Most of Mammaw Ruby’s customers lived in Victoria and Luxora. She even sold Avon to the gypsies living on the edge of Osceola. On Saturday, I helped her with deliveries. Her car was crammed with white sacks filled with lipsticks and lotions and rose-scented perfume. She said while we were out, we needed to see how high the Mississippi River had risen with all the recent rain, in case Papa Homer needed to build an ark.
Mammaw Ruby wasn’t known for her driving abilities.
Driving to the top of the levee, she hogged the entire road. I held my breath and prayed no one was speeding up the other side.
As her car straddled the levee, the river roiled only inches away lapping against the asphalt.
A tree floated by.
“I’ll swanee! We’re stuck!” Mammaw said in a panic. “I can’t turn around.”
“Let me out. I’ll walk.” There was no way I was going to drown in Mammaw’s car when she plunged over the edge. Even though I was a good swimmer, the current was dangerous. Daddy said if we EVER swam in the Mississippi River, we would surely drown.
Before I could escape, Mammaw reversed the car and backed down the levee the way we had come. The motor moaned. My knuckles cramped and clutched the door handle as I prepared to jump.
Later that night, I relayed the story to Momma at the supper table. Momma promised we would never again ride with Mammaw Ruby. Momma forgot all about that promise the next time she needed a free babysitter.
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.
Johnny Cash – Five Feet High and Rising