PEARL

THE FARM INCIDENT

History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.
Maya Angelou

Every now and then comes an episode which not only scrapes away layers of superficial varnish, but rips open the dense layers of life's relationships and lifts the veils shrouding events and actions from a distant past, whose aftermath and consequences cast a powerful shadow upon present-day circumstances, thereby providing opportunities for redemption and closure. It often begins innocuously enough, perhaps as a week away with an old friend. An episode that had been intended to only last from Monday until Sunday becomes a ride to the spiritual stations of an entire life.

Val was on her way to visit her friend Gertrude. They had not seen each other in over two decades. Both had grown up together as neighbours and gone to the same elementary school in Holly Springs, Mississippi, USA, some 30 miles from Memphis, Tennessee. Afterwards, Val’s family had moved to Ontario, Canada. She was now living on the outskirts of Toronto. Gertrude lived 700 miles away outside Nashville, Tennessee.

Tulip, Gertrude's daughter, was about to move her dog breeding business and live on a farm with her fiancé. Although happy that her daughter had found the kind of place she was looking for and was about to share her life with a loving and loyal man, Gertrude, nevertheless could not shake an uneasy feeling that gnawed continuously inside her. She wrote to Val, among other things:

‘Some strange things on my future son-in-law’s farm concern me.’

Nevertheless, the reunion between Gertrude

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