Calla startled awake hitting her hand against the side of the wooden rocking chair. Any movement registered pain. She jerked her other hand over and began stoking and comforting the soreness, like she would a child.
“I’m sorry I startled you Mrs. Brown, it’s me Ethel. You took care of me…remember?”
Calla stared toward the figure in front of her. She tried smiling, but the dryness of her mouth made her lips stick to her teeth. She wrenched her arm out to touch the fuzzy image in front of her.
“Ethel? Oh sweetheart, is that you?”
Ethel bent closer to give Mrs. Brown a hug. She felt hard unforgiving bones under the soft black sweater. “I came to visit my folks and they said you still lived up here at Apple Springs.”
Calla winced at the touch of the younger woman. She squinted as Ethel pulled away trying to catch a glimpse of the child she new fifty years ago. “How are your folks?”
“Well, I don’t know if you heard but I’m here to move them into this place. They really can’t live alone anymore. Who knows you might be neighbors again.”
“Good Lord Child, how is it possible that your rambunctious mother could ever have gotten old, why I think she’s at least twenty years younger than me.”
Ethel helped straighten the knit lap blanket covering Mrs. Brown’s thin legs. She looked into the opaque eyes searching for the warmth she knew as a child. “You know Mrs. Brown, you saved my life.”
Calla welcomed the warmth of the lap robe around her aching hips. She thought Ethel might have said something. “You know Ethel, I will be one hundred years old in August.”
Ethel patted her hand, “Wow, that is quite the accomplishment.”
“Well, it’s about all I’m good for anymore…aging.”
“You are precious to a lot people Mrs. Brown. You took care of children who needed you. I just wanted to stop by and thank you.”
“How are your handsome husband and your children?”
“My husband retired and my children married. I’m a grandma now, like you.”
“Did you say you’re a grandma Ethel Ann?”
Ethel sat back in her chair wincing at her childhood name. The name her mother screamed as she pushed her out the door. “I see you stopped dying your hair.”
Calla reached up to pat her soft curls. “Oh you kids used to laugh at me on Fridays when I put the color in, you remember that?”
“I remember you always opened your door for me Mrs. Brown. When I needed a hug and a rest I came to you.”
“You liked my cinnamon rolls too, I recall.”
“I loved sitting on the floor with all the other kids listening to the bible stories, drinking milk, and eating warm cinnamon rolls.”
“Every day we read the bible. You know what they say, when everything is done and past only what is done for Christ will last.”
“I know Mrs. Brown because you told me.”
As Ethel gently hugged the huddled old woman sitting in the rocker by the window she prayed under her breath for God to bless her and comfort her aches and pains. She closed the door to Mrs. Brown’s room and strode down the hall to the reception desk. This sealed the deal. Her parents needed to be in this assisted living home. Maybe the Lord allowed Mrs. Brown to live for such a time as this. Ethel’s parents never listened when they were young, but maybe they would listen now.
Only what is done for Christ will last.
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