Description : Beautiful Chaos
Sugar and Salt
In Gatlin, it’s funny how the good things are all tied up with the bad. Sometimes it’s hard to tell which is which. But either way, you end up taking your sugar with your salt and your kicks with your kisses, as Amma would say.
I don’t know if it’s like that everywhere. I only know Gatlin, and this is what I know: By the time I got back to my usual seat at church with the Sisters, the only news being passed along with the collection plate was that the Bluebird Café had stopped serving up hamburger soup, peach pie season was winding down, and some hooligans had stolen the tire swing from the old oak near the General’s Green. Half the congregation was still shuffling down the carpeted aisles in what my mom used to call Red Cross shoes. With all the purple knees puffing up where the knee-highs ended, it felt like a whole sea of legs was holding its breath. At least I was.
But the Sisters still propped their hymnals open to the wrong pages with their curled knuckles, wadded up handkerchiefs buried in the spotted roses of their hands. Nothing kept them from singing the melody, loud and shrill, as they tried to drown one another out. Except Aunt Prue. She accidentally hit on a real harmony about three notes out of three hundred, but nobody minded. Some things didn’t have to change, and maybe they shouldn’t. Some things, like Aunt Prue, were meant to be off-key.
It was as if this summer had never happened, and we were safe within these walls. Like nothing but the thick, colored sunlight streaming through the stained-glass windows could force its way in here. Not Abraham Ravenwood...