Reed Tait, Authors

Kindle Price: $4.99

Essie Sullivan de Long and Delia Jane Harwell Jarrett are best friends. They like to sit together on the porch at Essie's house and drink coffee, while indulging in their homemade desserts. And they talk about everything.

Their story, set in the present-day deep South, is of two grandmothers who have known each other since high school. They face their daily lives and the way they deal with their circumstances, their grown children, faded youth, health problems and life in general, with their dry sense of humor. This, and a backbone of tempered steel is what allows them to get through the everyday aggravations of life in the “Gray Lane.”

Essie thinks she knows everything about Delia Jane. After all, they've been friends for almost 50 years. When the late-night phone call comes, she discovers she doesn’t know diddley-squat about Delia’s life after all. Essie has to help her friend who, having just shot a man, is in desperate circumstances, and we find that these two old ladies aren’t just the sweet little AARP Card Carrying cookie-bakers they may appear to be at first glance.


Reed Tait is the pen name for two women who live in Alabama, one in a rural area outside of Birmingham, and the other in a rural area outside Mobile. They are both retired,  one from a business career, the other from the field  of banking investments, and the medical field.

They both grew up living in several states, one lived in the South all her life,  the other one lived  in Texas, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Alaska , but  moved to the  Deep South when she was a young teenager.

One wrote an article published in a magazine and has won a few writing competitions, the other is related to both Lewis Grizzard and Jeff Foxworthy.

They came across a story that a great grandmother in the family wrote about her own life in the 1880s. They were  impressed by the differences in her life as compared to their lives and the many changes that took place from that time to the present.  They decided to record a few incidents from their own lives in the 1950s and 1960s and they greatly fictionalized those, and then invented a large number of new ones, to be able to write the story of Delia and Essie. Their book targets those who are interested in what  the old days were like, but it also targets the women who lived during the those times, and who had many of the same experiences  as the characters. They wrote this book because they had a story to tell, but mostly because they each think the other one is the funniest woman on the planet.



Harry said he’d be home soon. His job up north was almost done.

“I’m glad it is,” I said relieved, “because your job here is gettin’ bigger by the day. You’re gonna have to build a new chicken house to keep these 15 new peeps in you wanted, because there sure ain’t enough room for ‘em in the old one.”

Thus, the Chicken Mansion came to be built.

It didn’t start out as a ‘mansion’.

“Just build some of those things like we saw in that newspaper article, okay, Harry?”

I was talking about the little A-frame tractor-thing chicken pens, about 3’x3’x3’ that you can move around from place to place so the birds get new grass every few days and don’t strip any one place bare to the dirt.

Unfortunately that’s not what we ended up with.

Two weeks and $250.00 later that thing he built was six feet tall, eight feet wide, and ten feet long!

Oh, yes.

It’s lovely and all. Thing is, you have to hook it up to the truck to move it. There went my “easy-to-move-around” plan.

Harry promised to get a trailer hitch put on my truck.

He got the pen all set up and we put the hens and all the baby chicks in it. Well, they loved it. Fresh air, fresh grass, lots of bugs, and everything. The rooster was still by himself in the old pen and he was pretty pissed off about that, but the hens were happy to get a little vacation.

Then, disaster.

I was at the desk looking out the window when I saw something bobbing around over by the fence. “Oh, all the little quail have come back,” I thought. I looked closer. It wasn’t all the little quail at all, but all the little peeps that were wandering around outside just having a whale of a good time. I almost had a heart attack getting out there to see what was what. I guess the hens were harassing them so they staged a prison break, dug ‘em a tunnel under one corner of the pen, scooted out, and went on the lam.

I opened the door to the pen and started herding them back inside which was pointless since they were just going in the door and right back out the tunnel. I went over to the woodpile and got several scrap pieces to block their escape route and started herding them in the door again. That didn’t work either because every time I opened the door to herd one in, two others ran out.

I went to the house to get all the latest chicken-wrangling equipment, a broom and a big deep cardboard box, and started to sweep them into the box. This worked better but not fast enough. You know exactly who my partner was in this little endeavor?

Yup, Lib’s dog Bella. The black Lab. Bred to hunt and catch Birds!

I was sweeping peeps one way and trying to herd her back with the broom the other way. Simply put, peeps are so stupid that they would run right into her mouth, so she caught one and off under the house she went with her little snack.

No. Harry still hadn’t got that lattice fixed!

I did get the rest of them back in the pen finally, and I was about to pass out from the heat. It was only about a hundred and ten in the shade out there, and guess who came rolling in the driveway right then in his nice cool air-conditioned truck?

If he says one word about hatching anything else out on this place I will whack him with the broom.

I think he saw it in my eyes.

He went out there that night and caught up the hens while they were on the roost and moved them back into the old pen. The rooster was ecstatic. The hens seemed none the worse for wear. The chicks have not busted out of the slammer again, either. Never a dull moment around here.

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