The bonfire had died down to embers by midnight. The children were asleep, the husbands and brothers drinking beer and playing poker, and the sisters-in-law settled off watching the children.
Most of the older aunts and grandmothers had drifted off, too; this wasn’t really a time for them. This was a time for the middle generation; this was the hour to let their hair down.
Evangaline took the lead, with a literal pull-pull of her hairsticks, letting her bun release and fall down her back. “Well,” she smiled. “and the world keeps turning.” She lifted her beer with a smile.
“It does,” her cousin Suzanne agreed, as she finger-combed out her braid. “Blessings on it.”
“You know,” Beryl commented, imitating Suzanne, “the neighbors think we’re witches.”
“Let them,” Hadelai snorted. “They have as long as they’ve known we exist.”
“The air of mystery is good for us,” Fallon agreed, smiling. Her hair was cropped short and practical, so she shed her cardigan instead. It was summer solstice; she hardly needed it, even after dark. “And they do like our yard sales more.”
“Well, that has something to do with the occasional lucky trinket Aunt Asta used to ‘accidentally’ seed in, too,” Hadelai laughed.
“Or the ones Aunt Ruan would put in?” Suzanne chuckled. “Oh, I grabbed one of those one year – mom smacked my knuckles so hard, I couldn’t hold a pen for a week!”
Eva grinned, and then, catching movement out of the corner of her eye, looked up. “Janelle,” she called, because if she didn’t, one of the others would send the poor girl away again. “Kids asleep?”
“Like logs,” her sister-in-law agreed. “The men, too, and Mom Ardelia. Everyone but you guys.”
“Welcome to solstice,” Fallon laughed dryly. “No-one else can be bothered to watch the world flip over. Come on, pull up a rock and watch the fire with us.”
Eva hid her smile in her beer. She could always trust her sister to follow her lead.
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