Lessons from Wabbaseka
By Liza O’Connor
Wabbaseka — formed on swamp land that no one in their right mind would want.
Here’s some more about the place
In 1905, workers began building the Plum Bayou Levee to make the area more habitable. It still floods, just not as bad as it used to be.
The swamp trees were cut out early, leaving very flat land for farming. Cotton was the main product grown. The actual farmers doing the work were almost always black men and woman living in shotgun houses that set in the field. (These were small, poorly built shelters. They got their name from the fact if you opened the front and back door, you could shoot a shotgun through their house.)
In the 1970’s Wabbaseka managed to climb to a population of 700. It even had a school. But now it’s back at a population of 300 and kids are bused to other schools.
Here’s a pic of my aunt & uncles actual house.
They went to a nursing home about six years ago, so the place is a bit overgrown now.
When Anna Baker is fired from her New York job, she accepts her aunt and uncle’s offer to come live with them in the little town of Wabbaseka, Arkansas. She discovers a house in dire need of repairs and her relatives in need of proper care. Under the misconception that being unemployed means she has no money, the local sheriff gets involved in her life, trying to determine how she can afford the building materials to fix up the house. Her cousin, Dewayne, appears and wants her evicted, and the FBI thinks she’s involved in a money-laundering scheme. While Anna doesn’t find the peace and quiet she seeks, she may find love…
Bad habits of the Yankee woman
Jeremy Adams’ five-year-old daughter, Claire, was on cloud nine as they drove to the Larringtons’ house. Jeremy knew she got lonely staying by herself in the woods, but until now, he didn’t have a choice. Because of his ex-wife, he couldn’t take a job that required a social security number. The moment he did, they’d confiscate all his pay.
That left him doing odd jobs for some of the poorest people in the whole damn country. He stretched his dollars by borrowing money from his lady friends, but there was never enough left over to hire a babysitter for Claire. And the women he dated had no interest in caring for a kid.
Anna Baker was the first woman who ever asked to watch his daughter, but then, he wasn’t dating her. She’d hired him to do major renovations on the Larringtons’ house. Biggest job he’d ever got, and she paid him three times the material cost, because ‘that’s what they did in New Jersey.’ He’d padded the material costs, her being a yankee woman, so he was making five times what he’d normally get on an hourly job.
He still had serious reservations about letting her spend time with his daughter, though. She’d be a terrible influence. The woman wore no makeup, kept her blonde hair in a pony tail, and dressed in jeans. Worse yet, she’d tossed a six-foot rattler onto the road when it tried to strike him. And while he didn’t want to be bit by a deadly snake, he would rather that than word get out he’d been saved by a female.
He glanced at his daughter, glowing with delight. Last night she’d burst into inconsolable sobbing when he had told her it was time for bed. He ended up letting her fall asleep on the couch as he watched the news. When he was ready for bed, he put her in the utility closet where she had a cot. But by the time he’d finished his shower, she had found her way back to his bed.
“Now, I want you on your best behavior. Don’t pick up anything and watch where you move. The Larringtons have all sorts of expensive antiques that’ll break if you knock them over.” Sadly, none of the pawn shops in Batesville and Pine Bluff would buy stuff from him anymore.
“I’ll be careful.” Her smile sparkled with joy. “Anna will be there, right?”
“Then I’ll be okay.”
He frowned at his daughter’s attachment to a woman she’d only met once before. They shouldn’t have met at all, but instead of calling him on his cell phone, the damn yankee woman drove three miles into the woods and somehow located his trailer. And she stayed there with his daughter until he returned from Batesville four hours later.
As he pulled into the parking section of the two-acre lot, Anna waited in the front yard, wearing—to his utter amazement—a sundress. If he didn’t know it was Anna, he would have mistaken her for a real woman—well, almost a real woman. Her hair was still in a ponytail and she still wasn’t wearing makeup; nor hose to cover those athletic legs of hers; and the sandals on her feet were large, clunky, and decidedly masculine. But still, it was an improvement.
He barely stopped the truck before Claire scrambled out and ran into Anna’s arms.
About the Author
Liza O’Connor lives in Denville, NJ with her dog Jess. They hike in fabulous woods every day, rain or shine, sleet or snow. Having an adventurous nature, she learned to fly small Cessnas in NJ, hang-glide in New Zealand, kayak in Pennsylvania, ski in New York, scuba dive with great white sharks in Australia, dig up dinosaur bones in Montana, sky dive in Indiana, and raft a class four river in Tasmania. She’s an avid gardener, amateur photographer, and dabbler in watercolors and graphic arts. Yet through her entire life, her first love has and always will be writing novels.
(There’s over 40 now)