Sunday, May 27, 2018

The Haints are in the Wind

Friday evening Vivian called Bunny. "I want to do something but I need some help."

"Like what?"

"I want to have brunch with Colleen. Don't you think she deserves to know she still has friends?"

"Well, of course I want her to know we are still her friends."

"I thought asking her to brunch would be a way we could, you know, show her we 'have her back'."

"I'm game, what's the plan?"

"What if I call her and ask her to meet us at the Tea House, say at 10:30 tomorrow morning?"


"But we will be there 20 or 30 minutes early."

They discussed a few more details. Vivian said she would call Colleen. "Unless you hear differently from me, I'll see you at the Tea House a little pass 10 tomorrow morning."

Bunny agreed and they rang off.

Colleen said she would love to meet them for brunch.

Vivian was at the Tea House at 10 the following morning with Bunny just a few minutes behind.

Colleen was on time. Grice quickly seated her with her friends.  Vivian and Bunny had ordered mimosas, and had a third waiting for her. (Blanche and Caroline had expanded their Weekend Brunch menu to include Mimosas - a decision that proved to be very popular.)

The 3 ladies chatted about this and that. Grice brought them plates of chicken salad, fresh fruit, and some of Hattie's famous scones and biscuits. Vivian looked at Bunny and Colleen, as she buttered a biscuit. "You realize that everything Hattie makes is fat free and low calorie."

Bunny looked a bit perplexed. "How does she do that? With all this butter and sugar?"

Colleen and Vivian laughed. "Bunny, it was a joke."

"I'd say more like a dream," Colleen smiled as she took a bite of one of the delicious scones.

Vivian just shook her head.

"Well, a girl can dream, can't she." Colleen laughed as wiped the crumbs from her mouth.

Blanche walked over to the table. "Y'all are just having too much fun!"

"They were telling me Hattie's scones and biscuits are fat free." Bunny said. 

Blanche just smiled, "I believe in miracles, but unfortunately, I see the bill for all the butter and sugar she uses." Looking over Colleen's shoulder, Blanche noticed Hattie standing at the door of the kitchen. Knowing this was odd, she excused herself and made her way to the other side of the dining room, politely speaking to patrons as she did.

When she reached Hattie, Blanche could tell something was definitely amiss. "Hattie, are you okay?"

"No'me. There is a cold wind blowing and that is never good." Hattie looked around. "She's near by."

"Who's near by?"

"The priestess, that's who. And, that is never good. I can feel the haints." With that, Hattie turned and walked back into the kitchen.

Blanche knew better than to question anything Hattie said. One thing she had learned about Hattie was, besides being one of the best cooks she had ever met, when she had one of the 'feelings' of hers, there was generally something to it.

Caroline caught her attention so Blanche walked to the front of the dining room. Caroline had a question about a tea party scheduled that afternoon for the 10 year old granddaughter of one of their friends. Spreading the papers showing the guest list, requested menu, and seating chart on the front desk, Caroline pointed to a problem she had come across.

As the two ladies discussed the issue, the front door opened, and a strong breeze blew the papers off of the desk. Caroline and Blanche looked up to see a tall thin older woman, wearing a long black caftan with a purple gele on her head. Neither of them recognized her. Before they could speak, Reeza pointed a long finger with a bright red nail toward the other side of the room. "There is someone I need to see. I will not be here long."

Colleen and Vivian were discussing the eclectic collection of sterling flatware and China Caroline and Blanche used with each serving. "I don't think I ever knew there were so many patterns . . ." But Colleen did not finish her sentence. She saw Reeza moving toward their table. Not only was her long caftan and purple headdress a bit different, but it was if she floated across the floor.

By the time Reeza reached the table, all 3 ladies were staring at her. "Miss Cantrell, you have never met me but I have a message for you."

Colleen looked at Reeza, "Please have a seat."

"No, I don't have time. I will not be but a moment."  She did not even acknowledge the other two ladies at the table. It was if she was not aware Vivian and Bunny were sitting there. "I'll not mince words, the cards are not good for you."

Before Colleen could reply, Reeza pulled a card - seemingly from nowhere - and placed it on the table in front of Colleen. With her long craggy fingers, Reeza turned it over.

"The Tower card, it is saying there is danger, crisis, sudden changes and destruction in your path."

Colleen started to ask something but stopped when Reeza gave her a cool stare. With out saying a word, she placed a second card on the table and turned it over.

"Ah, the Star Card, this implies an end, possibly of a relationship, or something worse."

Colleen just sat there, still and quiet.

"But the truth will come in the third card." Again she placed another card on the table. She paused and then turned it over. "The Death card, it simply implies what it says - there will be death in your life. Someone very close to you, or worse." Reeza quickly picked up the 3 cards. "You have been warned."

Before Colleen, or either of the other ladies, could speak, Reeza had left. Colleen turned to watch her go. But she just caught a glimpse of her floating toward the door. Then she just disappeared.

"Do you realize that it is as if no one else in the room saw her?" asked Vivian as, she too, looked toward the door.

"I don't know how. She would be hard to miss," commented Bunny.

But no one else in the dining seemed to notice. The conversations among the patrons just continued in the same quiet tone.

Vivian looked at Colleen, "Oh, my God. What was that all about? Do you know her? She surely knew who you were."

"Colleen," Bunny said very seriously, "She was talking about death . . . and you or somebody you know."

Colleen just sat there for a moment or 2 without saying anything. "No, I have never seen her in my life. I've heard about tarot cards but have never seen them, much less had them read to me."

Hattie came out of the kitchen. Caroline and Blanche were picking up the papers that were strung across the floor. As they tried to get them back in some semblance of organization, Hattie quietly said, "I told you so. A haint is a hard thing to miss."

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