and Other Stories

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Publisher Description

You are invited to Homecoming at Bethel Baptist Church in Shadyside, NC. The service promises an inspiring sermon and unexpected comedy. Get ready to enjoy a covered dish meal and to learn some of the cooks recipes. After Homecoming, meet Estelle who sees a Naked Man in a distant yard. Next observe a beekeeper and his wife who care for The Last Swarm and spend a morning with Constance who insists on perfection in Still Life. Finally travel with two retirees who downsize and learn when to let go in Grannys Bowling Ball.EXCERPT FROM HomecomingLoretta Wiseman moved the coconut cake one more time. It took up almost a whole shelf in the refrigerator. Thank goodness tomorrow is Homecoming Sunday, she thought. I wont have to shift the milk carton and tea pitcher around this Tupperware cake holder anymore. Folks at Bethel Baptist looked forward to Lorettas coconut cake on Homecoming Sunday. Tuesday night she had mixed the shredded coconut, sugar, and sour cream. On Wednesday she made the cake layers and stacked them with the coconut filling. Then, it was a four-day wait. Keeping her husband Luke away from the cake was almost as much trouble as making room for it in the refrigerator. Loretta pulled a package of Mom & Pops country ham from behind the Tupperware cake cover. She balanced it on a carton of eggs in her right hand and closed the refrigerator.Loretta had worked at The Posy Patch until noon. Saturday was usually her day off, but there was a big funeral at the Presbyterian Church tomorrow. She had spent the morning making the casket spray of red roses and babys breath. It was one of the biggest ones she had ever done.Loretta filled a pot with water and placed it on the large rear burner of her aging electric stove. She punched the high button. The eggs could boil while the ham was frying. Tomorrow morning she would get up early to devil the eggs, bake biscuits for the ham, and cook two packages of limas she had frozen back in July. Mandy, her daughter, would be coming tomorrow morning with her fruit salad. Mandy lived in Winston-Salem with her boyfriend Richard. Loretta and Luke liked Richard, a Wake Forest Law School graduate, but they did not approve of Mandy living with him. Four years ago when Mandy told her parents she was moving into Richards new house, Loretta and Luke had raised a fuss. It was worse than when Mandy decided to transfer from a small Baptist college to the University in Chapel Hill. That university was where she picked up so many of her liberal ideas. Mandy came home telling Loretta and Luke which wine to drink with chicken, pork, or beef. Iced tea or strong coffee had always been good enough for them. She talked about abortion rights, womens rights, and gay rights. Luke and Loretta thought she sounded like a leftist.Their daughter did have a good paying job thanks to the interview her college arranged with a bank. Until she landed that position, Mandy had vowed she would go to New York City to find a job. Loretta and Luke were thankful their only child did not end up in the North. Winston-Salem was only an hour and a half away.Mandy had not spent a night under her parents roof in four years. Luke had made it clear to his daughter she would not share a bed in his house with a man who was not her husband. Youre twenty-three. Why dont you get married? he had asked her.Were not ready. We want to make sure thisll work. Mandy had explained.As Loretta fried ham for her biscuits, she thought of her daughters words. She was past being angry and hurt with Mandy. But she really didnt understand todays young people. Seemed like they were not ready to face the real world.The phone rang and interrupted her thoughts. She glanced at the stove clock and saw its hands at 5:30. Lukes calling to find out whats for supper, thought Loretta. Her hands ached. Hed have to be happy with a BLT tonight. He could save his appetite for Homecoming.Hello, Loretta said as she caught the phone on the third ring and continued to place f

Fiction & Literature
30 June