John stayed by the tree, studying the paper snowflakes, fingering dried needles that fell to the sheet below.
But then he heard Mama cry.
She was crying really hard. He looked up to see Mary Ethel talking to Lettia. She looked down at him, handed Lettia some linens, then walked downstairs and across the room. She came within ten feet, held out her hand.
She led him out the back door and across the yard, past the henhouse, past the smokehouse, to the swing. She signaled for him to sit, and then just pushed him. Just pushed him.
It was minutes before she said, “Baby’s comin’ today.”