Caribbean Story Part 4: The Easter Kite
Caribbean Story features the nurture and influence of Miranda Davis' grand-mothers. In Part 3, Miranda is born and her father Manny shows up, expresses his love, departs and suffers a serious accident. In this episode gossip spreads, kites fly and the pastor visits.
Caribbean folks are known for their juicy sweet storytelling flavored with their dramatic superfluous expressions. Gossips don’t just talk; they run their mouths. Some parents don’t tell the children to “Go bathe;” they tell them “Go wash your skin.” Add the rhythm and sing-songy tune of the dialect to vivid expressions like these and imagine Daisy Morton telling the story of Manny’s accident to the villagers.
She did not usually open her corner store on Sundays, but this Easter Sunday she still had kites for sale, she said, and she wanted them gone before Easter Monday.
“Plus,” she confided in one customer, “people can’t just stand up in the road like fowls that don’t have roost; they need a place to bundle up when something tragic happens.” So throughout the afternoon, customers came in threes and fours and she told slightly different variations of Manny’s accident.
“Sourpus Lulu is responsible for this set o’ trouble. She wouldn’t talk to Manny for the whole time she had the big belly. He saw the midwife walking full speed down the road to Seaside Village and he knew it was time for the baby to come. A galloping horse couldn’t catch him pedaling his bicycle to get there. When he pushed his head into the bedroom, Lulu screamed for him to get out. The only reason we didn’t hear her was that the choir was singing. Poor Manny! His head started to spin like a top, and it never stopped spinning. That’s why he couldn’t control his bike. That’s why he hit the truck and fell backward. Whatever happen to Manny, blame Lulu."
The truth is that just before Manny collided with the truck, he was happier than he had been in months. He was so ecstatic after seeing the baby that he had waved twice to individuals he knew and shouted to them that he had a baby girl. On the third wave, he looked back for a moment too long and ran into a truck coming round a bend in the road. The impact threw him up in the air and he landed flat on his back with multiple fractures. He was unconscious when he reached the hospital, and he still was when his mother Mattie and his sisters left him to go home for the night.
Lulu had very little time to exhale from four hours of labour, before the news of Manny’s accident terrified her. Unwelcome thoughts raced through her mind. “Had his surprise visit been a token (omen)? Why did he show up just as soon as the baby was born, and made the kind of speech that no one could forget? The one thing she was certain of was that he loved their daughter; and that fact filled her with pride.
Lulu’s sister, Josie and her brother Henry had long deserted the goats, and were in the open field watching other boys and girls fly their kites. They knew that their mother did not want them to come home before the baby was born; but when they heard of Manny’s accident, they felt compelled to go. They were surprised to see that the beautiful little angel was already there, but they put their compliments on hold to process Manny’s fate. Josie cried enough for her and Lulu.
Their mother Janie sat on the steps in silent torment. She was counting on Manny’s financial help, even though his mother told her not to worry. After the way he cuddled that baby and expressed his love, she believed that something good had come out of the unwanted pregnancy. Even if he and Lulu did not become a couple, her family’s connection with his family was to their advantage. She was beginning to love him. She dismissed the possibility of him not being around. Suddenly, somebody’s kite on a busted string landed at her feet.
“Who sent you?” she asked the kite, while admiring it's pattern. “What did you come to say?” She held it up to the wind and let it go.
Has kite flying ever been a part of your Easter celebration?
After an eventful Easter Sunday, Granny Janie had much to pray about. Before getting into bed, she prayed aloud.
“Dear Lord in Heaven, thank You for the resurrection; it shows me that things which may be dead can live again. So, I believe that as bad as my family situation is, it will get better.
"Thank you for the new addition to our family. Bless this baby girl with gifts that none of us ever had, and make her grow into somebody good. Please take care of her father, Manny, and bring him back to his daughter and to us.
"Lord, please remember Josie, and give her the sense to keep her head on, and make me proud. Remember Henry and make him grow into a decent man. Even, bless Lulu and give her strength to work for herself and her child.
"And Lord, please be like a husband and provide for me. Provide for the Spooners so that we all could have enough to share with one another. Bless us all, in Jesus’ name. Amen."
Janie smiled as she saw her pastor coming down the footpath toward her door. His presence proved to the neighbors that she was a church member in good and regular standing. It encouraged her son and younger daughter to behave like church folk. It discouraged Lulu from thinking that she had to remain unforgiven.
The real reason for his presence, though, was to let her know that her family was not alone in the midst of tragedy. He came to let them know that Manny had not recovered. He passed during the night.
“He was a good man, Janie, and we thank God that he left an offspring to carry on his virtues. I must speak to Lulu," he insisted. " In the few minutes that Manny regained consciousness, he left a message for her.”
Janie looked down to let her tears fall. There at her feet was the kite–the same kite.
© 2018 Dora Weithers