Ma was removing the remaining bedclothes for laundering, along with discarding the medicine on the bedside table.
We hurried in to show our treasures to her. She told us she would be with us in just a few minutes.
Grandda was answering the door again. Another neighbor was bringing a covered dish of food. Ma wouldn't have to cook for days, I thought.
Later on, the waitress from the little ,diner in town knocked on our front door. When I answered the door, my immediate reaction was to say, "Oh, it's you."
She looked shame-faced at me and nodded. "The diner is closed today, and I brought this for you-all, and also this."
She handed me a covered dish and also had a big package wrapped in bright Christmas paper. I looked at it in surprise. A Christmas present? Why? She saw the question on my face, and I could see it was a peace offering.
I decided to accept the offered olive branch, and the gift box. I invited her to come in for some coffee.
"Really? Uh...well, thank you, Zeb. It is mighty cold today, and a hot cup of coffee would taste good."
Taking the gift and placing it under the tree, I escorted her into the kitchen, and proceeded to introduce her to Ma.
"Ma, this is Millie, who works at the diner in town. She brought us a Christmas gift and some food."
"Hello, Millie. Yes, I think we met a few days ago, when I arrived. Thank you for your kindness. Please, sit down and have a cup of coffee. I'll add your name to the list here of very kind people bringing food. Everyone is being so wonderful."
It wasn't long before our old farmhouse had cars parked all around, with neighbors sitting quietly in our living room talking in hushed tones. It all seemed very strange, but also reminiscent of when my Da was murdered, but somehow different. Then, it was more a time of disgrace for us, and this was more a time of honoring.
Somehow, it was difficult for me to wrap my mind and understanding around the whole matter.
The little ones, Marie and Les, seemed not to know what to do; Rosie was helping Ma. I just kind of stayed close to Grandda, in case he needed me.
I kinda liked listening to them all talk.
(To be continued)