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December 16 2009

As he turned to walk out, Ashe felt a new determination, to give Jennah a good life. He even prayed, something that was usually foreign to him. His momma, Lidia, or “Little Dove” as his papa Roy called her, always prayed. She prayed for the curse to be lifted, and that they could settle down some day in a real house, big enough for all of them. She prayed that no one would have to go hungry again. Ashe had noticed she was always the last to eat when they were all together. But what had all that praying got them? Not a damned thing as far as he could see, but a little two-bedroom apartment with not enough sleeping space for even the few kids they had left at home. They still had 3 left at home. It was a life not fit for dogs. Papa Roy was a field worker, and home was wherever he could find work. They had moved all over the area, from one ramshackle dump to another, but Lidia made the places homey and saw that their money went as far as it could. At least there was usually food. Her delicious biscuits and gravy were cheap to make but not very nutritious, and too much, even of a good thing, could make you pale and sick after a while. Ashe knew he had to try to make things better.
Dorrie prayed a lot too. Ashe didn’t know if it was her mother’s influence or something inside of herself. He wasn’t allowed in their house because her step dad disliked him, saying he was white trash. Hell, what else was new? Everyone thought they were white trash. When he got back to the house, he called their neighbor and told her the baby had been born. She promised to pass on the message. Dorrie’s parents couldn’t afford a phone. Her step dad drove a dump truck. Her mother took in ironing and did babysitting. She had diabetes real bad, but what few times Ashe had been to her house, it was always clean. Unfortunately, Dorrie had not acquired her mother’s domestic talents. Their house always looked like a pigsty, but Ashe finally gave up on cleaning it. Dorrie would get mad if he so much as picked it up, complaining that he was just trying to make her look bad.
Ashe worked as a welder--when he could find work. As a Licensed Vocational Nurse, Dorrie had a pretty good education, but Ashe had quit school after the eighth grade and gone to work in the fields with his papa. When he learned how to weld he was able to get a better job--until Dorrie found out about a secretary named Shelia and called the front office so many times that Ashe finally got fired. Now he decided to call Shelia. He wanted to brag about the kid and knew she would let him talk without interrupting. She did interrupt though, asking several times why she hadn’t seen him for so long. Ashe finally had to hang up, but he promised to call again. Afterward he made the bed, putting on the new sheets he had bought on the way home. He wouldn’t sleep on them until Dorrie got back. She had been through a lot, and he wanted her to have something new to come home to.
As Ashe descended the stairs to the couch, he thought about stopping in the kitchen to grab a beer, then decided he just didn't need one. He was already on cloud nine, and since he would be bringing Dorrie and Jennah home tomorrow, he wanted to be up early and get the house all cleaned up. He didn't care what Dorrie thought. He wanted his little Jennah to have a clean house. Tossing and turning, he thought about the few times he and Dorrie actually shared the bed. Sleep was something that neither of them got much of. Dorrie worked nights and he mostly got drunk and passed out. If he got up in time, he’d go pick her up at work. If he didn’t show up, she would make sure he got up when she arrived home. Sometimes, if he was lucky, he’d be down the stairs and out the back door before she got there. If not, hell was paid. No one knew that Dorrie had a fist also--no one but Ashe. He had thought her fiery temper cute at first, and was able to avoid most of what she threw at him when she went off. Her loving was worth it, and Ashe thought he’d never seen a prettier woman. She had blue eyes and coal black hair, was a bit on the chunky side, but stood about 5’–7”, so she carried the weight pretty well. When she got mad, those eyes would darken and bright sparks seem to shoot out of them. After the fight, violent as it might have been, somehow she and Ashe would end up making love for hours--on the bed, in the big chair, on the floor, even in the closet. He enjoyed that--until she got pregnant. He wanted to bolt then, but his folks reminded him it was time to take some responsibility and make an honest woman out of Dorrie. If he didn’t, they said, her step dad probably would kill him. He didn’t want to inflict that kind of pain on his parents, did he?
Chapter 2
"Dorrie, will you please listen to me. You know we have to talk about this." Lidia was trying to burp little Jennah while Dorrie sat drinking a cup of coffee before leaving for work. "I asked Roy to drop me off so we could be alone and discuss this. You know how I feel, I love little Jennah to pieces. But you are going to have to face facts. She does have the family curse; I can see it in her eyes. She is wise beyond her age, even at the age of 3 months. She is already sleeping hard and well, I don't know hows to explain it to you, you havin' all that educatin' but I can just see it. If you don't let me teach her about it when she gets older, she will grow up all scared and think she is crazy. So will others. She ain't and you know it."
