By Joni Haws
They’d buried Pa only that mornin’, so the dirt wasn’t too hard to dig up. I made Eli help me even though he bawled the whole time, whinin’ ‘bout bein’ scared and how we oughtta leave ‘im be. I cuffed ‘im good and told him to hush ‘fore somebody heard ‘im. Woulda just done it all myself if I though I coulda got Pa to the river alone.
When we got to ‘im, Pa didn’t smell too good, and he looked all puffy, like Mama’s bread ‘fore it bakes. We had a real time gettin’ ‘im outta that hole, he was so heavy. Draggin’ ‘im to the water, Pa’s old boots kept catchin’, makin’ us trip, and my arms felt like they's on fire. But I kept thinkin’ ‘bout Mama all crumpled up like a mess a’ wet laundry, wailin’ like a cat, and I didn’t stop. I had to keep tellin’ Eli to shut up.
We finally got ‘im under, but ‘fore I could get the prayer said I slipped on them wet rocks. Stood up just in time to see Pa floatin’ away. His face looked real white in the moonlight, his head bobbin’ like a apple.
I got real sad then. I ‘membered Mama talkin’ ‘bout bein’ born again, how she got the Spirit when they dunked 'er in that water. Said she was alive in Jesus. Now Pa’d never get ‘is chance. I stood in that freezin’ water and cried just as hard as Eli.