Part of Me

Stories of a Louisiana Family

Kimberly Willis Holt

Henry Holt and Co.

Time drags when you’re waiting for an alligator to wake up and move. I thought of a song I taught Pie to sing when she jumped rope. And out there in the middle of nowhere, I started to sing, “Mumps, said the doctor. Measles, said the nurse. Vote, said the lady with the alligator purse!”

Marlene stared at me all bug-eyed. I guess I couldn’t blame her. She’d never seen me act silly. By the second time around, though, she was singing with me. We sang louder and louder and darn if that old alligator finally opened his eyes. When he did, we screamed and clung to each other, then burst out laughing. The alligator started slowly moving across the road, dragging his long tail behind him. When he finally had cleared enough road that I could get around him, I held my breath and took off with a chug-chug and pressed down on the accelerator. My heart beat so hard I heard it pounding in my ears. When we'd gone a safe distance, we exhaled together and laughed again.