"Lidia, I told you, you ain't gonna say nothing to nobody about this. My daughter didn't get your stupid old curse. If you can do those things like everyone says you can, then it's because you got the devil in you. I love you, but there isn't a curse and I don't want it mentioned again. If you don't stop this horrible talk about being able to know the future and having dreams, I just won't let you see Jennah, and ‘sides that, my momma would be beside herself if she knew about it.” Dorrie looked at the clock and jumped up from the table. “Good Lord, I am gonna be late and do not have any more time to discuss this. Besides, Jennah isn't even 4 months old yet. I appreciate your taking care of her while I am working and all, but please just stop thinking this way. It is driving me crazy. Now I have to go, Ashe will be home in a couple of hours, I hope. I sure am proud of him, he's been trying really hard to quit that drinking and running around. You should be too".
Lidia looked out the window and then back at Dorrie. “Roy is back and we kin drop you to work. If Ashe is drunk when he comes to get Janna tonight after work, he ain't takin' her. You can jist get her tomarah. Dorrie, you know I wouldn't let Ashe drive drunken with the baby."
"It's tomorrow, Lidia. I want Jennah to know how to talk right, not this gibberish everyone speaks." Lidia let out a big sigh as Dorrie went upstairs. That girl would never learn. She acted so high and mighty. If that was what college did to a body, she was glad her kids didn't go. Dorrie was even that way to her own family. She was always talkin down about someone. It was a shameful thing.
When Roy walked in the first thing he did after giving Lidia a kiss on the cheek was reach for Jennah. Dorrie just sighed. Everyone thought Jennah was just
so cute and sweet. They should try sleeping like she had to do when the child didn't want to. "Hey, give me that little fatty, Little Dove,” he said, giving Jennah’s cheek a playful pinch. “She is just the purtiest thing I ever seen. Do we git to keep her again tonight?"
Dorrie stepped between them. "Please, Poppa Roy, can you give me a ride to work?" I can walk across the parking lot to the doctor's office after you drop me off. Ashe won't be drunk tonight; he doesn't have any money. He doesn't get paid till Thursday, and it's only Tuesday." Dorrie rolled her eyes as she headed out
the door, toward the dilapidated old jalopy. 'Well, at least it's a ride' she thought.
Chapter 3 - One month later.
“Dorrie, you home, woman?” It was her day off and she’d promised to clean up the place. Ashe looked around the dirty, cluttered house and wondered what she had done all day. He heard no sounds coming from the bedroom, so he headed upstairs to see if they were asleep. Their little house wasn't big but it did have a bedroom and a bath upstairs. He had never lived in a house that had a bedroom upstairs. Actually Dorrie had called it a loft but she had covered it up with curtains to look like a real room. At least he had a paycheck in his hand for over 200 dollars. Maybe that would make Dorrie happy and they could go buy some food. It was his first check from the new job, and he was lucky to have it after the last company had fired him because Dorrie, jealous of Shelia, kept calling him at work. Ashe went to the bedroom and found her sleeping. “Hey,” he said, shaking her, “I got paid. We need to go get some food in this place. You been sleeping all day? You look sick.”
“Not sick,” Dorrie muttered, “just pregnant again.”
Ashe turned pale. Then he got angry. "Pregnant? I thought you said you weren't going to get pregnant again for awhile. Jennah ain't even 5 months old." he shouted.
“Well, it didn’t work,” Dorrie snapped back, “I am definitely pregnant again, thanks to one of your drunken attacks. So how much is the check?” She asked with skepticism in her voice. When he told her, she slapped her head in disgust. “Ashe, two hundred dollars isn't enough to pay bills and go buy groceries, and I don’t get paid until next week. I don’t understand. I make more than you. Why don’t you just stay home with Jennah? I can’t watch her and chase you all over the county too, you and your stupid, drinking ways. Hell, if you just stayed home, I wouldn’t have to worry about you going off with women like Shelia, and drinking in bars all the time.”
Ashe was used to these lectures and had stopped listening. “Dorrie, where is Jennah?” he demanded as he starred at the empty crib. “Is she at my mom’s again? This is your day off. Momma needs a day off too. She has her hands full. We really need to find us a full time babysitter. Couldn’t my money pay for that?”
