In which we meet Miz Lottie, visit the school cafeteria and find some surprises at the Heavenly Revival and Supper on the Grounds.
Our Millie used to say that sometimes it's the little things in life that hold it all together, but you don't know that until they are one and then you look at life from a whole different point of view.
Our Millie only knew Miz Lottie at the school cafeteria. She knew she didn't live there 'cause sometimes she saw her husband, Mr. Elmer come by in his Chevy pickup and wait for her outside the school. She even saw Miz Lottie get in the truck one day and ride away with him. She never saw her come back though. But, sure enough, everyday at lunch there she was pushin' mystery meat and mashed potatoes and those little cartons of milk — white or chocolate — at the kids as they trooped by.
The most distinctive thing about Miz Lottie was her flowered polyester dress covered with a pink bib apron with deep pockets on the sides, and of course, her black mesh hairnet with the big knot in the front. The first time Our Millie saw the knot she thought it was a spider and got real scared, but when she saw it wasn't alive she just became fascinated by it and watched for it when she went to lunch. She even named it Spider-Knot and smiled at it everyday. Miz Lottie smiled back and gave Our Millie extra dessert. Our Millie thought that was alright and the smile could reach to Miz Lottie too.
Then came the day of the big Heavenly Revival and Supper on the Grounds. It was really special this year 'cause it was to celebrate Preacher Joe's tenth year of savin' souls and re-savin' backsliders on the mountain. Everybody from all around was there, and they even brought their friends and relatives from other parts of the county.
So. it wasn't unusual for Our Millie to see lots of people she didn't know. There was one lady who made a special point to smile at her and say "Hey." She was wearin' a nice gray dress with a white lace collar and black pumps and a matching purse. Her hair looked perfect and like it had just been styled. Our Millie just couldn't put her finger on who she was until she saw Mr. Elmer comin' her way and sayin' somethin' about this bein' better than cafeteria food. Then she knew this was Miz Lottie, away from school without her apron and strangest of all, without Spider-Knot.
Then something began to happen. It was so unexpected that Our Millie was caught by surprise and couldn't believe what she was seeing. Her eyes got big and her face got red as she tried to hold back a giggle and laugh, but she couldn't help it and they came out right in front of Miz Lottie. Big Mil was close by and when she saw what was happenin' she took Our Millie firmly by the hand and placed her between the Ramone sisters and told her she had to serve potato salad the rest of the time. She gave her that "don't you dare giggle" look that meant business and stalked away.
Our Millie had a hard time with this 'cause every time she looked at Miz Lottie she saw her hair was movin' down on her forehead and from side to side as she talked. It got down so far that you could hardly see her eyes under those gray speckled bangs.
Every once in awhile Miz Lottie would reach her hands up and push it back into place, all the time talkin' and eatin' and laughin'.
Then it occurred to Our Millie that this hair can't be real. It wouldn't move like that. Miz Lottie was wearin' a wig and needed Spider-Knot to hold it in place.
There were a lot of questions she wanted to ask. Where did she get it? Sears and Roebuck? Did she have more at home? Did it itch? Was there hair underneath? Did she put it on one of those heads at night or just throw it in a drawer? Maybe she could ask the questions Monday at lunch, or maybe that wasn't a good idea.
She was thinkin' about all this and it seemed she had all the giggles under control and was workin' real well with the Ramone sisters when she looked up and saw Miz Lottie comin' her way. Her eyes got big and she held her breath as Miz Lottie dropped her purse and bent to pick it up. She couldn't believe it when she saw the wig come loose, and just like it had wings, fly into the big vat of potato salad. Miz Lottie turned red and Mr. Elmer grabbed the wig and plopped back on her head, potato salad and all. One of the Ramone sisters grabbed the salad and held it away from little Johnny Baker who had a big ladle ready to put on his plate. Our Millie just stood there and stared. She knew what color Miz Lottie's hair really was, but she was sorry it happened that way. She also decided she would never eat potato salad again.