Vol. I, No. 3, Winter 1988

The Expert

by Mary Elizabeth Mahnkey

"Now this is the way to use your sugar," said the lady with the painted nails.

Wisely she spoke--of plums and

peaches and berries
and food values and nutrition.

Aunt Lucindy gazed at her

with tired old eyes.

Eyes that had grown dim

watching bubbling pots of richness.

Eyes that had studied

cool cedar shelves
and the best way of marking
jams and jellies.

Cunning old eyes that flicked momentarily

from the stained nails to the stained lips.

"Yes 'um," was all she said.

Mary Elizabeth Mahnkey (1877-1948), "Poet Laureate of the Ozarks," and long time correspondent for the Taney County Republican and Springfield Newspapers. In 1935, named by The Farm Journal "Best Rural Newspaper Correspondent in the United States." (Photo by Townsend Godsey)


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