“No, Ashe. I can’t trust anyone in your family, and you just drink all the time. She’s at my momma’s, and that’s where she is staying. I don’t have the time, nor do we have enough food for a child. They take lots of care; and besides, I'm tired of all this nonsense your mother keeps talking about. your crazy family. So I gave her to my momma and poppa to raise, that ways she won't turn out crazy like your family is." Dorrie stated flatly.
Ashe broke out in frenzied tears, lost his balance and almost fell to the floor:
“You…you had no right! No right! She is my Jennah… Talk about crazy, givin' away my daughter is crazy. I’m going to go get my baby!"
Dorrie followed as he made his way to the door. “Won’t do you any good,” she taunted, “I told them not to let you or anyone else have her. She is theirs now.”
Ashe turned suddenly, grabbed Dorrie’s arm, and jerked her to the floor. “I ought to kill you,” he yelled as she begged him to let go, “but I won’t. Believe this though, you will never give another child of mine away!” He slapped her hard, then staggered out of the house and slammed the door behind him, leaving Dorrie sobbing bitterly on the floor, her left eye swelling and a large, red welt slowly spreading over her cheek.
Ashe sat bent over on the front steps and cried into his hands. His baby was gone. The only reason he came home every evening was gone. He had to find a way to make amends with Dorrie’s parents so they would at least let him see his little Jennah. But first, he needed a drink.
At the corner bar he saw several of his friends, but didn’t acknowledge them. When Jim the bartender plunked down a beer, Ashe pushed it aside and asked for a cup of black coffee. Jim just looked at him sympathetically and then turned and poured a cup and quietly set it down. "It's on the house Ashe, it's on the house." Jim knew how to read people and could see that Ashe needed time to think. As he went about his business he looked over at Ashe’s friends who were beckoning him to join them. "Guys, he needs time alone, so leave him be."
Ashe sat on his stool quietly, slowly sipping the hot coffee, and trying to build up courage to go to Dorrie's parents. Hell he wasn't even sure how to talk to them. He had only been in their house a few times, and never really even called them by their names. All he had ever said was yes sir and yes mam to 'em. He knew they didn't like him. Her mother Nana, would get that stern look and her arms would always cross when she saw him coming. Paw always greeted him the same way, "You better not be drunk, or you'll not cross my doorstep." They had sent Dorrie to nursing school, even though they didn't have the money to do it. Neither of them had an education, and they talked like plain old southern folk, but they still didn't think he was good enough for their daughter. He had hoped that by marrying their Dorrie he also could better his life, but they didn't see it that way. Somehow he had to convince them that he was not going to hurt little Jennah, that he just needed to hold her as often as he could. To sit in a bar and not drink was driving him crazy. Maybe he just needed to drive around for a while. He might even go out to the lake and try to fish. No, he needed to face this head on. As hard as it would be, he needed to do it, for his own sake and for Jennah's. As he put down the empty cup, he wished for one normal day, without any alcohol or beatings or fights. But that just didn't seem possible anymore.
Earlier that Morning
“Carrisa, honey,” Dorrie’s mom told her youngest child as she handed her some change, “you go across the road and get a can of milk. This baby is hungry. Dorrie was slumped in Paw’s chair, one leg slung over the armrest. Nana looked at her with disgust. “How can you just waltz in here and give your child away?” she said, trying not to raise her voice. “Don’t you think you ought to at least talk to Ashe first? He is your husband after all. You made your bed, now you have to lie in it.” Dorrie turned her head away and didn’t answer.
“You can’t be serious about this,” Nana continued, “not after…you know.”
“Please, momma,” Dorrie said, shifting uncomfortably in the big chair, "why bring that up? You know you hate to talk about it, and it doesn't have anything to do with me or my child."
Exasperated, Nana clutched the baby to her breast. “I just don’t understand you, Dorrie. How can you give up this precious child to stay with a no-account drinking man like that? Dorrie just shrugged, but Nana persisted. “It wouldn’t be easy, but you and Jennah could move in here. You could keep your job and Paw would make sure Ashe nor any one of them ever bothers you again.” She stood firm, holding Jennah tightly, actually afraid she might raise her hand to Dorrie, something she’d never done to any of her children. She had been raised an orphan herself. Her mother had taken her and her two younger brothers to the orphanage when their dad died. She wanted and needed money but didn’t want to work for it or spend it to feed her kids, and she was always on the move.
