Mr. Tidwell’s Soul

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Ginger Wiegman-Cousens


Two things happened on my eleventh birthday.
Our neighbor Mr. Tidwell disappeared
and my dad built a scarecrow.
These two things seemed ominous to my young mind.
I was at school when Dad built the scarecrow.
When I got home there it was
in the middle of the vegetable garden.
Every evening at supper my Dad ranted
about the Tidwells,
the Tidwells’ cows in our pasture,
the Tidwells’ kids climbing over the fence,
and especially about Mr. Tidwell, that lazy dirt farmer.
That evening the Tidwell children
arrived to share my birthday cake.
By this time I was fairly sure Dad had killed
Mr.Tidwell and made him into a scarecrow.
I knew he was perfectly capable of such a crime.
Did he not kill my pet rabbit and
then eat her for Sunday dinner?
I did not share my suspicions with the Tidwell children.
Months went by and still no Mr. Tidwell.
I could not go near the scarecrow
but the crows did not seem to be intimidated.
They dive bombed and pecked at it
in angry forays and over time tore it to shreds.
By the end of summer little remained.
I was convinced they were eating
Mr. Tidwell and devouring his soul.
Fall arrived and while I was in school
the scarecrow disappeared.
Years after I left home
I received a letter from a gossipy friend.
Mr. Tidwell, it seems
had run away with the redhead
who worked at the “Curls For You” beauty parlor.
So now I can only wonder, “Who was the scarecrow
hanging In the middle of the vegetable garden?”

pencil

Ginger is the mother of 3 sons and 1 daughter and has several grandchildren. She lives in Woodinville, Washington with her youngest son and a devoted daughter-in-law. When she is not writing powerful poetry, you can find her feeding the birds and squirrels, playing with her Pembroke Welsh Corgis, Pili (Peelee) and Killee and amusing the cats who allow her to live with them. Ginger can be reached at krystalwvr[at]att.net.

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