This week’s Challenge is from WP Blogger Ben Huberman.
Grandma and Zio Joe

Grandma died in the peas.

Her brother, Joseph, finds her in the last row, clutching the medal of the Virgin Mary pinned to her apron.  Backlit clouds anchor the early morning sky.

Grandma and Joseph were born in the hills of Italy, their birthdays three days apart.  On a farm in Avilgiano, they tilled earth and hoed crops until they crossed the Atlantic in 1898.  They married, raised children; life in America was good. Then Grandma’s husband died, followed by Joseph’s wife.

Early each morning, Joseph walks the worn path to the garden they share. Fat drops of dew on leafy plants, the soil cool, they work among tints and textures of lush vegetables. When the earth warms, they move to a table under the grapevine. Bread, wine and cheese sate their hunger; companionship nourishes their souls.  Talk before rest, a stolen nap, the afternoon sun slants below the canopy of leaves. Shadows mottle the table as daylight ebbs.  Joseph hugs Grandma, heads home for his evening cigar.  Grandma climbs the stairs, her apron a cradle of vegetables, to make herself a simple meal.

When Grandma died, Joseph mourned for three days.  And then, in his sleep, he just stopped breathing.

Toni 9/11/13

7 thoughts on “Weekly Writing Challenge: Backward

  1. I love this vignette; it’s what Ralph Fletcher calls a set piece with a bit of forward motion, and it’s about your family. I am comforted when I read your family stories. Thanks, Toni.
    PS That word “comforted” surprised me here.


  2. Once again you prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we must keep telling our family stories. When Mary Winsky ran our writing workshops so many years ago, she would prompt us with this compelling question: Upon whose shoulders are you standing? That question opened a treasure trove of memories and love. Thanks for another memory “prodder”!!! M.


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