The Dance in the Doorway in Feather Bed Hollow

I can still hear the deep throaty sound of the cam on his Granddaddy’s flathead V8 truck, as he ripped through the dusty roads of Featherbed Hollow; one of those roads would lead him to me, that summer.

I stood in the doorway moving my hips gently, to a drone of the countless cicadas in the treetops. Billie Holiday’s ‘The Man I Love’ softly whispers from the back kitchen. It was the month of August, in the heat of a merciless sun.

The only witness to a breeze was the stir of hazy dust, floating above the cotton fields.

My Grandmother, Ada, says Featherbed Hollow came to be known in namesake for its soft, down feather beds inside Rose’s Ice House, down in the town valley where many of the miners would spend their coin after a long week’s work.

They call me Tabitha Snow. My Grandmother says I am at the age between ‘Flowers and Honey’; still innocent, but growing into my dresses in a way that make young men ponder sweet thoughts.

My Daddy, Michael, owned Douglas County’s largest strip coal mine, rightfully called Electric Blackbird.

He was a large and respected figure of a man. He attracted fortune and the love from my beautiful Mother, Isabelle; and even other ladies, best not spoken of. He had the admiration of the townsfolk with his integrity and Southern gentlemen ways. He called me his doll baby and would bring me wildflowers for my pressed collection.

I loved him dearly…

He also attracted trouble. Like the kind that comes in the back door, akin to a thief, that strips you of everything precious; even taking your last breath out with him, quick as lightning.

My Daddy found his last breath, heroically, saving men from the Blackbird 44 mine when a shaft ceiling collapsed upon him and a fire ignited from the coal dust.

The explosion was so powerful it could be felt in the next County of Silver Stream.

I was 15 years of age when he died. Isabelle was so distraught that Ada would set out with me to pick my Mother’s favorite wildflowers and collect honey to bring to my heartbroken Mother. I don’t think the orange blossom honey was ever sweet enough; and the flowers, one day, just did not make her smile anymore.

That October, my Mother went to a picture show in town, with her best linen dress adorned with a silk, lavender ribbon and tiny white flowers ~

She never came back…

Ada said my Mother ran off with the ‘travelin’ circus that came through our town. She thought this might ease my mind. She knew how fascinated I was with circus folk and that one particular tattooed, strong man with the top hat and dark patch over his eye. He always winked at me with his good eye. He looked upon me as if he wanted to tell me secrets; things I suspect I shouldn’t hear.

Somehow, imagining my dear Mother had run off with the strong man, magicians and ladies of the night did not evoke warm feelings inside me, like Ada had intended.

I have grown considerably through the seasons and I suppose this story is really about my 22nd summer of life, in sleepy, Featherbed Hollow; and the mysterious desire behind Drake and me.

Our town was a place where everyone wielded their gift, sharing and learning from each other. Long hazy days and nights were lived in accordance where the men worked the crop fields, animals, mines, and forests. The menfolk taught us children, the ways of discipline, strength of character and special things.

The women folk of our town took great pride in their teachings. They were spirited and nurturing in all their deeds; keeping the internal pattern of Family, fine-tuned and enriched with special care ~ always instructing the children to be the ‘Seers of their Dreams’.

Dusk was called ‘the special hour’. It was during this time where all of the townsfolk would end daily chores to assemble on their big porches. The Men would light their finest pipes and stories of the day could be heard, drifting upon the night breeze.

Women, with their cheeks like spring roses from the summer heat, would gently fan their glistening skin as they sipped on lime iced tea and watermelon sugar water. They gently laughed and smiled towards the stars; as children captured lightning bugs in fat jelly jars.

11:11 PM, every night was known as the 137th moment. The entire town knew to offer up one special thought from something that had happened that day. We would focus upon the thought secretly, holding it with deep intention and blessing.

As we aged, all children became very skilled and powerful at being ‘Dream Seers’, for the good of all.

