Bobby Jo loved to spend summers at her grandma and grandpas’ house. The long, steamy days and nights didn’t bother her nor, at the tender age of ten, did the smell of cow manure, mixed with wild honeysuckle. There were acres of land to be explored and she wanted to explore them all.
Bobby Jo was a prankster. Once she took the bell off of Bessie the cow. She sneaked up to the house and started ringing the bell. Through the window, she could see grandma clasp her hands together and say “el, I wished I’m a die. Bessie’s got loose and is traipsing around all over the place.”
Bobby Jo giggled as she quickly hid when grandma came outside. It didn’t take long for grandma to know what Bobby Jo had done but she didn’t get mad. She just laughed and said “you little scamp, you. Go put that bell back on Bessie.”
Sometimes when grandma was cooking and got the milk out, Bobby Jo would wait until she turned around and put the milk back in the icebox. Grandma would say “I could have sworn I got that milk out.” After she used it, she would put it back in the icebox and Bobby Joe would take it back out and sit it back on the table. This would go on and on until grandma finally caught on.
Grandma had a good sense of humor and she enjoyed Bobby Jo’s playfulness.
A family bought the old Simpson farm just down the road. Bobby Jo heard they had a little girl, so she wandered down the hill toward the house. Sure enough, she saw a little girl. Bobby Jo and never been shy so she just walked up and introduced herself.
The little girls’ name was Carla Jean. After Bobby Jo met her parents, she asked if Carla Jean could come up the hill to her house. Carla Jeans’ parents said “sure, as long as you’re back before dark.”
Bobby Jo and Carla Jean skipped, hand in hand, up the hill. When they got to the house, Bobby Jo took Carla Jean in to meet her grandma. Grandma was pleased to meet her and promised a homemade blueberry pie, after they got settled in a little more.
Grandma was busy washing clothes. She still used a washboard and a big tin bucket. She said “now, you girls go on out and play. I have to finish washing up these clothes and get dinner started before grandpa gets home.”
Bobby Jo looked at Carla Jean, rolled her eyes and said “okay, grandma.” As they were walking out, grandma said “now, stay away from that old shed. You don’t want grandpa to have to get after you.”
Bobby Jo again looked at Carla Jean and said “don’t pay her no never-mind. My mama says she’s a little touched in the head.”
Carla Jean said “what do you mean?” Bobby Jo said “well, before I was born, grandpa went fishin’ down to the lake and he ain’t never come back.” Carla Jean asked what happened.
Bobby Jo said “all I know is, my mama said they ain’t never found a hide nor a hair. Sometimes late at night, I hear grandma talking to him, just like he was in the room.” Carla Jean said “are you scared?” Bobby Jo said “nah. She talks to him all the time.”
Bobby Jo asked Carla Jean if she wanted to go look at the old shed. Carla Jean said “but your grandma told us not to go in there.” Bobby Jo said “I know, but I go in there all the time…and you know what? Sometimes, the floors are wet and it smells like fish. Come on…let’s go in.” Carla Jean said she didn’t want to. “Come on, fraidy cat,” Bobby Jo teased but Carla Jean wouldn’t go in.
It wasn’t going to be long before dark, so Bobby Jo and Carla Jean started heading back to the house. Grandma came out and said “grandpa must be running late. He should have been back by now.” Carla Jean looked at Bobby Jo and Bobby Jo said “remember, don’t pay her no mind.”
Right after grandma went back into the house, Bobby Jo and Carla Jean saw a dark figure coming toward them. He was carrying fishin’ poles and a bucket. Bobby Jo said “it can’t be! It can’t be!”
Carla Jean turned as white as a sheet and started running down the hill as fast as her little legs would carry her.
Bobby Jo was giggling as watched her. Then she ran up and said “hey, grandpa. Did you catch anything?”