Lou ann pushed her damp blond hair back from her face

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Lou Ann pushed her damp blond hair back from her face and told her mother she wished she would stay a few days more. Whenever Ivy looked at her Lou Ann could feel the tired half- moons under her own eyes. “You haven’t hardly had time to say boo to Angel. He’ll have Tuesday off and we could take the truck and all go someplace. We could all fit in some way. Or otherwise I could stay here with Dwayne Ray, and you all go. It’s a shame for you to come all this way from home and not see what you can see.” Surprisingly, Angel had agreed to move back in until after her mother and grandmother’s visit. He might be hard to talk to and unreasonable in every other way but at least, Lou Ann realized, he knew the power of mothers and grandmothers. If Granny Logan had known they were getting a divorce she would have had an apoplectic. At the very least, she and Ivy would insist that Lou Ann come back home. “Oh, honey, we seen plenty from the bus,” Ivy said. “Them old big cactus and every kind of thing. Lordy, and them big buildings downtown, all glass it looked to me like. I expect we’ll see a good sight more on the way home.” “I guess, but it seems like we haven’t done a thing since you got here but set around and look at the baby.” “Well, that’s what we come for, honey. Now we’ve done helped you have him, and get settled with him, and we’re anxious to get on home. The heat puts Mother Logan in a mood.” “I know it.” Lou Ann breathed in slowly through her nose. She was beginning to believe that the hot, dry air in her chest might be the poison her grandmother claimed it to be. “I wish I could have put you up better than we did,” she said. “You put us up just fine. You know her, it wouldn’t make no difference if it was the Queen a Sheba a-putting us up, she’d be 56 T H E B E A N T R E E S
crosspatch. She just don’t sleep good out of her own bed.” Ivy untied the borrowed apron and smoothed down the front of her navy-blue dress. Lou Ann remembered the dress from about a hundred church potluck suppers. Just the sight of it made her feel stuffed with potato-chip casseroles and Coca-Cola cake. “Mama,” she said, and then started over because her voice was too low to hear. “Mama, when Daddy was alive . . .” She was not sure what she meant to ask. Did you talk to each other? Was he the person you saved things up to say to, or was it like now? A houseful of women for everything, for company. Ivy was not look- ing at her daughter but her hands were still, for once. “Did Granny Logan always live with you, from the beginning?” Ivy peered into the brown bag and then rolled the top down tightly. “Not her with us. We lived with her.” “Is that how you wanted it?” Lou Ann felt embarrassed.

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