Sunday, September 9, 2012
SUNDAY AT TALLIE'S
Tallie is the glue that holds the O'Shea family together. Even before Bernie died, Tallie qualified for Mother of the Year every day. Though her eight adopted children are adults, they still return to the traditional Sunday dinner at Tallie's whenever they can. To reconnect with each other, to share events in their lives, and to enjoy Tallie's home cooking.
Coming November 2012, Tallie will have her own story in CHALLENGING THE LEGACY. Be prepared for some surprises as secrets from her past are revealed.
Welcome to Tallie O'Shea's!
**Though trained to control his emotions, Grady had grown up near Halo, and felt a great sadness that businesses nurtured for decades by the town's hearty citizens had been reduced to charred and splintered pieces of wood and broken bricks.
After debriefing with the rest of the team, Grady hitched a ride to Tallie's. Seeing Halo destroyed went down hard for Grady. He needed reassurance something in this world was still intact.
Tallie met Grady at the door and pulled him into a hug. As he wrapped his arms around this woman who had been his mother since Bernie brought him home, a sense of peace and love washed away his tensions.
When he was a kid and needed comfort, he took his blanket and sat outside Bernie and Tallie's bedroom door. Not to eavesdrop, but just to hear the murmur of their voices as they settled in for the night.
He wasn't the only one of his siblings who sometimes needed a reminder they really were safe and warm with their bellies full. Sometimes several of them would gather in the hallway. They knew Collin, the oldest sibling, would make sure they were all in their own beds before Tallie and Bernie arose at daybreak.
Several minutes passed before Grady released Tallie and held up his hands, wiggling all ten fingers for her to count. Perhaps it was a silly, slightly repulsive way to break the tension from the danger of Grady's job, but this had become a routine every time Grady came back from an assignment with the bomb squad. "Look, Ma, still have hands."
"I'll warm up some food for you." With a grateful smile, Tallie took Grady by one of those hands and led him through evacuees bundled in blankets and quilts and sleeping bags.
Many of them greeted Grady as he walked by and asked about conditions in town. Grady simply shook his head. "Pretty much all that's left of Halo is part of Charlie's porch and his rocking chair."
Murmurs of disbelief greeted Grady's comment. As he settled at the kitchen table to eat, some of the evacuees gathered around him to ask questions, finding a measure of comfort in being together.
Awakened from her restless sleep, Layla settled on the outer edge of those gathered around Grady. She remembered him from high school. A tall, slender teenager on the edge of nerdiness who didn't seem to have a clear direction. Much like she was at that age.
But Grady had Bernie and Tallie's strong guidance, while she had a father baffled by a teenaged girl caught up in the throes of hormones and peer pressure. Pop trusted her to make the right choices, and she let him--and herself--down.
What's the matter with me? Layla thought as her eyes filled with tears again. She hadn't cried for fifteen years. Now she couldn't seem to shut off the waterworks.
As quietly as she had joined the group of Halo townspeople, Layla slipped away.
**Excerpt from CHASING THE LEGACY, copyright Genene Valleau, writing as Genie Gabriel