Dead End

Dellie by Author Ellen J. Perry


cold is in the air,
an aura of ice
and phlegm.
All day I’ve built
a lifetime and now
the sun sinks to
undo it.
The horizon bleeds
and sucks its thumb.
The little red thumb
goes out of sight.
And I wonder about
this lifetime with myself,
this dream I’m living.
I could eat the sky
like an apple
but I’d rather
ask the first star:
why am I here?
why do I live in this house?
who’s responsible?

Anne Sexton, “The Fury of Sunsets” (1974)


Mae, 1935

            This morning when I woke up I was Miss Mae Dixon, then I married Alfie at noontime and that girl was gone for good. But I like my new self very much so far. Mrs. Alfred Jenkins, Mrs. A. W. Jenkins, I keep writing it. Can it be me? How did it happen that with such ease I put on my mother’s wedding dress, walked from our house down the path to Daddy’s church, held a bouquet of sweet white roses from my sister Ruth’s garden, said some words to Alfie, and became a different person? It seems like midsummer magic or a baptism, one. Well, maybe underneath, I’m the same east Tennessee mountain girl. But I’ve got a new life now and am thrilled to start it.

Alfie spent half a year building our house and today he carried me over the threshold. My own home to make! I wondered who our neighbors would be but turns out I didn’t need to worry about that. The only folks close by are buried in the Williams County cemetery, which I can see from my big kitchen window. Grey headstones spring up like memories frozen in time, just beyond the garden shed in our backyard. Old Mr. Calhoun is out there and the Smith girl who died of influenza. It’s sad to think of Dottie Smith taken up to Heaven so soon. I was just a little one then, but Mama talks about how sweet she was. Of a sudden I want to ask our Lord in His wisdom: how can it be that Dottie fell ill and died only a week before her wedding day, and here I sit on my front porch – a happy June bride? How can those two things be true at the same time?

Well. Never mind the cemetery. I’ll plant some sunflowers back there before long, and Alfie’s garden will come up, and then all we’ll see from the kitchen are living things. There’s such goodness here in our home, on this land, so many possibilities. We are young! The birds sing it back: we are young, like the first man and woman in Eden. This is the longest day of the year and the sun finally sets overhead. I can feel the last of its warmth as I lift my face to the violet sky and write in my diary, the book where I will record the days of my life as Mae Jenkins, Alfred’s wife.

Brittany, 2018
Brittany Wyatt
Ms. Jacquelyn Gibson
English IV
27 October 2018

I’m supposed to be reading some poems for school and writing a journal entry about them. But I’ve only made it so far as the MLA-style heading. Look how I got the date format right! Ms. Gibson will be happy. I’ve read two of the poems. It’s Saturday morning. My response is due Monday. I don’t know what to say about these poems except that they’re sonnets, but Ms. Gibson already knows that. She says just to keep typing until something happens so I’ll write till Kevin comes over. Type, type, type.

It’s my senior year and I don’t like poems or even school much anymore and I get scared thinking what am I going to do after graduation. Maybe I’ll turn this journal into a blog? Or she said we could write and then vlog about it. Anything but tweet. She wants us to write more than that. Type, type, type. A sonnet has 14 lines. “Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art” means John Keats is thinking about stars, and maybe love.

I’m going to “swoon to death” (14) if I keep reading this poem. I think I cited that right. What else? Keep typing. I used to like English class and was so excited when I got this laptop. Nana says I used to read a lot but that was before Mom went to rehab for the first time and we moved back here to Nowhere, Tennessee. Nowhere is somewhere between the North Carolina line and Johnson City. That’s what Dad tells people. Easy for him to say, he still lives in Charlotte.

Me and Mom are doing ok now. We live at the top of a mountain that’s hard to get to, even though you can see the start of our windy gravel road from the interstate. Most people probably don’t look. They speed by, real important and busy, they don’t even know we’re here. There’s a yellow sign at the bottom of our road that says DEAD END. So I don’t blame the drivers for not seeing us. I probably wouldn’t either, if I was them.

Mae, 1938

I am a mother.

I will write it again so I can be sure: I am a mother.

