Maid of Constant Sorrow
Joyce Daniels

With long strides, Arly and Francis stroll toward the woods separating the family acreage from the neighbors.  It’s late May.  It rained last night.  They’re heading for their secret spot to hunt morel mushrooms.   

“The war sucks,” Arly says, stuffing another paper bag into his pocket.  

“War always is shitty.”  Francis slips his harmonica into his breast pocket.  

“Yeah, but this one, well…You’re lucky.  You had polio.”  

“I hear Judy Collins just came out with an album.”  

“She’s a goddess.”  Arly bends over and scoops up a barn cat.  He pets it before putting it on an abandoned seat of a tractor.  

“She’s trying to attract more protestors with her songs.”  

“Oh, she’ll succeed, all right.”  

“Pa says she has it all wrong.”  

“Pa’s a Republican and a warmonger. He’d hate any anti-war activist.”  

“He thinks Kennedy is okay.”  

“Of course he does.  He ogles pillbox hats on skinny women.”  

“He was real pissed when Tony got spit on.  Jesus! He was wearing his purple heart. They said he was over there killing babies.”  

Arly frowns and hesitates. “Hey what’s that?”  

“Sounds like crying.”  

They hurry forward and circle a gnarly maple.  

“Hey, you!  Get yourself home.  Why are you setting there crying like a baby.  You’re no baby.   You’re twelve years old. Go on, get your little girl ass home!”  

The teens give her a glare and continue on.  

“Pillbox hats and white gloves.  What a hoot!”

First published: August, 2009
comments to the writer: