Waiting for Monday

Waiting for Monday

by Janet Throneberry


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781467073189
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Publication date: 01/19/2012
Pages: 208
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.48(d)

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Waiting for Monday

By Janet Throneberry


Copyright © 2012 Janet Throneberry
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4670-7318-9

Chapter One

Back in Eden County people looked after their good names. To this day, heads are tilted and voices lowered before old friends trade memories. Barely a speck on Tennessee, the county's lowest point reached a southerly crook on the map, some said like a falling teardrop.

From the outside, those country towns went about their godly lives behind leaning barns and forgotten cemeteries. Those nameless graves under washed out, plastic flowers made beds for lively field mice. Sometimes one scurried about in the open to retrace the same, dead-end paths until some predator pounced from the cracks, teasing and then killing it.

The county's pride lay with its abundant cotton crops, woven by the best into fertile soil. In spite of the enemies who struggled to their deaths, no one could deny them; those courageous Eden allies always prevailed. Knifing away miles of outstanding Indian-farmlands, armies of trees had long since matured around the cultivated acres, where imposing green farming equipment stood on the ready.

The entire county road system remained deaf to the roars of eighteen-wheelers, snubbing the smart-mouthed Yankees that operated them. Blinding lights of truck stops never pierced the sheltered eyes of Eden's youngsters; and black exhaust was choked away from them, back toward the big city.

Deadened taste buds only partially the reason, the natives were equally hardened to constant, heady back drafts of exquisite barbeque-pits of smoldering hickory chips. Tending those were generations of laid-back colored families on Eden's unpaved back roads, right where their great-grandparents once chopped cotton to survive.

"Unspeakable, I can't even imagine!"

"I do declare; I would have never kept up slaves, myself!"

Cries of the well-to-do white ladies, borderline convincing, were always in careful earshot of the negro-girls cleaning and ironing for pennies on the dollar.

A scattering of timid, medium-brown children regularly entertained themselves between rows of quaint, shingled dwellings. Jumping rope and digging holes, their shovels were sticks stripped of their bark and crudely sharpened. Occupying the same stunted world, the playmates were easily amused by one another. Using limestone to draw lines for games, they illustrated an age-old swath through the countryside. Sometimes the little girls hop scotched closely enough to smudge the lines, but could never fully erase them.

Back in the day, their compliant fathers dreamed to purchase their lifelong homes, sharing such notions only with kindred souls. As each daddy wore out and it came his time to pass, only yellowed leasing agreements were rummaged from weather beaten cigar boxes, along with barely enough cash for his burial at the Negro Funeral Home, way out by the cotton gin on a gravel road. But it always turned out real nice.

For the most part, the county's tiny townships preferred to stand alone like the scarred, rusty water-tower looking over them. That weathered, dull tank blended right into the horizon, a passé landmark. But between its legs traditions continued, right where they met the ground to make a hide-away in plain sight. Nobody passed by after nightfall before adjusting their eyes to scour the twisted bramble for headlights and movement.

And that was all. The last fragments of Eden County before the two-lane to Memphis. Old-timers still traveled that way, checking on crumbling friends already packed up and stored away in peculiar-smelling group homes. The thoughtful friends becoming their own best reward, visiting days became chitchatting and sharing cherished hours of car-pooling.

The men enjoyed boiled peanuts and hog rinds up front, their wives sharing the backseat. Balancing sweet teas in Styrofoam cups with lipstick-stained paper straws, the ladies slipped inside the world they'd shared a lifetime. For a while their faces unlined; they saw none of time's changes, nothing at all.

The highlight of any Memphis-getaway was a nostalgic drive down Riverside passed the Mississippi, where they sat in empathy and silence for a while. Most depressing and uncomfortable was how they'd seen their last of Old Man River's striking sunsets, a reminder their own days were no less fading to black. But the city had become too dangerous after dark; so they hit the Eden County line around dusk, amid discussions about people being "so dang mean and crazy anymore," and how the end of all times was "surely growing near; it could happen in the next second, in fact." And then someone would start a round of "I wish it would, I'm ready," though their shaking heads disagreed.

