Ruby Kindle î Format Kindle

ruby pdf oprah's ebok book free club pdf Ruby PDFStrong wind blew a mouthful of salt into her face She spit it from her lips wiped it from her eyes and uickly swept what was left out of the back doorCelia turned to face Ephram You know Baby Girl Samuels back in townEphram took a bite of eggsCelia wiped the table with a damp rag Supra Rankin say Baby arrive from New Orleans three days ago painted up like a circus clown wrigglin like a mackerel all over townEphram lifted his cup and plate as she cleaned MamaI didnt say it Supra Rankin did Celia looked hard at Ephram Which is why I asked you to get my jars from Glister since the Samuels are just past that wayMama I aint taking that cake to Baby Girl Samuels I aint thought nothing about her in fifteen years Ephram stood up I got to goFinish your breakfastEphram reluctantly satCelia poured the steam back in his coffee He ate the last of his meal as Andy Williamss rendition of Battle Hymn of the Republic syruped its way through the kitchen Celia circled back to the sink emptied water from soaking green beans sat beside Ephram and began snapping the tips off the beans With practiced grace she chucked the remaining pod into a pail with a hollow ting Without looking at Ephram she said Run into Miss Philo mena yesterday at PK She asked after youEphram ate uietly as the music curled under him truth is marching onCelia continued That MissP always be so generous Helping all manner of folk and suchThe song infused itself into the air I have seen Him in the watch firesEphram breathed it inThe beans echoed TINGCelia continued Way she give way that Wonder Bread to them folks flooded out in NechesEphram nodded of a hundred circling camps TINGAnd her old jerky and pickles to them no count Peels TING TINGed Him an altarAnd dont she help out that Ruby Bell uite a bit in the evening dews and damps TINGNow that Bell gal one sad case aint she I can read his righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps TINGYou knowed her as chirrun didnt you Pretty thang she was too with them long good braids Glory glory Hallelujah Look like Gloryshe was gonna Glorycome to something Hallelujah being raised by that White lady after Papa Bell died TINGGoing off Gloryto New York GloryCity like she done Hallelujah Even going Histo that White truthfolks school up there Is marching on TING TING TINGThe song faded into the wallpaper but Celia sang onItsthan a sin how far she fall Hair nappy with mud raiments torn and trampled Now I hear she take to doing her pee pee in the streets Beggin for scraps with crazy scratched acrost her pate And they say what happens at night with menfolk in old Mister Bells house would set his bones to spinninEphram felt little dots of sweat along his temples MaBut I dont blame them none You know how men do Nasty ring its bell and they come running like its suppertime in hell Devil got him a firm foothold in Liberty I know I seen firsthand what conjure can do Folk cut down men shriveled up like prunes Leave a body empty of they spirit so they just a hollow thing til they lay down dead Boy I sat acrost the hearth from Satan close as you is Seen him stirring his big kettle a souls over a lake of fire Im on a first name basis with the Devil so I know how his mind be working always looking out for another sinner to season his brew So when Glister say her boy Charlie seen you eyeballin that Bell gal ever day Sniffin after her I say to her No Sir I raise my boy better than to eat at no Jezebels table and I knowhe aint bringing dessertCealI aint got flippersMamaWhat Ephram noticed his wrist trembling Just barely but there it was He set his cup downMamaits just cakeBaitlike itShe justTell me you aint lie your own mama into making ho cake Ephram breathed in a huge gulp of air as the sleeping pain in his fingers yawned to waking Far away Andy began singing Amazing GraceYour bones botherin you today baby No The pain stretched itself into his knuckles wrists and armsCelia took his hand Ephram you always been simple When you was a boy youd come back with half a pail a milk instead of whole Couldnt never figure out how to stop that cow from kickin it out from under you But thats all right God love simple but so do the Devil Cuz simple aint got the kind of mind to withstand temptationEphrams bones began to shoot through with fire the very marrow sizzled under his skin It was the bad day pain the worst hed felt in years He began to perspire His legs began to shake as a dot of sweat dropped onto the kitchen table Ephram stoodYou need your bad day cane He didnt look at her when he said Im not going out today Mama Ephram walked to the doorway as Celia took a cloth and wiped away the drop of sweat He walked past the narrow hallwayas she stood and plopped her green beans into a waiting potonthe stove He crept into his bedroom slipped off his polished shoes took off his jacket and hat then lay back flat upon the iron bedCelia called in from the kitchen You want a slice of cake baby Not now MamaWell Ill cut you a piece Leave it out for when you get upEphram prayed against the pain It came anyway sizzling like a pit fire Rising burning sucking Ephram gritted his teeth against it Sweat poured into the curve of his ear onto the pillowcase It began receding Ephram took in a breath He felt the bedsprings coiled beneath him The ceiling low and bumpy from when Celia hired the Pastors son to scrap stucco gray over the woodIt started again clanging like a fire alarm wrenching his stomach Ephram balled his fists so hard all ten crescent moons disappeared to white It passed He gasped for airThe spells were getting worse Lately hed felt like his bones were Gods kindling That God must be awfully cold to set so many fires As Ephram waited for the pain he saw Ruby as she used to be the first time hed seen her The sweet little girl with long braids The kind of pretty it hurt to look at like candy on a sore toothEphram gasped in He could tell this wave would be big The hurt