I have three visits from the “Holy Lady from across the hallway” today. She wants to come in and bless Alfalfa, aka El Diablo to her.
How does she know I’m home? Well, I’m off from school due to a snow storm. Unfortunately, she knows it. She also knows that I can’t leave and go somewhere because of the storm. I am trapped. There are only so many excuses I can give this lady before I start to get rude with her…
Round One: The first knock at my door came way too early to try to predict what my answers would spawn…
*knock, knock, knock*
“Who is it?” I called from the bed.
“Es me,” a heavily accented voice called from the door.
I rolled over and looked at the clock. ‘8:00 am?’ I thought. ‘I hope the Holy Lady from across the hall is ok. It’s early…’ I got out of bed and threw a cover over my shoulder to look more decent. I walked over to the door and opened it already knowing who it was. “Morrrrning,” I said with a yawn. “You ok?” I asked.
“Jes,” Holy Lady said curtly, “Eyez see you home from da school, jes?”
“Yes,” I acknowledged.
“Ok.” Holy Lady said, “We gonna bless de El Diablo today, ok. Eyez gets my blessings, ok.”
“What?” I said with a bit of shock. Holy Lady turned and started walking back to her apartment. “Wait!” I called, “We can’t bless him today…”
“Why?” she said in the clearest English I’ve ever heard from her.
“Uhmmm,” I said struggling for an excuse. Holy Lady just stood there with her hands on her hips waiting to hear my lies that she knew were coming. “He, he, he needs a bath,” I spit out after an awkward silence. I gave her the most sincere grin I could muster.
“Huh,” she said and blew air out of her mouth. “Jes, he must be clean for Jesus.”
“Ok,” I exhaled and turned to go back to my apartment.
“Eyez be back…” Holy Lady called to me.
I turned to see her door closing. “No,” I called to a closed door. ‘That Holy Lady is quick,’ I thought as I walked back into my apartment. Alfalfa was standing near the door. He tilted his head and gave me an inquisitive look. “That was for you.” I said plainly. “The next time, you are answering the door…”
Round Two: The second knock at the door came about noon. This one came with an offer of food…
*knock, knock, knock*
“Eey, Keeery, I’z gots da bean and rice for you…” the Holy Lady called from behind the door.
She knew my weaknesses. I popped up from my desk. “Oh, beans and rice,” I whispered. “Coming!” I yelled. As I opened the door I was met with the most wondrous smell. “That smells wonderful,” I said opening the door and inhaling the scent.
“Jes,” Holy Lady agreed. “Eys a good cook, jes?”
“Yes,” I said smelling the proffered meal. “Why did you make me beans and rice?”
“Eyes gonna baptize El Diablo. Jes?” she stated more than asked.
“What?” I asked pulling my eyes off of the beans and rice. “Baptize?” I asked.
“Jes,” she said with a smile. “He gonna be clean and be with Jesus.”
“No,” I said plainly. “Look, it’s not that I don’t want him to be with Jesus. It’s just that he doesn’t like water…any type of water and that includes holy water.”
“He no like holy water?” she clicked her tongue at me and then added, “He est El Diablo!”
“OK,” I sighed. “Thank you but there will be no guinea pig baptism…” I let the words hang in the air. “But, can I keep the beans and rice?” I asked trying to change the subject.
“Oh, jes,” Holy lady said. “Is good.”
“Thank you,” I said and nodded my head at her. The Holy Lady turned and went back to her apartment mumbling something that sounded religious the whole time. I closed the door and went to eat my bean and rice.
Round Three: Sometimes it’s just best to just give in…
*knock, knock, knock*
I was prepared for the final time Holy Lady knocked on my door. I had a plan. I had posted the situation on Face Book and gotten a lot of good advice. (Thank you all for the advice!) I was going to end this situation and make everyone happy….including Alfalfa.
I opened the door with a smile, “Hello!” I said with a huge grin on my face.
“Ello?” the Holy Lady answered. “Errrrrrr,” she stumbled. “Da beans and rice? Good?”
“Oh, yes,” I said pleasantly. “I see you’ve come to bless Alfalfa…” I added pointing to the rather large crucifix she was holding in her left hand.
“Errrrrrr,” was all she could get out.
“Do you have any holy oils?” I asked.
“Jes?” she asked and answered.
“Ok. Grab it and you can do it with the holy oils. Ok?” I told her.
“Jes?” she asked. I nodded and then she said, “Jes!” and turned to get her oils. I went into my apartment and got Alfalfa.
I cradled him in my arms and whispered into his ear. “Look, dude, I want to do this to make the nice lady happy. She gives me beans and rice all the time. I like the beans and rice. So, behave.” I whispered. “Besides, I’ll give you a treat when we are done.” He didn’t protest.
I met the Holy Lady in the hall between our apartments. She took some oil and used her finger to rub it on his head. Alfalfa didn’t protest. Then she started to pray over him. I lowered my head and listened to her prayers. I don’t know much Spanish but I caught some of the words. It was a quite lovely prayer. When she was done she rubbed his head again. Alfalfa sighed and snuggled into my arms.
“Jes,” she said to Alfalfa, “You be with Jesus now. Jes.”
“Thank you,” I said to her.
“OK,” she said and went back to her apartment. I took Alfalfa back to the apartment and put him on the floor. He ran off to under the desk laid down and fell asleep.
Perhaps the blessing will make Alfalfa into a good pig… Perhaps Alfalfa will behave when we are at the vet… Perhaps Alfalfa will like the Maintenance Guy… And perhaps guinea pigs will fly…
Author’s Note: Please note that the Holy Lady is a really good neighbor. She usually pleasant and happy when we talk. She brings me beans and rice. When I’m sick, she will make me chicken soup. I like to think of her as a self-appointed grandmother. You only get to hear about my interactions that involve Alfalfa. But, she is a good neighbor. And you’ve never tasted her beans and rice… Mmmmmmmmmmm. Yummy!