The trip to Alabama flew by quick for happy Celeste. She was so dang excited that her parents moved heaven and earth to allow Ghost to travel with the family. At times she would sit in the horse trailer with her friend as they traveled the long road keeping him company, and throwing horse turds out the window at the passing semi-trucks. All was good in her world once again!
The summer month’s flew by with speed in the land of Alabama, and before she knew it, Celeste was in full swing attending a new school. Daily she would attend her fifth grade education until finally she was the target once again for bullying. Everyday she took the bullying with a grain of salt, and didn’t blow her top while excelling in her education. To her, nothing could bother her because she had Ghost an Ernie waiting at home when she got out of school.
Ernie was her next door neighbor who lived a short distance from their farm home. She stumbled upon the moonshiner one summer day when her and Ghost was riding in the hollers while he was skinning snakes. The aged old toothless man was a loner himself, but his heart soared when the little humble girl stuck around to keep him company. After school, Celeste and Ghost would visit his home in the woods where the man made his own moonshine and lived off the land. He taught her all about how to skin many different animals and cure the hides to perfection in the passing months.
Celeste didn’t shy away from the laborious task, she through herself into learning everything Ernie had to offer her. Eventually, she learned to handle a sharp blade with skill, shaming Ernie’s skinning technique altogether. The only problem Celeste had with Ernie was his dialect. His deep heavy southern drawl at times were uncomprehending to the little girl; nevertheless, Celeste started to pick up his thick drawl with ease.
The minute Celeste got off the school bus, she whistled out to Ghost. The white gelding ran through the woods to meet his partner as she walked down her long gravel driveway. “Hi ya’ boy! Ready to go to Ernie’s house?” Ghost stomped his hoof into the soft dirt and shook his head yes. Celeste smiled at her friend and said, “Let me see if mama needs help and then we will be on our way.” Celeste ran into the house and put her books on the table. “I’m home mama.” She scanned the farm home and saw her mother sitting in a rocking chair staring out the living room window deep in thought.
With care she walked up to her mother, “Mama is you alright?” Her mother didn’t answer, she kept rocking in the chair without noticing her daughter had spoken. Celeste slowly stepped forward in front of her mother’s view and saw the emptiness in her soul. This was not her mother. “Mama?” Celeste with caution called out. Her mother didn’t blink an eye to her daughter’s calling nor ex knowledge her presence. She continued rocking in her chair in silence.
Celeste scrunched up her brows. “Mama is there something I can get ya’?” Finally her mother took note of her daughter’s calling. When she turned her uninhabited eyes towards Celeste, Celeste knew a dark void had taken hold of her mother’s spirit, but nothing prepared the spitfire for her mother’s lethal ugly words. “GET OUT OF MY HOUSE…BITCH!”
The words stung Celeste’s heart, she slowly backed away and then ran out of the house to the safety of Ghost. “We got’s to git out of here Ghost and fast!” Ghost knew the routine of Celeste’s escape for freedom. The gelding stood patiently while Celeste jumped on his bare back and took off towards Ernie’s home. Tears streamed down her face as the two ran through the hollers in haste, and when she arrived at her friend’s house, she jumped off the back of the horse and ran into Ernie’s waiting arms. He encased his strong aged arms around the tomboy and held her without saying a word.
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