The Last Supper Catering Company tells the story of B. Thankful Childe-Lucknow. Turned out with red corkscrew hair, one eye brown, the other green, and gifted with the power to hear the voices of the departed, B. Thankful is cast aside by the town as the devil’s child and lives an isolated upbringing in the woods.
Tragedy, followed by the discovery of a long-forgotten paint-by-number picture of the Last Supper, thrusts B. Thankful from the safety of everything she has ever known.
Beyond the boundary of her sheltered life, B. Thankful discovers the world’s hard edges as well as its beauty. More importantly, with the help of a cast of quirky and tenderhearted souls, she discovers why God made her special
My momma died on a hot August afternoon in 1950, right before I was born. My grandma, Little G, was out picking blackberries for pie making, and my momma-to-be was out hanging sheets on the line, when Little G heard a scream from across the yard. She looked up from her bucket of berries just in time to watch Momma begin a lazy fall, as if overcome by some long held tiredness. The wooden clothespins flew from Momma’s hands, snapping at the air on the way down, looking for something to hold onto. Momma was dead by the time she hit the ground, her head resting on the damp pillowcase in her hand, her why questioning eyes looking up to God.
Little G said I could probably see daylight when Momma squatted down–that’s how close to being born I was. So, despite her motherly anguish at the sight of her dead daughter lying in the tinder dry grass, Little G reached into her baby girl’s womb and pulled me into this life. Little G swore she heard a thousand voices follow me into the world, but not a single one was able to comfort her that day.
I listened to Little G tell of that day so many times her words became the marrow of my bones. And I always took delight when she turned boldly dramatic in acting out the part where she held me upside down and slapped my behind again and again, not because she was angry with me, but because she needed me to live.
“Be thankful for life! Be thankful for life!” she called out then and with every retelling.
When I let out my first baby cry, Little G cut the cord connecting me to Momma’s tragedy, wrapped me in a pillowcase, and clutched me to her old woman breasts. What with life coming and going in the same moment, Little G’s tears were no doubt confused as to why they were called upon.
Poor Little G had no time to consider the why of it all, for the sun was so white hot it made the air too lazy to move, and my dead momma was beginning to sunburn. For the life of me, I could not imagine Little G holding me in one arm as she dragged her broken daughter into the shade of the old red oak. To add to her troubles, I was longing loud for a breast to suckle. Like those old clothespins, I, too, was looking for something to hold onto.
Though it might sound a bit more than strange to some, I believe every mother will understand why Little G did what she did next. Sitting with her back against the old red oak, she took her daughter into her arms, Momma’s head resting childlike in the crook of Little G’s elbow. One-by-one, she unbuttoned her baby girl’s pink rosebud blouse, pulled back Momma’s brassiere, and laid me to her milk filled breasts.
“Pretty Childe, this is your daughter, B. Thankful Childe. B. Thankful, this is your momma, Pretty Childe.”
There she stayed, rocking her baby girl and me until the sun set and Tyler Lucknow came calling, as he did most every night to make sure everything was right and in its place.
According to Little G, Momma walked with an empty spot on her right shoulder where her guardian angel should have been. Without a guardian angel to protect her, and blind to the love of the one who truly cared for her, Pretty Childe fell into the arms of every junkyard dog of a man. When the dark water washed away what goodness lay deep within Momma and sent her lost soul wandering, looking for some kind of hurtful love for the night, Tyler would come along and find her banged up body outside some booze joint. Setting the threats to his own life aside, he’d take her home, where Little G cleaned her up and put her daughter to bed. Shotgun in hand, and Tyler by her side, Little G would stand watch on the porch until the morning light rose over the hills, and the threat of no-account cowards who slithered in the night, passed.
After I heard Little G tell that story, I was certain Momma did have a guardian angel watching out for her. And that angel’s name was Tyler Lucknow.
The day after Momma died, Tyler dug her grave out in the back forty where all who had gone before were waiting. No one but baby me, Little G, Big G (my great grandma), and Tyler were there to say goodbye.
My Little G’s refusal to see the world in black or white, preferring to embrace all the colors God created, set tongues to waggin’ when she placed Tyler Lucknow’s name on my birth certificate in the box where a daddy’s name would show up proud. It was such a nice thing for him to allow, trying to save me from being looked upon as a bastard. But to town folk, having Tyler Lucknow’s name on my birth certificate made being born a bastard appear saint-like.
Years later, but still with nothing better to do, those graceless folks made sure their hurtful stories traveled all the way down our road. One day, Little G found me down by the river, my tears bubbling up and over onto the latest spiteful notes I found nailed to our mail box post. Little G took my face into her calloused hands, wiped away my tears, and brushed back my unruly hair.
“B. Thankful, you are a blessing from God that just happened to ride in on a cursed highway. Those fools are just jealous because God brought you into this world to do Him a big favor one day.”
Whenever I tugged on Little G’s patience with my questions around what that favor might be, she would name a chore to be done and send me on my way. While I waited for God to call upon me and ask His favor, I lived an isolated childhood in the woods between Beauty and the land of Majestic with three of His finest.
To learn more about B. Thankful Childe-Lucknow and Michaelene McElroy check out these links!
Author Website & Blog:
Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thelastsuppercateringcompany?ref=hl
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***Also check out this post today on http://myownrant.blogspot.com
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Dec. 6: http://theindieshop.blogspot.com
Finally a Giveaway Conclusion at