Part Deux0 of the Fellow Missionary Spolight Lecture Series.
0Look at me, throwing in a wie bit o Scottish for you young buggers! (get it? It´s French!)
Marie!1 Marie Abernathy is from Scotland and was born shortly before the end of the second world war. She has a knack for speaking almost exclusively in English and getting by just fine, but she’s continuing to work on her Spanish. First and foremost, though, she’s quotable. We’ll begin with a brief sampling:
1Or Mary, as she is often called in Central America.
In our house while cooking dinner:
“When I die here I hope they bury me next to Vincent in the church.”
At the very end of Inception:
Marie: “Okay, what the heck is the name of that actor!? This has been driving me nuts all movie!” Kevin: “Wait, Marie, did you see the top spinning on the table?”
Kevin: “That’s super important because it isn’t clear whether it is falling or not, and if it hasn’t, he’s still…”
Marie: “OH I’VE GOT IT! DONALD SUTHERLAND!2”
2The actor’s name was Michael Kaine.
When the girl who occasionally makes donuts comes to our house:
Marie: “Oh, you, donuts por favor! Today!”
Girl (translated for the reader into English): “What is she saying?”
Other Missionary (translated for the reader into English): “She’s asking you if you’ll make donuts today for her”
Marie: “Yeah, donuts, hoy! Muy rico!”
Girl: “I could make them on Saturday when it is my turn to cook?”
Marie: “No, no sabado, today.”
Girl leaves in confused silence. Returns in 1.5 hours with donuts.3
3This girl and Marie are now best friends.
In the youngest girls’ house during lunch:
“Oh, you mean they kill the chickens? I thought they just waited till they died and then cooked them. Like me, when I die here you’ll just throw me into the pot.”
Marie is also the intellectual property owner of several lines I can’t repeat in public, and has the distinct misfortune of having said nearly all of these above things in English. It is quite unclear to what degree the kids get her sense of humor, but given that she´s always giving away things and always cleaning, they like her anyway. When she’s not creating quotable moments, Marie can be found pouring water on the heads of unsuspecting maintenance men during halftime of soccer games, kissing raw frozen chickens out of pure joy, asking most Fridays and Saturdays whether there’s a spiritual life event that night4, saying, “I’m over it!” in regards to anything from Cooking to The Finca to Bleach to Rats4.5 and occasionally slipping into a Scottish accent, entertaining us all.
4The answer is always no.
4.5She has never seen a single one of these in our house. That seems nigh impossible to me. I can’t tell whether it is a luck thing, a vision thing, or an ‘ignorance is bliss’ thing. My guess is the latter.
Apart from her sense of humor (or rather, including it), Marie ought to be well recognized for her skills in accompaniment. Within two weeks of being here and speaking almost entirely in English, she had somehow developed a better relationship with several of the House 6 girls than I have in three years. The maintenance guys have suddenly begun to stop by our house for coffee or just merely to chat, and at least once I came back to the house to find two of the house dads sorting, washing, and cooking beans for her. She’s also the elected representative of the missionary house sent to House 6 to get back all of the cooking utensils, pans, etc that they’ve “borrowed” from us and now believe are theirs5. I want to say there’s something entirely disarming about being 71 that allows her to build relationship completely differently from the rest of us, but it might just be something about Marie.
5This happens surprisingly often… and if we don’t send Marie, they get extremely defensive of “their”6 stuff with whichever of the other missionaries we do send. By the way, it is definitely our stuff. Although when I put it like that, it doesn’t seem like a very Christian way of thinking about it.
P.S. Here’s a few more:
While discussing cooking eggs:
“Oh no! I hate eggs. I hate the sight of them and I especially hate cooking them. We cook them so often!”
Three minutes later:
“What if we cook some eggs with that? That could work really well!”
While discussing a recent leak in the girl’s bathroom:
“We gotta get that stuff cleaned up. You don’t want me to break a hip in there! Oh no! Send a helicopter! Get here quick!”
When deciding whether or not to use something called ‘mantequilla’ here:
“You know, that stuff’s really not that good, but it at least helps the beans we have here slide down your throat. It really helps you get them down.”
When someone else offers to do the dishes for her:
“Oh no, I’ve got this. You sit down and take a rest. I’ll deal with this nightmare. Oh God.”