Father Pierre closed the book to say: “With that being said, I have an assignment for you both to complete together.”
“TOGETHER?” We yelled. “BUT THAT’S IMPOSSIBLE!!!”
“Sister Marie! He said in a firm tone. “Open the book on 1 Corinthians, verse 13, and start reading!”
“Yes Father, she humbly answered.”
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become a sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.”
After she read the first sentence, she slowly closed the book, hung her head down. I could see her body posture sinking downward, while she remained silent. Meanwhile I was swinging my legs, while I whispered Father Pierre’s sentence, since I thought it was a nice one to engrave into my memory: “With that being said! With that being said!” But Father Pierre glanced at me for a second, and I knew exactly what that look meant, so I stopped. Instead, I grabbed the little statue of Saint Claire which was on his desk, and kissed it. Then I whispered, “I love you Saint Claire, but I also love Mother Marie too. Immediately, I turned to glance at the picture of Saint Michael’s painting on the wall, to my right. I tried to imitate his facial expression, while I whispered: “Annnn-d, I love Saint Michael, and Saint Rose, and Saint Altagrace, and; but Father Pierre gave me a stern look, this time I shut up completely. Just then, I could not help but question in my mind: “I wonder what it would be like to get a butt whooping from a Priest?” I had never heard anyone one of them whopping a child before, it was always the nun who were mean.” But as I was thinking, I heard a noise. When I turned to look at Sister Marie, I noticed she was crying.
“What’s wrong Sister Mor, I mean Sister Marie?”
Instead of answering me, tears gushed down her cheeks, like a river rejoicing from the rainfall. So I got up to grab a tissue from the box which was on Father’s desk, to wipe her face.
“Please don’t cry Sister Marie. I promise, I will never call you “Sister Morte again.” (Which means Site Dead)
But she did not respond, instead she kept on crying.
“I will wear the white sock you want me to, I promise!”
But, she kept on crying.
“I promise Sister Marie, I promise. But you have to know, the only reason I don’t wear the uniform sock is because my stepmom didn’t buy me a white sock. She only brought me “one pair of navy sock, one blue skirt, and one white shirt to wear for the school year. I told her you didn’t want me to wear the blue sock, but noooo – she refused to listen to me! But, If you stop crying, I won’t’ wear any sock at all. Because, I sure don’t want to see you crying again!” I kept on wiping her eyes, but somehow what I thought were comfort words were causing her to scream instead. By then, Sister Marie was not just crying, but she was howling. I think the whole school could have heard her. She even got up to grab more tissue in order to wipe her face. So I slowly got up from my chair, and walked toward Father Pierre, and whispered in his ears:
“Father, I think you need to sprinkle some holy water on Sister Marie, so Count Dracula may leave her alone!”
Father answered “With that being said” let’s try to sit down quietly for a few second, so the Lord may continue His course in this session.”
“The Lord? Where is He Father?”
“You can’t see Him Yet, but I’m sure Sister Marie can sense His presence as well.”
“Wow!” As I kept on turning around, to see if I could spot where the Lord was standing. But I did not see him. So I concluded, it was because I was too young, and went back to sit down. When I turned to look at Sister Marie, I noticed she had stopped crying. In fact, her whole demeanor had changed. Although I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what had just transpired, I had enough sense to resume: “Whatever it was is beyond my league of understanding.” But, Father bent over, and whispered: “It’s not tangible my child.” I guess he was able to see through my inquisitive mind, also understood the fact that, I was too young to pinpoint the presence of conviction, and the zest of remorse.
So after he recited a prayer, he said: “I want you ladies to prepare a theatrical play on the theme of “Love, with this scripture. The other children may participate, however I want the two of you to play the role for the major characters. Meaning, each one of you will share your input about this scripture before the whole school. Then he turned toward me, “Angel, I will notify your parents. For you will need to meet with Sister Marie at least twice a week after school, for the rehearsal.”
Sister Marie remained quiet, while I thought it was the opportunity of a lifetime. But when I realized the play was about love:
“Father! You want us to write a play about love?”
“Indeed my child!”
“But, how could we do so, when I’m but a child, who’s never been in love; and sister Marie is going to die, just like an old rag, who’ll never get married either?”
Father took a deep breath, shook his head, and then smiled.
“I know you are a little girl, and Sister Marie has never, and will never be married. But, I guarantee you, “If you search deep within your heart, you will discover the type of love I’m referring to. And, I know you have more than enough of that precious love, to share with the whole school.”
I smiled, even blushed for a couple seconds. After I thought for a few minutes, I replied:
“Oh – I seeeeeeeeee! “But, Father, what color is that love? Is it also red?”
To be continued.
It was the custom of the old folks in my family to leave a cup of coffee on the side for our ancestors. They believed if they continued to feed our ancestors, they would remained strengthened, since the chief family members were somehow ordained to protect those who were still alive. Looking back, I was about two years old, when I started drinking their coffee. In fact, I also thought they would need help with the large plate of food reserved for them as well. Eventually both, my grandmother and my aunt found out about my innocent venture, so they thought they needed to teach me a valuable lesson. But from what I heard, they were the one who were left intrigued.
