Saturday, August 23, 2014

Arlissa - Her Story - Day 67

As she drove along, Arlissa considered what she was going to do next. She knew she needed to get to the Tunstall/O'Hanlon residence soon. It wouldn't be long til suppertime, and she didn't want to be late for the meeting with them.

"I hope I won't have any trouble with Mrs. Tunstall when I get there. It's not like I wanted custody of Rosie's little boy; I didn't even know she was gonna do somethin' like she did. I woulda stopped her if'n I had. Oh, Rosie, why'd you go and do such a Tomfool thing as that? Killin' yoreself and signin' that little sweet boy over to me! Am I supposed to honor that piece a' paper? Does the law say I have to?"

Arlissa was still conflicted over the whole idea - now with Granny so sick - how could she possibly take over the care of a little boy? She still missed her friend; it was going to take a long time to get over the loss of Rosie, her throaty laugh, her sparkling eyes, and the only real girl friend she had ever had. 

The two girls used to theorize about how come they looked so much alike, and been born in different states. They had never really come up with an answer, though. Arlissa most likely would never know, she figured.

"My Ma never lived to tell me who my Pa was, and Granny sure ain't never told me, if'n she even knows. I reckon maybe it's one a them things I won't never know. But I sure can't help wonderin' about it, though."

Arlissa finally noticed the car behind her and peered closely into the rear view mirror.

"Now, what's that rascal doin' follerin' me? I'll jist pull over and see what it is he's after, anyhow!"

She drove her car over to the side of the road and left it in idle, waiting for the car behind to pass her. It did, and the driver parked his car sideways in the road to block her.

"Con Douglas! What in tarnation do you think you're a doin'? Why've you been followin' me? What's the idea of parkin' sidewise in the road?"

"Get out'n that car, Lissa! You'n me's goin' on a date right now!" 

(To be continued)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Arlissa - Her Story - Day 66

Hetty McReynolds had no sooner picked up the phone than she heard a knock on the front door.

"Now what?" she fumed to herself, agitated at being interrupted from spreading the news she was eager to share.

She replaced the receiver and went to the door, surprised to see the subject of her news once again standing before her.

"Why, Sugar! Did you forget somethin'? You wanta' come back in?"

"Uh, no, Ms. Hetty. I need some information, please."

"Why, sure, Baby. How can I help you?"

"Well, I, er, I, uh, could you tell me how to get to the old graveyard out in the country?"

Ms. Hetty's ears perked up with that one...

"You don't mean the one out near Witch's Grove Holler, do you? The one that they quit usin' about fifteen years ago?"

"Yes, ma'am. That one. The one that's not used no more."

Ms. Hetty blanched visibly.

"Oh, now, I can't help you there! Why you wanta be goin' all the way out yonder for? Ain't nothin' out there you'd be needin', is there?"

"I'm jist lookin' for information, is all."

"Look, Honey. I'll tell Doc Henry as soon as he gets home. I promise. Please don't go out there, especially at this time a' day. You'll miss your supper. To be quite honest, you don't look like you can afford to miss any meals."

The old lady gazed at the girl's diminutive figure, wishing her own were not quite so ample.

"Oh! I jist remembered I gotta be somewhere around supper time. Thanks for remindin' me, Ms. Hetty. I gotta be leavin' fer sure now. Please have Doc Henry call me at the Tunstall house or at my home later on this evenin'. Thank ya for yore help, ma'am."

Arlissa turned and left the old lady with her mouth standing open, ready to ask another question.

"Well, now, that was a most interestin' bit a' news, I must say," she said to herself, shutting the door and heading once again for the telephone.

Arlissa climbed back into her car and  headed for the Tunstall/O'Hanlon farm.

(To be continued)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Arlissa - Her Story - Day 65

She was undecided...she drove aimlessly into the little town of Hickston; would the doctor even be in...maybe he would be out on a call.

'Why am I hesitating?' she thought. 'Is it that I don't really want to know? No, no...that couldn't be it.'

She parked her car near the doctor's home, where he had his office. Going up to the front door, she knocked.

Hetty, the doctor's wife and nurse, opened the front door.

"Why, Arlissa Hinton, what're you doin' here? Ain't your Granny in the hospital right now? Are you sick, honey? Come right on in. Doc Henry is out on a call right now, but he should be back soon."

Dr. Henry McReynolds was known as and called Doc Henry by everyone who knew him, and he'd been around for a long time. In fact, he took over his practice from his father, who'd been Dr. William McReynolds.

Hetty was known to be better than a newspaper in spreading the news all over town; but right now, Arlissa wasn't thinking about that.

"I need to ask Doc Henry some questions about what year I was born."

"Why, honey, that's a strange request! You mean, you don't even know when you were born? Well, I never! Say, let me fix you a cup of coffee. You take cream, don't cha?" 

