Cornbread and Buttermilk

On summer afternoons when the air was smoky with dust and the sun bore down like a burden, my Grandaddy Jess would walk from his store up to his house, sit on his front porch, take off his hat, and holler at  Granny Ethel in the house to bring him milk and bread.

So she would crumble that cornbread she always kept on the back of the stove into a tall glass, pour in enough cold buttermilk to cover not all the way but almost, stick a long teaspoon in it, bring it out to Jess, then go back to the kitchen where she had her radio.

Jess would sit on the porch overlooking his store, his field of corn across the road, his son’s house with its tumbling children on the corner, and he’d think about this year, think about last year, think about next year, and then go back to the store, leaving behind a tall glass streaked with thick milk and bits of bread.

He was content.

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