Our first child was born at home on Christmas day – “like our Savior, hallelujah,” Daddy said. Mama went downstairs at dawn and told him and Alfie both that it was done. She looked so tired. Ruth came and helped, too, my sister who has three of her own now, and we were all so tired by the end of it. The parlor chairs squeaked as Daddy and Alfie got up, and the front door slammed behind them; they’d gone out to the porch to smoke and I could hear them laughing out there, hollering to anyone who walked by: “IT’S A BOY!”

A boy, thanks be to God, for he will never have to experience the pain of childbirth, or understand that after he emerged in the world his life overtook mine completely and I could barely move and wanted to bury myself in the darkness beneath Aunt Margaret’s quilt. Maybe I could just slip away, I thought on Christmas morning as the church bells rang out, and sometimes still think. But then I look at my son through a haze and know he needs me to come back; he whimpers to remind me, and I return.

Now that Franklin is a month old there’s a new set of lessons for me in the icy new year, some that have come easily and others that are surprising. For one, I realize how in pictures and on our mantel the Nativity scene is always perfectly still and peaceful, but that’s all wrong, it’s the wrong story. The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay, we sing, the virgin Mother’s blue gown spotless, her halo glowing, nobody moving. The angel figurines don’t fly, they just hover suspended, and the Wise Men kneel with gifts that might be useful or not, like Mrs. Ferguson’s ham casserole that was so salty we none of us could eat it, but Alfie said to her at the door Oh thank you! Mae sends her best, she is resting, we are all well and happy.

The camel and sheep figures placed carefully near the Christ-child never move and are not like animals at all, but the wildness of my baby’s screams makes me think of beasts howling. From Franklin in early morning hours comes a long primitive cry akin to the sound a wounded animal makes. This howl chills my bones. The gritty-earthy power of tending new life exists miles away from the sweet manger scene, o little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie, the lie we all believe, because there’s no other way to manage it otherwise, the raw truth of motherhood and how fiercely we both love and flail, as if desperate to keep afloat. These two things happen for new mothers, I learned – loving and drowning – at the same time.

Brittany, 2018

Kevin just got here but I didn’t know he was bringing his idiot friend Rob. Rob’s girlfriend Jenny had a baby this summer. He needs to be helping them out today, give Jenny a break. I think she’s trying to study for the GED. But no, he’s here playing video games with Kevin and acting like a big baby himself. Maybe if I keep typing they’ll get the hint and go do something else. I already told Kevin I have homework and my shift at Hardee’s starts at 4. Mom takes care of this old man Mr. Hayes so she’s at work today and using the car, or I’d drive someplace to get away for a while. I like Barnes and Noble in town.

Great, now they’re shooting out back and the dogs are barking like crazy. Kevin’s been working down at Citgo to make gas money for his truck and save for prom this spring. I guess we’re going together, if his crazy religious mom lets him out of her sight for two seconds. Or maybe he’s taking Rob? Haha. The school will probably get upset again about the gay kids dancing together at prom. I don’t go to church but Liza said their preacher talked last year about how the community needs to stand against this. Being one of the only mixed kids at my school, I know how the gay kids must feel. It’s hard to be different here in Nowhere.

Ok back to homework. I can do this. “When to the sessions of sweet silent thought I summon up remembrance of things past, I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought, and with old woes new wail my dear time’s waste.” Shakespeare uses alliteration here, I think. And he has memories that make him sad. But at least he had peace and quiet. This is a waste of my time!!! And I can’t think with all the shooting. I’m going to grab my notebook and walk down to Citgo.

Mae, 1943

            I got a letter from Alfie today and it reminded me to write in my diary. His letter was cheerful but I’m not, and here is what I want to say: we were minding our own business when some other men from other countries got ideas, and Alfie had to abandon the Tennessee fields for foreign ones. I don’t know these men but because of them our lives will never be the same. We had been doing our best but more is required, it seems. Daddy says often from the pulpit, “More is required,” and the congregation nods in solemn agreement.

I feel sad that our two-year-old daughter Ruby doesn’t know Alfie, and I’m afraid because Franklin plays every day with toy pistols, wanting to be a soldier like his daddy but not understanding what it’s all about, not knowing that Alfie might never come home, like Harold Waters and his cousin Sal who were lost to us in Tunisia. This reminds me: there is a globe in the library. Other day I saw Harold’s widow Lillian in there looking at it, her finger pointed at the top of Africa, and Miss Vickers the librarian had to run get the doctor when Lillian fainted and wouldn’t move even when revived. It took Dr. Jenkins and two nurses to get her carried back home, and Miss Vickers and I just stood there and cried until Franklin started spinning the globe around fast like it was a toy-world; he laughed and made the world revolve, and I thought how much I hated God for spinning and uprooting everyone, laughing at us, then I got hold of myself and asked forgiveness. We went home with our library books but it’s hard to forget Lillian falling, slowly like she did, beside Africa. I don’t know if she will ever recover.

