La Feria News

Miss Bitsy: Ch. 2

By Nandy Ekle

The Next Chapter

He shoved the folder into his briefcase and headed for his car to visit with his very dear old friend and maybe score some of her famous cookies, scones, cakes, or whatever heavenly concoction had recently come out of her enchanted oven. The thought of her amazing caramel brownies suddenly sprang to mind and he had to fight to keep from running to the parking lot. Since leaving Ginger Street he’d never had anything like those caramel brownies.
Jeremy was soon on the sidewalk in front of her house, grinning. Little had changed in the years since he’d lived on Ginger Street. A couple of kids were wheeling around on bicycles, and across the road a little girl in yellow shorts and a flower print shirt was riding her tricycle up the driveway, shiny little streamers fluttering from the handle bars. She stopped and picked up a cat walking toward the street and plopped it in the basket on the front of the trike. Nope, no changes here.
Jeremy had grown up two houses down, and Miss Bitsy was the center of his world back then. The self-proclaimed grandmother of the entire community, she had cooked and baked, feeding everyone for blocks around, including the stray cats and dogs that passed her door. As he neared the house he thought the animals lounging could be the very same cats and dogs exactly where then had always been: cats in the tree grooming themselves and each other while dogs chewed bones and napped in the sun.
Staring at the front of the house, he remembered being a red-headed freckled-faced ten-year-old boy knocking on her door. He had begged Miss Bitsy to let him do little chores because his mom didn’t want him taking advantage of her, but he would never be able to remember all the times he’d sat at her Formica table in that cheery pink and yellow kitchen, eating caramel brownies and drinking a glass of milk while telling her about his day.
Whistling, he climbed the porch steps and knocked on the door. Was she still able to get around the house? She had been old back then—was she ancient now? As he stood on the porch he almost felt the Super Mario baseball cap he used to wear. He knocked again and waited, listening for sounds coming from the other side of the door. His reward came as it creaked open, a little slower than it had all those years ago, but there she stood, almost totally unchanged.
Mrs. Mitzi Bevel, called Miss Bitsy because of her slight stature, looked through the screen. She was wearing a worn blue cotton dress and a well-used yellow apron that sported the stains of many ingredients in odd little shapes, an abstract painting of deliciousness. Her hair, tied neatly as always to the top of her head, had little white wispies escaping the pins. Her large-framed glasses sat on the end of her nose and she was holding a wooden spoon in her hand.
Jeremy’s stomach growled. “Mrs. Bevel, I’m Detective Jeremy Dougan. Do you remember me? I used to live in that house over there.” He couldn’t resist the boyish feeling of wanting her recognition. “I’m here to ask you a few questions about Anton Easley.” He held up his badge so she could see it through the screen door.
“Jeremy Dougan? Oh, yes, Jerry, I remember you! You were the little red-headed scrap of a boy from down the road. Come in, come in! Well, what a nice surprise! How nice of you to come visit me. Oh, my…. we have a lot of catching up to do.” The screen door opened and she grabbed his arm and pulled him inside to her warm kitchen. She plopped him into a chair with a plate of cookies sending their sweet aroma out to the neighborhood kids. She placed a napkin in his hand and a glass of milk on the table.

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