- N. N. Light
Mama Tried by @KDJMamaTried is a Celebrate Mothers Event pick #womensfiction #fiction #giveaway
Title: Mama Tried
Author: Kathy Des Jardins
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Humorous Fiction, Literary Fiction
Disc jockey Joy Faye Savoy plays country songs written about women like her mother, the comely, exasperating Quida Raye Perkins. When Joy treats her audience to good-natured gripes about her big-haired and bossy mother, who's known to hitch rides in semi trucks, she is shocked to find herself syndicated … with one catch—she must keep poking fun at feisty Quida Raye.
Joy makes the best of small-town stardom despite big-time baggage, a load not lightened by hunky co-workers or her overbearing best friend until true love strikes. Meanwhile, Joy finally hears in those old melodies what she and her mother have had in common all along—yesterday, with its shared memories of happiness and tragedy. And they know all the words by heart.
“I hope yore sittin’ down,” her mother blared into the phone, instantly opening Joy’s eyes and blanketing her in panic.
“I’m lying down,” she said, checking the bedside clock. “I do that at two thirty-seven in the morning.”
“I know what time it is,” Quida Raye snapped. “I just thought you might like to know Doyle’s in jail and it’s a miracle I’m not, too.”
Joy sprang up in bed. Doyle was in jail? Had they run over someone? It was her worst fear, the thought of her mother hurtling through the night, a tawny, heatseeking missile shot from charred, mangled metal. If there had been a wreck, Joy realized with some degree of relief, at least she was still alive.
“They got him for grand theft,” her mother said.
“What?” Joy heard a quick gulp of breath, nicotine nerves rushing to neurons near and far. Not even that steadied her mother’s voice when she spoke again.
“Joy Faye, you know full well that truck we’ve been drivin’ is stolen property.”
She said this as if stating actual fact, as if stealing an eighteen-wheeler was a minor maternal detail that had simply slipped her daughter’s mind. Joy Savoy knew what brand of beanie weenies her mother preferred. She was pretty sure, even jolted from a sound sleep, she would have recalled some mention of a snatched semi.
“I most certainly did not know any such thing,” Joy proclaimed as the ceiling spun. Or maybe it was the bed. Or maybe her eyeballs had popped out of her head and were playing craps by themselves over in the corner. Seven, come on lucky seven. “You stole that truck?”
“I didn’t steal nuthin’,” her mother hollered. “Doyle did.”
“Okay. So you’ve been riding all over kingdom come for years in a truck your boyfriend stole? Doesn’t that make you an accessory or something?” Joy leaned against her headboard and considered a veritable dictionary of other crime jargon. Aiding. Abetting. Accomplice. Alibi.
“Not accordin’ to the state trooper that hauled Doyle off,” her mother said. “Or at least not yet.”
“Not yet?” Joy asked.
“That’s what I said,” her mother grumbled.
“How about you say more because I am completely discombobulated here,” Joy said. “This is either the end of a bad dream or the beginning of a true nightmare. I vote for dream but, if not, would you mind filling me in, please? Maybe start with what just happened and work backwards?”
Three states away, Quida Raye Perkins mashed out one cigarette and reached for another. “What just happened was Doyle didn’t listen to a word I said, as usual. Instead of stoppin’ in Tompkinsville like I told him to, he was bound and determined to make Luavul tonight. We were a few miles outside a E-town when he said, ‘Hang onto Sugar Pie!’ and hit the shoulder. I thought we’d had a blowout. Till I saw the blue lights. In no time flat, a trooper had him yanked out and sprawled across the side of the truck, handcuffed. SugarPie was barking her head off.”
“Poor Sugar Pie,” Joy said. “What did the trooperdo to you?”
“Let me sit in the truck till backup arrived and roared off with Doyle. I kept Sugar Pie quiet with some chocolate-covered caramels and waited for one of ’em to come jerk me out, too. But all they did was hand me back my license and say I might have charges pressed against me ‘at a future date.’ But that, for the time bein’, I was free to go.”
“Free to go where?” Joy asked. Elizabethtown was two hours from Tompkinsville. A world away.
Quida Raye took another long drag off her cigarette. “To the county jail in the back of a blame
squad car. That’s where I sat and waited for Mama and Daddy to get there.”
“Poor Grandma and Granddaddy!” Joy yelped. “No wonder they didn’t answer when I called.”
Quida Raye felt the first stirrings of shame. Yes, her broken-down old parents had been forced to drive two hours after dark in an ancient hardtop to retrieve their youngest daughter from a jailhouse. Remembering them shuffling in together in their stiff church shoes and dusty funeral best, she saw her daddy squinting behind thick glasses, one blue eye turned white and blind decades earlier by part of a walnut shell. Saw her Parkinson’s-riddled mama, quaking hands clutching a pocketbook stuffed with every rainy-day dollar they had squirreled away inside canning jars and old coat pockets for decades. Nobody said boo all the way home.
“They went to bed a while ago, but I cain’t sleep,” she murmured. “My stomach’s all tore up, and I’ve got a sick headache. If the po-lice don’t come back for me tonight, I’m gonna go get my car and clean out the apartment tomorra. So, if you call, wait till later.”
“I still don’t understand,” Joy said. “How in heaven’s name does anyone steal something as huge as a big rig?” ...
“For yore information, it ain’t that hard to steal a damn truck,” she crabbed.
Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/mama-tried-kathy-des-jardins/1140917293?ean=9781509239665
What makes your featured book a must-read?
Mama Tried is a must-read because it's a funny story with heart, sad when it needs to be, happy when it can’t help it, and an altogether original romp through the lives of a mother-daughter duo not soon forgotten.
Enter to win a $25 Amazon US or Amazon Canada gift card
Open Internationally. You must have an active Amazon US or CA account to win. Runs May 5 – May 13, 2022. Winner will be drawn on May 14, 2022.
Kathy Des Jardins owns a publications firm in metro Atlanta and is a member of the Atlanta Writers Club and Roswell Reads. A former newspaper reporter, columnist, and editor, she won her first journalism award for a country concert review. During the next decade, another category would dominate her nearly 100 national, regional, and state awards: humor writing. In addition to winning two Louisiana Press Association’s Best Regular Columnist Awards, four Louisiana Press Women Sweepstakes Awards, and a first for humor articles from the National Federation of Press Women, she was honored by the Louisiana-Mississippi Associated Press Newspaper Contests and United Press International Newspapers of Louisiana, among other organizations. She has also received California Press Women’s Outstanding Excellence Award and USTA Georgia’s Media Excellence Award. Mama Tried, her first novel, revisits her two earliest, and most winning, themes: tragicomedy set to classic country music.
In addition to appearing in O, Georgia! A Collection of Georgia’s Newest and Most Promising Writers, she has written for several national and regional publications. Beginning in 2015, she also penned a book column for a monthly Atlanta magazine. Kathy claims dual citizenship, having been born in Kentucky and raised in Louisiana, where she fleetingly attended Louisiana State University-Alexandria and Louisiana College. She and her husband live in Johns Creek, Georgia, and have three sons.
Social Media Links: