Gentle's Holler
Kerry Madden
Viking, 2005
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Gentle's Holler, Chapter One, Roasted Peanuts (cont'd)

Daddy says the name Olivia beholds the fragrance of sweet, creek-side magnolia blossoms. Daddy's a poet in his soul, but not Mama. She's far too busy to fool with poems what with so many kids getting hungry all the time. She knits us sweaters and scarves whenever she gets a minute to herself, which ain't often. Mama also claims a paycheck is worth a sight more than a poem. Daddy doesn't have a regular paycheck nor any insurance policies, which worries her to death. This dread settles into the line between her eyebrows like a gully after a summer storm. Daddy said if we didn't have stomachs we'd all be angels, but we got stomachs, all right, and hands. My hands are usually on the neck of a guitar that Daddy give me for my birthday last year though we couldn't hardly afford it. He said it was for all of us, but I knew he meant it for me, because none of the other kids cared a lick about playing it. Mama says, "No more musicians in the family, thank you," but she lets me play as long as I get my chores done.

"Livy Two! You get in here right now or I'm telling Mama you're out climbing trees at midnight again like some wildcat!" My big sister, Becksie, pokes her head out the window from her own bunk bed, like to scare me half to death. I play possum and don't answer the grand queen's commands. Becksie's real name is Rebecca, and she is by far the bossiest creature to ever march the earth.

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