Grief is an awful thing, a living being that flattens us even when we try to stand in pride and defiance. If we don’t pay attention to it early on, it will bring us down. I’ve almost started grieving the loss of Alfie already. I practice hearing the words spoken aloud, reading the blocky letters on the telegram, all of it. Any way I could get the news I rehearse in my mind for fear of falling and never getting up again. If Alfie lives, I will be happy but almost surprised, as if he exists neither in this world nor the next.

Meantime there are two new markers in the cemetery I see from my kitchen window, and since Lillian went down I’ve been putting sunflowers on Harold and Sal’s graves. Their bodies aren’t really there but Sal’s family already had the plot, so we all pretend. Those boys who never dreamed of leaving Tennessee are still in Tunisia but I visit them out back every day, Ruby on my hip and Franklin crouching behind headstones then rising up – eyes wide open for enemy groundhogs, toy guns blazing.


Brittany, 2018

I’d just sat down at Citgo to finish my poetry homework when Liza’s brother Eddie came in, and I figured there’d be trouble. He got back from Afghanistan a few years ago and hasn’t been the same since. I watched him looking at the firewood stacks outside all glassy-eyed and it reminded me of how Mom used to be. She started taking pain pills after she hurt her back lifting a patient at the hospital, and I guess Eddie got hooked on them after he almost died in an IED attack.

When I’d go to Liza’s house in middle school, I’d get all excited because I had the biggest crush on Eddie. He played football and was real smart, even made the high school’s honor roll every year. His girlfriend was homecoming queen, always smiling and waving in parades. Liza said she moved to Knoxville after graduation to go to college. They don’t hear from her anymore but she posts pictures of herself on Instagram looking cute in her orange spirit team uniform, still smiling and real peppy. But Eddie looks like a sad old man now with his limp and a scraggly beard.

He made his way inside with some firewood and Ralph at the register kept a close eye on him. A few weeks ago Kevin said Ralph had told him and all the employees to watch Eddie, make sure he didn’t take anything when he wandered in. He was bad to try to sneak beer cans under his big overcoat, stuff like that. But this time it seemed like all he could do was fumble in his pockets to scrape up a few dollars for the wood and some cigarettes. “You all right, buddy?” Ralph asked. Eddie was in slow motion, like under water. Finally he nodded. “Yeah, man, gon build a fire before the snowstorm hits.”

Today has been so warm, one of those bright October days where you might even forget winter was coming. For sure it isn’t going to snow. But I watched Eddie leave Citgo and thought about that poem Ms. Gibson read us in class, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” and got a little chill. Eddie used to blaze like a bonfire, zig-zagging on the football field, doing a victory dance that made all us girls laugh and cheer. Now he’s stuck in the cold woods with miles to go. Now he pulls his coat close and hunches over, fumbling toward what, I’d be willing to bet, has got to feel like a dead end.

Mae, 1964

I was watering the garden this morning and thought about how long it has been since last I wrote. It took some searching just to find this book tucked away in my cedar chest. What dreams I had as a young wife; I imagined I would write about my adventures every day. Life takes over and we get tossed around and under by storms not of our own making, then lifted high on waves of joy, and always dropped back down to earth again.

The most important reason I haven’t written is because I am not only a grandmother now but a working woman – a teacher! Alfie made it home from the war, thanks to God’s grace, but he didn’t really come home, not for a while. He was badly injured on Omaha Beach in Normandy and didn’t talk to any of us for some time. He couldn’t farm or build, barely ate or moved for months. So I started school at East Tennessee State, got my certificate, and went to work. I didn’t care what anybody said or thought about it. Somehow as Alfie slipped away, I knew I had to get moving for the sake of our children. I suppose marriage is like that: when one collapses, the other pushes forward. It’s a wonder we ever get on the same track. Some don’t, especially after war; there are rumblings now of another one in Asia, and Ruby’s letters from Atlanta are mostly about why we shouldn’t get involved.

