TITLE: The Interests of Others
By Jessica Jenkins
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“Do you want to come with me to visit Grammy today?” Trevon’s mom asked at breakfast one Saturday.
“Sure,” answered Trevon, “Can I bring Ricky? Last time we went I saw another puppy there.”
“I’ll call the nursing home and make sure it’s okay,” his mom said. “If they say it’s fine I guess you can.”
Trevon rinsed his bowl and took Ricky outside.
“Grammy will be happy to see you,” he said as Ricky sniffed around the yard.
“The nurse said you can bring Ricky,” his mom said as she came out.
“Hurray!” he shouted. “Do you want to go on a car ride, Ricky?”
Ricky raced around the yard a few times before running to the car. He stood on Trevon’s lap and stuck his nose out the window, his ears flapping in the wind.
Grammy’s eyes lit up when they walked in. “How’s my favorite grandson?” she asked as Trevon kissed her cheek. “And my favorite beagle,” she added as Ricky jumped onto her lap and began chewing the sleeve of her sweater.
“Why don’t we take Ricky down to the common room,” suggested Grammy. “I have a few friends who would like to see him.”
As Trevon’s mom wheeled Grammy’s chair into the sunny common room Ricky scampered back and forth investigating the room as far as his leash would let him. A few of Grammy’s friends were sitting by the large windows. Trevon picked Ricky up and introduced him.
“You remind me of my boy when he was your age,” one man said to Trevon as he tickled Ricky’s chin. “We always had beagles around the place.”
“I always wanted a dog just like him when I was a girl,” said another woman. She patted Ricky and held Trevon’s hand. “That was much longer ago than I care to remember. My mother wouldn’t let us have pets but I always went to my friend’s house to play with her dogs.”
Ricky struggled to get down and tugged at his leash. A man on the other side of the room snapped his fingers and called, “Here, puppy! Come say hi.” Trevon took Ricky over and talked to the man for a few minutes before Ricky tugged on his leash again.
Trevon noticed one woman sitting alone in a wheelchair by the windows. He thought she looked awfully sad and lonely so he took Ricky over to say hello. He jumped when she grabbed his hand and held on tightly.
“Marcus, you’re here,” she said.
“I’m not Marcus,” Trevon said. “My name is Trevon.”
“Don’t be silly, Marcus,” she scolded. “When is your father coming?”
“Um, well… I don’t…” Trevon stuttered. He caught a nurse’s eye and scrunched up his face in a plea for help. The nurse came to his rescue.
“Alright, Mrs. Davis, it’s time for your therapy,” the nurse said brightly.
“But Marcus is here,” Mrs. Davis said sadly. “He will be gone when I get back.”
“Don’t worry,” the nurse whispered to Trevon. “She has Alzheimer’s. Her memory is stuck back when her children were young. She thinks you’re her son.”
Trevon looked at Mrs. Davis’s pleading eyes. Impulsively he gave her a hug. “Don’t worry,” he said. “I’ll come back and see you soon.”
“You’ll come back?” she asked hopefully.
“Of course I will,” he answered.
His eyes followed the nurse and Mrs. Davis out of the room. How scary to have your memory stuck such a long time ago.
Another nurse came over to pet Ricky. “I haven’t seen this many people so happy in a long time,” she said. “You bring your puppy back any time you want.”
“I will,” Trevon answered. “We come to visit Grammy almost every weekend.”
“Well, she is one lucky lady,” said the nurse. “Some of these people don’t have family come very often. They get lonely and even little things like puppies and children make them happy.”
On the way home Ricky curled up on Trevon’s lap. Trevon stroked his head and thought about what the nurse had said.
“Is Grammy lonely in the nursing home?” he asked.
“I think she misses being able to go and do things,” his mom answered. “But you know Grammy; she makes friends everywhere. And we see her almost every week.”
“The nurse said some people don’t have family to visit them,” Trevon said. “She told me seeing children and puppies makes them happy. Can I take Ricky every time we go? Then other people can play with him and be happy.”
“I think we can take him most of the time,” answered his mom.
“And Mia could come,” said Trevon. “She knows Grammy. Her dog isn’t a puppy but he’s small. And Eddie has a kitten. Maybe some people there like kittens better than puppies. We could go every Saturday.”
“Well, before you make any plans we have to talk to the nursing home and Mia’s and Eddie’s parents,” said his mom. “What brought on this idea all of a sudden?”
“In Sunday school we talked about how we should be like Jesus and we learned some verses in Philippians that say to not look at yourself but at what is good for other people. I was just thinking that maybe we could do this to be like Jesus, that he would be happy if we could help make the people there happy. Maybe my whole Sunday school class could come and we could talk to them every week.” Trevon looked at his mom. She was smiling.
“I think if you explain it like that you could probably get a few extra people to come,” she said. “I think it’s a great idea.”
Ricky woke up and licked Trevon’s fingers. He seemed to think it was a good idea, too.
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