“Dad says there’s a curse on your family.”
Beno feigned deafness and walked on, ignoring the youths who were mocking him.
“You killed your ma and your Joe went on the run because he couldn’t stand you all,” was the last thing he heard as he headed home and straight to the privacy of his bedroom to lick his wounds.
He flopped on his bed, his thick curly-black hair bouncing off and then sinking into the head cushion. All the old guilt came flooding back. Uncle Jerry had said, “Your mum was a stunner – I’m so glad she looked out for me when I was a little lad – I was so proud of her. Never blame yourself though – it was her decision to have you, you’re not to blame for her death.”
However, Beno had blamed himself for his mum’s death and here he was, once again, letting his grief out like water leaking through a dam’s rampart; yet not being allowed full flow but held back by a boy’s reserve at tears.
Then he got to thinking about his brother. He got down from the bed and pulled out the old tattered wooden chest where he had put his brother’s artifacts that he’d retrieved over the years from various sources.
One by one he then laid them on his bed. He recalled that as a lad his big brother had played at soldiers with him. Joe had been good with his hands; he had whittled all the weapons they had played with.
There was a bow made from a sapling birch branch. Beno lovingly ran his hands over it and examined the patterned carvings on the bark – the strong bow twine was still in place but he felt it was too sacred to ever use it. He had kept the two swords Joe had made for them to play with – he’d been allowed to use the sword but not the bow. He would stand and watch his brother’s marksmanship with this.
Beno had no memory of his mother but Joe had painted a picture of her as a loving and caring mother. She had given Joe a keepsake when she was dying. It was a miniature gold sculpture of her horse that had been commissioned by her father. He was a rich man and he had adored his lovely daughter.
It was now in his possession and it was the twofold memories of Mum and Joe, which sprung from this heirloom that finally opened the dam floodgates – he wept bitterly.
Later his father called, “Are you all right Benjamin?”
“Yes I’m ok dad!”
His dad called him Benjamin but his mother’s side of the family always called him Benoni, which was the name his mother gave him on her deathbed. In respect for both his father and mother he was happy to be called by either name by the different sides of the family. He encouraged his friends to call him Beno as a special memory to his mother.
Over the years there had been rumors of sightings of Joe here, there and everywhere. Recently, because of famine, there had been several visits back and forth, to and from Egypt accompanied by strange requests from the Governor back there. He particularly wanted to see Beno and had asked numerous questions about the state of health and well being of their father. Reluctantly, Jacob let them take Benjamin back with them.
On their final return back from Egypt they were able to share that amazingly Joseph was still alive and that they had been invited by him to come and live at Goshen, which in normal times was a fruitful and prosperous land.
So Jacob’s great tribal family set off to their kinsman’s land.
On their arrival there was a great family get-together of Joseph’s wife and children and all his extended family from back home. The sojourners had been met by a fanfare of full ceremonial pomp of the sort given to royalty. This was a concert of welcoming trumpets. Then there followed an orchestration of music and dance, and then a rich and sumptuous feast.
Now finally settled in Goshen it was possible for Jacob to perform his last wish and desire: that on his deathbed he could bestow on Joseph, his beloved son, the special blessing that he thought he never would.
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