Like everywhere else, Eden's population crept higher; and the speed limits were soon to follow. There was one homegrown son who got particularly worked up about letting the elderly drive, sighting their presumed forgetfulness. In fact, the good Clarence Otis White, Junior took action. Borrowing his church's dusty van, he collected gas money from the seniors, using a handwritten sign up sheet on a brown clipboard someone donated, his initials in Magic Marker at the top.

His fares generously called him "Mr. Clarence" while cast in his play of benevolence. On one occasion, a weekly departure inexplicably showed up in the "Weekly Edeneer," shocking the van driver, also raising him to local-celebrity status. That's when he bought a roll of peel-away, slap-on nametags. He autographed "Hello" each week, right across the top of his chest. They said it couldn't happen to a nicer fellow.

His captive audience jostled about, their bottoms sunken and molded to the thin-vinyl van seats. Arguably more annoying was how Mr. Clarence never forgot to engage them from his gigantic steering wheel. What a character he was, too ... accenting his main points by flicking a store-brand cigarette out an open, porthole window.

"I don't think I never told y'all this but, EN-EE-WAAYEE" he flicked, "us Eden-boys done stuck together and handed big gov'mernt their butts." (Another, more deliberate flick.) "Ya'll excuse my French."

After gauging obligatory nods in the mirror, the ever-helpful Mr. Clarence worked himself on up to a proud voice, a number of wincing foreheads behind him progressing to full-blown headaches. Pulling from his cig so deeply he closed his eyes a second or two, Mr. Clarence's middle finger expertly flipped his butt out the small opening, a split second before snapping it shut again, murmuring, "Dang cancer-sticks," swerving a bit.

"I ain't EVEN going to lie, people. We set out to kill that interstate, and we done it! And don't worry now, you hear? You ain't ever getting no newfangled Wall-Fart! I'm sorry, but Eden don't need all the riffraff coming through here to work-at-the-thing. I think ya'll know how I mean...."

By then, the entire group was captured by motion sickness and held in embarrassed disbelief. Shifting chalky anti-acid tablets across parched tongues, the passengers' hopes for a faster route to the city dissolved once again.

Thanks to being rescued from their pleasure trips to Memphis, no one could speak nor dared gesture behind Mr. Clarence's vigilant back. Only carefully conveying thoughts to one another through precision glances, the ladies later conferred through heavy, rotary phones beside their feather beds, picking at dotted chenille.

"Oh my, that poor little ole Junior! I do declare, Francis! He just doesn't remember telling us that same old story. Why, he never was quite right, don't you know?"

The sweet little ladies were only being candid; Clarence really hadn't amounted to much.

"But we promised his momma-n-daddy we'd look after him, and that we will, Judy, that we will. The Lord will see us through he will, even if only for the sake of that sad, simple fellow!"

Uncontrollable snickers slipped out, exaggerated and then muffled, at each connection.

"What else can we do but keep merry hearts then, amen, Sister? That's what momma always said. You know what I mean?" And Francis did know, she'd been hearing it for over forty years.

Pediten's cut their teeth on drama, as their proud mothers before them. In fact, a story circulated for decades about a kid named Erik, whose parents didn't know he could say a word. A legitimate concern to his parents as he was two and a half; but it was nice to talk freely in his presence.

Turned out he was saving his first known words for a baby shower. There among the crepe centerpieces and lime punch, he shot an entire sentence to his next-door-neighbor, Miss Barbara Jo, who was there tirelessly serving finger foods. "Momma say, Ba-Ba-Doh fatash and uggah-wee!" It was plain as day. Still nothing hindered the ugly talk, except on that particular block; Where nobody saw much of little Eric playing on his own, lest he should betray his poor mother again.

Preferring to call it "sharing," even the most Christian-inclined ladies added embarrassing details, to the painful, personal dilemmas of folks new to the area. If caught, they always denied it, at the same time swearing no harm was intended; and then finally, hung one another out to dry. That was if the subject was born in Eden County.

If not, anything was fair game. Extramarital affairs, paternity issues, plastic surgery and yes, they even went to the bad place, crudely discussing homely and even impaired children. Stunning their target like a deer in headlights; lies blew and scattered like roadside dandelions, falling as the next big story floated out. Small comfort then, the seeds of destruction had already taken root, and could poke through the ground without warning.

