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Upon Their Hands They Will Carry you
Page 27

Jake Ate My Grapes

A brick house with sparkling white trim we bought close to White Rock Lake on Cayuga Street and that was our next move. Many happy hours for our family were enjoyed at this location. Friends constantly came in and out so that few lonely days worried us. Whoever had owned our home added to the structure with an extra bedroom and a quite large den. The house had lovely floors and truly was a pleasure to clean because every thing shown afterwards.

After I met some of the other folks on the block I realized their homes were tiny with only two bedrooms. The houses were what was called Gold Star Homes and were originally built for war veterans. The den of our place held a small built in brick bar-b-q pit which added a bit of hominess I thought. Hardwood floors were beautiful and were well kept.

Even though the neighborhood was made up of separate small houses snuggled up close together only one person in the neighborhood at first offered to get acquainted. Rhonda was in school all day at Carroll, which was again close to downtown. The bus picked her up each morning, early.

I was mentally planning my day as I helped my girl get ready for school.

"Rhonda, you can only sit in front of that closet for so long picking an outfit to wear! If you donít find something soon, Iíll have to come select one for you." I was trying to hurry her along that morning so she wouldnít miss the bus.

"This dress, and this ribbon and I donít want to wear that big white ribbon. Sam said it looked like it is part of my head." Rhonda stated her case for what she would and would not wear.

"Oh Sam! What does he know?" I laughed.

"Donít care, not wearing that white ribbon." Rhonda was sure of what she wanted and didnít want.

As soon as that prissy little girl was off and gone on the bus I bathed and dressed my second child, Mark, and the two of us were off and on our way to the grocery store. It was a short walk to the small little store. I especially enjoyed the time out of the house. So did he.

On the way back home we stopped by to visit the neighbor I liked best who had stepped out on her porch once to introduce herself while I was walking by with Mark.

"Estelle? Are you busy?í I knew she wasnít. The aging woman was already retired from her job as manager over a dress factory and most any time now pretty much her own. I suppose she was a bit lonely, too, after having been separated from a large staff of people she supervised at the factory.

Her grown son was living in Dallas but he worked all the time. Her husband loved his garden and spent a good amount of time doing that.

The way a gardening space was created I thought was pure genius. The hard dry packed gumbo soil Jake took up and in its place added rich, loose, fertile soil. Instead of a separate patch of garden for vegetables at intervals he sandwiched vegetables in between flowers. All around the edge of the back yard was a wide flower and vegetable bed. Actually only a small area in the middle was for growing the lovely St. Augustine grass.

"Come in. Come in. Iíve just finished a painting I wanted you to see." Estelle always seemed pleasured to see me.

This mature lady was an artist with quite a lot of talent. We could spend an hour discussing the latest piece she was working through while Mark followed Jake around the back yard.

Estelle loved Corot and used his style to do a lake scene. The light coming off the water in her painting which depicted dusk was as lovely as Corotís and we talked about how she had accomplished that.

The sky holes in the trees are nice." I told her.

"Yes, I worked on those quite a while to get them to look like the real thing. The light is brightest right in the middle of the hole and dims as it gets closer to the leaves. Her perfectionist ways were no different in her hobby than they were in all aspects of her life. I very much admired her for that.

"Well, best get home for now. Iím having company tonight and need to start with preparations."

"Again? Seems like you just had someone over." Estelle was a bit of a bossy mother at times. I enjoyed that about her since my own mother was miles away from me in Oklahoma.

"Oh yeah. Well, you know. Anything to keep the troops from becoming restless." I laughed as I said it.

"Seems to me you are getting acquainted with quite a few people." She was smiling as she commented on our continual house parties. So went the days in our idyllic life and there not a hint made us believe that anything would happen to make any changes in the future.

"Rhonda loves her little dresses and Iím going to cut one of those out." I was looking out toward the back yard where Mark was digging in the dirt along side Jake.

"Come on son," I beckoned to my boy. "We have things to do at home."

"Iíll see you later," I told Estelle and started off to go by the couple of houses to our place.

"By the way, do you have any grapes? I wanted to paint grapes today but Jake ate mine." We both laughed at that turn of events.

Estelle was from the north and although she had managed to work in the soft southern world of Dallas by making changes in her personality, every once in a while her quick observations became apparent as she voiced a complaint in a very plain Yankee way. This was just something else I enjoyed about the woman.

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