Alfie is better now and we’ve found each other again. But it has been a long road with much hardship. We lost a child when I was in my early 30s; she lived only a few hours after entering the world. Once the tiny coffin was placed in the ground I went back to my kitchen and sat at the window for days. I just stared at the headstones and wondered, why? What are we all doing here? Why do I live in this house that overlooks the cemetery where my baby Belle is buried? We all end up out there, sooner or later. It’s a dead end. And I’ve been living at this dead end since I was eighteen years old, a new bride with the foolish idea that planting sunflowers along our property line would shield us from the truth.

I wish I could write with authority that what saved me in dark times was the knowledge of God’s presence, or the relief of getting some answers, but there were many days after Belle died when I didn’t feel Him near us at all. So after a period of terrible grief my salvation came in the form of getting up every morning and knowing I had two purposes: caring for the family that remained and being present for my students. Even now I look at my “kids” trying so hard to learn and it makes me proud. I watch them writing themes and figuring out number problems; there are tender souls as well as hardened ones in my classroom. It is my duty to love and teach them all.

That is where Alfie and Franklin, and Mama and Daddy disagree with me. Except for Ruby, who recently started teaching school like her mama, I am the only one in our family who believes every child should get a chance to learn. People around here feel like they’ve worked so hard for the good things they have, and sometimes they’re afraid they might lose ground if others have access to some of that good life as well. But I don’t believe this is so. There is enough for us all if we can just let go of the fear of loss, of people different from ourselves. Franklin, sadly, is an example of someone who operates most every day from this fearful place. He and his wife Bonnie live in a brand-new housing development nearby, which Alfie helped build; we enjoy visiting their lovely home and seeing our little granddaughters. Every time I’m there playing princess-dress-up with the girls, though, I can’t help but think about my students whose parents barely make enough money to keep them in clothes that fit. When Bonnie prepares an elaborate midday meal, I think about my student whose mother works three jobs so as to keep her daughter from the stigma of the free lunch program.

Franklin is a real estate broker and talks to clients about how we need to keep our neighborhoods safe and thriving. On his desk he has pictures of Elizabeth and Madeline, which he points to when making the case that Williams County’s newest housing developments – the ones he represents – are the best choice because only the most respectable community members live there. “Further,” I’ve heard him say, “these homes are close in proximity to the highest-performing school districts.” When Ruby comes to visit she reminds Franklin that school integration is the law now, but Franklin just mumbles under his breath and changes the subject. Ruby sighs or storms out, depending on how patient she happens to be feeling, and I understand her frustration. In east Tennessee there are so few colored families that it’s hard to see any changes at all.

My eyes were first opened to this problem when a guest professor came to ETSU from Knoxville a few years ago and talked about what might be coming. I went home from that lecture and thought about how Jesus loved the little children – “red and yellow, black and white” – and I wanted to follow His example. I say this to Daddy often and he seems to understand, but then when the deacons are around and they get to talking about it, he takes their side. The head deacon Mr. Potter says, “Letting them into our schools is just the start. Where does it end? When they’ve married our women and moved to the neighborhood?” Daddy shakes his head and says, “It ain’t right.” Alfie agrees with Daddy but won’t speak up in public, says we should keep our thoughts about the negroes to ourselves. “No need to make a fuss about something that might be a big deal in the cities but won’t come to nothing here,” he says.

Alfie doesn’t much like it but since I’ve been going to the colored church with old hymnals and choir robes to donate, I’ve made a new friend. Rosalee has two children, twin boys around Ruby’s age who moved to Chattanooga for work but come home for holidays. She’s the teacher at the colored school. I’ve not met her husband George but Rosalee tells me he is a church elder and wants the colored children to stay among their own where they’re protected, at church and school both. George is a veteran though his outfit had to stay separate from the white units, which must have hurt him badly – especially because he was a distinguished member of the 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion, an all-colored outfit that landed at Normandy on D-Day! They were on Omaha Beach, where Alfie was, and Utah Beach. I had no idea about this. Rosalee said it was the job of the 320th to manage armed balloons that kept enemy aircraft away. It troubles me that Alfie and George were both born in Williams County and went to the same war at the same time, fought on the same beaches in France, even, but they aren’t likely to speak to each other about it, or find common ground.

