Ruby Red was born out of grief. She’s nine. She’s spunky. She wears her heart on her sleeve. She appeared out of the blue and stole the first line of my next novel. She took off running and I’ve been tagging along ever since.

It’s difficult to make sense of life after both your sister and brother die within a few months of each other like Ruby’s did. Her whole world turned upside down so Ruby turned to blogging to try and put things “right” again.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Ruby Red's Reflections for Tuesday: Choose Joy!

Last Saturday Daddy was workin’ in the garage ‘n found one a Loraine’s toy basketballs from when she was a young’un. He tossed it to me just the way he woulda tossed it to her. “Guess I can have it now,” I said, memberin’ when I asked her if I coulda had it ‘n she said, “No way.” I knowed she didn’t want it no more but she still wouldn’t let me or Rubin have it. 

I tossed that ball into the yard ‘n started kickin’ it real hard. “I got your dumb ball, Loraine,” I hollered feelin’ kinda hateful inside. I looked up to the sky ‘n added, “I’ll take real good care a it for ya.” Then I kicked it over to Kerrington’s house ‘n yelled for her at the front door. “Wanna play kickball?” I asked when she poked her head out the door. “Sure,” she said ‘n looked up to the sky. I thought for a second she was gonna ask Loraine if it was okay but she was just noticin’ the sun. “I was startin’ to think that the sun didn’t shine in Hawboro.” I kicked the ball to her ‘n then we took turns kickin’ it outta the yard ‘n down the street. We was in our shorts ‘n tee shirts for the first time all year. We didn’t do much talkin’, we just kept kickin’ that ball down to the end a the street ‘n round the corner ‘n round the next corner.

“Would ya take a look at that,” Kerrington said just a starin’ at this old broke-down house. “Look at all the daffodils! There must be a million of ‘em.” Kerrington picked up the ball ‘n carried it up to the front porch that was saggin’ in the middle. “Who would plant all these flowers round this shack?”

I couldn’t say nothin’. I just thought ‘bout the last time I seen this house. I was with Rubin ‘n there weren’t no flowers then. He said it was haunted ‘n wanted to go inside ‘n look for ghosts. Rubin was like that, always thinkin’ he coulda had an adventure. He made up a story ‘bout the whole family getting’ murdered ‘n still bein’ in there. “Don’t ya wanna see a dead body?” He asked me just a laughin’ cause he knowed I was ascared a creepy places.

“What’s wrong, Ruby?” Kerrington asked. “You look like you just done seen a ghost.” I started laughin’ then ‘n I told her all ‘bout how much fun Rubin used to be ‘n I told her ‘bout the dead bodies inside a the house.  “I’m sorry I didn’t know him,” she said. “My brothers are brats. They don’t know how to do nothin’ but be stupid ‘n bother me.”

“Do you think Rubin was right ‘bout there bein’ dead bodies ‘n ghosts in there?” I asked. “I dunno.” Kerrington said. “Why?” I felt goose bumps pop up all over me. “Cause a the flowers.” Kerrington looked at me like I was crazy. “What are you talkin’ ‘bout?” The goose bumps got worse. “Well,” I said, “even though me ‘n Rubin are…were the same age…he was kinda like a big brother. He liked to tease me but if he knowed I was ascared a somethin’ he always did somethin’ or said somethin’ to make me feel better.” 

Kerrington jumped off the porch ‘n bounced the ball on the crumblin’ walk way. “I don’t know what ya mean.” She just looked at me. “The flowers!" I said.” I looked at all of ‘em ‘n I knowed Rubin had somethin’ to do with ‘em. “Rubin is a ghost now too you know.” Kerrington looked at me all funny like. “Do ya think Rubin planted these flowers?” She asked me like she was ‘fraid to hear the answer.

I smiled real big ‘n leaned down to pick one. “Rubin knowed I was ascared a this house. He woulda done somethin’ like this…for me, to tell me I shouldn’t be ’fraid.” The goose bumps tingled again ‘n I started memberin’ Rubin’ ‘n laughin’ at things he done ‘n I told all that to Kerrington on our walk back home. I felt Rubin alive in my heart…where he always used to be ‘n where he still is.

Grandma was right ‘bout choosin’ to be happy or choosin’ to be sad. After I got done tellin’ Kerrington all ‘bout Rubin I felt happy for the first time since he died. I guess you could say I choosed joy. 



Photo used with permission: Oregon Daffodils © Scott Law 2012 https://www.flickr.com/photos/bull_rhino/page3/

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