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Paddle Your Own Canoe
Chapter 26

Texas hot winds swept across the small apartment sized  pool while Dee sat with her four year old daughter. The child was disabled with cerebral palsy but never once did it hamper or stop her love for life. If one could get past the gripping sorrow of the daily struggle all the rest of the child's life was so beautiful.  She was pleasant, had a ready smile, and desperately tried to do things other children could do.

In this setting was the first time Dee became acquainted with a young woman who lived at those apartments with her husband. She was an unusual person and it was evident she had strong blood as well as having had a caring family. Her manners, her speech, her decorum was above reproach. Within the charismatic Texas culture they were like children in a candy store,  really.  Everything about the dynamic city of  Dallas they tasted. The malls, the traffic, the social groups, and much more.

Dee hung up from her friend's call from Houston where she was now living. As was her way she let her friends words sink into her mind and her heart. “I'm taking chemo.”  The woman flatly came right to the reason she was calling.

The two women had known each other for forty years and long ago they had learned not to lie or mince words with each other.  Always their relationship was matter of fact, to the point, and maybe this is why it endured.  If there was the feeling of  battling one's way out of a dark tunnel running, searching for light, all the while not being sure there was an end to it surely Dee was experiencing this.

Now all the things to make Miranda special flipped through Dee's mind, much like a re-run on a television show. Miranda loved the commercial with the snooty white cat who had as his cat food bowl an expensive piece of crystal. The coolness  of the cat  reminded  Dee a bit of Miranda.

With the children always about underfoot, a meal to prepare and the hated bag worms coming on the scene with her junipers Dee had no time to cry. Instead of giving her family any reason to worry about her grief she simply quickly wiped tears away before any one of them could see. Only later as she worked in the Junipers did she allow the tears to flow freely. The bag worms were a hated enemy and she viciously destroyed each tiny case. They were less than a quarter of an inch but she knew within days they could strip the trees. Always, she kept the trees pruned in order to be able to see the little monsters but occasionally, an egg case would be missed. When this happened there were  hundreds hatching out from it.

“Take that you parasitic little monsters.”

With every clip Dee was careful to mash each one. At the beginning when she was first learning about them she simply clipped them off and let them fall to the ground. Much to her surprise and chagrin the clever little survivors had simply crawled to another tree and continued with their voracious appetite. She was thinking she had done something to their evolution because now the cases were more strongly attached to the tree whereas, early on,  they simply fell off easily. Maybe she had wiped out  the ones who had a weaker  hold to the branch. Didn't matter, with plastic gloves and scissors Dee clipped them off in the middle when at all possible in order destroy the worm inside the case. She couldn't mash the cancer parasite within her loved friend's body so as she worked  Dee  simply had to let this hateful chore serve its purpose to squelch her grief  for the moment.

The hot winds were blowing across her garden and water was a must. As Dee drug the hose across the lawn giving each plant a welcome drink she watched them stand erect as the coolness of the water relieved them from their stressed state.

Where is the hose to reach all the way to Houston she thought. And even then, would a splash of cool liquid  relieve Miranda's  burning sorrow to go along with the battle Dee  well knew was ahead.

That evening in her prayers Dee spoke with her creator.  “Dear Lord, I know your arm is not short. Please reach for me to Miranda at Houston and You do for her what I cannot?”

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