Bad News Bruce - Posted on 06 May 2014

Al Osorio, Correspondent for PNN
The old woman comes in from the garden and sets a basket of lemons, tomatoes and eggplant alongside the sink, wrapping the remainder of her bounty in wax paper and tying it with a bit of string.
As was her habit, she had laid out an outfit the night before. Seated at her dressing table in her Sunday best, the old woman carefully applies makeup and arranges a scarf over her hair. Collecting her package and a small pouch, she closes the door behind herself and sets forth.
The neighborhood has changed, the slow moving old woman now a curiosity rather than an object of reverence. No matter, the song sparrows still trill their recognition. Noting harsh chatter from some of the females, she briefly rests fingertips on their perch and whispers a thank you.
At last she stops, sitting down with her legs to one side. She slips her shoes off and arranges the skirt around herself.
The garden is so pretty right now, so many colors. Purple with eggplant, ripe red tomatoes. Marigolds, bright orange with a lovely scent. Your favorite. I will have more later in the year for an altar“.
She watches children play in the distance, comfortable in her silence.
I used to watch you in the morning,  sitting by the campfire drinking coffee. You always left the spoon in the cup. When I was big enough to drink coffee, I would leave the spoon in the cup too. It wasn’t til years later I realized it was to keep the sugar stirred“. She looks away. “I guess I just wanted to be like you“.
She returns to her silent contemplation.
Late afternoon shadows signal that it will be time to go soonThe little sparrows sang for me today. They warned me of a wasps nest”. She smiles. “His tiniest creatures protect us”.
The old woman’s hand reaches into the pouch, scooping up tobacco then extending itself. A gust of wind comes out of nowhere to scatter the offering then vanishes as quickly as it had appeared. Laying the freshly cut marigolds on her father’s grave, she kisses her fingertips and places them on his name. Head bowed,  she asks for the prayers of the Blessed Virgin for her father and herself, for all their family who have walked on, for all the ancestors who await them.
A shawl arranges itself over her shoulders. Slowly arising, she begins the long walk home.


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