Mah-Thee’s Husband - And the
There was a fence around
the house where the day care was located. This morning, though, the
children were fascinated by a large hole dug in the middle of the street
beside the yard. In an instant they were out on the mounds of dirt peering
into the 12 feet deep space. Just as quickly, Jeff, one of the Vistas was
out and herding them back to the confines around the house.
“You can’t play on the
dirt. That is a deep hole. If you fall into that we will never be able to
get you out.” He told them.
The little ones stood
quietly around him as they obediently listened and in an instant were
romping and tearing around the small fenced yard. Some tugged at Jeff and
he was quickly tumbling with them about and over the painted tires placed
there for the children by volunteers.
“We’ll have to keep a
constant eye on them while they are outside. It would be tragic for one of
them to fall in that hole.” One of the volunteers commented.
The half-day progressed
with the activities contributed by the volunteers. One teacher was
teaching rectangles by having her willing pupils to paint around adds in
the newspaper. There were no easels so she simply attached the paper to
the walls with masking tape. Circles and triangles the woman had cut out
from the cardboard of cereal boxes and they were tracing around these
shapes with black crayons. After the shapes were filled with bright
colored paints, truly, Modigliani’s drawing of weird shaped heads and
basic lines had nothing on them.
The carpenter drew these
beginning shapes of rectangles, squares, and circles on boards and while
the children watched from a safe distance he cut out a birdhouse with his
jig saw. They were allowed to help him glue the pieces together and even
to try to hammer nails into a board in preparation for his actually
putting the nails into the little houses. Each child had one to take home.
All this activity was
joyful and a pleasure. How could anyone even suspect Mah-thee’s husband
would be buried alive as he worked down in the same hole they all had
feared? It was a tragedy to reach out and slap all of them in a vicious
way. Even the children, though they were so very young, seemed to be
paralyzed by the loss. There was the vacant place left where Mah-thee’s
gentle, help mate was taken from them. To continue working went against
all the traditions of the Native American, who at another time in history,
would have moved on and away from a cursed area. This was a new world,
another era and doggedly everyone continued daily activities. The children
were given juice, held on mothers’ laps, fed a nourishing meal Mah-thee
had prepared until each day brought a softening of the grief and loss of
one of the workers who had been a peaceful contributor to their efforts.
No blame could be assigned to any group even though some mentioned it was
careless to not have had the hole shored up since it was so deep and for
heavy equipment to have been moving around the area on top of the ground
creating vibrations enough to possibly cause the falling of the walls of
the sides of the hole.
Accidents are always a part
of a farm, small community or any other place where jobs are being
completed in the country. This was accepted as an unfortunate happening.
To the ones involved it was more than that. The loss of a father, relative
and friend created a great vacant place in their lives with the man’s