Standing on the Promises by Augusta Trobaugh

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When Elderly Miss Allie sees her new great-grandbaby for the first time, she discovers a shocking truth about her own past, a truth that causes Miss Allie to sneak away into the woods with the baby -- who, in Miss Allie's memory-addled mind, is only a heavy doll, one she can carry no longer.


On the second Saturday in August, old Miss Allie Atwood, who was to celebrate her ninety-fourth birthday in September, had been sitting for over two hours on the wide porch of the old Atwood-Connell family home across the road from the Brushy Creek Baptist Church cemetery. She was waiting for the family to gather, as they did every year, armed with rakes and push-type lawn mowers for cleaning the family cemetery at the church, and with picnic baskets and gallon jars full of sweet tea, for dinner-on-the-ground after the cleaning. But on this day, Miss Allie had been waiting with such a deep longing for the traditional day that when her granddaughter, Sarah, came from just down the road to see about her at mid-morning, Miss Allie was stiff and all puffed up in her porch rocker, like a stone monolith, and with her jaw set at a terrible angle.

“They aren’t coming,” she hollered to Sarah as she came across the yard. “This is the day and they aren’t coming.” That said, she went back to rocking with a grim regularity.

“Who’s not coming? I’m here, aren’t I? Same as always?”

Sarah, herself no longer a young woman, came and sat down on the top step, fanning herself against both the heat of the morning and the aura of bad temper strongly radiating from her grandmother. 

“I tell you, they’re not coming,” Miss Allie repeated.

Because no one cares about anything that’s behind them. They’re too busy looking forward and too deep into pleasing themselves. I know from seeing the young women who come wearing short shorts and sandals—and polish on their toenails. Can’t do any real work in such as that. Always talking about things that don’t matter anyway, like their houses and their cars and how their children go to some “academy,” as if those children could learn from any school about the things that really matter, no matter how much you pay to send them there. And the children! What a sad bunch they are, whining that they’re too hot or they’re missing their cartoons on television or nobody brought the right kind of soft drinks. What will become of them? Because they don’t know and they won’t listen, just want their air-conditioning and their television shows and their soft drinks, and don’t care a thing about what really matters. 

  • Published by: Untreed Reads

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