It was the beginning of a long afternoon for all of us. We were trying to be quiet, for several reasons. We knew that we needed to discuss some matters between the four of us. We were wondering what the days ahead would be like with Grandma lying in bed, not able to care for us, like cooking meals, and how we would manage.
Around three in the afternoon, the doorbell rang. We all looked at one another. Grandda hollered at us to answer the door, so Rosie went over and opened it. There stood a lady holding what looked like a dish of food. What was this, who was this?
She said, "You must be the grandchildren we've been hearing about, I'm your neighbor, Ms. Parkins, over across the way. Can I come in for just a minute and just visit a spell? I heered from the Doc that Ms. O'Hanlon was under the weather and might need somebody to fix up some vittles for you all. So here is a little something for your supper."
"Uh, sure, Ma'am. Come on inside. It is cold out there."
She bustled in and said, "This here is hot, so I'll just set it in here on the table. Can I step in and visit with Martha for just a minute?"
Grandda stepped out of the bedroom and through the hallway into the living room.
"Howdy, Ms. Parkins. Have a seat, please. It was mighty nice of you to come calling. Martha is asleep, so she is not up to a visit right now. Maybe another time."
"Well, I hope she'll be better soon. Well, I guess I better be gettin' on my way." She glanced around the room, taking in everything; then I saw her briefly lift her eyebrows as she glanced at the end table.
Uh-oh. The Johnny Walker bottle and glass were still sitting out on the end table. We had forgotten to put them away. Hopefully, Grandda would not spot them.
Mz. Parkins got up and walking over to Grandda, she said, "Now, Shane, you know you can call me, night or day, and I'll come over and help in any way I can." She put her hand on his arm, gently patting it.
"Thank you, Mz. Parkins; we appreciate it, and thank you for the food. It will help. Good bye now." He guided her to the door and gratefully closed it as soon as she was out. "Whew! That is one nosy neighbor."
Looking around the room, as if to fumigate it, he saw the liquor bottle and the glass.
"Where did that bottle come from?" he thundered, his face turning a bright red.
"We found it in the little end table, Grandda... That is what we were trying to tell you while ago... We forgot to put it back inside where Grandma kept it." It all rolled out in what seemed like one sentence.
Then his face turned from red to ashen white.
"What do you mean, 'where Grandma kept it'?
Then I related what Marie had told me.
Grandda sat down in the rocking chair, his hands over his face and bending over, his elbows on his knees, wept as I have never seen a man do in my whole life, before or since.
We all looked on, not knowing what to do, or to say. I looked at the others and mouthed the words, "Go play or something," so they all left me and Grandda alone.
I patted his shoulder, hesitantly...this big man, crying as if his heart would break...what could I...a little eleven-year-old, do to help him? I remembered something I had read in my testament about being kind to those who are not kind to you. I began to pray for my Grandda to believe in Jesus for real.
(To be continued)