Jimenez suffered from his hangover for two days trailing behind Father Serra. He belched and groaned like a man who spent over a year playing poker and drinking. Even though he claimed to have a wealthy family in Spain, they would never recognize their son—unshaven, unwashed, trudging through the desert.
“Míralo, look at him, I’ve never seen a Padre move so fast,” Jimenez said. Even in his grubby condition, Jimenez’s keen eye never missed a thing. “Serra’s got a limp, but he’s quick and so focused on keeping those stupid lists of kilometers traveled, the weather, supplies, converts. We are lucky Brother Bonilla manages to keep pace with him.”
“I just hope Blas is smart enough to get some information from Serra about our friend Brother David,” Sal said. “Màs ràpido, Jimenez, let’s go faster. We can’t lose them.”
By sundown, Father Serra and Blas walked miles ahead of Sal and Jimenez. They struggled to haul the over-burdened supply wagon through the sandy soil. “Put your shoulder into it,” Sal said. Rocks and ruts made the pathway uneven, at times, impassable. “It’s going to take us two days to catch up with them at this rate.”
On the third day, Father Serra finally slowed his pace. He discovered a small band of natives to baptize.
“Gracias a Dios, the baptisms stopped him,” Sal said. He and Jimenez stood apart and watched Father Serra preparing for the impromptu ceremony.
“We must get their names in my tally of baptisms,” Father Serra said. “Brother Blas, do your part, get the holy water.” Blas flicked holy water with his pudgy fingers onto the surprised natives. So clumsy, half of the blessed agua dripped along his sleeves.
“Look at those natives: dirt poor, but they still offer Father Serra gifts,” Sal said. Jimenez and Sal hid as they watched the spectacle. Blas nodded and muttered, doing his best to perform the ceremony.
“They’d be better off if we gave them a few supplies, not just holy water,” Jimenez said. Sal liked his blunt honesty. The son of a rich man, Jimenez spoke his mind.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish