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A Bushel and a Peck and a Hug Around the Neck / Katy Goforth

Her laugh fades as the sun starts to peek through my blinds. I’ve dreamed about her again. It’s that time of year. The holidays push her from my memories to the present. My Ma Goforth, my dad’s mom, loved the holidays. It was the one time of year that she would show up at my house rather than me showing up at hers.


Pa’s old red and white Ford would pull into the driveway, and I would be out the door in my bare feet and my gowntail before anyone could catch me. Ma would slide all 4’10 of herself out of that truck. I would catch her around her middle, squeezing and taking in her scent. She would throw her head back in laughter and say, “Baby, let me get out of the truck.”


Me and Ma Goforth

The memories in my dreams vary. Sometimes it’s Christmas. Sometimes it’s my birthday. Sometimes it’s Sunday lunch. But they all come to me during the holidays.


The other night she handed me the biscuits to open because the packaging frightened her. At least that’s what she claimed. She shoved her fingers in her ears and watched me slowly unwrap the tiny explosive that was a can of store-bought biscuits. The one thing she didn’t make from scratch.


When she comes to me, I go visit her too. I drive by the house on Lime Street, slowing down to look at the letter G, once a mark of who lived here, hanging on to the house by one old nail. I stop at the end of the driveway and look up on the hill by the porch. If I squint, I can still see the “tomatoes for sale” sign firmly planted in the dirt. I would race up this hill to her arms, and she would say, “I love you a bushel and a peck, and a hug around the neck.”


I think about driving by the cemetery. Maybe take some flowers, although she’d probably prefer a good ripe cantaloupe instead. But my Ma Goforth isn’t there. Her name is there, along with her birth and death dates. Her voice isn’t there. She’s not standing on the hill in her smart Hamrick’s pantsuit. This is not where she lives now.


I drive right by the cemetery and head toward home. The birth and death dates mean nothing now. She marked me as hers with the memories we built. And when I need the comfort of her laugh, I’ll lay my head down.


KATY GOFORTH is a writer and editor for a national engineering and surveying organization and a fiction editor for Identity Theory. Her writing has appeared in Brevity, Reckon Review, Cowboy Jamboree, Salvation South, and elsewhere. She has a prose collection forthcoming with Belle Point Press (2025). You can find her on X at MarchingFourth and


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