Chapter 25 ~ Rosa Is Ready To Spill Her Guts About Joe’s Dad
Father Tim pointed to the table motioning Joe and Sam to take a seat. Joe noticed two place settings already on and Sam sat on the table. One place setting was at the head of the table. The other was on the side in the middle of the table. Joe tapped Sam on the arm an moved his head toward to the side of the table with no place settings. Joe and Sam no sooner sat down when Rosa came with two more plates, napkins and silver ware and set them in front of them.
She stared at Joe for a moment, “Chu looks jus like him. Why you want find that …” She turned and went back to the stove.
Sam said, “The apple pie smells delicious. The whole house smells better than any restaurant I ever been in.”
Rosa turned around and smiled, “You got to be a good man. Chu watch out for the guy next to you. The apple don’t fall far the tree.”
“Rosa,” said Father Time.
“Lo Siento,” said Rosa.
Father Tim said, “Rosa’s story is important. We’ll wait until after we eat, then we can talk. Where do you live, Joe?”
“I live in Columbus. That’s where I’ve lived my whole life. My parents were killed in a car crash a little while back. I’m their only child. I was going through the their things when I found this letter …”
Father Tim held up his hand motioning Joe to stop, “So you’re a Buckeye. You go to Ohio State?”
“I’m a Buckeye through and through.”
“What about you, Sam? Are you from Ohio?” asked Father Tim.
“Hell no. Opps, excuse me. I better watch my tongue,” a red faced Sam apologized.
“No need to apologize, Sam. I’ve heard worse and I’ve said worse. If that’s the worse thing we ever do, we’re in good shape when our time comes.”
Sam said, “I’m not a Catholic, but I don’t hold anything against you. In fact, I like what you said. Is that one of your church teachings?”
Father Tim laughed, “I rely on God’s mercy and love. I make enough mistakes every day that I’d be lost if I didn’t have a merciful God.”
“You mind fist bumping me with that?” asked Sam extending his right arm with his fist closed. They fist bumped. Then Sam said, “When I was a kid I cut the grass at Saint Patricks in Terre Haute. I think the pastor hired me because I hung out with Teddy Cochran. Teddy was an altar boy.”
“So, you’re a Hoosier. Terre Haute was home of the legendary Larry Bird. He was some kind of special basketball player.”
“You like basketball? Everybody in Indiana loves basketball. They ain’t much for football.”
“I went to college in Indiana,” said Father Tim.
“You went to Purdue or IU?” asked Sam.
“No, I went to the small football university to the North, Notre Dame.”
“You’re one of those Fighting Irish?” exclaimed Sam.
“Through and through. I bleed green every fall during football season. This weekend they play Michigan State at home and I have tickets. I can’t wait.”
“Enough football talk. It’s time to eat,” said Rosa setting a platter of chicken fajitas with grilled onions and peppers on the center of the table. Then she placed two bowls of salsa, a bowl of sour cream, a plate of flour tortillas, and grated mozzarella cheese on the table.
Sam started to reach for a tortilla when Joe punched Sam’s thigh. Sam brought his hand back and placed it on his lap.
Father Tim smiled and said, “We’ll thank the Lord for our food. Bless us oh Lord and these thy gifts which we are about to receive from thy bounties through Christ our Lord, Amen. Bless Joe and Sam on their travels. Keep them safe. And, whatever Joe finds, let him find your peace above all else.”
Joe fought back a growing lump in his throat, nodded and smiled at Father Tim.
Rosa said, “What chu all waiting for. Dig in. What chu don’t eat, I gonna take to the women’s shelter down the street. I always make five times more than Father Tim can eat.”
Joe learned Rosa’s parents immigrated from Monterrey, Mexico. She was born in the US two weeks after they crossed the Rio Grande some fifty years earlier. Her parents were migrant workers, campesinos, she called them and they worked the farms from the Rio Grande Valley up to the Canadian border every year. Father Tim said Rosa started working at rectory as the housekeeper about the same time he came twenty-five years ago.
Father Tim noticed Rosa hadn’t eaten a bite. He said, “Rosa, you’re not going to eat until you tell your story. Go ahead. Joe and Sam will listen while they eat.”
“You betcha. I not gonna eat until I spill my guts.”
Then Rosa told her story.