It was a week ago Sunday me an Walter rode to the cemetery to clean up the graves some an pick some fresh flowers to put on em. I borrowed a rake from a man there an got all the leaves an sticks off Mama's grave an smoothed out the dirt from where the rain had washed out some places. As I worked my mind went back to when we was all just kids. I could see Mama weedin her tomatoes and okra an singin about the old rugged cross. Or in the late fall wearin her sweater and headscarf hangin clothes on the line. "The chimes of time ring out the news", she reached into the basket for another shirt, shook it out and pinned it to the line. "Someone slipped and fell", she worked quickly so she could get back in the house to check on the pot of beans. Times were hard for her and sometimes we didn't have any money but she always had a song in her heart an made sure we had what we needed. In the winter time we had a magic wood stove that was always glowing red when we woke up so we would have a warm place to get dressed for school. Part of her nitely ritual was checkin ever kid in ever bed to make sure we had plenty of cover. She always tucked us in an felt of foreheads to make sure we wern't sick. Likely as not she would go get one more quilt and spread it over us just in case we might get too cold. I can still feel that puff of air on my face as she shook out the quilt an let it settle over us. I've not felt that peacefulness since. An now it was my turn to tuck her in, a knowin she was safe and happy in God's hands. I mounted Badger and turned back for one last look, brushed away a tear and headed back home.
And now I was ridin for the caves. Darkness was commin on an I would have to stop an make camp for the nite. I could hear rushin water so the falls were close ahead. The caves were about twelve miles beyond the falls. I could tell Badger was winded an I was dog tired so we would stop an make camp at the falls then move on at daybreak. .