No, she is not a wall flower in East Phoenix!
She is a stone statue that Theresa and I got as a birthday present for our Mom. Theresa told me my mom wanted a statue of The Virgin of Guadalupe, and using my terra cotta connections I went to the local garden warehouse and got one. However, what I didn’t realize was that it – I mean *she* – was made of solid stone and weighed 300 pounds! One half of the back seat had to be folded down in order for her to fit, not to mention it took four grown men to load her in the back of my 4Runner! As I drove off the lot, I could feel how lopsided the truck was but didn’t care because I knew my mom would be awestruck.
I covered La Virgin with a blanket to protect her smooth, stoney skin from the Arizona winter sun. I headed over to Nana’s to take her on her bi-weekly 3-hour grocery shopping trip. As she got in the truck she caught a glance of my new carpool gal pal because her profile was peeking out from the striped green zerape. Nana twisted her aging body to get a better look, so before starting the ignition, I lifted the blanket. Nana ooo-ed and ahhhed over her beauty. The whole experience so far was pretty cool – how fun to be tooling around town with both these heavenly ladies in my presence!
At the end of the day I headed over to my parents to surprise my mom with her heavy-duty birthday gift.
There was not four men to unload her. My dad suggested we wait for more family to come by so we could do the job, but that would have to be over the weekend. That was Thursday. So for the next few days, La Virgin became passenger number five in El Auto de Murillo.
Can you imagine how stressful it was doing all my Christmas shopping during this time? I had to get about 50 gifts in all shapes and sizes over the course of 48 hours, and then strategically arrange them in the back of the truck in a way that wouldn’t break or disrepect this sacred holy figure.
I felt like the lady who saw the Virgin Mary in her tortilla, or the man who saw Jesus in his French toast. I’d tell my friends:
“Hey, I got a 300 pound Virgin of Guadalupe in the back of my car right now!”
And when they would look at me like I was majorly loca, I’d say:
“Seriously. Wanna see?”
That wasn’t a good idea because pretty soon word spread and I had friends of friends coming by and asking me to lower the back window of the 4Runner so they could take a peek, and maybe say a prayer. Christmas day was the peak viewing time – my family members all crossed the street from my Nana’s house to come see. If I was a greedy person, I could have charged admission! I swear, it was like a traveling Catholic circus!
This morning I was on my way to pick up DeAngelo from a night at my mom-in-law’s. It happened as I passed the first intersection – I could swear I saw a swirl of glitter pass through the air. Maybe it was just the glaze on my eyeballs from having just woken up, but I’d like to believe it was the former.
La Virgin was sending me a divine message.
“The moment has arrived for us to part, Mary Kathryn Cano Murillo…” she whispered to me through the front and side panel air vents. “Take me to my rightful place, on your mother’s front porch. Go get your husband, your father and your sister – even your children – and I will grant you the power of strength to lift me out of this God forsaken carpet-lined metal cavern. Release me and I will bring you everlasting peace…”
I got chills up my arms, picked up the kid and raced home. I bolted through the door, awoke Maya and Patrick from their deep slumber (it’s 9 am already, wake up already!) and herded them in the vehicle. On the way, I called Theresa who was also in snore mode.
“It’s time,” I told her in a solemn voice.
She knew exactly what I meant.
We pulled up to my parent’s house to find the driveway cleared. Theresa was in a t-shirt, shorts and combat boots (to protect her toes in case La Virgin took an accidental nose dive on her tootsies). My dad was waiting there too. He threw down his cigarette and watched as we slowly backed up the truck.
We got off the vehicle, Patrick lowered the back door and set the dolly in place. I removed the blanket from La Virgin. All of us placed our hands on her and carefully turned her around before gently cradling and then gliding her to the ground. Patrick slid the dolly under her rectangular base and together with my dad, they wheeled her to the the front porch.
“Isn’t she beautiful?” I asked my dad. He nodded in agreement as he secured her a safe and level spot close to the wall, where the top of her head just barely skimmed the bottom of the doorbell.
As we drove away, I noticed that not only did the truck feel lighter, so did I. I also felt a sense of, well – everlasting peace. My favorite 300-pound Virgin of Guadalupe certainly kept her promise!Love & light,