Haibun 172

watermelon man

buying vegetables and fruit from a vendor in the alley behind her home. my grandmother loved everyone equally. if she was not born roman catholic she would have been a buddha. no one was beneath her. not even the old ‘colored’ man relegated to the alley. his watermelon slices were to die for. my grandma was a ‘pheasant german’ and spoke ‘low’ german not that ‘fancy stuff’. she was a maid for dozens of years to the wealthy. when my granddad who started at general motors at fifteen. after lying about his age in flint michigan rose to be an executive in the fisher building in downtown detroit they moved to grosse point woods. she never learned to drive. but my grandfather got a new cadillac every year. she still cleaned her house herself. immaculately by the way. my grandma went to church every day. our lady of the sea church. it was a block from her home. but she had my grandpa take her to the eastern market in detroit for fresh food and they went to the old catholic church in detroit. st. pauls it was. once a month for the german mass. she hugged everyone she met. old young poor rich drunk or sober. she was my champion and everyone elses too. i was never jealous of her attention to others. it was just her way. to see the good and to be the good.

the calm
of a breathless candle
in my heart

NOTE: My grandmother was Elizabeth Hinding, and both of my grandparents were examples for me to look up to. She spoke ‘broken English’ hence the structure of this haibun.

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