Close your eyes. Get set. Go!
—To where Bay Swamp smells like aftershave, to where friends raise Billie’s dad a barn in a day. You’re there!
On her “pizer,” Grandma, waiting to serve dinner, relaxes with a dip of her Sweet Society snuff. Billie’s mom and dad, sweaty from hoeing tobacco, rush in and wash up. They can’t wait to bite into Grandma’s succulent chicken. They tell you, “Pull up a chair!”
After dinner, take off your shoes, trek across sandy, open fields, feel sand between your toes. Beyond the watermelon patch, a rare sight: Venus flytraps and yellow trumpet flowers, set to gobble up every bug in sight, and Bug Swamp has bugs. Also gators, bears, cooters, possums, snakes… gold.
Later, on Grandma’s “pizer,” you’ll hear how Billie and her mom almost become bear bait, and Grandma will spellbind you, telling about Grandpa’s tussle with a gator.
Discover for yourself how Grandma’s pipeline to God keeps everyone on track. Pity she doesn’t have Hitler’s ear in Germany, or Tojo’s in Japan. Why, Grandma could even advise Harry Truman! He uses a weapon so strong it keeps on killing and killing. That Great Depression? Pray it won’t destroy Billie’s family. Her dad puts a mortgage on the place that can tear their family apart or hold them together. Luckily, World War II ends, and good and bad teeters into place.
When company came, Grandma Nettie grabbed her sand-filled snuff spit-can and another for her visitor. “Come.” She’d head for the porch. “Let’s us set here and palaver.” Paralleling Grandma Nettie, throughout Billie’s life she palavered. A giddy thirteen-year-old ninth-grader, traipsing on through high school, college, on dates, Billie shared too much with whoever listened. At twenty she graduated from Winthrop and then wed a gorgeous guy about whom Grandma said, “Girl, I’d rather you marry that brown boy than anybody else.” God blessed Billie with children. Suddenly, who were those aging adults calling her “Mama”? Whoa. Who was that “seventyish” lady peeking at Billie from her looking glass? Life caught up with this palaverer.
Billie has experienced sickness, death of loved ones, every sensation her universe has to offer, and each day, palavering to God, she thanks Him for His blessings. This graphic memoir of an imperfect palaverer, aging from thirteen to seventy, allows all voyeurs a field day of reading.
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