June 17 – Just a few bits and pieces for this time, so I don’t end up doing lots of writing about one topic. Actually, the one topic these days has to do with rain and rain and more rain, with some outside tasks taken care of in between. What I’m writing today has to do with people, and what they have been doing inside, just being their usually friendly selves!
OK, first of all, we’ll center in on Sheila, our dear friend from Price Chopper, who is always chipper and in a good mood, even if she does leave home about half past four every morning so that she will have many duties taken care of before customers arrive. Outside of work, Sheila leads out in the local RED HATS, an organization of ladies past fifty who visit nursing homes to sing for the elderly and help them to enjoy life a little more, or give concerts to benefit the area food pantries and Meals on Wheels. “The Red Hat Society began as a result of a few women deciding to greet middle age with verve, humor and elan.” No wonder “young ladies” like Sheila and our friend Teri who also works at Price Chopper are counted as members. Their smiles could light up the world, and their caring for others is so obvious.
A week or so earlier Dale and I went to a nearby hall to attend the concert given by the ladies with the red hats. Not much space left as the folks who had come to listen filled up most of the seats. As we settled in, several of the Red Hat ladies stopped at our table to welcome us and tell how much they appreciated our being there. Soon the group in their colorful dresses moved on to the stage, and the music began. The audience soon showed their approval, clapping loudly, and sometimes letting their voices rise to a shout! Sheila’s son Lance was a part of the program too, as he sang a number of songs. Because of the works done by ladies like these Red Hatters, life is made a bit easier for those to whom they bring a message of hope and good cheer.
For the last 15 plus years we have lived in Missouri, we have known Robbie and David, the two men who so ably take care of the fresh produce at Price Chopper. We learned their names early on because our son’s name is David, and Robbie is a grandson! Coincidence, right? Not too long ago, David retired so that he would have lots of time to travel and enjoy life. A couple weeks ago, as we pushed our cart towards the part of the store where we always stopped to talk to them, we were pleasantly surprised! There, standing with Robbie was David! The conversation that followed was good for us all, and we enjoyed a few minutes together, reminiscing of times when those two laughed and joked, sometimes at our expense, and others at theirs. Long ago, I learned from my brothers that “If you can’t take it, then don’t give it!” Robbie now has several new workers to train, and I know all will work out well, but it will never be the same as when David and he were work buddies.
Other friends come to mind – we have already written about Barney, who lost his dear wife to cancer just about a week ago. Then there’s Clyde and Nan who have given us so many useful items ever since we met them at a garage sale probably 15 years ago. Why am I mentioning these folks now and together? Usually, after we have done our shopping for the day, we spend some time visiting them before heading for home. Well, last week we didn’t give them a visit – knowing that we would probably stop by, both Clyde and Barney sent us notes via e-mail to tell us that they would not be home that morning, and they didn’t want us to go out of our way for nothing! What jewels those people are!
Then there’s Joe, one of our neighbors who has been tooling around our mail box from time to time, making sure the grass is cut and the area looks neat. Even more than that, though, he has now decided he will give us further help by mowing the high bank in front of the house as it goes down to the road. Many times Dale and I have tired ourselves out by doing that area with a hand mower, trying to keep ourselves “glued” to the bank so that we don’t fall down the hill. Our son-in-law Harvey worked on it one day when it was so wet. His son Rob did the job another time. Since I didn’t feel comfortable with someone else doing our work, I rebelled a bit, but got nowhere. Not that I didn’t appreciate their help, but even as a child, my motto was, “Me do it mineself!”
So, when Joe told me he was going to do the job, I tried to convince him otherwise, but to no avail! Down the road he came with his big mower, and before long, he had cleaned out the area, going up and down the hills as if he did this kind of work every day. I must admit I was more than a bit concerned when I saw him zoom down, and then struggle back, with the mower just about riding on its back wheels! After he had also mowed a part of the old bamboo patch before heading back to his house, he yelled back at us, “Now don’t worry about that mowing. I’m going to watch to see when you start on the lawn again, and when I see you, I’ll come back and do the hill!” A big smile, a wave, and our friend and his mower disappeared as he drove home.
So many sayings about friends in books today. Entire books on friendship. The Bible is full of references to friends, one of God’s richest blessings. We count ourselves rich, indeed, because of the blessings of really true friends. Friends who stick with you and stick up for you! One of God’s truest blessings as we remember that if we want real friends, we must show ourselves friendly! – CHRIS