Nana detested her mother but wouldn’t talk about it. She had successfully made a life and kept the family together at the orphanage, never letting her brothers forget that she loved them. For a person to just give a child away was unthinkable to her. And now here was Dorrie, her own flesh and blood, trying to do just that. One thing was for sure, that curse hadn’t been broken yet. Her own daughter was following in her grandmothers footsteps. "Dorrie, you have to at least talk to Ashe about this. This is not fair to the man, and even tho I don't like him you can't just give his child away. He hasn't hurt her has he"? Dorrie laughed out loud and looked
at her mother. "Hurt her? OF COURSE NOT', she shouted angrily. "Why to his way of thinkin', that precious little bundle you are holding on to so tightly, is the most important thing in his life, but then he doesn't have to try to sleep when she wants to cry or be fed now does he"? Nana couldn't believe her ears, Dorrie hadn't changed abit. She was even more jealous of the baby than she had been of Carrisa when she had been born. "Now Dorrie, you are being childish. How can you be jealous of your own baby. Maybe I have been wrong this whole time and Ashe is the one going thru hell and not you!" "Oh mother, don't over react to this. I will come get her on my days off and keep her, so you can have a break and Ashe and his crazy family can see her. Besides, it won't matter anyway, I'm pregnant again
and I ain’t got time for a child right now,” Dorrie had insisted, “chase Ashe down all the time and work too. But I do love him and I know I can get him to stop his drinking and messing around. I just need time to do it. Jennah was just born too soon after we got married and she’ll have a much better home here. Lidia don’t have time to take care of her, and I can’t.” Dorrie turned away and walked quickly toward the door. "Maybe this time it will be a boy. Ashe wants a boy."
“But you need to tell him first,” Nana had called after her; “You can’t just give a baby away, and not tell the father. And Dorrie, you will never get the drink out of him. He has it bad. The whole lot of them has it bad. It is in their blood. They are cursed by it!” But Dorrie already had closed the door behind her and was heading toward the corner.
As Carrisa came in with the milk, she heard “OH. LORD, whatever are we going to do?” Nana was praying--praying and crying. Carrisa took the baby and laid her on the bed. She was a little afraid to hold a baby, wondering if it was possible to break one. Nana smiled at Carrisa and assured her that she couldn't break her if she were careful and everything would be just fine. Then she put pillows around Jennah and told Carrisa to go get a clean dishtowel, and showed her how to change a diaper. After that she helped Carrisa put a cut off tee shirt on Jennah. She had been wrapped only in a lightweight baby blanket; and none of the clothes or diapers that Dorrie had brought were clean. Carrisa wondered where she had gotten the small bruise on her upper right arm that looked almost like a bracelet charm. Nana frowned as she looked at it, thinking that those little marks had to be made by fingernails. Carrisa had heard that Jennah had been born with a black eye, and one of the aunts had said that the poor child was cursed even before she came into the world, by being born to Dorrie. "Let's keep that little bruise covered, okay Carrisa? I promise I will tell Paw about it later, but for now, let's just keep it our little secret." Carrisa knew her momma was scared that Paw might go after Dorrie himself if he saw it, and they didn't want that to happen. After all, Carrisa was pretty mad at Dorrie right now also. She was going to have to share her room and she was still a little worried about breaking the baby. After all, that bruise proved that babies could be hurt, and if they could be hurt, they probably could be broken.
“Now, Carrisa, you watch that child good,” Nana said firmly as she walked to the kitchen. “I need to make her up some milk. Don’t let nothing happen to her. We are responsible for her now.”
Wow, was all she could think of as she wondered what babies did. Did they do anything besides, eat, sleep and poop? Oh, and cry? Jennah cried a lot, especially when someone touched her right arm. Maybe she would like Elvis Presley as much as Carissa did. She listened to him all the time on the phonograph; he was so neat. She looked down at Jennah who wasn’t crying now but was looking back at Carrisa with what the girl thought was a smile. Did babies smile? If so, maybe she could make Jennah a happy baby, and she would smile a lot. She sat down on Nana's bed and gently picked her up. It definitely had to be a smile, because she didn't even cry. For the rest of the afternoon she held Jennah and even got to give her the bottle Nana had made. Then she learned how to burp her. When at last Jennah was asleep, Carrisa ran next door and see Wendee, her best friend and tell her that they had a real baby to play house with now.
When Paw got home, Carrisa met him at the door, with Jennah in her arms. “Look Paw,” she said excitedly, “look who has come to live with us. I get to keep her in my room. I will watch her and take care of her. I promise I will help Nana, I even learned how to change her diaper. Can we please keep her? Dorrie don’t want her no more. She said babies just cry all the time and she is too busy to care for her; but I noticed that if you don’t touch her right arm, she don’t cry that much. You just gotta be real careful when you pick her up.”
