Saturday, October 2, 2010


Floy Whitten is the town’s other writer for the County Paper; her Floy’s Flittings has its own little lattice-roses-bordered corner on the inside back page, and her regularly-printed poetry rhymes “hand” with “time” and the meter changes line to line, stanza to stanza. She leans toward flowers and trees and old times, and mostly Christian topics.

Miss Floy is newly retired from the county Welfare Department, where she worked for thirty-something years. She’s still known as the “spare-made” lady amongst the clients who came into the office, in contrast to the abundantly-contoured Mrs. Waddell, who lives way out in the country over at Expedia.

Miss Floy wears her hip-length graying hair in a beautiful upsweep reminiscent of a Gibson Girl, the soft roundness of it like a shining brioche, and the effect completed by the little round bun atop. When she works in her garden, it’s as if a beautifully-coifed woman from the Gay Nineties has suddenly donned saggy-butt jeans and an old shirt, picked up a hoe, and landed for a time amongst the bean-rows, with the sun glinting from that glorious hair.

She calls people for news from their section of the county, and will sit there with the phone tucked aside her cheek, writing down the names and places they’ve been, and if there’s been a party---she’ll put down every detail, including tablecloths and menu and the honorees’ attire.

If they haven’t been anywhere special or if they’ve just had their in-laws over for supper, she’s happy to jot down the recipes for the pot roast and Bundt cake, and print that---sitting there as serious as scripture, getting every word, every step, taking down Cream a’ Mushroom like it’s foie gras, and asking “Now do you cream the Parkay first?”

She also writes little vignettes of local interest for the REA newsletter, published every month by the Power Company, and has quite a following amongst the rural set. Her piece on the Civil War autograph book, amazingly carried by Mr. Morris Steele's great-grandfather from his injury at Shiloh all the way through incarceration at Ft. Warren, Mass., collecting autographs and messages on every page, from Generals to guards to doctors to fellow prisoners, was picked up by the Commercial Appeal and printed almost word-for-word, though they DID send their own photographer to make the pictures.

She has a happy little dog named Sarge, taken in a year ago when her sister at Moon Lake fell heir to her elderly neighbor's three Pee-kanese. The old lady hadn't been able to care for the dogs very well in her last days, and the two females cost Sis ninety dollars apiece at the vet just to have that long, clotty hair got back in order. Miss Floy took one look at that miserable, tangled mass of long blonde hair on the little boy dog and had him clipped, high and tight. Even his long flowing silky ears are squared off at the bottom like the little Dutch-Boy on the paint can, and his muscular little body, clipped close to show his stance, looks so much more like Pug than Peke, it led to her nephew's calling him a Puke. He doesn't seem to mind, and seems to REALLY like the freedom of his haircut.

Miss Floy will also shell your bushel of beans or peas and pick out your pecans, and keeps her flour and sugar and coffee in a Camistry Set.


  1. I so enjoyed your post about Miss Floy. It sounds like quite the privilege to know her. I had an elderly friend once...who wrote a column I believe for some periodical or other. She made pressed flower cards with dried flowers that were lovely, and sold them now and then. She was a special friend in Jesus, also. Gone on to glory now of course. We both love the story, 'Girl of the Limberlost' by Gene Stratton-Porter. Have you ever read that book? ~~~ I loved hearing about Miss Floy's hair. It must have been beautiful and you yourself are a gifted writer. I've enjoyed reading your post about Miss Floy a lot.

  2. Maggie Ann,

    How nice to hear from you!!

    Miss Floy IS someone I've known---a bit of a composite of several gracious ladies of the past, whose small glimpses add together to make just HER. Sis and I are getting together some folks to populate the little town of Paxton, Mississippi, someday in the future when we can give them lives to live and a plot to revolve around.

    Til then, I'll just be posting little vignettes of different ones, a lot of them HERE, and most of them in Lawn Tea, back several months or a year, under People of Paxton.

    Thank you SO much for your comment, and I hope you'll drop in often,