Emma Is Surprised While Doing Chores

I have to get my picture
taken for my license tomorrow,
so I’m getting my hair cut
today—it sure did grow over
the winter, the only thing
that does. It’s going to be
a busy few days. When
I get back from town there
will be wash to do
and that will make me
plenty tired. I still like
to use my old wringer washer
because I know the clothes
are done up right when
I put them through the wringer.
That new washer my son bought me
is all water and spinning and when
it shuts off and I open the door,
I find all the clothes twisted.
That can’t be good for them.

The Amish man is coming soon
to trim the horses’ hooves,
so I’ll have to watch out
for him while I work.
He spooks me when he comes up
from behind when I’m weeding
or something. They drive no
cars and make no noise
when they arrive. You just get
going on something and then
there’s a voice and a man
with a beard and black clothes.
It’s enough to make you jump
clear out of your skin.

There was suddenly lots to do
yesterday when we had company.
My son and his wife and
my husband Will’s brother
Walt and his wife dropped in.
They stayed for two meals.
I had oyster stew and hickory
baked ham and cheese sandwiches,
with sweet onion and lettuce,
at noon. It wouldn’t occur
to them how much work it takes
to lay out that much food.
I had pork spare ribs, kraut,
dumplings, creamed new peas
and potatoes for supper.

So I didn’t do much today.
I rested and played Old Sol
some (even beat him, twice,
and I never cheat), after
I baked bread. Always do
that in the morning before
the day heats up. I will
have to get some yarn
and get busy on something
after I finish the rag rug
for in front of my sink.
Could as easy buy one,
but they’re made so cheap
you might as well spread
the newspaper on the floor,
and they never last. I use
good denims, heavy cotton cut
out of Will’s work shirts,
and then I put in colors
from my old house dresses,
enough to make the eye dance.
My rugs will wear and wear.
no matter how hard you use
them, and in front of my sink
a rug can go back to rags
right under my feet
before I know it.

:: Naton Leslie, Emma Saves Her Life (2007)

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