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A “Miracle” at Wisteria Street by Carmen Del Rio

Around the middle of August, 2015, I had to have a huge Golden Rain tree cut and removed from the front of my house because it was determined that it was dying.  While removing the tree, the bucket truck the company used broke the cement walk from the sidewalk in front of the house to the street.  The tree company assured me that they would send their cement man to repair it as soon as possible.  On September the second I got a call alerting me that the cement man was coming the next morning to fix the walk, and that it would be good if I could be home.  I agreed.

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In the early morning of September the third I was awakened around 7:30am by the loud noise of big trucks on the corner of Wisteria and St. Rose St.  I got up and saw two big trucks across the street on St Rose.  I realized these were sewer/water line trucks that had started working on the lines across my house on the corner.  I went ahead and had my coffee, got dressed and proceeded to wait for the cement man, who, as promised, arrived around 8:45am.  When I saw him I went outside to speak with him.  As I was discussing with him what he needed, a man who had been with the sewer/water trucks came up to both of us, looked at me, and extending his hand, where he was holding something, asked me:  “Do you recognize this?”   showing me  a still shinny gold medal.  I was literally speechless…

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On October of 1985 my mother had come to visit me for a couple of months.  She always wore a medal of Saint Barbara her family had given her in Cuba knowing that she was a devotee of the popular Saint who, in Cuba, as well as in the Spanish Caribbean, was known by two names:  St. Barbara, the Roman Catholic martyr and Chango, the Afro-Cuban name of an African deity.  By the end of October, one day as I came home from teaching at LSU, I found my mother frantically looking for her medal which seemed to have broken off from the gold chain around her neck.  We turned the house up-side-down; looked outside; looked in the car, yard, everywhere to no avail.  We never found St. Barbara.  That December 8, l985, my mother died in my arms of a heart attack.

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Almost 30 years later a man, working in the sewer/water lines had found her medal and, coincidentally (?) I happened to be standing outside in front of my house, and he thought he would ask me if I recognized the shinny object.  As I held the medal in my hand, after all these years, I looked in the back of the medal where it was inscribed with my mother’s name, and a dedication from the family, and dated December 4, l958 (St. Barbara’s feast day).

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All I could do was go inside my house, with tears running down my eyes and saying, as I went around inside, “Mami, I found your medal!”  Today, I am wearing my mother’s medal, cleaned and restored by a jeweler, hoping it will also protect me as it protected her most of her life.

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John WilliamsA “Miracle” at Wisteria Street by Carmen Del Rio
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