Most all area-churches utilized those stifling passenger vans; to deliver stale, wrinkled children to weekly services, like needy little pieces of dated laundry. There, they worshipped obediently with static in their hair, beside trained volunteers who didn't take any flack; fighting hunger and sleep beneath teetering, hollow steeples.

Behind elevated pulpits gripped by frantic, white knuckles, underpaid preachers warned their flocks against the least offensive sins of the flesh, giving stern warnings in printed outlines, about drunkenness and holding back God's tithes.

Whenever specific temptations of a sexual nature were fired from the pastor's gospel gun, self-righteous heads conspicuously spun, trying to deflect suspicion and shoot down the guilty. But somehow, even while looking intently into one another's faces, nobody's eyes connected.

To end of morning services, everyone stuffed frayed tissues into the empty hymnal slots. Drawing energy from their impending freedom, great prayer warriors rallied God's forgiveness for everyone's best-known sins, reciting them from hurried lists, just below bread and milk.

Occasionally at some spiritual-peak, annoying clicks and scrapes disrupted the moment. Someone had already stolen away, dropping the cumbersome foyer doors ajar; another fraction of the church that did not lean well on one another. The resulting gap invited streaks of sunlight and cigar smoke inside, just as wailing sirens screamed at the church. But being freshly schooled in mercy, nobody brought judgment to the benediction.

"Hey, you can't blame 'em. Ya'll, that fried chicken down at the buffet goes fast! No lie, it's the closest thing to heaven we'll ever see! And look ya'll, the dang place shuts us out 'bout two o'clock!"

Meanwhile, across the ancient railroad tracks that halved the county, several community missionary churches shared anything but ceremony and sacrament. The people were packed into solid structures behind straight, hand-painted signs, rocking their concrete foundations.

Praise singers under faded robes with dangling armholes swayed to ascending choruses, pressuring the glassy-eyed back row to join them. Spontaneous shouts of "Ah-Mahan!" kept rows of well-behaved children awake and their feet swinging.

The heavenly aroma of yeast-rolls met with sizzling, crispy chicken, and then taunted and teased the empty. This led to the cracklings of cellophane clinging to the corroded mints in grandmothers' handbags. At least that racket drowned out all the thirty-second stomach growls. Beginning to wonder if they could go on, the starving got saved at the final "Amen."

Piling dense, divided plates to sagging with fresh greens and red velvet cake, church families feasted beneath water-stained ceilings in musty fellowship halls, exactly as they did the week before, and discussed next week's meal.

But all good things must end, and a neo-frenzied world forced Eden and its churches to evolve to more current methods; like puppet-shows, canned music and pull-down screens, so annoyingly out of place. After the hymnals were impounded, only the pretense and poultry remained, wounded southern souls continuing to seek comfort in one or the other. Changing faster than the people could run, their babies were thrust into a wicked world with rock music in churches and role models who, according to those in the know, engaged in ramped, premarital intercourse.

"Memphis can go right on dangling all manner of indecent scum in front of their own little thugs. Hollywood trash ain't welcome nor-necessary for Eden's youngins!"

As a result, the older kids resorted to hanging in abandoned parking lots and rowdy fields, in circles of dimming headlights, secrets and cigarettes, later drag racing outside of town.

The most privileged students still coveted their school careers as "Giants." The county's only private school, Eden Fine Arts Academy, had an untouchable mascot cunningly named "Go-Liath." On each side of a repurposed bus, he wore a face of purple and gold. His shields were freshened with the letters "GIANTS!" every year. Ruling the roads, Go-Liath left behind plumes of diesel, along with those with no money to board.

Customarily, the top academy graduates married other Giants and then settled down. For them, life was like the brown fields of winter; no matter what remnants fell and scarred the ground, bigger leaves dove to cover them, dying first, if necessary.

Traditionally, academy-students enjoyed bonfires before football games, in soggy backfields belonging to one well-known farming family or another. On cold dirt, they watched gray clouds touching the blustery treetops. The lowered sky was their umbrella, and the most popular girls would remain safe and dry beneath it, closest to the flames.

