MPW.71 / 2019 Family Comes First by Angela Douglas Ramsey
Angela Douglas Ramsey Norfolk, Va.
Team Lee

Recipient of the Team Lee Award
Story Summary

Family comes first for Shay and Carmaloda Young. Shay works odd jobs around the community and surrounding farms to make money, while Carmaloda cares for their 17-month-old granddaughter, Pi-Pie.

They live in a one-bedroom cabin on a frequently flooded stream bank, living largely off the damaged yet still fruitful land. They barter eggs from their chickens, hides and meat from their rabbits, collect walnuts off the ground, and elderberry leaves from the woods to incorporate into handmade soaps. Their close-knit family includes many rescue animals: Biscuit the pig, Jackson Pollock, Rosie, Sprout, Buckwheat, Sewer, Nelly, School Bus, Chess, Spanky, Willard, Flip Flop, Benjamin and poor little Sid the kitten, who suffers from a neurological disorder from being thrown out of a moving car.

“Family and each other is what keeps together,” says Shay.