This week we welcome Shannon Taylor Vannatter to Author Memories
Home is a central Arkansas zoo with two charcoal gray cats, a chocolate lab, and three dachshunds in weenie dog heaven. If given the chance to clean house or write, she’d rather write. Her goal is to hire Alice from the Brady Bunch.
by Shannon Taylor Vannatter
On this sweltering July day in rural Arkansas, a somber uneasiness filled the sticky air, as my mother and her siblings gathered to sort through sixty-years-worth of possessions. Mostly kitchen items, I didn’t want anything or feel entitled to the belongings. Yet, I hovered close to offer my mother moral support.
Unwilling to end up never speaking again, because so-and-so got this or didn’t get that, a caring hesitation settled over the siblings.
One of my aunts picked up a pie pan. “Does anyone want this?”
No one jumped on the offer.
“Didn’t you get that for Mom,” Mama said. “You should have it.”
The others agreed in unison.
“What about this?” My uncle pointed to a large platter.
A few moments of silence followed.
“If no one else wants it, I’d like to have it,” my uncle said.
“You can have it,” sibling voices blended.
“How about these old dippers?” My uncle held up two oversized dusty ladles.
I didn’t want anything, but at the sight of the stained, dented aluminum utensils, memories flooded my soul. Unaware I wanted anything, suddenly I wanted that dipper with every fiber of my being. Wanted it so bad, my heart hurt. Tears stung my eyes, but I blinked them away, determined to be strong for my mother.
“If no one else wants it, I’d like to have one,” my aunt said.
A hush hung in the air and my chest felt as if it would explode. I waited for what seemed like an eternity for someone else to speak. No one did.
With effort, I cleared the lump from my throat. “If no one else wants the other one, I’d like to have it.”
My uncle handed me the dipper. Tears blurred my vision.
“What are they anyway?” one of my younger cousins asked.
I pulled myself together. “At the old farm house, Grandma and Grandpa had a well. When we’d come for summer visits, Grandpa would fill a big black and white speckled bowl with water and put it in the sink with a dipper in it. Everyone drank from it all day long.”
“Eww.” My cousin made a disgusted face. “From the same dipper?”
“And we never got sick. It was the purest, coldest water.” At that moment, I could almost taste it trickling down my throat. “We’d go home to Georgia and I’d make Mama put a bowl of tap water and a soup ladle in the sink. It wasn’t cold enough and never was the same.”
“Why was Grandma and Grandpas’ water so cold?” my cousin asked.
Out of my area of expertise, I shrugged.
“Well water comes from deep in the ground, so it stays cold,” my uncle said.
Made perfect sense.
The day continued, with numerous other items offered and claimed, and no one mad or greedy.
That night, I stared at my new treasure and tried to explain to my husband the feelings the sight of the banged up dipper had evoked.
“I don’t know why I wanted it so bad or what I’ll do with it.”
He shrugged. “Clean it up, put some flowers in it, and hang it on the wall.”
I've never washed it. Now my own dust encases that of my grandparents and every time I notice it, warm memories wash over me.
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Shannon Taylor Vannatter's Rodeo Dust
Rodeo Dust, Barbour Books, Available now
Soon the city girl is on the ride of her life, until the rodeo unearths buried memories from her past. Clay sees her through the trauma, but an injury and his stubborn determination to get back in the hypothetical saddle threatens their budding relationship. Can they rely on God to find their common ground or will they draw a line in the rodeo dust that neither will cross?
Read the first chapter
Rodeo Dust is the first in a series of three Texas rodeo books. All are set in Aubrey, Dallas, & Fort Worth Texas. Characters participate in rodeos at the Historic Fort Worth Stockyard’s Cowtown Coliseum.
Rodeo Dust is available in paperback and e-book at http://www.barbourbooks.com Rodeo Hero releases in March 2012
Rodeo Ashes releases in August 2012
Kathy's Book Nook in Heber Springs, AR,
The Bible House in Searcy, AR, Amazon,
Learn more about Shannon and her books at http://shannonvannatter.com
and check out her real life romance blog at http://shannonvannatter.com/blog/
Connect with her on Facebook: facebook.com/shannontaylorvannatter
and Twitter: @stvauthor