/2014
Published by Fay Risner at Smashwords.com
Copyright (c) 2014
All Rights Reserved
By Fay Risner
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This is a work of fiction. Names,
characters, places and incidents are either the product of the
author’s imagination or used fictitiously, and any resemblance to
the actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events
or locals are entirely coincidental. Excerpts from this book cannot
be used without written permission from the author.
Booksby fay Publisher
author, editor and publisher Fay
This book is dedicated to Minnie
Risner. Pleasant Valley Church, Mammoth Springs, Arkansas served as
a school, church, voting place and community center for many years.
It was a big part of her life for years.
This book was expanded from a short
story I wrote for the Arkansas Writers' Conference titled Listen To
Chapter Nine was taken from my short
story A Walk On The Wild Side entered in 2006 Arkansas Writers'
Conference AR Center for the Book Award contest and awarded second
Chapter Eleven was taken from a short
short story The Threesome entered in 2005 Arkansas Writers'
Conference Lucille R. Longstreth Memorial Award and received second
Fay Risner's books at Amazon, B&N,
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Amazing Gracie Historical Mystery
Neighbor Watchers Poor Defenseless
The Country Seat Killer
The Chance Of A Sparrow
Moser Mansion Ghosts
Locked Rock, Iowa Hatchet Murders
Stringbean Hooper Westerns Tread Lightly
The Dark Wind Howls Over Mary The Blue
Small Feet’s Many Moon Journey
Ella Mayfield's Pawpaw Militia-Civil
Christmas Traditions - An Amish Love
Christmas With Hover Hill
Leona’s Christmas Bucket List
Spooks In Claiborne Mansion Mr.
My Children Are More Precious Than
Listen To Me Honey
Nonfiction about Alzheimer’s disease
Open A Window - Caregiver Handbook
Hello Alzheimer’s Goodbye Dad-author’s true
Midwest Favorite Lamb Recipes
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Military Nonfiction Vietnam War
Redcatcher MP by Mickey Bright
Late one April afternoon, Tansy
Craftton rode with her husband, Art, in his old blue pickup. They
were headed to the bus stop in Saddle, Arkansas to pick up their
“This idea better work for Amanda, Art. There’s no
other reason I’d consent to gettin' into this death trap of yers.
I'm too old to be jarred up this way when we own a perfectly good
Regal Buick,” she grumbled.
Tansy swiped the stray sprigs of
white hair escaping from the coiled braid on the back of her neck.
When she got excited, her voice creaked like two branches rubbing
together in a high wind.
Art usually joked or tried to
reason with his wife to settle her down. “You're just nervous,
worrying about a youngun in the house after all these years. I
understand how ya feel. It's been a right smart time since Jeff and
his friends were under foot all the time.”
Tansy nodded. “Almost twenty years
“Maybe by the time this experiment is over y'all will learn
somethin' about havin' a girl around,” claimed Art,
Tansy crossed her arms over her
green, homemade, cotton dress defiantly. “I'm learnin' all right.
I've learned in a hurry the car is much more comfortable to ride in
on these rough roads then this rattle trap rig.”
reckon it might be,” Art conceded quietly. “But I'm kind of fond of
Tansy was on a roll. “Another thing
I've learned. I should know better than to let that daughter-in-law
of ours sucker me into taking Amanda during spring break. I take
myself for a fool every time I think about how Iris said if we
could do any better with the girl to go right ahead and try. I
should have let well enough alone. Amanda's problems are Jeff and
Iris's to solve.”
think it might have been what ya said before that ya shouldn't
have,” Art muttered. “It upset Iris.”
I said was the truth. Our son and his wife shouldn't have spoiled
the child by buying her anything she wanted. They wouldn't have so
much trouble out of her now when they tell her no.”
late now to change what Amanda's parents did in the past. They
tried to be good parents to the child, but their way backfired. No
reason we cain't try to he'p them out. The girl's just thirteen.
Maybe we can he'p her see things a little differently. How long
does spring break last?”
“Iris didn't say. She took me by surprise. I forgot to ask.
