After Gramma passed
away, the house where she last lived was all that remained to tell me
she had, indeed, been a strong presence in my life. Her wind chimes
were delicately sounding today, when my folks brought me there while
they needed to go some place or other, just as when Gramma was living.
I was old enough to be alone, but wasn’t, ever too long alone at her
place, even though she was gone. Grampa Joe was there. His loss for
Gramma made him more quiet and reserved than ever. Uncle Dean might come
through, too. I went from room to room thinking I might still find
Gramma working in one place or another, but, of course, knowing full
well I wouldn’t. The guest bedroom had always been a no where kind of
place with no markings of any personal effects of any kind. This is
where I only lingered in the doorway to look through it and on, to the
I flopped open, the
pull-down-drawer in the kitchen and there were no biscuits in the bin
where Gramma always kept left over bread for someone who might want a
snack. Someone had left one of her glass doors open to a cabinet and I
dutifully closed it as I knew she would have wanted me to do.
Her bedroom was someplace
I could always find her either sewing, resting in her chair, or
listening to the radio. Now I fingered one of her favorite pins and
poked around in one of the drawers of her old machine.
“Don’t be pilfering my
things!” I could almost hear her say, or “Is that where you found
Weldon came quietly
through the front door and dropped onto the over stuffed couch. I
looked over at the handsome, dark, boy I knew, who had actually become
a grown man.
“He wouldn’t be spread
out all over the couch if Gramma was here.” My thoughts were in her own
language. For the most part, though, I was glad to see him. Weldon was
never, in his expression, a house cat. All at once we were kindred
spirits in our wish to resurrect our Gramma through touching and seeing
her things all about us. Weldon would have never admitted such a
thought, but as sure as the wind chimes on the front porch were
speaking, telling us this was Gramma’s world, we both knew it was so.
Wind chimes the southern women carried with them from Georgia,
Tennessee, Alabama, Missouri, Arkansas and now here to Oklahoma.
Something about the genteel way the things tinkled in the wild wind was
an expression of how the women felt about their own lives. The chimes
issued delicate notes, like the women, while being pushed, pulled and
torn by torrential, uncivilized, winds from violent lands. Bell compared
herself to a poem, Bell Brandon, a flower of the prairie, who came from
the mountains and had a tinge of the blood of the red man.
“Bury me on the prairie
under the Arbor tree.” The poem asked. So there she rests today,
awaiting the resurrection, and if there were a tree of any kind, even
within miles I would hang upon it some wind chimes.