I stood next to the chicken coop by the house keepin’ out of the way of all the runnin’ around the men was doin’. I held the mule and mare tight to keep them calm, they be mighty scared of the fire. I was too I guess for a while, but it looks as though they got it under control. It wasn’t nothin’ now but a spit that they were stomping out with they feet.
The men were all tuckered out now that it was over, some rested on the ground while others lean up against the barn. They all were full of black soot from the fire, looking like those black face men in Mrs. Hill’s magazines Mama brought home for us to read. The women folk come down from the road, now that the fire was gone, handing their men water and towels to clean up. Some just started at the ruin woods shock shaking they’s head at its bleakness.
I was looking at the once rich woods too thinking all those trees were gone cause of Ole Pete and me. Lawd, how them birds and all gon’ live, I thought. I looked away from the burnt woods and saw Billy goin’ in the barn with Ole Pete. I suspected they was wantin’ to check on things in there to make sure it weren’t a fire blazing inside.
The sun was going down and the folks started leaving for home. It’s been a long hard day for them and me. I knew Ole Pete would be hungry after everything, so I had to clean up and get dinner on the table. I got the mule tied down and was tying the mare when I saw Ole Pete shaking hands with some men before they were heading back home. I guess he was thanking each of them for all their help.
I gather up a chicken out the coop to cook and wrung its neck. Then I sat down on the steps of the house and began plucking it’s feathers when I notice Papa a cross the way. He was talking to Ole Pete and they was starin’ at me