The sadness had mostly passed. The people in the line had paid their respects in the days and nights before. The men had gathered and held vigil with the box all night long praying long prayers and taking turns napping at the back of the little church. All that was left was for the box to be put low. So on that sun bright and cloudless morning a line of trucks proceeded out to the family cemetery.
The box didn’t have the honor of a fancy car to keep it secure or lend an air of dignity; it only had the bed of a family member’s truck to rest on. A bed too short for the pine to settle comfortably so it shouldn’t have been a shock when the box slid back on that last bump causing the line to stop short and the people following to gasp and grab their mouths. As if it were an everyday occurrence, the boys got down from the truck and lifted the box back into place. It was a different way of things.
The box arrived at the place where it would finally rest. The trucks from the line flooded the small dirt road, causing dust to rise. The men got down from their high seated trucks and crowded a small area where they began the task of digging in the dirt. Under the high sun, their shirts got stained with dust and sweat. Some cussed under their breath. When they had dug enough it was the son that jumped down into the depth of its six feet or so. Perhaps it was to check it was dug right or maybe, he just wanted to see how it felt. The wind picked up just then and the trees rustled their leaves. As the son climbed out and dusted his hands and pants, he motioned to the men it was time. With ropes wrapped around, they surrounded the box, lifted and lowered it down, then pulled hard to bring their ropes back up. Those were ropes needed for all manner of things life brings and couldn’t be wasted.
The woman stood around noticing the other woman, noticing the first wife, the other children. Except for the very old vieja who just leaned against the fence and prayed, there was nothing somber about this event. The men still sweating returned the dirt from where it came, taking turns as the day was getting hotter.
There was nothing more, it was over. Just a wooden box and a hand dug grave.
One by one, they all found their way to a small barn nearby where some woman had set up pots of beans and tortillas, shredded pork, trays of pineapple cake and brownies, Kool-Aid, coffee and beer, lots and lots of beer. Then as if day turned into night, then day again, all was new and what had been was faded into memory.
© Beachwalkermari Sept 8, 2010
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