I spent my entire life worshipping my Mama and for good reason. Her letters reaffirmed my faith in her, and even after death Mama taught me lessons about life and about love. Mama handed me the power to forgive Father, accept Anna, like Maria, love Junior, and understand Penny. When Mama died, my life was turned upside down-- but fortunately that turned out to be right side up. Everything fell into place and I finally found my place in the world.
“Welcome to Harley’s Sidewalk Café!” A skinny teenager wearing converse all-stars met us at the door with a smile. We slid into the familiar booths and pulled out the menus that we didn’t need.
“I’ll have one Surprise Me Special!” I smiled, handing the unused menu back to my husband.
“Make that two.” Junior smiled.
“What would you like, honey?” I asked my five year old daughter, Julianna. We were on our way to the beach house for a weekend of relaxation. We were now the weekenders that we once laughed at.
“Is Surprise Me Special named after Grandma Hanks?” Julianna’s long brown pigtails framed her rosy cheeks.
“Yes, it is.” Junior nodded. He loved his little girl more than anything, and she loved him with every ounce of sweetness that her little body could hold. They reminded me of Father and I all those years ago.
“You’re Miss Penny’s daughter?” The waitress asked excitedly.
“Daughter in law.” I nodded, with a sense of pride.
“She’s famous around Harley’s!”
“I’ll have one Surprise Me Special, too!” Julianna announced with a smile.
“Three Surprise Me Specials coming right up!” she didn’t need her pad for that.
“On the house!” Gene the giant owner and cook called through the tiny window. “Tell Penny I said hello!”
“Will do!” Junior grinned. Even after six years of marriage, I loved him more and more everyday. As we sat and waited on our mystery meal, I looked across the table at the four big brown eyes that stared back at me. Mama set my life in motion and put me on the right course by telling me the truth. The truth about Mama’s secrets could have ruined me, but she knew that they would set me free. I made her secrets mine, and in the process found love.