a room or building equipped with one or more toilets
For one thing, at Grandma's you had to go outside to the
a law forbidding the sale of alcoholic beverages
Prohibition was on in those days, which meant that selling liquor was against the law. So people made their own beer at home.
a notice of someone's death
The county seat newspaper didn't want to run an
obituary on anybody called Shotgun, but nobody knew any other name for him.
having the customs or manners of someone urban
Mary Alice and I carried the tale home that a suspicious type had come off the train in
citified clothes and a stiff straw hat.
a person without moral scruples
"He was just an old
reprobate who lived poor and died broke," Grandma said.
a very large pot that is used for boiling
Yesterday she'd done apple butter, and that hadn't been too bad. She made that outdoors over an open fire, and she'd put pennies in the
cauldron to keep it from sticking.
a correctional institution for those convicted of crimes
They were telling the reporter Shotgun killed a man and went to the
a resentment strong enough to justify retaliation
"Was that Effie again? Never trust an ugly woman. She's got a
grudge against the world," said Grandma, who was no oil painting herself.
someone who travels about selling his wares
We figured Grandma might grab up her broom to swat him off the porch. We'd already seen how she could make short work of
peddlers even when they weren't lippy.
lasting for a markedly brief time
"Ah well, fame is
fleeting," Grandma said.
a person who is very poor
"And now he goes to a
pauper's grave with none to mark his passing," the reporter said, which may have been a sample of his writing style.
draw back, as with fear or pain
flinched because he had it on good authority that she'd just been let out of an insane asylum.
hang loosely or laxly
After the second beer the reporter
lolled, visions of Shotgun's Civil War glories no doubt dancing in his head.
Mrs. Wilcox had been humming "Rock of Ages," but
tapered off after "let me hide myself in thee."
leave slowly and hesitantly
He went out a side window, headfirst, leaving his hat and his notepad behind. Which he feared more, the living dead or Grandma's aim, he didn't
tarry to tell.
derive or receive pleasure from
Grandma stood there
savoring the silence.
diameter of a tube or gun barrel
Then she turned toward the kitchen with the twelve-gauge loose in her hand.
marked by excessive complacency or self-satisfaction
It was the cat, sitting
smug on Shotgun Cheatham's breathless chest, who'd batted at the gauze the way a cat will.
dwell on with satisfaction
Though she didn't
gloat, she looked satisfied.
a collection of small fragments considered as a whole
But I lay awake that night, recalling the sound when Grandma's mailbox was blown to
be driven or carried along, as by the air
The smell of breakfast
wafted up from the kitchen.
twist and compress, as if in pain or anguish
But Mrs. Wilcox just stood there on the porch,
wringing her hands.
the comfort you feel when soothed in times of disappointment
All the laws of civilization has broke down, and town life is getting too dangerous. My only
consolation is that there's a prayer meeting at church tomorrow night.
Grandma settled into her chair to
smother her last pancake with corn syrup.
a foolish or clumsy person
He was a big, tall
galoot of a kid with narrow eyes.
move along rapidly and lightly; skim or dart
His gaze kept
flitting to the shotgun.
a journey taken for pleasure
Another whopper, and a huge one. Grandma off on a
jaunt and us with her? I didn't think so.
a facial expression of contempt or scorn
sneer at me, Ernie Cowgill disappeared through the door and stomped off the porch.
the property of two things happening at the same time
It may have been just a
coincidence that a family named Cowgill ran the dairy.
look angry or sullen as if to signal disapproval
glowered but said nothing.
walk by dragging one's feet
Now we were by the door to the kitchen, and I heard the
scuffle of heavy feet in there on the crinkly linoleum.
burn superficially or lightly
singed smell came from their pants.
lacking sense or understanding or judgment
The cherry bomb had scared them
witless, except for Ernie, who was
sidled down the side aisle, treadling heavy.
make off with belongings of others
"What we have here," Grandma said, "is breaking-and-entering. Burglary and
the desire to do something that you know you should avoid
Unless my trigger finger gives way to
temptation. They wanted this shotgun, and they're liable to get it, right between the eyes.
be shiny, as if wet
The ceiling light
glinted wickedly off her spectacles.
someone or something responsible for harm or wrongdoing
You knew at the time who the
culprits was who kicked your privy to kingdom come.
profit from in an unethical manner
Thugs like yours who
prey on two old helpless widow women such as Effie and myself is liable to get up to anything.
express grief verbally
Then he whaled the tar out of every one of them. They squealed like stuck hogs while Mrs. Cowgill
lamented from the milk wagon.