My email pinged! There was Aunt Daisy:
Hi Sylvia Honey!
Hope you didn’t think I was a goner. My business ‘Jammin’ with Grandma Daisy’ keeps me busier than a pig at a full trough. Good thing, too. Keeps me from ruminatin’ on life, especially my hard rodeo days.
Remember Marisol, Pepe’s little girl, who came to live with us at the farm in North Country?
My business Jammin’ with Grandma Daisy keeps me busier than a pig at a full trough. Good thing, too. Keeps me from ruminatin’ on life, especially my hard rodeo days.
Hold on to your sombrero! She surprised me with a visit. Yes, ma’am! Saved up money from workin’ in the high school cafeteria and lookin’ after kids. She bought herself a plane ticket to visit this old cowgal in Florida. Was I happy to see her lookin’ grown up and pretty as a picture just like her Mama who passed away a long time ago.
There she was, standin’ in the doorway with a bitty pink suitcase by her feet. Monty “woofed” at her a couple o’ times through the screen door. When I opened it, he nuzzled right up to her and made friends even before I could give her a hug.
“Hope I’m welcome,” she said, lookin’ at me through those long dark lashes like a kid who wants a piece o’ candy.
“Darlin’, Aunt Daisy is always here for you.”
I led her down the hall and settled her in the guestroom. I fixed her a ranch breakfast of buttermilk flapjacks, sausages, home fries, biscuits with homemade strawberry jam, orange juice and coffee and spread it all out on the table. She dived in. I never saw a fork move so fast and a flapjack disappear quicker. For a thin gal, she sure can pack it away!
“How’s your Daddy?” I asked, settin’ down with her and a cup o’ coffee.
Pepe, her Daddy, gave up the life of exotic male dancer to become my ranch hand after Marisol came to live with us. When I sold the ranch to a young couple that wanted to leave the big city, he lassoed the job of their foreman.
“Daddy’s fine,” she said, finishin’ the last of the biscuits. “He loves the ranch.”
“How’s your job helpin’ with the family kids?”
“They’re growing up so fast. Next year they won’t need me anymore.”
She got a real wistful look on her face but I didn’t want to corral her into talkin’ until she was ready.
“You rest up, Honey,” I said, pattin’ her hand. “Git acquainted with Monty and the farm. Take your time.”
For the next couple o’ days, she carried a large sketchin’ pad and a box o’ pencils with her, drawin’ whatever struck her fancy, Monty by her side. I saw her scribblin’ when he was leapin’ in the air, when he was eatin’, when he was nappin’ in his bed. I watched her sittin’ by the berry patches; by the pond studyin’ the bullfrogs; in the driveway lookin’ at my house measurin’ somethin’ with a pencil held up in the air. All the time, I could tell she was chawin’ on somethin’ in her mind.
One night after a pot roast dinner with scalloped potatoes and green beans from the garden, we were settin’ on the porch swing our bellies full watchin’ the sunset. Monty, full of leftovers, snored softly below us. The jasmine clingin’ to the railin’ was perfumin’ the air.
I turned to her. “Honey, you’re lookin’ sad. Why?”
She folded her hands in her lap and looked at me.
“Aunt Daisy, I’m thinking about becoming a rodeo gal.”
Balderdash! I sure didn’t see that comin’!
“Honey, why ever in the world would you want to do that?”
She shrugged. “You did it and everyone admires you.”
I let out a guffaw you could hear in the next county.
I took her small, soft hand. “After my husband Billy died and then my baby died, I had to work at somethin’. All I knew about was horses, ranchin’, and bein’ a cowhand. Rodeo is a darn hard, dirty, dangerous life. If I’d known how to do anythin’ else I woulda done it.” I squeezed her hand. “Go fetch your book, okay?”
Marisol came back to the porch and put her sketchbook on my lap. “They’re just some drawings.”
“Let me take a peek?”
I flipped the cover of her sketchbook over and browsed through each page. “By golly! There’s my house.” Monty was there, too, lookin’ just like himself. The bullfrogs by the pond looked fat and sassy. The berry bushes luscious. I could hear the raspy palm trees by the fence rustlin’ in the wind.
“You got a mighty talent here,” I said tappin’ on the book. “Art is what you need to do.”
She knitted her brow in a frown, “I love drawing and painting. I want to go to art school, but …. “ She threw up her hands.
I read her thoughts. “But art school costs money. Right?”
She looked down.
I took her hand. “I got money in the bank doin’ nothin’ but growin’ fatter.” I looked at Monty. “I got everythin’ I need and then some. I can send you to art school.”
Her eyes opened up real big. “I couldn’t Aunt Daisy!”
“Horse feathers! Sure you could. Helpin’ you would happyfy me.”
She hugged me tight around the neck. “I’ll pay you back, every cent. I promise.”
“Darlin’,” I said, pattin’ her back. “You already did.”
That’s my tale for today, Sylvia Honey!”
Love ya, gal!
Aunt Daisy, bravo for giving Marisol a chance! Can’t wait to see how this tale develops!