Dovey Coe

Dovey Coe by Frances O'Roark Dowell Read Free Book Online

Book: Dovey Coe by Frances O'Roark Dowell Read Free Book Online
Authors: Frances O'Roark Dowell
to end-all and would make for a happy life. I weren’t against having money by a long stretch. There’d been plenty of times when I’d like to have heard the jingle of silver in my pocket. But I weren’t convinced being rich brings satisfaction to a person. And I didn’t think it would bring satisfaction to Caroline, neither.
    Most folks in Indian Creek was poor, and even the rich ones would probably only be medium if they moved somewheres like Charlotte or Winston-Salem. But I never heard of no one starving to death, and most parents managed to get a newpair of shoes for their children once a year or so.
    Us Coes stood on the poorer side of the line, but we made do right well. We had us a fine house that my Granddaddy Caleb built years and years ago, and although the weather sometimes got inside, it was still a place to be proud of. The kitchen was big enough for all of us to gather comfortably without stepping on each other’s toes, and there was nothing I liked better on a winter’s day than to warm myself against the woodstove that stood in the corner. Mama was all the time warning me that I was going to burst into flames one day the way I leaned so close to the fire, but I didn’t pay her no mind.
    Our house had three bedrooms, and there were them about these parts who thought having three bedrooms was right extravagant. A lot of them at school had to share a room with three or four of their brothers and sisters, and a few slept in the same room as their mama and daddy. But Granddaddy Caleb was a man who liked his privacy, so he built a house where people could spread out some. Mama and Daddy’s bedroom was off the kitchen, and the rooms that Amos, Caroline, and me had were off the parlor room. I shared a room with Caroline, which weren’t so bad, except that Caroline was a neat one and gotmad about the messes I made. Amos, being the only boy, got his own room, but he liked being at the center of things when he was in the house, so usually you’d find him in the kitchen.
    The kitchen was always stocked with plenty of food. Every spring we planted a garden with peas, beans, tomatoes, corn, and potatoes, plus a few other things I’m probably forgetting, and Mama put me and Caroline to canning when the garden come to fruition. We had a root cellar, where we kept the potatoes, and a pantry off the kitchen with shelves to hold all our canned goods.
    We kept chickens and two milk cows, Annie and Bess, so we had all the eggs and milk and butter we needed, and ice cream in the summer for special occasions, the Fourth of July and such. We also kept pigs, but that was a matter of some debate. I was the main debater, which would come as no surprise to them who known me well.
    The problem started up when I become friendly with the pigs, giving them the names of Henrietta, Scarlett, King Edward, and Ralph. Anyone raising livestock to butcher will tell you that was a grave mistake on my part. Don’t name anything you or someone else, say, your daddy, aims to kill. You can get right attached to an animal, especially if it’s a pig.
    Pigs are right smart, smarter than dogs, some will say. They come when you call them and will learn to do tricks easy. King Edward was especially gifted in this regard. I am also of the belief that pigs can understand most everything you say once you talk to them a while and they get a chance to learn your language.
    I got the idea in my head that I would have me a pig circus and charge folks a dime to see it. I figured I’d keep half the money I made for myself and give the other half to Mama for her to buy material for a new dress, which she’d been badly in need of for some time. I even come up with a plan to ask Mama for her old sewing scraps so I could make some pig costumes with little sparklies all over them.
    One night at dinner, I decided to tell Mama and Daddy of my idea, thinking they’d be real taken by it. Well, the first thing

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