Friday, March 13, 2009

On the wall

She was eighty-three, with sparse gray hair and liver-spotted, bony hands in mid transmute to distasteful claws. Polish on her manicured nails sparkled in the light of the overhead reading lamp and matched her crimson lips. She was rich but had had a hard life in the small Louisiana Bayou town she lived in since girlhood. Her husband was dead and had been a tough man and bit of a racist--a very successful businessman but didn't like 'the colod folk' She did not miss him. She had not grieved his passing. I could relate to what she said. My compassion reared like a cowboy's mustang.

Her granddaughter was living with a man who'd raped a teenage girl and she believed he should be hanged. I don't believe in the death penalty but I didn't object. Her daughter, living in Pennsylvania, is in her sixties and raising her granddaughters, a boy and his older sister, offspring from two separate trysts. She sends clothes and money and these children love their great grandmother. The Louisiana state wanted to take them after the rape verdict and she spirited them away to Virginia. I admired that. Louisiana rearing children? My compassion intensified.

She was an avid fisher woman in her prime. Her husband had a boat. She loved to fish. She loves to eat catfish, crayfish, salmon, orange roughy, has even tried a bit of sand shark. She also loves all animals and donates to the USPCA and Humane Society. She owned dogs and cats. She had six Labradors and still grieves the loss of the last one six years ago, a yellow female that contracted cancer. I sympathized. Spice came to mind and I stopped breathing for a moment.

"My greatest trophies I have on the walls of my living room," she said.
"What did you catch?"
"Two beauties," she said in her Southern drawl. "Real beautiful. Could even be mother and baby because I caught 'em the same day and place. And I brought them in myself. I fished good."
My interest was piqued. "What sort of fish?"
Her eyes widened like mine, though with great pride. "Caught them off the coast of Florida thirty years ago."
"Dolphins aren't fish," I said.
"Sure they are. You can't eat 'em, but they is fish all the same. Company love them when they come into my living room."

I retreated to my novel.

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