Paw was taken back a little by Carissa’s excitement. With questioning eyes, he looked at Nana, who was standing timidly behind her. “Is this true, Nana? Dorrie actually brought her baby to us to keep?” Paw might be a gentle man, but when it came to little children and something like this he could show a fearsome temper, especially if he thought they had been hurt.
“Yes,” Nana sighed, “it’s true all right, but Ashe don't know about it. So he will probly be coming over here later. I hope he don't hurt Dorrie."
“If that’s the way it is,” Paw replied angrily, “then she ain’t going to take her back. I won’t allow it. The child will be raised right here, but as far as Dorrie is concerned, well, as much as I hate to say it, if she's gone and given the child away without him knowin' it, then she deserves what she gets". Paw was furious with Dorrie as he usually was. He didn't like Ashe none, but knew the man was living in hell.
“Well, go get washed up for dinner,” Nana said, changing to Paw’s favorite subject, “We can talk about this more later. I have a big pot of beans and fried taters going. There’s a fresh pan of crackling cornbread and hot maple syrup to boot".
Paw’s anger subsided quickly and his face broke into a broad smile. “Ah, that’s my pretty Nana,” he said, putting his long arms around her, “the best cook in this world. I do love your beans and cornbread, and you always trying to put a good face on things.”
Nana smiled back proudly and gave him a kiss. She loved the way Paw always called her “my pretty Nana.” Lord, she knew she wasn’t pretty, but Paw thought she was, and that was all she cared about. The first time she met him at the diner where she worked he had proposed to her after tasting her buttermilk biscuits and gravy. She just laughed it off, but he kept showing up. He promised her she wouldn't have to work ever again outside the home, and that he would take really good care of her children. Being a widow supporting two children was awfully hard, so when Paw showed up with a ring, she accepted. Three days later she married him, and knew it was for life. Dorrie had been 8 years old at that time and her brother Johnny had been 10. Dorrie and Johnny fought like cats and dogs and a year later Carrisa had been born. As she sat at the table she thought back to those years, and now, 12 years later, she still always dressed up in her prettiest print dresses and pulled her curly, dark hair back in finger waves the way Paw liked it, each and every evening before he would come home from work. Tonight, after dinner they would listen to the country music show on the radio. One of these days, Paw said, they would get a television. But Nana had priced them. Lord, a new one cost more than a full set of tires for the truck, and that was way too much money to let go of for a gadget, especially now. Nana could feed the family for months on that much money. They had a new baby to take care of, and television would just have to wait. She wished she had some meat for Paw, other than the bacon in the beans, but he never complained. She had a chicken, but she was saving it for Sunday dinner. She made Jennah a bottle of bean juice, and they all sat down. Nana said thank you to the Lord for the food, and they dug in, each one wondering the same thing: When was Ashe going to show up.
At around 7:30, Ashe’s Ford pulled into the driveway, kicking up dust. Paw went out to meet him. “We don’t want no trouble here, Ashe,” he told the younger man. “We didn’t go and take your child from you. Dorrie brought her here today.”
“I know,” Ashe replied, “she did it while I was at work.” His face was minus the usual scowl as he reached into the car and took out a small bag. It contained a few clothes and bottles, some new cloth diapers, a few toys and baby shirts as well as a gallon of milk. “I brought you some stuff sir," he said respectfully. “I got paid today, so I went by the general store and picked these up. You’ll need them. And here’s ten dollars for anything else you might need. I’m not trying to take her back. I know if I did though, Dorrie would be…, well, hell I don't know what to say, but I intend to at least pay for my babies things, and I really just don't care what Dorrie or you or anyone else thinks. Jennah is my child and I don't care if you don't like me, sir, but, please,” he implored, “please can I at least hold my baby?” Tears flooded his eyes and he gripped the side of the car for support. He looked up at Paw, who was half a foot taller. Ashe wasn't used to begging, but if that was what it took to see his baby he would do that, and he would do it proudly. “I promise no trouble, just let me hold my little Jennah.” Paw gained a little bit more respect in those few minutes for the man who he disliked so much. The man was a trembling, pathetic wreck. He looked like he might pass out. Paw told him to have a seat on the swing. He went and brought Jennah out and placed her gently into Ashe’s arms. Then he left the sobbing man to himself, but listened by the door as Ashe explained to Jennah what was going on, even though he knew she couldn’t understand. He told her that he would come to see her as often as he could. He told her that he hoped she would get to visit them once in a while, and that he loved her very much. He told her that somehow, someday, he would be a daddy to her again. He held her close and he cried. He cried as though he had lost his best friend and his world had totally fallen apart. Paw knew how the man must feel. Carrisa was his only child and his whole world. If anything ever happened to her, his whole world would be gone. Paw didn't like Ashe Redmond, but definitely felt a genuine sorrow for the man. He also knew that Ashe was stuck in a relationship that was somewhat related to hell. After all, he had married Dorrie.
