We had Robbed a Store
It was all that
I could do to get up in the hollow with all that load but we
finally made it and pulled into the parking spot beside the
house. As usual, everybody in the hollow was eyeballing us
as we drove in and parked.
Elaine and I got out of the car and walked into the house.
May was sitting at the table that had been cleaned, for once
and she was having a cup of coffee. I looked over at Blaine
and snapped my fingers, saying, "That's the one thing I
forgot to get, coffee."
I walked over to May and kissed her. She looked up at me
and said, "Well, did you score anything?"
I said, "Yeah, we managed to pick up a buck or two." I
started to unload my pockets and tossed a bunch of fives,
tens, twenties and a dozen fifties onto the table.
May took a look and in a kidding way, said, "What in the
hell did you guys do, rob a bank?" I said, "No, but I got
By that time, the rest of the family was in the kitchen
eyeballing the pile of scratch.
I said to her mother, "How about getting the kids to help us
unload the groceries out of the car? They're all yours,
The kids and her mother went to the car and started to tote
the slabs of bacon, the bags of flour and all the cases of
food (the neighbors were still watching) after the kids took
in the last of the groceries. About a half hour later, a
knock came on the door. May opened it and there stood a
little girl with an empty cup in her hand and she said,
"Mommy wants to know if she could borrow a cup of flour 'til
tomorrow when daddy comes home."
Well, May took the cup, dipped it in a sack of flour and
gave it to the girl.
A few more minutes passed and there was another knock. This
time it was a boy saying, "Mom needs a piece of meat to cook
her beans. She'll give it back when she gets her welfare
check." Next was a teenaged girl wanting a couple of
cigarettes, then another little girl wanting some coffee.
By that time I was fed up with handing out the food and said
to May and her mother,, "What the hell do these people up
here think that we are, the Salvation Army at Christmas? I
got that food for us, not the whole damn community."
Her mother looked at me and said, "You told me that all the
groceries were mine, is that right?" I replied, "Yeah,
"Then I guess that I can do whatever I want to do with them,
can't I?" she said. I replied, "I guess so."
She said, "We all help one another up here in the holler
once in a while. I don't think that we'll starve to death by
letting somebody have a little bit of sugar, lard or flour.
I run out of things once in a while and have to borrow, too.
It took a few minutes to sink in, but I got the message loud
and clear. She was right.
For the next week, every time a car came up the holler,
May's mom was at the window, looking out, thinking it was
the law coming to get Elaine and me. I think that until the
day she died, she believed that Blaine and I had robbed a
To be Continued