I like books.


I live in a small town and enjoy writing about the inhabitants. I spend most of my time perusing through used book stores looking for that one great book that I don't have; consequently, I have rooms filled with books. I am a book addict.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


Ima was this sweet woman, who truly cared about me; in fact, I think she cared about everyone. My mother died when I was a child, and I had to move in with my older sister. Ima went to her church. She became my advocate. I remember her giving me great big breasts hugs every single time she saw me. The kind where she pulled me to her and held me for such a long time that I had to hide my tears, but it was good. She was not one of the rich people from our church, not even middle class, but she had the respect of the entire town.

When I was grown with two little children of my own and was hit by the drunk driver and ended up paralyzed from the waist down, Ima checked on me every single day. On her way to work, she stopped by to see if I needed anything, usually bringing my children a hot breakfast, and at noon, she checked on me, and again in the evening.
She brought food to us, usually if I were in bed, she just barged in and put the food in the refrigerator with a note to my kids how to heat it up, and while she was there, she would wash a load of clothes, fill my water picture, and vacuum or do whatever else needed to be done.
When I first came home from the hospital, until I started getting my disability checks, she and her two sisters kept us in groceries. One bought the paper and soap products, and one bought the nourishing food, and one bought the junk food. They even bought my childrens’s school supplies. None of these three women were young, nor were they rich, nor did they boast about what they did; in fact, I think for the longest time no one even knew that they were keeping us fed. It was around the holidays and the church brought us over huge amounts of groceries, and clothes for the kids, and they put up a tree, and I wondered what they thought we ate before the holidays, but anyway, at the same time, Ima came in with her daily casserole for the kids, it was a Mexican dish, my son loved it, and the church folks, all dressed up in their holiday garb thanked her for the food. I think they thought she was responding to their announcement that they were feeding the poor crippled woman. I looked at them and said, she does this every day, and buys our food too. They looked at her, and I added my sisters have gone into debt to buy my equipment and keep us in utilities and while they buy our food too, if it weren’t for Iman and her two sisters, my children and I would have nothing to eat. They looked down at the floor, they were shamed as they should have been. I then added while you guys are nice to bring all this stuff here at the holidays, just what do you think people like me do during the regular months? I mean, I am not getting a check yet, I am out of money, and I am waiting for social services to award me food stamps. What would we have done without Ima?

So when I hear of government programs getting cut, yet again. I am reminded of what it was like for my children and me. Had it not been for the kindness of Ima and her sisters, well, my children and I would have not had the help that we needed in our time of need.
Ima died two years ago. She had cancer that spread from her lungs to the rest of her body and she died quickly, I was glad, I would not have wanted her to suffer. A week before she died, I went by to see her. I asked her if she was hurting and she said no, I washed her face with a cool rag and gave her a sip of water and held her hand, hardly a drop in the bucket compared to how well she took care of me. I miss her and will always remember her.


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