Southern Legitimacy Statement: I’m so Southern, my Ancestry profile predicted my relationship with my stepmother to be a 5th-8th cousin. Does the shared DNA make me uncomfortable? Nope. It makes me an Alabamian.
The locals of Orem Crossroads don’t need a calendar to know when July rolls around. Snails shed their shells in the triple digit heat and Jane mows her yard every Wednesday wearing her best house dress, the floral long sleeved cotton, cinched at the waist. She sweeps her silver hair up into a messy topknot like the young girls do these days and drags her old push along out to the front yard set off the busy highway.
People place her age around eighty-five, but long timers will tell you she’s closer to ninety. All morning long she’s out there in the high grass, treading back and forth, pushing her relic of a lawnmower. She stops on the dot at noon to fix lunch for her dog, Alfred.
She changed the dog’s name from Bobo after her husband died, just so she could keep saying his name. “Alfred, time for lunch,” she calls out and the old dog comes running, not seeming to mind his new name one bit. Jane picks up mowing from the very spot she left off the previous Wednesday, all the way through to the end of July.
Her neighbors are far and few, but on Jane day, one or the other or most mosey down the highway to run an errand in town. They never give Jane any notice or stop to visit, the rumor being she didn’t take kindly to those who arrived unannounced and kept a pistol strapped on her ankle beneath her long hem to greet those so inclined.
“She’s a good shot, so I hear,” the owner of the Sinclair will tell you. “A trucker gassed up here and related Jane almost took his ear off when he stopped to offer help.” August brings the sweet breeze and the snails take back to wearing their coats. Jane puts away the lawn mower and takes to rocking away Wednesday mornings on the front porch, a bit of shine mixed in her sweet tea. The grass grows long and her ever loving Alfred spreads out alongside, napping to noon.