• Jodie Barringer

White Jesus

Jodie stood at the door in the door of Auntie Laura’s house on the day before Easter and around the time of Passover.

I was Gentile and white.

The Lindys were Jewish and white.

Auntie Laura was Auntie Laura. She lived on the farm, and she lived alone in the first white house past the haybarn, and Auntie Laura had a mouse made of brown hair that lived on her head, and she was dust brown black not like Ham or Pigfoot who were black as night and had yellow eyes.

I head thought words that did not come out because I was nervous to be standing on Auntie Laura’s porch- she was the matriarch- and no one crossed her.

My feet stood on the doorstep of her white washed clappered house. There was not a chimney. Peter had fallen out of the hayloft and Auntie Laura’s was the closest house I could run to for help. Her stature at four feet was taller than my father’s. And Auntie Laura always had big bosoms and dust white shoes on her dust brown feet. And her hands were pink on the underside.

My eyes saw two old fabric chairs that were faded beyond the Goldsmith’s original colors that Gram had bought: the flowers were faded to gray and pink. The yellow background was a hazy remnant of sun on a rainy filled April month. All sun and its burstful memories all but forgotten in the canvas. There were still almost plump ruffles on the bottom of one chair , but the other chair just had legs and the cahir looked cold on this overcast dreary day of such a strong Spring month. And there was a table in between the chairs, and above the wood thin table with no lamp was a picture of a white Jesus looking right up into the heavens with that ray of light gentling right down onto his face and he had blonde hair and two bright blue eyes and his hands were praying and he had long hair and a beard and a white robe but mostly he was white.

My head wondered, “Why would Auntie Laura have a white Jesus?”

My feet stood on the damp clay soaked floorboards of the porch. My hands clasped each other behind my bottom right at the base of my back. They were sweaty. I needed to hurry to get Auntie Laura to come to the door. Peter was hurt and the other Lindys were crying and Johnny was too young to know how to help. I did not have time to run all the way down to The House to get Daddy, and I needed to take care of all of this right now this minute. Peter had gotten broken and Where was Aunti Laura and Why did she have a white Jesus on her wall?

I stood pancaked in that clay damp floor wondering why Auntie Laura lived with only two chairs? And only one table and no lamp with wet damp dust dirt on wood floors and a white Jesus? And why did we have a cold coconut cake in the farm freezer, and why did Mose take Johnny and I fishing for catfish every Saturday and why did Momma and Daddy send us to Gram and Pop’s ever weekend so that they could go to the club, and why did Auntie Laura live alone with a mouse on her head and why did

Why

Did

Why did Auntie Laura have a white Jesus?

And, why did her doorway shrink me small when I had felt brave enough to run over for help?

And, was Peter going to die?

And, the Lindys didn’t have either a white Jesus or a black Jesus. They had no Jesus on their wall. And, at their house they had a statue called the Cocktail Party. I loved to go to their house just to stand at look at all of the people at the cocktail party. I always was the lady with the high heeled shoes and the cigarette dripping bronze ashes into the make believe air.

Feet appeared in my eyes and my eyes looked up part of the wall high to see Auntie Laura in a white dress with big yellow flowers and the dress had on it a wide round collar, and above the collar was her head with nice eyes and on top of her head was that brown fuzzy mouse that never fell off of her head even when she looked down.

“Whas da mattah bab girh?”

“Auntie Laura, Johnny and Peter, and Jay, and Phyllis, and I were jumping off the hayloft, and Peter landed on to his ankle and he can’t walk and he is crying , and we think he broke it, but we don’t know and we are going to get in big trouble, and I need for Joe Johnson to drive down to the house to get Daddy. But, I can keep running, if I have to, but we think Peter is broken and Easter is tomorrow and we are going to get in trouble for jumping.”

“Ah, Bab, les go see what is da mattah.”

Auntie Laura’s hand was the same size as my hand but it was bigger and stronger and made me feel safe as she fast walked up to the barn where Peter was now hobbling around. Jay and Phyllis and Johnny were back to jumping off the hayloft like there had not been a serious crisis. I stood with my hand in Auntie Laura’s, and the hay was all golden and it shimmered in the spring sun and I wondered if there were any snakes crawling around in the hay bales we were making forts in.

And Auntie Laura fussed at us for throwing down the bales of hay to use as our landing pad, and we got fussed at for jumping off the hayloft an’ not using our right minds and jus’ looking for to get hurt on this day before Easter and “whah woudh yoh Daddy say to this, Miss Josi?”

And, we looked at the mess of the hay bales on the ground, and we looked at our feet that slowly walked out of the hay barn and over to Auntie Laura’s to get our fannies switched we were certain. But, Auntie Laura let us go that day.

And, she went back into the door that stayed open showing the white Jesus above the table with no lamp between the chairs that were battered but working.

And, Peter and Jay and Phyllis and Johnny and I walked past the pig barns and past the cow barn and past the horse barn and past the weigh station and through the gates to walk past the Catfish Lake where Mose taught us to fish and past the swimming lake where we taught ourselves to be mermaids and sea monsters to walk on the back porch of the house to tell Momma and Daddy about the near miss death of Peter. And, we died Easter eggs that afternoon, and hid matzah that night and looked for Easter eggs that next morning after the Easter Bunny came, and we never found the blue and red Easter egg until June.

And, why did Auntie Laura have a white Jesus?

Why did I feel wrong?

And so very very small

And why did the white Jesus just sit there and not help me out?

And why were there two chairs sitting in the dark and

Why did Auntie Laura not tell me what to do

And why

Did Auntie Laura have a white Jesus?



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