A Moment of Grace in the Farmyard

Epilogue to my memoir Never Tell: recovered memories of a daughter of the Knights Templar

I am talking to the hens in bright sunshine in the barnyard, barely taller than they are in my three year old body. They are big and white and full of chatter as they step around me, sometimes raising their voices as if they were asking me a question. I call them by the names I have given them, inquiring about their health and whether they have laid an egg today and they answer me when I speak to them. The little brown banty hens are too busy hunting for corn I have scattered to speak. The rooster is otherwise occupied up on the roof of the henhouse. Then I hear my name and looking up, I see my daddy at the barn door, beckoning me. “He’s here, Joy. He’s here. Come quick.” I drop the corn and rush to the barn. My father takes my hand and leans down to whisper, “Be very quiet and move slowly.” He walks with me slowly and softly down the aisle behind the empty cow stalls. I crane my neck to see. We stop when we can see the dish on the floor beside the cow door. It is put there, filled fresh after every milking, for the cats. There darting its long tongue into the milk is a little green garter snake.

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