When the end of the school year arrived, Samantha invited me to her eighth-
grade graduation Mass at St. Columba Catholic Church. Liesl went too, since
her only sitter was graduating from St. Columba and unavailable for duty. As
the honored graduates filed down the church’s aisle way to “Pomp and
Circumstance,” Liesl spotted Samantha.
“Manta,” she yelled kneeling on the pew between Idelle and me, her head
bobbing like a cork in rippling water. Samantha smiled broadly and waved to
Liesl. “What’s Manta doing, Poppa?”
“She’s finishing school, Sweetie.” I continued, more to myself than to Liesl.
“But more so, she’s changing stages. From sweet youth to awkward adolescence.”
I glanced at Idelle. She was crying and I took her hand and patted it. Liesl noticed
and patted Idelle’s thigh, looking at her face with anxiety.
“She’s a fine young lady, Idelle,” I said. “She’ll be an accomplished woman
before we know it.”
Idelle was silent, but smiled at Liesl through her tears, like the sun occasionally
shines while it rains.