Caribbean Story Part 9: Counting The Blessings
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
Relation to Miranda
Myra and Mona
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
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.
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
"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
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."
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