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Grey Sparrow Journal

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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Pork Today


by Haden Verble





“No, Grandma, it was a wrong number.”


“How ya know?”


“He didn’t ask for anyone here.” Mary sat back down in the visitor’s chair.


“Did he want Pa?”


“No, Grandma. He recognized he was talking to a woman, and said, ‘Sorry, Ma’am, I got the wrong number’.”


“Then he might’ve wanted Pa.”


“No, Grandma, he didn’t.”


“How d’ya’ know, if he didn’t say?”


“Well, for one thing, Granddaddy’s dead.”


“He is?”


“Yeah. Remember? He died about 25 years ago.”


“Oh, yeah. Had a stroke in the head. I forgot. Maybe he wanted your dad?”


“No, I don’t think so.”


“How ya’ know?”


“Well, Grandma, Daddy’s dead, too.”


“How he die?”


“Airplane crash, remember?”


“Oh, yeah. You need to stay out of those planes.”


“I can’t. I live too far away. I’d never get out here to see you.”


“You still live in Tennessee?”


“No, Grandma. I live in Kentucky now.”


“Oh, yeah. I forgot. What’s the name of that man you married?”


“John.”


“How’s he doin’?”


“I divorced him.”


“What for?”


“He was no good. Would you like some lunch?” Mary stood up. “I could roll you on down. They open in about 15 minutes.”


“Your Mama never liked John. Thought he was no good.”


“Well, she was right about that. I’ll get your shawl. That cafeteria’s awful cold to be feeding old people in.” Mary took the shawl from its hook.


“When’s she comin’?”


“Who?”


“Yer Mama?”


“Remember, Grandma? She had a stroke, too.”


“Did it hurt her?”


“No. Just killed her straight away.” She settled the shawl over her grandmother’s shoulders.


“Oh, yeah. I remember that. What’s for lunch?”


“I think it’s pork today. Put your feet on your footrests.”


“Good. Pa’s hung you a ham in the smokehouse.”


“Okay, good to know. I’m gonna push. Off we go.”


“He killed 14 hogs this fall. How many hams is that?”


“It’s about twenty-eight, Grandma.”


“Whooee! Twenty-eight hams. We must be rich.”


Mary looked down at her grandmother’s head. Her hair was still mostly black at 97. She said, “Yeah, Grandma. We’re doin’ okay.”