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Upon Their Hands They Will Carry you
Page 42

Mrs. Donahoe Passed

Rodney was gone and at work so much of the time I think Mrs. Donahoe believed I was like a widow. Every once in a while she would make one or another comment about my being alone so much.

I chose this time to pull out a painting that was mostly finished.

My work showed her at work and that was to catch the woman in a serene moment as she looked over a field of corn. A brown dress the color of the earth was a way to make a person think

about the colors involved and why they were like this. To show this woman of the earth who built these great fields of food for a multitude of people was my greatest wish. The Dallas skyline in the background spoke to this thought. The varied greens of the growing crop and the azure color of the sky was my pallette and it was one of harmony. With a hoe in her hand she was forever to be remembered as a person of courage and quiet resolve to accomplish what she did with only the barest of a crude tool. To say her strength had to be recorded for posterity didnít even measure up to the true person she was.

Suddenly Mrs. Donahoe was quiet and thoughtful and then she said, "My doctor told me if I get on that tractor one more time, well, he couldnít promise me anything with my heart, and all. I donít think Iíll go like that though. I imagine Iíll just go off to sleep and not wake up."

It was something for me to think about and I felt a bit guilty about putting the hoe in the picture. To some of the older folks this was a symbol of death. I had not even thought about it at all.

"Billís a good catch, you know." Mrs. Donahoe was mischievously grinning.

"Now, Mrs. Donahoe Iím married." I smiled as I said it.

"Yeah, but heís never around. Does he work all the time?" She was sincere.

"Yes, he works a lot but he gets paid well, too." I told her.

"Still, you canít accomplish a thing without a man. Look at my old man, he can hardly do anything but heís always with me." It was her way of thinking. Her husband was always right beside her if no more than simply driving her truck for her as he waited patiently while she accomplished some one or another chore. I didnít disagree with her but knew for myself I was content. The attraction for anything but my family just wasnít there.

Mrs. Donahoe called the next morning and said, "Iím sending Bill over with some vegetables," She was wily and I knew it.

In a rush I ran around the house pulling clothes out, scattering them here and there over my usually neat house. I grabbed dishes from the cabinets and loaded up the sink and counters. Who would know they werenít dirty dishes? By the time Bill arrived the house looked like a tornado had struck. It was funny, too. Most people tidy up before a guest arrives. Here I was doing the opposite.

This shy, polite man stood just inside the door with his hands full of a sack of vegetables. He looked around the place with bugged out eyes and couldnít seem to take his gaze off the mess. I could have been Elizabeth Taylor and he wouldnít have noticed me. Here was this hard working man in the presence of the laziest housekeeper he had probably ever seen. He quietly backed out after he put the sack on the floor, walked down the drive and was off and gone in a hurry.

I did feel a bit guilty for this deception with my dear, beloved friend, but it was the quickest way I knew to handle the situation. As it happened Mrs. Donahoe was aware and did know of her physical condition.

The phone rang in the early morning. Something about the jingle of it made me feel apprehensive.

"Mrs. Donahoe passed away during the night in her sleep. We know so many people we are having a private funeral. Please will you be there?" Patsy spoke with quiet remorse.

Having the funeral the morning after her death that night was typical of a kind woman who would not pull people away from their duties in a lengthy drawn out process for burial

Already a great loneliness settled over me. The funeral was short but the large room was full and overflowing. The minister simply said, "Mrs. Donahoe wanted to be remembered as a hard worker."

I could have felt guilty for having squelched the thought of giving her a last belief in her sonís settling down with a wife if not for the woman next door to them who had a small son. I often saw Bill in his truck with the boy beside him. This was before his motherís death. He soon was married to a very nice lady who owned the land next to him so it all worked out for the best. Mrs. Donahoe accomplished her last task, the one to see her son married and settled.

The days were going by slowly. I had known there was a lump in my side for quite a while but it wasnít until now I began to feel tired all the time. I made a decision to return home. Surgery wasnít a new thing because Mark had been delivered by Caesarian and I wanted to be close to family in case anything went wrong. Little did I know what the future held for me.

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