Deliver Us from Evie

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It'd grab the entire plant of corn, strip off its ears, take the kernels, pump them into a storage tank, and dump the rest of the plant back into the field behind it.

Deliver Us from Evie Audiobook | M.E. Kerr |

Sometimes I'd look at my mother and wonder how she'd ever brought someone like Evie into the world. The only thing they had in common was a love of reading. Evie wrote some, too, like Mom used to when she was her age. But they weren't alike in any other way. They didn't even look alike. Evie had Dad's height—she was almost six foot—and she had Dad's brown hair instead of being blond like Mom. My mother wasn't like most farm women, who wear jeans and sweatshirts. She had a few pairs of slacks, but mostly she wore skirts or dresses, and the only time I ever saw her in men's clothes was sometimes when we were harvesting.

She'd bring some sandwiches out to us and she might have on an old shirt of Doug's or my father's gloves, maybe my boots, but she was as uncomfortable in men's things as Evie seemed to be in female stuff.

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She was trying hard to change Evie that fall, trying everything, but it was like trying to change the direction of the wind. Duff was a banker, too, and he held the mortgage on most of the farms that weren't paid off yet, including ours. Evie didn't want to go to the party. Way past dark she was still out in the middle of a back field fooling around with a balky diesel engine, welding something that had broken. My father said let her stay there, what the heck, but my mother insisted Evie come in and change her clothes and go with us. I could hear them arguing upstairs while my father sat in front of the TV, watching news of hog and corn futures broadcast on The Farm Report.

Deliver Us From Evie

Now you're just a farmer's wife, Mother—get used to it! My mother came downstairs in a long black skirt with black boots and a white silk blouse. Her blond hair spilled down to her shoulders, and she had on pearls my father'd bought her back when they first got married. She wore her hair very short, with a streak of light blond she'd made with peroxide.

“Deliver Us from Evie” by M. E. Kerr

That was as close as she'd ever come to makeup. She'd written one of her nonrhyming poems about it. Mom called them "statements. You could see the blue of her eyes all the way across a room. I thought she looked a little like Elvis Presley. He wasn't crazy about the Duffs, for one thing; for another, he always took up for my sister. My mother liked to say that's how Evie got to be the way she was.

She only listened to my father. Listened to him, walked like him, talked like him, told jokes like him. While Evie drove us over to the Duffs', Dad started griping about The Duffton National Bank, and how hard they were on the farmers who got behind in their mortgages. Evie said, "Only difference between a pigeon and a farmer today is a pigeon can still make a deposit on a John Deere tractor.

I watched her that night and thought of that case, a while back, about the babies being switched in the hospital, each one going home to the wrong family.

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Patsy looked enough like my mother to be her daughter. Her blond hair fell down her back and she had that same flirty quality my mother had with people, smiling easily into their eyes, listening nicely, and saying the right things back. She had class, like my mother, and seemed older than seventeen. Then my mother went into her story about how she never expected to date an ag student, how she always imagined she'd go for a law student or a journalism student, but Douglas just swept her off her feet, she guessed it was those dimples of his, that smile, instant chemistry, she said, and here I am on a farm in Missouri when I always thought I'd be working for a New York City newspaper.

I hung around in the background, smiling. I wasn't unlike my dad in looks. I was tall and skinny as he was, no dimples but a good smile when I smiled.

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I didn't often smile at people, as he did. That was more Evie's style. She'd walk right up and glad-hand them and grin at them. She had on a white wool skirt and a red sweater.


I watched her walk away. At one end of the large room Evie was down on her knees with her head in a pail of water, ducking for apples, while all the little kids there laughed and clapped.

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