My Grandma taught me these gifts as a girl. She called me her ‘dancer in the doorway’ because I had my best visions as I stood eyes closed, swaying in the doorway, as to an invisible melody. After my visions were cast I would slowly open my eyes to a light that radiated its grandeur upon the fields and our old town in the distance; a reflection upon my soul that seemed so mythical.

I must speak of the mystery behind Drake and myself that strange summer, where the heat was sticky like saltwater taffy and the nights where only cool when a storm rolled down.

This was a summer where the town folk spent many hours in the shadows, apple cellars, spidered church basements, cellars and creeks.

I took my walks that summer at dusk, with bare feet, to touch the cool clay dust. It felt like the sugared powder we kept in the ice box.

One evening I could see the dust rising in the distance behind his truck, as it rumbled and shook from every pot hole on that forest road, in our Hollow.

I had never seen this truck before and was certain it was from the 1940’s. He slowly approached as I kept walking toward the tree line. We locked our gaze upon each other like we had never seen another human being.

I remember I had never seen eyes like his. Eyes like a predator hawk, fierce and powerful. I felt tingly and thought he could see right through my summer dress down to my soul.

His smile was slow and strangely cautious; hair wildly combed by wind or storm, it was sure hard to tell the difference; bleached on the edges by an eternal sun.

Those few moments of recognition, seemed like we had always known about the specialness within each other; it was some powerful force that resided between desire and sweetness.

A yearning that made me feel weak and sad for the moments that would come without him, being replaced with a longing so deep and unknown, it frightened me…

I knew then, all that dancing in the doorway, was just watching and waiting for him to come to me.

I told him my name; because he asked. I asked him where he was going; because I wanted to go with him…

“I ride around the back forest roads to cool down and it helps me think and clear my head a bit.” Drake replied-

I thought this man looked so tranquil I figured he had been driving like this for an eternity.

He asked what I was doing alone; out here by the forest…my reply was similar.

“I always walk the back roads; I love to look at the fireflies in the trees at dusk. I live in the Hollow past the old Graveyard going into Featherbed.”

He smiled like he understood and said- “Get in if you like, we can ride it out together back here on these roads, I think a storm is coming anyway.”

We talked as if we understood each other’s thoughts before they were spoken. The moon was low, like a fat hanging fruit that glowed in the sky. In the spaces of silence I could feel his masculine energy. The mingled scents of wild, purple flowers that had sat too long in the sun, sweet hay from the fields and that of cool watermelon from a creek bed, stirred my senses.

I felt dizzy with excitement when he touched my hand and asked if I was cold in my dress.

I told him I was pretty warm and would love a dip in the creek. I don’t think a man could have stopped a moving flathead ford any quicker than at this moment.

We walked barefoot in the cool creek water, feeling the slimy mud and rock between our toes. It made me giggle some; creek water always does.

He told me more stories of where he came from and his Daddy was a miner in Silver Stream. He knew the story of my Father and said that was the worst explosion around these parts.

We talked for hours looking at the stars, laughing and teasing each other like children do.

When we had spoken all the words that could be heard, it was silence that found our desire. He pulled me up into his arms and we made our way running through soft moonlit grass to O’Hanlon’s barn where we wasted no time in finding each other’s secrets.

His kiss was warm and perfectly forceful. Touching, we found each other and moved in rhythm to a dreamy song, from a bygone time. It crackled and sounded faded across the airwaves from the truck’s radio…

On those summer evenings we traversed every back road together; stopping often, to find passion in every cemetery, barn and abandoned house that we could find. We always found a place to share our stories, dreams and ourselves.

I realized that these moments we shared were from the origin of my visions. A place of pure energy and love; it is where we all come from in the beginning.

The mystery of the story is in the chosen path we are traveling through, to find one another. Again.

By Duskflyervisions

This is a place you can choose to view or purchase, distinctive fine art paintings, archival photographs, heirloom, hand-painted and collectible egg ornaments, writings and books by Tommie Flannery Baskis © 2018 Duskflyer Vision Art & Productions. All Rights Reserved.

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