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                                                      A True Story of a Poor Soul
 
      Nature had not been kind to him.   His face was disfigured with large bumps and he was not a handsome person  to look upon.   A rope served as a belt for his patched pants and often his clothes were dirty.   He never really had a home but spent much of his time in the streets of the British Honduran town of Orange Walk.  He was an unfortunate soul, perhaps retarded.  They called him Caco.
      He ate from rubbish heaps and from what people gave him.  Some gave him rum or other drink, and he would over-imbibe.
      I don't know how he felt about life. He was an object of laughter, and a target for teasing.
      However at least one of the girls of the town treated him kindly.  A bit of grace in his life.   He would come to her home for food.   Sometimes he would just appear and stand there.   She would give him something of what they had.  Sometimes she would have him do some yard work to earn a meal.  It probably pleased him to be so befriended by this pretty, dark-eyed Spanish girl.
      Life would take them separate ways.  In time she would marry an American, and eventually would come to live in Central Illinois. Caco would continue to walk the streets of that Central American town, and she would come to know new towns and new cities and a new country.
      Years passed, years in which she was occupied with her new life and was not in correspondence with anyone there but her family.
      And then one night she had a dream, and in that dream she dreamt she saw Caco walking on the road ahead of her.  It was the main road that led to the former capital called Belize.  The sky was sunny with clouds and the day was nice.  She saw a "flor de mayo" tree, a mayflower in its orange blossom.  Caco turned and smiled, but never spoke.
      She noticed he was clean and the bumps were gone from his face.
      A few days after this dream she received a letter from Central America which, this time, mentioned news of Caco.
      She learned that he had eaten food from canned goods that had been thrown out and had become ill.
      It told of his death.
      One wonders if Caco had, somehow, in some way, come to say goodbye. 
―JohnRiedell 

Postscript:  Apart from some bold type, this is the way the story was published in the Journal Star of Peoria many years ago.  Serafina asked me to read her the story this morning.  She listened and remembered a few details.   She said the sky was blue with white clouds, but instead of Caco turning on the road to look back, as I understood and wrote it, she said he was walking backwards ahead of her.  This latter is an interesting detail as it could very well indicate a greater effort to see the person behind.  This is not our usual way of walking, but we might do so  to face away from the cold wind or to observe something behind.   (December 3, 2008)
 
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        The preceding story of Caco happened long ago, but now to relate a somewhat similar occurrence, that happened just  recently.   One morning, the week before last , Serafina said that after we finished the Rosary, she wanted to tell me about a dream she had.   She dreamt she was in a large room in her native country, now called Belize, where her oldest sister Juliana was lying on a bed.  She knew in her dream that Juliana was gone.  The sister had succumbed to the effects of cancer on September 8th of this year.   During her sufferings, as she lingered in this world, they had difficulty feeding her and trying to give her fluid.  She could only take small amounts and they at times gave her water with a syringe.   Serafina had spent weeks there, being with her and helping before she died.
       She dreamt her sister asked for a syringe to assuage her thirst and she wondered where they would get one.   One of her other sisters went to look for one.   Then the scene changed and Serafina was in a large room in this country.   She noticed someone was going around embracing people.  When that person came to her she recognized the person in her dream as a friend named Roseann who had terminal cancer.   She hugged Serafina hard.  A girl was present and was reluctant to be hugged but Serafina convinced her to let Roseann do so.
      Serafina was telling me this around 7 am.  Later that morning, the phone rang.  It was  Roseann's son who told us his mother had passed away at midnight. 
      I don't think we should give credence to all dreams but the timing of this and the detail, makes one wonder if once again someone had come to Serafina, to say goodbye.    ―JR, December 3, 2008       
 
                

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