Friday, January 2, 2009

Fiction Friday - Aunt Butter's Resolution

Fiction Friday Challenge for January 2, 2009:

Take a favorite character you have created. Pick a New Year’s Resolution that they truly intended to keep. Now, why did they break it within 24 hours?

Aunt Butter rarely made New Years resolutions - what was the point?? But after the devastating happenings of last year, she had sworn this year would be different. She made the resolution on the 2nd day of the New Year:

"I don't care what the town folk think about me - I'm not going to let anyone else into my life - so help me God!"

All of Aunt Butter's children had moved away from Grasshopper Holler, leaving her for lives in much bigger cities. Oh, they called often and wrote letters, but they rarely ever visited the tiny rural town of their birth.

The town folk thought Butter was "that crazy woman from the mountains", but they always came to her when the town doctor couldn't fix their aches and pains. Butter had learned the ways of herbal medicine from old Flora Bottoms - but Mrs. Bottoms was dead now, and Butter had picked up her cause.

All week long, Butter tended her herb garden up on Posey Ridge - a short 3 miles from the center of Grasshopper Holler. On Saturdays, she hauled her harvest into town and set up shop in the Apothecary. Doc Harper now depended on Butter to supply herbs and tonics for many of his older patients, so Butter worked long and hard to infuse tonics, make poultices and distill tonics.

For almost 12 years, Butter had worked alone, staying away from the town folk who thought she was crazy. She had every intention of remaining alone. That was, until Ginger came into her life.

Butter made her New Years resolution on Friday, January 2. The next day on Saturday, she found the little girl asleep under a bench behind the Apothecary. Neither of their lives would ever be the same.

"Lands sake, child! What're ya doing sleepin there?"

The child awoke and was startled by the woman towering over her. The woman looked scary with wild frizzy hair escaping from an old fisherman's hat on her head and both hands planted squarely on her large hips.

"Come on outta there, child. You must be half starved to death." Butter squatted down and extended a hand to the little girl.

And little girl she was - barely 11 years old and skinny as a rail. The girl hesitated only a minute, but then came quickly out from under the bench.

"Come on inside, let's find you something to eat. What's ya name, child?"

"Ginger," whispered the girl.

"Well, Ginger, after a bite to eat, ya can help me with my tonics. Doc Harper will be waitin for 'em, so I don't have time to babysit ya."

Later, as the girl finished devouring the sausage and biscuits Butter had planned on eating for lunch, and drinking the sweet tea from the thermos, Ginger told Butter about her mother dying. She was all alone in the world now and had no where else to go. She had run away from Tater Knob, a town some 15 miles away, because she didn't want to go to foster care.

As the girl began crushing the dried comfrey leaves in a mortar and pestle, Butter knew she would never be able to keep the New Years resolution. This little girl needed a family and home, and Butter needed someone to care about and love. It was a win-win situation.

She scolded the girl - in a loving way - and showed her the proper way to crush the leaves. Together, the girl and the old woman mixed tonics and a true friendship was born.

Aunt Butter is a character I created during a writing workshop in October. She is still a character under development, but I'm enjoying learning more about her.


Anonymous said...

this was so touching !! you have a gift with words :) love your blog !!

Jodi Cleghorn said...

I'd liek to see more of this charming character. I imagine that along with Ginger there might be many adventures to be had.

I loved the juxtaposition of Butter and the local doc - who needed the herbal treatments for his 'older patients'. As one sworn to herbal rememdies etc - it's great to see someone writing about in their fiction.

Happy New Year!

JulMarSol said...

I happened up Fiction Friday. I thought I would read first, before trying to write. This is a great start to a story. I felt as if I was reading from a book!

~willow~ said...

I love all those names! Grasshopper Holler! Posey Ridge! Tater Knob! They brought a smile to my already smiling face. This piece has a whimsical tone to it. I'm very curious what happened to Aunt Butter last year. Will we find out?