Updated date:

Caribbean Story Part 9: Counting The Blessings

Caribbean Story shares memories of a Caribbean writer, including bits on parenting and other lifestyle aspects influenced by the culture.

In Part 8, Lulu reacts to the song, Brown Skin Girl Stay Home and Mind Baby. She finds it difficult to express affection for her daughter Miranda who has grown into a beautiful, intelligent girl. Miranda is requested to write a letter for pay. Mona is expected to return home from Curaçao.

In this episode (9 of 12) both the Davises and the Spooners find reasons to be happy. There’s an important visitor.

Recapping the Main Characters

The DavisesRelation to MirandaThe Spooners

Lulu

Parents

Manny (deceased)

Janie

Grandmothers

Mattie

Josie

Aunts

Myra and Mona

Henry

Uncle

Everybody's Happy

Caribbean folks generally possess an attitude which is as spirited as their music. Despite the economic hardships which challenged the Davises, they found reason to laugh, to sing and keep going. Granny Janie described her family “as good as any, and better than many.” She had upgraded from the three-stone fire to a new two-burner kerosene stove. That was reason to celebrate.

Two Burner Kerosene Stove

St. Paul Mercantile

St. Paul Mercantile

Her younger daughter Josie, now a wage earner, owned a real bed in the bedroom and had the space to store new clothes. Her son Henry had a large pimple on his chin, but he laughed along with friends who joked that his boss must have worked obeah on him for eating stolen eggs; he had found work on the Seaside Sugar Estate, not in the fields but in the chicken coops, the stable and wherever there were animals. Miranda had earned a scholarship to attend a private school; and nobody guessed why, but Lulu seemed happy that Miranda’s aunt Mona was returning home.

Over at Mattie Spooner's house, Miss Mattie was scrubbing and painting in preparation for Mona. She wished that Mona had gotten married before she got pregnant, but the prospect of a second grandchild made her happy.

Love Spreads

With each visit to Mattie Spooner's house, Miss Mattie and Lulu became closer. Miranda was now old enough to walk by herself to her grandmother's house, but sometimes Lulu would advise her to wait there until she came to walk her home. It was not for protection, because Miranda never walked home in the dark; it was because she liked talking with Mattie.

Lulu's quietness was akin to Mona's, as opposed to Myra's ready expressions and outbursts of laughter; but she spoke more than usual with Miss Mattie. Miss Mattie fed her with admiration and appreciation which she never received from her own mother. Miranda was surprised to hear them talk.

"Lulu, you still young and you didn't expect to be a mother so soon, but don't worry. You doing a good job with Miranda. Look how well she doing in school!"

"Yes, Miss Mattie. I hope to be like you."

An Unusual Topic

Photo Credit: böhringer friedrich

Photo Credit: böhringer friedrich

"Like me?" Mattie slapped her chest and stared at Lulu with a look of unbelief. Why Lulu?"

"Your children like you."

"No, Lulu. They love me, and your mother love you." She paused but Lulu did not respond. "Eh Lulu? Don't Miss Janie love you? And don't you love her?"

"Not like you love Miranda, and I know you goin' to love you other grandchild too."

"Of course," Miss Mattie eye's lighted up. "I love Miranda because I love her father Manny. I love Mona, so I love her child too."

Lulu understood the logic, but it was not easy for her to talk about love. She turned to leave.

"And I love you, Lulu. You give me my first grandchild."

A Special Guest

Miranda was on her way home on the last day of the school term. It was also the last day in her first school. Come September, she would be riding the bus to the City School. She sensed her physical and academic growth and she skipped to the rhythm of the joy in her heart. With every step she took, she kicked up a small heap of dust which landed on her dark brown shoe. The yellow wildflowers lining the dirt road were hanging their heads in submission to the heat of the mid-afternoon sun. Daisy Morton's voice seemed to increase the stuffiness in the air.

"Miranda!" she shouted,. "You hear that you Auntie Mona come home? They say she bring three big suitcase."

Three Big Suitcases

Photo Credit: George Hodan

Photo Credit: George Hodan

Miranda responded by running as fast as she could to get home. She knew that she had to put on fresh clothes to see her aunt. She began to envision Mona's extended stomach, the awkward hug, the dresses, shoes, bags popping out of the large suitcases that Daisy Morton mentioned. She got dressed and waited for her mother to come home. She had to wait even longer for Mother Lulu to get dressed, because she also wanted to welcome Mona.