The old lady could see that she might get some more information out of the girl if she encouraged her to relax a little more. 

"You come right on in here to the kitchen and I'll fix us up some coffee. You look like you could use some a' my apple pie. I jist baked it a little while ago."

Putting her arm around Arlissa's shoulder, she guided her into the kitchen. It was no contest, because Hetty outweighed the younger woman by about 90 pounds and was experienced in persuading patients in cooperation.

As the old woman poured the coffee, she peppered the girl with questions.

"Now, it seems I heard something about your friend, Rosie O'Hanlon, passing away?? Poor little girl took her own life, I hear?"

"Yes, that's true."

"Wasn't there a little boy she left behind? I heard tell his name was somethin' like Bobby?"

"Benny. It is Benny, Ms. Hetty."

"I hear you're gonna get guardianship a' him?"

"I'd rather not talk about it...ain't nothin' decided yet."

"Ah, I reckon maybe his grandparents don't like that idea too much, hey?"

By this time, Arlissa was feeling hemmed in by the nosy woman and she decided it was time to go. 

"Please, I've got to go. I'm sorry, I don't have time to drink the coffee. Would you please have Doc Henry call me when he can? I've got someplace else I need to be this afternoon."

"Well, Arlissa, Honey, you come back anytime. Y' hear? Doc 'll be that sorry he missed ya."

She followed Arlissa to the door, and watched her with glittering eyes as she left. 

"Darn! I near about had some answers. Hmm. Don't know what year she was born. Now, don't that take the cake!"

She hurried to the phone.

(To be continued)


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Arlissa - Her Story - Day 64

Arlissa began to think over things that had taken place in her much of it was real? How much had been a lie? All at once she felt she could not trust what anybody told her. How many people were in on the deception? 

Did her daddy even know she existed? Had he promised not to ever contact her? She felt her life falling apart at the seams, disintegrating, like an old rag that had been used over and over till it was only a remnant. 

Quietly, she placed the Bible back on the tray table and left the room, not knowing where she was heading, just away from this new truth. 

Walking as though in a dream, she headed for the front door of the hospital, her heart pounding and memories flooding through her mind. 

How many people knew she was fatherless? How many knew who he was? All she knew was that she had to find some answers; she was going to look for them now. 

It hadn't seemed to matter so much before; but now that she knew she had been lied to so greatly, she had to search.

She knew she wouldn't, couldn't, get them right now from Granny. 

The old graveyard where her Mama was buried- that's where she would head first. They never went there, Granny always told her to live and not worry about the dead. She said, waren't no use a' grievin' over them, wouldn't bring 'em back.

She knew it was in a remote part of their county; she might have to look for it. 

Climbing into her car, she started it up and decided to leave Amblin and head for Hickston, where their Doctor, old Doc McReynolds, had his practice. He was close to retirement, and she would be able to ask him what year she was born. 

Surely the doctor would tell her.

She drove along, not noticing anything around her, so she didn't see the car behind her. Arlissa was in a mental fog and driving on automatic.

Why had she been lied to? Was her father a criminal? Where else could she look for answers? Around and around in her mind went the questions...

(To be continued)


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Arlissa - Her Story - Day 63

The old worn Bible of Granny's was heavy. She had a few clippings and other things in the leaves of the book. 

One item was a dried rose, pressed and faded. It had once been yellow, now you could barely tell what color it had been.

She flipped through some more pages and, in the middle of the book, she saw two pages that seemed to be stuck together. Now that is strange, she thought to herself. She carefully pried them open. They had once been glued, it seemed, but the mucilage had dried out over the years, and now they were opened.

The heading on one page said, "Births and Deaths"; on the other page, the heading was "Marriages".

Arlissa looked at the page headed Births and Deaths; she saw Ellen Mae Hinton, b. Feb. 28, 1921; died April 5, 1941.
Arlissa Jane Hinton, b. April 4, 1941

Arlissa turned pale; she felt as though she were going to faint.

That couldn't be right! Whoever had entered that date for her birth had the year wrong! It made her 2 years older than what she really was!

That would make her a year older than Rosie! How could that possibly be? How could her grandparents have pulled the wool over her eyes in that manner?

She was going to have to ask Granny about this when Granny could talk again. It would be useless to ask her now. She wouldn't be able to answer Arlissa, and would only agitate the old lady. 

Her curiosity was about to drive her nutty, though. Who else could she ask? Who else would even know? Maybe the old doctor who had been the family doctor for so many years... She'd ask him!

(To be continued)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Arlissa - Her Story - Day 62

"Donald, you come right back here, now!" hissed his fiancee, Amalie Gardner.

The good doctor ignored her and continued on towards the altercation between Arlissa and the young man he had seen working around the hospital.

Con had her by the shoulder, and was leaning over her in a menacing manner. Just as she was getting ready to rise from her chair, Dr. Donald Winston grabbed hold of Con's shirt in the back and pulled him away from Arlissa. 

