This is the original Prologue, which, except for the first line and paragraph, I omitted from the beginning of my book, Last Trip Home (available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and She Writes Press). If you have read my book, you may recognize a few more lines.
“Who do you thank you are, the Quane of Anglund?”
My daddy, Goode Hall, used to say these words to me on our small farm in Arkansas. He’s been dead now for over a decade, but his words are more profound to me than any of Shakespeare’s I ever read. Every time I take a step out of my place now, I hear, “Who do you thank you are, Grace Mayree, the Quane of Anglund.”
I was trained from my earliest memories to be an obedient, virtuous farm wife like Mama. As soon as I noticed how Daddy treated her and how hard her life was, I resisted that training.
“Snap your wrist when you wring a chicken’s neck” and “Don’t swim in the creek during your period”—these lessons I shook off easily after I left the farm. Others, like “Stick by your husband no matter what” and “The man is the head of the household,” were more difficult to slough off, but I worked hard at it and left three husbands.
A few rules I respected and kept, like “Stomp on your own wharf rats” and “Don’t never get in debt.” The more double negatives, the better the maxim. But the lesson that was the hardest to wrench free of, the one that took hold and never let go, was “Take care of your kin.” That one nearly did me in.
Now I live a comfortable, middle-class life in a Southern California beach town, a life that’s an uneasy fit sometimes. My days are easy now, or would be if it weren’t for those payments of guilt on the long-term installment plan. They were right after all: don’t never get in debt or you’ll pay on it the rest of your life.