I didn’t grow up with “Good morning, Cono” smiles or quiet and calm conversations around the supper table. Maybe, we just learned not to speak our mind. Especially since one or two of the minds around the kitchen table might not like our notions.
If somebody were to peek in the window at suppertime, they’d have seen four mouths that moved due to chewing, not from that risky pastime called “talking”. In fact, if we tried to catch each word that came out of our mouths, especially at suppertime, there wouldn’t be enough to fill a soup bowl. And if we were counting on words for our nourishment, well then, we would have starved plumb to death.
I grew up believing that conversation cost money and since those were hard times, Mother and Dad tried to save every penny they could. So if Dad were to tell me, “Son, please leave the pie in front’a Ike’s plate,” it would have cost fifty cents and we could have put that half dollar towards new shoes for Delma.
“Son, the woodpile’s low so I need you to chop the wood today please,” would have cost seventy-five cents and we’d have been chewing on lambsquarters for the rest of our poor lives.
Now on the other hand, when he looked directly at me, pointed to that woodpile and said, “Get busy!” he’d just stockpiled a bundle of money. And if it weren’t for him buying his liquor, we would have had enough money for several good meals and maybe even a new dress for Mother.
Excerpt from No Hill for a Stepper by C. Dennis-Willingham