rose up and the world crashed down Ephrams last thought before passing out was of sorrow that Ruby would never taste Celias angel cakeHis body grew limp upon the chenille spread his bones grinding even in slumber The Saturday sun ruffling his curtains sending fingers of light across the floor Outside something cawed from atop a tree Something shiny and black It flew from its perch and made lazy eights over Jennings land then it drifted down from the sky into a patch of yard just outside Ephrams room Scratching and strutting until a broom toting woman yelled at it from inside the house At that the crow tilted her head spread her wings and caught the wind Then she cawedChapter The piney woods were full of sound Trees cracking and falling to their death the knell of axes echoing into green the mewl of baby hawks waiting for Mamas catch Bull frogs and barn owls The call of crows and the purring of doves The screams of a Black man The slowing of a heart All captured hushed and held under the colossal fur of pine and oak magnolia hickory and sweet gum Needles and capillary branches interlaced to make an enormous net so that whatever rose never broke through to sky The woods held stories too and emotions and objects a tear of sleeve bits of hair long buried bones lost buttons But mostly the piney woods hoarded soundLike the sharp sueak of a wheel from a childs wagon turning round and round A rusted Radio Flyer being pulled by a little brown boy rattling with a lunch pail of chicken and dumplings biscuits with fig preserves stuffed inside collard greens and a special dessert wrapped in a red and white napkinThe boy named Ephram pulled the wagon with great anticipation He guessed what dessert his big sister had put in his pail Shed made one just like it for his eleventh birthday four months ago The white lay angel cake His mouth watered so that he stopped under the big trees and opened the cloth He was right He nibbled one corner and covered it He paused for a second opened it again then crammed the slice into his mouth It was like eating sweet air When he was done he shook the napkin over his face to catch any crumbs brushed off and walked until he smelled the waterThere were two suns at Marion Lake the one high above and the one floating on the surface The water was a blue mirror surrounded by a hundred trees and a million frogs Ephram took off his shoes and cooled his toes first thing He loved Marion Lake especially on Sunday morning when nobody else was there He used to go on Saturdays before his mama had gone but only after hed finished his chores She was very firm about thatEphram watched the water swirl and skim not too far from shore He knew the fish would be biting He baited a bent nail with a bit of fatback from Celias slop jar Then hoisted his branch pole between two rocks and sat down to eat his dinner Ephram knew he might sit there for hours and never catch a fish Sometimes hed feel one tussle with the line hed pull it above water and see those invisible teeth still grabbing ahold of the bait Scales flashing silver tail twisting single glass eye staring straight ahead until they realized the spot they were in and let go Flop Splosh Down into the sky water until it was out of sight His real mother had called it feeding not fishing He guessed that was true Otha Beatrice Jennings always took notice of the little things Maybe thats why shed been such a good lace maker Ephram wondered if they let her make lace up where she was now He sure hoped soThe chicken and dumplings were good Not as good as Mamas but Celia was a good cook even though she was too bossy about it She was bossy about everything since their father the Reverend had been asked to step down by the Elders He would mumble at bedtime to no one in particular That was a mighty unchristian thing for a pack of Christians to doTo make matters worse the acting preacher was Elder Rankins cousin and a part time janitor at the Piggly Wiggly in Newton who had only recently heard the call The Reverend renamed it the Piggly Service then bade Celia and Ephram to never cross its threshold Well have church in our own house fifty two Sundays a year whether Im here or no Celia had kept the faith making Ephram memorize huge sections of Leviticus and Revelation and recite them perfectly each Sabbath When the Reverend was in town Sunday mornings before breakfast and after chores Ephram and Celia would kneel and he would preach while eggs turned to yellow glue and pancakes shriveled and died Long And sometimes he would pour two fingers of rye and slip a sip between Ephesians anduntil he dozed off That had happened that very morning in fact Celia had scraped their breakfast into the bin made the Reverend some coffee then fixed Ephrams dinner and told him to go playHe had just finished eating and was sitting with his pole when he spotted themMaggie Wilkins and the uiet little girl beside her They were across the lake The girl tiptoed and leaned in her nose almost touching Margarets cheek She was caramel brown with her hair up and fancy grown up eyes in a heart shaped face She held shining black shoes with white stockings balled into the toes She wore a pink dress and looked about eight or nine Margaret was dressed like a farmer She was one of those grasshopper children with legs almost as thin as their arms and twice as long There were six tall rough girls in the Wilkins family including Margaret All lanky and black brown with a constant sheen of ash on their knees elbows and shins Every one of them known for being bad but Margaret had the worst reputation The Wilkins were the Bells no count relations and they lived just on the edge of LibertyEphram had heard of MargaretMaggies right hook getting her kicked out of school long before hed seen her fight None of the Wilkins girls stayed in school for long Most left after half killing some student or teacherAfter each of the girls spilled a good amount of blood they stayed home and helped their mother Beulah Wilkins farm her