Slim got his name honest. He was skinny, all wire and twine. There was nothing extra when you looked at him, and nothing if you saw him just by chance that made you look twice. His work pants were always clean, and the same old black belt made them bunch up where they held his shirt in. He worked at a steady pace and never gave in to excitement much and when something didn’t go right Slim would just step back a step, readjust his cap (that was a constant feature too) and shake his head like it sort of tickled him before he went back to work.
His wife favored a slightly more high-pitched run at life; nothing gaudy but quicker. She played the organ at the church where she pulled her mouth way to the side when it was time to make the sanctuary vibrate on the big hymns. Garnita also taught piano in the dining room of she and Slim’s house. Most of the students came once a week and patiently Garnita helped small fingers driven by little interest find the right keys to push. She was kind and honest with the kids, even ones that had no love of music didn’t mind coming to Miss Garnita’s for an hour.
Sometimes if it was too hot too work or the fields were too muddy Slim kept his wife company while she taught. He sat bent over a jigsaw puzzle spread out on the dining table while Garnita worked through that week’s piece with the student. He never said anything but ‘humm’ once in a while as he pondered the pieces. But when she was finished and if the kid was one he liked he’d say, “I believe I could use a little help with where this piece goes. Suppose you could help me?” The student would rush over to Slim and take the piece and concentrate with a frown while Garnita collected the music and put it back in the piano bench.
Garnita and Slim had a closet full of jigsaw puzzles they had worked, some, their favorites several times. That is how they spent their evenings, one on each side of the dining room table moving quietly over the hundreds of colored pieces of cardboard spread out before them. Slim and Garnita were never able to have children of their own.