Have you ever asked yourself what is the wicked and divine about?
I never did until. .
One summer my mother and I took our yearly summer vacation from California to Georgia and other parts across the country to visit our relatives. She had a much older sister that lived in the south. You see my mom and her identical twin were the youngest of thirteen children and she spoke with her older sister over the telephone frequently. My mother told me she and her identical twin always looked at their much older sisters as mother figures since their mother died when they were five years old. As the school year was ending I was super excited about our yearly summer vacation.
I really enjoyed being around my cousins. Growing up as up an only child this was like being at Disneyland for me in away, sort of, but not really. The day of our departure finally came we hugged and kissed my daddy goodbye and my mom and I were on that plane leaving California. We always stopped in Illinois first because she had an older brother that lived there. I did not enjoy that as much because there were no younger children around for me to play with. My uncle and his wife had two teenage daughters that still lived at home, and a son that was off in college at the time studying to become an attorney. I liked my teenage girl cousins however, even though they acted civilized towards me deep down I could feel they did not care for me much. Nevertheless, meaning I always tried to interact with them regardless of how I thought they felt towards me. Now that I am an adult reflecting back on those times I realize they did not like me, nor were they very hospitable. They were just courteous enough towards me to avoid the wrath of my mother. My mothers vengeance would have been something none of them could have stopped. Not my mothers older brother nor his wife would have been able to have control over the events that were to come had their daughters attempted to over step their boundaries in any way that my mother deemed unacceptable to her. My mother, I will just call her the Ruby in my life had that what they call that “je ne sais quoi” about her that you just did not want to call her bluff on. Trust me when I tell you she was not bluffing. She was the kind of woman that if you dared to mess with her child, well you would not like the outcome.
Now, let us fast forward to when we left Illinois going to the home of my mother’s sister in Georgia. It was not what I was accustomed to as calling home yet, it was home for them. It was a lonely, forgotten in time looking house, with a gravel road in front and a large field across the way from the road. The back of the house also had a field of grass up to our knees. My cousins and I had lots of fun together. We ate banana sandwiches, something I had never heard of before. There were a lot of things they did in the south I had never heard of nor did before. Like dipping snuff. My aunt had brown teeth from dipping snuff.
I taught my southern cousins a few words of French. They were really excited about it. They all said they wanted to learn how to speak French like me. Their grandmother said, “no one has any money for you to learn French.” Her tone of voice was very mean. My cousins dropped their heads and looked disappointed. I replied with that’s okay, I will teach you, then you can learn to speak French for free. My aunt glared at me. My mother tried to lighten the moment by changing the subject to my piano lessons and that just made my aunt glare at me harder. Then it all came to an abrupt end starting with my mother ‘s older sister giving me snuff as she did with her own grandchildren. My mother was liviid. I am sure I had never seen her this angry before in my life. They had a very heated argument about my mom being “bourgeoisie” and treating me like I was better than the other kids. I’ll give you more details on this argument that caused our early departure.
Things were pretty tense after that day. I could feel the animosity between my aunt and my mother was getting worse. After a couple of days of this my mother announced that we would be leaving to visit her other older sister in Atlanta. We would usually stay longer at this particular sisters house, but this time we were leaving much earlier than usual.
Eventually, the attitudes of my cousins had changed and they would not play with me anymore. This made me sad, I didn’t understand why they were treating me this way. After all, it wasn’t my fault that my mom and her sister weren’t getting along. Anyway, the straw that broke the camel’s hump is when my aunt gave me some snuff to put in my bottom lip some days earlier. As I stated before my mom was livid. Her sister frequently gave some of this ground tobacco to her grandchildren. When my mother walked into the living room from the kitchen and saw her sister giving me snuff she flew into a rage. She started yelling at her sister saying, how dare you give that to my child. If you want want to give snuff to your grandchildren that is your business but, don’t you ever give my child any of that mess. That is when my aunt said that she just thought that I was better than the rest of the kids and that was to uppity. Needless to say that escalated the argument to another level. My aunt even said that she didn’t know why she came there anyway and that she should go back to California. Well, we left her little shack and went my other aunts house that same day. This sister was also older and much nicer towards me. She didn’t give me the icy cold glares that other sister had given me. Now that I look back on it she was loving and kind to me. She always complimented me and said I had a good mother. My aunt and her sister only saw each other once a year and she described it as being divine.
I began to develop sores that began on my foot and traveled up my legs quickly, plus they were infected and seemed to get larger by the day. Two sores to be exact within six days. The infection spread from one leg to the other. That’s a new sore every three days. Upon seeing the second sore my mom and her sister were whispering and my aunt asked if she thought their sister did it and my mom said, I know she did. I did not quite understand what she meant. We cut our trip short and took a flight back to California the very next day. My mom took to me to the hospital where I had my doctor that had been seeing me for all of my life. I was examined by my physician who did not know the origin of the sores, but decided penicillin shots in both of my thighs was an appropriate measure that should begin to clear up the infection. After a couple of days the sores were worse and painful when they were not before. There were encrusted scabs over sores that oozed puss and blood. There was about three more weeks until school started. My mother called her best friend who was also my godmother, and explained the situation to her. My godmother came over and all three of us went to a little shop of sorts. I was looking at all the unusual things in this shop that was loaded with all kinds of books, candles and other things that I had never seen before. My mother and godmother spoke to the lady in the shop. Out of my hearing distance, but close enough to keep a watchful eye on me. After this discussion they had that lasted for awhile we left. My mom seemed more relaxed and not as anxious or worried as before. We went home and she had me to write something on a brown paper bag with a quill pen and a bottle of something that looked to be red ink. However the label read Doves Blood. Then she gave me a card and told me to recite the words. I don’t remember the words exactly but I know it had something to do with protection amongst other things. After three days the sores cleared up and disappeared just as mysteriously as they came. The only evidence of this are the small circular scars from it. Barely visible yet, a reminder to me of what happened so long ago.
My aunt was wicked but my mom was divine. This was years ago and my mother has since passed on. Whenever I think about her I think mom, you the best thing that ever happened to me.