I’m told I was four years old when this incident happened. Apparently, for three consecutive days, I was enjoying myself while feasting on the ancestor’s food. Afterward, I would walk outside to yell to the old folks: “Mm-Mm! Gran Do, the spirit said the food was good!” “Gran Do, who was my grandmother thought something was strange. “This is strange!” She said. “The ancestors sure ate that food fast – They usually would send a visitor, or a beggar to ask for some food, or the food would remain till completely dried out.”
Of course, I was too young to understand my grandmother’s concern, so I just kept on eating. But after three consecutive day, my grandmother cooked a dish named “Chaka,” which was a blend of corns, beans, squash, coconut, you name it – it had it! On that day however, while I was eating the bowl of Chaka, I fell asleep, with the bowl right on top of my chubby stomach. So Gran Do who happened to walk inside the house, saw me snoring my heart out. The bowl of Chaka spilled all over my body, my whole face, and my hands were bathed in Chaka. Now Gran Do who didn’t know what to think, decided to call her older sister.
“Now, don’t know what to think of this Sis – You think the child has been eating the spirits food?” She asked auntie.
“Don’t know Sis – Don’t know! But she’s been telling me she ain’t hungry for dinner. I was going to give her a laxative on Saturday!”
We need to find out, before those spirits get angry at the child.” Gran Do said.
“Well! She is family, sure they won’t hurt her, but we can still test her to see if she’s the one eating them food. She loves fish you know, so let’s make some fish tomorrow and place it on the ancestors table again.”
But Gran Do answered: “I will make some fish all right, but will teach her a lesson. Will put all the pepper and the salt I can put my finger on, in that fish – “Have to teach her a hard lesson, or this child is doomed to be too much for us to handle later on.”
“Well, what do you expect Sis. Both on her mamma and Papa side are Moses – Didn’t you hear what the priest said in church? That Moses man from the Big book opened the ocean with his little finger, and killed all the Gyptians? That’s a lot of power for one man. For all we know, he’s probably the one eating all the food through that poor child – The child is unusual, must say!”
“Well – don’t care sis. After I’m done with her, some of that power should leak through her tongue, nose, even her ears, because she’ll be screaming “HOT through her butthole!”
So Gran Do and her sister did as they had planned. In fact, the fish was seasoned with so much hot pepper, that tears dropped from their eyes as they were cooking. Finally, after they served the ancestors the large fish, which they placed on their special table, the old folks sit outside waiting. About half an hour later, I ran out of the house, with the plate of fish, screaming my heart out: “Gan Do, THE SPIRIT SAID THE FISH IS TOOOOOOO HOT – HOT – HOT – HOT!!!”
Both Ma Do and auntie dropped themselves on the floor, as they could not stop laughing. However, since they had already prepared some cold lemonade, they decided to show me some mercy, so they both rushed toward the lake, the direction they saw me take off. But when they arrived there, they were shocked to see my whole body lying flat on the ground, with my head toward the lake, under the water, while the plate of fish was still next to me. When I eventually lifted up my head, it was just to grab another bite, then to dip my whole head under the water again. I continued the same process, till I ate the whole fish. After I was completely done, I sunked my whole body under the water while I rinsed the wood plate which held the fish. The old folks stood at a distance while watching me in action. I finally walked toward them, and when I noticed them, I handed the plate back to then, and said:
“Mm-Mm! Gran Do and auntie, the spirit love the fish, but was a bit too spicy. The spirit said, you can make some more tomorrow!”
“Auntie shook her head in disbelief, then turned to Gran Do to say: “Sis, is she an angel, or a demon? I think we need to place her in a box, send her back to her papa, and have Jonas write a note: “Return to Papa!”
“Ma Do answered, “Are you crazy? The child has enough fire in her to destroy Satan and hell three times over. Besides, whether she’s an angel or demon, with her on our side, should guarantee us a good post in heaven, or hell. “So I say she ain’t going nowhere!!!”
Auntie answered: “You sure right Sis. – You sure right! In this case, let’s make her some more fish tomorrow, she sure liked it!”
“She sure did – But with just a little pepper!”
But tomorrow after I ate the fish, I said “Did you old folks forgot how to cook? The spirit said “Not enough pepper!”
The story I’m about to tell you is about a little girl, who believed in honesty at all costs. Of course, a blend of true and friction. So enjoy.
During my visit to my great auntie’s, I heard a few stories dated back from my childhood. I was trying to see, how far back my memory would serve me. So, I asked her to share them with me.
“If you knew Mamma?” She answered me. “You were Mama’s little friend, before she passed away. In fact, you were the last one who saw her alive. You were a tiny little thing too. Chubby, light skinned girl. Pretty little girl indeed!
