GENRE: YA Secret
A dozen people file into the cabin on the shore of Lake Okeechobee, each carrying an ebbó. They hand their offerings to me as they enter. Fruit. Polished pebbles. A bottle of rum. A bit of cake on a red plate. I place their ebbós on the altar, a cloth-draped table pushed against the wall. Painted statues of saints crowd its surface. Candles nest on plates piled high with herbs. A stone face with eyes and mouth made of shells sits in the place of honor at the table’s center.
One by one, the men and women make their way across the oaken floor through patches of sunlight. Some nod or speak my name as they pass me. We all wear white to show respect. Colored beads hang around our necks.
The people wait patiently for their priest. These followers of Santeria call him Babalawo.
I call him grandfather.