The breeze that engulfed the tomboy at Ernie’s house puzzled Celeste. She could have sworn she heard a voice telling her to behave. Nevertheless, she didn’t want to think, she was too exhausted from blowing her top. Celeste laid her body down across the geldings back as they wondered through the peaceful woods. She hugged her dear friend and let the tears fall for losing yet another person in her life. Eventually, the horse ride rocked the weary little girl to sleep, until they arrived at a slow flowing stream nestled in the heavily dense woods. “Thank ya boy for bringing me here, but I got’s to go home and face the music.” The forest meant peace to Celeste whenever she was in the woods, her problems seemed to melt away, but not this time.
Celeste slid off the back of Ghost, and to her amazement Ringo had followed the pair. “I can’t take ya home boy, mama will have a fit. Go back to Ernie’s now!” The coon didn’t understand her words, he began to make his happy ticking sounds. Celeste smiled at her buddy and said, “Okay, you can stay cause Ernie doesn’t love me anymore, so there is no reason for you to live with him anymore. You know you will leave me too one day Ringo, to find a mate.”
For over an hour the group stayed at the stream until Celeste knew it was time to head back home. When she arrived home and entered the quiet home, her mother was sitting silently rocking in her chair staring out the window. Celeste didn’t bother her this time, she knew her mother received a call today from the principal. It was her fault for causing pain to her mother, and from the last encounter with her mother, she was not going to rock the boat.
Celeste turned around and went outside to the barn and began her chores. Keeping her distance from her mother, the little girl finished her tasks before sunset. She was sitting on top of a wooden fence softly singing a song she loved dearly when Ernie quietly walked up, and stood by a tree behind her listening to her sing the beautiful song by Merle Haggard.
“I’ve been throwing horse shoes…over my left shoulder. I spent all my life…searching for a four leaf clover.” Since the little girl couldn’t remember the words she hummed the tune perfectly, and then added the words she knew to the song at the right time. Ernie smiled at the little tike as she tried to sing the song; nevertheless, he could feel the sorrow seep from her body with each word she sang.
The last rays of the sun was slowly dipping down in the horizon when the light touched Celeste. It illuminated her body like a glowing bright orb. He caught his breath realizing the beautiful sight he witness. It confirmed his thoughts earlier, that God was blessing this little child with some type of magical love. Celeste began to cry while trying to say the beautiful words to the song. “Chasing my rainbow…Don’t ya know I love ya so, that’s the way love goes.”
Celeste stopped her singing when she felt a presence behind her. She snapped her neck around and stared at Ernie with empty eyes. Inch by inch the old woodsman walked up to her. Celeste climbed down off the fence and faced Ernie. His heart wanted to drop to the ground as he stared at the distraught little girl. Instead he softly began to sing the song she was singing…”That’s the way love goes babe…that’s the music god made..for all the world to sing. It’s never old, it grows oooooo….” Celeste joined in. “Losin’ makes me sorry,” Then Ernie sung, “Ya say, now honey don’t worry so much. Don’t ya know I love ya so much.” In unison they both finished…”Thats the way love goes.”
Celeste ran into Ernie’s strong arm, holding him tightly and begging him to forgive her. Ernie melted with the love she adored upon him. “Awe, little one I too am sorry for whoopin’ ya…I shouldn’t have gone and done that because I too am to blame.” Celeste immediately said, “No, I deserved the lickin’. I ain’t old enough to say nasty words like that, so I promise not to do it again. Just don’t leave me Ernie.” He strengthen his hugged on the little tomboy and said, “I brought over a rabbit for dinner, how about we git you’re ma to cook it up for dinner?”
Celeste stepped away from her friend and shook her head no. “I’m a thinkin’ that is not a good idea Ernie, mama is sick right now.” Ernie raised his thick bushy eyebrows at Celeste. “Hum does she need a doctor?” Celeste wasn’t sure how much information she should give out to her friend. She shrugged her shoulders as “I don’t know” not offering any more information on her mother. “Well that’s okay, we can skin it, and eat it here if ya build a fire for me. I can have this rabbit skinned in no time.”
The two worked together to complete their outdoor meal. Celeste was uplifted in soul having her friend come over and see if she was okay and say sorry. Nothing in the world could have dampen the ugly day she had as the two sat, and giggled the night away singing songs. Her mother never knew her daughter was home, she kept rocking the evening night away in her rocking chair lost to the world in spirit. And when the time came for the friends to depart, Ernie walked Celeste to her home and said good-night. She hugged him with all her might and said, “I love ya Ernie.” Ernie replied, “I love ya too little britches.” They separated and that’s when Ernie took note that Celeste’s mother was a blank page rocking in her chair looking out the window. “Oh, good night her mother ain’t sick, she’s gone cuckoo in the head. Dear lord help this little one’s life, for no wonder she lacks love. Damn cryin’ shame, down right wrong! When her papa comes home, I plan to give him a piece of my mind!”
He walked away knowing the little tomboy’s life was more miserable than she portrayed. He was scared out of his thoughts walking down her driveway when Pecker Pete attacked him. Ernie waited for the foul to jump him, and as fast as lightening ended the rooster’s life by snapping his head, and took him home to throw his mean ass in a cooking pot.