TEN FAVORITE ENDINGS

Sandy’s note:  I could present you with a hundred favorite endings but kept myself limited to ten endings–and the ones chosen have been novels I have read more than once–and probably a dozen times of reading “Little Women” – but I had a good head start on that one, having received my copy of “Little Women” when I was about ten or eleven years old, a Christmas present from my mother. I could recite entire paragraphs from memory before I was a teenager–and had the utter bliss of discovering other Alcott titles in the family bookcase when I was about twelve or thirteen years old–we inherited them from a cousin who, I was told, had “outgrown” them. (I could never understand how anyone can “outgrow” a book.) – Sandra Lee Smith

One

“Every morning I put on this plaid robe of Mom’s, sit down at my computer here at the old white enamel kitchen table and gaze out the window at the birds on the birdfeeder for a while before I begin and then begin again and again, still trying to get it right…           FROM THE CHRISTMAS LETTERS BY Lee Smith

Two

“Her eyes moved” it was Cormac who spoke.

“What, son?” Dermot asked.

“I said her eyes  moved, Daddy. Granny–her eyes moved. It was just a flicker but they moved.”

Dermot gently placed his mother’s hand back on the bed, he sat down on a chair and lifted his son onto his lap.

“Of course they did, son, of course they did.” He hugged the boy.

“What do we do now, Daddy?” Cormac asked.

“We wait, son. We pray–and we wait.”

“It was three o’clock on the afternoon of 6 December, 1992 with, for the first time in fifteen years, every single living member of her family gathered around her, united, that Agnes Browne smiled and became a Dragonfly”     From THE GRANNY by Brendan O’Carroll

Three

“Miss Lewis and me would go many hundreds of miles together and thousands of days together, but I wouldn’t never be as scared or feel as silly again.  There was nothing to do but laugh about it. Nothing else would get us through that moment. I seen your Grandma starting to laugh too, and already beginning to feel better”.

From THE HINTERLANDS by Robert Morgan

Four

“The Hawks fly round and round and the sky7 is so blue. I think I can hear the old bell ringing like it rang to all them home. Oh, I was young then, and I walked in my body like a Queen”.

From FAIR AND TENDER LADIES by Lee Smith

Five

“Sometimes, for a man of few words, my husband chooses the exact right ones. As he kisses me again, I remember Scotland, how I felt when Etta told us about the baby, and picture my husband as a ten year old boy with Annie at his side as he explored the creeks, roads, and back woods of this mountain. As for the bridge, Jack needed to build it, if only to know the deep river that runs through Cracker’s Neck Holler. May it never end.”

From HOME TO BIG STONE GAP by Adriana Trigiani

Six

“She sat up, the old bright light of battle in her eyes. “We ain’t going to fight no more, we’re not going to have any more bickering and arguing and all like that, but I tell you something, Olaf, she said in the old way, “You just try to get me a house two blocks from Sigrid’s if you dare! You just try and   move me two blocks from Sigrid.  You just try it! You got another think coming”

Olaf didn’t say a word. He looked at her with a twinkle in his eye.

She caught on. She stopped. She turned red. “No,” she said more gently, in fact about as gently as a woman can speak unless she wants to take a notion to coo like a pigeon. “But I really mean it. I wouldn’t any more live two blocks from Sigrid than I’d fly to the moon!”

From THE PEACEABLE KINGDOM by Ardyth Kennelly

(Note: The Peaceable Kingdom is about a Polygamus Mormon family; the speaker is Linnea, the second wife of Olaf. Sigrid is the first wife. I adore these books – the Peaceable Kingdom, then a sequel, titled “Up Home”. Kennelly only wrote four or five novels, much to my disappointment.  I have read “The Peaceable Kingdom’ and “Up Home” numerous times.)

seven

“Stellie manipulated it so they had to come down Forth North past the collage of Miss Deatherage. If there had been light within, she would have hung over the fence to look, and listen for the soft piano, but when they got there it was dark as pitch and not a sign of life about the place”.

From “UP HOME” by Ardyth Kennelly

Eight

I watched Udell, wondering if he was feeling empty, with Aubrey gone, the way I sometimes did.  A thread from my pocket caught my eye in the flicker of light from the stove. I twisted to make a knot, wrapping the tip around my finger.  Niddy-noddy, knitting needles, busybody, butter beetles. When will I meet my fair, true love? I smiled. Udell looked up then, surprise on his face as if I’d caught him at something. He brushed his hands against his pants and held his right hand out to me. I put my hand in his, and Udell and I held hands and watched the fire burn down, listening to the wod crackling and sputtering”.               FROM “SARAH’S QUILT” by Nancy E. Turner

 

Nine

“Can you walk?” Hank said.

“Of course I can walk” I said.  I felt as weak as a newborn colt but my strength as coming back as my stomach settled. I steadied myself for a moment before picking up the pillowcase. The red sun slipping over the ridge made me squint a littler.  My belly felt  firm and calm.  We started walking again.

FROM”GAP CREEK” by Robert Morgan

Ten

“Oh my girls! However long you may live I can never wish for a greater happiness than this”

FROM “LITTLE WOMEN” by Louisa May Alcott

 

 

 

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