The sniper fired a burst at it and when the gas tank

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Unformatted text preview: ence. At various times, each of the seven professors thanked me for my friendship with Miss Callie She had shared her life with many, had lots of close friends, but for more than eight months had especially cherished her time with me. I left them late in the afternoon on Christmas Eve as they were preparing for church. Afterward, there would be gifts and singing. There were more than twenty Ruffins staying in the house; I couldn't imagine where everyone slept, and I was certain no one really cared. As accepted as I was, I did feel the need to leave them at some point. Later, there would be hugs and tears, and songs and stories, and, though I was certainly welcome to experience all of it, I knew there were times when families needed to be alone. What did I know about families? I drove to Memphis, where my childhood home had not seen a Christmas decoration in ten years. My father and I had dinner at a Chinese joint not far from the house. As I choked down bad wonton soup I couldn't help but think of the chaos of Miss Callie's kitchen and all those wonderful dishes being pulled from the oven. My father worked hard to seem interested in my newspaper. I obligingly sent him a copy each week, but after a few minutes of chitchat I could tell he had never read a word. He was concerned with some ominous connection between the war in Southeast Asia and the bond market. We ate quickly and went in different directions. Sadly, neither of us had given any thought to exchanging gifts. Christmas lunch was with BeeBee, who, unlike my father, was delighted to see me. She invited three of her little blue-haired widow friends over for sherry and ham, and the five of us proceeded to get tipsy. I Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter, regaled them with stories from Ford County, some accurate, some highly embellished. Hanging around Baggy and Harry Rex, I was learning the art of storytelling. By 3 P.M., we were all napping. Early the next morning, I raced back to Clanton. Chapter Twenty-Five...
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