Like the Sopranos, only no Mafia.

Jun 26, 2006

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The Bottom Line Okay, seriously? There is no damn Bottom Line, genius.

“I don’t wanna wear the hood tonight, Mama.”

My mama looked at me like I said somethin bad about Jesus. “Laurie…”

“I don’t wanna wear it! It’s hot and I can’t breathe. And I can yell just as good without it.” I stomped my foot at her. It ain’t easy to stomp in them poncho-lookin things we gotta wear, either, so I thought she would know I meant business.

She didn’t. “Laurie, sweetie, I know you ain’t too into all this stuff your father makes us do. I ain’t into it either, I’m with you. But all you gotta do is hold the sign this time. You don’t gotta yell or walk much. Can’t you breathe in that hood just standin straight?”

I rolled my eyes, sighed real hard. Looked at her all angry for awhile. But she was fixin her hair in the mirror, couldn’t see me and wasn’t lookin. “Mama,” I said after she was ignorin me a few seconds. “I don’t feel so good. I think I’ll stay home tonight if that’s okay with you.”

“My two favorite ladies!” My daddy came in the house so happy he was about ready to start skippin. He gave mama a big kiss on the cheek and picked me up like a little girl, sittin me on his shoulder (he’s a big strong man, so he can do things like that). “We all set to go to the rally?”

“Laurie’s sayin she’s sick but I bet she’d feel a whole lot better after a Fudge-sickle,” my mama said. I could see in the mirror she was smilin at me; when she saw me see her, she winked.

“You’re right,” he said, tryin to sound serious. But I could see him smilin in the mirror and that made me smile too, even though I was tryin to look sick. “Laurie, how bout we stop by Andy’s on the way there for a couple Fudge-sickles? You can tell me bout your day.”

That woulda been enough to get me smilin even if I weren’t already. “Really?”

“If that’s what makes you happy, baby. I need my girls to be happy with me at my rally tonight!” He ruffled mama’s hair and she giggled. He says she sounds like me when she giggles and that makes him giggle too.

“Is Helen Gardner gonna be there tonight? I been waitin a full week to get that chicken pot pie recipe from her,” mama asked, and started fixin her hair again.

Daddy made a face at her. “Ann…”

“I know, I know…'Ann, it’s a rally, for chrissakes, not a garden party!’ But I just have to have that recipe before the church dinner!” She piled her hair up on her head, looked like one of them ladies in Daddy’s nasty magazines.

“Ann, you gotta keep it to rally-type business tonight. Please? Last time you started askin about the Simmons girl’s tomatoes and I was up there makin a speech!”

She rolled her eyes. “You never let me have fun at these things, Willy.”

“William, it’s William tonight. Can’t let those people get to thinkin I don’t take this seriously, right, Laurie?” He pinched my cheek and then looked up, lookin kinda surprised. “Laurie…where’s your hood?”

“I don’t wanna wear it. It’s hot and I can’t breathe.”

“Sweetie, if William Gordon’s kid was seen at a rally without her uniform…” But that wasn’t workin and he could tell. He sat me in a chair and looked me right in the eye, and when I tried to look away he turned me to face him. “Laurie, you gotta do this for me, okay? You gotta make us look good or the whole thing’s gonna be for nothin.”

Well I can’t stand when Daddy gets like that with me cause I can never tell him no to anything. So I reached over and put my hood on, and he held me in front of the mirror so I could see.

“That’s my little pretty ghost girl there,” he whispered in my ear and I giggled. “See them eyes? Those’re my little pretty ghost girl’s big pretty blue eyes.” He took the point of my hood and made it stand up straight, sayin, “that’s my pretty little dunce-cap ghost girl right there, but she ain’t no dunce! When people ask where the prettiest girl at the rally is, I can point right at you, cause you gotta be the only girl there with such big pretty blue eyes.”

“Stop it, William, you’re gonna spoil her rotten,” my mama scolded him, smacking his arm with her hand.

“I can’t help it that my daughter’s the cutest little girl in the whole state of Alabama!” He pinched my cheek again through the hood. “You look just like a lady on her wedding day in your pretty white dress which’ll soon be covered in chocolate from one of Andy’s Fudge-sickles.”

“Here, honey. This sign’s yours.” Mama handed me a big cardboard square painted white with a big black symbol on it.

“It looks like a spider,” I said to Daddy. “With four of its legs missin.”

“It don’t matter what it looks like, that thing’s gonna save us in Heaven,” Daddy muttered to himself.

“Oh, William, quit puttin ideas in her head. The rallies are one thing, but let the poor kid think for herself.”

“What did that mean, Daddy?” I asked.

He smiled and turned back to face me. “Didn’t mean a thing, sweetie. Let’s go.”

And when the chocolate was runnin down my chin later, I thought, I have the greatest daddy in the world.

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