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Chief
By Donna Flood
Chapter 10 - Wind Chimes


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 backyard.

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 that?”

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.


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