Grandmother carefully took her cane and fixed her rag rug that had flipped up at one corner. Sighing heavily, she sat on her bed. Reaching into her pocket, she found three pieces of string; she had saved from the flour sack that morning, a button from Mary Ness’ dress, and one hairpin. Winding the string around the hairpin, she then carefully placed it in the old cigar box along with the other items, for safe keeping.
Noticing Billy’s marble, a pretty rock, and a four-leaf clover she had found last spring already in the box, she smiled. The memories they brought to mind was one of the rewards.
Grandmother represented many things to those who cared for her. To some perhaps a burden but to Mary Nell, her nine year old grandaughter, she was mysterious, clever, and just enough child to be a companion.
No matter how warm it was, Granny, (Mary called her) always wore long brown cotton socks and a long sleeve smock, to cover her arms for modesty sake. She needed the use of the pockets on the smock for the treasures she collected. Her small hands had little strength left, it was a struggle to just get her hightop black shoes off.
Just getting ready for bed was “enough to wear her out” she would comment.
“Mary Nell, honey, could you read my bible for me tonight?” Granny’s eyes were getting worse but there just wasn’t enough money to get new glasses.
For Mary Neil, it was their time together. Granny would call her she was excited to spend the evening. Mother had made it clear that Mary Nell must not bother Granny unless she was invited.
“I really like the twenty-third Psalm, and perhaps some of that story about Abraham and Sarah,” She chuckled, “ God sure showed Sarah he could do anything! Her fix’n to have little Issac when she so old.”
Mary Nell hopped up beside her on the bed and carefully turned the pages of Grandmothers old bible. She began to read, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want… “ Granny was the Lord really a shepherd?”
“Oh yes, He still is, he’s my shepherd you know. Now go on and we’ll talk later”
“He maketh me to lie down in green pastures, He leadeth me beside still waters.”“Granny, we like to go to the brook by the spring, and watch the water bubble, it’s a lot prettier than the old pond, why didn’t He take his sheep to the brook?”
With all the patience in the world, she hugged Mary Nell and began to explain. “Honey do you know God is so happy when you ask all those questions? He just can’t wait to talk to you.”
“Granny don’t always have all the answers, but I can tell you one thing my shepherd does.”
There they sat; time standing still as Grandmother shared so much wisdom, making her shepherd a very real person to Mary Nell.
”We are like those little lambs; they get lost real easily. Lambs can’t ever be driven like you do daddy’s cows you know,they have to be led.If you think about it honey,that spring creek would just bubble right up their nose, drown those silly little lambs, or scare them to death. They need to feed on something that just keeps them nice and calm."
"The Shepherd knows how important peace is to us too. A Quiet little pond, where the water satisfies their thirst is just like reading Gods word. It does our soul some satisfying good!”
Reaching over to squeeze Mary’s hand, grandmother continued, “ You know Mary Nell, sometimes when they were drinking, the ol’ wolf was sneaking round. If they was playing close to that bubbly creek they might not hear him coming.”
Mary Nell’s eyes grew big; she nodded with understanding and continuing reading without any further comment. Having finished the chapershe then turned to Genesis.Yawning,she began reading the story of Isaac’s birth.
Mary Nell had a mental appetite that was unquenchable. With such an active mind, questions were a part of her nature. No matter what she was doing, her mind was racing with more questions that anyone could answer. Granny was one of the few people who even listened anymore, so she usually waited, to unload her “wagon load” of curiosity, when they were together.
“Granny, what if you had a baby?" She giggled. "Mommy would be upset. She says we are a lot of work already and a new baby would be way too much for her.”
Grandmother patted her hand,“I don’t think that is something we have to worry about, God only gives babies to a mommy and a daddy and Grandpa’s already in heaven.”
Wanting to assure Mary Nell, she continued, “You see God had promised Abraham,long ago,that he would give then a baby. God always keeps his promises. Sarah laughed at God when she heard Him tell Abraham about their baby, because she wasn’t thinking about that promise.That is what Issac means, laughter."
" Mary Nell, God is perfect.Just you always remember, he always gives you the means to do what he asks of you ”
“Now, remember I talked about those ol’ wolves, when we read psalm ‘while ago?”
“Oh Granny, I do but there are no wolves in this story.”
“Yes!” She chuckled again,” not the four legged ones we can see, but you have to think about God’s word when you read it”.
Mary Nell, being in the learning mode, inspired Granny to teach, “ God calls it a big word, meditate”. “Honey, he’ll show you lots of things about what he is saying, that aren’t writ down. The ol’ wolf for Sarah was doubting God.”
“Granny how in the world is doubting, like a wolf?”
Granny loved stimulating her little mind. She chuckled again, “Well, what does a wolf do to little lambs?”
“Why, they gobble them up!”
“Yes, they do that, and so much more. He frightens the sheep, scatters them, separating them from the shepherd. Then when they with out defense he destroys them.“Honey the devil is our enemy. He sneaks right up on us, slips on that mask of doubt, and separates us from Jesus’ power because it scares the pudden outa us.”
Mary Nell nodded, "I think I see what you mean Granny."
"Remember that Sunday school verse you learned?"
(Without faith , it is impossible to please God)
“So ol’ mister doubt just gobbles away. Just‘cause we don’t always believe Gods word?”
“Not believing It, don’t make it not so! He never lies.”
Mary yawned and gave granny a hug, “ Thanks granny for telling me all this stuff. I am glad Jesus is my shepherd.”
Looking at her Husband’s old wind up railroad pocket watch, she knew Mary Nell’s parents would be calling her to get ready for bed soon. She took her Bible and gave Mary Nell a hug in return .
“We best say our prayers now, your mother will be calling for you.”
Grandmother bowed her head, and Mary Nell slipped to her knees, as Granny had taught her to do. Together they finished their day.
Mary Nell went to church with her parents every week, but her fondest memories were the bible lessons with Grandmother. They were the ones that made a personal relationship with Christ come to pass. The ones that had shown her how to walk and talk with her Shepherd.