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Delia in the Kitchen: Delia has an argument with her grandmother, and old Gray-Em does something very strange
Posted by Douglas, Feb 15, 2008. 1535 views. ID = 598

Delia in the Kitchen

Posted by Douglas, Feb 15, 2008. 1535 views. ID = 598
This post was written in 25 minutes.
Here's part two. I'll finish this story next week after I get back from Fort Kent!
This post has been awarded 16 stars by 5 readers.
This post is Part 2 of a writing series titled Delia's Valentine.

Gray-Em met her at the door with a grumpy glare. Delia had long ago learned not be bothered by Gray-Em's left eye which turned inward and twitched sideways every few seconds, but the glare could still make her insides turn to water.

"Did you just kick the roto-tiller?" Gray-Em demanded.

Rototiller, Delia thought. That's what she calls it. Then after a moment she thought: Rootoo sounds better.

"Yes, Gray-Em," she said, hanging her head.

"You mustn't do that, child," the batty old woman said. "It's one of the only things we have left that reminds us of who we used to be, before the Ravaging."

Delia hated it when Gray-Em got started talking about the plagues and the wars and the lootings and violence that had turned the earth into a dry wasteland when Gray-Em was just a little girl. The stories scared her, but if she refused to listen, Gray-Em got very angry, and that was even more frightening.

"I'm sorry Gray-Em," she said, with her head still drooping.

"Oh, let her be, Emily," Delia's mother said as she put a trayful of biscuits into the delapidated wood stove pappa had found, against all odds, to replace the gas oven that no longer worked. "It's just a broken down old machine."

"The child needs to understand where we came from, and show some respect for the ways of her ancestors."

"She doesn't live in that world, gram, and she never will. Let her be."

Gray-Em held out her hand. "Let me see those beets," she said, still scowling.

Dutifully, Delia held out the pale beets she held by their greens, and dropped them into Gray-Em's waiting hand. "Hrm. I remember when beets grew a lot bigger than this. Tasted better, too." Then, looking over Delia's shoulder, the old woman said, "Goodness, child! Is that a bear?"

Delia quickly turned to look behind her, and saw nothing but the dusty land, and the horrid gray haze of the sky in late afternoon as the sun began to set. But Delia was quicker than grandmother realized; as she started to turn back toward her grandmother, she saw something stranger than a bear out of the corner of her eye. The old woman was hastily slipping one of the beets into the large pocket of her tattered apron.

Delia opened her mouth to ask Gray-Em why she was stealing a beet, but the ugly glare had deepened in her grandmother's face, and that scared her into silence just long enough that her opportunity to speak was gone.

"Let me see your hands, child," Gray-Em said gruffly.

Delia put her hands behind her back. "I haven't washed them yet," she said.

Gray-Em said nothing.

"I'll go wash them now," Delia added, backing toward the door.

"I want to see those hands extra clean tonight," Gray-Em said with a bit of a cackle.

Delia fled the house then, determined to make her hands glisten, even if she had to scrape a layer of skin off to make it happen.

And she wondered why Gray-Em was stealing beets.

Copyright 2008 Douglas. All rights reserved. has been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work. For permission to reprint this item, please contact the author.

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This post has been awarded 16 stars by 5 readers.
This post is Part 2 of a writing series titled Delia's Valentine.


Feb 27, 2008
Uh, so, are you back from Fort Kent yet? Actually, my real question is, are you going to finish the story now? ;-)
   ~Posted by Katie, Feb 27, 2008

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