In Good Company Volume 11

The Choice


"Mama, I ain't feelin' so good."

Nettie looked up from pulling weeds in her staked, dark green tomato vines supporting an abundance of light green fruit turning red. Two rows over from the tomatoes, her normally uncomplaining, nine-year-old daughter, sagged against her hoe.

"Come on over here, girl. Let me take a look at you."

Lifting her long skirts with one hand and carrying the hoe with the other, Molly stepped across the rows of mellow green potato plants where she'd been breaking up the dark soil and walked around the end of the tomato row to her mother. She pulled off her bonnet to reveal her sweat-soaked, black ringlets and squinted up at her mothers face.

"I ain't felt good since I got up this mornin', Mama."

Nettie nodded and put her gentle, calloused fingers on Molly's neck beneath her ear.
"Your face is as red as a beet. You've been draggin' around ever since you came back from Grannie's place. You musta caught something down in the valley. . . .