Daisy Morton shouted again as they passed by her shop on the way to Tamarind Alley. "You all tell Mona hello for me. See her at church."

At the Spooner's house, suitcases were open and clothes spilled all over the living room floor. Miranda stepped carefully over to Mona and hugged her. Lulu waited for Mona to come to her. A tall, handsome fair-skinned man sat in the corner toward the dining room with a big grin on his face.

Mona pointed toward him. "That's Marvin Laws. Miranda can call him Uncle Marvin. We're getting married." She reached down for a gown that looked like a princess attire. "Miranda, this is your dress for the wedding. I have one for you too, Lulu."

Miranda's Dress

Sears Fashion

Sears Fashion

More News

During weekdays, it was usually Miranda and Granny Janie going out together to prayer meeting, or to visit a friend. This time it was Granny Janie waiting for Lulu and Miranda to come home.

"Eh eh," she greeted them. "Mother and daughter taking walks together in the middle of the week?"

Little did she know that they had said very little as they walked home. Miranda was silently counting her blessings when her mother revealed what was on her mind. She repeated the gist of the conversation to Granny Janie.

"Mamma Lulu said that she talk to the manager about one of the estate houses that he has for sale. She plans to buy it."

"Why Lulu?" Janie was in shock.

"Miranda getting big. She want her own room."

© 2018 Dora Weithers

Comments

Cynthia Zirkwitz from Vancouver Island, Canada on September 05, 2020:

Another chapter in this family's life, rich in a spectrum of emotions and colourful images. There is a lot of love and life in this family.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 03, 2018:

Thanks Linda. It seems that Miranda is not impacted by the sadness as much as we would expect. Children are good at imitating the attitudes of the people around them.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on May 02, 2018:

I'm enjoying following Miranda's life as she grows up. This is a lovely tale, despite some sadness.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on April 08, 2018:

Devika, you've been a good sport at following. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

DDE on April 06, 2018:

Interesting touch here loved reading the follow up

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on April 01, 2018:

Thanks, Bill. When a story teller like you find my story entertaining, I am encouraged.

William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on April 01, 2018:

You have a special way to be informative and entertaining at the same time, Dora. Enjoying the story. This is good stuff!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on March 30, 2018:

Thanks, Kari. So you're excited for Miranda! The family has come a long way.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on March 30, 2018:

Thanks, Delecia. It encourages me that you're keeping up with the story. The memories are great for me too.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on March 30, 2018:

You're right, Flourish. Some people are not not good at expressing affection and there may be deeply ingrained messages responsible for that. Those of us who can should take the ability for granted.

Kari Poulsen from Ohio on March 30, 2018:

So, Miranda will get her own room. Such a luxury.

Delcia Browne on March 30, 2018:

Wow! I can still remember our first Oil Stove and sitting around, waiting for my share of new clothing when family visited from overseas. Nice trip down memory lane. I love this. It's sad that Lulu don't quite know how to show Miranda love. Thank God for Granny Mattie. I think Miranda would be better raised by Mattie. This answers the question asked in a previous week.

I've also enjoyed the bitter/sweet of the past weeks. Looking forward to the next piece and can't stop smiling.

Thanks again

FlourishAnyway from USA on March 29, 2018:

You express emotional closeness and distance between your characters very well. Sadly, not everyone who is a parent has a warm, open and loving relationship with their child. Sometimes the love is there but it isn’t displayed much. Well written.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on March 28, 2018:

Thanks, Frank. I'm trying and you're encouraging. I appreciate you.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on March 28, 2018:

Thanks, Eric. Great forecast for Lulu. I appreciate your kind view.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on March 28, 2018:

Thanks Mar. I know what you mean. Village life back in the day was family life. We were close.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on March 28, 2018:

Thanks, Bill. Your kind comments make me believe that it is worth my effort.

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on March 28, 2018:

I am still in awe of this ongoing Caribbean story.. and who better then to tell it but you MsDora..

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on March 28, 2018:

I love walking with my boy. And I love praying with him. This made me appreciate it even more. Lulu is going to catch a case of the love any minute now.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on March 28, 2018:

When I read your article, I am reminded of the many aunts I have and the stories each one of them would tell us when we were kids. It's just like listening to them. You make me miss village life of long ago. These days, even our small villages have become quite sophisticated. With cars, we hardly meet people in the street.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on March 28, 2018:

This is just a lovely tale with timeless lessons for us all. Beautiful work, Dora!

Related Articles