Well it's Medicare AEP and I'm busier than most any other time of the year LOL but not to busy to welcome Laura back to our blog! Laura shared treasures with us last month and I'm excited to see what she's thinking about so....take it away Laura!
In Tina Hamilton’s case, her father’s silent nine years.
That’s the cloud that overshadows her while growing up in Currie Hill, North Carolina, at the foot of the Smokies. The cloud hovers at home. At the bakery. At the ice cream parlor. At church. At family picnics.
Reflecting later, she says, “I always knew my father had a secret. I must have known it at least by the time I was old enough to recognize the embarrassed hush that fell over a room of grown-ups the moment I crossed the threshold. That’s back when folks still talked about it. . . .”
She catches snippets of conversation here and there--at family reunions, from Uncle Ross, Mom’s stories, and arguments between her dad and northern businessman Phil Kepler. Phil has recently moved to Currie Hill to help establish a theme park that her father is trying to derail.
Tina has other problems and isn’t too worried about the proposed park until the night of the Town Council Meeting that will determine the future of Currie Hill--and her family’s. Finally, to sway the tide of votes, the cloud of silence lifts, but nobody is ready for the truth.
I looked at Dad, wondering why he was so quiet. He usually offered so much more. He seemed distant, his brow furrowed.
“There’s just as much bad in the country as in the city,” said Uncle Owen. “Bad’s in the heart of people, in idle hands and such.”
“It ain’t the city that’s bad,” said Grandpa. “It’s the attitudes in the city. Sidney talks about it all the time. Folks fighting for jobs, folks competing with each other, folks putting their jobs above their wives and families. I daresay that’s why Sid ain’t ever married. Folks driving themselves to distraction till they’re all tuckered out and ain’t no good for nobody, doing things a body weren’t meant to do. That’s why folks get took down sick and die in the city. It’s all those wrong choices, and not taking care of others who need help. It could happen anywhere, not just there, but it happens mostly there.”
“Well, I guess you’re right about that,” Grandma Hamilton snapped. “Because I got two sons that don’t go to church no more and one of them’s right here in this town.” She was referring to Uncle Ross. “But when you got another son what’s off in New York City for over fifteen years who ain’t been home for five, and another son who’s been to who-knows-where for eleven years of his life after the war and gets himself a wife but won’t never let on—” She looked at my dad and stopped short.
No one spoke. It was rare when my father’s mysterious, silent years and his first wife were mentioned by anyone.
A hush of secrets is different from any other kind. It’s not like the thin silence after the wind combs and tickles the leaves of the sassafras tree, nor is it like the sweet quiet of the morning sky after it echoes and swallows the chatter of the purple martins. No, it’s more like the pregnant hush of thick storm air right before it inhales and gulps the countryside, and reluctantly lets it go again.
About Laura: Award-winning author Laura DeNooyer lives with her husband Tim near Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They have four adult children. On either end of child rearing, she taught middle school and high school English, creative writing, and/or art. She currently teaches writing to home schooled students, participates in writers conferences and critique groups, and hosts a blog that celebrates creativity: Journey to Imagination. Laura has a young adult fantasy series underway, as well as historical fiction for adults. Find out more and connect with Laura through her Blog, Facebook and Amazon.
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Until next time, take care and God bless.