Shiloh and Other Stories Quotes.

1. "One day I was counting the cats and I absent-mindedly counted myself."
- Bobbie Ann Mason, Shiloh and Other Stories

2. "Mary Lou suddenly realizes that Mack calls the temperature number because he is afraid to talk on the telephone, and by listening to a recording, he doesn’t have to reply. It’s his way of pretending that he’s involved. He wants it to snow so he won’t have to go outside. He is afraid of what might happen. But it occurs to her that what he must really be afraid of is women. Then Mary Lou feels so sick and heavy with her power over him that she wants to cry. She sees the way her husband is standing there in a frozen pose. Mack looks as though he could stand there all night with the telephone receiver against his ear."
- Bobbie Ann Mason, Shiloh and Other Stories

3. "The next day, Mabel and Jet visited the battleground, and then Norma Jean was born, and then she married Leroy and they had a baby, which they lost, and now Leroy and Norma Jean are here at the same battleground. Leroy knows he is leaving out a lot. He is leaving out the insides of history. History was always just names and dates to him. It occurs to him that building a house out of logs is similarly empty—too simple. And the real inner workings of a marriage, like most of history, have escaped him. Now he sees that building a log house is the dumbest idea he could have had. It was clumsy of him to think Norma Jean would want a log house. It was a crazy idea."
- Bobbie Ann Mason, Shiloh and Other Stories

4. "Since he has been home, he has felt unusually tender about his wife and guilty over his long absences. But he can’t tell what she feels about him. Norma Jean has never complained about his traveling; she has never made hurt remarks, like calling his truck a widow-maker. He is reasonably certain she has been faithful to him, but he wishes she would celebrate his permanent homecoming more happily. Norma Jean is often startled to find Leroy at home, and he thinks she seems a little disappointed about it."
- Bobbie Ann Mason, Shiloh and Other Stories

5. "Leroy used to tell hitchhikers his whole life story — about his travels, his hometown, the baby. He would end with a question: Well, what do you think? It was just a rhetorical question. In time, he had the feeling that he’d been telling the same story over and over to the same hitchhikers. He quit talking to hitchhikers when he realized how his voice sounded—whining and self-pitying, like some teenage-tragedy song. Now Leroy has the sudden impulse to tell Norma Jean about himself, as if he had just met her. They have known each other so long they have forgotten a lot about each other. They could become reacquainted. But when the oven timer goes off and she runs to the kitchen, he forgets why he wants to do this."
- Bobbie Ann Mason, Shiloh and Other Stories

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