Around five o'clock that afternoon, we heard a knock on the back door. That seemed strange, since most everyone else had come to the front that day. When Rosie, who had been doing some dishes, went to answer it, she was pleasantly surprised. It was Arlissa, the girl who had been there before. She had an elderly lady just behind her, who apparently was the grandmother.
"Howdy do, young lady," she said, her eyes twinkling at Rosie. "You must be the reason my Arlissy has been a' houndin' me to come back over here. We brung you a corn puddin' fer to eat. Hope ye like it. Ain't nothin fancy," she said the last apologetically, as though she thought it might not be good.
I soon learned it to be a custom of the people of this area to kinda put down whatever they cooked. I found it to be kind of a sweet way to behave, when I thought about it.
Here was a friend for Rosie, at last, and she was a really nice one, it seemed. Arlissa's grandma told us her last name was Hinton, and so was Arlissa's.
It seemed that Arlissa and Rosie were a lot alike. In fact, they could almost be sisters, because they both had the same nose shape and big blue cornflower colored eyes. I wondered if anyone else noticed it. Nah, it was just my imagination, I knew. I was always dreaming of things.
Well, the day went on, and by now most everyone had left. Finally, Mrs. Hinton told Arlissa it was time they went home and that they could see each other later on in the week. The two girls shyly said good-bye with promises to see each other soon.
Rosie smiled as she wiped the table. Ma told her it was bedtime and that there would be a lot to do the next day. Rosie went off to bed, happier than I had seen her in some time. I believed Arlissa was a God-send for all of us.
The next day dawned early for all of us. Now, it seemed the custom then in that area of Kentucky was to return the remains of the deceased to the home for a "wake", especially if they were Irish, as my folks were. So, just after breakfast, the dining room table was cleared off for the coffin to be placed.
Fortunately, the day was a sunny one, and the snow was melting away quickly. That meant a lot of the men would be standing around outside, smoking, chewing, and spitting their tobacco, and talking about such things as men do.
It wasn't long before they began arriving, following the delivery of the casket containing Grandma's remains. Apparently, they had been on the watch for it. We all stood back from the doorway as the men from the funeral home brought the casket in and transferred it to the table top.
"Do you want it open or closed?" he inquired of my Grandda. "Perhaps you would like to check her appearance right now?"
"Yes, I would," replied Grandda.
(To be continued).