Barbara Lee

— Jim Russo

August in Greenville outside Jackson Mississippi
A still, windless, hot, thick afternoon in the south
A pretty barefoot teenage girl swings in a tire
Humming a tune, dreaming of someplace else
When she should be cleaning the barn
She clicks her heels and lands in North Beach
Who’s the new cute ticket girl at the Palace Theatre?
She looks like Doris Day and talks funny
A big pretty smile and light blue eyes
On a dare she tried out for Miss North Beach, swim suit pictures and all
Then she found the one, a tall local blond blue eyed Sicilian
He was paralyzed by her southern cooking and her southern charm
They were a team, five kids and seven decades
Her houses, her farms, her trees, her pampered gardens
Grandchildren close
Hands that never stopped once, always someone’s baby on her hip
You had to love her cynicism and colorful language, her front door was always open
Many, many people enjoyed and raved about her cooking and baking
Outside her kitchen window a tire swung from an apple tree


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