Rosalee and I talk about what it might be like one day for all this to change. It frightens and thrills, to have these secret conversations together after school; I help her hang up choir robes, and we imagine a different kind of world. What if our future great-grandchildren could play together and not be shy? What if they could learn together and not be afraid?

Brittany, 2018

Ok. So I emailed Ms. Gibson and told her I was having a hard time with the homework. I can’t get into the sonnets at all. She asked me if I wanted to see what her college English students were working on for their projects, and I couldn’t believe it! She teaches a night class at Northeast State Community College and I was so excited she thought I could maybe do the work. I’m not even in her college prep class at the high school. So now I’m on my break at Hardee’s and reading this wild stuff she sent. It’s like a different world. The weirdest so far is by a poet named Anne Sexton: “I open my pocketbook, as women do, and fish swim back and forth between the dollars and the lipstick. I pick them out, one by one and throw them at the street signs, and shoot my pocketbook into the Charles River.” HA! I don’t know exactly what this means, but it gives me a fun rebellious feeling and I like it way better than Shakespeare. It also reminds me of the mess of trout Kevin and Rob caught the other day and bragged about to no end. I’d like to throw a bunch of those poor old trout at the DEAD END sign at the bottom of my road, and run off laughing.

My favorite so far is Zora Neale Hurston, a writer I didn’t know anything about till now. Being part black in Nowhere, east Tennessee, I just about cried reading this:

“At certain times I have no race, I am me. When I set my hat at a certain angle and saunter down Seventh Avenue, Harlem City, feeling as snooty as the lions in front of the Forty-Second Street Library, for instance…I belong to no race nor time. I am the eternal feminine with its string of beads. I have no separate feeling about being an American citizen and colored. I am merely a fragment of the Great Soul that surges within the boundaries. My country, right or wrong. Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It’s beyond me.”


Ms. Gibson said that for my homework I could write a personal response to one or two of the readings she sent. My break is almost over so here goes:

Something that’s been bothering me a lot lately is Liza told me Kevin’s parents said to her mom at church that they want him to find a good job after school and marry a good girl. Which means a girl that’s a Christian, and doesn’t have divorced parents, and whose mom isn’t an addict, and who is white. I think the big thing is white. Which means not me. Which means Kevin-the-mama’s-boy will do whatever she tells him to do. But I think Zora would say, Who needs them? I think Zora would say, Let’s figure out a plan.

Anne would, too. Dollars or lipstick, what’s more important? She wrote about ambition birds. “All night dark wings flopping in my heart. Each an ambition bird.” What if I didn’t fling dead fish, but let my ambition birds fly? Where would they take me? Could I go to college, take Ms. Gibson’s class at Northeast State? I bet she’d help me, figure out how to apply. I bet she knows I’m struggling. Maybe she sent me Zora and Anne on purpose.

Mae, 1985

So much has happened. I don’t know where to start. Maybe it’s best to begin with how Mama died of cancer last year and Daddy followed with a heart attack soon after. They had lived full lives, but I grieved as if I’d lost both in their prime. Drinking coffee in the kitchen this morning I glanced out at the cemetery; it’s so very full now, and I remember many of the people who are buried there. Every Friday this summer Alfie and I have been placing daisies on our parents’ graves. Every Saturday we take sunflowers to Sal and Harold, casualties in Alfie’s war; we offer chrysanthemums at the memorial to Nate, Freddie, and David, all sweet boys from church, killed in Vietnam. Then on Sunday afternoons I sit quietly alone with my baby Belle, the daughter I’ll never know. I don’t know her at all but I imagine that she would have liked violets, so I place them carefully around the white marble lamb on her headstone. “Behold the Lamb of God,” John the Baptist says in the Bible, “who takes away the sin of the world.” Belle, my youngest, was born on Good Friday just before Easter, and my oldest arrived on Christmas Day.

I always have questions. What does this birth order mean? Did Christ come full-circle through our family, with middle-child Ruby playing the role of social justice activist, pacifist, women’s libber – the revolutionary spirit existing between Nativity and crucifixion? When will Alfie and I be buried in our plot out there by Belle, the one we bought during the early years when our own mortality seemed a distant, silent shadow? Which of us will be called up first, leaving the other alone to mourn?