twenty seven acres of cane and cotton Beulah Wilkins was bigger than all her children put together a mountain of a woman who made the earth shake just a bit when she walked Beulah had been his mamas good friend and Ephram had heard his mama saying that staying out of school might be fine for Samella and the other girls but not so fine for Maggie since she was the smartest of them allStill hed never met Margaret face to face He remembered just last month hed seen her fight Chauncy Rankins younger brother Roosterso named for the rust color of his hair and the way he liked to crow He was built like all the Rankins Big Maggie was ten Rooster was fourteen and hed picked a fight with her because he said he wanted to see if she could really fight Hed made her take off her boots because they were pointed at the end Shed beaten him in bare feet Beaten him bloody Ephram had seen this horrible thing she had done to Rooster Seen his pride water down to a puddle and he couldnt help feeling a little sorry for him Maggie beating Rooster was all anyone had talked about for weeks So when Ephram saw Margaret on the other side of the lake he had no desire to cross pathsJust as he thought of retreating into the brush he saw the uiet girl pointing in his direction Maggie turned fiercely and cut her eyes at himWhat you staring at she called across the lakeIm not staringWhat you doing then FishinWell you best not be staring at nobody if you know whats good for youEphram nodded Im just fishinWell see thats all you doEphram watched the other girl whisper into Margarets ear The two began to approach walking along the waters edge As they got closer Margaret asked You catch anything NawHow long you been here AwhileYou aint fishin you feedinEphram paused and looked at Margaret Although he was a year older Margaret towered above himGimme that poleEphram handed it over before she asked twiceYou Celia Jenningss brother huh Ephram noddedYou got a name EphramMargaret slipped a bobby pin from the other girls hair and bit off the tip The girls two plaits fell past her shouldersWhat you using for bait Ephram handed hersalt porkShe took one look at it and rolled her eyes No wonder She walked straight to the lakes edge dug her hand into the soft earth until she retrieved a long earthworm She walked over to the pole fastened the black pin to the string and bent it back Then she pierced the moving worm with the sharp end of the pin and cast it easily in the water Ephram and the little girl wincedRuby aint never had no catfish This heres RubyRuby nodded at him Ephram nodded backMargaret continued Ruby stay up in Neches most the year with a White lady They aint got no catfish where she fromEphram ventured Aint they got catfish ever where What I just say said Margaret The three of them fell silentThey sat on the lakes shore Ephram to the left Margaret in the center and Ruby to the right of her Out of the corner of his eye Ephram saw Rubys sleeve barely touching Maggies coveralls Then Ruby leaned back and let her head rest against the soft moss grass Ephram did the same and they looked into the identical swatch of sky He hadnt noticed it before but the blue had blown away and a dark flannel had taken its place Maggie took a cigarette from her left ear and struck a kitchen match against the wedge of her beltAint your mama up at Dearing Maggie asked out of the corner of her mouth her eye suinting against the smokeEphram didnt make a sound Maggie went right onThought that was youEphram saw Ruby nudge Maggie as if to stop herNaw I aint sayin nothin bad Papa Bell usta say some of the best people he know be up there Say world be better off if them inside come out and them out go in How long she been there Ephram cleared his throat Three yearsSee then She not bad off as some I know a lady who mama been there fifteen years Aint no reason to be shamed Sh.

Ruby Kindle î Format Kindle

[Read] ➵ Ruby (Oprah's Book Club 2.0) Author Cynthia Bond – Elle-kennedy.co Chapter Ruby Bell was a constant reminder of what could befall a woman whose shoe heels were too high The people of Liberty Township wove her into cautionary tales of the wages of sin and travel They[Read] ➵ Ruby (Oprah's Book Club 2.0) Author Cynthia Bond – Elle-kennedy.co Chapter Ruby Bell was a constant reminder of what could befall a woman whose shoe heels were too high The people of Liberty Township wove her into cautionary tales of the wages of sin and travel They Chapter Ruby Bell was a constant reminder of what could befall a woman whose shoe heels were too high The people of Liberty Township wove her into cautionary tales of the wages of sin and travel They called her buck crazy Howling half naked mad The fact that she had come back from New York City made this somewhat understandable to the townShe wore gray like rain clouds and wandered the red roads in bared feet Calluses thick as boot leather Hair caked with mud Blackened nails as if she had scratched the slate of night Her acres of legs carrying her arms swaying like a loose screen Her eyes the ink of sky just before the stormThat is how Ruby walked when she lived in the splintered house that Papa Bell had built before he passed When she dug into the East Texas soil under moonlight and wailed like a distant trainIn those years after her return people let Ruby be They walked a curved path to avoid her door And so it wasthan strange when someone walked the length of Liberty and brought a covered cake to the Bells front porchEphram Jennings had seen the gray woman passing like a haint through the center of town since shed returned to Bell land in All of Liberty had He had seen her wipe the spittle from her jerking lips run her still beautiful hands over the crust of her hair each day before shed turned the corner in view of the town Hed seen her walking like she had some place she ought to have been then five steps away from PK Market stand pillar still her rain cloud body shaking Ephram had seen MissP the proprietor of the store walk nonchalantly