February 22nd, 2021
Years ago, a black wreath on the door meant there had been a death in the household. My mother would send me with some ham and baked goods. I would also go to the neighbors to collect money. These were farmer’s wives who would give ten cents from their small grocery money. One time I was taking food to a nearby family. I was asked if I wanted to see Pa. You didn’t say no to an older person in the neighborhood. Pa was laying on their sofa covered in a nice quilt. His head rested on a soft pillow. I thought he was sleeping. A few years later, a man I knew better also died. I had waved to him on his porch every day when I came home from school. Later he had trouble lifting his arm and he had to wear a black patch over one eye. Mother said I could go to the house funeral. It was a big house, three room all with sliding doors and many chairs. His casket was in one of the rooms. Since I was older and had known him better this funeral bothered me more. Later, his wife asked if I could clean for her. I never said anything but I dreaded having to clean the room where the casket had been. I dusted and used a carpet sweeper (no electric) but tried to do it quickly. I also picked currants there for 2 cents a quart.