Clemmie’s grandma thought how her daughter in law sure was weak. Always had been. She’d tried and tried to get her son to leave that girl alone. She saw how Mae-lynn was. Those doe eyes blinking wide, wet half the time with tears over some silly thing or the other. Luke went sweet on her hard though. He mooned about the farm like his feet weren’t even hitting the dirt half the time. She’d had to knock her son upside the head more times than not, trying to get sense back in that thick skull of his. Then that silly thing come cater-wauling to her with her belly filled with child. She knew it when she saw that girl walk slow up the path. Mae-lynn had that look to go along with the crying. That child weren’t but a few week old. Poor thing. That child would have been Clemmie’s brother or sister, but it never had a chance to breathe the air.
That was the potion Clemmie’s grandma hated the worst. Not like the healing ones, the healing ones were a joy for Grandma to mix and pour down the throat of the sick or the sad. But when the girls wanted the babies gone out their bodies, Grandma could hardly stand it. Gave her heebers jeebers and some the time she had to take to her bed and ask Jesus to forgive her and not send her off to hell. But, then she would think, why she got that way about her if it weren’t given to her by Him himself? She thought how there had to be a reason for it and that’s just how thing turn up and out in the old world. World been around longer than she had, longer than her momma and daddy and longer than their momma and daddy and then longer still. Them potions been thought up for a reason, too. Not up to Clemmie’s grandma to put judgment on what she was taught by all the ones before her.
So, Clemmie’s grandma took care of that one for Mae-lynn, before she came to be her daughter in law. Grandma knew it had to be done. She mixed up the herbs and the root and the bark and cooked it until it was thick, then she added a bit of sugar to sweet it, and some apple juice to thin it. Clemmie’s grandma knew Mae-lynn would be bleating like a lamb cause of its thick bitter taste. Well, she thought, them things supposed to taste bitter! Who says life is all the time sweet? That Mae-lynn expected her whole life to be like a fluffy cloud drifting on down the sky without a care in the world. Mae-lynn’s own daddy spoiled her rotten since her momma gone to heaven with the cancer. Grandma felt sorry for her about that, and she didn’t have a mean bone in her whole body, but that Mae-lynn wasn’t any easier to swallow when she come round flipping them eyelashes and twisting them hips ever so slightly, making Luke lose his mind over her.
Mae-lynn drank that potion down fast, she did. She knew what it was all about and she drank it down and she made a face like it was nasty, but she didn’t stop drinking it down til it was all gone, ever last drop. After, Clemmie’s grandma knew she’d have a hard time with the hurting and when the babe would expel out of her. She figured Mae-lynn would set up to bawling, so she let her stay in her room until it was over. But Mae-lynn surprised Clemmie’s grandma. When the blood came and what was there of the babe came, Mae-lynn just rolled over and sighed. That was it. Just rolled over and sighed.
More and more Grandma thought how Clemmie’s momma don’t seem right in the head a’tall no more. All them headaches poking her head, pulling at her brains. Clemmie’s grandma felt bad for her. She tried potion after potion, and none helped her for long. Poor thing. Ever since Mae-lynn had birthed Clemmie, she was worse with them headaches and her strange ways. It vexed Grandma to no end. Grandma raised up Clemmie most herself, but she was glad of it.
Grandma went out to the garden. It was time to pick some maters for supper. She had to wring the chicken’s neck, too, since Mae-lynn wouldn’t do it. Clemmie would, Grandma knew she would. Soon as Grandma let her Clemmie would do it cause she’s tough, just like her grandma. But Grandma didn’t want to put that on her too soon. Those kinds of things came soon enough to a young girl. All things came soon enough for a girl. Yup, soon enough.