out of her door and say Honey can you see if I got the rise in these rolls right Ephram watched Ruby stare past her but take the brown sack filled with steaming yeast bread Take it and walk away with her acres of legs carrying her while MissP said You come on back tomorrow Ruby Bell and help me out if you get the chanceEphram Jennings had watched this for eleven years Seen her black bottomed foot kick a swirl of dust in its wake Every day he wanted nothingthan to put each tired sole in his wide wooden tub brush them both in warm soapy water cream them with sweet oil and lanoline and then slip her feet one by one into a pair of red heel socksBut instead with each passing year he watched MissP do her Christian duty from the corner of his eye Watched the gray woman stoop to accept the doughy alms He sat alongside the crowd of men parked on their stools outside PK Who read their papers played dominoes and chewed tobacco Toothpicks dangling Pipes smoking Soda pops sweating Just as they had the day Ruby arrived back in Liberty When shed stepped from the red bus the porch had crowded her with their eyes Hair pressed and gleaming like polished black walnut Lipstick red and thick her cornflower blue sundress darted and stitched tight to her waist Ephram had watched her light a cigarette and glare down at the crowd on the market porch in such a way that made folks feel embarrassed for breathing Chauncy Rankin had said later Not only do her shit not stink way she act she ready to sell it by the ounceThey had all watched steadily as she slipped into madness Concern mingled with a secret satisfaction melted into the creases of their bodies like Vaseline After a time they barely glanced up from their papers when Ruby walked up to the market They yawned her existence away or spit out a wad of tobacco juice to mark her arrival A low joke might rumble as MissP handed over her bread followed by throaty chucklesBut one end of summer day Ephram Jennings took particular notice One by one the men on the porch did as well For instead of walking away with her bread as she normally did Ruby didnt move Her body rooted to the spot She stood there holding the brown sack hand uivering like a divining rod And then she peed A long steady stream that hit the red dust and turned it the color of brick She did it absently with calm disinterest Then because no one knew uite what to do Gubber Samuels pointed and hurled out a rough bark of laughter Ruby looked down and saw the puddle beneath her Surprise flowered on her face then fell away leaving a spreading red shame Her hands leapt to her eyes but when she brought them down the world was still there so she dropped the sack in the pool of urine and ran But it wasnt running It was flying long and graceful into the piney woods like a deer after the crack of buckshot Ephram almost stood Almost ran down the porch steps and into the woods after her But the eyes of men were too strong and the continued spitting and snickering of Gubber Samuels anchored him against the tug of mercyBecause Ephrams mama had long since gone to glory that very day he asked his older sister Celia to make up her white lay angel cake because he needed to carry it to an ailing friend Celia looked at him out of the corner of her eye but made it anywayShe made it in that pocket of time before dawn when the aging night gathered its dark skirts and paused in the stillness She made it with twelve new eggs still warm and flecked with feathers She washed them and cracked them one at a time holding each golden yolk in her palm as the whites slid and dropped through her open fingers She set them aside in her flowered china bowl In the yearCelia Jennings still cooked in a wood burning stove she still used a whisk and muscle and patience to beat her egg whites into foaming peaks She used purevanilla the same sweet liuid she had poured into Saturday night baths before their father the Reverend Jennings arrived back in town The butter was from her churn the confectioners sugar from PK And as she stirred the dawn into being a dew drop of sweat salted the batter The cake baked and rose with thesunEphram slept as the cake slid from its tin so sweet it crusted at its crumbling edges so light little craters of air circled its surface so moist it was sure as was always the case to cling to the spaces between his sisters long three pronged silver fork Celia Jennings never cut her white lay angel cake with a knife Itd be like using an ax to skin a rabbit shed always sayThe cake was cooling when Ephram awoke It settled into itself as he bathed and dressed for the dayEphram Jennings smoothed the corners of his great grand daddys hat for the tenth time that morning His wide suare thumbs running along the soft hide brim The leather so thin in places the sun filtered through softly like a Chinese lanternThe magical thing about Ephram Jennings was that if you looked real hard you could see a circle of violet rimming the brown of his irises Soft like the petals of spreading periwinkleThe problem was that no one not even his sister took the time to really look at Ephram Jennings Folks pretty much glanced past him on the way to Blooms place or PK To them he was just another thick horse brown man with a ratted cap and a stooped gait To them there was nothing special about Ephram He was a moving blur on the eyes journey todelicate and interesting placesEphram had become accustomed to this in his forty five years of living Slipping in and out of doorways without so much as a nod or pause in the conversation At his job it was expected He was a pair of hands carrying grocery bags to White folks shiny automobiles Taking tips and mouthing Thank ya Maam Anger or kindness directed towards him indifferently as if he were a lump of coal Ephram told himself he didnt mind But with Black folks there were times when a man might expect an eye to catch hold and stick for a moment Folks never did see his Chinese lamp hat or his purple ringed irises or the way that they