Edit was never one for sittin’ back and lettin’ a man do what God had obviously intended for her to do all along. To her way of thinkin, such nonsense just weren’t right. Hell, you could even say lettin’ someone else construct the dang thing ought to be grounds for getting yerself tossed by the Almighty in that great big lake a fire, the local preacher was always so fond of goin’ on about.
Though, Edith thought has she rested a moment, wiping dusty rivulets of sweat from her face and neck with the same plaid kerchief she’d given Rubin last year for his name day, I’m not so sure I really believe all that stuff about sin, and judgment, and God being mad at the world, and condemning a gal for living with a fellar instead of getting hitched proper, or for wakin’ up one mornin and havin what ‘Old Lloyd’ over on Tucker Ridge calls, an ‘epiphany’, about how raisin a man’s kids would be a whole lot easier if’n he and that moonshine he liked so well just up an took themselves off somewheres else, or how scrapping together next fall’s seed money sos she could bail his sorry backside out of Sheriff Molson’s jail cell for the hundredth time, in any way constitutin’ the Lord’s blessin’ in disguise.
Nope! There just weren’t many things about God, and sin, and judgment, and how men should treat their woman folk, or what does or does not constitute blessing, that Edith and the good preacher would or could, ever agreed on. Fact was, in her forty- two years of living with a man who’d all but forgotten what it meant to love his woman, or care for the bakers bunch of children she’d given him, Edith figured if and when the Almighty thought about her and her doins, it weren’t probably more than just idle curiosity on His part.
Tucking Rubin’s kerchief back into the extensive mound of fabric covered flesh, Edith once again took a firm grasp of the shovel’s handle between blunt, calloused hands, and using the considerable cantilever of her weighted foot, once more pushed its wedge shaped head down into orange and gold leaf covered dirt.
When the sun reached a position level with Edith’s shoulder, she released her grip on the shovel, unmindful of the clatter it made as it rolled off what remained of the dirt she’d piled earlier in the day. Now, letting her eyes sweep over the softly rounded earth, the carefully placed stone and gently planted holly, she thought about what she might like to say before leaving.
As a woman with strong convictions concerning truth and how the measure of a man is found in the honesty of words and the simplicity of deeds, Edith could not now, in all good consciousness, find a single good thing to say about the man she’d promised to love for all those years except, “Lord, bout time.”