Chapter Thirty: Whiskey Lemonade in the Abundant Afternoon

Editor’s Note: Like I said, the 1950s were a time of peace in Vine. My dad told me this story of his parents having a theological discussion one afternoon, which he overheard while lying down under the stairs. 

“Go on ahead and leave your hand right there on my back,” he said. He poured her another whiskey lemonade. “Spot where the bone bumps. Scratch there, please.”

I believe I’d worship the sun if we didn’t know about God,” she said. “You want something dependable to worship.” Late afternoon was doing its wavy blue dance with yellowed bulb clouds.

“But we are told about God,” he said. He slid the whiskey bottle and water-beading pitcher to the center of the table with cast iron ringing.

“We are told about God and the rivers flow to the lake”, she said. “In winter, the animals hibernate or leave, but it is God’s chosen in the Americas who keeps watch over the earth even in the snow and wind.” She was fanning herself. Eyeing mosquitoes.

“One cannot help but tremble at the wonder but the crop abounds,” he said.

“Surely,” she said, “we are right to fear abundance. We are right to fear our responsibility of dominion over the land. For the Lord giveth and not even tomorrow is guaranteed.”

Somewhere in the fields, the rabbits were unhiding their presences in short bursts. Squirrels, of course, fearless in the trees. In Heaven sat God and he didn’t need to pick under his fingernails.

She held her glass to his arm and the water beads gave him a shiver. Under the chair their ankles locked. The gutters would need cleaning soon. Lawn was mowed, though. 

“We are told about God and we are lucky for it,” he said. He was thinking of the boy who drowned. The mother’s cries could fill a valley.

“The twinberries will bloom soon,” she said. She was right: God was nothing if not clean and sweet.

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