Making Waves in 1798 by Tammi Truax


“Making Waves in 1798” by Tammi Truax


“I can tell when Gaja smell water. Can read it in the way she move. This is way a’fore any water’s in sight. She get excited. It’s the only time that she take to walking at a fast clip. Mister like her to go fast.”

Solomon whispered as if Mister Owen was within earshot. “He think we travel too slow. Makes more money if we git places faster. But we like the slow walk.” He chuckled, then leaned back against a barn beam.

“Then we come to water. She’ll tear off the road to get to it. Makes master fume. Most the time no one see us, but sometimes a landowner makes a fuss that Mister has to settle up. I git yelled at from one or all of ‘em, but it does my heart good to see Gaja take her bath. It do.”

“First she look, sniffin’ it out, for anything in the water that might bother her. She take a sniff, then a taste. I think she know if it poison. Then, very slowly, she wades in, jus like the song. Dip her toes in. Then she gets in there and just goes to town. She snorts up water and sprays herself all over, getting good and clean in all her places. Makes all sorts of noises. Then she play, frolicking like a little lamb in spring. Swims a bit, seems like she know how.”

“I sing her the song. You know the one.”

Wade in the water
Wade in the water, children
Wade in the water
God’s gonna trouble the water

Gaja opened her eyes while Solomon sang to the stranger.

“Today’s real warm. I’s as dirty as her. Didn’t see any white folks round, so, know what I done? Took my clothes off and waded in the water too! Never seen Gaja so happy. Like near to drown me she was, and I’s worried what a farmer, or his wife, would feel need to do if they see’s nekkid negro bathing in they pond with an elephant. That was a good time, yes t’was.”

“When we’s done we’s minding the muck at the edge, I saw Mister standing up on a ridge watching us. When I couldn’t stop Gaja from flinging dirt all upon herself he git mad again. He know she like a pig that way. Some animals just need to cover theyselves with dirt after a bath. He know it, and know I can’t stop her none. He jus makes a big noise sometimes. That’s the way of it.”

“Well, this day Gaja lay in the dirt and roll herself ‘round. While she down there she thought to have a little nap. Ain’t no way to get her up once she down. Nothing I could do but lay down and have a little nap myself. Jus a’fore I closed my eyes I seen the master tear his hat off his head and throw it down in the dirt. Oh Lord, this a good day.”



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Tammi Truax Artist Statement: 

Tammi graduated from the University of New Hampshire and spent
her first twenty professional years working with children and families,

specializing in literacy. She lived and worked in New
Hampshire, Maine
and Germany, and taught from the preschool to the college level. She also

had two children of her own. It was when her husband died and she

became a single mother that she chose to pursue a writing career.

Children’s literature is a lifelo
ng passion and she has several picture books
ready for a publisher. Most recently she was editor of a new release of
Wentworth; A Poet’s Tale
by Henry Longfellow (illustrated) (Bookbaby,
2013), and released her debut novel
Broken Buckets, as an eBook. She is a
published poet in four anthologies, including
The Widows’ Handbook: Poetic
Reflections on Grief and Survival
, Edited by J. Lapidus and L. Menn, with a
forward by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Kent State

University Press, 2014), and h
as a short story in an anthology called
Compass Points
(Piscataqua Press, 2015). Her work can be found in several
journals, magazines, and online including at
The Huffington Post. In 2014
she was the first winner of The Provence Prize for creative short fi
and in 2013 and 2015 was selected to be one of the writers at A Room of

Her Own Foundation’s retreat in New Mexico. In 2015 and 2016 Tammi

was awarded the Buffler Poetry Residency at Portsmouth (NH) High

School. She was also chosen last year to atte
nd Vermont’s When Words
Count writing retreat. Tammi is a member of many writing and historical

associations. She writes from her home in Maine, and is seeking

representation for her historical novel.


Author: A Room of Her Own

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