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A Mess of People Coming By

A Mess of People Coming By

Hello and good day!

An old woman sits at her dining room table folding laundry. There is a knock at the back door. She lays aside the washcloth she was working on and carefully stands up. She doesn’t walk too well anymore and has to use a walker.

At the door, she calls out. “Who’s there?” “It’s Dutch, your favorite brother-in-law.” The woman smiles to herself.Dutch is a funny man.

“What do you want?” “I’d like to come in! My hands are full and it's getting cold out here!” '' Your hands are full of what?” “For crying out loud, just open the door. Enough of your little games!” She decides that she better not make him suffer anymore and she opens the door.

“You did! Thank you Dutch! Set them here on the table and let’s have a look.” The man sets the overflowing bag on the table. Onions come tumbling out, rolling around on the tabletop. The woman holds one up and inspects it closely. The man stands proudly while his sister-in-law investigates.

After decades of gardening, he knows he's brought over a very fine batch of onions. “I believe this is the finest batch of onions I’ve ever seen Dutch. I’ll make vegetable soup tomorrow morning.” “I told Lilian that you’d be impressed. I know you know a good onion when you see one.” Lilian is Dutch’s wife.

“Will you stay for coffee Dutch? I’ve got a full pot on the hot plate.” “You kidding me? After making me stand out there with all of them onions in my arms, you owe me. I’m staying for two.” Dutch sits. The old woman shuffles with her walker to the hot plate and serves two cups of coffee.

She holds one out for Dutch to come over and carry and she works back over to the table with her own. She’s on her sixth cup of the day. People had been coming around drinking coffee since early in the morning.

“I don’t want you eating all my cookies Dutch. It’s early yet. I still have the boy who brings my mail and the man who does my yard coming around. The cleaning lady too. And I don't know who else.”

“I’m not going to eat all your cookies. But I sure didn’t come over here with all them onions to eat just one cookie either. You’ve got to be fair too.”

She sets down her coffee on the table and walks back to the counter. There is a plate stacked high with cookies, covered in aluminum foil. She brings it over and sets it down.

'Should we let him in? Or should we torture him like you did me? “He’s young yet. He doesn’t have as many indiscretions as you under his belt. Get up and let him in.”

Timmy is a ten-year-old boy who lives in a motel up the road.   He lives with his father and sister. Their mother ran off. He comes in and sets a big pile of mail on the table. the old woman can’t make it to her mailbox in the cold anymore. The driveway is too long to walk down with her walker.“Hand me my wallet from the counter Timmy.”immy brings her wallet. She pulls out a quarter.

“Here is your pay, Timmy. And I want you to take a big handful of these cookies back to your pa and sister.”

Timmy walks through the back door, down the porch steps, down the long driveway, along the main road, and on over to his motel.  Dutch stays a while, finishes his coffee, and eats five cookies.

The old woman can’t mop the house or make it down to the basement where her washer and dryer are connected. Tne of her nieces foots the bill for the cleaning lady. When the cleaning lady is done, she brings up a basket of laundry for the old woman to fold. Before going, the cleaning lady sits down for cup of coffee.

“We will auntie.” The little girl runs back to her friends. “She said yes! But only if we eat cookies after!” The five kids come sprinting and jump into the big pile, one after another, shrieking, and laughing. The old woman rocks and watches and listens.

Red and gold leaves float into the cold autumn air. When the sun goes down and every leaf from the pile has been scattered, the kids come up to the porch. The old woman sends them into the kitchen to take cookies and then she watches them run home along the creek.

It’s a clear night and the moon is out, and she can see them running under stripped fall trees. She goes in and gets ready for bed. She wants to get a good night’s sleep.

A lot of people will be coming by tomorrow.

Thank you so much for your time today.