matched just perfectly the berry tint of his lower lip They didnt see the ten crescent moons held captive in his fingernails the way he moved like a man gliding under water smooth and liuid as Marion Lake They didnt notice how the blue in his socks coordinated with the buttons on his Sunday shirt or smell the well brushed sheen of Brylcreem in his thick hairThey didnt notice the gracious pause hed take after someone would finish a sentence the way hed give folks the chance to take air back into their lungs before hed fill the space up with his own breath and wordsThey didnt see the way his pupils got wide when his heart filled up with pride or love or hopeBut Ruby didWhen her life was only a building long scream that faded into night Even then Ruby noticed Ephram It was after the big Brownsville hurricane of After eighty six mile an hour winds crashed into Corpus Christi and rippled all the way east to Liberty Township Splashing the edge of west Louisiana and flooding the banks of the Sabine It was after the bending of trees of branches arching to the floor of earth After Marion Lake had swollen up and washed away Supra Rankins hen house and Clancy Simkinss daddys Buick and the new cross for the Church of God in ChristHurricane Beulah had come Rubys fourth year back in Liberty It was then that she saw Ephram JenningsShe had lain in the stagnant pools thick with mud and browning leaves She had knelt before a cracked sugar maple tree and lain in the collecting waters letting the thick fluid cover her like a bedtime blanket She felt her skin melt and slip from her bones her heart spine and cranium dissolve like sugar cubes in warm coffeeShe had been muddy waters for three hours when Ephram found her Her nose rising out of the puddle to inhale and dipping back to release Out and back Out Back Rhythmic like an old blues tuneHe did not scream He did not leap over the tree He did not scoop into her water center to set her freeFor Ephram did not see what anyone else passing down the road would see a skinny dust brown woman with knotted hair lying back flat in a mud puddle No Ephram Jennings saw that Ruby had become the still water He saw her liuid deep skin her hair splayed like onyx river vinesAs rain began to fall upon her Ephram saw her splash and swell and spill out of the small ravine Ephram Jennings knew That is when Ruby lifted her head like a rising wave and noticed Ephram In that moment the two knowings metThey stared at each other under the ancient sky with the soft rain and the full wet earth More than anything Ephram wanted to talk to her and tell her things hed kept locked in the storehouse of his soul He wanted to talk to her about the way Rupert Shankles melons split on the vine and how honeysuckle blossoms tasted like sunlight He wanted to tell her that he had seen a part of the night sky resting in her eyes and that he knew it because it lived in him as well He wanted to tell her about the knot corded about his heart and how he needed her help to loose the bindingBut at that moment Ruby closed her eyes concentrated and melted once again into the poolEphram heard himself asking the strangest uestion heard it before it left his berry lips Are you married But before it could lace through the air he saw that she was once again water And he couldnt ask that of a puddle no matter how perfect So he tipped his hat and made his way back down the road Ephraaam Ephram Jennings your breakfast is been ready As he had nearly every morning of his life Ephram heard his sisters callYes Mama he repliedCelia had raised him since March when their mother had come naked to the In His Name Holiness Church Easter picnic Ephram was eight Celia fourteen The thing he remembered was his sister running over to him covering his eyes That next morning their father the Reverend Jennings took their mother to Dearing State MentalColored Ward then packed his own bags and began preaching on the road ten months out of twelve Celia tended Ephram cooked for him cut his food picked and ironed his shirts blocked his hats nursed him within an inch of his life when he came down with that joint ailment She had paused only long enough to bury their father the Reverend when he turned up dead Lynched a few days after Ephrams thirteenth birthday Ephram had curled up and lost himself in the folds of Celias apron where he stayed for the next thirty two yearsEphram come in here boy Ephram knew without looking that Celia was biting her inner cheek a thing she did whenever a food item wasnt eaten at the proper temperature The colder it got thefuriously she would gnaw Then he heard her sweeping with a vengeance Each morning of his life Celia swept bad luck out of the kitchen door Every evening she sprinkled table salt in the corners and every morning she swept it out again full of any evil the night air held The sweeping stoppedI know you hear me Inaminute Ephram called as he smoothed the weathered brim of his hat onceand faced his sisters mirror This morning this crisp end of summer morning Ephram did something he had not done in twenty years He lookedHe had always straightened the crease in his slacks on Sunday or picked bits of lint from his Deacon jacket He had held a handkerchief filled with ice on his split chin and lip the one winter in his life snow had slicked the front walk He had combed and oiled his scalp and plucked out in grown hairs He had shaved and brushed his teeth and gargled with Listerine But in twenty years Ephram Jennings had not truly looked into a mirrorHis greatest surprise was that he was no longer young He assessed the plum darkness under his eyes the grooves along his full nose the subtle weight of his cheeks Ephram pressed a cool washcloth to his skin then he practiced a smile He had tried on five or six when Celia launched her final callAs Ephram sat down to eat his chair scraped against the butter flower tilesSorry Ephram managedSall right baby just got to remember to pick it up instead of dragI will MamaAnd remember not to