Miss Julia Stirs Up Trouble: A Novel

Miss Julia Stirs Up Trouble: A Novel by Ann B. Ross Read Free Book Online

Book: Miss Julia Stirs Up Trouble: A Novel by Ann B. Ross Read Free Book Online
Authors: Ann B. Ross
Hazel Marie’s going to do. She’s taking care of him, and with two babies in diapers and beginning to teethe . . .” I sighed.
    “Oh,” LuAnne said, her eyes widening as she realized Hazel Marie’s critical situation. “He’s not able to cook, is he?”
    I lowered my eyes and shook my head. Sorrowfully. “We’re doing all we can to help. Lillian is so generous with her time, but she can’t be on her feet that much. Corns, you know. But,” I said, lifting my head with a hopeful look, “Mildred and Ida Lee are going over Saturday morning, and Ida Lee is going to give Hazel Marie a cooking lesson. They’re going to make beef stroganoff, so she’ll learn how to do it and have something for supper that evening, too.”
    “Why, what a good idea!” LuAnne exclaimed. “I was going to take a dish myself. Like I always do, you know. But to show her how to make it herself, why, it’s like what they say: Teaching a man how to fish is better than giving him a fish.” She eagerly reached toward me. “Why don’t I teach her one of my recipes? Not on the same day, of course, but another day, when she’ll need another meal. What do you think, Julia? Which one of my dishes would she like?”
    “Something easy, LuAnne,” I quickly said. “I’m hoping that fancy beef dish of Ida Lee’s won’t discourage her. Think of something that will give her some confidence. And, listen, I’ve come up with an idea that I’ve been thinking about for some time. I want to collect recipes from all her friends and put them in a book for her to have. So, if you would show her how to make one main dish, I’d like to include that in the book along with any others you want to share. But you won’t need to demonstrate those—unless you just want to. What do you think?”
    “I think,” she said, rising from the sofa, “I’m going to run home and get my recipe book. I’ll be right back so we can decide on my main dish. You don’t eat supper this early anyway, do you? Put me down for a day before they’re all taken up. How about Monday? I’ll be back in fifteen or twenty minutes.”
    And off she went.
    “Lillian,” I said, going back to the kitchen with a big smile on my face, “this is going to be easier than I thought.”

    When LuAnne returned bearing several books, we sat again on the sofa and she began leafing through the pages.
    “Now tell me what you already have,” she said briskly. “I don’t want to go to the trouble of looking up mine if you already have them. I mean, who wants half a dozen apple pie recipes? And, besides, there are a few things Hazel Marie needs to know other than just plain old recipes.”
    I didn’t know why it all had to be done at my house and not hers, for I had offered to drive up the mountain to her condo. But I hadn’t insisted, because I figured she wanted an excuse to get out of the house, Leonard being ensconced in front of the television set all day, every day, without a word of conversation except, “What’s for supper?”
    So we sat there in my living room, LuAnne with a pad on her knee and a pen in her hand. “I’m also going to be writing down some little household hints that might come in handy—not right now, but over time, as I think of them. All you have to do is help me remember because, as you know, we’ve been doing these things so long that it’s second nature and we don’t even consciously think of them anymore.” She paused, tapped her pen against the pad, then went on. “Well, maybe not you, since you have Lillian.”
    And right there was LuAnne’s problem—she was resentful of the good fortune of her friends. It had taken me a long while to figure out that it wasn’t envy, exactly, because she didn’t want Helen Stroud or Mildred Allen or me to lose what we had. Although Helen, bless her heart, no longer qualified as an enviable subject due to the follies of her now-deceased husband.
    No, LuAnne didn’t want ours, she just wanted some of her own.

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