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room in the barn. To keep Mr. Beville from defying her wishes, she would store some of her things in the extra apartments. Mr. Beville worked directly with your father and the other workers. He would take your father and show him which field he wanted worked. He managed to communicate in broken Spanish, using his hands to gesture what he wanted, and had always been able to communicate with everyoneeven the ones who didn’t speak any English at all. They, in turn, always managed to communicate with him in much the same manner. Your father would come home in the evenings and talk of Mr. Beville as being a good man. He liked to work, and your father liked to work with him and for him. I remember your father coming home and telling me that he and Mr. Beville had stopped working in the middle of the field to look at the world around them. On the Texas plains you could occasionally witness the setting of the sun and the rising of the moon at the same moment, and on that day, Mr. Beville and your father had stopped working long enough to see the miracle: the world in the middle of perfect balance. Your father felt a bond to him, though neither of them mentioned it nor openly acknowledged it. But your father came home that evening and described in detail what had happened. While he spoke, both of us watched you play in the fields near the barn. He said that for that moment it hadn’t felt like work: They were tilling the land of God under sun and moon and both saw clearly then that plants would miraculously appear there. I sometimes think your father had the veil lifted from his eyes way before it happened to me. I think that’s why we were married until he died. Your father was one of the irrigators for Mr. Beville. Those were the men he chose to go with him individually to irrigate the fields. That too, your father told me about. Sometimes, late in the afternoons, as they pumped water into the long field rows by themselves in one of the fields far away from the farmhouse, Mr. Beville would stop and take a break. He would let your father or some other farmhand he had with him work while he watched and smoked a cigarette quietly. The farmhand would cover one end of the arched aluminum irrigation pipe while the other end was immersed in the water flowing rapidly through the irrigation ditch at the end of the fields and pump it quickly. Seconds later, the water would flow through the pipe onto the plowed row. Simple as it was, your father said Mr. Beville enjoyed watching the phenomenon take place. Sunset, they would drive back across the fields as the sky darkened and the night sky would begin to appear. He and the farmhand, usually someone from some small South Texas town Mr. Beville had never seen himself; would experience it together: the red pinkness of the sky as the day ended; the appearance of the stars; the out-of-kilter moon; and the gray then dark blue haze. All of this, which your father talked about when he arrived home, I could see from the barn as I fed the chickens. Mr. Beville would turn on the lights of his truck so that they could better see the road, but he never liked to turn them on until it was absolutely necessary. Because of the variations in the Texas plains, there were small rolling hills along one of the roads leading up to his farm. Mr. Beville and your father would look at each other and smile each time they went over a hill too fast. More than once, your father said that they enjoyed being on top of the hill for a second and seeing the lit farmhouse and the lights from the barn in the distance. Mr. Beville would first drive your father right to the barn to drop him off. He would always say good night in Spanish, and then drive the block or so length to his home. He would then get out, take off his work or water boots outside, and then go in and shower near the back entrance before going the rest of the way into the house. They had two showers installed when they built the house years before. Mrs. Beville had thought the house would stay much cleaner if there was a second shower near the back entrance. I learned all of that from the young migrant lady who cleaned their house; she would always talk about everything. She told all of us almost everything I remember about Mrs. Beville. She said Mrs. Beville insisted on calling her Maria, though her name was Marisela. When the maid spoke of Mrs. Beville, she would imitate her ways, making her seem like an arrogant, austere woman. Mrs. Beville never looked at us, the workers, when we came and went. She considered us her husband’s domain and none of her concern. The only concern she had for us, according to the maid, was when she started thinking that we were nonChristians. Mrs. Beville had noticed the crosses and religious icons most of us had in the cars and trucks. More than once, according to Marisela, she had noticed the burnt candles and altars to La Virgen that some of the workers carried from place to place. She considered it a blasphemous affront to Our Lord and Savior. Prayer, she thought, should be directly to God. No icon was going to get you an answer. Mrs. Beville had worked out a plan with her local brethren: They were planning to build a small Mexican Baptist Mission to save the workers from Satan, though Mrs. Beville had never told any of this to any of the rest of us. I never really saw Mrs. Beville. Maybe I sound a little bitter still, though I never really knew her. She used to drive behind some of the trucks sometimes, though not intentionally. It happened sometimes that she would be coming back from town the same time we were coming back from the fields. I remember being in the back of the truck with your father once. Your sister had stayed home to take care of both you and your brother. We needed as many hands as possible to finish a field before we had to move on. I had gone with your father to work in the fields. On the way back home, Mrs. Beville rode up behind us on continued on page 32 JULY 22, 2005 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 15