The Day The Gypsy’s Came To Town


My grandmother and I were in the kitchen canning. Well, actually, she was canning and I was washing the jars. It was one of my chores at canning time because my hands were small and fit down into the jars. I washed and rinsed them, then grandmother scalded them with boiling water.

My brother came bursting through the door.

" Grandma! Guess what? There’s some Gypsy’s camped down under the bridge!" he said excitedly, answering his own question.

" There’s a man, a woman and a little baby, he continued, and guess what? The woman don’t have any arms! And you’ll never believe this, grandma, she can thread a needle and sew with her toes."

"Mercy me, that poor soul, What do you suppose they’re doing there?" she said,

"Can I go see them, grandma?" I asked.

" No indeed you can’t, she replied, If they are down on their luck, they certainly don’t need nosy children around."

"I won’t be nosy grandma, I’ll be nice."

She didn’t answer me, instead she said thoughtfully, " I wonder if they have food?"

"I don’t know, my brother said, she was fixing the baby a bottle. I just can’t get over what all she can do with her toes."

" That’s just what I mean. She sure don’t need you standing around gawking at her misfortune. Both of you just stay away from there."

I went back to washing jars and my brother went outside. I wasn’t paying attention to what my grandmother was doing but it wasn’t long until she went to the back door and called my brother.

He came inside and she said, "I made some sandwiches and I want you to take them to those poor folks. Then looking at me she added, And yes you can go but you both better mind your manners and not stare at that poor woman."

Out the door we flew, running as fast as we could, my brother a good five feet ahead.

"Wait for me! Wait for me!" I yelled but he kept on going.

When I got to the bridge he had already handed the woman the bag with the sandwiches. She was changing the baby’s diaper.

Now I always tried to do what my grandmother told me. I felt she had some way of knowing exactly what I was doing even when I was away from her but I caught myself staring and tried to look away but couldn’t.

The woman looked at me and smiled, then she put on a show without our asking, letting us see what all she could do with her toes. It was amazing.

I’ll never forget the day the gypsy’s came to town. Although, looking back, I don’t believe they were gypsy’s. I think my grandmother was right , they were just down on their luck. There were a lot of people like that back in the good old days. At least they were the good old days for me.

A golden memory from childhood.

By Lora Cox ©2001