Dor’thy was all for having some kindly of a shindig at the community center, but I told her I never did like such carryings on no way. Everwhat, I believe she like to wore out the telephone spreading the word for folks has been dropping by all day long. Look at them shiny balloons floating there, bumping on the ceiling. And there’s a cake—get you a piece—it’s right good. Dor’thy ain’t much of a hand to bake but she had a friend make it and put all them flowers on it. And the writing . . .
Yes, one hundred years old today, what about it! Though to tell the truth, I can’t say I recommend it—I’m tired all the time and if my knees ain’t giving me what for, then my back gives out or my heart’s all a- flutter or the arthuritis plagues me. The thing that worries me the most is that I’ll fall, or something will happen that I’ll have to go to a nursing home. I been blessed so far with Dor’thy and friends like you who help me out—bring me groceries or carry me to the doctor. Dor’thy has stayed with me now and again and we get on right good, but she has her own house and me—well, not to sound ungrateful for blessings, I like being on my own for hit’s then I can talk to my Quiet People—Luther and Cletus and my angels and a world of folks I’ve known who’ve gone on.
You know, I’ve even made my peace with my mother—and she with me. . .
Oh, honey, hit’s a long sad story. Ain’t one I ever told, ‘cept to Luther. But the short of it is, she treated me real bad and I got even—almost without knowing what I was doing. And that’s all I’ll say.
‘Ceptin that the thing about time is that the passing of years has a way of rubbing off the sharp edges. And speaking to the dead—the Quiet Ones-has helped me understand more about my mommy and what caused her to be like she was. . .
I been blessed beyond crediting in my life—though I had my losses, now all them losses don’t seem real, not with all of them whispering in my ears all the day and visiting me in my dreams at night. Last night hit was my mommy and she hugged me tight, like she never done in life, and whispered loving words to me and we both of us cried. And when I woke, my pillow was wet.
Now, Lizzie Beth, I want you to listen to what I say. The old folks always said that dreaming of the dead means that Dark Feller is on his way. And I say, that’s fine with me. I ain’t afraid of what’s to come after this life. It’s what may come in this life that troubles me. So iffen you get word some fine morning that I’m gone, I don’t want you to grieve none—I want you to put on the loudest, happiest dance music you can find and picture me dancing with all my kin. You dance too, Lizzie Beth.
And should that day come before the end of October, I want you to be sure to take some spice cake up the hill to the graveyard on Halloween—for me and all the Quiet Ones I done told you of.
Now, honey, don’t take on. Just give me a hug and slip on out. Come back everwhen you can, I ain’t going nowhere just yet.