Summer of 1960 When I Was 7... chapter 17... Talking to fire
We were going to visit my Daddy and we had spent the day getting ready to go. We had packed our clothes for the weekend and Momma was making potato salad for the trip, boiling eggs and potatoes. My grandparents came over to give us some presents to take with us. They had one for each of us. Marva Rose got a jumprope, I got a paddle with a ball tied to it with a string, and Patty got a color book.
“I want that,” Patty whined. She wanted the jumprope. She didn’t know how to use it, so she just threw it over her head and then over again back and forth while she was walking around the living room. I was banging that ball against the paddle over and over. We were making so much noise that Momma had trouble talking with Grandma and Grandpa.
“Girls go into the other room,” Momma pleaded.
We wandered into the kitchen, me banging my paddle and Patty throwing that rope over her head while she walked. “One, two…..one, two….,” Patty counted. The rope smacked down over the handle of the boiling eggs. The boiling water poured over Patty’s back. Patty screamed. Moonrose and I stayed out of the way as Momma and my grandparents ran into the kitchen. Momma pulled off Patty’s shirt and we could see lots of blisters where the boiling water burned her back. Momma held her in her lap cooing to her.
“Let me talk the fire out of it,” said Grandpa. He was well known in the family to be able to heal away pain, but he knew that Momma didn’t believe in that kind of superstition. Momma nodded and ran to the phone to call the pharmacy to get some ointment. Patty was still crying as Grandpa held her. He leaned down and whispered into her ear holding his hands near her burns but not touching her back at all. After a minute or so, Patty quit crying. Her whimpers almost immediately calmed down into hiccups and Grandpa still held her close and whispered while Momma drove to the pharmacy and got some ointment.
Our mother said that she never knew if it was the ointment or if my grandfather actually could talk the fire out of a burn, but Patty’s back healed up quickly and never scarred. She had considered it to be a superstition, but still when she told the story years later she always wondered if he really could. She says that he offered to teach her the secret. He said he could only tell one person and that person could not be blood related and he was offering it to her. She told him no that he needed to tell someone who totally believed in it. We don’t know if he ever got to tell anyone before he died. But, when I see someone burned, I will look up to heaven and ask Grandpa to help me and together we talk the fire out of it.to be continued....