Minny stood so quick the lightshade rattled. “I ain’t doing this no more. You making this too personal. I don’t care about telling white people how it feel.”

“Minny, okay, I’m sorry,” Miss Skeeter said. “We don’t have to talk about your family.”

“No. I change my mind. You find somebody else to spill the beans.” We been through this before. But this time, Minny snatched up her pocketbook, grabbed her funeral fan that fell under the chair, and said, “I’m sorry, Aib. But I just can’t do this no more.”

I got a panicky feeling then. She really gone leave. Minny can’t quit. She the only maid besides me who agreed to do it.

So I leant up, slipped Hilly’s piece a paper out from under Miss Skeeter’s notebook. My fingers stopped right in front a Minny.

She look down at it. “What that?”

I put on my blank face. Shrugged my shoulders. Couldn’t act like I really wanted her to read it cause then she wouldn’t.

Minny picked it up and started skimming. Pretty soon, I could see all her front teeth. But she wasn’t smiling.

Then she looked at Miss Skeeter, long and heavy. She said, “Maybe we keep going then. But you stay out a my personal business, you hear?”

Miss Skeeter nodded. She learning.

I MIX a Egg salad for Miss Leefolt and Baby Girl’s lunch, put them little pickles on the side to fancy it up. Miss Leefolt set at the kitchen table with Mae Mobley, start telling her how the baby’s gone be here in October, how she hope she don’t have to be in the hospital for the Ole Miss homecoming game, how she might have her a little sister or a little brother and wonder what they gone name it. It’s nice, seeing them talking like this. Half the morning, Miss Leefolt been on the phone with Miss Hilly gossiping about something, hardly noticing Baby Girl at all. And once the new baby come, Mae Mobley ain’t gone get so much as a swat from her mama.

After lunch, I take Baby Girl out to the backyard and fill up the green plastic pool. It’s already ninety-five degrees outside. Mississippi got the most unorganized weather in the nation. In February, it’ll be fifteen degrees and you be wishing spring would come on, and the next day it’s ninety degrees for the next nine months.

The sun shining. Mae Mobley’s setting in the middle a that pool in bathing bottoms. First thing she do is take off that top. Miss Leefolt come outside and say, “That looks like fun! I’m fixing to call Hilly, tell her to bring Heather and little Will over here.”

Heather, Miss Hilly’s girl, she pretty cute. She six months older than Mae Mobley and Mae Mobley just love her. Heather got dark, shiny curls all over her head and some little freckles, and she real talkative. She pretty much just a short version a Miss Hilly, only it look better on a child. Little William, Jr., he two. He tow-headed and he don’t say nothing. Just waddle around like a duck, following them girls to the high monkey grass on the edge a the yard, to the swingset that hitch up on one side if you swing too high and scare me to death, and back into the baby pool.