Reckon Amanda knows when she has to go back,” Tansy
“Yip, we'll ask the girl. Ah, there she is. The bus has
done come and gone. Wonder how long that poor girl had to wait on
the sidewalk by herself?” Art pulled over to the curb. “We could
have made it here at least a half hour earlier if the preacher
hadn't been so long winded.”
“Don't complain about listenin' to a long sermon. Just be
lucky we have a preacher. Some small churches don't ya know,” Tansy
A dark haired girl, in a scanty,
red tank top and hip hugger jeans, paced in front of the bus stop
sign. Her ponytail swung back and forth with each agitated turn of
“That girl's clothes must have cost a small fortune,” Art
All Tansy managed was to nod and
frown. She didn't like one little bit what she saw when she
scrutinized her granddaughter. She was close enough to see makeup
and eye shadow plastered thick on the girl's face. Close enough to
spot her granddaughter’s belly button in plain sight under the tank
top. A Jordache label was clearly readable on her hip hugger jeans
when Amanda turned her back to the street.
With what she saw, the elderly
woman worried even more about taking on the responsibility of her
granddaughter. “Laws a mercy, Arthur, get that girl in this rig
quick before anyone we know comes by and figures out she's related
to us. She ain't got half enough clothes on to be descent in
Tansy couldn't believe she was kin
to the girl pacing on the sidewalk like a wild animal. She hated
knowing she had a granddaughter that wouldn't mind anyone and
dressed like a hussy. “I'm staying right here. Y'all get her in the
pickup.” She folded her arms over herself and slid to the middle of
the seat, waiting for Art to get out and greet the girl.
Art ambled around the front of the
pickup. He smiled and stuck a thumb behind the strap attached to
his blue bib overalls. In a husky, slow southern drawl, he said,
“Afternoon, Mandie. Got a hug fer yer grandpa?”
Amanda's eyes darted from the old
pickup to the elderly man. Her expression was puzzlement when she
put her arms around his neck for just a second and quickly stepped
grandma and me have been lookin' forward to yer visit. Hop in, and
let’s go fer home,” Art said, waving a thumb toward the
Amanda studied the gray haired
elderly man. It had been a long time since she'd seen her
grandparents. Grandpa moved fairly fast for an old guy.
She wanted to correct him about her
name, but she thought she better let that go for now. She didn't
need to get off on the wrong foot with him right away. It was just
that she lived so far from them, she really didn't know how to act
or what to say around her grandparents.
A large, black dog stood up in the
back of the pickup and stretched. He sniffed in Amanda's direction.
She reached out to pat him. “What a nice dog! Come here,
The dog growled and backed to the
opposite side of the pickup bed.
Art warned, “Put yer hand down
easy, girl. Don't try to make friends right off with that old mutt.
He don't warm up to strangers real fast.” Art shook his finger at
the dog. “Jubel, ya shouldn't act that way. This girl just wants to
be friendly.” The sharpness in Art's voice made the dog whine. He
flopped down and eyed Amanda.
on in, Mandie. We'll have plenty of time to work on that dog's
manners while ya stay with us. Pay him no mind for right now.” He
picked up the beige suitcase by Amanda's feet and set it in the
When Amanda opened the pickup door,
Grandma Tansy said sharply, “Welcome to Arkansas,
Amanda didn't seem to notice her
grandma's coolness. She wrinkled her nose at the rusted pickup's
interior. Red dust had settled on every portion of the inside,
including the seat. She eyed her grandmother. “We have to ride in
this old wreck? Where’s your Buick?”
“Listen to me, Honey, it’s either ride in yer grandpa's old
wreck or walk. We're not riding in anythin' else. Now y'all best
get in so we can get home. We got chores to do before supper,”
The day was crisp, but not as cold
or windy as it was in Chicago in early spring. Just the same,
Amanda was cold. She slipped onto the faded, cracked leather seat
and wrapped her arms around her bare waist. “Don't the heater work
in this wreck?”
Art exclaimed, “I prefer to call my
rig Old Blue. As fer the heater, it does work when we need to use
it. Didn't see the need in tryin' the heater out today with the sun
Tansy looked over her gold rimmed
glasses at Amanda and frowned. “We know to put on enough clothes to
stay warm when we're outside. Ya best think about dressin' warmer
if y'all don't want to be cold.”
