WILD ONE by Vicki Allen-Hitt
Opal finished drying the last dish and stood on her tippy toes to look out the kitchen window.
Dust flew from an approaching truck. “Momma, I think Uncle Jim drove up.”
Dollie watched as he climbed out of his rusty and dented flat bed truck and parked it next to Papa’s shiny new Ford. He wore his usual outfit, bib overalls and dirty plaid shirt. “What’s he doing here? He’s going to upset your papa by saying something stupid, and I’ll have to deal with his foul mood. Jim can’t help himself. He’s so jealous of how good we’re doing. And he doesn’t have two nickles to rub together.”
Papa and his seven siblings were orphaned after their parents died in a car accident. The children were split up and shipped off to various relatives. As an adult, Papa turned out to be the most successful. He owned property in town and ran a thriving farm. Uncle Jim rented a piece of farmland that failed to show a profit the last five years.
He found Papa near the kitchen window planting grapes. “How are your crops doing, Sam?”
Papa looked up from his hoeing. “What brings you out here? I’d think you’ve gotten plenty to do at your own place.”
“It not my place. You know I just rent.”
Sam went back to his hoeing. “It doesn’t mean you can’t grow some crops.”
“My last harvest didn’t do too well. I just thought I’d pay you a visit. Can’t a brother visit his kin?”
Papa ignored him and kept working.
Jim sauntered over. “You’re making a mistake planting grapes.”
Dollie peered out the window. “He’s a lazy good for nothing.”
“It sounds like he’s telling Papa what to do.”
Dollie’s face flushed and her eyes narrowed. “How dare that fool come out here and tell your papa how to farm. He’s never brought in a successful crop in his life. I’ll get rid of him”
Moments later, they heard Uncle Jim fussing and cussing at Papa. “You’re a fool. Going to stomp your own grapes and make wine? Hell, this state is dry.”
“Shut up, Jim. Go on home,” Papa said.
Momma wiped her hands on her apron, opened the closet and picked up the shotgun. She swung open the door and marched into the backyard. Opal followed close behind. Momma cocked both barrels. “Jim, you get out of here with your nagging and swearing.”
“This isn’t any way to treat kin.”
She aimed the gun at his knees. “You come out here to fuss and call Sam a fool. That’s not very brotherly of you. Now if you ever want to walk again, you best be on your way.”
Uncle Jim backed up, turned and made a mad dash to his truck. He drove away in a cloud of dust.
Momma turned and went back into the house. She opened the closet and laid the shotgun on the shelf.
Papa followed her in. “Dollie, you’re full of surprises. I don’t think he’ll be coming around and calling me a fool anytime soon.”
Dollie sat silently at the kitchen table.
Papa left her alone and went back to his planting.
As soon as Opal heard the screen door slam, she said, “Would you really have shot him, Momma?”
Momma grinned. “Someday I’ll have to get around to loading that old shotgun.”