leave your bad day cane out where folk can trip on itIll put it away after breakfastDont forget nowI wont MamaCelia swept the long hall as Ephram dipped buttery biscuits into syrup She straightened a wood framed photograph of the Reverend Jennings as Ephram cut into the chicken fried steak He had gotten the cutlet on special at the Newton Piggly Wiggly where he workedBy way of apology Ephram said You fixed that cutlet up real nice MamaThat was a fair cut Why dont you get me somewhen you go into Newton todayI aint going in today MaamOh I thought maybe your sick friend was from Newton since you didnt say who they wasIll pick upof them cutlets on Tuesday MamaCelia put Andy WilliamsSongs of Faithon the phonograph while Ephram peppered his grits and four scrambled eggs She finished sweeping salt from every corner of the house as Hes Got the Whole World in His Hands smoothed across the furniture Ephram chewed slowly and glanced at Celias cake Flaked white inside the outside was all honey gold He imagined handing it to Ruby Bell and seeing something he had not witnessed in over thirty yearsRuby smilingCelia sailed into the room with her dustpan full of salt Well if you aint going to Newton do your friend stay out by Glisters NoCuz Glister got six of my mason jars if you goin round that wayI cant today MamaI was going to make Supra Rankin some of my fig preserves for her husbands great uncles funeral on Monday if you was going that way Lord knows its a shame that family dont believe in getting they people preserved right And how they think the man will keep fresh while they waitin on them Mississippi Rankins to get here I dont knowShephards Mortuary lay folk out nice MamaShamed Mother Mercy last year with them red lips and rubbed on fair skinMamaWoman look like a peppermint stick Lord know You yet one of Junies pallbearers Ephram nodded yes Celia opened the kitchen door to empty the dustpan just as a.

Strong wind blew a mouthful of salt into her face She spit it from her lips wiped it from her eyes and uickly swept what was left out of the back doorCelia turned to face Ephram You know Baby Girl Samuels back in townEphram took a bite of eggsCelia wiped the table with a damp rag Supra Rankin say Baby arrive from New Orleans three days ago painted up like a circus clown wrigglin like a mackerel all over townEphram lifted his cup and plate as she cleaned MamaI didnt say it Supra Rankin did Celia looked hard at Ephram Which is why I asked you to get my jars from Glister since the Samuels are just past that wayMama I aint taking that cake to Baby Girl Samuels I aint thought nothing about her in fifteen years Ephram stood up I got to goFinish your breakfastEphram reluctantly satCelia poured the steam back in his coffee He ate the last of his meal as Andy Williamss rendition of Battle Hymn of the Republic syruped its way through the kitchen Celia circled back to the sink emptied water from soaking green beans sat beside Ephram and began snapping the tips off the beans With practiced grace she chucked the remaining pod into a pail with a hollow ting Without looking at Ephram she said Run into Miss Philo mena yesterday at PK She asked after youEphram ate uietly as the music curled under him truth is marching onCelia continued That MissP always be so generous Helping all manner of folk and suchThe song infused itself into the air I have seen Him in the watch firesEphram breathed it inThe beans echoed TINGCelia continued Way she give way that Wonder Bread to them folks flooded out in NechesEphram nodded of a hundred circling camps TINGAnd her old jerky and pickles to them no count Peels TING TINGed Him an altarAnd dont she help out that Ruby Bell uite a bit in the evening dews and damps TINGNow that Bell gal one sad case aint she I can read his righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps TINGYou knowed her as chirrun didnt you Pretty thang she was too with them long good braids Glory glory Hallelujah Look like Gloryshe was gonna Glorycome to something Hallelujah being raised by that White lady after Papa Bell died TINGGoing off Gloryto New York GloryCity like she done Hallelujah Even going Histo that White truthfolks school up there Is marching on TING TING TINGThe song faded into the wallpaper but Celia sang onItsthan a sin how far she fall Hair nappy with mud raiments torn and trampled Now I hear she take to doing her pee pee in the streets Beggin for scraps with crazy scratched acrost her pate And they say what happens at night with menfolk in old Mister Bells house would set his bones to spinninEphram felt little dots of sweat along his temples MaBut I dont blame them none You know how men do Nasty ring its bell and they come running like its suppertime in hell Devil got him a firm foothold in Liberty I know I seen firsthand what conjure can do Folk cut down men shriveled up like prunes Leave a body empty of they spirit so they just a hollow thing til they lay down dead Boy I sat acrost the hearth from Satan close as you is Seen him stirring his big kettle a souls over a lake of fire Im on a first name basis with the Devil so I know how his mind be working always looking out for another sinner to season his brew So when Glister say her boy Charlie seen you eyeballin that Bell gal ever day Sniffin after her I say to her No Sir I raise my boy better than to eat at no Jezebels table and I knowhe aint bringing dessertCealI aint got flippersMamaWhat Ephram noticed his wrist trembling Just barely but there it was He set his cup downMamaits just cakeBaitlike itShe justTell me you aint lie your own mama into making ho cake Ephram breathed in a huge gulp of air as the sleeping pain in his fingers yawned to waking Far away Andy began singing Amazing GraceYour bones botherin you today baby No The pain stretched itself into his knuckles wrists and armsCelia took his hand Ephram you always been simple When you was a boy youd come back with half a pail a milk instead of whole Couldnt never figure out how to stop that cow