Foot Ways by Lynn Veach Sadler is an 84-page novella full of “down home” country wisdom that rationalizes strange occurrences in otherwise humdrum, boring daily lives of self-sustaining, uneducated residents of Appalachia. A character the reader can follow from beginning to end of the story is Polly Mary Flora Glory Marchant, also known as Polly Junior. Mr. Rufe had given her the name during his annual visits to Polly’s community. Rufe’s visits were not for a defined time. He was only there to spend time at each of the houses in the community during which time he would wash or worship women’s feet. Polly’s house was the first and last house visited. Whenever Rufe was in residence, Polly had to give up her playhouse to Rufus and she hated this. He might stay for as long as two weeks. Polly’s feet were not immune to Rufe’s worship.
This novella will delight students of language. It is a testimonial to the language user belief that “if communication takes place, the language has served its purpose and is, therefore, correct.” Lovers of grammar will have nightmares after reading some of the expressions found in the first two parts of the story. The beauty is not in made up vocabulary; it is in the way simple phrases and everyday language combine to express profound thoughts. The first part of the story is about Polly “Junior” as she grows up. The second part is about Polly “Senior” and the very difficult life she lived from birth through her marriage, to include the birth of Polly “Junior” (also known as Mary). A third part is about the genesis of Mr. Rufe and a final part describes Polly “Junior” (Mary) in the present.
I highlighted passages for their innovative ways of expression. These are some that impressed me:
Polly Senior is talking about occasional happy times: “I know it made me snatch after happy like it was going to be thrown out to the dogs if I didn’t get it first.” (Kindle location 636).
Polly Senior is reflecting on the meaning of a word: transpire. “You don’t have to be out and about in the big world to have something “transpire.” Reading and thinking about what you’ve read will bring on the “transpiring.” (Kindle Locations 669-670).
Polly Senior along with Mr. Clarence, Doc Miller, and Miss Rose are preparing for a performance at “The Annual Masonic Lodge Number Fourteen Spring Jubilee Barbecue and Chicken Stew Supper and Theatrical Performance Tribute.” (Kindle locations 976-977). The name of the event amused me. The phrase is not condescending or disparaging or making fun of the event name. I come from the Midwest rather than Appalachia. For reasons I do not understand, Midwesterners generate equally lengthy event names. And then make shortcuts with very long unpronounceable letter combinations (TAMLNFSJBACSSATPT).
There are many good stories embedded in the overall story of a remarkable family relationship. There is a Scottish curse. Glass slippers at a modern-day wedding. A bagpipe player in search of feet to worship. A present-day man who wishes to be successful with women and gets his wish but regrets it. A gypsy prophecy that may or may not come true but there is a lot of work trying to track down its meaning.
I gave this book five Amazon stars for powerful language alone. Then there is a great story. For readers who like to read fast, it will be difficult with this novel. It is too thought-provoking. This novel deserves reader attention and engagement with the story. It is available on Amazon for USD 2.99 but for some reason, I acquired the download through Smashwords. I mention this because this novel has been on my TBR shelf for a couple of years. The Smashwords edition has some disturbing and frequent font shifts. The Amazon Kindle edition should not have these.
Other works by this author appear in Bards and Sages. Google this. You will find lots of cutting-age literature, poetry, and indie-published stuff. Lots of it is free.