He walked along the Harbor Pond–the wind, the worldblown.
He scrupped along the suppertime, forking mash, green beans, squash, beef steak–all the while thinking of the dancing leaves, the hoppin’ frogs, the air that sniff-so pleased him.
–Maww, may I excuse?
–You may not. Dishes don’t dry themselves, boy. It was his father.
Together they arose from the table. Maww, Paww, and Jimbo. Wash, rinse, dry. In that order. In that way.
–What boy? Paww said.
Maww washed. Paww rinsed. Jimbo Dried.
–Needin’ us a scraper, Maww said, her side of the sink fulled of suds and bits of soggy squash. They had been without one since ChristaBawn left them for the mailman. She was married to the mailman. In a way it was the natural course a things, but it wasn’t the Grambly course a things.
–Almost still had one. Almost had a linter, too, Paww said.
–We ain’t needin’ any linter. Maww said. Plain crazy. We needin’ a grease pan gritter.
Paww wanted the mailman to lint roll the dinnerware after Jimbo was done with the dryin’. Maww wanted the mailman to grit the grease pans. In the end, Maww would a got the way and Paww would jibjaw about it ’til no one cared no more, ‘specially himself, and life went on. Wherever it went. Drainholes. Outofspace.
ChristaBawn had run to the nearest citytown. Winsbarn. It was none but a hour’s walk from the Gimbly’s but it was forbidden to go. None of them went much outside the home, the field.
None ‘cept ChristaBawn–Jimbo now.
The letters would come to him alone. They would sit in his hideout. His place by the brook. They sat in the nook of a tree where they would dry from the rain if it runned–it didn’t. He found them for the first time–two a ‘casue he hadn’t been down there for some days. ChristaBawn left them. Folded up sheets of papers neat and in emvelopes from the mailman. They was crisp like teacher paper.
He’d wondered if they was left by the mailman, that bein’ a part a his job. They were her writin’, and they smelled like her. She was somethin’–ChristaBawn livin’ in Winsbarn with this mailman. She says his name is Jackie and they have a baby on the way on account a her bein’ pregnant. Jimbo remembered how warm he got when he read that part.
–Near time, next year, yourn marriage time.
–I don’t know no girls.
–Elma’s my cousin.
–And she’s purty, said Paww.
Jimbo wrote her back. About the wind and frogs and how theys doin’. About Maww and Paww, how the drain gets clogged ‘count a her bein’ gone. ‘Bout how they wouldn’t let him out save for the feed store, an’ how he’d started drawin’ the stars, but how it took up so much pencil. ‘Specially on real dark nights. Then he started going into Winsbarn. Then he met Marcy Ann. She was purty.
He would think back to the last letter ChristaBawn sent him. He would think about it often. Fact is, he carried it in the brim of his hat, tucked right in there.
Jimbo, she said you is the wind.
Maww and Paww were great and one day they would be in Winsbarn. At least somesthetime. They don’t talk to ChristaBawn. Jimbo supposed now they wouldn’t talk to him, neither. Well. Understand man’s gotta run the farm, but man’s gotta be a man, too. Understand that dishes got to dry, but Marcy Ann not ready for marriage. Her father’s not. Gots to get a real job. Makin’ money ‘stead a corn. ‘Stead a dish lint.
Until something gives. Maww and Paww will be there, right beside Harbor Pond, clogged sink and soggy dishes after mealtime.