That morning, you ran out of mamma’s room screaming, from the top of your little lungs: “Give me some lemonade and lots of ice! Great auntie is going away. And, where she’s going is very ho!”
“Now, I know Mamma wasn’t going anywhere. At least, she hadn’t told me anything yet. So I answered the pretty thing, “Mamma not going nowhere my girl; so where you got that from?” After you puffed up your lips, with your hands on your hip, you answered me: “Yes, Great auntie is going to hell!”
“Now my girl, you stop talking nonsense, you hear me!” True enough, as I walked back to the house to Mamma. OMG! Don’t you know when I called Mamma, she was dead. I realized then, Mamma’s journey had ended, here on this side. It was a shock to everyone. But I think you blamed yourself for not giving Mamma her last glass of lemonade. Because, you kept on yelling: “I told you Great Auntie was going to hell, now she left without the cold lemonade.”
The poor girl refused to eat or say anything else, till the day of the funeral, when she heard Father Big-Ear saying:
“Now, we don’t need to be sad at Make-a-Choice departure. Because she’s in a much better place than us. She’s in heaven with the Lord!”
You immediately jumped on your foot, and stepped up the bench. With your tiny hands on your hip, you happened to pull up one side of your dress, to reveal the little ruffles you had sewn on your pantie earlier, so your butt can look big. They were all hanging behind your chubby little legs. Everyone was wondering “What is that hanging behind Here-I-Am daughter’s legs, under her dress? But, you did not care. You walked straight on the Altar to ask Father Big-Ear permission to speak.
“Sure Angel! Go head!” Father answered you.
So you said:
“Great auntie, does not like when people lie on her. So, I have to tell you what happened. Because, she sure would not be happy to hear she went to heaven. NO. She told me, she did not want to go to heaven.”
How I know that? It’s because that same morning, I was laying down on her fat tommy, right after we ate some good, spicy fish together. So I said to Great Auntie, “I dreamed you were going on a long trip. You were packing all your stuff. When I asked you “Can I come with you?” You answered: “Not now my girl, you are much too young!” So after auntie heard my dream, auntie said. “My time is up my girl!”
“What’s that mean auntie?” I asked her.
“It means, I’m getting ready to live this earth.”
“You’re going to heaven?”
“Oh no honey, I don’t want to go to heaven, it’s too cold up there.” My legs always hurting me from ism illness (Rheumatism) because of the cold. You see all the white cloud from up there in heaven, my girl? They are as cold as ice. And, being from the Island, I would rather go somewhere hot.”
“But Father always said, the only place hot, is in hell great auntie!”
“Then, I rather go there!”
“But your butt is going to be on fire Great auntie!”
“Child, I’ve been good, so I’m sure God will turn it to paradise for me.”
“So let me run and get you some cold lemonade, so you won’t feel the heat then!”
“Ok my girl!”
So, I ran out to tell Auntie, “Auntie Make-A-choice is going to hell, so we need to make her some lemonade with lots of ice! “But nobody believed me! “And, when auntie went back in the room with me, auntie Make-A-choice was gone. She left home without the cold lemonade. Mm-Mm! So please don’t lie on auntie again.”
Everybody had a great laugh that day. We had forgotten it was a funeral. The priest wanting to encourage us to attend Mass, interpret Angel’s dream as a form of warning from the Lord. But I still prayed for Mamma every day since her burial, although I did not know where mamma’s soul went.
But one year later, after we had a mass for Mamma, I was seating right here under this mango tree. I must have dosed off to sleep, when I saw Mamma standing in front of me all sweating. I forgot she was dead, so I said to her:
“Mamma, you seem mighty hot dear, sweating all over the place, do you want some lemonade and ice?” She answered me:
“My butt is constantly on fire, and you think a cup of lemonade could help me out???”
That’s when I realized my girl was telling the truth. Lord have mercy – The girl sure was RIGHT! Mm!!! Since that day, Dodo and I went to church every Sunday. Then we started going to confession every week as well.
But on our first confession, Dodo sure cursed the poor priest. When Father Big-Ear asked her, “By any chance, are you related to angel? He was referring to my girl, for that’s how they called her at the church. So Dodo answered him.
“What is it to you if she’s related to me or not. That’s none of your damn business! I’m only here because I don’t want to go to hell. So, why the hell do you want to know, who the hell is my family?”
Then the priest answered: “Well, it seems to me, you’ve already made your acquaintance with hell. So why the hell are you running from hell, by coming here for confession?”
Then Dodo answered him: “Since misery loves company, I came to drag you with me!”
So when I heard the commotion between them two, I had to rush and drag my sister from there, because knowing her, I knew she was ready to strangle the poor priest.
When I kindly asked the priest to forgive her. “My sister always had a smart mouth.” I told him. But he just answered:
“I’m used to it my child. I know smart mouth runs in the family my child. Because Angel was here every day, confessing on behalf of her family!
To Be Continued.