Bollies

“If you don’t get to work the Bollies will get you.”

I heard these words so many times while I was growing up. My grandmother would say them to me every time she thought I was loafing. I understand now. With all the responsibilities of raising a grandchild dropped onto her lonesome head one rainy fall day, she had a lot to worry about. She had gotten he farm and the family, but without any help, in a second.

My grandmother had watched my grandfather take a firm hand with my father. She told me stories, usually when I was being difficult or ornery, about how grandpa would have tanned my hide if he had been there.

Btu he wasn’t. She had been alone before I had arrived. Alone in the little house that my father had built for her. He had made the place for his mother so that he could raise a family in the big house. Her place was tiny, sitting beside the barn, and empty.

Today, I am sitting on the porch and I am alone. Grandma didn’t make it through the winter and I don’t know what to do without her. I’m old enough to keep the farm, but I don’t know what to do now.

It looks like it has been raining on the steps between my boots. Hot, salty rain that leaves my eyes swollen.

The sun has risen, though it had only just set when I walked out here and took my seat. The rooster is crowing, and I can hear one of the cows calling out by the pond.

A sharp crack of a limb being stepped on causes me to lift my head. It could have been anything, but the sound makes me think of something sneaking up on me. That noise brought back her voice.

“If you don’t get to work the Bollies will get you.”

“Can’t have the Bollies getting me,” I say, standing up and starting towards the barn. “That just wouldn’t do.”

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