Word Count 1,058
“Come, my husband. I have enjoyed our time together, but you have kept me too long from my work.” Maria reached up to accept a kiss from Cipriano.
Picking up her clothes basket, Maria rounded the side of the house to gather the laundry from the line. Seeing the clothes were no longer there, she shook her head.
’I guess Consuela has gathered the clothes. I must remember to thank her.’
Entering the kitchen, she stopped and looked around. The room was clean.
‘Oh my, I have not even prepared the noon meal, and it is well past noon. Did the family go hungry? I must get started with the preparation for dinner. I will make something special since they missed lunch.’
Before she could turn to the stove, she heard her name.
“Maria? Is that you I hear in the kitchen? You are a bit late, aren’t you?”
“Si Patron. Please forgive me for not having the noon meal prepared.” Maria seemed a little nervous, her mind racing. ‘Is he angry with me? I have no excuse for failing to care for the family.’
“Would you come into the great room, please? I have something to discuss with you.” Murdoch tried to sound gruff but was failing miserably.
Holding a hand towel and wringing it with both hands, Maria entered the great room. “I am here, Patron.”
“Sit down, please. Maria, you have been here a long time, haven’t you?”
“Si, since you and Senora Catherine first bought the estancia.” Maria’s face started showing worry as she was not sure where the conversation was headed.
“You’ve taken care of this family for so long. You practically raised Teresa, and now that the boys have come home. You’ve taken all three of my ‘children’ to your heart as your own. Don’t think I forget all you do for me as well. This place wouldn’t run if not for you. I want you to know how much we appreciate and love you.”
Maria tried but lost the battle to keep her tears at bay. “Gracias, Patron. You are so kind.”
“Well, we have set aside this day special for you. Children, come join us.” Scott, Johnny & Teresa all entered the room, each holding a gift. “I turn the floor over to these three.”
“Mamacita, we love you and we are honoring you on Mother’s Day.” Johnny reached Maria first & gave her a sweet kiss. Teresa and Scott followed him.
“We have some things for you; presents.” Johnny gave her his best smile.
“Oh no, Nino, you should not have done that. Having you in my life is gift enough. “
“Too late. Teresa, why don’t you go first?” Johnny secretly worried his gift would not be good enough.
Teresa handed Maria a beautifully wrapped box. When Maria opened it, there was a lovely black lace Mantilla. “Oh, my dear, this is beautiful. My chapel veil will be the prettiest in church.” She grabbed Teresa in a hug, kissing her sweetly.
“Okay, Scott, you go next big brother.” Scott handed Maria his gift. Opening it, Maria found a beautiful set of ivory hair combs adorned with pearls. Maria stood holding one of the combs, fingering the pearls. “Senor Scott, these are so beautiful; so special. Thank you so much.” Scott reached down and kissed Maria.
Murdoch was enjoying seeing his grown children with their gifts for Maria. He was at his desk filling his pipe and commenting on the beautiful gifts.
“Well, Son, that leaves you.” He noticed Johnny looked rather pensive as he stared at the floor, his gift in his hand.
“Well, don’t keep us waiting, little brother.” Scott also noticed the change in Johnny.
“Nino, are you okay?”
“Well, my gift is not as fancy, but I don’t know much about picking out presents.” Taking a deep breath, Johnny presented his gift in a small, neatly wrapped box.
Maria carefully opened the box. She stared at the contents and began crying as she fingered the mystery gift.
“I’m sorry. I did not mean to upset you. I can get you something else. Please don’t cry, Mamacita.”
“Oh, Juanito, this is beautiful. These are happy tears. I have never seen one this lovely before.” She grabbed Johnny in a bone-crunching hug.
Maria held up the wooden rosary for all to see. Each bead polished brightly as well as the crucifix.
“I remember you fretting when you lost a few of the beads from your rosary. But then, I saw this and knew you should have it. I also took it to the church and had Padre bless it for you.”
Maria reached out, placing her hand lovingly on Johnny’s cheek.
Teresa brought in some lemonade and cookies to celebrate.
Suddenly Maria remembered. “Oh my, I must get supper started. You have already missed lunch.”
“No, we haven’t. We took care of lunch, and we are going to handle supper. We decided to have thick roast beef sandwiches on fresh bread and apple pie I made for dessert. The boys can’t mess that up too much.” Teresa smiled at the looks from her brothers.
“Hey, we are not that bad. We cleaned up the kitchen after lunch and brought the laundry in too. Scott even folded the clothes. But Boston, I don’t think I want you messing with my drawers. It don’t seem right.”
“Oh well, excuse me, little brother. It’s alright if the ladies mess with your drawers, but not me? I was merely folding them, and it is not like you were in them at the time.”
After peals of laughter from Maria and Teresa, Murdoch decided to end this particular conversation.
“Okay, boys. This is not a proper conversation with ladies in the room.”
The evening progressed well. After supper, Murdoch called Maria to him.
“Once again, I cannot tell you how valuable you are to this family and the love we have for you. As a thank you to show my appreciation, I have cleared Cipriano for the next three days. You will also have time off, so the two of you can relax, and maybe visit some friends. We will be fine for these three days.”
Maria thanked one and all. She looked at her “family” and felt such love.
“Happy Mother’s Day
May 9, 2021
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