Tuesday, March 31, 2015


Miss Kathryn Roseberry is an older married woman with a perfectly good husband, but who is still known as Miss, as are many of the older women still today. We younger women would call them by their first names, but only by appending the “Miss”---never “Mrs.”   It’s like the Peerage---you’d never say Sir Connery, but Sir SEAN.

Miss Kathryn is an imposing, rumbly-voiced woman, of opinions as solid as her ample figure in those Goldsmith’s dresses, and of a great kindness, especially to all the children.   She has “help” in the house, and for the yard, and belongs to every organization, club, committee and foundation between Memphis and Greenville.  She can be relied on to get the job done, whether it’s raising funds for the incumbent governor, or raising a tent for a Lions’ Club fish-fry (well, maybe she’d bring her long-time employee Jonah to help with that one). 

One day I got an excited call at work from Miss Kathryn, speaking so fast I could hardly decipher her words.  She’d been in an absolute fantod for days, having lost the quite large stone from her engagement ring, and had searched high and low, still wearing the ring with its sad empty clutch of prongs standing there like a wistful coronet on a Disney-Frog Prince.

 She'd come into our office several times, and would pry and poke around, to the extent of going into the trash can once, even lifting out the sag of the big grounds-stained coffee filter in her fingertips like an overfilled diaper.

She'd made her way up and down the street, stepping into stores and offices with her purse square on her shoulder and Mr. Slim's big ole square EverReady flashlight in her hand, looking under desks and into corners to see if her stone might have rolled that far. We'd see her on the street, kicking a rock, looking down down down, her glasses sliding from her sweaty nose to end with a little bungee jerk on the end of their rhinestone chain.

You'd have thought the Kohinoor had been purloined and secreted somewhere in our small town, and SHE, Allan Quatermain, commissioned to ferret it out.

She called me one day, having been in for her “Standing Appointment” at the Chat ‘n’ Curl, and having her quite sizeable up-do “done” in its weekly intricacies of swoops and hairpins and enough Aqua Net to plaster Paris. She’d also had her manicure, those dark old talons shellacked within an inch of their lives in a deep red, which rendered her every gesture a blur of crimson. You could always tell who had just had her nails done, by the position of their hands on the wheel, or how they sorta scrambled for their keys or wallet with the sides of their thumbs, so as not to disturb the not-quite-dry polish.

I answered the phone, to hear a babble of excited words, uttered in what I quite possibly believe was one breath:

“I FOUND IT!!! I FOUND it!!! I opened the door on the right hand side, and it TWINKLED at me!!! It was just a-shinin’ in that dirty flowboard over there by the gas pedal! I leaned in so quick to get it before I lost sight of it, I knocked three a' four pins outa my hair on the stirrin’ wheel and the gearshift!

I come up with it, though, my hair just a-hangin’ and my fingernail polish done scratched all to Hell, from grabbin’ so hard in that sandy carpet.

I’m just tickled to death! I was afraid I was gonna hafta go clear to Memphis to find another one, or else wear this ole hole on my hand forever, one.

I feel like if I hadn’t-a gone by Clorene’s with those fruit-jars, I never woulda found it, cause when I opened the door in her yard, the sun hit it just right, and I KNOW it woulda done been eat up by the vacuum cleaner next time Jonah washed my car!

Thank you, JESUS!”

Thank you, indeed. He was even mentioned in the ad she took out to impart her good news to the whole county.

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