Paw loved Dorrie as much as he could, though he had trouble liking her. The girl turned woman was nothing like her mother. She was a spoiled, selfish person who managed to make life a living hell for any man she met, including himself. Her own brother had moved out because they had fought so much, and because he and Paw hadn't gotten along very well either. Paw wondered if Dorrie had done her brother like she had done him. After all, she was a wild child and never could be tamed.
When Ashe finally stopped crying, Paw stepped back out into the night. “Ashe,” he said sympathetically, “would you care to go have a beer with me down at McGinty’s? Maybe we ought to talk since we’re both so involved in this. I can’t say we will ever be friends but for Jennah’s sake, hell, we should at least try to get along.”
“Yes sir, I would like that,” Ashe was rubbing his eyes. He kissed Jennah and handed her back to Nana, who looked a little less stern. As they started off, Nana looked at him and then at Jennah. "Well take good care of her, but please, don't kill Dorrie. I know you probably want to, but please don't." "I won't kill her". Ashe said but I will admit Maam, the thought did cross my mind." Nana nodded her head and turned to go back in. Then he and Paw walked across the street and down to the corner. Ashe remained silent during the walk. He thought it might be better to let Paw have the first say, as the ball was in his park, so to speak. Maybe the older man would let him come and visit Jennah as much as he wanted. Ashe started to shake. He purposely hadn’t drunk before coming over because he didn’t want his breath to smell like beer, should he get lucky enough to hold Jennah. But now he needed one badly. He made a promise to himself to drink only one beer and to pay for both of them. He needed his wits about him. If Paw told him to take a hike and never return, he'd go to another bar and get drunker than hell and hopefully kill himself on the way home. To not see his Jennah anymore would certainly be a good enough reason to die, and if he did make it home it would also be reason enough to kill Dorrie, even tho he had said he wouldn't.
When they got inside McGinty’s and the beers had been served, Paw surprised Ashe by saying "Son, you can see Jennah as often as you like,” he said sincerely, “as long as you aren't drunk when you come over." At first Ashe didn’t know what to say. Then he started pumping Paw’s hand like a wild man. “No need for that,” the older man said, pulling his hand away. "Just don't show up drunk, and perhaps you should start calling us Nana and Paw. For this child's sake we need to at least put on a good appearance. No fighting or yelling when she is around, and if she ever comes back home from visiting you with another bruise like I saw on her arm tonight, that will be the last time either you or Dorrie will see her. Now lets just leave this conversation and I won't beat the crap out of you for that bruise, mainly because I don't think it came from you. You don't have any fingernails and that bruise looks like fingernails. I am just warning you, do not try to take this child back. She can come and visit on yalls days off, but I had better not see any more bruises. If you and Dorrie want to beat the hell out of each other then go ahead, and do it. Just don't bring it to my house. That's all I have to say to you son. You and Dorrie made this bed, now you got to lie in it." Even tho Ashe had heard every word Paw had said he felt like he had just stepped into heaven. Paw had actually called him son, had acknowledged him as a man, and agreed to let him see his Jennah. He had also gathered up the courage to come and face them without beer in his gut. IF that wasn't heaven, nothing was.
When Paw finished his beer they got up and walked outside. "It certainly is a beautiful night,” Ashe said with joy as they walked back to the house, to noon in particular. “Maybe I’ll head up to the lake and do some fishing. I'm off tomorrow." He held out his hand, which Paw accepted tentatively. “Thanks,” he said, choking back tears, “thanks so much. I will do my best to not to let you down.” For the first time in his life, Ashe thought that maybe his mother’s unseen god had pulled through after all and finally answered a prayer. He climbed into the old Ford and backed out of the driveway. Paw watched silently as the car turned right at the corner instead of left. He hoped Ashe would catch his limit.
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