from kickin it out from under you But thats all right God love simple but so do the Devil Cuz simple aint got the kind of mind to withstand temptationEphrams bones began to shoot through with fire the very marrow sizzled under his skin It was the bad day pain the worst hed felt in years He began to perspire His legs began to shake as a dot of sweat dropped onto the kitchen table Ephram stoodYou need your bad day cane He didnt look at her when he said Im not going out today Mama Ephram walked to the doorway as Celia took a cloth and wiped away the drop of sweat He walked past the narrow hallwayas she stood and plopped her green beans into a waiting potonthe stove He crept into his bedroom slipped off his polished shoes took off his jacket and hat then lay back flat upon the iron bedCelia called in from the kitchen You want a slice of cake baby Not now MamaWell Ill cut you a piece Leave it out for when you get upEphram prayed against the pain It came anyway sizzling like a pit fire Rising burning sucking Ephram gritted his teeth against it Sweat poured into the curve of his ear onto the pillowcase It began receding Ephram took in a breath He felt the bedsprings coiled beneath him The ceiling low and bumpy from when Celia hired the Pastors son to scrap stucco gray over the woodIt started again clanging like a fire alarm wrenching his stomach Ephram balled his fists so hard all ten crescent moons disappeared to white It passed He gasped for airThe spells were getting worse Lately hed felt like his bones were Gods kindling That God must be awfully cold to set so many fires As Ephram waited for the pain he saw Ruby as she used to be the first time hed seen her The sweet little girl with long braids The kind of pretty it hurt to look at like candy on a sore toothEphram gasped in He could tell this wave would be big The hurt rose up and the world crashed down Ephrams last thought before passing out was of sorrow that Ruby would never taste Celias angel cakeHis body grew limp upon the chenille spread his bones grinding even in slumber The Saturday sun ruffling his curtains sending fingers of light across the floor Outside something cawed from atop a tree Something shiny and black It flew from its perch and made lazy eights over Jennings land then it drifted down from the sky into a patch of yard just outside Ephrams room Scratching and strutting until a broom toting woman yelled at it from inside the house At that the crow tilted her head spread her wings and caught the wind Then she cawedChapter The piney woods were full of sound Trees cracking and falling to their death the knell of axes echoing into green the mewl of baby hawks waiting for Mamas catch Bull frogs and barn owls The call of crows and the purring of doves The screams of a Black man The slowing of a heart All captured hushed and held under the colossal fur of pine and oak magnolia hickory and sweet gum Needles and capillary branches interlaced to make an enormous net so that whatever rose never broke through to sky The woods held stories too and emotions and objects a tear of sleeve bits of hair long buried bones lost buttons But mostly the piney woods hoarded soundLike the sharp sueak of a wheel from a childs wagon turning round and round A rusted Radio Flyer being pulled by a little brown boy rattling with a lunch pail of chicken and dumplings biscuits with fig preserves stuffed inside collard greens and a special dessert wrapped in a red and white napkinThe boy named Ephram pulled the wagon with great anticipation He guessed what dessert his big sister had put in his pail Shed made one just like it for his eleventh birthday four months ago The white lay angel cake His mouth watered so that he stopped under the big trees and opened the cloth He was right He nibbled one corner and covered it He paused for a second opened it again then crammed the slice into his mouth It was like eating sweet air When he was done he shook the napkin over his face to catch any crumbs brushed off and walked until he smelled the waterThere were two suns at Marion Lake the one high above and the one floating on the surface The water was a blue mirror surrounded by a hundred trees and a million frogs Ephram took off his shoes and cooled his toes first thing He loved Marion Lake especially on Sunday morning when nobody else was there He used to go on Saturdays before his mama had gone but only after hed finished his chores She was very firm about thatEphram watched the water swirl and skim not too far from shore He knew the fish would be biting He baited a bent nail with a bit of fatback from Celias slop jar Then hoisted his branch pole between two rocks and sat down to eat his dinner Ephram knew he might sit there for hours and never catch a fish Sometimes hed feel one tussle with the line hed pull it above water and see those invisible teeth still grabbing ahold of the bait Scales flashing silver tail twisting single glass eye staring straight ahead until they realized the spot they were in and let go Flop Splosh Down into the sky water until it was out of sight His real mother had called it feeding not fishing He guessed that was true Otha Beatrice Jennings always took notice of the little things Maybe thats why shed been such a good lace maker Ephram wondered if they let her make lace up where she was now He sure hoped soThe chicken and dumplings were good Not as good as Mamas but Celia was a good cook even though she was too bossy about it She was bossy about everything since their father the Reverend had been asked to step down by the Elders He would mumble at bedtime to no one in particular That was a mighty unchristian thing for a pack of Christians to doTo make matters worse the acting preacher was Elder Rankins cousin and a part time janitor at the Piggly Wiggly in Newton who had only recently heard the call The Reverend renamed it the Piggly Service then bade Celia and Ephram to never cross its threshold Well have church in our own house fifty two Sundays a year whether