We walk through the line like everybody else and bag up food for Mrs. J. We’d been asked to take her some groceries from Manna House. We’d been told she doesn’t like peas, but loves fresh fruit. We load the boxes in the car and her address into the GPS.
Mrs. J is quick to answer the phone when we call to say we’re on our way, but slow to answer the door when we arrive. A TV is loud inside. On the outside only her windows have blinds open, plants on every window sill.
She lets us in but won’t let us unload the groceries. She says she can do it all herself later. She knows where everything goes. She’s happy to get the food, but happier to have the company.
She says if we’ll sit down, she’ll show us her birthday card from the President. We do. Two years running she’s received a card from President and Mrs. Obama.
She’s just had a birthday. Her 95th.
We ask about the black and white portraits on her walls, pictures of her in younger years with her husband (now dead), her two boys (one dead), her parents (of course, dead, she tells us).
On another wall is her marriage certificate dated 1937. She tells us her husband was drafted for WW2 when their marriage was young. He has since died from stroke complications in later years.
She drools a little, but she is clean and sharp and so is her place. She says somebody sends her a housekeeper, but she goes behind them because they don’t clean as well as she does. They occasionally sneak into the kitchen and cook for her, but she’d rather do that herself, too. She doesn’t like to sit down, she says.
Several times she tells us you’ve just got to keep going, never give up. It’s what she’s done. And she’s done well.
She says life has been good to her, and the good Lord, too. She tells us she praises him every morning and talks to him every night before she goes to sleep. “He’s our creator, you know,” she says, “and He loved you before anybody else did.”
We finally have to go but not before big hugs and a promise to return. She says when we come back she’ll try to keep her mouth closed; her surviving son tells her she talks too much. She tells us she loves us and we say we love her, too.
And we do. Already. After just 30 minutes, we love her.
We only showed up to give her food, but we were the ones fed. Unexpected meals can pop up anywhere, anytime.
Thank you, Mrs. J. What a delightful feast!
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- Memorizing Isaiah 55:11
- On the blog–March 2014