Mrs. Swan lived next door to us. We liked to visit because she had two parakeets in cages on the kitchen table and she fed us arrowroot baby biscuits. Her oil tablecloth was always littered with bird seed shells, but I liked the cheerful chirping of the birds while we chatted.

The rain and snow leaked through the flat roof, necessitating frequent applications of tar. In the shed out back, Dad kept his tar bucket. But no matter how hard I begged and pleaded, he would not, not, make me a tar baby! Oh, but oh how I wanted one--just like Brer Rabbit's tar baby in my Uncle Remus stories!
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