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Velma's Work
Valiantly Velma - Page 10

Mah-Thee’s Husband - And the cursed area

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 death.

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