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Paddle Your Own Canoe
Chapter 31

Dee was gifted with a memory to reach back to places where no one else could go.  All the memories were a part of her.  There were events she could not have appreciated or understand until the waves from the ocean of life lapped at her feet now that  she was an older woman.

On occasion throughout her life the vision of  an older woman, Mrs. Cox,  were recalled.  There was something beautiful about the woman as she remembered her.  Never could she identify what it was. Not the way she wore her hair.  Certainly not that. It was totally white and although there was a mass like cloud of it she simply twisted it into a severe knot at her neck.

Her dress was always neat but also very modest of one or another soft fabric.  One garment looked exactly like the other.  She wore a pair of shoes  called “comfortable.”  To be sure they must have been easy to wear.  Black leather with lace up ties on the top and always the same they were.

Mrs. Cox always had her granddaughter at her side. The girl, Starla, was as glowingly angel like in her youth as was her grandmother in her age. The child was the same age as Dee and with the parent's permission the girls became close associates.  One could not use the word friendship. Starla's life was too much of some future age to become close to anyone.

She had a dream like personality and although she was brilliant with no boundaries, her intelligence was to point her toward some place ahead of them.

Starla was a wispy, tall, slender, child who never bared her soul as to her life or from where they came. All was for the moment with her. There seemed not to be any past or any future. For her the basement apartment where they lived was her home. Meals were served on the hand-made booth like space.  It was beneath a high window which brought light to that space.  It was a feeling of security to sit there with them.  The fruit Mrs. Cox served from jars she had moved with her were from Washington state was delicious to the ultimate.  Huge black cherries,  Dee had never tasted  before or ever again.

Mrs. Cox arrived three times a week to take Dee to Bible study with them.  Her black older model car looked to be  conservative like the woman herself.

The meetings were small with few people there. Her long comments sometimes going on for maybe six minutes covering a topic completely while reading every scripture involved was something they all listened through.  It was her sincere way to hold them. She was thoroughly covering a subject  obviously loved.

Dee was only twelve as was Starla.  It never occurred to them to object to the straight intense teaching. So much of it was over their heads, it was true.  Their minds were uncluttered with television, boy talk, fads in clothing styles, or anything frivolous. This was a world of innocence maybe around the year of 1949. Probably,  the most exciting thing to happen was the walk from their school to the girl's apartment in the afternoon. It was easy for them to center their attention on the deep subjects touched into on these occasions at the Bible studies.

As quietly as the woman and her granddaughter came they were gone.  No one ever spoke of where they went or why.  And,  although Dee thought about them once in a while she made no effort to inquire as to their where abouts.

Many years later at a convention in Tulsa, Oklahoma Dee saw Starla. Dee was married and was sitting on the second level of the auditorium but she could see the wispy tall beautiful girl easily. Starla  was translating for the deaf people who were sitting in a section in front of her. Quickly her long slender fingers spelled out the words to the people who could not hear the speaker.  Her face still had the delicate angelic quality and as she translated she  spoke in order for those who could  lip read might “hear.”  The crowds were heavy and she and her husband were not able to get through them to speak to Starla.

When age itself came to rest on Dee there were questions she wanted to ask. Why had the grandmother come to their town?  Was she a dedicated servant who went where “the need was great?”  Was she staying on the move ahead of some other situation involving her granddaughter?  What courage she had to slip from state to state all over the United States with the barest of financial support. How strong she was to continue her teaching at her age during a time when war had raked across the nation leaving it humbled and weakened.

This was the beauty about the woman Dee saw but never had  been able to identify as a young person. For the record as to time and unforeseen circumstances no amount of gratitude can be expressed for the simple but a dynamic example the woman left.

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