Im here or no Celia had kept the faith making Ephram memorize huge sections of Leviticus and Revelation and recite them perfectly each Sabbath When the Reverend was in town Sunday mornings before breakfast and after chores Ephram and Celia would kneel and he would preach while eggs turned to yellow glue and pancakes shriveled and died Long And sometimes he would pour two fingers of rye and slip a sip between Ephesians anduntil he dozed off That had happened that very morning in fact Celia had scraped their breakfast into the bin made the Reverend some coffee then fixed Ephrams dinner and told him to go playHe had just finished eating and was sitting with his pole when he spotted themMaggie Wilkins and the uiet little girl beside her They were across the lake The girl tiptoed and leaned in her nose almost touching Margarets cheek She was caramel brown with her hair up and fancy grown up eyes in a heart shaped face She held shining black shoes with white stockings balled into the toes She wore a pink dress and looked about eight or nine Margaret was dressed like a farmer She was one of those grasshopper children with legs almost as thin as their arms and twice as long There were six tall rough girls in the Wilkins family including Margaret All lanky and black brown with a constant sheen of ash on their knees elbows and shins Every one of them known for being bad but Margaret had the worst reputation The Wilkins were the Bells no count relations and they lived just on the edge of LibertyEphram had heard of MargaretMaggies right hook getting her kicked out of school long before hed seen her fight None of the Wilkins girls stayed in school for long Most left after half killing some student or teacherAfter each of the girls spilled a good amount of blood they stayed home and helped their mother Beulah Wilkins farm her twenty seven acres of cane and cotton Beulah Wilkins was bigger than all her children put together a mountain of a woman who made the earth shake just a bit when she walked Beulah had been his mamas good friend and Ephram had heard his mama saying that staying out of school might be fine for Samella and the other girls but not so fine for Maggie since she was the smartest of them allStill hed never met Margaret face to face He remembered just last month hed seen her fight Chauncy Rankins younger brother Roosterso named for the rust color of his hair and the way he liked to crow He was built like all the Rankins Big Maggie was ten Rooster was fourteen and hed picked a fight with her because he said he wanted to see if she could really fight Hed made her take off her boots because they were pointed at the end Shed beaten him in bare feet Beaten him bloody Ephram had seen this horrible thing she had done to Rooster Seen his pride water down to a puddle and he couldnt help feeling a little sorry for him Maggie beating Rooster was all anyone had talked about for weeks So when Ephram saw Margaret on the other side of the lake he had no desire to cross pathsJust as he thought of retreating into the brush he saw the uiet girl pointing in his direction Maggie turned fiercely and cut her eyes at himWhat you staring at she called across the lakeIm not staringWhat you doing then FishinWell you best not be staring at nobody if you know whats good for youEphram nodded Im just fishinWell see thats all you doEphram watched the other girl whisper into Margarets ear The two began to approach walking along the waters edge As they got closer Margaret asked You catch anything NawHow long you been here AwhileYou aint fishin you feedinEphram paused and looked at Margaret Although he was a year older Margaret towered above himGimme that poleEphram handed it over before she asked twiceYou Celia Jenningss brother huh Ephram noddedYou got a name EphramMargaret slipped a bobby pin from the other girls hair and bit off the tip The girls two plaits fell past her shouldersWhat you using for bait Ephram handed hersalt porkShe took one look at it and rolled her eyes No wonder She walked straight to the lakes edge dug her hand into the soft earth until she retrieved a long earthworm She walked over to the pole fastened the black pin to the string and bent it back Then she pierced the moving worm with the sharp end of the pin and cast it easily in the water Ephram and the little girl wincedRuby aint never had no catfish This heres RubyRuby nodded at him Ephram nodded backMargaret continued Ruby stay up in Neches most the year with a White lady They aint got no catfish where she fromEphram ventured Aint they got catfish ever where What I just say said Margaret The three of them fell silentThey sat on the lakes shore Ephram to the left Margaret in the center and Ruby to the right of her Out of the corner of his eye Ephram saw Rubys sleeve barely touching Maggies coveralls Then Ruby leaned back and let her head rest against the soft moss grass Ephram did the same and they looked into the identical swatch of sky He hadnt noticed it before but the blue had blown away and a dark flannel had taken its place Maggie took a cigarette from her left ear and struck a kitchen match against the wedge of her beltAint your mama up at Dearing Maggie asked out of the corner of her mouth her eye suinting against the smokeEphram didnt make a sound Maggie went right onThought that was youEphram saw Ruby nudge Maggie as if to stop herNaw I aint sayin nothin bad Papa Bell usta say some of the best people he know be up there Say world be better off if them inside come out and them out go in How long she been there Ephram cleared his throat Three yearsSee then She not bad off as some I know a lady who mama been there fifteen years Aint no reason to be shamed Sh.

Ruby Kindle î Format Kindle

Ruby Kindle î Format Kindle Is a well known author some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the Ruby Oprah's Book Club book this is one of the most wanted Cynthia Bond author readers around the world.

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