Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Unsolved Mysteries: Part I

In 1986 my aunt passed away. Because she was my Godmother, my cousin thought I would like the statue of the Virgin Mary that had belonged to her. This statue is not the type that sits on your bureau, but a lawn version, approximately three feet tall.

My Dad drove my cousin Bob to my home on the day they brought the statue. They carried the heavy cement Mary to the spot in the yard I designated. When done, we walked back to the car, which was about 500 feet from where the statue now stood. My dog, seeing company, and being a friendly sort, came trotting up, tail wagging in greeting. However, as soon as she spotted the statue, the fur on the back of her neck stood up straight and she began to bark and snarl. Startled at first, then dumbfounded, we watched as she continued to snarl and snap. This was so uncharacteristic of my dog; I thought it best that I take her by the collar and “introduce” her to the statue. It was not easy. The dog would not budge. I literally had to drag her over to the statue by the scruff of the neck. She began to demonstrate submissive behavior the closer we came to the statue. Once there, and after a few sniffs, she did calm down. I then released my grip on the collar. The dog immediately retreated to the car, head over her shoulder keeping an eye on the cement figure at all times. She no longer barked or snarled, but in the days and years to come, neither of my dogs ever went to that section of yard again.

The dog incident was soon forgotten. It wasn’t until an episode with my youngest daughter, who was then about two years old, that I began to wonder about the statue. One day, as I was backing out of the yard, my head over my shoulder, I noticed my child holding her hands over her eyes. “Why are you hiding your eyes?” I inquired. “I don’t like it (or “yike” as she pronounced it then) when Mother Mary talks to me.” she proclaimed. I stopped the car to look at the statue. There it sat as benign as ever. To her pronouncement I replied, “I don’t know why you don’t like Mother Mary. Mother Mary loves children.” And that was that. I backed out of the drive and continued on with our errands.

A few months later, as we were once again backing out of the yard, my head looking over my shoulder, there was my child, waving and smiling. I stopped the car to look. “Who are you waving at?” I questioned. “Mother Mary!” she replied as if I were a dimwit. “You were right. Mother Mary does love children!” I proceeded to back out of the drive, while the child continued to wave and smile as we departed. It was my turn to have the hair on the back of my neck stand up straight.

As the years passed, she made no mention of the statue again, until her teens. Day after day, I would find her room darkened, the shade drawn, and I would open it to the sunny day. She would return from school and close the shade. One beautifully sunny weekend day, as I entered her room, I walked right over to open the shade. “Mom!” she blurted. “Don’t open that!” “For goodness sake,” I said “it’s a gorgeous day, “and I proceeded to open the shade. She jumped up, grabbed at the shade and closed it again. “Mom,” she whispered to me in a serious hushed tone, eyes wide, “the statue!” It wasn’t until that moment, that I realized the story of the statue was far from over.

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