She said she wants chickens.. A small barn.. A horse.. Some pigs.. A garden of her own. She didn’t ask for electricity for her home, carpet to cover the cracks letting in winter wind, or water. Just some land and animals.
She said it wouldn’t matter if her husband didn’t help her, she wouldn’t complain if he just worked on cars all day and drank all night.. It makes him happy to work on cars and if she just had a farm she could take their baby and go outside and watch the animals running free. They would save money on groceries because they could have chickens and pigs and vegetables from the garden.
She said if she had a thousand dollars she would buy farmland on the other side of the mountains.. At the end of a ridge where the nearest neighbors live three miles away.
She said if she had a deed to land, the health department would loan money for a septic tank. If there was a septic tank the electric company would set a meter and run electric to the house with the installation on payments.
If there was electric they could work on the trailer after her husband comes home from the sawmill because with winter coming soon it gets dark so early now.
If they could work on their trailer she would decorate the living room in angels and a bedroom in eagles. She would have a baby gate on her son’s room so she wouldn’t have to worry about him falling against the kerosene heater during the night.
She said it would be nice to have gas lamps or maybe a TV with batteries even if they never have electric and it wouldn’t matter if they didn’t have water at their new place because they don’t have any now but if they could move they could have animals running free.
I was driving to shop for toilet brushes and table cloths for the camp while listening to her ramble her dreams. It was 2001 then and her two year old slept in his car seat as we discussed problems with men, marriage and money.
She lived in a 10x50 trailer with her husband and their son. Their home didn't have water or electric.
At the store we checked off things from the shopping list then roamed through the housewares. She loved the bed set with African animals and matching pillows that felt like suede. At her home, they slept on twin mattresses stacked on a full size box spring on the floor. Since there was no carpet, the ground could be seen between the rotting pressed wood. I told her there was an extra full size mattress at the camp. She was so happy.
To her —God is a prayer she prayed when her daddy molested her and she wanted God to help make her mommy not mad when she told the truth.
Now God is a loving father to whom I prayed and she listened.
Church was a group of people to whom her mom turned when she knew she needed to look good to get custody of her kids returned. Four times it worked. Four times abuse continued.
Now Church is the continuous stream of people who unload donated items to be distributed to people they don't even know.
For her birthday that year she received church clothes to go with the open invitation to attend services with me and at the age of 19, she was shown the love of God when the baby received a Blue’s Clues stuffed dog and the young mother was given a bed set and matching suede pillows of animals running free.