Both the Catfish Twist and Farmer's Market stayed locked on Sunday evenings, putting higher ups on the spot to model family bonding time with board games and forced conversation. Never able stand it for long, travel-cups of black coffee were prepared before piling their kids into vehicles to "ramble."

The roads were crowded with bored families, congregating at the Dairy-Boom all at once with back seat patrons that looked around hard. They were staring at kids from across the rickety tracks, delivering their tots and treats to the driver's side window; giving humble thanks for leftover, uneven change.

"GO GIANTS!" bumper stickers dotted the Sunday horizon, like miniature, private street signs. Vehicles holding the most accomplished children also had smooth, white stickers in the corners of their back windshields. These, in celebration of some special student's claim to fame, for example, "State Finals Three-Peat!" or "Headmaster's Club." The most shameless shows of excess, personalized labels also curved around those: "GO MADISON SOCCER!" "EFAA WRESTLING-CHRISTIAN!"

But those preps with perky names took poorly to being caged. Grumbling below empty eyes, they writhed less from the thirst of fresh hangovers than teenaged angst. It only made things worse, the possibility of last night's smashed beer cans, wine cooler bottles and ashtray dumping being blamed on them, along with other empties too small to see from the car.

By now they'd tasted those and most other forbidden fruits, under ragged t-tops and a changing moon. Back under their parent's control, the young heroes cringed to the words of their gullible mothers.

"Seriously ya'll, I am so glad nobody drinks alcohol in this family! And who in the heck smashes crap like that in the road ... hey; did ya'll notice any white-trailer-trash or them old, beat-up hoopties? Maybe cruisin' to our part of town after their game?" "Y'all know what I'm sayin'?" On the luckiest days came a version or two of the all-time, guilty favorite:

"Now look here y'all, that there's just-, that's NO home training!" "I-tell-you, it's them parents, not them poor kids ought-to-be right out on there, cleaning that up! Ever-last-bit!" To be fair, the kids admitted some things never got old on those epic Sunday afternoons.

But family time was far too predictable; caffeine-fueled moms spitting gossip, sometimes the beginnings of smear campaigns. Playing in artificial-rainbow slush's, the youngest children took accurate mental-notes to share with their own imaginary friends.


Excerpted from Waiting for Monday by Janet Throneberry Copyright © 2012 by Janet Throneberry. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Waiting for Monday 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
love2read33 More than 1 year ago
good book.
BOOKS_RULE123 More than 1 year ago
I thought this book may not be good because of the person going off about 'therapist' was spelled wrong or what not ....decided to read it and thought it was wonderful. Every page was flabbergasting with a hip edge....I came to review and say thanks to the person who misspelled it for making me want to buy it and look...My favorite character is David and I love how Ms. Thornberry symbolizes David and Goliath throughout his chapter. Like the book said. "Haters gonna Hate."
9192 More than 1 year ago
I'm an avid reader, averaging 5 books a week. Its fair to say I'll READ anything. RECOMMEND? Now that's another story. I've not only recommend this book to friends, I'm actually writing this review. Janet (after reading her book, I feel close enough to call her Janet) illuminates southern hoity toity, what much the neighbors think, snobbish life so succinctly. If she'd placed the age of Monday and Gloria closer to my own, I would swear I went to Prep with Gloria. Waiting for Monday will make you feel so much. At one point I thought to myself its just wrong to hate child, regarding Gloria. But the author pulls you in so deftly you instantly become Monday's champion willing to fight for her at all cost! **Spoiler Alert** I was certain from the beginning Monday would have her redemption, I hoped and prayed it was true. That's why we read, right, to experience triumph over tragedy vicariously. Yet, Janet Throneberry manages to tells the story in such a fresh, compelling, and emotionally rich manor you can't put the book down. I would like to think I could demonstrate the same grace and class Monday ultimately does, but I just don't know.
Bookworm85JB More than 1 year ago
Could not put it down! This book has more heart-wrenching twists that I thought the main character would snap at any moment, but NO she kept going long after I would have thrown in the towel. There were times when I actually cried. But, it's not all sad. This is a story of human endurance and the ability to survive even the toughest things life can throw at you. Prepare to cheer as you struggle along with her. I don't know if her Therapist made her write it, but if she did it's because it's such a great story!!