THE SATSUMA VASE
“Well, howdy to-day, Mis’ Poteet!” exclaimed Mrs. Rucker as she came across her side yard and leaned over the Poteet fence right opposite the Poteet back porch. “I brought you this pan of rolls to set away for Mr. Poteet’s supper. When I worked out the sponge looked like my pride over ’em riz with the dough and I just felt bound to show ’em off to somebody; I know I can always count on a few open mouths in this here nest.”
“That you can and thanky squaks, too, Mis’ Rucker. I don’t know however I would feed ’em all if it wasn’t for the drippings from your kitchen,” answered the placid and always improvident Mrs. Poteet as she picked up Shoofly and came over to the fence, delighted at a chance for a few minutes parley with the ever busy and practical Mrs. Rucker. She balanced the gingham-clad bunch on its own wobbly legs beside her, while through the pickets of the fence in greeting were thrust the pink hands of Petie, the bond, who had followed in the wake of his own maternal skirts. Shoofly responded to this attention with a very young feminine gurgle of delight and licked at the chubby fist thrust toward her like an overjoyed young kitten.
“Well, Monday is always a scrap day, so I try to kinder perk up my Monday supper. Singing in the quire twict on Sunday and too much confab with the other men on the store steps always kinder tires Mr. Rucker out so he can’t hardly get about with his sciatica on Monday, and I have to humor him some along through the day. That were a mighty good sermon circuit rider preached last night.”
“Yes, I reckon it were, but my mind was so took up with the way Louisa Helen flirted herself down the aisle with Bob on one side of her and Mr. Crabtree on the other, I couldn’t hardly get my mind down to listening. And when she contrived Mr. Crabtree into the pew next to Mis’ Plunkett, as she moved down for ’em, I most gave a snort out loud. Didn’t Mis’ Plunkett look nice in that second mourning tucker it took Louisa Helen and all of Sweetbriar to persuade her into?”
“Lou Plunkett is as pretty as a chiny aster that blooms in September and what she’s having these number-two conniptions over Mr. Crabtree for is more than I can see. I look on a second husband as a good dessert after a fine dinner and a woman oughter swallow one when offered without no mincing. I wouldn’t make two bites of taking Mr. Crabtree after poor puny Mr. Plunkett if it was me. Of course there never was such a man as Mr. Satterwhite, but he was always mighty busy, while Cal Rucker is a real pleasure to me a-setting around the house on account of his soft constitution. Mr. Satterwhite, I’m thankful to say, left me so well provided for that I can afford Mr. Rucker as a kind of play ornament.”
“Yes, they ain’t nothing been thought up yet to beat marrying,” answered Mrs. Poteet. “Now didn’t Emma Satterwhite find a good chanct when Todd Crabtree married her and took her away after all that young Tucker Alloway doings? It were a kind of premium for flightiness, but I for one was glad to get her gone off’en Rose Mary’s hands. I couldn’t a-bear to see her tending hand and foot a woman she were jilted for.”