Grandma always told us how silence was the best gift to give the night. How the night loves silence, and the obnoxious cricket noises from the bushes, or the birds that dared to chip and chap at night only made night angry and much much darker. That God made the stars to shine at night because night brought the kind of peace that stars need to shine, and the moon as well because the moon needed the wake of night to glow oh so bright. She constantly told us of the story of the red skinned girl who loved to wail and shout when night hit the ground, and how one day upon her cry, night was heard growling like crazy and it was the last night that the red skinned girl ever wailed at night, because on that dark dark summer night, night lost patience with her, and stole her voice for good.
“You don’t want to end up like the red skinned girl, do you?,” Grandma would be heard speaking from her out door kitchen. The place where she made magic happen, and took pride in serving us that magical food that came from what seemed like a 1000 year old pot. Night time was our enemy. The kind of enemy that knew all too well when to knock and ruin the fun that only just began. We would stop to respect the presence of night, but it was never that simple. My cousin Lulo was the jokster of us all, and it was nearly impossible to shut down all fun when cousin Lulo got creative and spat out jokes left right and center.
“Lulo, you better shut up before night loses his patience with you child.” Grandma would say. “Yes, Grandma,” Lulo would always reply, but he never really did shut up. He knew all too well the kind of jokes that woke night up, and those are the very jokes he cracked all night long.
Growing up in Parazo, was like growing up in a world of dreams. Nothing ever seemed so real as to wake us up from the dream, or us to hurt us to never dream again. Everything as Grandma said, was always possible to him who believed in the power of the One above. Grandma taught us from very young, how nothing was impossible with God, and how God had healed her many broken wounds, and how He always put food in her out door kitchen and never once did they come close to hunger, even when the day started off with just a slice of bread and a jar of water. That God always turned water into wine, and multiplied the slice of bread into slices of bread enough to feed us all.
When Grandma spoke of her God, she spoke with conviction. The kind that jolts you up far far away from any doubt that dared to crawl into your heart. She always loved singing, and at the end of every song came her accolades of Praise to her God. Nuno my cousin always seemed to want to challenge Grandma’s God. “Grandma, Grandma if God is here would you ask Him to bless me with a Yogi doll,” she would say, and Grandma would always beckon her into prayer. That was her constant response to cousin Nuno, which many times made her just a tad bit angry, as she said to Grandma that she had sent all her prayers to heaven, and was now only awaiting her Yogi doll.
The day when cousin Nuno received her answered prayer, was the very same day that Lulo broke his leg jumping from a Mango tree that he had no business being around. Grandpa had warned us many times that day, to stay away from his Mango tree but cousin Lulo would not give up his chase for fun and adventure that day, and made it his mission to do everything he was told not to do. So it was that when Grandma returned back from the market, she found cousin Lulo screaming at the top of his voice, in pain after falling from atop the Mango tree.
Cousin Nuno on the other hand could not stop praising Grandma’s God for having blessed her with her very own Yogi doll. She had always believed in Grandma’s God, but it was never until this day that she truly really believed that He was indeed her God too. The very same God who healed Grandma’s broken wounds, turned water into wine, and made many the one slice of bread. “Grandma, how did He know to make her yellow?,” Nuno asked. Her favorite color was yellow, and if there was ever a good way to describe cousin Nuno, it would be with the vibrant bold color yellow. “He knows you all too well my child. He really does,” Grandma said as she attended to Lulo’s broken leg.
Many nights came and many nights we continued to laugh out loud at cousin Lulo’s crazy jokes. Only this time very mindful of night and his quick temper. Cousin Nuno continued to praise Grandma’s God who was now her very own God, as she relished every second with her Yogi doll. Grandma continued to teach us with every bit of conviction left in her, how merciful and kind our God was. How He longs to be with us in worship, and how she worships to be with Him. She taught us what she called – The Lords Prayer that summer, and by the end of summer, we were all atuned to the Holiness of the Lords Prayer. We never could tell Grandma apart from the kindness she described God to have and be. Perhaps it was because she lived her life in such a way that God lived in her, and her in Him.