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"Playing Hearts"

December 8, 2017




As a budding journalist, I was always on the lookout for personal interest stories.  However, what I discovered during the summer of 2017 forever defined my ideas about bravery, loyalty, and personal sacrifice.  Of course, I have had to change names and fictionalize some minor events in order to protect individuals, even though some of them have passed on by now, including my beloved Gamby. I think that enough time has ensued so that the story can be told without any rancor or the incitement of some individuals to seek revenge.


Every Thursday night, the same scenario played out as if stuck on a loop.  On these evenings, for as long as I could remember, my grandmother dressed up in her Sunday best, waited for a ride, and was gone for the entire evening, returning long after I was in bed, asleep.  We never saw who picked her up; she never offered to divulge this information. But when questioning my parents, "Is Gamby going to visit her friends, is she going to a movie, is she meeting up for a card game," and receiving no answer for this, as the years went by, would ask even bolder questions, such as "Is she going to turn tricks?" In response to this inquiry, I was grounded for two weeks.  So I stopped asking.  However, I still took great interest in observing her on these special nights.  I began to notice certain aspects of her appearance, such as the fact that she never wore any jewelry on this night, and wore sneakers instead of her dress shoes.  


She would wait in the shadows near the garage door, a car would flash its headlights twice as it rounded the bend near our house, and she would make her way, almost noiselessly, to the curb.  She would get in, and the car would then glide away.  The car always stopped just short of a clear view for me. 


One day, when I was old enough to drive, my friend Ashley and I surreptitiously waited for the clandestine meeting, then followed the car.


What we initially discovered only added a separate dimension to the fantastic story that was to follow...


To be continued...


Sally Stratso

Copyright 2017


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