“Yes, Grandma,” Amanda said contritely.
As her grandfather pulled away from
the curb, Amanda looked up and down the street. What had her mother
gotten her into? Most of the Main Street stores were vacant, and
the rest were closed on Sunday. Saddle sure was a nothing happening
Amanda stepped off the bus in front of a drug store. An
antique store was across the street, and on one side of it was a
vacant building. On the other was Randy's Fish House. On the roof
of the fish house was a large wooden cross, standing out against
the blue sky. What an odd place for a cross, she
She had never seen so many
different colors and makes of pickups in her whole life, going both
directions on Main Street. More pickups, sitting still, parallel
parked in front of the grocery and hardware stores. No wonder
Grandpa thought a pickup fit in better around here. It was just too
bad he couldn't afford to buy a nicer one.
Amanda needed some answers. “Why
did I have to meet you in this hick berg anyway? I’ve never seen so
many pickups in a place that's practically a ghost
told you that’s the mode of transportation here. This hick town
happens to be our home town. It isn't a ghost town, either,” Tansy
said. “That drug store in front of the bus stop is where we get our
medicine. When we need to, we shop in the hardware store or the
grocery store every day except Sunday.”
Amanda decided to change the
subject. “Why did Grandpa toss my Gucci luggage into the back where
it's so dusty? That's leather luggage. It cost a lot of
glad ya realize yer suitcase is costly. Ya could have saved some of
your parents hard earned money. A couple of grocery sacks would
have sufficed to carry yer clothes in to visit us,” Tansy
don't want to wrinkle up my clothes in grocery sacks. I have nice
clothes in that luggage. Besides, it's not mine. It belongs to my
mom. She's not going to like what's happening to it.” Tansy looked
down her nose at the girl which made Amanda decided to change
tactics. “All I'm trying to say is my Levis and tops are going to
be dusty by the time we get to your house,” complained
“Don't worry. Expensive clothes wash just as well as
Walmart's clothes,” Art said.
takes my clothes to the dry cleaners, and they come back looking
like new,” retorted the girl.
Tansy sighed heavily. “Listen to
me, Honey. In our day, we didn't have such a thing as a dry
cleaners. We had to wash our clothes by hand on a scrub board. I
felt fortunate when yer grandpa bought me the wringer washer
machine. It cleans all the washables I put in it. It will take care
of yer clothes, too.
Now as ya can see, there isn't room
in the cab for that big suitcase and all of us,” said Tansy, dryly.
“Y'all want to ride in back with the dog? We'll put the suitcase up
here. Grandpa will be glad to pull over to the side the road to
make the switch.”
thanks. You want to get me dog bit?” Amanda asked sullenly.
“Grandpa says I don't know his dog well enough yet to ride with
“Weeel, that's right enough, Tansy. I did say something
like that,” Art agreed.
Amanda slumped in the seat and
wrapped her arms around herself for warmth. “You know, I’m already
regretting this trip, but I didn’t have a choice, did
“Listen to me, Honey, coming to see us was yer mama's idea,
but yer stay here can be which ever y'all choose, long or short.
We're agreeable either way so it’s up to y'all,” informed Tansy,
“That's for sure?” Amanda asked.
Art said, “Mandie, look on the
bright side. Spring break will pass by fast. Y'all will be home
before ya know it.”
Amanda sit up straighter and leaned
forward to look around her grandma. “Grandpa, how do you know for
sure? I mean about spring break and how long I'm
told him. Yer mama told me when she asked if ya could come visit
us,” Tansy said. “She said ya would be on spring break.”
“Sure enough. That's what yer mama said,” Art agreed. “How
long does spring break last?”
Amanda slumped in the seat and
stared at the passing scenery. “A week,” she uttered.
It was just like her mom not to be
truthful with Grandma. It was true that spring break lasted a week,
but her mother had left out the rest of what she should have told
Sooner or later, Amanda would have
to break the news to them herself. She wasn't looking forward to
y'all are tired from the trip,” Art said.
Amanda nodded. “Yes, some. It was a
long bus trip from Chicago.”
can imagine. Grandma and me ride in a bus to Springfield once in
awhile. I'm always glad to get home,” Art said.