Talitha - Chapter 6

T a l i t h a

Chapter 6

   Mrs. Sammons' efficiency in reading tea leaves was known far and wide, and people in all walks of life came to drink tea, turn their cups, and then have Mrs. Sammons tell them the meaning of what lurked in the bottom of the cup. The young people were no exceptions. They liked to gather at the Sammons home at night, the children always giving them a warm welcome.

   The younger set, including Talitha, congregated happily around a bonfire outdoors, where they popped corn and roasted peanuts and eggs in the smoldering embers, while the older group sought the teapot brewing on the slow fire in the kitchen fireplace, only to drink tea and turn their cups that Mrs. Sammons might reveal to them the unknown.

   The young people could not recall any time that Mrs. Sammons' prophecy from the tea leaves didn't come true, and would often ask, "Mrs. Sammons, do you really see these things in the bottom of the cup?" And Mrs. Sammons always replied, "Don't I always hit the nail on the head?"

   With the young at heart seeking the Sammons home for fun and play, there were those, including neighbors and friends, who beat a path to her door to ask her for the weather signs revealed in the moon. Time and again, as a child in Georgia, Mrs. Sammons with her grandmother surveyed the moon and talked of its beauty, then to have her grandmother tell her the meaning of the position of each moon. Mrs. Sammons could not recall a Christmas Eve as a child that she and her grandmother didn't peep through the window shutter in her grandmother's bedroom to view the moon or the dark of the night and to tell what dark nights or light nights at Christmas Eve meant, why the moon was traveling far north or why south. Down through the years her grandmother's words concerning the moon had not ceased to be pleasant memories to her. And now, as in the past, Mrs. Sammons was passing her grandmother's weather signs to others and was enjoying doing so.

   There was the old gentleman whom Mrs. Sammons had learned she could count on dropping by the morning following each new moon. Probably his advancing years kept him from remembering too well from moon to moon what Mrs. Sammons had told him concerning the weather as the moon revealed it. One morning following a new moon, the old gentleman was making his way to the Sammons home. Finding her seated on the porch he announced himself at the gate. "Good morning, Mrs. Sammons," he said, "did you see the new moon last night?" Yes, Mrs. Sammons had seen the new moon, as she had seen them all in a period of years. "What would you say about the weather?" the gentleman asked. "Didn't you notice that both points were down? My grandmother would say, "No rain, no rest for the field hands, we have a dry moon." "Sure glad of that, I've got plenty to do on the farm," said the old gentleman as he rode away on his mule.

   Then there was one of Mrs. Sammons' neighbors who was often to ask her advice as to the best time to kill his fattening hogs. There were times when Mrs. Sammons would tell him, "Have you noticed the moon is traveling far north? My grandmother would say, 'Now is a good time to prepare to hang those hams high, we are going to have some cold weather.'"

   Often Mrs. Sammons tried to interest her children in the moon and her grandmother's weather signs, only for the reason that it had instilled in her the capacity to see and enjoy the beauty of the elements. But Talitha was the only one who responded.

   From the time she was a small child, Talitha liked to sit on the porch with her mother and watch many moons rise higher and higher. It delighted her to see a circle around the moon and to count the number of stars within the circle, possibly two or three, then say to her mother, "My great-grandmother would say, 'Everybody to work, only three more days before it rains.'" As time passed, Talitha never ceased to appreciate and enjoy the beauty of the elements. When a child, her mother often said to her, "I like to think you inherited this priceless gift from your great-grandmother."


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Charlotte Curlee Ramsey

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