On the way home from Bible School on a Thursday morning I stop to look at the morning glories. Blue as, blue as…so blue. So many. A great big bunch of morning glories. From the upstairs porch down to the ground on the trellis. A wall of morning glories. Blue. Shining. Glorious.
I’m on the back porch. I’m going to have lunch. Mother is fixing my sandwich inside the kitchen, past the screen door. I am careful not to slam the screen door. Please. She is right there in the kitchen.
I hope Mother will not bring me a peanut butter sandwich with strawberry jam on it. I like peanut butter, but I do not like strawberry jam on my peanut butter sandwich. I hope. I would like to eat soon. I told Mother I don’t like strawberry anything. Not jam. Not ice cream. Mother knows.
“Here you are.” She hands me a sandwich and a napkin.
I am looking at this sandwich, opening the two pieces of bread, white bread, uh-huh, peanut butter, uh-huh, and, oh no, strawberry.
“Eat your sandwich now.”
“I don’t like strawberry.”
“Eat your sandwich. We’re out of grape jelly.” Mother goes back in the kitchen.
Grape. My kind of peanut butter sandwich has grape jelly on it.
I can’t eat this strawberry jam. What can I do with it? Right by the porch is a window well. You know, a hole in the ground to give the basement window light. Near the porch.
What is Mother doing? I’m looking. She’s busy. She’s not looking.
I wrap the horrible sandwich in the napkin. I hurry down the steps and right on over there and throw the sandwich down the window well. Now I’m quickly back on the porch. I’m singing one of my made-up happy nervous songs. Grape grape grape! Jelly jelly jelly!
“Where’s your sandwich?” Mother is out here again suddenly. She has a frown and pinches her lips together. She is wiping her wet hands on her apron.
“I ate it?” Looking away from her sharp eyes.
Oh no. Mother for some reason goes down the porch steps and over to the window well and looks down there.
“Don’t you lie to me. This family does not waste food. You will bring bugs and rats here with this food in the window well.” She reaches down in there and picks up the napkin with the strawberry sandwich in it.
“Many children don’t get any lunch. Don’t be so picky.” She puts the sandwich down in front of me.
“Eat your lunch.”
“I don’t want it.”
“That’s all you’ll get ‘til supper.” She slams the screen door.
I don’t care. I don’t need food.
I’m painting the porch. I paint it with the big paintbrush and the water in the bucket. The cement goes all dark. Sometimes I make stripes or squares or dots. Or I paint in a little circle that gets bigger and bigger. Or I paint from the door across and across, back and forth, all the way down to the steps. I also paint the two steps then. The white cement turns dark when I paint it with the water. On a hot day like this I can watch the dark water dry and the porch turn white again. Then I paint the porch dark again. I make it beautiful, then beautiful, then beautiful. Mother made up this game. She calls it Paint the Porch. So do I. I like to see the porch change colors. I have my big paint brush and my bucket of water. Paint paint painting the porch porch porch. Good job! I paint the porch Morning Glory Blue, watch it fade to white in the sunshine.