In Their Own Way

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A simple story about defining intelligence in the real world and how wisdom may factor in.

Submitted: April 19, 2017

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Submitted: April 19, 2017

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"Woo-Wee! --- I ate four drumsticks and two thighs, six biscuits with a lump of sausage-gravy all spread around on the top, two baked potatoes and a mess of collect greens to boot; all in just two plates full. I sure do like these meat-platter plates, they out-do a regular dinner plate by a mile."

"Yes sir, Billy, Momma did good when she bought this here dinnerware at that yard sale.

Momma said that she is gonna make chicken and drumlins for dinner tomorrow, so I guess we get to try out them oversized soup bowls." Joe said as he reached for a corn on the cob.

Momma spoke up and corrected them by saying, "Those ain't soup bowls, you big dummies. They are serving bowls just like Bessie said they was. But I declare, they don't look like they would hold any more than a two man serving; and that's a fact."

"Bessie this and Bessie that, she's got her head so full of books and fancy words that she don't even act like any of our family anymore. She is begin-in to remind me of Mrs. Thimble the librarian, only younger," Joe said with a frown on his face.

"Hush your mouth or I'll box your ears," Momma said as she made a pretend swing at Joe. "Bessie is gonna be somebody and make us all proud. She is gonna go into the air force and serve our country, you just watch.

She's gonna be in some kind of communications network, whatever that means. They told her so at the recruitment table at the high school.

She took some kind of test and then they looked at her grades, they signed her up right away."

"What makes her so special? I took the same test, years back," said Billy, "they just looked at all my stuff and told me to talk to the army or navy recruiters."

"Hi --- you all,' said Bessie as she bounded through the doorway, "I am so sorry that I am late for dinner. There was an unexpected lecture on European literature and its affects on the English language; they held it in the high school's lecture hall.

I tried to call you, Momma, but I will bet some dog named Sammy knocked the receiver off the hook again.

Did your old tail knock the phone over again Sammy, did it boy, did it?"

The black Lab barked and jumped around in front of Bessie until she petted him.

Bessie continued, "The guest speaker was a wonderful Professor from Israeli that is vacationing in the states; she just happened to be in town and they asked her to speak. Well, luck would have it that she had the time and the graciousness to do so. I learned a lot this evening.

Is there any chicken left, Momma?"

"Yes sweetie, I fixed you a plate and hid it in the oven so it would stay warm, and out of reach of your brothers."

"Oh thank you," Bessie said with near joy in her voice, "you are the best Momma a girl could ever have."

With that said, Bessie took the plate from the oven, a glass of milk from the refrigerator, and sat down next to Momma.

"We was just talk'n about you, Sissy," Billy told his sister. "We was wonder-in why you was so smart and we wasn't."

Bessie thought for a while as she munched on a drumstick, then asked, "What do you think smart is, Billy?”

"You know what I mean, all that book learn-in that you do."

Bessie turned to her brother Joe and said, "You're a trucker, so how many highway laws do you know that involve trucking?"

"Just about all of them," he said proudly.

Bessie replied, "Well all those laws came from books, but I know very few of them. So I guess you are smarter than I when it comes to trucking and the law.

And you do most of the mechanical work on your truck too, right?"

"Sure, I'm the Owner/Operator, so I'd better know how to keep her run-in and well maintained; that's my bread and butter." Joe replied with a smile.

"Well, there you go! Bessie exclaimed, "There is stuff that you learned from books, they are just not the books that I read and enjoy.

And what about you, Brother Billy, how long did it take you to learn how to farm."

"Pretty-near all my life, Daddy taught me most of it and it didn't come from no books."

Bessie smiled and asked, "Didn't Daddy ever use the Farmer's Almanac or check the weather reports in the paper; and didn't he teach you to do the same?"

Billy looked puzzled and then simply stated, "Yes."

Then Bessie asked Billy, “How much is a bale of straw costing this month?”

Billy replied, “Around here we pay $33.90 for the round ones, but the local range is at $28.50 for the low-end stuff to $57.00 for John Browns high quality sheltered straw. The small square bales only cost $3.50 and for the large ones, about $38.20 at the feed store.

Then Bessie inquired, “So, if you bought six bales of John Browns straw, two bales of the small and five bales of the large, how much would that cost?”

“Hmm, $540.00, that's if I hall it home myself, $590.00 if they have to deliver it.”

"Well I do not know anything about farming. And as far as doing math in my head, that is not going to happen because I need a calculator. But if I did want to know then I have a very smart brother that could give me the information that I need.

And I have another brother, just as smart in his own way, that I can learn truck driving from, if I wanted to drive a truck, or fix one. Plus, he could teach me all the trucking laws that I might need to know without opening a book.

So you see, my dear brothers, I am not smarter than you, I am just interested in different stuff that sometimes makes me sound smarter."

Suddenly there was silence in the room, except for the sounds of snoring coming from Sammy the dog.

"Well, --- what about Momma?" Joe questioned in a kidding manner.

"Bessie replied very quickly, “Are you kidding? Momma is smarter than all of us combined. She knows when to buy bigger plates and when to hide food from you two bruisers, otherwise I would starve to death."

 

Momma blushed, --- just a little.

 

 

D. Thurmond / JEF  ---  04-18-2017


© Copyright 2017 D. Thurmond, aka, JEF. All rights reserved.

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