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Jake Neta has written a booklet of short stories and thoughts about his growing-up years, and life in general, called "Come Visit with Jake." You can e-mail him if you'd like to inquire about purchasing a copy. Here's an excerpt!

Little Me
(Ma Shallow)

When l was small, real small, my sister, Nathalie, had to take care of me. My mother and dad worked and we lived in the country. Nathalie had a friend that lived on a farm just down the road, Jean. We spent many of summer's days on their farm.

'MA'' Jean calls standing in the back doorway, my sister right behind her, with me on her hip. I'm a big load for an 8 year old girl.

This big lady comes in view at the end of the hallway, wiping flour on her apron.

"Ma, can you watch Jackie....we'll be "just outside." A question? A request? A demand?

The big lady smiles. knowing that "just outside'' on a farm encompasses a big area. The smile was a yes.

My sister wedges past her friend and takes me into the living room. She sits me on a rag rug, a rug of many colors and leaves. My sister leaving me there does not alarm me, I was used to playing by myself, besides, the room was familiar and the rug was new, "of many colors."

I hear a noise and look up. The big lady stands over me, she bends over and gives me a milk bottle, she drops two clothes pins through the opening. She turns the bottle over, the pins drop out. She puts one pin back into the bottle and watches me do the same, 1 turn the bottle over. She smiles. "You're a good baby," She turns and leaves, when I don't know. I have my new toy and I play for a long time.

I hear a baby cry. It alarms me. Babies are not supposed to cry. 1 know that when a baby cries something is wrong. I push myself up, rump first. l have to tell the big lady. I run with all my speed to find her. Across the living room, down the hall, past the backdoor, up the hall, into a big room, it smells good, it's the kitchen.

The big lady is not in here'?? The baby stops crying. The urgency of the alarm evaporates. My mind goes back to the new toy. l run back to it with the same urgency.

There, in a rocking chair, is the big lady, with a baby in her lap. Where did that baby come from? A mystery in my mind.

The baby is doing something? I walk half-way across the room. Whatís that baby doing? I can feel I should not get closer. There is something special between that baby and the big lady, but my curiosity draws me closer. Whatís that baby doing? Before I know it Ih ave my chin on her knee, looking, turning my head and my body to see what that baby was doing.

She pulls her hand away from the top of her dress, it gently falls onto the babyís face.

She gestures with her free hand for me to come up. I grab her dress, one hand on each side of her leg, my face buried in her thigh. She gently, but firmly pulls on my shirt to help me. It took some work but I finally get on her lap, trying to see what the baby was doing. She chuckles slightly, it rumbles down through her body. Itís a welcome. I turn and sit in her lap, falling back onto her chest.

I do not remember if she let me suckle, but I do remember the full lap, the warm, soft chest, the smile, the smells, the LOVE.

We are older men now, most of our children have grown. Heck, some of us are grandfathers.

Today I know why I was jealous of you Shallow Boys.

Thank you for sharing your mother with me.

© 1997 Jacob R. Neta, all rights reserved. Presented here for viewing by web visitors only. May not be used in any other form or for any other purpose.

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