"Why don't you leave the young lady alone, as she requested?"

"Why don't you mind yore own business? We was jist havin' a little conversation here."

"Hah! I saw what it was. It seems the young lady doesn't want your attention. If you value your job, young man, you'd best go on and leave her be. If you don't, well, I'll just let you fill in the blanks. Now Get!"

Arlissa's face was flaming red by now, all the freckles showing on her pale skin. She not only was embarrassed by all the attention right here in public, but she felt she could have handled the situation without the good doctor's interference. 

She looked up to see the doctor's gorgeous fiancee looking at her as though she were a piece of trash littering the cafeteria. The woman had walked over when Con left and proprietarily taken the arm of Dr. Winston. 

Once again, he shrugged her off. 

This time he just gave her a look that sent her back over to their table. 

Turning once again to Arlissa, he asked if she were okay.

"Right now, in case you haven't guessed, I'm fumin' mad! You have no right to come over here and interfere in my business! I was gonna take care of Con Douglas! I've been knowin' him for more than fifteen years. I can handle him! Now, if you don't mind, I'd like to finish my sandwich! It looks to me like you got enough on yore hands." 

She looked over at his fiancee with those last words. 

"Oh, I'm sorry, Miss Hinton. I promise I won't interfere again." 

Arlissa knew she shouldn't have spoken to her Granny's doctor in that manner, but she was so angry, she didn't consider anything else. Her temper was always getting her into trouble, it seemed. 

She looked down at her half-eaten sandwich and suddenly was no longer hungry. Picking it up, she wrapped it in the paper bag and dropped it into the nearby trash, and returned the glass to the tray return in the cafeteria. 

As she left, she held her head high and didn't look in the direction of the doctor and his bride-to-be. She didn't see Con watching her departure. 

When she got back to Granny's room, not much time had passed and so she picked up the old Bible, and began to leaf through the pages.  It was Granny's personal Bible, so Arlissa had never looked at it very much, since she had her own from the time she was very young.

(To be continued)

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Arlissa - Her Story - Day 61

Sam, the physical therapist, worked Granny as hard as she could take for about thirty minutes, and then took her back to the room with her granddaughter. 

"I'll see you again for about thirty minutes this afternoon, Miss Flora! Practice using that right hand to eat your lunch. Okay?"

Granny looked at him with a glint in her eyes that told him she was going to try, but was making no promises. 

He looked at Arlissa meaningfully and she nodded. Sam smiled at them both and left to get his next patient. 

It was lunchtime and Arlissa got a washcloth to wash her Granny's face and hands. 

"Do your best to wipe yore face and wash yore hands, Granny! They want you to do as much for yoreself as possible. Everything you can do gets you out of here much sooner."

Clumsily, the old lady did a fair job. Fortunately, her stroke was only a light one and she was going to be able to rehabilitate enough to be sent home soon. 

Anne brought in the tray, and placed it on the bed tray in front of Granny. 

It was all Arlissa could do not to jump up and help the old lady. She put a hand towel on Granny's chest so that not too much food would fall on the old woman's gown as she tried to feed herself. It was a painfully slow process, but Granny kept at it. Arlissa had to give her credit for her efforts.

When she had finished feeding herself, Granny sat back and sighed, looking pitifully up at the girl. Granny was worn out with the strain, but at Arlissa's words of praise, she did look a mite proud and gave her a smile in response. 

Her Granny was made of strong stuff and the girl could tell she wasn't going to give up. 

"I'll bet you'd like a little nap right now, or would you like to go down to the sun room and look out of the windows for a while? There's a garden out there and we can watch the birds. It is raining but it might clear up soon. I have some things I need to talk to you about."

The old lady looked at the bed with longing, and said something that sounded like rest. Arlissa rang for help and an intern came in to help put Granny to bed for awhile. The questions would have to wait, it seemed. 

Just then Anne came in and told them Granny would be going to speech therapy in about an hour, so Arlissa figured the rest was really necessary at the time being. 

"I'll be back in an hour then, Granny; you get some rest, okay?"

She kissed the old lady on the brow and picking up her purse, she took her leave quietly, heading for the cafeteria. 

Upon reaching the cafeteria, she purchased a sandwich and got a glass of water to wash it down. 

She had no sooner sat down than she looked around and saw the good doctor with his fiancee, who was looking as though she'd rather be anywhere else than here in the dinky cafeteria. 

Then, a few minutes later, Con Douglas came into the room and saw Arlissa, and headed straight for her. 

"Leave me alone, Con! I came in here for a little peace and quiet, not to be bothered by you!"

The good doctor heard the angst in her speech and slowly got up to intercede on her behalf, which did not please his bride-to-be. She grabbed hold of his sleeve to stop him. He jerked his sleeve out of her grasp and moved toward the couple who were having the altercation.

(To be continued)