opening ourselves with the hinging daylight hours

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mr. Elvin


The James's live across the street from me on 4th street. Mr. Elvin's and Ms. Vanessa's almost wore through the marble from the decades of sitting on the same spot. I love to sit on their steps and look at the new theater, and my side of the blocks with the large sycamores, locusts, cherry trees, and the overflowing native plants and seashells . Mr. Elvin worked hard a life with labor strong and beautiful. THe James's and i, we sit many evenings, sharing food, stories, and laughter. Ms. Vanessa is one of my closer friends. She has a deep mothering sense and looks at me and other kids of the neighborhood with a loving suscpision. She loves to dance and sign, and you should taste her cooking. We sit on each other's steps and watch the sunset or walk through one of the gardens. we walk through to the garden harvesting the fresh vegetables to be set on the dinner table. Collard greens, Jersey's plumpest tomatoes, and okra...galore.




When Mr. Elvin passed 2 weeks ago we prepared a feast of all feasts to honor the man who loved his family so deeply. All of the family came and gathered, and gathered, and gathered and gathered and gathered until the block was full of people standing to mourn the man who drove the black cadillac, Sweet Lucy. On the day of the funeral when the crowd had gathered the vegetables cooked deep within the kitchen. The caravan didn't seem to ever end but as it did the block filled with with the restored peace of the mourning doves. The starlings sang spring's sun song and the red-winged blackbirds ca-cawed to the river. Shore breezes came with the rising tide, and the driftwood was captured in the cove beside where the fishermen cast.

We shared in the meal together and filled our bodies with communion of the land and the abundance of the harvest and the food that we share.

After we ate lunch we walked toward home, down the block walking toward the James's. As we walked his dear wife of the passed Mr. Elvin, Ms. Vanessa came out of the house carrying bags and bags filled with a suprise. and the people behind her were carrying bags and bags she walked down to the corner were we had gathered for lunch an epicenter in a sea of love. When she came to the corner in the center of the crowd i couldn't see what she was doing. In a few moments the children and adults coming out from the inner circle were all wearing hats. Mr. Elvin was quite the hat collector and Ms. Vanessa wanted his hats to resurrect. The bags kept opening wider and wider until mr. elvin's hats were covering the heads of his loved ones dispersing and going away like the releasing of monarch butterflies a scattering of seeds, abundantly.

This was one point in passing time that the blue sky and the shades of browns, blacks, whites, and grays blended with the tones of the faces who felt his the joy of his hats living on. The hats seemed to spiral and flutter and twirl in a dance of memories, a spreading of his thoughts and heart. The hats walked up the block following Ms. Vanessa returning into her home again. There her storm door flung wide and the model cars started pouring out. The same way the hats started to walk around, each of Mr. Elvin's cars had a new life of it's own, going sweet home in remembrance.


i only wish i had a photo of the family filling the streets and the scene with Mr. Elvin's hats and cars going with the peace of life again.

Here is one of Mr. Elvin's hats in action:


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