I’ve never gotten answers to any of my questions from an external source. But walking alone in the cemetery, when the afternoons are warm and long like my wedding day in 1935, I find them bubbling up from within. The most important answer is: I am responsible. I made choices in my life sometimes, and other times choices were made for me. But now at nearly 70 years old I get to act, interpret, believe, not believe, re-shape and re-vision; it is up to me to make meaning of the chaos that is human life.

Some days are easier than others. I am disappointed that Franklin’s girls have perpetuated so many of the same patterns of bigotry that Ruby fights against every day. Elizabeth and Madeline live with their wealthy husbands in what are called “gated communities” in Nashville, and they plan to send their own children to private school. Franklin, divorced from Bonnie, mostly works and plays golf on occasion in Knoxville. He calls us each week but Alfie and I don’t see him as often as we’d like.

My greatest hope now is that the life of Ruby’s only child, my 16-year-old granddaughter Josie (short for Josephine), will be a guiding light that symbolizes a new day. Ruby married one of my friend Rosalee’s sons, John – who is “black,” not “colored,” Ruby still has to remind Alfie. The union caused great scandal here in Williams County, but they live in Atlanta now where years ago they both began teaching in the newly-integrated schools. Then Josie arrived and lit up our lives.

Josie comes to stay with Alfie and me during the summers while John and Ruby are off working on their causes. Right now they’re focused on a new disease that we hear of pretty often on the news; Ruby wants to learn how to talk about it to the kids in her health classes. This disease and other world events scare me to death, but Josie and I just have fun when she’s here. She dresses up like Michael Jackson and Cyndi Lauper and the various pop stars, and teaches me their songs. Our favorite is “1999” by Prince. She plays it on her jam box and we sing and shimmy right along: Tonight we’re gonna party like it’s 1999!

Josie is a precious jewel, born from love and justice. I can’t wait to see where life takes her – blasting like a rocket into the 21st century.


Brittany, 2018

A “PS” on my homework assignment that I’ll turn in Monday to you, Ms. Gibson: I got home from my shift at Hardee’s and heard Kevin out back shooting again and it made me so mad, I decided right then and there to break up with him. Forget about the prom and his stupid guns. I’ve got other stuff going on. I told Mom how excited I was about maybe taking a college class after graduation, that I’m going to ask you to help me and send me more stuff to read. Mom was tired from cleaning up after Mr. Hayes all day but smiled a little bit, then went and got something from her bedroom. “Come out on the porch,” she said, flipping the light on. It had turned cold (maybe Eddie was on to something about snow coming) but we bundled up and scooted the rickety old lawn chairs close together.

“This is your great-grandmother Mae’s diary,” she said, handing me an old book with yellowed pages so easy to tear I almost hated to touch it. “Go ahead, it’s yours. Your Nana Ruby wanted you to have it when the time was right. Mae and Ruby were both teachers, you know. They’d be so proud of you.”

Mom went back inside to lay down and I read every word of my great-grandmother Mae’s diary, right out there under the porch light. As a child I’d only thought of her as a scary-looking old lady in the nursing home that we visited sometimes, and Nana Ruby died when we were still living in Charlotte. She and Mom barely talked before Mom went to rehab, and even after that they weren’t close. I’d been selfish, never asking much about Mae or Ruby or wondering who they really were. But they came to life on the diary pages, and I was ashamed I hadn’t spent more time with them. It was midnight when I closed the book.

Mae thought Mom – Josie – would change the world, and she hadn’t. That made me sad. But sometimes we get stuck and stumble, like Mom and Eddie both did, like so many of us do. A few wrong turns and we start to believe the DEAD END sign is telling us the truth. But then Zora comes along, or you, Ms. Gibson: somebody who helps us see another way. If Mae could survive war and losing a child, and go back to school and fight racism, and push on even when she probably didn’t feel like it – I can, too.

Today is over. It’s dark and cold outside. Anne Sexton wrote, “All day I’ve built a lifetime and now the sun sinks to undo it.” Tomorrow is Sunday, though, a fresh start. I think I’ll go to the Williams County cemetery and leave some flowers for Mae, thank her for giving all she had to make a good life for her family. Tomorrow I’ll thank Mom for getting better and working hard to keep us going. Tomorrow I’ll tell Kevin to keep his guns, his trout, and his mama away from me. Tomorrow, tomorrow, I’ll make my grandmothers proud; tomorrow I’ll let the ambition birds fly free.