Nosey neighbor takes the cake

Published 8:03 pm Friday, August 7, 2009

Aunt Floreen was a nosey neighbor.

She spent every waking hour behind the floral curtain hanging in her picture window. At the slightest outside movement, she would ease the curtain back just enough for one eye to peak out.

I guess she thought nobody could see her in the crack of the curtain or maybe she didn’t care. But from behind the curtain, Aunt Floreen could see everything that went on in the neighborhood. She took great interest in it all and saw no reason to keep it all to herself.

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Aunt Eleanor said Aunt Floreen was just an ol’ busybody who didn’t have anything better to do.

Some days, me and Aunt Eleanor didn’t have anything better to do than drive by her house two or three times with the windows rolled down and hillbilly music playing on the radio just to give her something to wonder about and talk about.

Mama had a friend, Miss Alice, who didn’t get out much, but she didn’t have to. She got up every morning, fixed her face, put on her earbobs and her best house dress and perched herself on the chair in front on her picture window. From there, she had a panoramic view of the neighborhood. Next to her were the telephone and a radio permanently stationed on WTBF. She was in the anchor’s chair primed and ready, to relate the “goings on” in Brundidge.

“Mama, I wouldn’t repeat anything that Miss Alice tells you,” I would caution Mama. “She doesn’t know ‘every’thing.”

But Mama accepted what Miss Alice said as “the gospel” and pointed out that anything she said, was “right off the cuff.”

“Well, one of these days ….”

And, it happened, just like I said.

I walked in Black’s Grocery one morning and got in on the fringes of a conversation.

“You didn’t know that Rogers Sherwood died?” Grace asked.

“No. I just saw him up town a little while ago,” I said puzzled.

“Well, he died,” Grace said. “Alice heard it on the radio, and your mama called me. I knew he was in bad shape when I saw that picture of him you put in the paper this week. I didn’t think he would be around much longer.”

“But, Grace, I just saw him at the post office. He was upright. He’s not dead.”

“He is dead. Alice heard it on the radio.”

I called Mama and she confirmed that Miss Alice had heard on WTBF Radio that Rogers Sherwood of Brundidge died. “But, Mama. I saw him.”

I called the funeral home and, no, they didn’t have “the” body. So, I called WTBF. No, they did not announce the death of Rogers Sherwood of Brundidge. “When did he die?”

“He didn’t,” I said and hung up with no further explanation.

I called Mama because she, Miss Alice, Grace and heaven knows who else, had some backtracking to do before Mr. Rogers Sherwood got wind of his death.

It was a short time later before a nosey neighbor got in my business. I’ll call her Agnes.

She “just happened” to see a pickup truck pull up in front of my house and a gray-haired lady got out with a huge caramel cake, “at least seven layers, maybe nine, and with pecans on top –whole pecans, probably Elliots.”

The lady knocked on the door. Waited and, when no one came, she opened the door and went right in. She came back out shortly without the cake.

Well, knowing I wasn’t home, Agnes made it her business to find out why the lady went in my house and what she did with the cake. She made a beeline out to the street and waved down the truck to ask if she could “help” them.

The kind, sweet lady said that she had heard about the death in the Ingram family , and she had baked a cake to bring to them.

“That’s not the Ingram’s house,” Agnes said. “That’s Jaine Treadwell’s.”

Being the neighborly neighbor that she is, Agnes offered to go back in the house with the lady and retrieve the cake. And she did.

When I got home, Agnes came over to tell me about her good deed.

Now, there’s nothing that I would have liked better than to come home and find a homemade, seven layer caramel cake with pecans on top sitting on my kitchen table.

“Agnes, from now on, if anybody comes to my house and puts a homemade cake on my kitchen table, you just mind your own business!”

Nosey neighbors just take the cake.