I called over to Sniff’s house, “Seen anything of Sally Cortland, Sniff?”
“If there was anything to see of her, you woulda’ by now, ya been keepin’ watch nearly a week!” she hollered back.
You would’ve thought she meant to notify the neighborhood of my own private business and I set her straight right then and there.
“You just can’t stand to look in the mirror,” she answered; an answer which made no sense.
“I can look in the mirror same as you, you nosy old woman, an’ get a better picture back in the process.”
Well, she started to yell then, and that teenage boy from the other corner – the one that wears his pants halfway down as though he has his heart set on being a plumber – happened to walk by. His face sprouted a sarcastic smile, and I ran down my steps to the rocks that I keep handy in one corner against the house. He spied me out of the corner of his eye, though, and jogged away. He’d had a couple thrown at him before for one offense or another, so he’d learned his lesson. ‘Kids these days,’ I thought.
People started filtering over to Sally’s place around 6:30, so I started over, too.
I heard a voice from behind yell to me in a whisper, if you could call it that, “Bill Bingham, the party ain’t ‘til 7:00. What you doin’ goin’ over an’ disturbin’ that woman a whole half hour early?”
“Can’t you see all the folks already goin’ there?” I answered the Sniff.
I kept walking, and in another minute I could feel her monster steps behind me.
“What’re you doin’, Sniff? ‘The party ain’t ‘til 7:00,’” I mimicked her in a whiny voice and she thumped me over the head with something.
I looked behind me, and she was placing the hat she had whomped me with back on her head.
“What you wearin’ a hat fer?” I said in a disgusted tone.
Fanny threw back her shoulders and walked past me as though she was some kind of queen.
I caught up just as she reached the door and rang the bell. It didn’t work, so she poked her head through the door and yelled, “Sally, dear?”
Sally weaved her way to meet us through the nearly ten people already there.
Sniff leaned over and whispered to Sally, “Can you believe these people! What can I do to help?”
Sally squeezed her hand and said, “Dear Mrs. Smith. Whatever would we do without you? Would you be so kind as to keep an eye on that tray over there and refill it from the kitchen when it gets low?”
Sniff beamed, looked over at me condescendingly, and started over to ‘her’ tray which she watched like a hawk the rest of the evening.
to be continued . . .